If you read weight loss blogs, then I’m certain you have come across bloggers lambasting the Marie Claire article about “fat people” on television. Most of the bloggers are angry and upset at what the author wrote, and they have every right to be mad. The statement in the article that has created the biggest buzz is this excerpt from the article:
“…I think I’d be grossed out if I had to watch two characters with rolls and rolls of fat kissing each other … because I’d be grossed out if I had to watch them doing anything. To be brutally honest, even in real life, I find it aesthetically displeasing to watch a very, very fat person simply walk across a room…”
After I read the article, I felt a bit angry, but the strongest feeling I had was a feeling of sadness. Its sad that overweight people are looked at and treated differently than normal weight people. I let this emotion marinate for a bit. I realized that this article, while in poor taste, is reality. If you are or have been overweight, you’ve undoubtedly been given stares in a restaurant or heard giggles at the clothing store. This is our life. The author just happened to voice those stares and giggles in a public arena.
While I feel sad for people who feel this way towards overweight people, I use this kind of banter as motivation. I’ve written about haters and the fuel they provide. I don’t feel anger or hate towards the author, she was just expressing the thoughts of millions of people. I know that the author, and anyone who treats overweight people like this, has some type of skeleton in their closet or are insecure about themselves. So I will leave the them to themselves to work out their own demons. I will be in the gym with my middle finger raised to the people that look at me or treat me differently because of my weight. And I thank them for their stares and giggles as they have helped me get better. Karma is watching, reading and listening at all times. I think the author knows this as she wrote an apology after the article was published.
Don’t let this take you off track, instead let it help you focus on what you need to do to get healthy.
There are countless benefits of losing weight and being fit. You can read thousands of stories by surfing around a bit and reading blogs, forums etc. This post isn’t about the medical benefits of losing weight, this post is about other, less though of benefits of weight loss. Here are a few things that I have noticed and learned about myself since losing 40 pounds:
- I’ve learned the best way to poke a new hole in my belt is to use a power drill
- Several of my watches need a link or two removed from the band
- My wedding ring fits loose. I don’t wear it some days in fear of losing it
- I’ve gone down a half a shoe size…whoever knew there was such thing as foot fat?
- The shower seems a bit roomier
- I’m treated a little different at the gym by both the staff and other gym goers (this is kinda sad actually)
- I used to never get cold. Now it seems I often get chilly
- Alcohol tolerance has decreased
- My belly is no longer a crumb catcher while sitting in restaurant booths
- I get full eating less food/lower calorie foods
- My office chair is now perfectly comfortable…can’t wait to sit in an airplane seat comfortably!
- I now enjoy stepping on the scale!
I’m sure there will be new findings as I lose more weight. I look forward to adding to this list.
I’ve been on my weight loss journey for just about 8 months now. I’ve lost 40 pounds in those 8 months; not as much as I would like (obviously) but I still consider it a great achievement. I still have 14 pounds to go to hit my short term goal and about another 29 pounds to get to where I ultimately want to be.
When I first started on this journey, I did so without the knowledge of the technology and tools that are available to help me lose weight. I dove into it head first hoping that I would be able to figure it out. Well, I am happy to say that I have figured it out for my body. That is to say, what works for me may not work for the next person. Everyone needs to figure out their own body by using trial and error on everything from eating to working out.
What I have also learned is that there are a few tools that I use everyday to help me. They are tools that keep me on the path and they are readily available to all. In particular, there are three items that I can’t go without:
1) Food Scale
This is the best tool to have in the kitchen. When I started to research food and how to eat better, I quickly learned how huge portions are in the United States. Every meal served at a restaurant is at least two portions, if not more. When preparing food, the key is to look at the nutrition label and prepare your meal according to the serving size. For example, when I used to make a turkey sandwich, I would grab as much lunch meat as I thought I could eat. The reality, is that a serving of turkey meat (for the turkey I buy) is 2 ounces. That doesn’t sound like very much! When I pull out the food scale and measure 2 ounces, its plenty of meat for a turkey sandwich; and it’s caloric value is perfect for my calorie budget. The food scale is also good to use when preparing dinner. I like to double recipes so I can eat leftovers for lunch the next day. Measuring each ingredient seems like its time-consuming and tedious, and it is. But after I used the food scale for a few months, its like second nature and easy to use. If you are having a tough time building meals to a particular caloric value, a food scale is very helpful!
2) Calorie Tracking Tool
Anyone who has ever decided to lose weight knows there are thousands of fad diets and different ways to lose weight. The information overload and the various approaches is, in my opinion, why many people fail to lose weight or give up after a few weeks. As I mentioned above, you have to take some time to trial and error several approaches to find out what way you lose weigh the best. In my case, counting calories is the method I use and have been relatively successful. I have outlined my method on my nutritional page. To be successful at counting calories, I knew I had to have an easy and quick way to log what I eat on a daily basis. After trying every approach to logging, I found an iPhone app called LoseIt! They just launched a web app, so no iPhone app necessary! Without a calorie counting tool, I have no way to gauge cause and effect; I can’t look back at what I ate to see what caused the effect of me losing or gaining weight. This is a powerful tool. Not only does it log what I eat, but it also changes my calorie budget based on my current weight and my goal weight. LoseIt! may not be the calorie tracking tool for you, but if you are on a calorie counting diet, then you need some sort of logging tool.
