Saturday, November 14, 2009

Healthy or Underweight

I had a more than a civil discussion with a friend the other night about food, diet, and women. The conversation arose when I told him that I was keeping this blog. And I also admitted that I was becoming obsessed with food, my weight, and losing it. Of course, he was concerned--especially because he is a man...and because his perception of female beauty has been dictated to him since he was in knickers by the media.

As my earlier posts indicate, I have not had a healthy relationship with food nor my body image since I was a child. I was a healthy baby, just under 8 pounds, and as my Mom tells me, I had a robust appetite--always quickly sucking down the last drop of my formula in record time. As a toddler, I was taught to clean my plate for fear that the starving children of Africa would not have enough. I happily obliged! I loved food!

As I went through grammar school, I went through 'pudgy' stages; especially about the time that I lost baby teeth to be replaced by adult teeth that were clearly too big for my 9-year-old face. And...way too early...I developed acne. I was in 5th grade--10-11 years old and I had acne! And when Mom took me to the local dermatologist--he gave me a bottle of make-up/foundation and gave me treatments under a sunlamp.

So much for a budding sense of self-confidence...then Dad took off and I was on my road to anorexia. Thankfully, this disease did not get hold of my like it does some young girls, but I did get down to a ridiculously low BMI of 16 with ribcage, spine, hipbones and collar bones prominent. But for me the critical indicator of something very messed up in my stubborn little head was when I was standing in front of a full length mirror. My mom stood behind me and heard me say, "I look fat". She asked, "Don't be silly. Do you want your stomach to go in?". My reply: "Of course".

During this time period, about a year, I ate very little--maybe 800 calories a day, and exercised like a fiend. I stopped menstruating...not a good sign. But ultimately, I snapped out of it. I don't recall why...possibly because I met a boy who introduced me to beer!?! Hmmm...imagine one addiction for another...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Deep water Exercise, aka, Water Aerobics

I have struggled with osteoarthritis for the past 10 years--yup, I had a slight limp that began when I was 38 years old. My mom noticed it as I maneuvered my way down a flight ramp when I paid her a visit in Tennessee in 1999. Once I returned home to Wisconsin, I made the necessary appointments with the medical community; beginning with my primary care physician, through orthopedists and rheumatologists, to ultimately a scary bone test of some kind to rule out any kind of carcinoma.

When all was said and done...the verdict...early-onset, idiopathic (cause unknown) osteoarthritis. I was given prescription strength, non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs like Advil/ibuprofen, but Rx) in the form of Arthrotec (like Celebrex--kind of). This drug has, and continues to be my saviour.

However my exercise regime of obsessive walking had to change. At one point in my life I had walked on 982 consecutive days! I'll address my struggles with arthritis and pain medication addiction at a later date, but the long story short is that after having both hips replaced, and putting on 25 pounds in the last two years..that's one pound a month, or about an extra 125 calories a day...I had to find some exercise that I could do--especially during the winter months in Wisconsin when an outdoors walk is not always welcome.

So I joined my local YMCA and discovered this:

At my Y, they call it deep water exercise, but it's also known as water aerobics. It is a 60 minute workout that includes 30 minutes of cardio, 20 minutes of strength training with foam dumbells, and 10 minutes of a very lovely and soothing stretch. The first class that I attended was three weeks ago--a spry, little 70-year old lady named Joyce, taught the class--showing us what to do from land as we tried to copy the moves in the water. There were five women in our group and we all wore life-belts as we were in the 'deep end'! Joyce warmed us up with jogging, wheelchair-ing, canoeing, and all kinds of other awkward moves--at least for me. As this was my first class, Joyce was very attentive to me, reminding me that I should "pace myself"--which I did. I really felt good about the whole experience and couldn't wait to come back the next morning.

However...and doesn't it seem that there's always a 'however'...I came down with the H1N1--oink-oink flu. As a side note--this flu didn't take me down and out so much as just kept me down for a looooonngggg time--like two weeks. Sore throat, desert-dry hacking cough (that I still have) and a general feeling of weakness and malaise. So I wasn't able to get back in the pool until this Monday--three days ago. And of course, the schedule had changed and there was no class on Monday, but I did my own thing for a half hour and swam breaststroke laps for 15 minutes.

But yesterday and today, classes were held and I can already feel an improvement in my energy level, my mood, and my muscle tone. On both days, I took the entire class and then swam breastroke/backstroke laps for an additional 15 minutes. I am obsessive about tracking calories consumed and calories burned and I discoved that 15 minutes of lap swimming burns--for me anyway--268 calories. That is more than what I could burn walking at 3mph for 40 minutes...and feels good.

