I Look Good and I Do What I Want

a journey of loving my body and myself

intuitively working my way through the cereal aisle June 23, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mae @ 1:20 pm

I am a breakfast person. I find it an extremely difficult meal to skip. I’m also very likely to eat the same thing for breakfast for months and months and months with no fatigue– although I never eat lunch or dinner that way. In any case, for years, my staple breakfast foods have been yogurt with fruit and granola, or oatmeal. I very rarely eat anything else, unless we go out to eat for breakfast– which happens extremely rarely as my husband, inexplicably, is not a breakfast fan.

 Growing up, I wasn’t allowed sugary breakfast cereals. My stepmom had a huge tupperware container, into which she would dump three or four boxes of generic, unsweetened plain cereals like Crunchy O’s and Puffed Rice to make a foul mixture that tasted like dust and death.  God, how I hated that cereal, and the skim milk I was supposed to eat it with. Yuck!

I did occasionally eat better cereals when I visited my grandparents, but my grandmother was a big fan of the Real Breakfast: pancakes, waffles, toast eggs, sausage, ham, things of that nature. I didn’t often choose to eat cereal (which was usually something like Raisin Bran) when faced with that kind of smorgasboard.

Lately, for whatever reason, I’ve been going through a Kid Cereals phase. I made Rice Krispy treats a few weeks ago, and have since been eating Rice Krispies, Honey Nut Cheerios, and Lucky Charms (I wish I were kidding) for the first time in my life (that I can remember). By the way? Marshmallows in cereal? GENIUS. Also, we don’t drink skim milk in my house, its always 1% or 2%, which to me is all the difference in the world.

I think I need to lay off the Rice Krispy treats, though, because I broke another stupid tooth last night chewing on one. It just about a month ago that I broke the corner off a molar on the bottom right side of my mouth, necessitating my first trip to the dentist (I hate the dentist) (excluding getting my wisdom teeth removed) since I was a teenager. Oy. I had to get a crown, which meant a lot of unfun shots in the gum and drilling, and better than a week of recovery pain. Yay, now I have that look forward to on the exact same tooth on the left side. Its kinda freaky that my teeth are all giving up the ghost at the same time. I’m starting to wonder if there is something else wrong. 

In other medical adventures, I did make it to the psychiatrist finally, last Friday. Ambien has been nothing short of a miracle for me. Just being able to get a reasonable night of sleep has made a difference for me. I’m also now taking Zoloft, but its only been a couple days since I started taking it and can’t say I feel any different except for a few minor adjustment side effects (of the gastronintestinal variety). I had done my research and was hoping for a prescription for Wellbutrin instead of or in addition to an SSRI, but its contraindicated for people with active eating disorder, and the psychiatrist (rather peremptorily, in my opinion) labeled my history of bingeing and purging EDNOS (Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified). Eh, whatever. I had hoped for the Wellbutrin because one of its well-known side effects is significant weight loss; 10 lbs on average in one study that I read. Of course, that’s not a really good reason to ask for or be prescribed a powerful psychoactive medication, so I tried to accept his refusal to offer it to me gracefully. He is, of course, looking out for my best interests, so that’s a good thing, really.

He did tell me that Zoloft is “weight neutral,” which means clinical trials have not found any significant weight loss or gain. In his experience, patients who lose their appetite and therefore lose some weight while depressed will tend to gain a few pounds with any antidepressant that is helping them get out of the depression; and also, the converse, since I tend to comfort eat and pack on a few pounds when depressed (not to mention my running and other workouts have fallen by the wayside lately), he would expect to see a decrease in my food intake and possible minimal weight loss.

Not that I am getting all excited envisioning the magical emergence of the Skinny Girl Trapped Inside Mae now that I am getting treated for my depression, but I would like to see my eating habits return to those that I am used to. Sunday was a tough day– the last day of my three-day weekend and the day I had to take my husband to the airport for a monthlong work trip– and I ate the following: a bowl of Lucky Charms, tortilla chips and guacamole, most of a bottle of peach/orange juice, and a couple Rice Krispy Treats. That is an extremely junk-filled, unusual day for me. I normally eat very nutritiously, lots of fruits and vegetables and lean protein. I was just too plowed under by everything yesterday to muster the energy to do anything but eat lazily and feel sorry for myself.


random June 16, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mae @ 2:12 pm

My husband and I have been joking around about how mean the Wii Fit is. It gets all up in your face about being obese, and then when you fail to lose weight, quizzes you like, “What the hell is your problem, Fatass?!”