3) Heart Rate Monitor
I’ve just recently begun to use a heart rate monitor, and let me tell you, I wish I would have started to use it a long time ago. As mentioned above, I am counting calories, so its very important to know how many calories I am burning during workouts. I don’t fully trust the calorie counters on the cardio machines at the gym and I don’t fully trust the average calorie burned calculators found online. The only way to know how may calories I am burning (as opposed to the average person on which the cardio machines and calculators are based on) is to know what my average heart rate was during a period of time. For both cario and weightlifting workouts, I wear a heart rate monitor. This achieves two things: 1) lets me know what my average heart rate was for the duration of the workout and 2) it tells me when my heart rate dips below my calculated average. This tells me to get my butt in gear and kick my workout up a notch or two. After the workout, I can calculated my calories burned based on my average heart rate. This is a very valuable and important component in my nutrition calculations. Calories in vs. calories out.
I’ve experimented with several devices and several tools and I have boiled it down to needing these three tools. There are other tools out there that I will be trying in the future, namely either the FitBit or the Phillips DirectLife. These are devices that you wear throughout the day to track activity levels as well as sleep levels. For now, my tools are working for me so I am sticking with it. DO WHAT WORKS FOR YOU!!!
Even though I have lost close to 40 pounds in the last eight months, I am still overweight and carry too much unhealthy fat. In fact, according to my BMI, I fall into the Obese 1 category. My weight loss journey has opened my eyes to the epidemic of obesity. I am more aware now of the number of people overweight, obese and morbidly obese. I can’t help but notice the number of people that suffer from this awful affliction. I am one of those people and I am doing everything I can to change that.
The number of people that are obese because of sheer laziness is quite small; there aren’t that many people out there that truly enjoy being fat. I now look at obese people differently that I used to when I was heavier. When I weighed more, I looked at them like I looked at myself; that is to say that I thought they enjoyed eating and didn’t care too much about exercise. But now that I have lost some weight and have dug into issues pertaining to obesity, I understand that most obese people fight a struggle everyday.
There are many different battles that are being fought. Some people have an addiction to food (you are kidding yourself if you don’t think people can actually be addicted to food). Some people are dealing with an extraordinary amount of work and/or family related stress. Others have suffered or experienced a great personal trauma (losing a loved one, abuse, the list goes on). While others are trying to lose weight but are drowning in the sea of conflicting information found online, are confused and have no idea where to go to get proper information and help. Being overweight is also a problem in schools as the rate of childhood obesity is rising at an alarming rate. There are some that are overweight as a matter of socio-economic status. For example, if you give someone $5 and ask them to buy as many calories as possible for that money, they will likely bring you a bag full of junk food and soda. You simply can’t buy enough good calories with that same $5.
I was, and still am, one of those people struggling with weight and trying to get healthy. Its not easy. I’ve even heard some people say “just don’t eat as much and go to the gym more.” Believe me, if it were simply that easy, everyone would be fit. The fact of the matter is that some people can’t just stop eating, its an addiction. When I look at obese people now, I can’t help but let my mind wonder and try and guess what is holding them back from losing weight and getting on track for a healthy lifestyle. I know they want to be skinny and not have to take several medications for blood pressure, gout, diabetes, etc. etc. etc.
When you see someone who is overweight or looks morbidly obese, please hold your judgments. These people are fighting a battle everyday and are in the midst of a struggle. Once more people understand that, I think we can foster an environment of help and give a hand to those people.
I understand that struggle…I live that struggle
When I start any endeavor, I like to learn a bit about it before jumping in. Granted, there are some cases where you can’t do much except jump in and get on the job training so to speak. When I decided that it was time for me to lose weight, I didn’t just wake up and start eating right. I took a day or so to observe what others were doing. I didn’t just go to teh gym and start lifting weight. I took the time to learn a program and when I did go to the gym, I observed what people were doing.
I learn just as much from observing as I do from doing. I figured out that I don’t need to re-invent the wheel. People before me have learned the lessons and I just need to take from their playbook. I’ve been going to the gym consistently now for a while and I have seen several people transform their physical appearance. I literally saw people go from out of shape to amazing physical fitness. I observed and took notice of what they were doing in the gym and fit that into my program.
I quickly learned that while I am just me, I am not alone in this weight loss journey. There are hundreds upon hundreds of bloggers and forums where you can lurk and just observe. Observation of what others are doing is a very powerful tool in your weight loss arsenal. I’ve talked to a lot of people who experiment with trial and error with every diet and workout program just to get frustrated and quit. Observing the success of others is an instrumental part of developing your own eating regiment and workout plan.
Don’t re-invent the wheel, just make the current wheel better!