Another Day One…

Here we are again. Another day one of another diet in another year of me trying to get healthy. I genuinely hate this. I hate that I’ve given up so many times. I feel like I’ve had no accountability. I have gained even more weight than from my last day one.

I’m not one to spout nonsense about “New Year, New Me,” but damn it, I hope this year WILL see a new me. Because the old me is a lazy, overweight excuse-maker who NEEDS to get with the program.

So here we go again, eh?

I know gimmicks are bad, but I will admit that I’m starting anew with a program. I ordered a month’s worth of WonderSlim, and I’m hoping it will be the kick start I need to get this show on the road. Seven meals a day (all provided) which are low cal and actually quite tasty. It could be a LOT worse, lemme tell ya.

I also am going to be starting on the pill, Alli, in a few days. Once I’ve got through the hardest part of the diet, I’ll incorporate it into my regime. It says that for every five pounds you lose through diet and exercise alone, Alli will help you lose 3-4 more. Sounds good to me!

My ultimate goal is to lose between 40 – 60 lbs. At my last weigh in, I was 194.4. Not good. I’d LOVE to be in the 130s, but I don’t know how realistic it is. If I could get to the 150s, I’d be happy. But I want to push myself as much as I can and get the ultimate result I desire. Hell, if I can lose 40 lbs on my own, why not 60?? I can DO it!

I’ve also bought myself a fitspiration diary. It’s just a thing I picked up at Walgreens, and it is a way of keeping track of my goals. It’s also going to help me keep positive in those moments where I’m sorely lacking in positivity!

I am determined that this will be my LAST first day.

Here we go.

I Ran a 5K and I Survived

This past weekend in Salt Lake City, I grabbed my hubby and some friends, and we headed over to the State Fairgrounds to run the Color Me Rad 5k. Given that I’m the absolute least fit person in our entire social circle, I was sort of dreading the experience. I can’t run very far or very fast, and I am totally out of breath within a minute. I knew it was going to be difficult for me. Add on to this the fact that we’ve had mega rain lately, and I was nursing two pretty bad injuries to my feet (my heels were cracked and bleeding and in a LOT of pain), and you can probably figure out that this wasn’t going to be an amazing race.

BUT. And here is the big big but (big butt?), I did it anyway. I showed up, I kept a smile on my face, and I RAN. Well, I ran a little. In truth, I walked for nearly all of it.

I had my most awesome husband with me, supporting me all the way. He is my greatest cheerleader in all things, and even though he is super fit and totally could have run the whole thing in a quarter of the time, he stayed with me and went at my pace. I mean, in truth is IS a “fun run.” It is meant to be enjoyed. If you’re not familiar, Color Me Rad is basically a 5k where you get craploads of colored chalk thrown on you. You’re supposed to wear white so all the colors show up and look awesome, but I own nothing white. So we went for black. It worked!

The weather being so gloomy was a big problem. Most of the course was mud and puddles, so nearly everyone was walking or doing a slow jog so they wouldn’t slip and fall. Plus, they hadn’t organized very well, and areas of the course were VERY narrow, and many folks were walking in groups, so they were hard for runners to get by.

Every time I got my breath back and wanted to run, it seemed there was a puddle, mud or people in my way! But I did my best. By the end of the course I was in a LOT of pain, since my feet were in such a bad state, so I was limping quite slowly. But it wasn’t like I was trying to beat my time or anything. In fact, I have no idea how long it took us to run the race. I don’t think they even kept track of anyone.

I did manage to run through the finish line, though, just in time to meet up with all of our friends, who had finished LONG before we did. I didn’t care. I was proud of myself for making it.

I did it. I ran a 5k, and it didn’t kill me. I got up early on a Saturday morning, when I’d much rather have been sleeping, and I worked through wind and rain and crowds of people (all my least favorite things!) and did exercise. My hubby said I did better than he thought I would have. To be truthful, I did much better than I thought I would have.

I’ve signed up for another 5k in July. It’s the “Fro Yo 5k” which is another “fun run,” and it’s just down the street at my local park. I get frozen yogurt for doing it. How bad can that be?!

Seeing myself in the photos and feeling how my body ached and how winded I got from the whole race was hard. I am heavier than I’ve been in years, and I am more out of shape than I’ve EVER been. Even when I weighed 260 lbs, I was never this lazy.