We have been giggling all weekend about a crack he made about the Wii Fit: “It does the plank or it gets the hose again!”

Haha, heehee.

I am addicted to the ScienceDaily RSS feed. An article popped up this morning about the increase of grehlin, the “hunger hormone”, during times of stress. The study was done on mice, but grehlin has been studied in humans and shown to be part of the complex hunger/satiation response in humans. Coming swiftly on the heels of the recent Shapely Prose discussion about the link between obesity and depression, and my own recent depressive crisis, my curiousity was piqued.

To bastardize fillyjonk’s title, yeah, its just another delivery from the Duh Truck. Anyone who has spent five minutes of their life contemplating their eating behaviors could tell that when they are stressed and/or depressed, their eating behaviors change. Some people might eat less, thus allowing that grehlin to hang out in their bodies longer and provide that antidepressent effect the article hypothesizes about, and some people might eat more in response to the increased grehlin levels because, well, hunger is very, very effective signal from the body.

My own personal experiences with bingeing and purging seems to dovetail nicely with those theories. I would restrict, restrict, restrict my intake until I literally couldn’t take it anymore, and my hands shook and my mouth watered from hunger and the extremes of will it took to avoid food. And then I would fall face-first into a pile of whatever was available, usually bland, carby foods like cookies and pretzels and ice cream. I would binge until the pain in my stomach was undeniable, and then almost immediately purge. The feeling after a purge, which lasted for hours, was a sublime feeling of lightness, emptiness, and numbness. Like floating face-up in a warm pool on a quiet night, like dreams of being out of your body. Hours later when the hunger returned, I would welcome it, physically and mentally. I would tell myself, “Hunger is only a sensation, you can choose to ignore it. It isn’t pain and it doesn’t force you to do anything.” And that would sustain me– that and the post-purge high, until I couldn’t stand it anymore and did it all over again.

What does it mean? I don’t know. I am too lost in the forest to do anything but point out the trees right now. But if I had to guess, I’d say, this might be another good reason old-fashioned dieting fails. A person who wants to lose weight begins to restrict calories. That restriction causes more grehlin to be floating out and about, because that person gets very hungry between diet meals. Then, something stressful enters the picture– a normal everyday event or the onset of a depressive episode– and levels of grehlin soar. The person is hammered both by the stressful event which may be affecting their mood, and plain ol’ hunger, which makes people irritable even with no major stressors. Their body is beating out the message, “Eat and you’ll feel better,” so they eat. They break the Holy Diet Commandments. They eat Off Plan or Without Portion Control or At the Wrong Time of Day. Whatever brief mood-boost the relief from hunger provided doesn’t last long, as now the person must battle the original stressor and the feelings of failure and disappointment from straying from their diet. They blame themselves, and call it a failure of willpower, a return to the bad comfort-eating habits, or a sign that they are subconsciously sabotaging themselves. Its easy to see how for certain– most!– individuals, this means long-term dieting efforts are doomed to failure, especially in depressed people, who are already primed to interpret events such as described in a negative, pessimistic, self-defeating fashion.

The good news for me is that I made it the whole weekend without crying. For me, though, the major feature of my depression doesn’t seem to be feeling sad all of the time, but feeling like a zombie with limited capacity to feel the range of emotions I normally do, with thoughts at the extreme negative side of the spectrum, and with a severe hampering of my ability to get things done like I am used to getting them done, at work and at home. However, some hope has begun to surreptitiously creep in that this can all change, now that I am actually being treated for my depression, now that I have accepted that it is something I can change and need help to do so.

This weekend was tough, though. I seriously contemplated a return to very severe restriction on the dieting front. I thought about doing a crash liquid diet for two weeks, which in the past has netted me up to ten pounds “lost.” Of course, the majority of that is water weight and intestinal weight, but the rational part of my brain likes to pretend it doesn’t know that sometimes. I had to resist the urge, when making the week’s grocery list on Sunday, to consult my huge pile of “diet” recipes and to sneak them into the week’s meal plans.

