Her eyes still look sad, although she’s doing very well. When I think of her living at the edge of the woods, trying to survive, it makes me sad, but also very grateful that I was able to bring her home, and change her life…
All my cats are rescues, but Leona, I literally trapped.
I drive to work at 4:30 in the morning, still very dark, and the first leg of my journey is on a country road bordered by woods on both sides. It’s a tricky stretch, winding and hilly with no homes, no buildings, just trees. Usually it’s deer I’m watching for, but in late July I saw a little kitty crouching by the side of road, watching me drive by, and I knew someone had dumped him or her. It was there again the next day, and I resolved to trap the wee one.
My first attempts were unsuccessful, but I did leave some food for the wee one. It seemed small, maybe six or eight months old.
One morning, the food remained uneaten, and I stopped seeing the kitty. Days went by with no sightings, and food untouched. As much as I hoped perhaps someone else had caught the wee one…it was entirely probable she’d succumbed to a predator or been injured and unable to recover…I walked the length of the road where I’d seen her, looking for any sign, but there was none. After nearly I week, I mostly gave up.
And there she was, in a new spot along the same stretch of woods, looking up at me as I drove by with those big green-gold eyes. I had to trap her.
That Friday evening, I set up a trap in the woods in the area where I’d most often see her. There’s nowhere to pull off on this road, so I parked on an adjacent, even more country road, and walked up the hill to the spot, with all my supplies. Trap, bowl with both canned and rotisserie chicken, towel to cover the trap…
I checked it before sunset; no kitty. Checked at sunrise Saturday morning. Saturday afternoon I switched the food for fresh. Checked Sunday morning at first light - the kitty had tripped the trap but had not gotten in. Damn! I reset it and went home…returned at 11 a.m. and - success! A very angry little kitty was in the trap!
Brought her home, transferred the wee one to a crate with food, water and a little litter box. She was very mad, and very scared, but she ate and used the litter right away.
I was so grateful that the wee one was now safe, and would get any help it needed, plus a full belly and lots of love. I’d find it a new home, too, where it would be cherished.
Next day, off to the Vet for a check up, medicine to kill fleas, ticks, etc., and to be spayed/neutered. The wee one is a female! And…she’s 5-6 years old, just tiny. And probably malnourished. And…she had an old injury that had healed: a broken jaw. It’s on her lower left side. I declined to have it wired, didn’t want to cause her more pain. The Vet said she’s obviously able to eat, and probably not in any discomfort.
When I brought her home, still in the crate, and watched her eat/drink, I noticed there’s a little hole under her wonky jaw that had healed, but not closed, so food and water leaked out a little. We have an appointment to have that fixed.
Because she’s not going anywhere, but here.
She stayed in the crate for a day and a half, to heal, to be quiet…but then I brought her in to meet my cats. The thought of the little special needs kitty going anywhere else nearly had me in tears.
She wasn’t feral, she’d just been heartlessly abandoned in the woods. Did someone kick her jaw for it to be broken like that? It’s what seems most likely, but I’ll talk to the Vet about that.
Leona mostly hid for the first few days, under an overstuffed chair in the living room. The sound of a can of Fancy Feast being opened had her running to the kitchen for breakfast or dinner.
The other cats tolerated this tiny little being, but she never showed any fear of them. And she ate their food, greedily. Anything they left behind, she gobbled. Who could blame her? Good food was scarce for her, for weeks.
I spoke to her softly, encouragingly, and with a lot of love.
On the 5th day, she decided she was mostly done with hiding, and integrated herself into our home. She adores my male cat Owen, and she’s not afraid of Pi or Velveeta, all of which are twice her size.
Every day she becomes more confident, more sweet, more comfortable. My other cats seem to sense she’s been through some hard times, because the drama has been very, very low. Except for a hiss here and there, they’ve been gentle with her. Only Owen loves her…so far. But she’s only lived here for 12 day. No rush.
My heart swells with simple joy and gratitude every time I watch her groom, or eat, or cuddle with me while we watch TV. I love her, and I love that she’s here, with me. Whatever her past was, it’s gone.
A Vet once said, regarding healing, “it’s amazing what you can do with no sense of self pity.” Leona is adjusting to her new life, embracing it, and letting all this love flood her world. At first it was scary, but she welcomes it now. It’s inspiring. I’m so freaking glad she’s here.
Why the name Leona?
I asked for suggestions on Facebook, and my niece said Leo for a boy, Leona for a girl. I liked both, because she came into my world with the Sun in Leo, and I wanted her to be brave, strong and kind of heart, like a Leo.
She doesn’t seem to mind the name at all.
Is Vitamin A Really A Vitamin? Catching Up After A Year…
Time ticks, and clicks…and I haven’t been writing. No one reads this blog but me, and that’s OK. Some day when I’m long gone and no one pays for the domain name anymore, it’ll slip away somewhere in the Universe unseen, unknown, but forever a piece of what I once was floating through the inter-spaces. That’s kinda cool.
The brain zapper from Modius was/is a bust; used it for a year with no discernible changes or differences. I tried to believe in it, I really tried. And I used it faithfully. I was there pretty much at the beginning and they made great promises. Empty promises, as it turns out. My expectations were modest, I invested as a curious woman who wanted to see what, if anything, might happen.
Now, the Modius Facebook posts are all about nutrition, movement, lifestyle changes, eat the rainbow. So they’re telling you to diet and exercise. How is that different than any other weight loss product ever, anywhere?
Modius promised (in the beginning) that diet would take care of itself, because use of its headset would stimulate your hypothalamus which has been dormant or malfunctioning and that, in turn, would cause you to naturally lose weight. coughBScough. I was intrigued enough to shell out $300 for it…but my verdict: it’s a waste of money, and time.
On to better things.
There are other rabbit holes to dive into!
Like…what if someone discovered the reason we’ve seen such an explosion of autoimmune disorders over the past 40-50 years? There’s gotta be a reason, right?
And what if it’s something we’ve been completely wrong about for a long, long time?