This weekend was the start of a new era. I have vowed to go all out to get my weight back down, my fitness levels up, and my energy through the roof.  I am hopeful that next year when I sign up for Color Me Rad, I will see a HUGE improvement in my own attitude, my looks and my abilities. Look out world! Nothing can stop me now!

Clothes, Exercise, Weight and Attention

So according to an online clothing size converter, my current UK size 12 means that I’m a size 10 US. That said, I’m pretty sure that in certain clothing stores, I could fit into a US size 8. This is pretty damn cool, I think! In a couple of weeks I’ll be celebrating my one year “surgiversary,” which is big news! But with being this far out of the process, it strikes me how much more slowly I’m losing weight lately.

Of course, it might have something to do with the ridiculous amount of calories I’m eating these days. From the time I started my new job back in March, it has been constant temptation. Colleagues bring in cookies, brownies, candies and soda. Our receptionist makes daily afternoon trips to the grocery store, taking orders and baiting people into letting her buy them chocolate and caffeine! And several co-workers will pop into Southampton or Winchester at lunch and bring back Subway or other such takeaway fare. It is EVERYWHERE.

But of course, at the end of the day, it is all down to the personal choices I make. I’m the one who eats the cookies, orders up a full size Yorkie bar and submits to the will of Dr Pepper. I could (and should!) just say no. Perhaps if I was still overweight, I even WOULD say no. But the truth is that getting so close to my goal weight has made me lazy and stupid. Sure I still have 20 pounds to lose before I even approach happiness. But the reality of the situation is that I actually am quite a normal weight these days. And I’m not even the biggest girl in the room anymore.

Knowing this has given me not only feelings of power and excitement… but it’s also given me an excuse to let loose on the junk food. *sigh*

I do have a solution, though. Having seen things like the 5 day Pouch Test online, I realised that I really do need to get my eating under control. And since the one and only time in my life I was able to do that was after my surgery, I have decided to take away the option of food for a while and once again go liquid only before slowly reintroducing “good” food.

For the next two weeks, I’ll be partaking of Slim Fast shakes as my sole sustenance. I will be adding a bit of protein powder into them to give me a bit of extra oomph, but mostly it is going to be me and four shakes a day. After a few days, I will be introducing some of the Slim Fast bars, just so I have something to chew! And I’ve got some frozen fruit that I am going to make into fruit smoothies after a while. Just to keep things interesting!

Now I know that doing this may make me a bit of a saddo, and I may even be judged by my WLS peers. I don’t want to fall into gimmicky diets again, yo-yoing around like so many times before. That said, I need to do SOMETHING. I had this life-changing surgery nearly a year ago, and I feel right now as though I’m wasting it.

Luckily for me, I haven’t put on more weight. I’ve been fairly stable at 165 lbs for several weeks. But I want MORE for myself.

To that end, I’ve rejoined the gym. The first week I went whole-hog, and I was quite pleased. Then I decided to start using their tanning beds, and I wound up with a terrible sunburn which put me out of commission. Once that went away, I took my very first Body Balance class (yoga, pilates and tai chi, all mixed together for one amazing workout!) which DECIMATED me. I was sore for a week! And then I got lazy. Got stressed. Got bored.

But today, after deciding NOT to go to the gym, but instead to enjoy the rest of my weekend in peace, I suddenly realised that I WANTED to go. So I grabbed my sick husband (poor darling has a terrible cold) and forced him to drive me to the gym, where both of us did a nice workout.  And you know what?


I did the Power Plates! I used SEVERAL resistance machines. I went on the cross trainer. And the most amazing thing of all…. I RAN! I ran for 5 minutes on the treadmill. Sure it’s not much, but it’s the first time EVER that I’ve tried running at the gym. In the past, I would be far too scared. Granted, at one point I nearly fell over, which my husband thought was hilarious from his vantage point on an exercise bike in front of me. But still… I ran. Proper running. 8 miles per hour! And when I thought I couldn’t take any more, I slowed down. But once my heart rate returned to normal, I once again ran!

I can’t tell you how exciting it is when you realise for the first time what it is to truly PUSH yourself. It is an amazing feeling that I can’t describe.

After my workout, I was in the hallway awaiting my husband to finish. I was in my skimpy little workout outfit, covered in sweat and beet red, huffing and puffing. I was staring through a window into the swimming pool, when I noticed a reflection behind me. One of the fitness instructors was walking behind me, and he totally checked me out!!! *swoon*

This has been happening a lot lately. I’ve noticed men looking at me and smiling or even coming over to talk. I was told on Friday that two of my colleagues have crushes on me! I actually feel attractive. It’s something I never thought to feel again.

