Saturday, February 20, 2010

A Few Questions

I've been reading about the healthy at every size/fat acceptance movement recently and I wanted to pose a few questions to you, my readers. I know there are 83 followers and I get around 100 hits a day, so even if you have never commented I would really love to hear from each and every one of you. If you want your comment to remain private, just say so and I will not publish it. This is a safe place.

If you are or were overweight or obese, how did it happen?
Are you or were you happy at that weight?
Are you/were you healthy at that weight?
Did making "lifestyle changes" improve your health?
If you've changed your relationship with food and improved your health, how long have you maintained your changes/weight loss?

You all know my story, it's all here in this blog. I got fat because I abused food as a drug, didn't deal with my emotions in a healthy way, ate way too much junk, processed and fast food and spent most, if not all, of my free time being sedentary. No, I was not happy at 277 pounds and I most certainly was not healthy. I spent a lot of time in the hospital in 2007, all of it caused by abusing my body with food, all of it completely avoidable. And lastly, I have seen great improvements in my overall health and fitness through lifestyle changes and hope to see even more in the future.

I'm looking for some real honest answers and I greatly appreciate you taking the time.

14 comments:

  1. If you are or were overweight or obese, how did it happen?

    I've been overweight three times now...I've lost the weight twice, and now I'm back to where I started. Like you, I abuse food and don't deal with my emotions very well. It started happening when I was pregnant with my first child. I was having a lot of emotions and its been hard to give up the food, when its always there.

    Are you or were you happy at that weight?
    My heaviest weight was 223.6 the first time, the second it was 211, the last time I weighed myself I was 207 now...I'm not at all happy with this weight.


    Are you/were you healthy at that weight?

    No I was very unhealthy at 223, I had high cholesterol, I was healthier at 211, my cholesterol wasn't as high, and I was still working out consistently, and I just has my blood taken, I'm still not as bad as I once was, but I could obviously be better off too.

    Did making "lifestyle changes" improve your health?

    For me things are a little different, I need to find my niche before the change will take hold I guess. The first time I lost weight, I was working out 6-8 hours a day, eating 1200 calories, and I lost weight fast, looked great, but the minute I couldn't do that anymore, the weight came right back on. The last time I lost weight, I was doing well with my changes, until a few things happened in my life, and I got really depressed, and started eating and eating. I'm hoping that I can make the changes that I had made before and get back to where I need to be again soon.

    If you've changed your relationship with food and improved your health, how long have you maintained your changes/weight loss?

    Maintaining for me, will be the it factor, but I have changed my relationship with food, but too much of a good thing, can still be bad. My health is very good though, I don't have any of the usual problems people my weight have, like diabetes, or high cholesterol (anymore for me).

    All in all, I hope to get back at it and refocus where I need to work. I just have to learn to maintain once I do lose it all again!

    PS I just recently started following your blog, and I do enjoy it, thank you!

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  2. If you are or were overweight or obese, how did it happen?

    I have been overweight my entire life and obese since I was 10 years old. I got there mainly through emotional overeating and poor portion control. From being 8-12 years old there also were times when we couldn't afford food and when it was available I ate in reation to that. When I became an adult I ate out a LOT.
    Currently I weigh 217 and my heighest weight was August 2008 at 260.

    Are you or were you happy at that weight?

    I've gotten much closer to being happier with the person I am but no, I wouldn't consider myself happy as obese.

    Are you/were you healthy at that weight?

    I've been fortunate enough to have few of the traditional health problems related to being obese. Because of my weight I did end up having my child by C section where if I'd been at a normal weight I'd be much less likely to have a c section. I am not healthy.

    Did making "lifestyle changes" improve your health?

    Yes. I've been on weight watchers for 6 months and have lost 40 pounds so far. I've been exercising and feel more healthy now.

    If you've changed your relationship with food and improved your health, how long have you maintained your changes/weight loss?

    Almost a year.

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  3. I am 5'3" and weighed just a little over 200lbs. I wasn't totally unhappy at that weight, mostly because I carried it pretty well. I'm not kidding myself, I was obviously overweight (obese, actually) but I didn't feel grotesque.

    I wouldn't have called myself healthy, but I was ACTIVE. I walked to the co-op, I biked daily and I played pick up games of basketball.

