Tag Archives: overweight

Food: The Battle That Never Ends

One of my weekly addictions now, pun intended, is Extreme Makeover: Weight Edition.

It’s exactly what it sounds like: A person is ideally supposed to go from morbidly obese to, well, much less.

The most “extreme” episode I’ve seen spent the year with a man named James who began at 651 pounds and lost 313 pounds in 12 months. The first three months, the trainer, Chris Powell, lives with the show’s focus person. After that, the “contestant” is on their own but for the equipment they’ve been left, quarterly check-ins, and emails/phonecalls.

[Spoiler ahead.]

This week’s episode had 9 months invested in one morbidly obese man, who began at 490 pounds, lost 110 in three months, then 21, then gained 60 in the third quarter.

His food addiction came back stronger than ever.

The end of the episode had him checking into rehab 70 pounds below where he started, but 60 pounds over where he was after 4 months — and emotionally broken.

This is something I wish would shut all the cynics up who see weight-loss success on TV and go “Oh, but they had professional help, of course they lost weight.”

You know what? I don’t buy that. It works for a while, sure, but a show like this, it conveys that, left to our own devices, even with all the tools and means at our disposal, failure can find us because we’re our own worst enemies. Every person goes to bed alone in their heads.

Many people regain all their weight back, and even more, when life gets hard, because we’re usually heavy through unhealthy eating addictions that involve masking emotions or failed communications.

Enough About Them, Let’s Talk About Me

I’ve always been food-addicted, but I’m considerably less so in my old age. It’s still a problem. It probably always will be.

That I’m a pretty fucking confident cook sure as hell doesn’t help, but my ability to research and learn the science, well, that does help — a lot. I educate myself from time to time as well. Being a good cook means I take control, and I do so in an often-satisfying way with foods that are ultimately less addictive than fast food and commercial preparations.

Luckily, I somewhat like being active. If I weren’t so goddamned injured so often, I’d be unstoppable, and I’d probably get to keep eating the way I love but would continually lose weight doing it. Fortunately, I eventually battle past my distractions and usually maintain.

That’s me. And I know it’ll be a lifelong struggle. Fortunately, every year I get a little smarter about it, and have done that recently in the face of times that might’ve taken me down a more personally-destructive path in the past.

An Environment Created for Failure

The thing is, food’s an incredible struggle. It’s the hardest addiction in the world to overcome. It’s everywhere. Even skinny people drool over pictures like it’s porn. We even talk about the sexual ways we satisfy our hunger, we have “food orgasms,” we celebrate every holiday around a table, we communicate over tables, we have a national bacon dependency, and now we have sharing apps for cellphones that are all pictures of high-falutin’ drool-inducing food, and everywhere we turn is advertising showing the most sinful burgers and cookies and pastas and pizza (but read this about the dirty tricks photographers use to make that food look so yummy).

In this highly food-pornified world, losing 10 pounds is a massive achievement for some. Losing 313 in a year, no matter who’s helping you, even on a TV show, that’s absolutely mind-boggling — if done through weight and healthy eating, that is.

Add In Being Affected by Life’s Demands…

And putting a few pounds on in any given month or year, well, that’s human. Failing utterly? Also sadly human.

For me of late, I’ve not really been worrying about food, exercise, or whatever. I’m rehabilitating a back injury that scared me more than anything has in years. I had a week in April that was the darkest of my life. All I care about is NOT BEING THAT, and paying my rent. I’m rehabbing, getting my life under control, and that’s all the achievement I require right now.

In saying that, the last 10 months has included enough chaos that all I want to do is get into a routine where being active truly IS my lifestyle, and eating reasonably IS my way. That’s it. I want something I can follow for the rest of my life. I lost 70 pounds in a year doing it that way, I know I can get back to it, too, once my routine’s back.

Anyone who says weight-loss is easy during unemployment isn’t a stress-eater.

During my year of being often under-employed, I had pneumonia followed by a cancer scare that turned into a “dunno what that was, but it ain’t cancer” dealio, followed by blowing out my back. That I only gained eight pounds in two years since my drastic loss is fucking awesome, given my history of overeating for emotional reasons.

It is an addiction, and this has been the hardest year for fighting it. Have I won? No, but if this were a fairytale and the Big Bad Wolf was trying to get into grandma’s house, then I’ve been fighting that fucker back with a big-ass stick. He hasn’t gotten in, but I haven’t gotten around to doing much else with my time, either, time-consuming as fighting wolves tends to be, and all.

