Monday, November 8, 2010

Epiphanies of Conflict; Or Why being an aspiring pastry chef make me Fat.

I had an epiphany the other day at the gym.

I frequently have deep thoughts and clever observations,those who are on the "Cari's Random Musings" Text list can attest to this fact. (Yes, I have a roster of friends who are mass texted my silly thoughts on life. None have blocked me...yet. Win!) Anyway, while I often have keen observations on life, it is rare that I have a full-on "I can see the light, Praise the Lord, I understand the meaning of life" epiphany where I start shouting my realization a la Southern Baptist Church style. However, I recently had one. And it is one that is causing me great inner turmoil.

It all started when I visited my wonderful doctor. He noted that my weight loss has plateaued and was curious if I was settling for a life of obesity-almost overweightness, or if there was something more to it. I explained how I've been feeling, what's been going on and long story short (And I mean long story, this doctor blocks 3 appointments worth of time for me because a simple check up quickly turns into a talk therapy session of all things I'm struggling with a la Taxi Cab Confessions style. Thank God for HIPAA laws otherwise a hidden camera in that office would have my doctors appointments at the #1 spot on NBC's Thursday Night Lineup.)

But I digress. Long story short, the Good Doc told me that since I am an analytical person, (HA!) I should keep a log of everything I am eating, and there's a good chance that I will see I am sneaking in a lot of stuff I did not realize I was consuming. He figured I would see the data and change my ways. So I kept a pocket notebook with me and documented as my day progressed.

This exercise was supposed to be enlightening and I thought that I would find I do eat well. All I discovered was that I need to change careers. Again. Let's take a look at a few of these logs, shall we?

Day One-a day at work
1 Large Banana
1/2 c. red beans
Large mixed greens salad with balsamic vinaigrette
1/2 c. corn, carrot and tomatoes
1/2 c. Macaroni & Cheese with chicken
Small spoonful of mousse
3 creme puffs
1 slice of bacon
4 french fries
Random pieces of cheese poached from the pantry
2 more creme puffs
More mac and cheese
2 spoonfuls of whipped cream
More salad
Mixed Veggies
2 beers

Day Two-Another day at work
1 Banana
1 Kiwi
1/2 grilled cheese
Large salad
Few spoonfuls of rice pudding
Roasted Veggies
Whole-wheat pasta with salmon
2 spoonfuls of whipped cream
More rice pudding
An Apple
Cheese scraps swiped from pantry
Even More Rice Pudding

Good lord, this was depressing. I realized I am essentially subsiding on stolen cheese and pastry product. What was really depressing about looking at this log was that I started off each day with great intentions, both in documenting things and trying to eat well, but once I started in production, I just fell apart. The worst thing about this, to me, was that none of the sweet stuff was stuff I could really avoid eating, as I have to taste every product I produce. Five cream puffs in one day seem ridiculous? Absolutely, but when they have 3 different fillings and different ganache toppings, you have to make sure it works together. Note: the cream puffs were only slightly larger than a marble for you asshats going to tell me I only need a bite and don't need to eat the entire puff. And the rice pudding tastings? I had to try it while in production, once cooled and once set. However, I probably used a bigger spoon than necessary (ie a shovel) because that stuff was amazing!

Anyway, this little exercise made me realize my eating habits have slipped WAY off base. I remember when I started this whole project that I would not eat food that had been processed before 6 p.m. Not so much anymore. I realize I am 98% at fault for this, but I do think my environment plays into it to. I go to school and work in a kitchen. And at work, we are encouraged to taste EVERYTHING. And not just your own stuff either. Chef frequently calls me over to taste new cheeses (Cheese may be the perfect food) or the dinner special, just as I am always asking the line cooks for their opinions on my black cherry mousse and whether it's better with brandy or amaretto. Note: Instinct says brandy, but amaretto is the true winner. Trust me on this one.

Despite seeing these facts, it was not enough for me to realize I need to keep myself in check. No no, my Coming-to-Jesus moment came at the gym a few weeks ago.

