Karen Hitchcock’s Fat City will make you question everything you know about obesity and I have to say I am so thankful for that. I want you to take a look at your life, as I have taken a look at mine. What are you eating/drinking/snacking on that has gotten you to where you are today? If you are like me and you have weighed over 200 lbs at one point in time, you certainly were not eating salad—and if you were, you were eating too much.
Obesity is becoming an increasingly touchy issue and it was recently recognized as a disease by the American Medical Association. The idea behind this was that recognizing obesity as a disease would cause physicians and doctors to pay more attention to their patient’s health (NY Times). Personally, I think this was a bad move. There will always be those schemers out there who try to take advantage of the system. My fear is that people will take advantage of this and cause insurance rates/taxes to go up if they wind up in the hospital without insurance. I do not have data to substantiate my fear, but that’s just the path my mind is following.
The author talks about her experience working as a physician in an obesity clinic and some of the stories are shocking but sound very familiar. One of the patients is told the bariatric surgery wouldn’t be for him—he doesn’t have pleasurable experiences in his life outside of eating, so his risk for overeating and vomiting/damaging his esophagus/etc. is too high. His response to them was, “Well, what are you going to do for me if you won’t do the operation? Don’t you have some kind of ethical responsibility to help me lose weight?” (The Monthly).
That statement shocked me and saddened me. What I’m going to say next may get a negative reaction, but it’s just how I feel. How can you put responsibility on a doctor for your own actions? I remember sitting down with my doctor in 2011 and she told me if I didn’t lose weight I would be at an increased risk for diabetes and heart disease. I was obese. I asked her for recommendations on what I should do to make myself healthy and she said to change my diet, lower my caloric intake and exercise more. My doctor couldn’t and wouldn’t (because I couldn’t pay her) be with me every moment of my life, telling me what to/not to eat, what to do/not to do. Her responsibility was to inform me; to give me the tools I would need to lose the weight. It was my responsibility to use those tools and hold myself accountable. No one forced me to eat pizza or cheeseburgers. I chose to eat like that because it satisfied me.
Nowadays, we are so quick to blame others for our own actions or misfortunes. This needs to stop. It is not your doctor’s fault you aren’t taking good care of yourself. I know this is redundant, but it needs to be repeated: a doctor or nutritionist can provide you with the tools to change your life. It is up to you to utilize those tools. I am a firm believer in the motto, “If there is something in your life that you don’t like, then change it.” I am not perfect and my life and body are still under construction, but I am working on it. It isn’t easy to change your eating habits. It isn’t easy to exercise when you have no will power or you’re exhausted after a long day, but if you want to see changes, then you need to make changes!
There is no magic pill that will solve all of your problems. Believe me, if there was I would have bought them in bulk and stocked up for life. If you are looking for support, there are tons of us out there who are willing to help. Do we have all of the answers? No, but we will help push you and motivate you and try to get you to where you need to be. Take things in stride—you will not lose 20 lbs overnight, so don’t be discouraged by this.
If you feel that surgery is the only option, you need to be prepared for the consequences. A handful of my friends and acquaintances have had bariatric surgery. Some have been successful in changing their habits and have gotten out of the obese range; two have continued to struggle with their overeating and one of them ended up in the ER with an esophageal infection from vomiting; some made few to no changes and continue to gain and lose weight. I considered this option, talked with my doctor about it and decided it wasn’t for me. I didn’t want the lap band hanging around with me for the rest of my life; I didn’t want to have a chunk of my stomach cut out; I didn’t want to have my food rerouted past my small intestine. I hated getting my tonsils out and having my wisdom teeth removed, so I knew surgery just wasn’t for me.
In closing, I would like for you to understand that I’m not bashing anyone. I just think it’s unfortunate that we don’t take better care of ourselves and are quick to blame others for our own messes. This article is a great conversation piece and it definitely makes you think about your habits. Take a read and let me know what you think.