It Doesn’t Need to Stay That Way: Ebb & Flow

I’ve noticed in the last couple of weeks, as my stress has gone down, as my back injury has finally gotten to a livable place, that my tendency to eat excessively, and too often, has just naturally slowed down, as have my cravings. I’ve not been eating GREAT all the time, but I’ve really not had too much on the average day, either. I also find myself avoiding sweets or feeling compelled for pastries.

The effort now is to simply be more active in my food choices– making more effort in cooking it so I’m not just eating food but, if I overeat, I’m wasting my time and money. Instead of buying bread, the plan now is to make my own for a while instead of buying huge baguettes to indulge in. Every meal needs some kind of veggies with it, preferably more than half the meal being veggies. Using less fat again, I’ve cut back on cheeses, there’s no cheddar in my house (fact: “cheddar” is Canadian for “crack”). I had chocolate during my “girl time” but haven’t felt cravings outside of that.

I don’t care who might think I could’ve done more or I’ve somehow failed myself because I put a little weight back on instead of continually taking it off. I don’t think of it like that. I think of it as “success interrupted.”

What I know about myself today is, I can get through everything that’s happened in the last year (and that short “pneumonia-blah-blah” point there barely skims the surface, as we all know life’s more complicated than big talking points), and gain back only 12% of the weight I’d lost up till 2009, well, that’s not too shabby for an emotional-eating food addict when the odds are better that I should have gained it all back. I kept 88% off, yo!

I’ve been more aware, even in my failings. Now I need greater awareness. Thankfully, it seems to be rising in me, and the stressors seem to be falling.

That’s the ebb-and-flow of life. Like Rocky Balboa says, it’s about getting hit and knocked down, but keepin’ on moving forward.

When I see a man, in life or even a show like that, reduced to tears in his failures, knowing he’s let down his beautiful little girl and wife, checking into rehab and facing all those demons… well, for me, being knocked down but moving forward feels like it’s as good an accomplishment as I need.

We should all remember that. Setbacks are great, if we learn from them and treat them as practice against being defeated in the future. Welcome to life, where we don’t always get it right, but we almost always get a second shot.

Failure photo from Mindthis.ca.
Hand photo from Haley Bell Photography.

So Why The Hell Do I Write About Sex Anyhow?

I weighed myself this morning, and I’m officially down FORTY-SEVEN pounds. Whoop, there it went! But… I’m only half-way to my goal of losing 100 pounds. And that’s okay. I promised myself I’d do it slowly and in a sustainable way, and I am.

Let’s talk about wanker’s comment again (on this post), which isn’t worth the time for me to go back and check, but one of my nicer readers, Griffin, left an inquisitive comment yesterday challenging wanker’s comment:

I’m not sure I understand what point Anonymous was trying to make. I mean, is he/she suggesting that one is entitled to self-confidence only when one is thin — or paired? Would he/she find Steff’s confidence more acceptable if she looked or lived differently? That seems very odd, indeed.

Yeah, I’m confused too.

But I guess the point the silly man was trying to make had something to do with the fact that if I’m fat, not getting laid, don’t write about my friends, yet spout off all this stuff, then clearly I’m just a liar because none of this “washes”.

Apparently overweight people have no confidence, can’t attract lovers, and have no common sense to impart to others. Who knew?

You want to know the deal on me? There’s a meme circulating a little, I guess, that Ellie Lumpesse started by writing about what got her into writing about sex.

What got me into it? Well, I’m definitely cut from a different cloth than most of the so-called writers on sex out there, because a) I write about it less, and b) I don’t tell you much at all about my encounters. None of anyone’s business what literally happens in my bedroom, and on my floor, and in backseats. I mean, really. I get the whole being-a-voyeur thing in the reading realm, but I figure there are enough writers writing on those dirty shagging events.

I started this blog in 2005, when I had a bit of a moment watching the movie Kinsey.

Long story short — I was raised in a very uptight household. Catholicism ruled the roost. Sex was dirty and amoral. Having sex before marriage was wrong, and even if it was love, if I did it, I’d be thought of as a whore.

I did the waiting-for-the-one thing. I thought he was a lifelong love. I thought he’d be everything I’d need. And I was wrong. We slept together, had a relationship mostly based on sex that spanned the better part of seven years, and then we ended. Would I have stayed with him as long if I’d not had the Catholic indoctrination of sex = love = a bond you can’t break? I doubt it.

After that, I had a lot of hang-ups. I didn’t want to be “promiscuous”. I didn’t want to be perceived as a whore. I didn’t want to be thought of as a bad person because I got laid.