I’m growing in confidence, but unless I want to start growing wide again, I need to get my life under control. No more giving in to cravings. No more slacking on exercise. No more making excuses.

My life is my own, and I have to own my actions.

I’ll let you all know how it goes!


I have so much in my head that I’ve not got out in this blog. I take pictures I want to post, I have started new exercise programs I want to talk about, and I even have failures I want to describe and confess to!

But for some odd reason, I’ve been blinkered when it comes to this site. Part of it is that my job is 45 minutes away, and so with being away hours a day, plus travel each way, plus going to the gym after work, plus cooking dinner and spending time with my husband… I just have no desire to be online, even if it would do me a world of good!

The other part is sillier but nevertheless a problem. Recently my sister-in-law’s boyfriend gave me a free Blackberry. This is GREAT news, as it is so convenient. I can check my mail, update facebook and twitter, and use it as a PDA. But while this has made my life much easier, it’s also meant that there’s very little need to go and get on my laptop. And without the laptop, I don’t update this site!

So I’ve realised I’m simply going to have to make more time for updating. There’s a lot going on that needs blogged about, and all of the work I’ve been putting in to my health and wellness is going to go unnoticed if I don’t.

So to make a long story short – I’ve fallen off the wagon BIG time where food is concerned. Cookies, chocolates, candy, Dr Pepper, milky teas and coffees full of sugar…. I don’t know where it all came from, but I’ve certainly been indulging myself, and I regret it pretty immediately.

But as previously mentioned, I’ve ALSO joined a gym. And while it’s taking time to build up a routine, I was very excited on Tuesday when I took my first class!

It is called Body Balance, and it’s a mixture of yoga, pilates and Tai Chi. No equipment is used other than our bodies, and the instructor was a real hippy lady. I was the only newbie there, but I didn’t mind. I did every single pose put to us, including the “advanced” ones. I may not have done them perfectly, but I gave them a try at the least. Since then, I’ve been sore in places I didn’t even know existed! My stomach and core are in agony, and it feels great! Knowing that I’ve got a genuinely GOOD workout was just amazing. I can’t wait to take another class, which will be tomorrow morning. 🙂 It’s a different instructor, but I am still thinking it’ll be great.

Rather annoyingly, I’m feeling slightly ugly at the moment due to my own stupidity. I decided that I was tired of being pasty white and looking like a ghost, so I thought I’d use the tanning facilities at the gym. I know it’s not the most healthy option, but fake tan doesn’t work on me since I have severely dry skin, and even the lotions with touch of fake tan looks hideous and streaky on me.

So I was told to start with 3 minutes for a while and then build up to more. After my first session, I didn’t notice any chance, so I went for 6 minutes the next time. HOLY SUNBURN, BATMAN!

My skin was lobster red, and I couldn’t sleep on it for three days! Over the next week, it became incredibly itchy and uncomfortable. And in the last three days, it’s begun to flake off in terrible ways. Obviously I’ve stopped tanning for now so as not to make it worse, and I’ve been using exfoliators and tons of aloe vera gel in the hope of making it better.

While this hasn’t put me off tanning (maybe I’m a glutton for punishment?), it has DEFINITELY made me take heed of the build up slowly mantra. 😉

Other than that, I’m very pleased with my body at the moment. Certainly there have been some changes lately – some for the better and some for the worse. Weight loss has stabilised in the mid-160s, but I’ve got a lot more saggy skin on my stomach and inner thighs than I have had. I’m not sure if this is because my body is losing fat or because my terrible diet of late is actually putting fat on! It’s a hard one! BUT – my legs are becoming more shapely. I’m seeing defined muscle tone in my calves, thighs and knees, as well as in my biceps and triceps. It’s nice to feel like exercise is giving me some positive changes.

The biggest thing right now is my mentality. My husband has gone on a weekend stag party for his best friend, and both of us have agreed that on Monday we are going to get our acts together and REALLY go for clean living. This means NO junk food, NO fizzy liquids and LOTS of exercise. And both of us are really looking forward to it.

