Wednesday, August 31, 2022

How I lost 100 pounds by deleting old messages on service vs. self-care

Who here recalls recording on cassette tapes? You could re-record but first you had to "erase" existing recordings. Now with cellphones, it's similar technology, except we delete old messages. This relates to weight loss, too. Part of how I lost 100 pounds without gastric bypass or drugs was by deleting old messages on service to others and creating new ones about self-care. Alanon teaches a similar concept. 

I was raised on the old maxim that to achieve JOY, you put Jesus first, Others second and Yourself last. Which is good, to some extent. However if you're an empath like me, you translate that as serving Jesus by putting others always and yourself never. I learned young to ignore my own needs, wants, feelings and ideas and be a servant to all.  I was so busy trying to please everyone that I made myself miserable. 

It wasn't just obesity that this indentured servitude caused. That came later in life. In the early days, it meant denying myself (or being denied) everything including enough food to sustain. For much of my early life, I didn't have my own bed or pillow. I had to buy my own shoes and sanitary napkins. I had to raise siblings. I learned to make the best of situations that weren't even safe, let alone healthy.  

Self-care, I learned, was selfish and self-centered. That I should suffer with joy. That I should serve without appreciation or reward. My role in life was to help, do for and fix. I took care of everyone. Except my grandparents. There I could be a kid. There, I had what I needed. But their voices weren't loud enough to drown out the other messages. Those said I had to earn everything, including love. And no matter how hard I worked or how much I gave, it was never enough to buy that. 

So what does this have to do with weight loss or weight gain? Everything. Getting healthier requires several things: 

1) recognizing you're ill. 

2) discovering that you deserve to be well. 

3) deleting old messages that tell you otherwise. 

4) learning how to be well. 

5) understanding that you can serve others and still take care of yourself. 

6) Knowing that if serving others is keeping you from self-care, you're doing it wrong. 

7) Discerning when someone needs your help and when they are manipulating and exploiting you. 

8) Coming to the awareness that you don't have to and shouldn't help when it harms you. 

9) Believing that No. Is a complete sentence. 

10) Accepting that God wants you to be healed and that He will help you do that. 

So this post has been as much catharsis for me as advice for you. But catharsis is painful as well as healing. It's still very much a work in progress for me. And I hope, if any of this resonates with you, that you'll read, mark, learn and inwardly digest. If you need someone to tell you that you DESERVE happiness and wellness, please, let it be me. Love, mar

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

How I lost 100 pounds with Cobra Kai vs. Miyagi-Do weight loss


My husband and I have a guilty fascination with the Netflix series "Cobra Kai" and in most things I'm team Miyagi-Do all the way. Except weight loss. In that, I'm Cobra Kai with a side of Eagle Fang (who else here finds that name hilarious??) Part of how I lost 100 pounds was to get off the defensive and go straight offensive against obesity. 

Part of how I got overweight and then obese was by being defensive about weight gain. If you watch "My 600-lb Life" you'll know exactly what I mean. Like the would-be gastric bypass patients on "My 600-lb Life" I played the blame shame game, defended my reasons and took the path of least resistance (continuing the mindless overeating).  Quitting the excuse making and finally opening my eyes to how overweight I'd become, was the first step toward weight loss. 

The next step was some Cobra Kai calorie restricting. "My 600-lb Life" gastric bypass physician Dr. Now, is a lot more like John Kreese than Daniel LaRusso. He shows no mercy with overeating and teaches patients how to use his 1200 calorie diet to "sweep the leg" out from under obesity. Some have called the "My 600-lb Life" calorie restricting Draconian. But it's Cobra Kai aggressiveness that helps lose weight, not passive acceptance (see my previous post). 

Dr Now tells us that gastric bypass patients with morbid obesity don't have time to "tickle" calorie restricting. They (we) need to lose weight now and to do so, a ruthless 1200 calorie diet or some other intense calorie restricting is necessary. In karate, Daniel LaRusso's defensive Miyagi-Do paired with Johnny Lawrence's  Eagle Fang, generally wins the day. In weight loss, full-on, no holds barred Cobra Kai offense is the best defense. 

Yes, Sensei Nowzaradan and Kreese! 

How I lost 100 pounds going Cobra Kai: Healing obesity shame is not about fat acceptance

 I'm going to say some things that might shock and anger my blog followers. Healing obesity is not about fat acceptance. Loving your body doesn't mean ignoring weight gain. I didn't get overweight because of body shaming but overeating and lack of self-control. I lost 100 pounds by going Cobra Kai and "sweeping the leg" out from under bad habits. 