Instead, I let IE be the guide. I bought foods I felt like eating. I made strawberry shortcake last night with “real” cake (not fat-free angel food cake), real sugar, lowfat Cool Whip. I bought peanut butter cookies just because I felt like it. I bought ice cream for the freezer, simply because I might want some, I like ice cream in the summer. I strolled the produce section, choosing salad veggies that looked yummy, and made homemade ranch dressing (sour cream, mayonnaise! O the humanity!) to slather on top. I bought bone-in chicken breasts with the skin still on for roasting, because that is how you make chicken that doesn’t taste like Soylent Green. Mmm, salads and strawberries and chicken breasts cooked with the skin on. What’s not to love? Mae’s Tummy says “Thank You!”


self acceptance June 12, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mae @ 3:01 pm

I have been at war with myself for so long that I don’t remember any other way of being. I can’t remember ever feeling thin enough, good enough, smart enough, popular enough, fashionable enough, witty enough, likeable enough, or hardworking enough. I have a deeply engrained sense that if I’m all done improving myself, well, I might as well be dead. I think this is an ethic promoted by our culture, in varying degrees, but my parents were very good at the backhanded compliment, designed not to praise current worthiness, but to encourage more self-improvement. My stepmom used to tell me, “You are so lucky to have such bright, natural blonde hair and blue eyes. Just think how pretty you’d be if you lost [10 or 30 or 50] pounds!”

And yet, I remember the Mae in high school, who was 130 or 140 lbs and seethed with self-loathing. I would lie on my bed and suck my teeny, almost nonexistant tummy-pooch in until it hurt and I saw stars, trying to will my hipbones to jut out like I knew they should. I wept at the disgracefulness of wearing size 10 jeans when I knew double-digits were the worst thing a girl could be. I fantasized about discovering a secret, magical way to give myself liposuction, like punching myself in the belly until the fat cell walls broke open and the fat melted out and was excreted. I contrived my own diets. Back in the mid-90’s the fat-free diets were very fashionable and for months I tried to avoid eating anything with fat in it, making myself lunches of sandwich baggies full of fat-free pretzels, fat-free animal crackers, and marshmallows (because they are also fat-free).

Now, when I look back at pictures of Mae in high school, I wince. She’s so slender and young and she did not spend one single minute appreciating that. I think, Do I want to be a grandmother one day, looking back at pictures of myself as a young newlywed, and wince, thinking of how I spent all my time loathing myself and my body instead of revelling in the youth, vitality, energy, and physicality I had then?

Its not just my body that I have never accepted. When my father married my stepmother, I was six years old, and almost right away I went to live with them, visiting my biological mother on alternating weekends (for only the next two years, when my biomom exited stage left). From the very beginning, my stepmother doggedly worked to prove to me that my biological mother was evil and that, as her offspring, I probably was too. I would get caught in some childish sin, like lying, or fighting with a sibling, or taking food without permission. My stepmother never forgot to include “I should have known you would turn out eeeevil just like your birth mother!” when lecturing me. She would tell me I had a “black streak” inside of me. I seriously believed, until I was much too old (like, oh, early 20’s) that there was something fundamentally, genetically, unalterably wrong with me. I was “born evil.”

I was told I was clumsy. My sisters– encouraged by my stepmother– nicknamed me “the Ox.” I was always larger-framed than they were, even though my younger sister (also the child of my father and biological mother) was similarly “chubby” and until about ages 15 and 16, we shared clothing with no trouble. My older stepsister was extraordinarily petite, with that bird-like frame that, even now that she is full-grown, feels so fragile when you embrace her. My ankles and wrists, thick and sturdy, were called “stumpy” and compared to trees. I was rhetorically asked, “how can you be so dumb when you are so smart [as in booksmart and schoolsmart, having been an A student most of my life]?” They couldn’t deny I had, at least, the raw processing power to be called “smart,” so they told me I had no common sense. I was told I talked and laughed too loud, couldn’t sing, couldn’t dance, had no grace, that I was too dirty to sit on the couch (while my stepmother’s children were allowed to do so), that I was too clumsy to drink out of glasses (plastic cups for the Ox). I was “too rough” to hold or touch anything fragile, like my brother when he was a toddler (I was 8 when he was born), or my stepsister’s cat, or my stepsister’s computer or any of her belongings.

Here’s the thing. Until I was a teenager, I accepted all these criticisms without question. They were the adults, surely they could see and know things about me that even I couldn’t see or know. Surely a “black streak” was a real thing, because my parents said so. Surely one could be “born evil,” as a child, that fit in neatly with my worldview of good and bad. It was only a matter of time before I became a thief, a drug dealer, an abuser, a slut.