Writing this blog was a way of me getting through the intellectual problems I had with sex, and connecting with the emotional needs I wanted from sex. I’ve learned a lot about myself in the three/four years I’ve written this bloggie, and I like what I’ve learned.

This blog will never, ever be a fly-on-the-wall perspective on my personal sex life. I’ll write about a moment here, a moment there, something said during the frolic of sex, conversations thereafter, experiences and the perceptions thereof… but blow-by-blow, suck-by-suck accounts of my sex? Never, ever going to happen.

I’m a deeply private person that way, ironically. And in other ways. I don’t bore you with the day-to-day struggles of mine with finances or the headgames that are waged daily/weekly in this Reinventing of Steff passage of mine. I have limits of what I want to share. You don’t fucking need to know, it’s not ABOUT that.

But, mostly why I wanted to write this blog is, I’ve had a lot of anger over my life for being made to feel ashamed about sex, for being made to feel that giving of myself and my affections to someone I perceive to be deserving of them is WRONG. I’m outraged that we still have very religious ideas on something that, when I’m having it, when I’m sharing it with someone I love to partner with, makes me feel like an incredible person. Being a sexual person makes me feel like a BETTER person. How is THAT wrong?

I wanted to tackle the philosophical side of hang-ups, the psychological side of sex. I wanted to write about insecurities and headgames and how to intellectually deal with affection. I wanted to make sure I posited an argument in the affirmative about how good sex is for who we are inside.

Writing about dripping hard cocks and marathon sexual encounters is fun — for other writers. For me, the meat of sexuality lies in our biggest organ — our brains. Everyone else can tackle sex as how they see fit.

Me, I prefer to be outside the box. And am I a scholarly expert on the matter? Fuck, no. Have I even taken biology or sexual studies at school? No. Have I read all the right books? No. This is me, my take, my thoughts, my wishes, and nothing more. After being a librarian for a couple years and working in a bookstore where the manager was a huge fan of sex studies, I began reading on the subject of sex and slowly broadening my mind and asking questions of myself.

And maybe, just maybe, if I’d been some waif-thin woman with an ass you can bounce quarters off, instead of a heavy girl with insecurities back in the day (but I still have insecurities — we all do) I might never have began thinking more psychologically and philosophically about sex.

So isn’t it just fucking awesome that I was overweight?

But assholes like tha gutless turd Anonymous, who doesn’t have the balls to sign his name, just want to perpetuate the myth that one must look perfect to have anything to share with others.

Know what? He is, always was, and always will be, flat-out wrong.

Because I’m not perfect, because I’ve never been perfect, because I never will be perfect… what I have to share is as authentic as the day is long. Sometimes, authentic is all you can really hope for. And it’s what I got.

A Few Thoughts on Comments, And Sugasm 142

Despite stupidity rearing its head last night in the form of yet another asshole comment by yet another asshole, and the rise of a would-be stalker, for the time being I’m going to hold off on comment moderation despite my first instinct to start regulating them.

Why? Well, for starters, I really love the dialogue that takes place in comments sometimes. It’s exciting to see people argue each other about something I’ve read, or pat me on the back, whatever. I have a life and don’t want to have to have the stress of checking for comments and publishing them, because that messes with the flow of it all, and when posts only really have a shelf-life of a few days, that gets in the way of the flow, no?

Besides, I believe strongly in free speech. I’ll let you have your say, but don’t think I’m going to bend over and take it when I think you’re out of line, or just plain stupid and mean like the guy from last night. And I’m not going to be polite about it.

I must have been drunk when I said I was going to be a kinder, gentler Steff. Oh, right, I was drunk. That explains that. No, you know what I’m going to be? Myself. For all the good and bad of it, I’m going to be myself. With all my swear words, all my attitude, and all my humour, I’m gonna be myself and just say what comes to mind. That should be fun. So say what you want, but know I’m not shy about responding.

After all, while I think some mouths are better off left shut, mine is not one of them. Why? Because it’s MY blog. Duh. :P

Here, eat some Sugasm. You’ll feel better. I’m behind the game by two weeks with Sugasm, so here’s a truncated list for #142, and the full juicy 143 will be up in the next few days.

The best of this week’s blogs by the bloggers who blog them. Highlighting the top 3 posts as chosen by Sugasm participants.

This Week’s Picks
Interludes – part 3
“He winds the rope around his hands, smoothing the kinks, and I stand there, breathing a little faster, conscious of all those eyes upon me.”

Hurts So Good
“I want you to wear the badges of sweet distress for days.”

Shower fantasy
“You don’t want to admit it, but you want me.”