I hope you’re all having a great Thanksgiving—I know I am! I want to thank all of you who are following GET SUMM and who have helped grow this blog. Your support means so much. I am also thankful for my family and my boyfriend’s family who have been a huge support network for me while I’ve been battling Crohn’s Disease. I hope you all have things that you’re thankful for and I hope that you can and will do something that makes a stranger’s day a little better. Thanks again and have a fantastic holiday!
Hey peeps! Amanda here! Long time no chat, right? I want to update everyone about my new journey as vegan and fitness :P I’m slowly approaching month 4 as a vegan and I am still in love with it <3
Fitness & The Gym is My Sanctuary
But let me first discuss something crucial that has happened to me in my life. My husband and I decided to get a divorce. Even though it is for the best and in the end we both agreed on it, I still hit me hard. I barely ate, barely slept, avoided being home (even before we decided to go through it)… but what kept me sane was my time spent at the gym. I would literally spend 2+ hours at the gym, and this started even before he approached me about how he was unhappy with our relationship. It was fitness and the gym; it was a place away from everything. Just me, my music, some weights, and sweat. Also sitting in the sauna was a great way for me to collect my thoughts in a place where I felt comfortable and alone. I also went to many friends for support and love to which I do not know if I would still be here if it were not for them.
My eating is back to normal, but still lacking on sleep. I do applaud myself on the evenings I fall asleep before midnight. Baby-steps…
What’s going on this week?
Right now, I am trying to watch my carbohydrate intake which can be a common struggle with vegans, especially if you do not prep for the week. I realized it is all about prep to maintain a healthy vegan diet; prep my veggie snacks, make sure I make soup (Tis the season for soups and stews!) for the week full of delicious veggies, grab fruit, etc. A super simply tweak that I started, again, today :) Another reason I am watching my carbs: My aunt plans to take professional photos of me with my tattoos! I’m stoked beyond belief!
Also with the upcoming holiday filled with many non-vegan-friendly food items, my mom (who rocks) is helping me prepare a special vegan-friendly meal just for me. I will do my best to remember to take pictures and post about the awesome meal I devour. Also, I am running the Turkey Day 5K at 8 a.m. Thanksgiving Morning. Talk about a great workout to prepare for a day full of family and food :)
New Vegan Find: Is It Vegan? App
This app allows you to scan items to determine if they really are vegan or not. One of my friend’s informed me of this app, and it is great when you are at a lost on if an item is vegan-friendly. While it is mostly used for processed foods, I like to use it for granola bars which are simple snacks that I can grab when I am on the go. The not so great things about this app: sometimes the scanner will not work properly. The good news is you can simply punch in the numbers for the bar-code instead. Check it out and let us know what you think.
The take-home message from this post: fitness can help you during the not so great times, and especially with this scenario, difficult changes in our lives. While it was not the best to deprive myself from food during this event, it was not something I did willingly. Fitness allowed me to focus on myself, which is a must for anyone who goes through a breakup with a significant other whether they are married or not. Overall it can be a great anti-depressant for any difficult time in our lives, even after having a bad day: go for a walk/jog, do a couple of planks when watching TV, meet some of your friends at the gym for a fitness class, etc.
To continue on to our paths in life, we must go back to who we are. For me, fitness is a part of my life and always will be.
Today I will be sharing my friend Kelly’s story with you. She wrote this herself and she gave me permission to share her story and photo with you in the hopes that she will make s change! I want to thank Kelly for being absolutely awesome and fearless for sharing her story and her before photo with us and I’m so excited for the great things that will come for her in the next few months. Note: If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all. Any negative comments will be removed and I will report your pathetic selves if I have to. This blog is geared towards helping people get to where they want to be; don’t take that away from them.
Quote Friday is BACK! I just love this quote from Arnold Schwarzenegger. This applies to getting in shape and other areas of your life as well. If you don’t dedicate yourself to making a change, you will never see the change. This will sound so cliche, but be the change you want to see. If you have a positive mental attitude, you will be that much farther than the people who are sitting around saying, “This is too hard. I can’t do it.”