I don’t know how or when the process started, but I was able to begin rejecting these things as I reached the age when children begin to pull away from their parents and explore on their own. It helped that I spent three months– all summer– each year with grandparents, 800 miles away from my parents. Unwittingly, I admitted all the emotional abuse I suffered at the hands of my parents to them, and my grandparents rushed to assure me there was nothing wrong with me, only with my parents. I was told by authority figures that I respected and loved, that I was beautiful, smart, capable, graceful. It didn’t change my mind right away, but faultlines in the chiseled figure of my parent’s perception of me began to appear. I had a friend in grade school whose parents treated me like another daughter, taking me with them to church and even on family vacations. They treated me with love and respect and attempted to act as counterweights to my parents. These people helped me along the way, but my parents were very effective.

Because those criticisms still have a home inside me. Even though my rational brain wants to tell me that they were wrong, that there is no such thing as being “born evil” or “black streaks,” some part of me still holds on to those. When I am feeling down about myself, for good reason or none at all, a voice pipes up, Well, what did you expect. You have faulty DNA. You are clumsy, you are fat, you have no common sense, you aren’t lovable, you aren’t kind, you’re lazy and undisciplined, why would anyone like you? You’re sneaky, you’re a liar, you’re a cheat, you’re a thief, you have no heart, you are selfish, you have an ugly soul, you were born evil. This was only to be expected. I’m surprised it took so long.

I don’t just reject my body as being unworthy of approval, love, and affection, I also reject most of the rest of myself. I have managed to hold on to the idea that I am intelligent, probably because my academic record– not ground-breaking, but clearly above average– is undeniable. But I still fear that I am “so dumb for being so smart,” and never trust my own decision-making skills.

In a certain sense, I think it is very difficult to accept your body if you have not already accepted yourself as a good and worthy human being. If you can’t accept that you have just about as much willpower as the next guy, and that the amount you do have is perfectly fine, then you’ll have a hard time believing you aren’t failing at diets because you are a crappy person without as much willpower as thin people. If you can’t accept that you aren’t lazy, you’ll have a hard time believing you aren’t failing at dieting because you’re too lazy to workout out more and everyone else isn’t lazy and works out alot more than you do. If you can’t accept that your attractiveness is comprised of more than just your shape, and that the other things about your body and personality are attractive, you won’t be able to get past the idea that must change the shape of your body to be considered attractive.

Some people like me have to start at the very beginning and accept things about myself beyond my actual weight to proceed with real and honest fat acceptance. I know that all these years of dieting have been accompanied with the Fantasy of Being Thin, that once I am thin, I will naturally be able to accept myself. Of course, right? Because once a person is thin, they are Redeemed, Transformed, and a Member of the Secret Club of Perfect People.

On a completely unrelated note, yesterday was the first day in probably at least two weeks that I didn’t cry. I came home and cooked a complex but satisfying meal (cooking is a good de-stressing activity for me). I had a quiet supper with my husband, and didn’t talk about my bad feelings and fears (topics I have been unable to get my  mind away from lately). I had two glasses of wine (okay, not the best coping stategy), and then half of a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Karamel Sutra (caramel and chocolate). We watched a movie, Atonement, which I was able to completely escape into (annoyingly, these last couple of weeks, I’ve found it increasingly difficult to even concentrate on a movie or TV show, much less accomplish the complete escape).  I didn’t even cry at the sad parts of the movie (oh my god, they shot some horses), but I was relieved that I didn’t cry that I didn’t analyze it further. And, when we finally went to bed, we [CENSORED], which was really nice, and better than I expected. I slept about six hours, waking early, which is my normal insomnia pattern, but six is much, much better than the three to five I’ve been getting.

I felt good enough this morning to do another hourlong workout with the Wii Fit. I am really addicted to the yoga. Even though I “know” my time would be better spent on the difficult strength training and aerobics exercises, I just really enjoy the yoga, especially first thing in the morning. I did about 10 Wii Fit minutes on the yoga, 10 Wii Fit minutes on strength training, 17 Wii Fit minutes on aerobics, and then did the downhill skiing balance game like 10 times in a row. I swear, that thing is the bane of my existence. You have to lean forward, like you would if you were really skiing, and basically crouch on tiptoe while leaning side-to-side to make it through gates as you go downhill. I’ve done that game like 25 times and just this morning got my first 2 stars (out of 4)– all other attempts have earned me only 1 star (which basically means FAIL). ARGH. Luckily its actually pretty good for your quads if you do it like I do, and actually squat the whole time. So sneaky, Wii Fit. So sneaky.