However, I have three days between now and then, and the urge is to indulge in that fabled last supper syndrome. Oh noes! I’ve bought cookies, crisps, soda, chocolate eclairs and a pizza in anticipation of having one wild weekend before giving it all up again. But I KNOW this is a bad idea. I KNOW I shouldn’t do this, as I’ve done it a MILLION times before… when I was FAT.

But I tell myself that if I can just get all the junk out of my system once and for all, I’ll be happy. Even though I know this isn’t true.


See – I knew I should be updating more often. If I did then maybe someone would help me save me from myself!

For now, I have some thinking to do.

Brutal Honesty

I am sitting at my desk at work right now, in severe discomfort and feeling like a prize turkey. After dealing with being diagnosed as diabetic, only to have that reversed recently and told that I have reactive hypoglycaemia, one would think that I would be smarter about the levels of sugar and carbs I put in my body.

But the half eaten packet of Gum Drops and the taffy wrappers that litter my work space are clear proof that I do not take proper care of myself. Sure there’s the small lunch I had of three cheddar crackers with mushy egg yolk piled on. A lunch to be proud of, I’d think, as it’s chock full of protein but balanced as far as nutrients.  But this does not eradicate the excessive sugar consumption of my morning.

Because I am on a high dose of Metformin (1500 mg per day), I often use this as an excuse for an ability to digest higher quantities of sugar than I might otherwise be allowed.

In truth, it is all bollocks.

I am a disgrace to myself, and it kills me to know how low I constantly let myself fall.

Right now I am experiencing that particular brand of punishment that comes to the WLS survivor that has overindulged. I’ve suddenly been overcome by a wave of nausea, dizziness, EXTREME fatigue, and a running (in truth, SPRINTING) nose!  As a VSG patient, I’m assured that dumping syndrome is not probable. But this is as close as I get.

I’ve only experienced this horrific feeling twice before, both times from overindulging in the same sort of behaviour. You’d think I’d learn. Sadly I have not begun to get it under control, and I fear for what may happen down the road if I do not. My weight is stable at 168 lbs, down 90 pounds from my highest weight.

But to be happy, I still have another 30 lbs to go, which is not likely to happen if I don’t curb my appetite for the poisons of candy and ice cream!

For now I can merely hope that this is another lesson learned. I’ve already given my gum drops to the pregnant girl across from me, and the painful stomach cramps are subsiding to be replaced with a genuine thirst the likes of which I’ve not experienced in years.

I know that the rest of my afternoon will be difficult with trying to stay awake and not to vomit in my bin. I am certain to run to the toilet several times in the next two hours, and I can only hope I don’t get a reputation as the lazy girl who is always in the loo.

Wake up, Katie. You will no longer be The Incredible Shrinking Me if this behaviour does not STOP. You had surgery for a reason. You are easily tempted and the only way to stop is to STOP. For good this time.

Do not disappoint me.

The Depth of my Periphery

There’s something that I notice everywhere I go – other women.

No, I’m not changing my sexual orientation. I simply have become hyper-aware of the bodies of the women around me. When I was fat, I noticed all of the thin women that surrounded me. I was always convinced that I was the biggest gal in any room. I was the fattest chick walking into the bakery. I was the heaviest heifer in the fashion shop.

To some extent, I still feel this way. Whereas my formerly size 22/24 self could never find my size in a clothing store, I now have the same problem finding sizes 12/14. It seems to be always sold out. The reason? It’s an AVERAGE size.

I’m average.

Of course, that’s a GREAT thing to be when it comes to weight. I never wanted to be the skinniest girl. I never wanted to be recognised for my body, even if the recognition was good. I have spent a lot of my adult life afraid of getting attention based on my body. Of course, I have deep personal experiences that led to this fear, but at the heart of all things has been a lack of celebration of my BODY.

So now that I am prouder of how I look, I find myself looking at other women to try and find similar body types to myself. I try and look for women who dress well and accentuate their positives in the hope that I could find my own positives to accentuate. My husband is indispensible in this regard. He’s only too happy to ogle pretty women in the name of making me feel better.

What I’ve found is that there are SO many differences in us ladies that it is impossible to find your body twin.

A recent realisation struck me while having a discussion with a colleague. I found out that we wear the same size! But the difference is this: she’s just gone up a size, whilst I’ve just gone down a size.

How does this affect us? Her weight gain makes for a much firmer body than my weight loss. Whereas I’ve lost fat (hurrah!) and therefore become somewhat more jiggly, she’s gained fat (boo!) and yet only the size changed – not the skin.