Maybe it’s hopeful, too. And I’m all about hope. If there’s a chance for me to feel better, a chance to heal my Hashimoto’s and feel well for maybe the first time in my adult life, a chance to lift the brain fog of hypothyroidism, then I choose to take that chance.
The theory: Vitamin A isn’t a vitamin at all. It’s a toxin, in all its forms, including carotenoids and retinol (the worst of all). Our bodies are equipped to handle a little of this toxin, but in the past 40-50 years we’ve increased our consumption so much, our livers can’t handle it and our bodies become filled with “toxic vitamin a.”
Eat the rainbow? It’s just a good marketing slogan with no basis in science. We’ve been flooding our bodies with “vitamin A” from that rainbow, and from its source in so many other foods/supplements. All those essential oils are essentially concentrated “vitamin A.” And if you used acne products with retinol, damn.
It’s all explained so much better by the gentlemen who are researching this, Grant Genereaux and Dr. Garret Smith. I’m not shilling for either of these people; simply intrigued enough by their research to experiment on myself.
I’m six months into this program, and some remarkable things have happened.
The following is what I’ve written/noticed so far, from a little diary I’ve kept sporadically, about the experience:
4-20-19 Healing is Itchy
Get a scrape, get a scab, it’s itchy as it heals.
So is this VA Detox. Itchy.
I’m a about 9 weeks into this detox, and there were a few weeks that my legs were on fire with itchiness. My face was dry and itchy too. But I powered through it, concocted a few things to help (more on those later), and now it’s better. Improving. Interesting.
I started this program mid-February, and I’ve been pretty faithful to it. A few stumbles early on (yellow tomatoes were on a “No VA” list! But, turns out they’re a nightshade containing VA, so they’re gone), being as discerning as possible when eating out, sometimes a little too much bleu cheese on Saturday (very excited to see a little cheese added to the program!).
And one trip to visit & stay with family…which meant 5 days of being off the program.
So that’s 5 months. I’m due for a TSH test soon. Last TSH about 11 weeks ago was 3.6, while taking 2 grains of prescribed natural thyroid ( the generic version of Armour).
I’ve noticed some things on this low-no VA program. Are they attributable to the lack of VA? The elimination of most dairy? All the meat? I’ve eaten more meat in the last 5 months than I probably ate in 20 years. The elimination of nightshades? A combination of all of the above?
I don’t know. I only know I do feel…different.
The food is not fancy or glamorous, but it’s satisfying. I’m not dieting. I eat foods that I like. Maybe if I ate cauliflower in the evening instead of roasted potatoes, I’d lose weight, but fuck that. No more caloric restrictions, no more dieting. Diets don’t work.
But my body has changed, even though my weight has not. Since starting this program I’ve hovered around the same weight, within a four pound range. Yet I’ve noticed differences in the way my body looks. Tighter, I guess. Like maybe the fat is standing at attention, so it’s more compressed! Like my fat is holding in its own gut to look slimmer!
My face looks different too. The shape of it has shifted a little, and in a pleasant way. I’ve been watching carefully for any extra of the Hashimoto’s puffiness that accompanies being hypothyroid, but I swear I look less puffy than I ever have.
And are the outer corners of my eyebrows (stolen by hypothyroidism!) growing in a little? I’m watching that carefully.
I’m definitely less achy, and stronger. My knees, that have taken a beating over they years, feel pretty strong. Not “run a marathon strong,” or even “walk in high heels” but pretty good. And I don’t want to run marathons or wear heels anyway.
The edema in my left foot is not gone, but it’s become noticeably reduced (unless the weather is very humid).
My fingernails are a little stronger. When I was young, they were quite strong and grew quickly. But now that I’m post-menopausal, they’ve been brittle. It’s been impossible to get them to grow much at all; they’d just chip and peel. But they’ve been better in recent weeks, for the first time in a long time.
I just feel different, in ways that are developing, so I’m not even sure how to articulate it.
As for those five days off while on vacation at my family’s home in Virginia…I was curious about what would happen. Would my body react in noticeable ways to the addition of VA back into my food? The effects seemed to be cumulative. In other words, the first couple of days I didn’t notice anything. No unpleasant side effects, either. But after five days, there it was: increased inflammation. Inflammation that had seemed to be working its way into remission came screaming back. Correlation may not be causation but sometimes you’ve got to look the truth in the face and recognize it. The inflammation reemerged when eating VA (and dairy, and things like oils that were out of my control, and one night of seafood), and it’s been receding again now that I’m back on the program.
I’m a fat woman. I’ve always been some version of fat…even when I semi-starved myself into a size 8, my weight didn’t hit what doctors call “healthy,” according to their stupid charts. I would not have qualified as a “free meetings now that you’ve hit target weight” Weight Watchers member. I’d have to live on lettuce and laxatives to hit that sweet spot. And to maintain it, probably just the laxatives.
I’m not trying to be thin. I’m not doing this program to lose weight. I’m doing it because I want to feel good. It’s different than anything I’ve ever encountered. The early research that was available last fall was compelling enough to make me want to try it. What do I have to lose, I thought. It won’t hurt me. It’s restrictive program, with a goal of healing one’s body…not a “Get Thin! Fast!” diet designed to beat your body (and mind) into (temporary, always temporary) submission.
But my body feels fuller, faster, and remains so longer. I attribute this at least in part to the protein, the meat.
There’s more research now, that’s even more compelling. There’s no specific double-blind study on this particular program, but maybe some day there will be. For now my results are significant enough that I’ll continue, and see what happens.
Well, this is rather extraordinary, at least for me. Just got the latest TSH results. So 11 weeks ago my TSH was 3.6. When the numbers start going in that direction, they usually continue to do so without an increase in medication. This has been true for many years, since I’ve started paying attention.
The TSH reading today was…1.69. My TSH has never gone in the opposite direction (the right direction!) without an adjustment in meds. I’ll be tested again in four months or so.
People say my skin is glowing. Although, having a bit of a tan probably contributes to that. Haven’t worn foundation since being at the beach last month.
Please Change the F'n REcord 7-29-19
Please Change the F'n Record!!