So. Today I have also not cried yet, but it is early. I am still feeling foggy, empty, and tired, but I am not on the edge of crying at any moment, I’m not feeling panicky or tight in the chest, and I am hopeful that the tide is turning. Please, let it be so.


in my head June 11, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mae @ 4:52 am

I went to get my head shrunk yesterday. Not as unpleasant as I’d feared, but scary, nonetheless. And the scary part isn’t over.

My father has struggled with clinical depression his whole life. And by struggled, I mean “completely avoided treating until it was far, far too late.” I have never had a formal diagnosis, until yesterday, although I have suspected at many critical times in my adulthood that depression was a problem for me. The reason I finally made and kept my appointment with a therapist yesterday is that in the last two weeks, I’ve slid into a frightening place, a place that my therapist and my husband are trying to convince me is called a pretty severe episode of depression.

I haven’t blogged about it because I didn’t have much to say. Unfortunately, besides some familial drama with my parents (isn’t there always some kind of drama?) my life is the best its ever been. I recently married an amazingly wonderful man, who is the absolute best fit for me: he is as good as any fantasy man I could ever construct. I have a well-paying job, which, if it isn’t exactly a good fit, is in no way terribly burdensome most of the time. I have two cats and a doggy who fill me with joy every day. In fact, one is stretched the length of my left thigh right now, purring. We have friends, and free time, and a house with trees in the yard, and laughter, and passion, and… what the hell is wrong with me that I am plodding through my days like a zombie wind-up toy, winding down and about to fall off the edge of the table?

I am reaching a place I haven’t been to in about seven or eight years. I’ve been here before and its not pretty. That summer was a time in my life that was so viciously horrible that I wince to remember it. I broke up with my then-boyfriend, moved out of an idyllic roommate situation with my best friend’s family, withdrew from all my friends, quit all my jobs, and instead of working and saving for the upcoming fall semester, I crashed with an ex-boyfriend (not the recent ex, a prior one), and basically just laid on his floor all summer, zombied my way through my days and cried myself to sleep at nights. For no goddamn reason (beyond the breakup, which was not the worst of my life by any stretch of the imagination).

The frightening thing is I can feel myself tiptoeing up to that precipice again. That precipice is the one where the consequences of free-falling over the edge are no longer important, I just don’t care, anything has to be better than this. Everything has taken on a weird softness, like I can’t really reach out and burn myself on that hot pot, and that the people swirling around me at work aren’t really there and if I can hide in my cube quietly enough, doing nothing all day, it won’t matter. Things that used to fill me with motivation or desire taste like dry, unsalted crackers and I have no water to even wash them down.

Possibly even more frustrating is my deep ambivalence about everything. I am filled with opposing feelings; on the one hand, I am terrorized by my anxiety that I will be fired for my lack of productivity at work the last two weeks, on the other hand, I am nearly at the point of complete indifference if that is the end result, well, at least I’m not forced to show up and make inane small talk anymore. On the one hand, I am terrified that my husband will get sick of this and rightfully leave me, on the other, I am nearly pathologically driven to confess my deepest and darkests to him, and to reach out and plead for his help. I cried like a baby in his lap tonight, begging him not to blame me, not to desert me, to help me, to tell me its not my fault.

I have so much more to lose this time. I can’t afford to swan-dive off the edge because the relationship I have with him is the most precious thing I’ve been offered in this life. So, even though I have suspected for more than 11 years that I needed to seek therapy and possibly accept the idea that I might, too, have the depression that plagues my father still, I never had a reason good enough to pursue it until now. Because taking care of myself was not a good enough reason, but taking care of my husband and my relationship with him somehow is.

And that is why this is also about HAES and IE. I need to learn how to really take care of Mae, and she is hurting right now. If I had been concerned with taking care of Mae last August, I might have sought therapy instead of weight loss surgery. If I had been concerned with taking care of Mae as a teenager, I might have rejected the sick part of our culture that entices girls into bingeing and purging behaviors. I can’t go back and change those now, but I can start now.