Mr. Sugasm Himself
Sugar Bank

Editor’s Choice
Why I haven’t blogged about the Mosley case

More Sugasm

Some Thoughts on Self-Image

I got an email last night that made me ecstatic. A reader wrote to let me know that I’ve played a big part in her rediscovering her self-worth after an emotionally abusive and cruel relationship (because he was an abuser, honey, and don’t ever think less of him). These kinds of emails make me feel like all the grief I go through to try and generate something reasonably fresh on a daily basis is worth it.

Really, I get no money out of this blog yet and I’m trying to figure out a way to do so, and I’m sure it’ll happen sooner or later, but right now? Nada. Screwing up the energy to write every day sometimes seems futile… and then I get those occasional emails that blow my mind. “Me? I did that for you? WICKED.”

Self-esteem, self-worth, self-love… my god, how furtive they seem. One would think that loving oneself would be an easy thing to do. Sadly, the opposite is more true.

You know, I have a hearing problem. I wear two hearing aids, they’re small, they aren’t always perceptible, and while I’m having some issues with hearing right now, normally I’m pretty good with it, despite fucking hating it. But I was just thinking a bit ago about being deaf. Could you imagine? Probably not. I can. I’m pretty much deaf (25% – 50% hearing) when I roll out of bed in the morning, and to tell you the truth, I enjoy the silence while I can. I’ll often wait an hour or so to put in my buds – I’ll write in quiet and ignore the world. I wonder sometimes what being deaf all the time would be – living in your head, never breaking free of those wheels turning constantly in the corners of your mind.

You wouldn’t be able to escape yourself, for good or for ill. Sounds, I’ve come to learn, provide ample distraction from who and what we are; that bus rumbling down the street, birds chirping, a dripping faucet, an asthmatic wheezing nearby. I sometimes wonder if my lack of hearing is part of why I’m such a contemplative individual. Perhaps.

There was a time when my contemplation led to self-loathing. Nowadays it’s a coping mechanism, and a cottage industry, it seems.

I find that a lot of people I know are often a little daunted at the prospect of being alone too long, as if being alone means being lonely; the two, however, are not related.

I honestly think it’s impossible to be a well-balanced person if you can’t handle being alone, but maybe that’s me reading too much into my lifestyle. Self-love, self-worth, it comes from knowing you’re good company. It comes from being able to realistically see yourself as others see you, not through your hyper-judgmental eyes. After all, how accepting are we of average people streetside? Much moreso than we are about ourselves.

Thanks to the media, we’re surrounded by beautiful people who are airbrushed for magazine covers or filmed in soft light, and then we spend our days walking into shitty fluorescent bathrooms, staring in dirty mirrors, and we wonder why we’re not the sex gods the rest of the world seems filled with. It’d almost be funny, if it wasn’t so sad.

Becoming realistic about what each of us has to offer is one of the hardest things to ever learn. Becoming secure when naked is a difficult task to accomplish. It’s not something that occurs overnight, and god knows I’m still on my journey. In this relationship I’m in now, I’m comfortable with him naked. It doesn’t sound huge, but it really is. Lying around naked with your lover is a great way to get past insecurities and to focus on matters at hand. It has taken me my whole life to get to this point.

I’m a bonus-lover gal. My ass has got some grip room, if you know what I’m saying. I’m fit, I’m active, but I’m, well, chubby. Cute, but chubby. My weight has been something I’ve hated my entire life – and the hatred is one of the things my mother is to blame for, as she always reminded me to watch my food and things like that. The food’s always been a minor issue, but it was exercise that was my bane. These days, I’m getting pretty active and I’m liking the toning I’ve got. Sixty pounds down, another forty or so to go.

I noticed something incredible a couple weeks back – I went swimming. I’ve gone swimming off and on for the last year and a half, after not setting foot in a pool for about 15 years, thanks to insecurities. When I first re-entered the pool after all those years, I felt like I’d just come home again. I forgot how much I loved the pool. I wasn’t happy about being in a swimsuit, but I did it again anyhow. Two weeks ago, I put the suit on and strutted – not walked, not strolled, but strutted – out to the swimming pool, my towel dangling at my side instead of being held like a security blanket in front of me. After, I got nekkid and showered with the ladies. I used to shower with my suit on and change in the bathroom. Not anymore.

(After all, go to the pool and really, really look at the other people. What in the hell do you have to be ashamed of?)

And it felt fucking awesome. It dawned on me that sometimes insecurity is just a bad habit, something we get so accustomed to being that we simply don’t change, when the reality is we can. It’s not easy, but it’s doable. I’m proof positive. (Thank heavens.)