    I'm definitely a lot healthier after having lost 50lbs, I'm happier because I do more of the things I always wanted to do for longer amounts of time and I also have the courage and gusto to go after things I didn't feel I necessarily deserved before.

    I'm all for fat acceptance as long as it's moving towards a healthy goal. I firmly believe that you can't get anywhere until you accept yourself where you are, but the goal should always be to keep moving toward something "better," whatever that is.

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  4. If you are or were overweight or obese, how did it happen?

    I was 130 lbs at 5'4" all through middle school/high school. Perfectly fine, but I thought I was fat. Got to college, started drinking soda every day, eating pizza at 10PM. Yeah. I got REALLY fat. My highest weight was over 200 lbs., but I don't know exactly how much over because I refused to get on a scale for years.

    Are you or were you happy at that weight?

    Hell no. I had terrible migraines from my crappy diet, I couldn't walk up one flight of stairs without getting winded, and my cholesterol was up, and I couldn't shop in regular size stores anymore.

    Are you/were you healthy at that weight?

    Hell no, see above.

    Did making "lifestyle changes" improve your health?

    Yes! I lost 70 lbs over 2 years, got back to 130, and haven't had a migraine in 2 years. I can now jog up 4 flights of stairs without getting winded, and my cholesterol has gone back down.

    If you've changed your relationship with food and improved your health, how long have you maintained your changes/weight loss?

    I've been in maintenance for almost 18 months now.

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  5. Did you get my email on your question? Sometimes my email addy ends up in spam boxes for whatever reason.

    I'm all about lifestyle change now, whereas before it was just dieting to lose weight (duh...). I'm older and wiser now ;)

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  6. If you are or were overweight or obese, how did it happen?

    I’ve been overweight since I was a kid. Although I felt huge, looking back I can see that I was only about 20 to 30 lbs. overweight through my early 20’s. After I got married, I gained a lot of weight some of it due to health issues (PCOS and low thyroid), but most of it due to poor eating habits and absolutely no portion control. I lost about 40 lbs. while trying to get pregnant. I gained it all back, plus more during my pregnancy, lost a little weight after my twins were born and then gained steadily for 5 years, topping out at 251 lbs.

    Are you or were you happy at that weight?

    NO! My self esteem took a nose dive. Shopping for clothes was a nightmare. I hated that I only had a few things to wear. I would spend so much time getting ready to go out, just trying to camouflage all the body parts that I hated.

    My daughter, who was 5 at my highest weight was really starting to notice that Mommy was bigger than the other mommies and that I never really wanted to play. It made me so sad that I couldn’t run around with my kids.

    Are you/were you healthy at that weight?

    I was miserable at 251. I’m only 5’2” and the extra weight caused so many health problems for me. My BP was a dangerous 200/100 before I went on 2 medications to control it. I couldn’t get comfortable while sitting or lying down, but standing was downright painful. Even doing normal activities like taking a shower left me exhausted.

    Did making "lifestyle changes" improve your health?

    Yes, yes, yes! I’ve been following the Weight Watchers program since Oct. 31, 2007. I had done Weight Watchers in the past, but something about this go around just stuck. I think I realized that my weight is a “for life” problem and that I need to deal with it every day, not just when the mood strikes me. I’ve lost 88 lbs so far and have another 26 to go to reach my goal weight. I’m down to one BP medication. I exercise 5 to 6 times a week. I can play with my kids!

    If you've changed your relationship with food and improved your health, how long have you maintained your changes/weight loss?

    Realizing that I’ll always have a weight issue is what changed my mindset for good. I’ll never be “done”. I lose weight very slowly, averaging about ½ lb. per week. Most weight loss bloggers that I read would probably consider that unacceptable. I’ve come to realize that by losing so slowly, I’m really practicing for maintenance. I’ve had to be very patient with myself and the process. After living this way for 2 ½ years, I’m fairly certain that I can maintain a healthy diet for life.

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  7. If you are or were overweight or obese, how did it happen?

    I'm 5'5", about 155. Have yo-yo'd between 135 and 155 for the last 10 years. I know I have gained due to depression and stress. I eat all the time when I'm not hungry, and I'm struggling to understand why I undermine my health and well-being with food.


    Are you or were you happy at that weight? Are you/were you healthy at that weight?