I have learned, and continue to learn, so much from the FA blogs I read. Sometimes, it feels like they are speaking directly to me. The other day, this post from Shapely Prose opened my eyes to something I hadn’t even realized that is now undeniable: part of my intense suffering over the last 10 months, since my lap-band surgery, has been having to give up my bingeing and purging cold-turkey. I was using those behaviors as a way to self-medicate for my depression, and without them, I have been thrown into a very uncomfortable “detox” of sorts. I have made a half-hearted attempt to semi-replace them with one atrociously unhealthy habit, which is drinking wine when I’d rather be bingeing. I have, as far as recent personal research suggests, little to no proclivity for alcoholism, but any way you slice it, that’s a dangerously wobbly crutch. To a lesser extent, I’ve also tried to replace true binges with long, zoned-out grazings, but its also not the same. I have discovered nothing like the powerful combination of bingeing-and-purging, at least for me.

Guess what I have been trying to do, in the last couple of months, since discovering HAES and IE? I have tried to pull back from eating and drinking behaviors that I determined were coming from a place of disordered thinking, and tried to listen for true hunger. Maybe I did this too quickly, or, more likely, was fundamentally unprepared to attempt that at this stage, given my untreated clinical depression.

So, I consider it no coincidence that I am experiencing a severe depressive episode right now. Is it the true and final disappointment, knowing the band really doesn’t work for me? Is it an unveiling of how deep my bingeing and purging wounds run, now that I’ve tried to take away even the poorly-trained understudies? Is it a natural, cyclical occurrence, precipated by my recent family troubles, my wedding, my new marriage? Is it all of these?

I can’t say for sure. All I know is this is a terribly oppressive, lonely place to be. I can’t go on like this. I still am not sure that I accept the therapist’s diagnosis of major depressive disorder. I don’t want to have a broken brain, and I don’t want to have that stigma hanging over me. I don’t want to take medication that can cause (eek!) weight gain and sexual dysfunction. I don’t want to look ahead to the kind of life my father has led as my future.

My therapist told me only to try to accept it before I reject it. I need to sit with it, take it in as reality, feel myself understanding it as real. I still have the ability to reject her analysis after that. She said that the worst thing wouldn’t be to have major depressive disorder, but to let it go my whole life untreated, as my father did until recently. That would be the really bad outcome.

Also she told me that I don’t have to believe everything I think. I’m not actually sure that is possible, but I am working on it.

Ah, insomnia, my old friend, you appear to be back for an extended visit. How long are you staying? Please don’t wear out your welcome.


grrr, mad faces about bras June 5, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mae @ 6:51 pm

I am generously endowed, which only causes me extreme misery when trying to bra-shop.

For starters, shopping in an actual store where I try actual clothes on in front of actual mirrors is a humiliating experience for me. I much prefer to order clothing online from Lands’ End, Old Navy, and the Gap, or grab something from the clearance rack at Target without trying it on (since we are at Target so frequently, I can return on the next trip if it doesn’t fit). Of course, my clothes tend to fit shoddily.

Today I’m wearing a ruffly brown skirt I bought at the Gap recently, size XXL, which is actually a little too big in the waist and keeps slipping down annoyingly, an XXL pink cami I bought online from Old Navy a year or so ago, and an XL 3/4-length-sleeved off-white cardigan I bought at Old Navy because I spied it in a window (without trying it on).

(The cami’s straps are knotted at the top because my stupid bras come up really high on my chest. The cardigan’s wide neck, which I thought would be flattering, actually slips too far down on my shoulders, revealing bra and cami straps, annoyingly.)

Last, I’m wearing a new Gabrielle Fantasie bra I ordered and received from figleaves.com yesterday. I have another Fantasie bra– a smoothing T-shirt bra– that I like very much but I wanted to try to add a new bra to mix so I don’t wear out the original, and because the cups on the smoothing bra are so very full-covered that I have to worry a whole lot about making sure my already-conservative necklines are jacked up high enough.

I’m so, so, SO mad because it the new Fantasie bra, which wasn’t cheap, is hurting. Its the same size as my other (38G), but the top of the center gore is making a sore, red place on my chest between my breasts. When I tried it on yesterday, and again this morning before yanking the tags off, it seemed to fit fine, like my other Fantasie bra that I love so much. Of course, now that I’ve ripped the tags off and worn it all day and can’t return it, its hurting me. Also, it has a bit of the “bullet boob” shape to it.