Did I just read that right, you may wonder. Is she actually saying we shouldn't love ourselves as we are, warts and all? Is she validating fat shaming? Yes (sort of) and no. Love of self (as in healthy self-esteem) and the resulting self-care are essential no matter what the body size. But accepting being 50-100 (etc) overweight is not self love. It's deadly self-delusion that only gets bigger, louder and worse. That does NOT validate fat shaming. No one gets to do that. And body shaming obesity is just bullying. And if I fat shame myself, I'm bullying myself. 

Having said that, a qualified physician labelling someone overweight or obese is not bullying. This has come up on episodes of "My 600-lb Life." Dr. Now is accused, by patients seeking bariatric surgery, of body shaming. Shaming is making fun of; addressing potentially lethal health issues like obesity is good doctoring. It's his job. 

So too, recognizing that I'm overweight, doesn't translate to lack of self-love. It's not auto-shaming. Accepting that I need to lose weight and following healthy methods of calorie restricting (like the "My 600-lb Life" 1200 calorie diet) is just common sense. 

There is a prevailing myth that being told you need to lose weight is body shaming. Which it is, if it's just random unsolicited advice such as Valerie Bertinelli was given by a internet commenter recently. This is wrong for many reasons. No one knows for certain what is a healthy body weight for another person. Sometimes not even a doctor. The infamous BMI can be very arbitrary and inaccurate. However, it's a smallish margin of error, say 10-25 pounds, not 40 to 50+ overweight. Even then in Valerie Bertinelli's case, it is still no one's business except a physician. And even then is should be handled with respect. 

The key issue here is self-awareness. And what is means to practice self-care. Accepting that I am very overweight, being okay with it and expecting others to say that my obesity is just fine, beautiful, healthy, etc. isn't self-care. As I said before, it's avoidant self-delusion. While no one can lose weight for you, nor should they make fun of you for needing to, it also isn't appropriate to affirm obesity as a healthy lifestyle. 

I know I seem to be dancing around what I'm trying to say. That's because the issue is complicated. I don't want to appear to be applauding fat shaming by dissing fat acceptance. The pivotal point is who is doing the accepting and how it's done. I should accept myself as I am, but also seek to be as healthy as I can be. I wouldn't turn a blind eye to cancer or Covid 19 if I had it. I'd work to take care of myself. Same with weight loss. No one can tell me to lose weight but if I really love myself, I'll work at it if I need to. 

I can accept and love myself as I am and still work to improve. Artists don't just slap paint on canvas and expect others to call it a masterpiece. They constantly work to perfect technique. And my way of perfecting my game was with weight loss. How I lost 100 pounds was going Cobra Kai, which I didn't even address, paragraphs later. But maybe you can see where I'm going with this. I'll delve deeper in my upcoming blog post. In closing, love yourself cuz I do and more importantly, God does. Be the best version of yourself you can be <3

Overcoming obesity "thin fat" is as much Alanon as calorie restricting: how weight loss alone fails

Hello dear readers whom I hope I may call friends. In today's chapter on how I lost 100 pounds, I'm looking at obesity shame, "dry fat" and how weight loss alone fails to heal. You may be wondering what "thin fat" means. It's a term I coined, similar to the "dry drunk" of Alanon. A "dry drunk" is an alcoholic who, while not actively drinking, is still not in recovery because all the "stinkin thinkin" that led to alcoholism remains. 

"Thin fat" refers to someone who has lost weight but still hasn't addressed the obesity mindset, or what I call "fat think." I'm going to use as an example, Mama June Shannon of Honey Boo Boo and From Not to Hot fame. Mama June is an extreme example, but many of us struggle with "fat think" even after weight loss. 

Mama June Shannon, mother of pageant star Honey Boo Boo, enjoyed huge weight loss after gastric bypass and other plastic surgery on a reality TV show "From Not to Hot." However, immediately after this transformation, she reverted to old behaviors (fat think). Probably even while she was being nipped and tucked, she continued eating the same. June Shannon has gained back 100 pounds (and counting) but claims to be "comfortable" with it. My guess is this is an excuse to avoid doing the work required to lose weight and also because she never really dealt with the fat think that led to obesity. 

She was one of those gastric bypass patients, such as those seen on "My 600-lb Life" who believe that bariatric surgery alone will lose weight.  I lost 100 pounds without gastric bypass. And while I made a million mistakes, one trap I avoided was the bariatric surgery myth of miracle cure. My weight loss was as much Alanon as calorie restricting: I had to examine old patterns of stinkin thinkin, in my case an obesity mindset which led to weight gain. 

