Saturday, August 7, 2010

On being fat

This week marks five weeks of elimination dieting. Almost at that golden mark of six weeks. I have brought back a few things: wine (it makes him itchy, sonofa.), cheese (it makes him itchy, Jiminy Christmas), wheat (it makes him itchy, Baby Jesus please), and nuts of the non-peanut variety seem to be okay. Same with corn, though to be frank, I don't eat much corn because it is sort of empty nutrients. I have been happily eating eggs again. I do love eggs. Mostly, I eat this amazing raw chia and ginger granola. I eat salads. And quinoa. It is not terribly varied. I do like me a good salad. With this summer's bounty, I have been grilling lots of squash (zucchini and golden squash and Tash brought me an photogenic eggplant which is getting et this weekend. [that is me eating the shit out of the eggplant in my art studio/office]) And I am juicing with my gorgeous Omega juicer in the morning (celery, ginger, wheatgrass, apple, lemon, romaine) or making a coconut milk yogurt smoothie with raspberries. All in all, it isn't so terrible anymore. I find it easier to eliminate things completely than try to regulate what I am eating.  I'm not so good on moderation some days.

Last night, I ran frozen cherries through the nut butter squeejee thing on my juicer to make cherry sorbet. Or rather cherries all squished. I added some rice milk to it. It was really quite good. This is coming from a woman in a desert of options, so if you are allowed ice cream, go for it in my good name.

I have been saying that I am not losing weight, and to be frank, that isn't exactly true. I was not losing weight fast enough for my impatient self, which is really not fair to be bitching about. Definitely, the eliminating thing hasn't brought as huge weight loss as one would suspect, which I have come to the conclusion is a good thing. But, actually, since Thor was born April 1st, I have lost forty-five pounds. I still have forty-five pounds to lose, so you know, that sucks. But I want to begin focusing on the positive of the situation. I have wanted the support of talking about my weight loss and also suffer from a great deal of embarrassment that I had to lose almost 100 pounds to begin with.

Still, I lost forty-five goddamned pounds in four months! I need to celebrate that fact rather than focusing on the self-loathing voice that says, "But you are still fat." It is true. I am still fat, and I am only halfway to my goal, which is pre-Beatrice weight, but until then, I need to allow myself to feel slightly proud of what I have accomplished. I am slowly taking it off, and that is okay. That is the healthy way.

I think what echoes in my head is the disturbing post I read a few months ago, linked on Jess' blog with a brilliant post by her. Even though I have lost forty some odd pounds, and eat like a monk, people still don't want to see me in a bathing suit. They will still say, "Gross." Or this dude will. They don't care about my back story, or how much I lost up until this point, or what I looked like before my babies were born. I often think about the comments from this post and what people think of people like me. I cannot write on my fat legs, "My baby died." Or "I eat only salads." Or "My cholesterol is less than yours."

I have worn jeans all summer. Long sleeved shirts. I would wear a burqa if I could. Actually, it is ironic. When I pass no mirrors, or see no pictures of myself, I think I look good from eye-level down. I don't mind it so much, but then I catch a glimpse of myself in a reflective surface and I loathe my body. "That's me?" I can't quite believe it. I imagine this is what old age will be like as well, looking in the mirror and wondering who that old lady is. Still, I wish I could accept me at this weight. I consider myself a feminist. I consider myself someone who has examined the female in pop culture and said, "Fuck you, Society." I want my daughter to grow up without ever thinking she is fat. And yet, my inner voice is the worst of those comments on that blog post about fat people. It is ironic because I see other women my size and think they are gorgeously stunning. I am attracted to people like me especially if they are confident in their skin, but when I look at me, I see dead baby and depression and not working out and all the things that have come with this weight. And so, I read the vitriol directed at people who have accepted their body and it makes me seethe. Do any of those skinny people realize how fucking difficult it is to accept yourself at any size?

I want to be a fat peaceful person. Being comfortable in my skin would be lovely. Being at peace at any size would be amazing. Considering I have eaten fast food less than a handful of times in the last two decades and am one of those people who I think most doctors would consider healthy despite my weight, I am not fat for the reasons those people think I am fat. Far from it. I am meticulous about my food intake. In fact, last year, at 200 pounds, I was told that I had an eating disorder. I can't remember if I have talked about that on here or not. It was hard to hear--to be fat and have an eating disorder is impossibly heartbreaking. And yet, it is not rare. My cousin-in-law's wife is doing research into eating disorders and obesity. He linked this article a few months ago.

At the time, I just kept thinking that the end justifies the means. The end justifies the means. Does it? Really? I kept a detailed food journal, ate only raw foods and was vegetarian, became slightly obsessive about checking my weight. In fact, it all happened so subtly, I didn't realize it was happening or what it was called. I was facing an undiagnosed thyroid disease, so I was facing an uphill battle with my weight. With a moderate calorie intake (1400 calories/day), I wasn't losing weight. So, I looked at a cleanse and raw food diet to figure out what was going on. I managed, the first month of a raw food diet to drop 14 lbs. It was addictive to have that kind of momentum. I was eating less than 800 calories a day, and I was at 200 lbs. I checked my weight four-six times a day. I just wanted to drop the weight, then I could go back to normal eating, I thought. I would look at my bowl of greens with sprouts and cry some nights. And I would put on my previously fat jeans which had now become my skinny jeans and feel justified.