Once upon a time before the world went digital, music was on records and we had record players. We'd fall in love with a song, then play it repeatedly till our parents or college roommates would yell "change the record!" Sometimes the grooves on the record would get dirty or scratched, causing the it to repeat the same note over and over and over again until someone came along and changed the record. "Change the record" became a phase that meant change the way you think, talk, or just switch up the conversation.
It's time to do something about the way we think of fat. I'm delighted to live in a world where the conversation and perception is changing, but it's still a battle. We have to be better to each other about fat!! Fat shouldn't be an adjective to describe someone. Every body has fat, some more, some less. As my friend Beth says, be glad you have fat, or you'd be dead!
Recent conversations about fat.
This with two average size women, while they're talking with me, a fat person. Because average sized people assume that fat people get it. Fat women especially know they're the enemy, they know their own wrongness and understand that rightness requires not being fat. To be valued, fat people must conform to the desire to achieve ridiculous beauty standards and join the conversations where we berate ourselves for not being the unachievable standard, but continue to act and talk like maybe we can get super skinny because that's the bestest way to be. So it's ok to talk to fat women about not being fat women because everyone knows not fat is best. Jaysus.
W1: Everything I eat makes me sick. But now my mother is mad at me because she's put some of her weight on and I've taken some of mine off. She always tells me when I look fat. Look see my tummy? It looks fat.
Me: Maybe you could both just be cool with who you are?
W2: Yeah my jeans are tight blah blah blah
You know this conversation, right? It just blathered on about body image and how bad fat is. Ignoring my advice to just enjoy your body and don't degrade it. Talking with ME,, a fat person, right there like I just don't care.
You know what? I don't care. Not anymore. I won't have people with that mentality in my life in any sort of meaningful way. Hate fat people? Move on.
Conversation about tummy tucks and skin removal after weight loss, with a tiny, skinny co-worker who really hates fat people, especially me:
Her: I know what they go through. I watch "My 600 pound life."
Me: I wanted to say well, I really know what they go through because I had a tummy tuck years ago, but she turned her back and walked away from me like she always does, before I can respond, because fat people and their opinions don't matter to her.
CHANGE THE RECORD. Because we're here to stay, and some of us are awesome people. And we're not gonna take your BS.
There is no right or wrong here, people. And don't even go to the "but you're not healthy" crap. I've addressed that in this blog many times. The old way of thinking just doesn't hold water anymore.
So Why Am I Doing This?
I keep saying things like "It's all about loving the skin you're in. It's not only ok to be fat, it's ok to love yourself, and expect others to love you, too.""
So why am I using a "brain zapper" for weight loss, if I've made peace with myself?
I'm a work in progress.
I'm getting a little o-l-d-er and have some creaky bits that might be less creaky if I weighed a little less.
All of the above are true. I'm not trying to "get lean" - which is the Modius Health slogan. Lean is not in my DNA.
Science knows that diets don't work in the long run. Does this device work? It's new, the technology is new, so no one knows for sure. All I can do is report and share.
So here's this week's update with another pop-up appearance from Owen, who wants to be a star!!
Brain Zapper for Weight Loss Update...and why I"m not dieting...
Got on the scale Friday...but prior to that a few folks asked me if I'm dieting...and when I said no, they wondered why not. One dude even chastised me: Life is short and it saddens me that you are not doing more with this device, please diet - is the essence of what he said.
So I said: Life is too short for you to be saddened by anything I do, or don't do.
If you want do diet, go for it. I've done 'em all and they don't work in the long run. I've written about that before...scroll down..
Here''s this week's update, my friends...
Brain Zapper Update and Thoughts on Bullying Fat People
I had an incident this week that left me feeling lots of feels. Angry, annoyed, hurt...because if someone degrades or bullies a fat person, they're bullying me, they're bullying all of us. I won't have those people in my life anymore. None of us should...
It's a foggy winter Sunday,; chilly but feels good after weeks where the days rarely made it to twenty degrees. A good day for comfort food...
So I thought I'd try Oprah's new line of "healthy" favorites, specifically her mashed potatoes with a hint of cauliflower. I was surprised when she launched a food line (what, she needs more money?!). Why is Oprah selling us "healthy versions" of fave foods? I've never been convinced that processed, packaged food made for the microwave can be healthful, or taste very good. But I was willing to try.
And a surprise on the scale with my Brain Zapper for Weight Loss update!
Brain Zapper for Weight Loss, session #41. Update + the new gal!
Velveeta is my new girl! She's about two years old, found out in the cold by a kind soul who runs an animal rescue. She'd already been spayed, and was in good health, but no one was looking for her. So I brought her home. I know in my heart Albert would be glad that I brought more love into my home after he passed.
They were calling her Harley, but the name didn't seem to fit. I was driving her home for the first time on a snowy late December day and it just seemed right to call her Velveeta. She's sweet and sassy, loves to cuddle but she's very playful too. Owen is obsessed with her, and I think they'll become close.
So how's it going with the Brain Zapper? Here's the latest:
Slow and Steady Wins the Race? Update - My Brain Zapper for Weight Loss
From last Friday to this past Friday, the scale said I was down 3/4 of a pound.
Doesn't sound like much.
But experience has taught me that when the scales show a big loss, say 3, 4, 5 or more pounds in a week, we've done something that probably isn't sustainable. We severely restricted something, and eventually our bodies will rebel against that.
Modius Health never promised quick weight loss. In fact, just the opposite. I'm ok with that, because I hate dieting and severe restrictions. So if my brain zapper helps to lower my weight set point just by stimulating my hypothalamus...cool.
Here's an update after 15 sessions. Plus my magic boots!
I Went Down the Rabbit Hole...
I got on the scale.
I hate the scale. I won't even let them weigh me at the Doctor's office.
It's just a stupid number that we've been known to let make or break our day. Even when I wore those tiny little size 8 Juniors jeans, I really didn't know how much I weighed.
Because it wasn't enough. The number is never low enough.
It's not a good measurement for how much we love ourselves, or let others love us.
