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Love/Hate Relationship ~

I hate food.  I seriously, really hate it.  You might ask, how can someone so fat hate food?  Well, I can hate it, but I still have to have it to live.  If only it weren’t that way at all.  I hate how it makes me feel, and I hate that it’s my own fault that it makes me feel that way.  It all comes back to me, and I acknowledge that.

When my siblings and I were kids, my Mom was an awesome cook.  We were made sure to have three meals a day, two of which were usually home cooked.  Don’t forget to add on those after school snacks, and the ice cream or pop corn before bed.  And no, we did not eat either healthy portions or healthy foods.  And I’ve always been “large” – yeah, that means fat.  Always.

Now, since I’ve become “aware” that I hate how fat I am, I hate how I look and I would love to feel better about myself by losing weight, I’ve examined every possible reason for WHY I am so overweight.  I’m thinking if I can understand the reason why, I can change my lifestyle and get some weight loss going on here.  I’ve come down to the conclusion that I just plain and simple love the taste of it.  If it were socially acceptable to eat a meal, chew it up and spit it out rather than swallow it, that would be my Utopia.  I have very strong taste buds, and they are a source of great pleasure for me.

I have tried, over and over, even very recently, to change my lifestyle, my way of eating and my food choices… and it works, for awhile.  I cannot maintain that for very long.  Let’s face it, a breakfast sandwich and Frappe from McD’s is a whole lot better tasting than a bowl of oatmeal and an apple or banana.  Even if it fills me to the extent that it makes me feel like absolute crap afterwards.  I’ve proven I can lose the weight if I can eat right.  I have not yet proven that I can maintain eating right of my own free will.  I’ve tried to tempt myself with nice clothing, with “do it for Al”, “do it for yourself”, “do it for your grandchildren”, “do it for God”!  I cannot get myself on board for any length of time.

I found myself feeling like an absolute blimp at lunch today after eating a KFC “bowl” and a McD’s medium Frappe.  I STILL feel awful, and I will not want to eat dinner with my husband as a family.  But, I will, because that’s what families “do”.  I felt full at lunch after eating only about 1/3 of the bowl, but I kept going.  This little voice in my head kept saying “Finish your plate.  There are people starving in Africa.”  I looked at my bowl and could not get myself to throw it away!  And now I’m paying the price with discomfort.  Serves me right!

Did I tell you that in 1988 I had my stomach stapled?  It worked so well, but was not without its nightmares!  Even today, I have a very small capacity for food in my stomach.  A half sandwich will do me fine for lunch.  A small bowl of cereal for breakfast is great, and one hotdog (no bread) and 3-4 fries is all I need to be full for dinner.  But still I choose to overeat.  Is it truly a flavor addiction?  I wonder.

After I first had my surgery, it took me months/years to “learn” how to re-eat so I didn’t make myself sick.  Not sure I ever really did get that down (so to speak).  I vividly remember eating the “wrong thing” more often than not, and spending hours, sleepless nights even, vomiting or wanting to vomit but being unable to.  You see, I’d rather die than vomit.  In fact, to me, vomiting is the closest thing to death without actually dying.  So, in many ways, I simply refused to allow myself to when it probably would’ve made me feel better in the long run.  And, back in the 80’s, we did not have “support groups” for fat surgery.  Even so, I did lose weight.  I lost 30 lbs before I ever left the hospital.  Then I continued to lose through the 80’s and 90’s and it was GR8!  Overall, I think I lost about 98-99 lbs before it leveled off and I began to gain again.  I learned that eating junk food digested easier, tasted better and made me feel better.

It was a tough road, and it took a long time, but I finally gained back all the weight I’d lost and a little more!  Success!!  ???  That’s where I am today.  Sitting here approximately 5-6″ from my desk because my ample belly is in the way from me reaching my desk.  That ample belly that I know is the greatest risk of me dying sooner rather than later.  What’s it going to take before I finally hit rock bottom and decide I need to start losing (again) and maintain it?!  A heart attack?  And someone needs to have a serious discussion with my enabling husband.  I have had such a discussion many times, but he does not maintain it either.  He brings me chocolate, ice cream before bed, soda…  I’m not blaming him, as he does it out of love and wanting to please me.  I have, in the past, begged him not to capitulate to my food whims.  Neither of us maintains.  Sometimes I look at him like he’s a saboteur, then feel bad.  He has this “way” of guilting me into eating, even if I am full and don’t want to!  At dinner, “Aren’t you going to eat something?”  “Aren’t you going to eat with me?”  Eating is always  a social event to him.  We go to visit his mom, we must eat and eat big (she used to be, but no longer, a gourmet cook).  I’d try to nibble just a little of each thing, but was always pushed by his family for not eating enough.  He never did speak up for me, even knowing I could potentially spend the entire 2 1/2 hr ride home sicker than a dog.