A bit of background here: I am pretty shameless when I work out. I sweat, and I suspect I smell despite Secrets best attempts. I huff and puff loudly. I wear spandex shorts despite the fact I am too fat for spandex (Hey, they don't ride up and get all bunched together in the crotch area like regular shorts do and don't even pretend you don't know what the hell I am talking about ladies because you know damned well what I am talking about, when your thighs eat your shorts and next thing you know you have a thigh rash from the massive amounts of friction caused by the fat-on-fat rubbing when running....) Anyway, I try my best to pay minimal amount to what those around me are thinking of me when I work out. Getting my fitness on at the YMCA helps a lot, because it seems to mostly be middle-aged men trying to look good for their mistresses and soccer moms fighting gravity that work out there, so I hardly stand out.

However, one day I was peddling like the beast that I am on the spin machine and doing some reading for school, and I notice I keep getting odd looks from people. I check to make sure all personal parts are properly covered and nothing popped out that shouldn't have. The looks continue. I wipe my face down, concerned I might have a renegade streak of mascara running down my cheek. Nope, not that. Finally I turn up my tunes, try to ignore the weird looks and focus on my school reading.

And then it dawns on my and I realize why everyone must be giving me weird looks. Here I am, a fat girl in spandex and a t-shirt that keeps creeping up as I spin, peddling like I am in the Tour de France despite the fact I am only doing Level 5 on Interval Training, breathing so hard my lungs might explode and am intensely reading a book with the title in big, bold letters across the front; "BREAD." Truly let that image soak in of an obese young woman working as hard as her chubby little stump legs can go reading a book called BREAD. It's hilarious and disturbing on so many levels. I would've laughed at me, and also probably made some smart ass comment about the obesity problem in America.

But it wasn't some other fat girl reading a book about carby starchy goodness, it was me, and that is when I had my epiphany. I know that I am always going to have a lifelong struggle with my weight, I've accepted that and have made it a source of entertainment and encouragement in my life. However, I never really considered how much harder I made my struggle when I decided to pursue a career that brings me absolute happiness and makes my soul feel alive. I love food, absolutely love everything about food, but not only do I love food, I want to spend my time around it constantly. No easy feat for a fatty trying to get the hell off of Lane Bryant's Preferred Customer List.

I've got a lot of challenges in the coming months. I have two 5ks scheduled in the next month and more to come, am doing an Indoor Triathlon at the Y, have signed up for a race up the Hancock Tower (This is a story for another day) and of course have that half marathon looming. I am not smoking, but it is a struggle literally every day to not stop off at a gas station and buy a pack or bum one off someone. I go to school full-time and work almost just as much, making it a challenge to work out 5 days a week. And now I am dealing with the fact that my passion and love in life of pastry is in direct conflict with my major goal of losing more weight and living a healthy lifestyle.

I need to figure out how to strike a balance of enjoying my work and not overindulging it in. I'm half tempted to say nuts to caring about the weight loss and just living up the stereotype of the fat and happy chef that we all know and love, such as Mrs. Butterworth, The Pillsbury Doughboy, Emiril Lagasse, etc. If that doesn't work out, perhaps I could consider leaving the culinary world.

Sharing my epiphany took much longer and was much more serious-toned than I intended, and I apologize for that. For now, though, I must be going as I need to research what the annual salary and benefits are for carrot farmers.

Monday, October 18, 2010

5Ks and Size 10s

What an interesting few weeks I have had since embarking on this little endeavour of wanting to run a 13.1 mile-long race in 8 months. My friend Kimmy pretty much called it when she told me that I would start off super ambitious and just burn out quickly, as 8-9 months is entirely too long to train for a race.

All of my runner friends advised me that focusing on a race in June was a bit of a stretch and that I likely would not keep up with it. They also told me that I will not likely lose pounds initially with running. Such an uplifting, encouraging lot I keep, yes?

I would be bitter about their advice except for the fact that they are exactly right. First week of October (or as I refer to it: Rocktober, Stalktober, Socktober, Yachtober, or Mocktober depending on my current activity) I started to slack off, being busy with work and finishing up my internship school work. Will tried to encourage me to do push ups and sit ups, but quickly realize that his attempts at motivation were falling on deaf ears and gave up as one man can only tolerate so many bitchy glares. My friends encouraged me to sign up for other races between now and the half marathon to train, to have more immediate goals in sight. As registration had already closed for the Chicago Marathon taking place on 10-10-10, I had to find another race. Long story short, Fat Girl is running a 5k on Thanksgiving.