But I felt that while experimenting with my Brain Zapper for Weight Loss, it was a necessary tool for gauging changes in my body. Not the only tool, but one of them. I know for some, my results would always be questionable without some numbers.
Yeah, so I got on the scale and guess what? No one died! I just shrugged my shoulders and thought, ok, it's ok. And moved on with my day.
But something interesting happened...
Maybe things just got interesting? Or maybe just a coincidence. Time will tell. I'll keep you posted...
I haven't felt I've had a lot to say about Body Positivity for a while. There are so many advocates now! It's a really interesting time to be a fat person (or a person whose body or appearance is different than what glossy magazines tell us is the definition of beauty).
There are billions of definitions of beauty. Let's not limit ourselves...
And things are changing. People are embracing their bodies and empowering themselves in ways I never imagined when I was a kid. My mom took me to Lane Bryant like it was some kind of walk of shame.
But some days are challenging. We're faced with a constant barrage of messages, images, advertising, misinformed loved ones...all wondering why we're still fat.
Get a bunch of women together and pretty soon we're bonding by saying disparaging things about our own bodies. My boobs are too small. My boobs are too big. I'm fat I'm fat I'm fat I'm fat I'm fat. All women say they're fat. Even the thin ones. I once was handing out costumes to teenagers for a Halloween event, and one girl looked at her costume and said "Oh I can't wear that, I'm too fat!" I'm guessing she was a size zero. Seriously.
In August I read an article about a brain zapper for weight loss, developed by neuroscientists in the Ireland, Scotland and England. Their company is called Modius Health, and they were crowd funding a headset that would stimulate areas of the brain that influence appetite and metabolism. This sounded intriguing and potentially revolutionary.
I asked myself: if I could lose weight by changing some perceptions through brain stimulation, would I do it?
Yeah, yeah I would. I ordered it that same day, knowing it wouldn't ship till October. There were delays and I just received it on 11/30.
I'm gonna blog and vlog about it. Today is Day #2 with my brain zapper. You can feel it...
This is when it arrived, opening the package:
Here's Day #2:
I consider this an experiment...I'll keep you informed!
Why Do Thin People Hate Fat People So Much?
It seems the battle rages on...while our numbers grow and ignorance breeds contempt.
This week a Playboy model took a photo of a naked woman at her gym and posted it online with the caption "if I can't unsee this neither can you." From what I could tell the woman had a pretty average body, but now, without her permission, the world has seen it. One stupid skinny girl thought it was OK to shame someone else's naked body because it didn't look like hers, Can I get a big WTF?
She's back-tracking now, saying that it was an accident that it got posted, was only supposed to be part of a private conversation, blah blah BS. Even if that were true (it's not), she still took a photo of a naked woman w/o her permission, so that she could make fun of her body. And now that woman has to live with all this uninvited crap. Dear Playboy model: you're just another mean girl, doing mean girl things, and now you've probably devastated an innocent woman. Delete your social media accounts.
I'm bigger than you, Playboy model, so I'd like to forgive you., but it's not my forgiveness you need.
What do we do, when faced with such hatred for our bodies? Why is our definition of beauty so narrow? Bodies are all pretty much the same, more or less. Seriously, science doesn't understand FAT yet so no one else should presume to know, either. Everything you think you know is probably wrong.
I see people post photos of fat women on fb and other social media, just so they can poke fun at them. Do you realize the color of your soul when you do that?? Comments like "kill me now" or "she should just die" start piling up below those pics and my heart weeps.
How dare a fat woman love her body?! How dare a fat person be confident in her appearance?!
FAT is not the worst thing you can be. Hateful is far uglier, in my opinion.
Challenge your beauty standards. Open your mind to the possibility that you're wrong about fat people.
Recently I was with some relatives, and one of them said "wait till you see _____, she's looks so good! Not that she's lost any weight but...."
Later, same relative, to me: "Oh but you looked so pretty in that picture [when you weren't fat], not that you don't look pretty now but..." I added the unspoken words "when you weren't fat" because that's the time period she was referring to. It took about 800, maybe a thousand calories a day, and a lot of abuse to my body, to look like I did for a brief period of time. (See earlier posts for more details...)
It's crushing to hear those things. To know that someone loves me more, or appreciates me more, when I fit their standard of beauty. Words like that echo through our hearts forever...we never forget them. Ever.
Why do our bodies offend you so much?
On the other had, a beautiful big curvy woman made the news last week for wearing a bikini on the beach and nobody died. She rocked it!
Hallelujah for some good news. Time for breakfast...
Vindication, Baby! From the New York Times!
The bodies of fat people want to stay fat. Dieting eventually makes you fatter, and your body less efficient. Science doesn't understand fat.
My friend Beth Skyped me yesterday -- Hey, did you see the article? The one about almost all of The Biggest Losers regaining weight? All the things you've been saying for a couple of years are echoed in that article.
Oh yeah. I read it several times.
Read it for yourself on the New York Times website. It's important to really read it, and not just rely on the spins that other media gave the article. Then read some of the other articles I've linked on this little blog o mine.
Damn, it feels like vindication! Lots of professionals have been screaming this news for a long time -- diets don't work and they wreck your body! Now, finally, mainstream media is starting to listen, and report.
I hope this is a step in the direction of loving ourselves more, loving others more, and accepting that we come in a rainbow of packages called bodies. Let's celebrate our differences!
And THANK YOU to everyone involved in the New York Times article...it's a start.
Because...FAT IS THE NEW BLACK, BABY!! Let's have a drink and celebrate!
May the Fourth Be With You, 2016
Why Doesn’t She Just Shut Up And Get The Operation?
Overheard at the hair dresser’s the other day, spoken by a thin-ish middle age blonde. Tall. Pretty sure she has no clue what it’s like to walk a mile in our shoes.
Because if you’ve never been fat, you have no idea. You might think you do, but you do not. If you’ve never been plagued with a nickname berating you for your weight -- Baby Beef, Porker Peggy, Lard Ass -- then please shut up. I hope you winced while reading those nicknames. They hurt and scarred us badly. Why do we want to perpetuate meanness over something so misunderstood?