I also have arthritis in my shoulders so I have to be careful in the pool, but I'm hoping that strengthening the muscles around my shoulder joints will help.

Another positive for water exercise--and we all had a good laugh about this--is that you can be as awkward and as 'bad' as you want when trying to figure out these moves...but no one can see you! No making a dork out of yourself in land-style aerobics!!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Body dysmorphic disorder? Can you relate?

Blogging inherently has a touch of vanity to it. And when I follow another's blog, I am always very curious about the author. One of my goals with this blog is to not only help myself get a more healthy attitude about my body image, but to show others that they are not alone when it comes to a preoccupation with food and body size.
So I've decided to post a number of photos of myself throughout the past years. As you'll see, I've always thought I was fat--even when I was anything but. Today, I am fat--I'm just under 5'9" and weigh 178 pounds giving me a BMI of almost 27!! That is why I have no current photos. I promise that when I get down to a tolerable size I will post some before/after photos!
If you recognize yourself in my comments...please give a shout.
Labor Day-2009...All I ever wear are oversized, blousy clothes to hide that fat...the legs are still relatively skinny. But as Carl, my honey, says, "skinny legs don't count"! I think I also posted a photo-shopped version of this pic on Facebook?

Las Vegas-August 2009...chubby round face--only the camera angle allows this photo to be published. We had a great time, ate some very good food and walked miles, but I wouldn't let Carl take pictures of me.

Destin, Florida-March 2009...This is the view from our bedroom patio door of our condo. We took lots of photos but there is only one of me and it horrifies me. You may see it when I have an 'after' picture to compare it to!

Self-portrait-February 2008...I was at about 155 here and while I wasn't happy with that weight, I like this picture. Of course, it doesn't hurt that you can't see my tum.

February 2008--cheesy resume photo but it landed me the job...which eventually turned into a nightmare! Pharmaceutical sales will never have me to kick around again.

Christmas 2007--a happy little family--me and my 'kids' Abby and Leo, unfortunately my marriage to Chris was in dire straits as his alcohol and drug addiction had become too much.

August 2007--Chris took a series of photos like this and this one turned out pretty darn good. We were in the boat for a day of fishing on the Wisconsin River and it was one of our last happy outings together.

Me and a very annoyed little kitteh--thankfully Leo lives on to beg for his daily treats!

Lac Seoul, Ontario, Canada-2006...I have few photos of me because I was too fat. And while the weather was beautiful, I wouldn't wear a swimsuit because I was...yup...too fat.

This is me and my catch on a family vacation to Lac Seoul, Ontario Canada. I supported Chris' fishing habits among others but he never really taught me to fish.

My truly loved brother, Michael and I celebrating his 42nd birthday in Canada in July of 2004. I brought the cake and balloons from home and surprised the boy!

Canada 2004
Natalie, my niece, me, Gage, my nephew and...
dearly departed, Abby in Nimrod t-shirts

Key West 2003--me in front of the Sponge Man. Of course, I thought I was HUGE.

Key West-20003...while my alcoholic husband drank himself silly I stuck to water

Feeling like a whale at 145, I'm hiding alone to work on my tan...sad.

June 1996--my wedding to Chris. My sister, Katy, was my Maid-of-Honor, something that she herself requested..."it's only right", she told me!
June 1996--me at 135 in Aruba on our honeymoon. I wasn't exactly emaciated, but my BMI was at 16 and my collar bones and rib bones are prominent. Why do I love this picture?

This is my favorite photo from our wedding day in June of 1996. Chris looked so handsome in his tux; I was thin and my wedding dress, which I had made for $135 from a local seamstress, fit like a dream. Beware, my friends, marriage is not the wedding day, and that handsome fellow that you lock eyes with across the bar can become your undoing.

More Wedding Day Joy

Monday, November 9, 2009

Obsessed with food and fitness

A walk on the beach

Lobster Bisque


Chicken Salad Sandwich

Brandi Chastain

Linguini Prawns


Toned back

Cuban Sandwich

Hot off the grill

Beef: It's what's for dinner

Hello there

Lasagna oolala

Cajun Shrimp

Healthy body



Hummus anyone?

Hearty salad

Volleball butt

Six pack



Nice rare steack


Crab cake

Grilled Cheese

Tuna Melt


Nice abs