    No, not happy at all. I feel like my weight is a personal failure, an outward indication of my lack of self-discipline. I am quite healthy, though - other than some allergic skin issues, I have no issues.

    Did making "lifestyle changes" improve your health?

    Lifestyle changes just aren't sticking right now. I recently went back to work full time, which means I haven't been able to work out very much, or at all. I am struggling right now. When I was thin, everything just fell into place and it was easy to eat right, easy to exercise. Now, I feel like I am fighting uphill to make healthy choices. I realize that I am depressed.

    If you've changed your relationship with food and improved your health, how long have you maintained your changes/weight loss?

    I was able to maintain my last 25 lb. weight loss for about 6 months. At first weight creeped back on slowly, as I relaxed about eating too many treats and/or processed foods. Then I was laid off from work, my spouse continued to be unemployed, my daughter developed a serious health issue, and I just flat-out gained it all back.

    I read your blog to celebrate your success, and hope that some of your insights will allow me to get a grip and learn to love myself again.

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  8. To answer from a slightly different perspective: I am not overweight. In June I hit 142 pounds, which was the heaviest I'd ever been. By "overweight" standards, not that high.

    But, I come from a family of very overweight women. My mother is about 220. She's beautiful, no matter what Vogue says, but she isn't healthy. She struggles to climb stairs, she has very serious sleep apnea, and her blood pressure is very high. My father has nine sisters, and 6 of them are seriously overweight. Diabetes, heart problems, breathing problems, and trouble with depression seem to go right along with it.

    So, at 142, I saw the bad news on the horizon. I've seen first hand what that slow upwards creep can do unchecked, and I also knew that even at an "average" weight I wasn't as healthy as I wanted to be. Thanks almost entirely to exercise, I've lost a few pounds, but that isn't the important part. I feel better, and stronger, than ever.

    I never looked unhealthy from the outside, but that was just proof from the "slim" side that outside and inside aren't always equal.

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  9. Hello! What an interesting blog topic today because today marks the 28th day (one month mark!) of my decision to make healthier decisions in my lifestyle.

    I am a 21 year old college junior and got the shock of my life in December when I went to the doctor for a physical and I weighed 200 pounds, which is the highest weight I have ever been at. I am only 5'5", so that results in a size 14 clothing. I was happy at my body weight, but I knew it wasn't healthy, so I decided to make a lifestyle change.

    This first month has been very interesting in terms of eating. I am understanding now that eating when you're bored, or sad, isn't the best way to handle things. I do love food though, so I make the best of what I can by making healthier decisions and controlling the portions I decide to eat. So far I have lost 1.5 pounds. I know that number is small, but I must start somewhere. I have been working out 4-5 times a week and have seen amazing improvements so far in my health: I get to sleep faster, and I sleep better (and being in college, sleep is essential), I'm in a better mood, I don't have to rely on caffeine to get through the morning, and my outlook on life is a lot more positive and optimistic.

    I follow your blog and several other blogs about weight loss for inspiration and support when others around me aren't so understanding. So, thank you for your contribution to my healthier life choice.

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  10. I just got fat because I was lazy and liked tasty fattening food, and I needed to learn some self control. I certainly don't believe that EVERYone who is overweight has the same problem - there are a myriad of issues and I don't assume that everyone who is overweight is "lazy" just because that was my specific problem. But that was mine.
    I am NOT happy with these extra 20-30 pounds - I'm not necessarily unhealthy, but I would definitely FEEL better without the extra bulge and jiggle. I'm working on it !
    For ME - it's about learning to be a grown up and budget food the same way I budget money or time or whatever ... self discipline.

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  11. I'm not overweight by medical standards and have never been. Because I was actually underweight for years (I had gall bladder disease which made it hard to digest a lot of food) I developed some truly terrible eating habits.

    For the past three years my husband and I have been making a big effort to eat better -- more whole foods, less processed food and more organics. I think my eating habits are now decent.

    My relationship to exercise is, however, TERRIBLE. I am very sedentary. I work a desk job and have never enjoyed sports of any kind. (I dislike things I am bad at and I have rotten coordination. It's made me sports-averse from a young age.) I do like walking, hiking and gardening once I'm out doing them, but finding the motivation is my down fall. I am a champion at finding excuses not to exercise.