I hate shopping in stores for bras, for all the same reasons that I hate to shop for regular clothes, plus, very few stores carry much in my size. I have tried and hated most of the crap Lane Bryant sells in its underwear department. Any department stores have a few extremely old-ladyish bras in my sizes, but, yuck. I went to a fancy-pants bra store to get my much-beloved Fantasie (Intimacy) but in that brand and size, they had only that one color and model. Ugh.

God, why do bras have to be such a trial for my huge honkers? I miss the days of my piles of colorful, simple cotton Victoria Secret DDs. Those were great for summer. I hate the complicated, beige, bullet-boob things I have to wear now.


public service announcement: do the salt! June 4, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mae @ 5:06 pm

I have a subscription to Runner’s World, which means I’m also on their email spam list. I usually open up the email, scan it for anything remotely interesting, and then delete it.

This morning, I noticed a blurb talking about swollen hands when running. My whole life, ever since I was a kid– I can remember being 6 or 8 and playing in the yard and coming in crying to my grandma about my hands being swollen and painful– I have had this problem. Sometimes its just annoying, sometimes its actually painful and makes it difficult for me to concentrate on anything else.

My parents– oh, I love this– said it was because I was fat and fat people get sweaty and swollen from exercise but I should keep at it until I wasn’t fat anymore and the swelling would go away.

Here’s the thing: I drink water 98% of the time. I don’t like sodas, I never have. Okay, everyone who fainted to the floor can get up now, its totally true. Its not a diet thing. Even as a kid I didn’t much care for sodas, even though my parents were Diet Coke addicts and the entire cupboard could be bare, but there’d be Diet Coke. Every once in while I’ll have a root beer because I do like the taste of that, or a vodka with Diet Sprite (great summer time drink) when I’m slummin’ it and have no tonic water and fresh limes handy. I love iced tea and will drink it, oh, once or twice a month when I’m eating out. I drink water when I run and exercise; I’ve tried sports drinks but they seem too sweet, and make my mouth feel sticky and my saliva feel thick.

I’ve had a few problems with consuming foods and experiencing nausea while on long runs, so in general, I just “suck it up” and don’t consume anything other than water. Once, I successfully ate some Jelly Belly sport beans, but seriously, I’ve had horrible reactions to things like Gu and so forth– reactions involving brightly colored vomit on bushes.

I am also not a big salty-foods snacker. I don’t like potato chips and am indifferent to french fries; if I’m eating during a non-mealtime, its usually something sweet like fruit or something naughtier (food does not have moral values!) along the lines of a dessert. I do have a weakness for restaurant-made tortilla chips and cheese dip or guacamole, but that’s a very occasional treat.

I am also in the habit of drinking LOTS of water, lots when I doing nothing all day, lots more when I am running or exercising. Generally, that means a 20-oz bottle whenever I exercise from 30 – 60 minutes, and about 48 oz (I have a huge 32-oz Nalgene bottle at work) just sitting at my desk. I drink more at home in the evenings, but that varies alot. And sometimes involves more wine than water.

The Runner’s Wold email directed me to this thread on the RW Forums, and from there I discovered this article, also on the Runner’s World site.

Holy sausage fingers, Batman! My hands don’t swell because I’m fat and wicked disgusting, they swell (it seems pretty likely) because I have a sodium/water imbalance! Something I can fix a lot easier than 80 lbs of extra fat! Something I might even have in common with thin runners and fitness-y types, no less. I am determined, now, to do some more experimenting with sports drinks, see if I can find one that isn’t disgustingly sweet and doesn’t make my mouth all gummy. Maybe I’ll even try pretzels on a long run. I have a six-miler on Saturday.


its not because i’m fat! June 3, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mae @ 6:21 pm

I just can’t win for trying these days.

I am fat, but I’m also relatively fit. I spent 60 minutes working out (and working up a sweat and some sore muscles) on the Wii Fit yesterday morning, then walked my dog with my husband for another 30 minutes. After work I headed over to a local park where my running group meets on Mondays and Wednesdays. We did a very speedy 15-minute walking loop for a warmup, then ran for 30 minutes (1 minute running, 1 minute walking, at a brisk pace), then walked a 10-minute cool-down back to the start. Excluding the non-exercise but deliberate things I do (parking deep and a floor up from the lobby level of my building, taking our internal stairs up and down two floors for meetings instead of the elevator), that’s nearly two and a half hours of deliberate exercise, and its not highly unusual (a usual day is about one to one and a half hours). This morning I worked out on the Wii Fit for 90 minutes, and we’ll probably walk the dog together tonight for another 30 minutes, since I missed this morning’s walk due to an early meeting.

