Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Fight between Fit and Fat - The Struggle Continues


I have gained and lost so much weight over the past fifteen years, it is ridiculous. I have sizes ranging from eight to twenty-eight in my closet. Even more irksome is the fact that I have always "carried weight well"-  my cute did not diminish regardless of shirt size. (Yes, I'm modest as well) I've always been able to work out, I've cooked healthy for years only indulging on special occasions and I had no discernible health problems. Add to that the fact that I've always been able to attract and date men of all calibers, backgrounds and income brackets and overall I was okay on the weight roller coaster.

Fast forward to last summer, I felt - for lack of a better word - crappy. Not to overshare but my periods were coming whenever they wanted to, I was stressed, gaining weight rapidly, I was fatigued but could not sleep and my energy was on zero. But I was faking it because I was dating a younger man, my family was expecting me to be the Michele they know and love, and my friends, fans and followers were expecting me to be fabulous out there on the road.

Finally I hit the wall. I dragged my tired behinds to my doctor and threw myself at her mercy. "Fix me!" I implored. She tested me for everything, weighed me (I was appalled) and checked my blood pressure. Whoa. And then she sent me to the gynecologist. The next day, they asked me to come in and meet with them both. Ruh-roh.

My general practicioner went first. I was borderline diabetic, I was entering high blood pressure range and due to the genetic jackpot my parents gifted me with, it was only going to get worse. Long and short of it, the weight had to come off with some expediency. I needed to lose 50 pounds in a heartbeat, 75 pounds overall. The only problem was... the gynecologist stepped in - I was diagnosed with PCOS - polycystic ovary syndrome. A nifty little "woman problem" that affects (among other things) your ability to lose weight. It was going to be an uphill battle but we were sure we could do it.

Fast forward two and a half months and I had lost 25 pounds. Awesome, I worked harder. And 18 pounds came back. Welcome to weight struggle when you body fights against you. I would lose 6 pounds and four would come back. Finally, we decided that drastic measures had to be taken. Time was the enemy. I decided to explore bariatric surgery. Let me pause here and make a few public service announcements:
  • Only consider bariatric surgery when ALL else has failed. It's no joke. Not to be played with. Did I mentioned no joke? 
  • Your insurance may not cover the surgery. Mine (thanks Aetna) did not. And I had to come out of pocket to the tune of $16,000 + vitamins, supplements, food scale, protein shakes, etc. Cost more than my first car. 
  • Pick your bariatric surgeon with care. The first guy I went to (Dr. Kim) was a complete jerk who told me to quit eating fried chicken and chocolate cake every day. For that he charged me $250 and said he looked forward to seeing me again. And then he called me Marsha. Yeah no. Do not go to a factory where they don't get to know anything about you and give less than a damn. I ended up going to Dr. Provost and loved everyone there. 
  • Some people in your life will not understand why you are having the surgery and how it will affect you. But that's a whole other post.

I decided on gastric sleeve. Gastric bypass seemed too extreme and the lap band meant something foreign was rattling around inside me forever? No thank you. With the sleeve, they basically go in and slice off most of your stomach leaving you with a little sleeve. I had the surgery on April 20th. Yes it hurt. If I had it to do it over again, I'm not sure if I would. Recovery was a nightmare. I'm just now (almost two months later) getting my energy back. But then again, in two and a half months - I've lost 52 pounds. Twenty seven more to go.

The day after surgery you are free of diabetes, they're not sure why. My blood pressure is back to normal. My PCOS is still there but not as severe. I eat four bites of food three times a day and I'm full. I work out about four times a week. My appetite has changed. Some flavors I no longer like and for some reason I like to drink things that are very, very hot or ice cold. But the joy of zipping up jeans from the "maybe one day, I'll get back into those" section of my closet? Priceless.

Overall, I would not wish this journey on anyone. My best advice to those of you in your twenties and early thirties is to get your fitness on now while your metabolism still likes you and all the genetic conditions are still playing nice. In the meantime, I'll be the one over here whining about yoga, how my abs hate me and why I now believe Snickers bars are the devil. 

Anyway BougieLand, feel free to share your weight struggles. Even if you are just trying to lose five pounds to get back down to a size 4, I promise not to reach through and smack you with a keyboard. Struggles are struggles. Questions, comments, insights? Do share...