It’s a strange realisation when you think that surely it should be the other way around. If I’m getting skinnier, how come I look like a fatter and flabbier size 12 than my colleague who has put on 7 lbs in the last two months? It seems unfair. Especially when we show up to work in the same dress, and her body looks amazing, and I feel lumpy and unpleasant.

I wouldn’t trade my new body for anything. Unless of course it’s a tighter and smaller new body. J But it does make you think about how hard it is to compare yourself to others.

Even my mother, who had gastric bypass and had almost identical body type to mine and lost pretty much the same amount of weight looks completely different to me.

So how do I figure out how to dress for MY body type?

The truth is that there’s no such thing as a body type. My body is mine and there isn’t another like it. What works for me isn’t going to work for the next girl. And the styles I choose for myself may not belong in the pages of Vogue. But I will wear what makes me feel good. What allows me to look in the mirror without wincing.

Men may objectify me. Women may judge me. But I CAN feel good about how I look without being stuck up, vain and arrogant.

Life is too short to worry about everyone else. Today I will worry about me.

Oh Me, Oh My

Wow. My original plan for today was to get up and do a yoga DVD or some other exercise with my husband. Since I have the day off from C25K, I figured that keeping fit in some other way would be useful. I didn’t count on waking up feeling like my whole body had been beaten with a big stick!

In my case, the moniker “Couch to 5K” is particularly apropos. I literally haven’t done any exercise in months. It’s a shame, as I realise that if I’d done more along the way, my weight would be even lower by now. But I didn’t. And since I can’t change the past, I am looking to change the future!

Anyway, whenever a new exercise regime is established, I do think it’s important to start slowly and build up in case you either injure yourself or become overwhelmed. I thought I’d be okay with a bit of yoga, as it’s low impact. But in the end, I just decided to have today as an “off” day.

This evening I have an appointment with my GP to discuss the results of a blood test I had done recently. I’m trying to establish once and for all whether or not I am diabetic. If I am, there are things I need to be doing. If I’m not, I get to have an occasional piece of chocolate! 🙂

The Dreaded Doctor Visit

So I just got back from the doctor. She was running half an hour late, so it took AAAAGES. But worth the wait as I love my doctor. 😉

Anyway, the results came back and *drumroll please*




This is such awesomely amazing news, that I nearly didn’t hear the rest of it…

As it turns out, I have reactive hypoglycemia, low white blood cells, and HYPOTHYROIDISM!


I guess this means that my previous high weight actually had an excuse!  I have to go back to have further blood work in a couple of weeks just to verify things, but as soon as they verify it, I’ll have to take a pill for the rest of my life.

The white blood cell thing also explains why I’ve been sick so often.

It’s good to finally have some answers. And now I can go back to having the occasional piece of dark chocolate! Huzzah!

Dangerous Dinners

Last night I did something stupid. REALLY stupid. COLOSSALLY stupid.

It’s something that, if done again, could lead me down a path which I would never want to revisit.

Since my surgery, I have had the odd take-away meal from McDonalds or somewhere similar. Generally, this involves ordering a small fries and a plain cheeseburger. I remove the bun, eat MOST of the burger/cheese and about half the fries. This works well. It makes me feel “normal” without causing any real problems.

My husband has recenty been struggling with his diet. He’s not fat by any stretch, but he’s been feeling less in shape than he wants to be. But he struggles with motivation to start eating healthily again. Last week, he came to the decision that he wanted to pick a day and REALLY start going for it on the diet/exercise front. I offered to help support him, and I advised him (perhaps badly) to get all the treats out of his system and then buckle down as of Monday (today). He thought this a great idea and set about drinking a lot of beer, eating a lot of curry and looking forward to the coming week of healthful living.

Unfortunately, he had four days to fill before Monday came around.  Perhaps we both should have known better than to plan in this way. I know only too well that putting off a healthy life is all too easy to do. It’s simple to tell ourselves “this is the last time I will eat this way… I better have that ENTIRE pizza tonight, or I’d better have TWO curries to get it out of my system…”  There’s even a term to describe it: “Last Supper Syndrome.”

Believe me, I’ve had my fair share of “last suppers.” Every diet that I’ve ever tried was preceeded by DAYS worth of overeating in anticipation. It got to be a running joke for anyone who knew me.