More food for thought?  Recently there were two incidents that happened that really brought it to the forefront, once more.  Shopping at Lane Bryant at Destiny USA – cause that’s the only “fat store” locally that might have something pretty for Valentine’s Day, I was browsing in the lingerie department cause I’m “older” but I ain’t dead.  I just wanted something new and pretty for our special V Day weekend.  A customer service person approached me and asked if she could help.  I explained I was looking for something special for Valentine’s Day and she actually took me my the arm and redirected me away from the pretty, sexy things to the frumpy, cotton, tee shirt type crap!  She said “Oh, we have something just right for you right over here.”  I left informed, not insulted.

The second recent eye opener was literally an eye opener.  I was going through our 2013 vacation photos and came across several Al had taken of me, and I gave them a thorough examination.  I was simply aghast.  I had no idea that I was that big!  You know how you have a certiain idea of what you look like to others?  I was duped.  I didn’t look “that bad” in the bathroom mirror, which is quite large.  Holy cow!  Meant literally, or something more like a pinniped (seal).  It embarrassed me to myself.  A couple months ago I was thinking I was a pretty beautiful woman, but this was NOT beautiful!  I just kind of stared at some of the photos of myself for a few minutes, burning the memory into my mind so as to give me momentum to maintain once again.

So, here I am.  This is, essentially, a vent.  It’s one of those “ate too much at lunch, feel like crap and wanna puke” vents.  I’ve never been this honest about this aspect of my life, but here it is.  This is my life.  Where am I going from here?  Well, I’m not going to give up!  I’m going to go home and have yet another talk with my enabler husband, shop for better foods (fresh fruits/veggies) and get back on the wagon yet again.  Dinner tonight?  I doubt it.  Lunch today will last me clear into tomorrow mid-morning.  “Sorry Honey, eating by yourself tonight.  I’m going to work on my quilt, I’m not hungry!” 

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog.  TTFN – Tamara Eckstadt

Made to Crave: Down 20 Lbs.

I’ve met my first weight loss goal.  Earlier this week, I weighed in at 306, which is exactly 20 lbs. lighter than when I began at 326 on July 15th, 2013.  Now it seems “real” to me.   I’m thinking that can’t just be “water weight”… maybe I’m actually, seriously losing poundage.  This is a happening that has not occurred since 2001 when I lost some 45 lbs while training for the Kona Marathon for the American Heart Association!  Always, the scale has continued to rise.  Maybe I’ve turned a corner in my own life for a change!

I’m going to do it… what a lot of other weight loss enthusiasts are doing, which is taking “before” and “after” photos.  THIS is what I would consider BRAVE!  Way braver than just putting my weight out there!  But it’s a part of my determination and accountability for my weight loss.  Mind you, I’m not saying I’m going to POST such photos ~ that is currently beyond my bravery limit.  But, maybe, some time in the future.

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But, I’m looking ahead and thinking of my Weight Watchers scale as my friend… good or bad.  I was introduced to a website called “FatSecret” and I signed on.  I really don’t like the NAME of it, but the content and stuff that it does to help me chronicle my weight loss journey is pretty cool.  Including a calorie counter, a journal, forums, blogs, exercise stuff, low calorie recipes etc. etc.  So far, I’m liking it.

So, that’s today’s update.  Looking forward to when I can report the NEXT 20 lb loss!  BTW, I had a checkup at my doc’s earlier this week and he was VERY pleased!  He even gave me a hug!  Also, all of my “levels” have finally begun to get better!  Cholesterol, sugar, yada yada yada… all that stuff.  I’m so happy, I’m in stitches!  (quilter’s joke)

Thanks for stopping by and checking in with me.  Would love encouraging comments, or even critical ones.  Either way, until next time, TTFN ~ Tamara Eckstadt