113 comments:

DCbywayofCali said...

God bless as you travel the health journey. 

I can't workout strenuously b/c of a health problem (ironic right?) but I do Weight Watchers and that seems to be keeping me moderately down the right path. 

Javalicious said...

Thank you for sharing - it's so hard for people to discuss weight because it's like the last thing that people are still ridiculed and blamed for and allowed to get away that. 

My weight struggles are epic and I've just started a 9-week diet and exercise program to jumpstart it. My cousin wants to have the surgery but her insurance won't pay for it. Her doc is charging $22k and who has that lying around?

Congrats on your hard work paying off.

thinklikeRiley said...

Wayment - I've seen you. Where was the extra 75? A-ight, we can move on.
I've never had weight problem but Riley don't work out. Riley could only run two miles if someone was chasing him. And Riley ain't never seen a buffalo wang he ain't love. Riley leaning hard on metabolism right bout now.
*makes note to buy p90x and at least take it out da box*

Andrea M said...

I've been trying to lose the same 30 pounds for 5 years. 

bashowell said...

I'm the female version of that.  'Cept I bought Insanity.  I opened it. 

Mo said...

Thanks for sharing,   wishing you well on your journey. When I first  moved to the U.S I went from a size 2 to 8 in less than a year and I knew I had to do something.  I started working out,  watching what I eat ( I went to mostly vegetables, chicken and fish). I have  been lucky, because  I did not gain back the weight   I Iost. Mother died  in 2005 and other life stresses has left me a size two, but   couple years ago I walked into the docs office with high blood pressue (genes I guess). I  work out  4 days a week,   for health reasons  and to stave off  excess fatigure  that I suffer from.

Mo said...

I have Insanity, and it is no joke. But I will say I like what I'm seeing.

SassyJJ said...

Wowers!  Thanks for sharing, OneChele!

LikeLena said...

First, I love that you are brave enough to discuss. People act like weight is some big taboo. I think hearing this might spur some people to get into shape now before it's too hard to do. I'm on the opposite end - I can't seem to gain weight and always have to struggle to keep it on. I know that draws little sympathy but it's a struggle as well.

bashowell said...

I'm one of those high metabolism people.  I'm 5'5" and never broke 100 until after I'd been out of college for a couple of years.  I keep meaning to start exercising, but... *finishes breakfast bbq chips*

CaliGirlED said...

This post is...words cannot express! Your openness speaks volumes!

I have two friends that went through the same procedure both because they needed to lose weight quickly because of health reasons. Both described the painful procedure and recovery as you did. One friend had it in 2010 and one in 2011, both are doing excellent!

My own struggle has not been as traumatic. I've gained an extra 15 pounds, give or take a few. People say,  "Girl please, you still look good!" What they're not seeing is that while I may only be a size 12, my small body frame is meant to rock an 8 (Black girl weight). According to the charts I should be a 4 (white girl weight). Paleeze!!! Anywho, while I may not have the same weight equivalent problem as some of my bigger sistahs, I have a problem just the same. I have a high percent of body fat, which I look at more so than the scale. My biggest disappointment is that I used to workout faithfully and was even a personal trainer for a short time, and loved it all! But now I can't mentally get myself back into any routine of ANY kind, despite the fact that when I look in the mirror, I'm not pleased. Not to mention my Speedy Gonzalez metabolism has become like the Tortoise! Le Huge Damn Sigh

mickmicki said...

Thank you for being upfront and honest about your weight loss journey and your solution.  I had a friend that disappeared for four months and came back skin-ty o_O.  After she showed me all of the bruises from her bloodwork.

I am really trying to get into some sort of routine.  It is hard because I have zero energy.  I am also watching what I eat.

Good luck!  I definitely want to see goal weight pictures!

CaliGirlED said...

"Even if you are just trying to lose five pounds to get back down to a
size 4, I promise not to reach through and smack you with a keyboard."...*hollers*

Jeannette said...

Congrats on your decision.  It's not easy and people who never been there would never understand, but you will feel and look better in the end.  Kudos!

ClayJones said...

I definitely wish our society celebrated more curves. Not the whole "big butt and a smile" thing but the fact that a woman with a little meat on her bones can be just as if not more sexy that a mop stick in high heels. 