But back to last night. In the anticipation of starting up HIS healthful living regime, I somehow let my husband’s Last Supper syndrome influence ME. I started to feel that come Monday, I should begin a healthful eating plan, as well. I have been indulging in Dr Pepper a lot lately, which I want to stop, and as mentioned I have eaten a few take-away meals and eaten a bit of ice cream (Skinny Cow or Diabetic versions, but ice cream nonetheless!), which has not been helping my weight loss. So Monday became D-Day for both of us. And without even thinking, I became part of the Last Supper mentality.

So last night, Ross and I drove to McDonalds. I had been anticipating a small Shamrock Shake, but UK McDonalds don’t tend to have them. I had wanted a small sip of one to satiate my craving, and the rest I was going to give to Ross. I ended up ordering my usual plain cheeseburger, but this time I decided on a MEDIUM fries. And to top it off, I bought a Toffee Sundae to go with it!  Ross had already decided to get a burger and fries from a different establishment, but upon seeing my Toffee Sundae, he decided to order one, too!

Once we’d got his food and returned home, I set about eating my food. I started with the fries (a big no no! protein first, kiddies!), eating them slowly at first, and then shoveling them down my gullet. Then, I removed the bun and ate the burger. All of this took less than 5 minutes. As a meal for me SHOULD take half an hour or more, I really was stupid to have eaten in this way. I knew I wouldn’t fit the ice cream quite yet, so I waited.  My husband ate his meal with relish, and both of us watched TV during the proceedings (another big no no! food should be focussed on – we eat a lot more when distracted!).

After about half an hour (not NEARLY long enough), I started on the sundae. And I did NOT take my time. I devoured 3/4 of the thing in about 3 minutes. And that’s when I suddenly realised my folly. What was I DOING to myself??

I had once again fallen victim to “Last Supper Syndrome,” but I had done it in the most idiotic way possible. Not only was I endangering my health by eating such unhealthy food, but I was endangering my body immediately by forcing too much food into my much smaller stomache. I could have ruptured it! It is DANGEROUS to do what I did. Yet I never allowed myself to think of the repercussions.

As you can imagine, I spent a good few hours in the bathroom, with vomiting, diarrhea and intense stomach pains. I wound up taking a long hot bath to try to make myself feel better, but all that happened is my heart rate increased hugely, and my nose kept running. I sincerely wondered if I needed a hospital.

Luckily for me, I was okay in the end. I went to bed and immediately passed out, and when I awoke this morning, I felt a lot better… at least physically.

Mentally I’m struggling. How could I have let myself go through all of that. Have I learned nothing since surgery? This is the OLD Katie at work. I should never have been that weak as to allow myself to lose track of all that I’ve accomplished.

That said, it goes to show that surgery is not a fix-all. It is merely a means to an end. If we cannot get our eating habits under control, we WILL gain the weight back. We must choose to have “enough” rather than “plenty.” We must choose protein over carbs. We must choose healthy over junk.

Today I start over again, and I promise myself (for whom else should I promise?) that I will not allow myself to fall into old traps.

Fat Acceptance

I read an article this afternoon entitled Overweight Women: To be Celebrated? Or Shamed? It got me thinking about my own thoughts on the matter.

When creating this blog, I filled my blogroll with a lot of useful links to weight loss websites. I also created a category I called “Inspiration.” You can see them in the right hand sidebar if you look.  Many of the blogs in this category are of other surgery survivors, as well as women who have lost weight through more traditional means.  I find them inspiring to me, and I hope you do, too.

That said, I also have links in the same category of women who are overweight and happy about it! They are healthy and vivacious and in control of their lives, and I’ve no doubt they would still be so if they were bigger or smaller. They are women who accept themselves unconditionally and are to be lauded.

Still, my thoughts on fat acceptance are many and varied. On the one hand, I applaud anyone who can be a positive role model for the overweight. Especially when they can show that they are not simply lazy gluttons, but women with full lives which include healthy eating choices and moderate exercise. I do not base whom I find attractive (male OR female) on the size or shape of a person. I do judge based on whether the person takes care of him/her self. Do they make an effort with clothing/makeup/hair, etc?

I have several girlfriends who have never had a problem with their weight. Some of them are model thin, and others are curvy in the exact right places. But being thin is no guarantee of being attractive.