Made to Crave: Stress-Eating ~

falling-off-the-wagon-demotivational-poster-1257386217

The past couple of weeks have been keeping me totally stressed out.  Between events at my job, the quilt show, helping Al’s mom and sister move from PA to NC and things at home, I have gained back 5 lbs. of the 18 I had lost.  Some of the difficulty lies in not having good options for food choices at some of these events.  I have not yet managed a way to gracefully decline a meal when the only meal available is pizza, or greasy hamburgers and soda, or chicken wings.   Especially when I’m HUNGRY, and I know there will be no other opportunity to eat until the next day.  So, I fell off the wagon… for a couple of weeks.  It wasn’t a “bad” fall.  I have managed to still drink my bottled, flavored water faithfully.  I’ve only given in to a couple of sodas… and have lived to regret it dearly!  However, soda still remains an albatross for me.  At our recent quilt show, there were a couple of large tables full of baked goodies, cookies, pies, brownies, cupcakes, breads etc. laid out for sale to attendees.  Why on earth did I sign up to attend this area for two hours on Sunday?!  I never really considered it would be a temptation ~ what was I thinking?  Yeah, okay, I just lost it there.  I finished the buttermilk pie just yesterday.  I’ve also been lax fixing meals at home and in going out to eat too much.  A quesadilla at Quaker Steak & Lube should definitely not be on my list of acceptable eats!  This week, I’m full of regrets.  And determination to make it right again.

Another huge bane of my existence is the constant 24/7 back pain I have to endure.  I need to  recognize that this, too, is an added stressor that keeps blind-siding me into stress-eating and not exercising.  Three or four weeks ago, I was beginning to use my treadmill a little more, even bought “exercise clothes” for the occasion.  I was also beginning to get out there on my trike and enjoy the upcoming crisp fall weather, just perfect for cycling.  However, I can only do these two things when the disc pain in my back is either minimal or at least tolerable.  That has not been the case for the past couple of weeks.  It has, indeed, been intolerable most of the time, causing me to either “grasp at straws” for any type of medication that will lessen the pain, or just have to grin and bear it ~ which has become all but impossible.  At any rate, it has greatly hampered my      exercise routine.  I am having the second of three cortisone injections on Monday, and praying that will ease things enough for me to get back on the wagon… on all counts.

I guess I need to take it one day at a time for now.  Put my “big(ger) girl panties” on and wrap my brain around eating healthy again.  I need to also get reacquainted with my prayers and quiet time with God.  My faith has been my fortress, and I have forgotten that recently.  Today starts a new day, and it all depends on how I choose to deal with it.

Until next time, thanks for stopping by.  I’d love a word (or two) of encouragement if you’re so inclined to leave a comment.  TTFN ~ Tamara Eckstadt

Made to Crave: Plateau ~

I think I might have reached a “plateau” with my weight loss, but I’m not discouraged.  Not at all!  I have lost 18 lbs, and have been stuck there for about a week now.  But I haven’t “really” begun exercising yet.  Believe it or not, it’s because I didn’t have any viable sneakers!  So I went shopping at WalMart this morning with just that in mind, secure some sneakers with which to get on my treadmill!  I was successful in finding a nice pair of Dr. Scholl’s black sneakers in size 7 1/2, I also found some decent shoes for work at half price.

For some unknown reason, as I walked through the aisles, the next one I came to was workout clothing for women.  I started to bypass it, knowing that anything other than shoes or socks at WalMart doesn’t come in my size… yet.  It has been a bitter pill to swallow knowing that I could only get clothing in my size from online specialty shops, or Catherine’s plus size at Great Northern.  But I’d come to accept it and learned to just pay the much higher prices for the more fabric it took to make clothing to fit my ample body.

But, what the heck?  I was feeling lucky, so I bought a package of three workout bra/tops, and some capris in the biggest sizes they had, knowing I would go home, try them on and return them the next time I was near a WalMart.  After lunch, I decided it’s time to give that treadmill a workout, so I pulled my new exercise wear from their WalMart bags and prepared to be disappointed, yet again.  I had already picked out an old oversized tee shirt and some baggy sweat pants that I had used for gardening as my substitutes for the outfit that would surely not fit.  Slowly, I slipped on the stretchy capris.  What?  What’s this?  They went out without incident!  Indeed, they are not only comfortable, but LOOSE!  I thought I was in last night’s episode of Twilight Zone!  N-I-C-E!  But surely I would not have the same experience with the top.  They are notoriously tight around the chest.  Cautiously I began to slip one on that matched the capris, being careful not to rip or tear the threads or fabric of the item I would have to return.  No WAY!  It fit TOO!  And comfortably!  NO TIGHTNESS ANYWHERE!  I am, perhaps for the first time EVER, comfortable in workout clothes!  AND excited to get to work on the treadmill!

My bottle of water and my MP3 player await!  Thanks for stopping in!  Until next time,  TTFN!