I have always considered myself overweight, even when I weighed 110 pounds. I guess I had a form of anorexia, at least mentally. This "fat think" caused untold damage: terrifyingly low self esteem, anxiety panic attacks, depression, stress eating and more I probably haven't even unpacked yet. Weirdly, when I got overweight, it was hard to see because I had such a skewed self-image. I even hit morbid obesity and didn't realize until I took off the "blindness glasses" (more on that later). 

I cannot stress enough that healing obesity is about so much more than weight loss. Further if you lose weight without addressing the stinkin thinkin (and keep revisiting it because it is baffling, cunning and pernicious) it's very easy to regain the weight. Recovery really is one day at a time, every day. Stay tuned for more on how I lost 100 pounds. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Shift Work Disorder (SWSD) sabotages not only sleep but weight loss too

In this blog on how I lost 100 pounds (without drugs or gastric bypass bariatric surgery), I explore many ways to lose weight and also many links to obesity. From anxiety to Covid 19 and low self-esteem to antidepressants (especially SSRI) there's a lot that goes into it. One link that may surprise you is SWSD or Shift Work Disorder. 

My husband has worked nights (third shift) or afternoon-late evening (second shift) all of our 35 years of marriage. That nocturnal schedule alone messes with biorhythms and causes Shift Work Disorder. But then factor in this swing shift he's (we've) been on for the last five years and SWSD symptoms are off the charts. And add to that,  it's a 12 hour (not traditional 8 hour) night, 5 pm to 5 am.  

How does swing shift cause SWSD? Swing shift means 2 days on, 3 off and 2 on 3 off, 2 on, etc. The schedule rotates or swings back and forth each week with him having Monday off one week and working the next, for example. And he has worked every Saturday for 5 years, either till 5 am (having to sleep a good part of Saturday) or going in at 5 pm and having to sleep most of the day to gear up for the 12 hour night. 

It's hard enough trying to sleep days when humans are diurnal. But sleep disorder really ramp up when, on days off he tries to follow a normal day schedule. We end up staying up late at night because he can't fall asleep at a normal time and has to swing back to nights in a day or two anyway. I'm dealing with shift work sleep disorder too because I stay up with him (so we can actually see each other and do things together) but then work during the day. And I have other sleep disorder issues: arthritis, sleep paralysis, OSA or obstructive sleep apnea and a form of PTSD (traumatic stress disorder) that manifests in sleep disrupted by on-going nightmares. 

To say that our lifestyle is all kinds of dysfunctional is an understatement. Besides insomnia and lack of sleep, disturbed biorhythms cause relationship problems, mood disorders, depression, lack of intimacy, anxiety, stress and anger management. Social life is non-existent. We can't get involved with group activities, kids functions or even go to church regularly. It magnifies all health issues. Even eating habits are affected from eating late at night or at weird times. I've developed digestive problems which my physician is treating as an ulcer. I even suspect that our crazy schedules impacted my later pregnancies and were in part responsible for my two stillbirths. 

Trying to lose weight is super challenging because we literally can't follow the rules on eating such as not after 6 pm. That's when husband has to be awake! He eats breakfast at 3:30 pm, lunch around 10 pm and dinner whenever or never. Also, the weight loss rule about not eating one big meal doesn't work because he doesn't have time to eat several small meals. 

And then there's the comfort eating from being lonely and on opposite schedules from most everyone else. And we're always behind the 8-ball trying to stay awake when the world is asleep and asleep when the world is awake. And exercise is challenging on the night shift.  It's no wonder people with SWSD tend to have more trouble with obesity.  

And this doesn't even begin to address the unfair playing field of nocturnal (second and third shift) vs. diurnal workers. Diurnals sometimes have a hard time understanding why a nocturnal sleeps "so late" in the day. Some preen that they are "early risers" (meaning they get up at 5 am). That's impossible for nocturnals who are just getting out of work. They can't understand why we're "so lazy." But I'd like to see how raring to go they are after having to get up at midnight, go for 18 hours and then flip-flop to 5 am every few days. 

Diurnals also think nothing of making racket during a nocturnals sleep day. Yet if we started up a chainsaw at 2 am, it would be a different story. Anyone who thinks I'm paranoid has obviously never had to live this kind of life. Or they'd see that world completely disregards the third shifter. That's why suicide rates are 25 to 50 % higher. Sad but true. 

We'd love nothing more than to be able to live a more normal life. It's taken its toll. But job opportunities in many industries are almost all second and third shift and a scary lot of them are 12 hour swing shift schedules. 

So this post got a lot bigger than just weight loss and shift work disorder. But that's what I'm finding on this path, how interconnected the aspects of our lives are. To understand health, I'm de-compartmentalizing. Instead of boxing things into a small screen I'm looking at the big picture and the more I do that the more I see how big it is. 

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for more on how I lost 100 pounds and a lot of other baggage. 

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