I even know a set of identical twins who couldn’t be more different in how they are viewed by the opposite sex.  Bianca* uses a straightening iron on her hair each day. She gets up early to put on her makeup, and she dresses with style in the most recent fashions.  In contrast, her twin Bella* will only put in extra effort if she is forced to do so for work. She generally rises an hour later than Bianca, and she wears makeup only on special occasions. She leaves her hair with its minor wave in it, and usually she wears it in a ponytail.  Both of these women are gorgeous. Despite the levels of effort they put in, there is no denying that they are twins. Anyone could see it. Yet Bianca is the one who always gets asked to dance in clubs. She gets free drinks wherever she goes, and she could have a different date every night of the week.  There’s even a difference in how men describe them. Bella is often referred to as “beautiful” while Bianca has been described most often as “hot.”

In the same vein, I have two friends who are sisters (though not twins) who are both overweight. The younger of the two wears makeup daily, gets her hair cut at a salon every 6 weeks, and buys clothes to update her wardrobe as often as she can reasonably afford it. The older sister makes no effort whatsoever. Her hair is extremely long but is in terrible shape with split ends and dandruff. She wears no makeup, and she can usually be found wandering around in cheap sweat pants and a stained t-shirt. She is in her early 30s, but she looks older, and she hasn’t had a date in years, despite the fact that she was once married to an attractive man.  Standing side by side the two sisters have an incredible likeness. Their facial structure is similar, and their body shape is nearly identical. But the younger one is full of life, and she has a new boyfriend every couple of months.

Basing attractiveness and/or health on how someone looks doesn’t always work. Two women of the exact same build could be seen by the same man, and he may have a very different response to each.  My own husband has shown me that men can be completely contradictory in this regard.

A few days ago, we were driving down the road when we saw a larger woman in baggy sweats, hair in ponytail, walking down the street with no makeup and a cigarette in hand. My husband made a disgusted noise and pointed her out as “an uggo.” Of course I gave him a smack and told him how rude that was, and he apologised for voicing his thoughts out loud. He realised I might find that offensive.  A day or two later, he saw a picture of a very nude Beth Ditto in a magazine, and he commented on how one of the pictures was actually quite appealing. Never mind that Beth Ditto is a LOT heavier than the woman we’d seen earlier in the week. Never mind that her rolls were on display for everyone to see without even a baggy sweatsuit to cover her “offensive” body. For some reason my husband saw a difference in the two women.  I have no doubt it had to do with the difference in the effort put in by the two women.

In this day and age, we are all warned of the associated health risks of being overweight. Diabetes, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, hypertension, etc are all problems associated with the obese.

But how about this? My BMI right now is FOUR pounds away from being a “normal” weight. I am overweight by FOUR pounds. And I’m on my way DOWN. Some women who are overweight by four pounds are on their way UP the BMI chart, where health problems may become a worry. But here’s the kicker – yesterday morning I weighed in at 170 lbs.  By 8 PM, I weighed in at 176. That’s 6 pounds in the space of ONE day.

Last week I was on my period, and my weight was almost 10 lbs heavier than normal. Weight fluctuates. It happens to EVERYONE based on what we eat and drink or even what time of the month it is.  So even if I hit a normal weight, losing four pounds, the likelihood is that later the same day I’d be back to being overweight!

The answer according to doctors is to get my weight down enough so that when it fluctuates by four or five pounds, I’ll STILL be a normal weight.  And of course at the end of the day, that IS my aim. I don’t yet look the way I want to. I’m not the size I want to be. I still have around 30 lbs to go. Because my ideal weight for MYSELF is not just “normal.” It is small enough so that if/when I faint, my husband can catch me without hurting his back. It’s being able to fit into a smaller sized dress so that I don’t stand out in my crowd of friends as “the big one.”

Right now I’m the healthiest I’ve been in my whole adult life. Sure I could make better decisions. The tiny slice of apple pie with a side of cheddar that I had at 9:30 last night was not smart. But I’m healthy enough that I can have the occasional off day. It won’t kill me. But if I decide to have a slice of pie and cheddar EVERY night at 9:30, I start down a road that I will find hard to recover from.

I guess my point is that right now I am comfortable with my weight. I want to be smaller, but I’m 88 lbs down from my heaviest, and I’ve already done better than I thought I would.   Life is not to be lived by only doing the bare minimum we need for survival. Sure I could live on a tiny portion of fish and brown rice day in and day out, but my life wouldn’t really be nearly as much fun.