Tamara Eckstadt

Made to Crave: Eating for Two ~

Al and I vacationed in New England recently, and I really didn’t think that I would have THAT much trouble keeping with my new lifestyle eating choices that have paved the way for me to start losing the weight I’ve wanted to for so long.  All my life, really.  I took a couple of snack things ~ some granola bars and some fresh blueberries ~ and I figured I would just “punt” while we ate out for literally all of our meals during the eight days we stayed in Maine, Vermont and Lake George, NY. 

I  had steadily begun to lose pounds since July 15th, when I took on this gauntlet for the first time, for real.  I hadn’t yet begun to exercise due to back and knee issues, but I’d begun to eat differently, preferring fresh fruits and veggies and flavored water to chips, burgers, cookies and soda.  I gave up soda completely and loved it!  A pound down here, two pounds there, up one maybe, down two more.  But this trip would be the test I hadn’t yet had to endure, and I was determined.

I really didn’t have any idea how difficult it would be until we started having trouble finding restaurants in New England with healthier choices on their menu.  What made it harder is that eating establishments were hard to come by as far as being able to find a place to park or a place that didn’t already have a line out the door and around the block waiting to be seated.  Not to mention that we stayed at B & B’s, which feed you a pretty full, and sometimes gourmet, breakfast each morning.  No complaints there!  The first couple of days I kept up, declining certain foods that I knew were taboo, and trying to stick with water or lemonade.  It quickly became a losing battle and I found myself giving in to eating just whatever was there on the menu out of frustration and tiredness of fighting to find something healthy. 

I eventually became accustomed to “sharing” my meals with my husband, giving him the breads, the chips that came with the hot dog, the fries that came with everything, two of the three pancakes I was served at breakfast.  It was a double-edged sword, however, as I knew that as much as I didn’t want to indulge in those calories, I knew he shouldn’t either.  He was literally eating for two:  him and me!  I was sabotaging the both of us!

Lobster roll dinner from Portland Lobster Company

Lobster roll dinner from Portland Lobster Company

Although I ate my lobster, and he gave me his (as he didn’t like it!?), I gave him my bread, fries and cole slaw, and just ate the lobster at the above dinner from the Portland Lobster Company.  Although I tried to be “good”, I was fighting a losing battle as I eventually opted for a hot dog here, clam chowder there, an ice cream cone one night before bed, and let’s not forget the truffles from the Lake Champlain Chocolate Company.

Lake Champlain Chocolates

Lake Champlain Chocolates

I even finally gave in to at least 3 glasses of soda over the 8 days…. but I was pleased that it did not hold the pleasure for me that it once did.  Hence, I would easily go back to my flavored water.

The 5 course breakfasts at the Cornerstone Victorian B & B in Warrensburg were not to be trifled with, however.  I could not deny the decadence they served each morning, and the delightful desserts they offered each evening before bed.  Much as I tried.  I knew I would have to deal with these decisions when we got home and I reacquainted myself with my new best friend, my Weight Watchers scale.  Every calorie would have to be accounted for, and I would pay a price.  I expected it.

Even as tired as we were when we eventually did arrive home, I don’t think I wasted 15 minutes before I was tapping my foot on the scale to activate the digital monitor.  I stepped up, held my breath for a couple of seconds and waited, almost not wanting to look at the digital number that would reveal my poor food choices while away.  There it was… 313 pounds.  WHAT?  I had lost another two pounds somewhere!  I double-checked to see if they weren’t hanging off the side of the scale, hiding, but they were not!  I think I actually giggled like a school girl, right before I closed my eyes and thanked and praised God for being there with me every step of the way and, in some miraculous way, guarding me against the weight gain I’d anticipated.  It was all about Him!  I had strayed, but He had not.  And He never will.

To date I have lost 13 pounds since I began this journey on July 15h, 2013.  Thus far, I have not begun to actively exercise… this has only been accomplished through faith, changing my eating habits and calorie intake, and craving Him other than food.  However, as I posted on my Facebook page last night, my husband found and purchased me a three-wheel bike – a trike – the manual kind, not motorized.  I have health and balance issues that keep me from riding a “regular” two-wheeler.  After he goes over it with a fine-tooth comb to make sure it’s safe, in perfect working order etc, I will begin riding my new tricycle just in time for the cooler fall weather.  Our rural road is mostly flat:  2 miles one way and 1 mile the other to the nearest cross roads.  And wide shoulders.  I’m looking forward to leashing up our Golden Retriever to keep me company and we’ll both exercise together!  We’ll see how the weight loss progresses after I begin getting more active!

 Until then, and until next time, thanks for stopping by and taking a look at my progress.  TTFN ~ Tamara Eckstadt