If it was easy, then everyone would do it, right? ;) HAPPY FRIDAY! Have a fabulous weekend (for those of you whose weekend starts today). If your weekend doesn’t start today, I apologize; have a great week. I’m off all week from work, so don’t be surprised if I am posting a lot. Also, my mom is in town from Minnesota, so that may negate the last sentence.
COMING NEXT WEEK: A good friend of mine has so courageously offered to share her story about her weight with us. Check in next week for her story!
Lately, I’ve been striving to go above and beyond at work. While this has been good for me, it has taken a toll on my sanity and has caused me to stress excessively. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE my job. I’m the happiest I’ve ever been at a job and I’ve never felt so comfortable in a position before in my life. At the same time, I have been trying to ensure that our clients have been happy (which anyone in customer service SHOULD DO), but in doing so, I have accommodated requests that I normally wouldn’t, i.e. coming into work extra early to meet with clients on the east coast, editing PowerPoint slide decks, etc. The only problem with this is that by accommodating all of these extra requests, I have been struggling at completing my daily tasks.
Struggling at work has caused me to stress. Stressing has caused my Crohn’s Disease to act up. My Crohn’s Disease acting up has prevented me from going to the gym. Womp womp—the vicious cycle continues! I completely let the universe take the wheel and I shouldn’t have. I allowed stress and pain to overwhelm me, but today reminded me I’m better than that.
What I was trying to say with my drawn out anecdote is that when you’re faced with stress, be it from work, friends, family, etc, you shouldn’t hesitate to do what you can to help. I am guilty of being caught up in my work and I’ve blown off friends and family if they needed me. I know that, that isn’t the right way to go about things, but eventually I will get around to helping.
Remember though that once you have helped, that you have earned the right to take time for yourself. We allow ourselves to get so busy and stuck in “tunnel vision” that once things finally calm down, we are run down, stressed out and ready to punch something or someone in the gut. Note: If you are not a mixed martial artist or a boxer, I wold refrain from punching anyone, as that is assault.
If you need some suggestions on pampering yourself, here is a quick list of HEALTHY ways to pamper yourself:
If you have any other healthy suggestions for pampering, let me know. I’m always open to trying new things (especially if they are cheap)! Happy Wednesday followers. Now go out there and make your day great!
Hello fabulous followers!
Ski Dazzle is going on Friday, November 8th, Saturday, November 9th and Sunday, November 10th. If you’re in the Seattle area and you have nothing to do, come stop by and check out the apparel. You can get a FREE $10 Liftopia gift card and lift ticket deals just for going.
Check it out and stop by. I’d love to meet you!
I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching lately. While doing my soul searching, I’ve realized how many things bother me. I’m sure my boyfriend is exhausted from hearing me rant and rave about how selfish and disgusting people are and how pathetic American society has become. FYI, this post isn’t going to be about physical fitness, but it will be about fiscal fitness and will not be organized.
I’m not hurting financially. I can pay my rent and the rest of my bills and I live within my means. I go out to eat on the weekends and I haven’t drank alcohol since the beginning of October. I rarely eat fast food for lunch and I save a portion of each check for emergencies. I am NOT a typical American. So many of us live in excess and live beyond our means. By doing so, we crave and demand more. More of what we want and more of what we really don’t need. I am very tired of people I know posting on Facebook about how they are broke and they’re living with their parents and then, in the same breath, post about getting their nails done, going shopping, getting new shoes, trading up for the newest iPhone, etc. It upsets me even more when I know people who are on welfare or live in government funded housing post stuff like that.
Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying you shouldn’t splurge on yourself every once and a while, but you can’t and shouldn’t live beyond your means when you’re on the government’s dime, or your own dime for that matter. I pay my taxes. I don’t deserve to pay more and more every month because you use your welfare money to get high or buy yourself a new Gucci purse and NOT feed your kids. I don’t deserve to have my tax dollars wasted on you. As a tax payer, I feel that anyone on welfare needs to be drug tested and I am WILLING 100% to pay higher taxes for that.