I figure a Turkey Trot 5K is a good start for me, as there is a reward of turkey and pumpkin pie at the end of the race. Also, there will be Moms with Strollers, and I will be damned if I am going to let the majority of the baby brigade beat me. It's the largest race day of the year in America, so I figure there will be all sorts of people out there and it is unlikely that I will come in dead last, which is my fear.

Registering for this race has, so far, got me out of my funk in terms of not wanting to work out. I've been taking advantage of the glorious weather and hitting the pavement, and joined my local YMCA to take advantage of their "indoor track" ie painted concrete circling the weight room, and indoor pool. I've realized that I have a little over a month to get my fat butt prepared to crank out 5 kilometers of pavement.

The other big milestone in my healthy lifestyle journey is that I purchased my first pair of size 10s the other day. Please note that these pants do not button. I did it as a motivator. When I recently visited my doctor, I received a lot of great news: my blood sugar is spot-on perfect, despite the fact that I eat my own body weight in Italian Buttercream and cookies at work daily; my cholesterol levels, which were once approaching stroke-level, are healthy, despite the fact I consume bacon non-stop at work; and perhaps most exciting to me is that my blood pressure has stayed exactly where he wants it- and I've been off all blood pressure medications for more than 6 months now! It feels amazing to know that a year and a half ago I was on the verge of becoming a diabetic, have a stroke and a heart attack and end up as the poster child for the dangers of Obesity in America when I died at age 25 of all things fat-related.

However, my on-off relationship with working out and love affair with meringue-based icings and pork product has caught up to me as I've put close to 10 pounds back on. Ugh. And my friends are telling me that the scale is not going to drop these first few months of running. So I took the advice of Kimmy and bought a pair of cute size 10 jeans. I am trying them on every few weeks and measuring how far they are from buttoning up. I will not go into too much detail, as the image of a fat girl trying to shimmy into constricting denim is one that will haunt you forever, but let's just say they don't fit. In addition to aiming for making these 10s button up, I am also focusing on getting a pair of 12s I bought last Christmas look good again. I purchased them when I was at my lowest, down 55 pounds, and they were a little bit snug, but I figured that with time I would be in them. Wrong. So Desperately Wrong.

We all know the expression "muffin top," I hope. For the over 50 crowd, a muffin top is when a girl's jeans are too snug and she gets that billow of fat popping over the top of the jeans, and it resembles a muffin popping out of a tin. I've often sported the muffin top, when I was an 18 absolutely determined not buy 20s, I wore my muffin daily. I sport it now in my 12s and 14s. However, with these size 12s that I love and so desperately want to wear, my 10 pounds of gainage has moved me from the muffin top category to a look I call The Mushroom Cloud. These pants fit only in the most technical sense of the word. They button, the seams are not ripping open, but once the fabric stops all one can see is my own personal Hiroshima- an explosion of gluttony and flesh bursting out for denim liberation.

So I've taken to measuring the distance around the top of the jeans, and the circumference of flesh belt and using that as a gauge of progress. A month ago it was 3 inches, today it was 2.5. Progress. Once I get to under an inch and safely back into muffin top zone, I am rocking these pants.

For now, I need to focus on my homework- a portfolio of my work in my breads class...because consuming a minimum of one loaf of bread a day has clearly done wonders to help me lose weight.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What Have I Got Myself Into? Or Why Having a Military Drill Instructor for a Husband is Not Always Fun.

As evident by my utter lack of writing on here, I have become very complacent with my weight loss and healthy living. I went from being very calorie conscious to a calorie trash compactor, from working out 5 days a week to walking my dog 5 times a month. I was in dire need of a jump start to get back on track. For months I have been talking about how I was going to do a half marathon "in the Spring," stating it in the same tone as I might say, "I will vote Republican when the GOP actually puts up a viable candidate." Things that sound good in theory but we all know Cari would never actually execute.

Well, while it remains unlikely that I will be voting for the Elephant party anytime soon, due of course to their terrible candidates and philandering with the whole Tea Party shenanigans, it does in fact appear that I will be doing a half marathon in the Spring. It's only Spring in the technical sense, it is actually 12 June 2011. In 263 days, not that I am counting down with terror anything.