We’re different than you. We don’t really know why. Science isn’t sure either. But thin people treat fat people in specific ways, and if you’re not fat, and if you’ve never been fat, you don’t know. You just don’t.
My hairdresser was finishing the woman’s ‘do, and we chatted while I waited. One of them brought up Oprah, she’d just made something like $12 million dollars in half an hour, after her “I love bread” commercial aired.
“Why doesn’t she just shut up and get the operation?” said the blonde. She was kind of mocking, but her ignorance was sincere.
Is that what skinny people think is the “cure” for what makes us different? We’re so wrong somehow, that we need an expensive, dangerous operation that often has lifelong side effects that are pretty nasty, like chronic diarrhea. Don’t take my word. Google it.
And hey, I'm sitting right here. I know you can see me. Do you mean I, too, should just shut up and get the operation because I'm fat? Is it ok to say mean, ignorant things about fat people while around fat people, because fat people don't matter as much? They should just shut up and get the operation, right?
And that operation often doesn’t work. I know at least 5 people who have had some sort of gastric surgery. Four of them have gained all, most, or more of their weight back. One had the surgery recently, so only time will tell.
Pop star Carnie Wilson had it. She got thin-ish for a while, but gained back a lot.
Most of us do.
I don’t think that woman meant to be rude. But hey, fat person sitting right here! Behind you! Message received: if you’re fat, shut up and have the operation.
How about this instead: If you’re fat, speak up, and dance! Or whatever you want to do.
But let’s redefine beauty, and power, and move on from this hateful madness. It’s absurd.
20 February 2016
Gotta stop reading those "SUCCESS" stories...
I've devoured those stories of personal triumph against fat for years! I so, so wanted to be one of those smug people, saying "guess what I did? I lost a million billion pounds of fat and now I'm worthy! Here's what I did to say goodbye to that ugly disgusting mutant fat forever..."
Then I became that person. A couple of times.
It's pretty much all the same story of restriction and deprivation. Just. Say. NO. To carbs, fat, sugar, gluten, whatever. Blah blah blah.
One of the "newly thin" stories I read recently was written by a young woman (presumably a first-timer) who said she was confused about the recent fat acceptance movement. Her body was sick and bad when it was fat...why would anyone want to accept that?
Every time I read these personal accounts of 100+ pounds lost, I think: "how long?" How long till he or she gains back all the weight...and then some. Most of us do. Our bodies seem to demand it. We don't know why.
I really admire the young women who are leading the charge, changing the world's perception about being fat. We don't have to listen to people who don't like us for being...different. We just need to stop the true madness: believing that fat is somehow wrong, or bad, or ugly. Rewrite beauty standards...and just freaking enjoy life, loving ourselves!
Is that all?!
Time to reeducate ourselves, too. Science doesn't really understand fat, or the obesity paradox...
Read about it, google it, and weep happy tears...
I was an After... for a little while…and my friend Timberli thought I should write about that. I appreciate the gentle push…
This entry is hard to write, because so many people, I’m sure, see me as a failure. I’ve seen it in their eyes. I could almost hear their whispers: wow…she put a lot of weight back on. Why couldn’t she keep it off? She failed. I thought I was a failure, too. Taking off about 140 pounds: Winning! Getting fat again: Loser. Loser in the bad way. The good loser loses weight.
But the thing is, at my lowest weight, I never looked in the mirror and felt satisfied. I felt damn good in those little-ish jeans, but I knew I’d look better if they were smaller. That After girl was smug and confident and insecure and critical. And hungry. And afraid of food. Obsessed. A big ball of all-messed-up.
And before I go any further, I’m compelled to say that nothing I write here should be misconstrued as “skinny shaming.” Whoever you are – purple, thin, fat, short, tall, gay, straight, trans – I don’t care. If you’re happy and you’re basically doing good things on this earth, if you’re kind to me, chances are, I’ll be kind to you.
Just don’t let me drink too much Jameson on a Saturday night, and everything will be copacetic.
The After girl used a hypnosis technique to get there, and I’ll have a video on this site that talks a little bit more about that. I saw a mention for Paul McKenna’s I Can Make You Thin on a website, and was intrigued. The book came with a hypnosis CD. I wanted it. It was only available in England, not yet published in the U.S. Thank goodness for Amazon UK and speedy international delivery.
I listened to that CD every day, half an hour of reprogramming my mind to eat, behave and think like a thin person. Lo and behold…it was working. As the weeks went by and the weight slipped off, I grew more confident.
Snap! This was the ticket! Hooray – I’d solved the puzzle! Thin for life! Effortlessly, because I had a thin person’s brain now! Just don’t eat! OK, eat a little bit but not very much! Yay! Hocus Pocus, I was different now!
(Note: I’m emphatically not suggesting that thin people don’t eat, or think that they shouldn’t eat. Honestly I have no idea how the mind of anyone besides myself works, and I’m not real sure about mine, either. It was just my perception at the time. It’s a shame we can’t walk a mile in each other’s shoes.)
I lost lots of weight pretty quickly. Funny – I insisted that I said goodbye to the weight, because lost things tend to be found again. Lost weight? The fat girl at my back was hiding, holding on to all those pounds, and she’d return them to me one day if I didn’t banish them forever. Not lost at all, the weight would be returned to me. Little did I know…
After all, my weight issues were ALL IN MY MIND, the hypnosis proved it!
I contacted Paul McKenna, the man who designed and recorded the program. He’s very wealthy and a bit of a celeb in England, less so here in the U.S. Told him my story, and said thank you, sir! You’re my miracle! Hallelujah!
And so I became one of his American Before & After success stories. He made the rounds of talk shows, and invited me to appear on “The Bonnie Hunt Show” and “Doctor Oz.” There might even be video clips floating around the internet. I don’t have pics of me at the Oz studios, but I think I found two from Bonnie Hunt.