Back to living beyond your means, I advise everyone and anyone to make a budget. You should know where you’re at every month. Don’t take what you have for granted. I work in an area that has a high homeless population. Every day I walk from the transit station to my building and I pass the same people. I have given money and I have given food but there isn’t much more I can give when I’m on my way to work. Some of them are nice to me and others scowl and spit at me when I’ve said I can’t give them anything. I understand that any number of reasons can cause someone to end up homeless. I know people who have been laid off/fired/lost their homes/lost what family they had left. I’ve come close to being let go myself and I’ve fretted over what I would do if I ever lost my job. The economy is making things tough and not much is being done to make things better. What is one person to do?
I want this to be an open discussion. I want people to talk about this and say, “Man, I guess I really didn’t need to blow my paycheck on that,” or “If I stop spending my money on ___ I won’t need to ask my mom for help any more.” I’ve been there. When I was in college, my mom cosigned a credit card for me. She wanted me to learn how to spend responsibly. I did pretty well at first, but then I bit off more than I could chew. I owed my mom over $1,000 for what I charged on to the credit card (two six-month car insurance payments along with my tanning membership and purchases from Victoria’s Secret). I’m still in the process of paying her back. Since this incident, I have NEVER had the audacity to ask my mom for money. Asking for money hurts my pride and I wouldn’t ever want to put my mom in a position where she felt OBLIGATED to give me money. Some people can do that with their family and they’re ok with it, but not me. If you’re one of those people, I sincerely ask you to reconsider and think about how you could be hurting that person. Some people are too kind to say no. Don’t take advantage of that.
So, I’m done with my rant. Long story short, be smart with your money.
Oh, Monday. You voracious beast. We meet again.
This is me. I have crazy hair from scratching the crap out of my scalp and picking my face and pimples because I’ve been stressed. I forgot to mention that I’m growing my eyebrows out, so that I can reshape them. They’re not terribly bushy, but the combination of my furry brows, my pimples and my irritated scalp are making me even more stressed and self conscious. I am such a touchy person when I’m stressed. It is almost uncontrollable for me to pick at my face and scratch my scalp. (Note: I have scratched my head about 7 times while writing this). I once read somewhere that we pick at our faces and we scratch when we feel like we don’t have control. I suppose that makes sense. I don’t feel like I have control. Stress has been giving me a good beating the last couple of weeks and I could definitely use a break from feeling like I have no control (and I’m sure my face would thank me, too)!
It’s so odd. I’ve been working out more in an attempt to combat this stress and I’ve been sticking to my FODMAP, but I can’t shake this feeling of not having control. I know I am making improvements in my life, physically and mentally, but for some reason I feel my improvements are being overshadowed or upstaged by something else in my life, yet I can’t put my finger on what it is. This is what’s bothering me. Ok, I’ve now scratched my head 10 times and picked at my face twice. Ugh!
So, my wonderful followers, what’s got you stressed? What have you tried to do to de-stress and has it worked?
Congratulations! You made it through to another Friday! If Friday isn’t when your weekend begins, I am sincerely sorry for teasing you with this. I started my FODMAP diet on Monday and for as much as I dislike it, it has definitely helped regulate my Crohn’s disease. I will be the first to admit that I am emotionally involved with food. This has made it very difficult for me to eat clean in the past. For every handful of lettuce I would eat, I would eat 2 cheeseburgers to compensate for “eating healthy.” So wrong. So. Very. Wrong.
Over the last four days, I have realized that eating healthy isn’t the end of the world. When you’re used to eating cheeseburgers and fries all of the time, cleaning up your diet can be difficult. You will tell yourself, “This sucks. Forget this! I’m gonna go buy some onion rings.” Wanna know something cool? You WILL get to a point where you’ll say that it sucks and that you want to eat something that’s bad for you, but you WON’T do it. Why throw all of your progress down the drain for a donut/cheeseburger/ice cream cone? Every single day this week I have wanted to quit and eat something bad, but you know what? My health is worth it. Keeping my Crohn’s in check is worth it.
So, tell me! What are YOU working for?