Obviously, the most important thing to do is start preparing and training. Lao-tzu once said, "The journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step." While I am only interested in the 13.1 mile journey right now, I decided to take that important first the NorthShore New Balance store to pick up some snappy new running shoes. They watched me run, measured me, and offered a 30-day return if they aren't the best shoes I've ever owned. Well, $160, a new pair of shoes and 4 new pair of socks I had accomplished that single step. Next thing I did in my half marathon training was actually register for the race and e-mail all of my runner friends to tell them about my new project. When registering, I had to submit what my mile pace is. I am clueless, I have never timed myself when out trotting around the neighborhood, so naturally the next step was to go out and purchase a Timex Ironman watch that can keep a history of my splits. Note: Can someone explain to me what a split is? I'm only using the watch for the Stop/Start function and to play the alarm to scare Boris.

I figure at this point I am pretty much ready to begin my training. I have new shoes, new socks, and a neat watch that is smarter than me. So I set out to run and realize about 15 minutes into my trot that being registered to run a half marathon does not actually make one physically able to complete the task. I finish my 3.5 miles in a mix of walk/run/trot and go home...and make the terrible mistake of telling Will about my new project to get my life back on track.

For those unaware, my husband is in the military and is a boot camp drill instructor. Do you have any idea how a drill instructor's face lights up in a grin of malice and excitement when his obese (but not morbidly! Yah!) wife complains about not knowing how to get into the best shape. I cannot remember the last time I saw him smile so brightly. I thought that it was because he was happy for me trying to stay healthy, but my hindsight has shown me he merely discovered his opportunity to inflict a lot of pain and revenge on me for every bullshit move I've ever pulled.

Knowing how much my husband runs, I told him I wanted his help and assistance in getting to my goals and actually completing this race. He starts off on this litany of doing 20 8 counts of flutter kicks, crunches, monkey *#&#*#S, push ups and 60-minute sustained runs. I tuned him out, as I frequently do, and requested the Cliffnotes version of his plan. His response, "Cari, we are going to turn that keg into a 6-pack over the next 8 months."

I will just give you a moment to allow that to sink in.

I just finished day-3 of my training with Will, where he is starting me "easy" and just having me do 20 crunches, 20 push ups and 20 4-counts of flutter kicks every hour I am home, plus my daily run. However, he has been taking notes and making charts, striking fear that this can only get worse. I am having visions of our marriage turning from the Dictatorship of Cari featuring Boris where Will only has a voice when he causes social disruptions to a Gunnery Sergeant Hartman and Private Gomer Pyle-esque relationship a la Full Metal Jacket style.

I can feel every muscle in my body aching right now. Will just gave me a 10 minute warning that we have mild PT (Physical Training for you civilian folks) coming up. I do not think I can even fully grasp what exactly I have gotten myself into with this.

However, I have 10 minutes to train and prepare for this race my way, so I am going to start my half marathon playlist.

Will can prepare me his way. And I will prepare myself my way....starting off with a little Kayne...

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Back in the Saddle

Dun dun....dun dun....dun dun...dundun...dundun.....dundundundundun....

I'M BAACCCKKK! I'm Back in the Saddle Again!!!*

*That was my attempt to pull an onomatopoeia of Aerosmith's classic, "Back in the Saddle." Reason being is that I am back to my healthy living and on the weight loss low-fat gravy train again.

I have not been able to post anything in these past few months in regards to my Follies of being a Fat Girl trying to lose weight because I have done NOTHING since April to lose any weight or be healthy. Honestly, how am I supposed to share my weight loss misadventures when I am am not losing weight. On contrary, I actually gained quite a few pounds back. I blame culinary school.

It all started off with a change in my schedule, I had classes starting at 6 a.m., and we were required to take a 30-45 minute breakfast break. Attending culinary school has its perks, because breakfast is nothing to scoff at. It ain't your Red Roof Inn continental breakfast of crappy bagels and bruised apples. No no, every morning there were eggs, hashbrowns, bacon, sausage, waffles, pancakes and a make your own omelet station. Oh, plus a station of rotational items. I started off the quarter well, sticking to a plate of mixed fruits with granola. Then I added scrambled eggs to the mix. Then a few hashbrowns.