By the time I made it to Oz, a little of the weight had crept back on. Just a little. Then a little more. And a little more. What was I eating before, and after, and after the after? If you’re reading this, you’ve probably walked a path similar to mine, and you get it.
I’d been semi-starving myself for a long time. Eating and enjoying food again –albeit with guilt – was scary and…good. I love food.
The hypnotist contacted me about making an infomercial, and invited me to be one of his success stories. They couldn’t pay me to do a testimonial, but his company would fly me to Manhattan, put me up in a nice mid-town hotel, pay all my expenses including a daily stipend for food. Plus I’d have cool bragging rights for my morning radio show.
I told them I’d regained some weight, went through an interview process, sent some current pics and they said you’re still a success, come to New York.
Pics above from the Infomercial shoot with Paul McKenna...he was a lovely man and maybe his system works forever for some people, but not for me...and not for the lovely woman pictured with me
To the best of my knowledge, that infomercial never aired anywhere. I have to guess that there were just too few of us able to maintain a dramatic weight loss. None of us at the shoot were thin. All of us were different levels of curvy; we didn’t look like those sensational, unrealistic, slick After photos in magazines. One lovely woman traveled from Atlanta to share her story, although she’d regained every pound she’s lost, and then some. She was a very big, beautiful, sassy and confident African American woman, and I liked her a lot. Heads turned for her wherever she went, and she was really talented at not noticing. But in no way was she weight loss success story.
By the way, full disclosure: one of the things no one talked about (until recently) is that weight loss generally equals sagging skin like a Shar Pei puppy. I was no different, and my insurance covered skin removal from my tummy, which is why it looks flat in so many of the After photos.
Every day I stumble upon After stories about someone who’s lost over 100 pounds. I read them, and think, show me the Later stories.
September 7, 2015
Started to read a novel yesterday. The stalker bad guy was fat. So I decided not to read it.
The mom of a co-worker loaned it to me; she thought I might like it, because she did.
The author used fat as a way to repulse us, because apparently being a sicko stalker who kidnaps a pop star isn't repulsive enough. No one else in the book was fat. Only the really bad dude.
How many fat people are fabulous in our entertainments? Books, movies, TV shows, radio hosts...
Let's change that. Write new books, TV shows, make movies, and make your heroines beautiful, fabulous curvy women who rock the world. Just do it.
Maybe to change the story of our lives, we have to write it.
I'll watch, read, buy, and share.
August 29, 2015
"Project Photoshop" Vs. "It's All In Our Genes"
Two stories in the news this week that had a profound affect on lots of us big girls...
The first is "Project Photoshop" -- and I'll not be using its real name. I'd rather not give it any more credence, because it's based on such pure ugliness. Their facebook page has been taken down and banned, but not before it gained 8000 likes in just a few days.
"Project Photoshop" takes photos of fat women, and photoshops them into impossibly thin women, to "encourage them towards a more healthy lifestyle," and because thin is ever so much more beautiful than fat. ( <----- sarcasm )
The conveniently anonymous person (or persons) behind "project photoshop" says that by embracing our curves & loving ourselves, we're shaming thin women! Stop the thin shaming right now, YOU FAT UGLY PEOPLE.
Say what?! That's some damn twisted logic.
And the comments under the pics...so much meanness. So disheartening. There was a moment when I wanted to throw in the towel, dismantle this little blog of mine, and have a cry.
But then they'd win.
The shallow, ignorant people with an incredibly narrow perception of beauty, the people with ugly hearts spreading hate instead of love...they'd win.
Screw that. I'll eat them for breakfast.
Haters gonna hate. Shake it off. Lots of people have known hate, for ridiculous reasons, from the color of their skin to their nationality to their sexual preferences. And many of them have changed the world by not giving in or giving up. They valued their lives.
Let's continue to be absolutely fabulous. If you don't love me fat, you won't love me thin...so move on.
And keep in mind - they're not the only ones. All those folks who sell us snake oil weight loss products and books...they hate us too, and take our money in exchange for false promises. Don't buy that crap anymore. Demolish the billion dollar weight loss industry and maybe they'll finally sell us some cool stuff.
Which brings us to story #2. It's all in our genes.
Or at least one of them.
Read the article. Share it. Spread it around.
This is, literally, HUGE. HUMONGOUS. GARGANTUAN. IMMENSE. MONUMENTAL. In a really good way, too.
Did you hear that, haters? There's an OBESITY GENE. It's something we're born with, and probably affects all we do. It's in our genetic make up. It's not your over-simplified misconceptions of who we are and what we do, i.e. "it's a control issue, etc. "
I'm sure this means science will be working on drugs and treatment. I'm not necessarily advocating for treatments and "cures." But knowing something in our genes is different from something in the genes of naturally thin people is beyond profound.
It's proof of something we've known all along: we're different than thin people.
This is gratifying, people. This is affirmation, confirmation, liberation!
It might not be the whole picture when it comes to being fat, but it's certainly a piece of a part of a whole, and it's a story changer.
So rock on. Be ab fab. Love you.
August 23, 2015
A 2nd Helping of Who Am I, and Why Am I Here?
I'm here to help the healing. And it freaks me out a little.
A lot of people have been mean to us for a really long time.
We're an easy target, and I don't mean because we're big. It's because we're scared of mean people who don't like us because we're fat. It's because no matter what, it's hard to let go of the insecurity, especially for those of us of a certain age who were brought up to hide our bodies, to feel shame because of their size.
Some wonderful young women are changing all that! It's a process and a project, and I want to be part of it. It's exciting and scary and freeing.
My sister and I couldn't have been more different. We're both adopted, at different times, and from different DNA sources (no blood relatives in common). We ate the same food, lived active lifestyles in a middle class home, went to the same schools, watched the same TV. I liked Quisp, she like Quake, but I'm pretty sure the sugar content was the same. We used whole milk.
But look at our body types, and how different they are. We're 16 months apart. I'm a giant next to her.
My point is: we don't understand why we're different. We don't know why we don't have what some would call "control." We don't know why our off button is on a different setting from yours.