As a man who used to weigh over 300 and had the surgery before people knew what it was - I feel your struggle. Congrats on your quest for total wellness - it's a lifelong commitment. 

CaliGirlED said...

*makes note to buy p90x and at least take it out da box*...Loves me some Riley!!!

CaliGirlED said...

You're right Lena, the opposite is a struggle as well! Age reversed that for me, but I know others who still struggle with trying to keep it on.

CaliGirlED said...

" I keep meaning to start exercising, but... *finishes breakfast bbq chips*"....*dies*

Moni said...

God's blessings for continued health.  Right now I'm in the happy relationship weight loss struggle.  This time last year I was single and had plenty of free time, so I was in the gym 4-5 days a week for 1-2 hours, doing all sorts of cardio (Zumba, eliptical, spinning, etc) and lifting weights.  Then winter hit and I didn't want to leave the house.  Then I met my SO and time at the gym became time hanging out with him and eating like him (always a bad thing).  15 pounds later, I'm trying to get my groove back.  It doesn't help that I still look good and my SO loves it because most of the weight goes to my hips/butt.  He'd prefer me to stay exactly how I am but I want to be as fit and toned as possible because at 27, I know that the health/fitness struggle will only get more difficult.

Nadette said...

Wow girl, I had no idea you were going through this. I'm so glad your surgery was safe and successful! Thank you for sharing your journey though, I can only imagine how hard it's been for you. But I am happy to hear that your are on your way to a healthy place <3

blackprofessor said...

Wow!! I pray that your recover is swift and painless!

The weight struggle is real! I have struggled with my weight all my life even though I am 5'9.  About 2 years ago, my doctor told me I needed to lose 25 pounds since my cholesterol was kind of high.  I started running last year and so far my weight, cholesterol and blood pressure have all gone down.  I agree with you that one needs to get a workout routine early and stick with it.

Chance said...

I with you on maintaining weight. I am a size 4, but that is only after years of being a size 0/2. I know that it draws little sympathy, but the comments of being accused of being anorexic are just as hurtful as comments that are directed at those who are larger than me.

Carlie878 said...

Peeking out of lurkdom for this one, thanks for sharing your story and for agreeing that it's all relative, whether you're a size 2 or 22, you never want to see the numbers on the scale going up.   "Even if you are just trying to lose five pounds
to get back down to a size 4--This is me and I appreciate that I don't need to duck :). I get a regular side eye from folks when I say I need to lose weight. I'm 5'8"and hovering between 135-140 and while my weight is "normal" for my height, I spent the majority of my life under weight so "normal" is foreign to me. I ate whatever, whenever without a care and never gained an ounce. Fast forward to my early 30's and all that French Toast I love to eat for breakfast now likes to hang out on my thighs. Working out is hard for me because I never had to before, granted I could barely run around the block, but I was a size 2, so fitness-schmitness. Now that my size 2 has moved to a 4 and creeps up to a 6 every now and then, I know I need to do better before the clock runs out on me. I at least have a general idea of the calories I take in, try to drink more water, bike ride on the weekends and walk in the evenings with the Hubby. I'm not trying all that hard to lose those 5 lbs, but I'm not trying to let the scale jump 5 more either. 

NoNotPinkett said...

Thank you for sharing such a deeply personal struggle. For me, while I've never been called "fat", I reached a point where I knew I was an uncomfortable size . I joined Weight Watchers in '04, lost 20 lbs over six months (slow & steady), kept it off, and now maintain around 135. Fortunately, I have very fit parents, so they keep me motivated. My current goals involve drinking more water and moving throughout my workday, rather than counting on a set workout time (which is easy to ignore).

Only1DivaC said...

And this is the reason why I come back to this blog.

I have struggled with my own weight for all of my adult life. I thought I would always be a size 12/14 for the rest of my life because everything I tried just didn't seem to work for me. Plus it didn't help that people around me would say I "carried my weight well." However, 2 years ago I saw my mother have open heart surgery at 56, my best friend get diagnosed with breast cancer at 30, my uncle have his leg amputated (diabetes) and my dad get put on dialysis (diabetes). All these events made me reassess the choices I have made over the years regarding my health. I refused to be on somebody's medication this young in my life. So this time last year I committed to running the Komen 5K in honor of mybest friend, who has since beat breast cancer. While training for the 5k a funny thing happened I got addicted to running and pushing my body to the max. I have gone from a size 12 to a size 8 over the past year by making better health choices. I agree with you that the 20s and 30s are the best time to form healthy habits surrounding exercise and eating because it is sooooo hard to change your mindset when you do it later in life.