Then they started serving corned beef hash and that marked the beginning of the end for me and my plunge into putting 10 pounds back on. Slowly my plate morphed from a healthy blend of melons and oranges to a plate of cholesterol featuring my beloved hash, sausage gravy, grits and fried eggs over easy with nary a piece of product in sight...except the piece of parsley garnishing the eggs Benedict. Note: Hollandaise is proof God loves us and wants us to be happy...and perhaps join him earlier than scheduled. The binging only got worse in the classroom, the particular downfall being the breakfast pastries course.

We made some amazing things in this course: Danish, croissants, kugelhopf and puff pastry delights. The highlight for me was a deep-fried doughnut made of brioche dough, filled with pastry cream and topped with a dark chocolate ganache. Our chef instructor, who seems to be the epitome of healthy living, was enjoying one and said, "These are so delicious and worth indulging in on a rare occassion, less than once a month." I turned my eyes away as shamefully licked the ganache off my lips from the fifth one I consumed in as many minutes.

Two weeks left into the quarter I realized I was a fat girl again. Not a fat girl getting fit, or a fat girl who at least worked out, but a full on, "I don't care what I eat and how little I exercise as long as clothing still contains lycra-Fat Girl." I had put 10 pounds back on, felt my beloved size 14s and 12s getting snug again while secretly cursing myself for donating all the 16-20s that I once owned and felt terrible in general from not working out for months.

So I am back at it! I am proud to say that I have shed those damned 10 pounds that crept back onto me, plus an additional two at this point. The hardest part about all of this is that the entire year I did of getting into shape is pretty much gone. When I set out on my first run, I figured I would struggle but would still be able to come pretty close to my past times.

But no. Not so much. Fitness isn't a savings account. I am back to zero. So I am back to dealing with running pains, struggling for oxygen and generally swearing life and brioche doughnuts as I switch between my walk/trot/jog speed combo. God willing it won't be too much longer before I can once again experience the joy of dropping the "walk" from that grouping.

My body is at weight right now where it is pretty comfortable so I have a feeling fighting these next pounds will be a struggle, but I am hoping to drop 15 by the summers end.

So let the follies continue...

Monday, March 1, 2010

1 Year Reflections

March 1st is here!

March is such a wonderful month in the World of Cari. March Madness, Spring Training, glimpses of good weather to come, and St. Patrick's Day, just to name a few. This year, the ushering in of March marks a special occasion in my life.

On March 1, 2009, I made a commitment to myself to live a healthier lifestyle due to the fact I was morbidly obese, was put on high blood pressure medication and was diagnosed as pre-diabetic.

I did not tell anyone of my grand plan at first. I started off with small changes: giving up soda pop, switching from frying to baking, walking my dog a few days a week. Once I lost around 10 pounds, I started at the gym and hilarity ensued. From that, The Follies of a Fat Girl was born and I have shared my adventures and struggles with the Internet. I wanted to take a moment to note everything that has changed within the past year. In 365 days, I have:
  • Lost 85 pounds
  • Gained 34 pounds
  • Shed a total of 51 pounds (Not lost, as I certainly am not looking for them!)
  • Blood sugar has gone from a pre-diabetic 110 to a healthy 85
  • Cholesterol has gone from 238 with LDL of 139 to total Cholesterol of 172 with LDL of 95
  • Reduced blood pressure medication dosage by half
  • Quit smoking cigarettes (For two months, anyway)
  • Gone from a size 18/20 to a 12, occasional 14
The biggest change has just been in how I feel about myself and how I look.

Me: One Year Ago

Me: Two Weeks Ago

I never really notice a difference in my appearance until I look at photos, after all, I am still a Fat Girl with a LOT more weight to lose, but DAMN. Not going to lie, I look pretty damned good these days. I have always had an inflated sense of self, but as my jeans get smaller, my ego gets bigger. I am down from once not having a neck to a very reasonable waddle of a double chin, better accessorized, and a marked improvement in the hair style department.

It was a good year.