Science doesn't really know either. Science might say: you eat more calories, that's why you're fat. Except, I know lots of people who break that "rule." It's just not that simple...
My brother, for instance. He ate lots of greasy food with complete disregard to calories, fat, or nutritional value. We have pics of him devouring whole packages of cinnamon rolls as a snack. Dude was skinny as a rail till the day he died.
It's Monday, and I was having a crisis of commitment to this blog project of mine. Some days the mean people just get to me...and I think, why put myself out there? Why risk the bullies? The rejection? Should I just go on (another damn) diet?
The crisis started when I watched this pretty cool video by the website refinery29, then read some of the unkind comments about it, and fat people, on facebook...I can't post the video here, sorry, but the facebook link will take you to it. It's worth the watch. Some plus-size models discuss their bodies, and how they've worked against the doubts and the bullies, to love and accept their curves, their beauty.
I've also asked some friends to read this blog, as I prepare to launch it publicly. Some took the time, some didn't. Several asked me "Do you think women will be upset by the word fat?"
Sure. Sometimes the word upsets me too. I'm making peace with it. We have to take it back from the bullies. If we don't allow it to have mean power over us, then we've neutralized it.
Be ab fat. Absolutely Fatulous.
That's why I'm here. To be Ab Fat, and take you with me.
August 17, 2015
When Thin Girls Hate The Fat Girl…So They Poison Her
I promise everything I write on FITNB is truthful. I won’t hide or make up crap about myself. If I misstate something, I’ll correct it.
My life is my life, so I have to love it, love myself, make peace with what is, and what was.
I’m so grateful to you for reading, for letting me share my universe with you, that I don’t want betray your trust by lying or fictionalizing my life. I’ve painted my own canvas, and while I wouldn’t call it art, I’ll hope it’s engaging, maybe even entertaining, and that somehow, it’ll do some good in this world.
I remember this so well. The things that shape us, we never forget.
It was summer, and I was 7 or 8. Mom was at the feed store, running the family business, and Gran was in the house.
My sister and I were playing in the back yard with another friend or two. We lived on the corner of a sleepy side street, in a big white house with old shade trees and a wrought iron fence.
Two girls called to me from across the street. “Come over! We have something for you!” A few other younger kids stood behind them, like a curious posse.
I knew the girls, whom I’ll call Drizella and Tremaine, D and T for short. They were 4 or 5 years older, so about 12, maybe 13. They were just neighborhood girls with good parents living in nice houses in our small town. One of my best friends was D’s little sister; they lived across the street and just two houses away.
They called me again. I wasn’t allowed to cross the street without permission or an adult, so Drizella and Tremaine crossed to me, while the posse waited, watching.
“We have a treat for you!”
They held up a freeze pop, electric blue.
“It’s melted, so we’ll dump it down your throat. Open your mouth.”
Did they have to convince me? I don’t remember.
Windex. It was Windex in the freeze pop container.
They poured Windex down my throat. I do remember throwing up blue all over our powder room. I remember screaming in the emergency room. In those days, they pumped a kid’s stomach by wrapping her in a straight jacket and running a tube through her nose. One nostril is excruciatingly painful. The other is not.
Today a story like this might make headlines, but families were more private then. D’s punishment was to use her allowance to buy me a gift (coloring book, crayons), deliver it in person, and apologize. I didn’t receive a personal apology from T, to the best of my recollection.
D is a very successful woman now. Our paths cross from time to time and we make pleasant small talk. No idea about T. I’ve always said I don’t hold grudges, that we were all stupid kids who did stupid things. And I’d like to think that’s true: that I don’t hold a grudge.
But these are the things that shape us. And writing this has stirred up a little sadness for the chubby child who was poisoned because she was different.
Every day I see misconceptions about fat and fat people. Every day I see some sort of cruelty or prejudice. Every day I see women criticize their beautiful bodies in a misguided quest for a very narrow definition of what’s attractive.
August 12, 2015
The Fat Freak Show
Tess Holliday is absolutely fabulous. Gorgeous, confident, and rocking the modeling world in her big girl clothes. I only care what size she is because she's fat and she's owning it.
Does being fat define her? Oh hell yes, in the best possible ways. #effyourbeautystandards
So how dare a "model booker" call fat models like Tess a "freak show" with no future? The article appeared in Cosmopolitan, (a magazine that's been incredibly unkind to fat women, and to thin women as well, feeding into their body insecurities), and asserted that models representing the realistic body type of a fat woman is basically a flash-in-the-pan. Today's headline, tomorrow's trash. Use us today, bully us again tomorrow.
Oh honey, we're not going anywhere. Might as well get used to us. Come to our side. We have cookies!
If you believe the news, our numbers are growing. We're big and strong and we have money to spend. Sell us cool stuff for fat women, and we'll buy it!
I refused to buy from Lane Bryant for the longest time, because they used thin models in their catalog. Bah. How insulting. Thankfully, that's all changed. Now, happy, bouncy, curvy women with above-average good looks entice me to buy their clothes, so they can have some of my money. #Imnoangel
Coward. The person who called fat models a "freak show" chose to be an anonymous source, under the auspices of protecting his or her clients. Protect them from what? Insensitivity? Ignorance? Big bad fat women who might sit on them? If you can't own your words, if you can't stand by your opinions, then just shut up.
Seriously. Sell us cool stuff. We'll buy.
Repeat after me...
Correlation Is Not Causation.
That's important for us fat folks to learn, and know. It's ammo against ignorance.
Just because a thought is popular, does not necessarily mean it's true.
Peoples love to tell us that fat = illness. Correlation Is Not Causation.
Lots of skinny people are sick.
Lots of fat people are pretty darn healthy.
These two articles pretty much sum things up:
Here's the other:
The second article is written irreverently, but that's what makes me love it!
Before, and After, and After, and After Again...
Up and down, diet after diet. And they all work for a little while.
That first diet when I was a kid started a long tangled road of unworthiness, It's not much fun, either. I never wanted to be on those diets. After all, I had such a pretty face, what was all the fuss about?