With that being said, I wish you continued blessings on your journey because I know your decision wasn't the eaisest of choices.

TNDRHRT said...

Thank you for sharing this.  You did what was best for you and you'll be just fine.  I'm with you on the weight struggle.  When I consciously eat better and exercise (which I do about 3-4 times a week), the weight comes off.  I'm 41.  However, my problem with food is portion control and cravings for salt and crunch.  I have HBP and take meds for it.  My diet is the thing that is keeping this weight on me.  It's on point 80% of the time.  The other 20% is due to my don't give a damn times and travel for work/pleasure.  I was excited this weekend when I was out dress shopping and realized that I have dropped a dress size! Small victories!  Down from a size 18 to a 16!

CorettaJG said...

Thanks for sharing this Chele.  Ultimately we need you healthy and happy and these health struggles are no joke.  Neither are the ways they can affect your quality of life. 

I've also been trying to lose the same 25lbs for about 6 years.  My problem has been a lack of consistency and the fact that I was still cute with my clothes on so I wasn't motivated enough.  I've been dealing with Rheumatoid Arthritis for about 2 years and I know appropriate exercise & a healthy weight would help my inflamed joints as well as help relieve some of the stress that can trigger a bad flare up.

Last month I ordered the new Zumba Fitness and started a Body by Vi challenge http://tiffanytemple.myvi.net/index.html.  Once again I've fallen off in my consistency with the Zumba but I have been able to consistently drink a Body by ViSalus shake every morning.  It pretty much tastes like cake mix and keeps me feeling full well through lunch.  Then I try to be sensible in my other meals & limit my sweets habit. 

As a result, this month several people have asked me if I have lost weight (yay!) I'm not one for scales, but I've definitely lost an  inch or two because my clothes are fitting better and I can zip up more options.  But things would go a lot faster and be a lot tighter if I'd throw in one of the shakes for dinner and hit my Zumba at least 3 times a week.  Clearly, I'm still not motivated enough.  *sigh*

But, you know what?  Today is a new day.  I will purpose to get my Zumba in this evening.

Duchess K said...

Ma'am you have been throught  it. Thanks for sharing your personal journey.  I saw a picture of myself from a family celebration earlier this year and decided enough was enough.  I need to pull this all in before it does become a problem. I have been going to Bikram 4-5 times a week, plus running 10 miles and hitting fitness classes since.  Like the saying goes you alwys make time for the things you value most. Even after a 12 hour work day I drag myself  to the gym or a class. So far down 12 lbs. Stay healthy, Dear.

TrulyPC said...

What they're not seeing is that while I may only be a size 12, my small body frame is meant to rock an 8 (Black girl weight). According to the charts I should be a 4 (white girl weight). <--  LOVE that you said this!  BMI be damned.  My GP knows not to dare mention the BMI to me. 

Cyn said...

This one hits home- thank you for sharing.  I was itty bitty all through high school and college; size zero itty bitty.  Then I went on depo provera and it totally screwed my body. My metabolism is non existent, I gained a good 100lbs and I'm always tired and achy.  Despite being heavy my doctors say I am in great health but mom and dad both have high blood pressure and diabetes looms on my mom's side.  I have been gorgeous at any size and carry my weight well and I'm blessed with a man who loves every pound of me.

All that said, I just cannot get  into the head space to get fit.  I know exactly what I need to do and have everything at my finger tips but I cannot male myself do it.  I am on day 13 of drinking water only (which is huge considering I used to drink a ton of Coke daily) and I am eating better.  I just cannot seem to make myself workout.  I want to run but it hurts and now I am in Houston it just too hot.  I have tons of excuses.  How do you get to the point where your mind is ready?

motown_skater said...

i know these work for osteoarthritis they may also work for rheumatoid. each of them helps reduce inflammation. i take/eat them faithfully!  should be able to find the extract and white willow bark at a good health food store. make sure the pineapple is fresh, the active ingredient is lost during processing canned pineapple.