It took finding out I was pregnant with Thor to abandon the starvation technique, or rather the orthorexia. I owe my children a mother without all these hangups about her weight and her looks. I know I have to watch my weight and I know I have to watch what I eat. Truth is, I know where my fat comes from--I eat large portions of very good food. I eat like the athlete I once was. Before I became pregnant with Beatrice, I rode my bike 150-200 miles a week, and worked out most mornings. My job had a full gym and showers, so I utilized it. I needed to ride my bike 200 miles a week to maintain my already kind of larger frame. I cannot harp on the injustice of  genetics and being one of those people whose metabolism needs so much exercise. Or who never quite feels full. Or who gains fifty pounds each pregnancy, whether I took the last weight off or not. I just am. I have to start working with my nature rather than against it. Maybe accepting that part of my nature will help me accept the other part of me that droops down my middle.

At this point, I have to face the next part of this equation of getting healthier which is adding in exercise. Or regular exercise. I do hike here and there. Ride bike here and there. Yoga here and there. But nothing that is part of my routine. Sometimes I think that is where the self-loathing comes. I know I should be exercising and am not. And I love working out. I love sweating. I love being muscle sore, and sleeping from physical exhaustion. I am thinking very seriously of doing the Couch to 5k, even though I loathe running. I need a goal. When I cycled every day, I found running torturous. My knees were cycling knees. I actually saw an orthopedic surgeon about it. He basically said my thigh muscles were pulling my kneecap off center, and running would only make the pain worse.

I clearly do not have those issues anymore. That was three kids and almost four years ago. I am imagining my body as a clean slate ready to take to the run. And so, I have to figure out how to add this to my day. How to manage raising a three year old and a four month old, run three blogs, work on my marriage, paint for my Etsy shop, be a dutiful daughter, run a household and finish writing a book...I am not manic. I swear. I have a lot going on, but I do integrate quite nicely. Well, I hope I do. Exercise and meditation are the last two hurdles for me and probably the most important.

You cannot write all the things I just wrote and think about food, weight and self-esteem in black and white. My goal has always been to be healthy. I put a number to that idea, because truthfully, with my eating, I am confident that I am healthy. I know the red flags for watching when I eat too little to hurt my body in the long term. It is complicated and annoying and still there it is. I am striving for health, and the weight, hopefully, finds its happy place. Whatever that number chooses to be. And that is it, maybe. I have this number goal in my head. One that is probably higher than most of you reading would be comfortable with, but is good for my frame and body. And I hope it gets there. It is my pre-Beatrice weight.

Still, for now, I am going against my self-loathing nature to just say HELLS YES. I lost forty-five pounds. I am halfway there. Halfway.


And a total non-sequitur, I have a couple of things to share. I was surprised and honored this morning to wake up to a Google alert telling me I was picked as one of the "Must Read Moms" on Parenting Magazine's website. Thank you to whoever sent my blog that way.

Also, Thor is four months old and practicing with the volume of his voice. I love the screams, screeches and giggles coming out of him. I just want to eat him up. So, I owe y'all a picture of my little stinker.


  1. I saw that list of blogs and they have quite good taste. So congratulations!

  2. adorable photo of Thor, more please??

  3. Aside from the references to being previously athletic (which I never, ever was), can I just say a very loud and hearty "Yes" to all of the above.

    ... and yum to the picture of Thor.

  4. As I've said before to you, it's the shaming that I can't bear. And the idea that saying mean things about fat people is somehow supposed to be this crazy revolutionary act, when actually it's a completely conventional way to think.

    I'm all about doing what's healthy. If you feel healthier now, 45lbs lighter, then I say hurrah! Good for you, sweetie! Not because you weigh less but because you feel better.

    ANd I'm SO delighted about your beautiful writing getting the recognition it deserves. xx

  5. Ugh, I sound like such a dick in the previous comment. Sorry.

  6. Yes, yes and yes... So many of us at this stage seem to be here as well. I'm a big girl Ang,(way bigger than you) always have been. And I've lost HUGE amounts of weight and I've lost little bits my whole life. It was my fitness level that always had the most impact on my happiness and strangely that was always achieved with the smaller weight losses which focused on fitness not loss. With the larger weight losses I found people were more demanding... having come so far I was supposed to keep going until I reached "waif" (ha!) status. Ridiculous, what we put ourselves through.

    Great post Ang and you totally deserve the recognition your blog has received. I don't think any of us are surprised.

  7. Thor is one handsome little man!

    And congrats to you for losing 45 pounds! That is quite an accomplishment and you should be beaming with pride!