What I am is short: five foot two. I also wear three-inch heels to work because I need the height! I drink a lot of water and for whatever reason, am just genetically inclined to sweat a lot. I don’t think I’m excessively stinky, I just break out in a sweat on my face, neck, back, etc. easily. Last but not least, I have a bum right ankle. Starting from my high school soccer days, I’ve sprained the dumb thing at least six or eight times, badly, and the tendons are a little weak. Walking (or running) downhill, I have to be careful with my footing, to be sure I don’t roll it even a little or I end up on crutches, because those tendons have no elasticity left, and instead of rolling a little and bouncing back upright like many people would (and I do on my left ankle!) it just keeps rolling and I end up with a sprain.

Today I had lunch plans with four very slender (let’s say sizes 2 to 6, ish) girls that I work with. Three of them are just plain lucky, they have slender physiques without working hard for it– none engage in regular gym-going or running or anything of the sort. The fourth, poor thing, has Crohn’s disease and has a very tough time digesting many kinds of foods; she basically has to stick with veggies and very lean protein to avoid being in the bathroom all day long. She’s the thinnest of the group and I don’t begrudge her that because the poor thing can’t have ice cream, ever. They are all also at least four inches taller than me.

The place they chose for lunch is about three blocks away, up hill. Okay, that’s really not far enough to justify driving, so we walked. I had no problems with walking, but I’m in these annoyingly high heels (they were all in heels, mine were probably the tallest, though), but I’m seriously a lot shorter than all of them. On the way up, at 11:30 a.m., it wasn’t that gross outside, maybe about 78 degrees or so, sunny, but not gross. On the way back, however, it was easily 90 degrees, the sun was blazing, and it was humid.

And I could not keep up.

I have short legs, a short stride, and going downhill, I am even more careful to keep my stride conservative. I am wearing a black synthetic sheath dress. I am Irish and have pale skin and flush easily. I sweat a lot, either because I am always well-hydrated or because I am just genetically inclined to do so.  And of course, the girls I went to lunch with got impatient with my slowness on the way back to the office, but only in that polite way girls are allowed to show impatience. They’d get a few paces ahead and then relunctantly drop back, and repeat over and over again for the whole three blocks.

At the very last crosswalk, a long one that spans six lanes and is very unevenly paved (making me extra cautious about my ankle in my stupid high heels), we were crossing with a larger group of people that included more than just my immediate group of coworkers. I got about halfway across the crosswalk (there’s still plenty of time to cross, the crosswalk light is still saying “go”), with, of course, them speeding ahead of me, almost to the other curb, and one turns around to say, “Mae, are you okay?” in front of all the strangers.

Goddamn, I wanted to sink into the earth and die. I’m sure to all those strangers I looked fat, sweaty, red, and out of shape. I was clearly slow and now someone that obviously knows me is enquiring about my ability to make it across the  rest of the f#&*ing crosswalk.

I hang my head in shame, and reply a little petulantly, “I’m fine, [Coworker], I’m just slow,”

Some guy in a business suit– young, short himself, thin but with a medium build, turns to me and says, “Its way too hot to be fast, isn’t it?” Obviously he’s trying to commiserate with me, throw some pity on me because he probably sees these four skinny girls harassing the fat girl about whether she can make it across the crosswalk, he probably felt bad for me, and my head-hung ashamed response probably just enhanced the image for him. I know he was (probably) trying to do something nice for me, but it just deepened my shame.

This is why I hate being fat some days, this is why I wish the lap band would have worked for me, this is why I took a match to $10,000 of my own money, this is why I am so crushed by my failure to lose weight with the band.

Yes, if I were slender, I would probably still be slow, probably still have a weak ankle, probably still wear innappropriately high heels, probably still flush easily, probably still a profuse sweater, but, goddamn, at least I wouldn’t be fat and confirming all the fat stereotypes just by walking to and from lunch.

This is the kind of day that in the past, would have sent me home to an empty house and a pizza-cake-candy-ice cream binge and purge. Now I can’t binge and purge, but I also can’t blame society’s stupid prejudices and stereotypes instead of my poor, much-maligned body.

And, sadly, I’m wearing this B&Lu dress today, which I love and until today I thought was wicked cute on me, and if past history is any predictor, I’ll probably be too ashamed to wear it again.