Gotta love that back-handed compliment: You have such a pretty face! But why are you FAT? If you're fat you can't really be pretty, or desirable, or smart. You might be jolly, because fat people are jolly, right?
I was told that this was fat:
I was told that this is fat...
Adults kept putting me on diets. I got fatter. We all know that a lifetime of dieting just leads to more and more fat. I ended up pretty fat at various stages in my life.
I half-starved myself into a Junior's Size 9 jeans for a little while (but I still wasn't satisfied)...
Not gonna lie: it was fun wearing those jeans. But I wasn't happy. I was a lot of things, including smug.
Yeah, I had all the answers. I achieved diet success! Sort of. Because I wanted to weigh less. If I could just get another 20 pounds off...then I'd be ok.
All I had to do was not eat! Or eat boatloads of shirataki noodles! Slimy, nasty shirataki noodles that stink a little like fish that's a few days too old. Who cares? They have no calories! I can live on this crap!
But when you're in that zone, that crazy-ass diet zone, it's your entire life. You think it's easy. You're one of the cool kids. Everybody says "Congratulations! You look great!" You're suspicious of women who don't compliment you -- they're just jealous. You're suspicious of people who do compliment you -- did they love me less when I was fat?
I'm somewhere in between now. I eat well most of the time. My body feels pretty comfy.
And if you don't love me fat...you're not gonna love me thin. So...move on.
To Ditch, or Not To Ditch?
Don't ditch the pie. Never ditch pie. Pie is tasty.
Scales, on the other hand, can be ditched. It's easy. Open garbage, insert scale. Easy as...pie.
I've thrown out a lot of scales. Hopefully, I never will again, because hopefully, I'll never buy another. I know when my pants fit, or when they get tight, or loose. That should be enough.
I don't want to be owned by a number. When I obsess over the numbers, I wake up dreading the moment I step on the scale. Waking in dread!!
The mood of my entire day is determined by the morning process, and what the scale reveals.
Wake up. Take care of bathroom business -- the more garbage out, the better, for the lighter I will be. Remove all clothes. Disregard the mirror and any chance to glance at myself and say "I love you just the way you are. You rock!"
Digital scales have wiggle room. If I stand just a little to the left I get a more proper reading, right? I'm now one-tenth of a pound lighter. Hooray!
Or one-tenth of a pound heavier. Boo hoo.
Eventually, I get bored/exhausted/fatter/thinner-but-not-thin-enough...and lose interest in the scale. It's a beast, so I banish it to a spot under the desk in my bedroom, where I can't really see it.
It collect thick layers of dust. Dust helps kill the beast. Die, you ugly, cruel, mean digital beast.
Then I ditch it.
Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Something triggers me to go buy another...
At my thinnest, when I half-starved myself into a size 8/10, when I could buy a Junior's size 9 jeans, when I could actually fit into something from Abercrombie & Fitch (I didn't buy, just tried on), the scale was still the enemy!
I refused to weigh myself because it made me sad. I wasn't thin enough.
Fat + Scale = Sad.
Thin-ish + Scale = Sad.
Scale in garbage = Less Sad.
Less Sad! I think we have a winner!! Ding ding ding!
Ditch the scale.
And thanks to my skinny BFF Beth, who took the picture of pie on a scale. She eats a lot of pie.
Hypothyroidism...can I blame all the bad crap in my life on my thyroid?
Got it. Diagnosed in my mid-twenties, and what a relief that was.
Now I look back at the problems I was having in my late teens and early twenties, and recognize the symptoms of hypothyroidism, but at the time I didn't even know what a thyroid was.
Now I can blame everything bad in my life, on my thyroid, right?! Probably not but it's certainly a factor.
The symptoms of hypothyroidism vary for individuals, but for me, I had problems concentrating, focusing, the brain fog was terrible. I was a different person, moody, bitchy, and I felt out of control.
My activity level fell, and my weight went up, to numbers I'd never seen before, with the puffy face often associated with hypothyroidism. My periods stopped.
Not everyone gets fat, or fatter, because of their thyroid. I know at least one woman who pops her daily thyroid meds and is so slender she shops in the children's department. Same with my best friend's mom.
But it seems most of us, when our thyroids stop functioning properly, tend to gain more weight.
I'm not ready to share the photo of me when I was about 22...I don't even recognize myself in it. I've been various weights through my life, but when I look at this photo, I don't know who I was. I didn't like myself much in that period, and every day, just getting out of bed was a challenge.
Revisiting the past is tricky, isn't it? But it's something we have to do here. We have to go back, and confront those things that made us feel bad about ourselves. Those of us who are women-of-a-certain-age were raised to feel shame for being fat. Fat was the worst thing you could be, it seems.
Well, forget that. I can think of a lot of things far worse than being fat.
Sometimes you have to confront the past, neutralize it, so you can let it go... I promise one day I'll post that photo...
January 1, 2018
Brain Zapper for Weight Loss - update after one month, 32 sessions...and stuff...
The holidays were rough. Said goodbye to Albert, the handsome boy in my cover photo.
I met Albert 9 years ago, when he was two. My mornings at work start well before dawn, and as I was walking the path to the rear entrance of the radio station, there sat a handsome long haired tuxedo cat, looking at me like he needed a friend.
"Well, hello there, are you hungry?" He said yes. I ran into the station and got him a slice of cheese. It was the only thing that even remotely looked like something a cat might eat.
He ate it. (Years later he would literally gag if he even smelled cheese, but he was pretty hungry that day).
And he wasn't just a stray. His family was looking for him, loved him, came to get him that day.
But Albert kept running away from home to come back to us at the radio station. We loved him. I loved him especially. This went on for two summers...and eventually he came home with me.
Albert was delightful, smart, beautiful and chill. His passing was sudden and unexpected. I thought we'd grow old together. But he left this world in my arms on a Saturday night just before Christmas on Monday. My heart felt broken.
Velveeta isn't meant to replace Albert, but I brought her home to help us heal. She just arrived on Saturday, and has made herself at home.
So, that's why I didn't get on the scale. But I still have an update...
Please Change the F'n Record!!