My journey as a Fat Girl is not yet over. Clearly, just looking at me, one can see I still have quite a ways to go. I am hardly living a perfectly heathly existence at this point, and I really want to dedicate this next year to making some serious progress in that respect. So, my goals to reach by March 1, 2011 are:

  • Lose 20-30 more additional pounds
  • Be off of blood pressure medication entirely
  • Maintain healthy levels of my blood sugar, cholesterol, etc.
  • Donate all former Fat Girl clothes to charity (You better believe I still have those size 20s packed away out of fear that my success this far has been a glitch. It was a bitch building up a cute wardrobe out of size 18s, I am not ready to part with them all.
  • Be ready for the Chicago Half Marathon, which I will be running in May 2011
  • Continue to be a Non-smoker
  • Eat vegetarian two days a week, vegan another day
  • Limit red meat to once a month, or less
  • Eat more fiber and whole grains
  • Ween myself off of these damned Werther's Original Sugar Free
  • Continue to share my misadventures with the world.
Thanks for being with me over this past year. I look forward to what the forthcoming 525,600 minutes will bring.

For now, I think the next 10 minutes are bringing me some Chocolate Cake.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Monday Runday Funday

I find it disheartening every day I log into Facebook and see a plethora of "I hate Mondays!" status updates.

I, for one, love Mondays. I may even say that I adore them and look forward to them. Mondays might be the best day of the week for me,due to the fact:

1. No class on Mondays!
2. Chance to watch crappy daytime TV
3. Can nap on Mondays
4. Day with the best chance of waking up Hangover Free, as Sundays tend to be relatively sober due to excessive binges Saturday brings.
5. Did I mention no classes?

The Monday Class-Free thing is fabulous because it's a forbidden day that I can do whatever I want! I might start referring to the day between Sunday and Tuesday as Cariday, as my stolen Mondays are self-serving to the extreme. I don't have the stress and homework that comes with being in class and production, no obligations of cleaning and grocery shopping that the weekend brings. Mondays are luxury, my wonderful gems. As of late, Mondays have become my running day.

Don't get me wrong, I do run other days during the week. I have not forgotten my pledge to do a half marathon next Spring and a full marathon in 2012. I am still "training." I only get out about 3-4 days a week, and it is sporadic at best. However, I can always count on my Monday runs to be there. Lately, though, there has been a change in the dynamic of my Monday Runday Fundays.

Last Monday damn near got me banned from the community I run through. I decided to take my Boris Hound Dog running with me as he has been breaking into the pantry lately and is looking pretty rotund. Note: Child locks have been installed on all cabinets, doors and the refrigerator, limiting Brown Hound's binging abilities.

We set off, keeping a fairly slow but steady pace. I look like an Olympian compared to the struggles my brown hound is having, but all the better for me. We are slightly over halfway on our loop when he gets an incredible burst of energy. His stumpy little legs are moving as quickly as they can, and he is pulling so hard that my arm is feeling stretched to capacity. I am fairly winded and tired at this point and Boris Hound senses it. He keeps pulling, bursts with energy at the perfect time and is lose! All I can see is 43 pounds of pissed-off hound sprinting away.

I try to make out what it is he is running for, squinting into the distance. There seems to be another brown object. My first thought is that someone left a cache of leftover Valentine's Day Chocolate, and perhaps I should start sprinting with all of my might to get there. Then I realize people (most people) do not walk their chocolate. Also, Boris Hound is more likely to eat a chocolate cache, not mount it.

Crap. My dog got away and is now humping a complete strangers dog.

I ran over as quick as I could, and I see that Hound dog is in the zone, intensely enjoying this afternoon delight with a cute Cocker Spaniel. Personally, I'd prefer to set out a bowl of Tequila and give them privacy, but the geriatric lady who owned the Spaniel was not thrilled. She was yelling at me about my "Mongrel Dog" ruining her baby as it she was in heat. (The dog, not the old lady. I assume...)

Not sure if you've ever seen animals in heat enjoying each other's company, but for those of you who have, you realize what a terrifying prospect separating them can be. I again expressed my advocacy for picking up some Cuervo, but this lady was hysterical at this point. Finally, I muster up all the courage I can and grab Boris and pull him away, his hips still gyrating in the air. I leash him up, apologize to the lady, explaining that Boris is neutered, therefore no damage was done. I also mentioned, less than politely, perhaps she should reconsider taking her bitch in heat outside in such an active area.

I believe I was reported to the neighborhood association. Boris smiled for a week.