~ fresh pineapple (i eat 8oz a day)
~ tart cherry extract
~ white willow bark
~ reduce your salt intake

Jennifer said...

Wow, thank you for sharing this!  I was told I have PCOS but honestly haven't really much issue from it.  But your story makes me want to ask more questions, so thank you.   Note to self... gotta do better.

PS: I just read "Heard It All Before" for the first time, definitely enjoyed it! 

TrulyPC said...

Continued success to you!!!

I have never enjoyed exercise.  Of course I like the feeling afterwards but the process... meh. 

In school I would avoid doing any high level of anything that would require me to sweat.  I would always gain weight during the summer and drop it once school began because I was more active (read: walking to and from classes) and since I never "looked" overweight there was nothing to convince me that the the drudgery of exercise was for me.  I had a baby and gained A LOT of weight during the pregnancy but I dropped the weight so quickly that even that didn't convince me that my eating habits (yum, Butter Pecan Ice Cream) or lack of exercise would be an issue.  

Well if I could shake my 20 or even 30 year old self I would say cut the crap out of your diet and get moving or there will be a chronic illness in your future if you don't!!!  It's harder than everything to have to play catch up and undo the damage that you've done.  

Monica said...

"My best advice to those of you in your twenties and early thirties is to
get your fitness on now while your metabolism still likes you and all
the genetic conditions are still playing nice."  So true.

I've fallen off and gotten back on the workout wagon so many times it's not even funny. Go hard for three months, fall off for three months tends to be my cycle.  Since I'd always been moderately active getting back on the wagon isn't that hard once I make my mind up.

Right now I'm trying to come out of a eating all kinds of wrong and not enough exercise phase. My scale just told me my weight has entered the "Girl, get it together" zone.

Marioned said...

Wishing you a speedy recovery and great success!  I am older than you and have diabetes in my family as well and the weight had started to creep and what has saved me is research and my  WOE.  (Way of eating)
I went back to how folks ate when I was a child:  Real food and very low on the carbohydrates or as the old folks called them starches!  Carbs use to represnt 30% of our diet now it more like 70-75%!! 
Its been over 5 years and I have maintaned a 30 plus  lb weigh loss . I do not count calories and exercise or not:I do not gain weight!!   What you eat accounts for 2/3's of what you weight and exercise  for 1/3.  I have SUPER energy and EVEN moods. On no prescription drugs, blood pressure and cholesterol are in the optimum ranges.  My stomach is almost as flat as when I was in my 20's  before I had my son.   My doctor is always amazed.     I eat as  much as I want of green veggies, protein, certain fruits and loads of good fat!  Especially coconut oil.   Initially I counted carbs then I just eliminated certain foods.   I eat little or no grain or sugar.    At first I missed bread and some of the others but now I do not.  There is no turning back.  I feel too good and I like how I look.

Earthangel172 said...

Thanks for sharing your story and being transparent. I'm sure you helped someone today. As for me, I can't relate to the weight loss part (been a string bean my whole life) but the "womanly struggle" is real! My family has a history of uterine fibroid tumors and I've been blessed with them as well.

As for working out, I'm waiting for someone to invent a mechanism that prevents my hairdo from sweating out before I will work out again...LOL

Monica said...

 We are right >>>>here<<<<. I recall struggling to button up size 10 jeans and folks were talmbout, "Girl, the weight looks good on you." Looked at me cockeyed when I said 145 was too heavy for me. Like you, I have a small frame.  Size 6 is where I feel most at home in my body.  More people need to understand that those of us on the lower end of the scale can have body issues too.

Michele said...

Loving this.  Thank you for sharing this.  When I was younger I always had issues gaining weight and eveyrone alway said, "Wait til you hit 30!" It wasn't until I turned 40 that I noticed the scale beginning to creep up and my shape had turned into a box.  I started going to the gym, yoga and some other stuff but I have found that running is my favorite exercise and I've been doing it consistently for over a year.  Combined with a better diet I now have my weight under control.

Earthangel172 said...

This is my story, minus the husband and the exercise...LOL

You make a great point though....that being skinny doesn't always mean you're healthy.

CaliGirlED said...