    I belonged to a gym for about two years in the late 1990s. At that time I started strength training and running on a treadmill. I was in decent shape. But I was also in school and had afternoons free three days a week. Now that I work 8-5 (and am essentially on-the-go or at work from 7:15 to 5:45 M-F), making the time for a similar regimen just feels impossible. (Not to mention finding the money!)

    I know I need to fix this. I had great intentions. I even get motivated for a week or three, but then it fizzles out.

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  12. 1. If you are or were overweight or obese, how did it happen?
    Food was my only friend when I felt alone. Emotional eating got me through high school and pushed me to 175 at 4'11'' tall.

    2. Are you or were you happy at that weight?
    I never noticed how big I really was. I wasn't happy at all during my teens into my early 20's, but I don't think it had tons to do with my body.

    3. Are you/were you healthy at that weight?
    Not even close. I slept on average 14 hours a day. Getting up to work, eat, or go to school(which was a rare thing for about a year).

    4. Did making "lifestyle changes" improve your health?
    I am training for a half marathon and 6 months ago I thought I would die after running 60 seconds.

    5. If you've changed your relationship with food and improved your health, how long have you maintained your changes/weight loss?
    I just realized my 6 month anniversary was yesterday :)

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  13. If you are or were overweight or obese, how did it happen?

    After my husband and I got married, things got really hectic for us. We moved cities, I wasn't working, we bought a house out in the country, and at the time we only had one car. I was bored out of my mind, depressed, and turned to food for comfort. I could tell that I was gaining weight, which made my self-worth even LOWER, which made me eat more, and so on. We've all been there. At my heaviest, I weighed 216, a whopping 66 pounds heavier than the weight I was at my wedding. I probably gained that weight over two years.

    Are you or were you happy at that weight?

    Absolutely not. I was miserable. I couldn't stand to look at myself. There was so much shame I felt that I started seeing a psychologist weekly. She helped me out of a very dark place. I joined a gym with my husband and started caring about how I looked and felt again. Unfortunately, I've only managed to lose 30 of the 66 pounds I gained so far, so I'm still holding on to some of the negative self-image thoughts and feelings that I have. I'm working on it, though.

    Are you/were you healthy at that weight?

    I don't think I ever developed any real health problems. I've always had a healthy blood pressure level, etc. But I wasn't active, and being sedintary is not healthy no matter your age or weight. I also wasn't mentally healthy, either. I was depressed.

    Did making "lifestyle changes" improve your health?

    Yes. Now that I care about what I eat, how much I exercise, and what thoughts I encourage in myself, I see a big difference. My relationships with my friends, coworkers, and family have improved vastly. I look forward to working out instead of dreading it. I relish making healthy food choices, whereas before I felt guilty every time I reached for food.

    If you've changed your relationship with food and improved your health, how long have you maintained your changes/weight loss?

    I'm still in the process of losing weight and getting where I want to be, but I've been following a healthier lifestyle for a little over a year now. I have managed to lose about 30 pounds, and I have 36 more to go to reach my goal.

    I hope this helps you, Andra! Thanks for everything.

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  14. If you are or were overweight or obese, how did it happen?
    I'm morbidly obese now, at 300 lbs. I started at 120, packed on 168 lbs in 18 months from a horrible birth control experience, antidepressants, & eating to dull the pain of a bad marriage & divorce. (Which doesn't work, by the way!) Over the last 10 yrs, my weight inched up gradually for a number of reasons, but mostly from lack of gumption, as my grandma would say.

    Are you or were you happy at that weight?
    Absolutely not! In my city, there are a grand total of two shops where I can find clothes to fit me. I can't walk a couple of blocks without getting winded.

    Are you/were you healthy at that weight?
    No. I'm pre-diabetic & my cholesterol is way up.

    Did making "lifestyle changes" improve your health?
    A few years ago, I lost down to 230 lbs because I made positive changes, but packed the pounds back on when things went downhill in my life. I'm making changes again now & have lost 8 lbs in the last three weeks. So that's a start!

    If you've changed your relationship with food and improved your health, how long have you maintained your changes/weight loss?
    I've been going strong for 3 weeks now. When you have this kind of 'relationship' with food, you count the good days like alcoholics do their sober days. Because really, it's an addiction, too.

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