This week, however, I had a much more positive experience on my Monday Runday Funday. I had a breakthrough, based almost entirely on my clothing attire. As loyal readers know, I believe a snappy outfit is the key to a great workout, provided it is appropriate to the exercises. Typically I see runners wearing spandex tights, shorts, and either a long-sleeved T or a sweatshirt in this weather. However, I am a Fat Girl. No one wants to see my Milkshake in a pair of spandex tights. So for my outdoor jaunts I tend to opt for the standard Ohio U. hoodie and some wind pants. Yes I said Wind pants. They were awesome in 1992 and they are STILL awesome. If only mine had a matching jacket, I would be set.

Anyway, I pick that attire because I do not want to actually look like I am trying to run. There are passing motorists, cyclists, runners, and cross country skiers (No bullshit!) always out in the area I do my exercising. The last thing I want them to see is this tubby girl struggling for oxygen as she inches along in spandex with David Bowie playing inappropriately loud from her iPod. It's a horrifying image that I would not wish upon even the staunchest of Republicans.

I always figured that if I do not dress like a runner then if I stop and walk, it's fine. However, if I look like I am trying to run, and am walking, I am an epic fail. A fat girl walking in her snappy wind pants conjures up thoughts like, "Good for her!" and "Nice to see a fat person getting outside." A fat girl in running tights, however, brings up thoughts such as, "Look at her trying to exercise, ridiculous," or "Now I need to bleach my eyes."

Clearly a big personal hurdle of mine has been getting past what other people think when they see an obese person exercising and struggling with it.

Today I decided to say to hell to my windpants, I wanted to wear typical running gear because it is more comfortable. So I set out, black tights, black shorts and a long sleeve t-shirt. I looked the part, especially since the shirt I wore happened to be from my Lake High School track days. Who knew I even still had t-shirts from high school? Note: I was a Track & Field superstar in my heyday. Emphasis on the Field part. Of course the Fat Girl was a thrower.

I stretched outside and felt ridiculous. I debated whether to change when the Husband said, "Cari. Just go. Who gives a Monkey**** what anyone thinks of you. At least you're doing it." My confidence boosted, Bruce Springsteen started on the iPod and I set off. The Husband is normally not one for words, but he tends to come through in clutch situations. Also, he's a Drill Instructor, so give you 1 guess what **** stands for.

Anyway, the most amazing thing happened as a result of my outfit! I ran! Without stopping! Every time I wanted to walk, a car or passing pedestrian would be coming, and I refused to be the Fat Girl walking in tights, so I kept on running. The fact that I left the house as most folks were coming home from work meant I could not stop. Before I knew it, for the first time, I did my entire loop without walking ONCE.

The Fat Girl Ran!

I realize that the whole Clean Lung thing probably contributed the most to my success, but I believe my attire deserves majority of the credit. Perhaps that is why super heroes wear tights, they harness the awesome power of Spandex and Lycra in the same manner I did.

Regardless of what caused me to have this personal triumph, I am greatly looking forward to what next Monday Runday Funday will bring, whether it's an improved time, less soreness the day after, or a longer distance.It is exciting to wonder what exciting things will happen on next week's Monday run.

And I am pretty sure Boris Hound is hoping that it brings something exciting for him again, too.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Stopping Smoking is Directly Related to Increased Obesity Rates

A recent study conducted by the Cari Institute for Advancement of Left Wing Policies(CIALWP) discovered a shocking correlation between the effects of quitting smoking and the impact on obesity rates. The study, a double blind random sampling of one, found that participants who made the decision to quit smoking experienced a sharp increase in their weight.

The study participant found that giving up smoking after eight years has caused her to, once again, lose a very important battle in her life. "I was finally over the 50 pound mark of weight loss and was never going to gain that weight back. I made a personal promise to my friends and family that when I hit that mark I would quit smoking, and I honored that pledge. However, I am now ONCE AGAIN at only 47 pounds lost," said Cari*

CIALWP has found that study participants experience sharp weight increases when quitting smoking due to two main factors. One, newly-found nonsmokers are regrowing taste buds and regaining their sense of smell, making food taste fuller and more delectable. Secondly, those quitting smoking may be inclined to increase food intake or eat more snacks, compensating for the oral fixation cigarettes provided.

The cost of increased weight versus healthy lungs has some study participants conflicted.