  8. I just started the couch to 5k this week! It's kind of fun!! haha I also hate running... but so far so good! Thor is a freakin' doll!! And you are beautiful too Angie!! I'm so glad your blog got picked by parenting mag.. that is awesome and you deserve the recognition!!

  9. Oh my goodness, yes to all of this. Especially this: "When I pass no mirrors, or see no pictures of myself, I think I look good from eye-level down. I don't mind it so much, but then I catch a glimpse of myself in a reflective surface and I loathe my body. "That's me?" I can't quite believe it."

    I saw some pics of myself taken at a family event today, and I had this exact reaction. Shit, is that me, do I really look like that? I'm along way off any sort of peace with the way I look, nor have I been as awesome as you at dropping the post baby weight. 45 pounds - well done you! All I know is I'm glad summer is coming on this side of the world, as that always forces me outdoors to raise a sweat. Hopefully I have the motivation to drag my ass of the couch. If I'm feeling particularly lazy, I'll be sure to come back to this post to use it as motivation.
    Great post, and huge congrats again on the recognition for the blog. So, so, deserved.

  10. I caught a glimpse of my back reflected in a window last night . . . *shudder*. 45 pounds! That's incredible! You'll get to where you want to be. Awesomeness.

    And congrats on the nod--you deserve it!

  11. You lost 45 lbs since his birth!! Congratulations on that. It took 40 weeks to go up, it will take 40 weeks to go down. I hate when I see celebrities who lose their baby weight immediately -it's just not the norm. They are in the minority. WE are the majority - we care for our children around the clock, eat as best we can, recover from the birth, etc. all without the help of nannies and caregivers, trainers and professional chefs. It takes normal people time to lose the weight and get back into fighting form. You're doing a fantastic job - stick with it.
    Like you, I'm very hard on myself. I'm not the athlete I was before Kara died- I just don't have the stamina or will to push myself again that hard. I hope someday I will, because also like you, I look down and think it's not that bad, but look at my reflection and I'm taken aback.

    You're doing great and you've certainly made some beautiful babies with that body! xoxo

  12. You eat the shit outta that eggplant, you! (have a yummy dip recipe I think would pass . . . )

    You know, I think part of why I really opened up to telling people "THREE, this is my THIRD" pregnancy the last time around (and why I'm fairly open about it now) is because I want them to know that's in part why I look the way I do. Which is kinda sad, I suppose (hell, let's blame Maddy -- not like she's here) but also to remind *me.* So as not to get so down on myself and remember, hon, you've carried three children -- it's no wonder you've gotta pooch. It's not just 45 (which is tremendous, btw) it's *halfway there.* Which to me is always a lovely goalpost.

  13. 45! Good job! I've only lost 34 so far.

    It really is about self-image and fitness. I take Beanie to the Y tot watch and work out if I don't go for a walk. I have carved out the morning for this everyday - no work until Bea's afternoon nap!

    I decided it was time for me to get fit and be a good example.

  14. You rock - 45 pounds is amazing! Cheering you on from afar. xo

  15. Congrats!!! 45 pounds is wonderful!

  16. oh, the beast of self-image. I hate my inner voice. I cringe when my daughters look at me after I've come out of the shower, and I try not to show my wince as I dry off...

    That eggplant looks delish and looks like it only has -300 calories! You're doing so good! And look at Thor, I'd eat him up too.

    You go, amazing Angie.

  17. Great post! Thor is really a cutie. Congrats for your children, your writing, and your pursuing of health.

  18. 45 pounds in 4 months is amazing, angie. i get the tension you are describing here. i want to love and accept myself as i am. at the same time, i want to lose more weight because i felt better before, i felt sexier before, i liked myself better before. so what do i focus on? cultivating self-acceptance? or getting myself in shape? they seem opposite, and a girl only has so much energy to go around.

    hang in there. stay healthy. if you ever write the cholesterol thing on your legs, please post pix! love it! kisses to your little man, he is a charmer. xo

  19. 45 pounds! Holy shit. Ang, you are the bomb. In so many ways. I'm glad that other internet folks think so too.

    I suck at eliminating anything from my diet. I get resentful and mean. I would look at my sprouts and cry too (although I do like sprouts). Like you, I eat too much good food. I loathe stories of people who just "stopped eating their daily bagel and cream cheese" and shed 20 lbs over night. Besides my adult beverages, we don't have that kind of junk food intake to shed for instant gratification. So I run - to keep the weight at bay more than anything.

    Couch to 5K is fun. It's challenging but managable. And has a great social network support group built in. Just a warning, esp for you of the tender knees - when I started I think my transition from running to walking was far more abrupt than it needed to be. I don't think going from crawl to hyperspeed then back to a turtle crawl is what the c25k founders envisioned. So I had some knee pain to start. But I found my stride, and now all is good. And damn, running feels good for my soul. I hope you dig it too.

  20. 45 pounds in four months is AWESOME, congratulations!! Also on the recognition in Parenting -- it's well deserved & I was so glad to see your name there. (I suspect your nomination may have come from Mel, as she fessed up to putting my name forward too!)

    And Thor is a little cutie! : )


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