"I am very proud of the fact that I honored my 50-pound bargain and have been smoke free for more than a month. However, now that I am ONCE AGAIN at only 47 pounds, I am pondering if I can start smoking again as the lack of tobacco is affecting my metabolism," Cari stated. "I know my weight increase is smoking related and has nothing to do with the fact I am rarely working out or have taken to eating Italian buttercream with a shovel."

It is unclear as to the long-term effects of living a smoke-free life and obesity rates, but CIALWP will be continuing to monitor the progress of the study participants, who remain hopeful.

"I truly believe this a change that will stick with me and I am done smoking for life. Now, I am entirely addicted to Werther's Original Sugar-Free candies and am setting a personal goal of when I lose 60 pounds to give up the Werther's," stated Cari.

A study is currently being conducted by CIALWP to monitor the effects of Werther's Original Sugar-Free candies and mental soundness and will be released within six months.

*Last names withheld to protect the obese.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Not a Resolution, Just a Recommitment

Dear Follies of a Fat Girl Loyalists,

Please accept my sincerest apologies for taking the past few months off. Sometimes, things happen in life that can just distract you from the things you really love doing. I've missed sharing my weight loss adventures with you, and I am pledging to you to be much more dedicated in 2010, with a goal to update at least 2-3 times a month. It's not a resolution though, because I've never successfully kept a New Year's Resolution. I don't like my past history with Resolutions, so I certainly will not make one for something I truly want to succeed at. The past few months have been uneventful in regards to my weight loss journey, and I suspect that may be part of why I have not been updating. Here's what you missed over the last two months:

The Battle for 50 Pounds: I lost more than 50 pounds!!! Then, Thanksgiving came. Back to a 48 pound weight loss.

Goal to Catch a Flu: A success!! In mid-December I successfully came down with a rampant case of Gastroenteritis. It was misery. I ended up spending an evening in my local Emergency Room, but walked away with a prescription for Vicodin and orders (That my husband witnessed!!) for me to doing nothing but relax and sleep. However, it could not have come at a worst time, as I was at the end of the quarter for school, so I could not milk the doctor's orders as much as I would have liked. I spent 5 days living off of 1-2 liters of Pedialyte a day, and as a result, I lost 7 pounds. I knew I would gain most of it back once I started eating regular food again. And I did, but only 4 pounds. So do the math, I was under 50 pounds lost still!

And then Christmas came. It wasn't just Christmas itself, although that certainly was enough to put me over the edge. It was being back in Ohio, something that is always my downfall. I eat out quite a bit, meeting up with friends, and of course, indulge in the occasional cocktail or twelve. It would be fine to do that every now and then, but five days straight did a number. An exact number of 3 pounds.

Three pounds...Which meant that I went through gastroenteritis for nothing, nothing!! That prime opportunity of a stomach flu was wasted on Christmas trimmings and Christmas Ales. My excessive gluttony was only compounded by the New Year's Eve holiday.

I am sure for most people, New Year's Eve is not a typical pig-out fest. And for me, it is not either. However, I am a beer drinker, which meant the last night of 2009 brought me a kegful of calories. The fact that I capped my evening of celebration with a frozen coke slurpee and nachos from 7-11 really did not help my cause.

And the gluttony did not stop there, my friends. New Year's Day came. The Rose Bowl came. Ohio State Football came. When one has the Buckeyes in a Bowl Game on New Year's Day, the outcome is ridiculous amounts of wings, potato skins, cheese spreads, breads, quesos and dips, and Of Course, a Buckeye Victory! Oh, and beer pong. Fortunately, my beer pong skills are akin to Terrell Pryor's game against the Ducks and I did not consume too many calories. But it was like Terrell Pryor's play, so of course I had a few missteps. In 7 hours of pong play, those missteps add up to a lot of plastic cups of beer.

So, I started 2010 at 47 pounds lost, 8 away from the 55 pounds lost I was at when I went home at Christmas. Fortunately when I was home I had many folks comment that I was looking good and less obese, so that really motivates me to want to get things rolling again. I am recommitting to work out more, eat less wings, find a lower calorie beer that doesn't taste like garbage, and just rededicate myself to getting out of that damned Plus Size section. Thanks for your patience and for continuing on the adventure with me.

Happy New Year,