I once had a client who was thin but had big girls up top. Her BMI was on the high side and her doctor told her she needed to lose 15 pounds. I stared straight at her breast and said, "Did he NOT see these???"...Started a toning regimen with her and made sure she was eating healthy!

Earthangel172 said...

"I've never had weight problem but Riley don't work out. Riley could only
run two miles if someone was chasing him. And Riley ain't never seen a
buffalo wang he ain't love. Riley leaning hard on metabolism right bout
now."

LMAO!

CaliGirlED said...

"I definitely wish our society celebrated more curves."<-----I love Mr. Jones for this statement!!!

CaliGirlED said...

"It doesn't help that I still look good and my SO loves it because most of the weight goes to my hips/butt."...And then there's this!!!

CaliGirlED said...

 You go Diva!!!

CaliGirlED said...

That darn depo provera is the devil!!! My first weight gain spurt was due to that! Didn't even realize it until another doctor told me. He also said he didn't recommend being on it for more than 2 years. He hated it!!!

GuessImJay said...

Always bragging on my metabolism but I look at my Dad and know I'm heading that way if I keep thinking bacon cheeseburgers are fine because I put lettuce and tomato on it. Now that I'm living with a fitness nut, I work out regularly and find myself saying things like - That veggie lasagna with wheat pasta wasn't bad.  Times have changed.

Jubi The Great said...

Chele, thank you so much for sharing your story with us. I've had my own struggles with weight loss, and your story is so informative & helpful. Best of luck as you continue on your journey to better health!

CaliGirlED said...

 I envy you and Only1DivaC for your love of running! I HATE cardio!!! I would rather do 1,000 squats than run! LOL

CorettaJG said...

Much appreciated!  I've been working with Fish Oil based on some studies but I'll take a look at these as well.  Reducing the sugar and salt intake are also part of the plan. 

I know diet can really play a part because when I eat a lot of things that turn to sugar, I can feel it in my joints almost immediately.  I've seen some anecdotal evidence about some pretty severe eating plans that  left people with almost no symptoms though.

Chance said...

Hey CaliGirlED,

Would you mind if you'd share a general toning regimen? I want to tone up, specifically in the ab, arm and thigh areas, but I don't want to do too much cardio because I can loose weight fast.

MochaMuffin said...

Oh the struggle. Especially when people around you are like - but you look fine! 
Congrats on your success so far! You are an inspiration.

Just_A_Thought1218 said...

First off, I'm glad your surgery went well, and that your recovery is going nicely as well.

I too, carry weight well, and have struggled with maintaining an acceptable (to me) size for years.  Because of how and where I gain weight, people (especially black people, bless their hearts) don't seem to realize that I am too heavy and need to lose.  I guess a small chest and relatively slim torso and arms override a too-big waistline, thunder thighs, and other jiggly bits O_o

I've always struggled with lack of discipline around working out, and emotional eating.  I never really suffered from the effects of those bad habits until my mid-twenties, and even then I didn't really make changes because there is not that much physical incentive to work to be a svelte size 6 when you're a slightly squishy size 8.  But then I moved to a high stress corporate job with long hours and a terrible commute, and all my bad habits caught up to me.  So, while I'm still barely a size 8, I decided to prioritize health and long-term maintenance of a fit body.  So while ideally I'd like to lose and maintain a 30 lb weight loss, I think 20 lb would get me where I want to be.  The hardest part has been making myself go to the gym everyday, and not using a generous per diem to eat and drink unhealthily.  So far I've made progress, and the gym curbs most of the emotional eating cravings (although stress/anger/loneliness make me want to reach for a cheese pizza or nachos like nobody's business).

C Nelson said...

 I hate running too -- but *swimming*, now, I can do every day and never complain. Running's not the only cardio in the world, and life's too short to be doing something you hate regularly. Try some of the other stuff -- biking, tennis, volleyball, kickboxing, whatever -- and find a sport you actually like.

Mo said...

Nicole Parker (from soul food series) has  a scarf "saveyourdo" and from what I hear it works.

Mykeia said...

Be well, thank you for sharing this.  
Weight struggles are no joke.
" quit eating fried chicken and chocolate cake every day."<==Wowzers.  How did that come out of a professionals mouth? 
"And then he called me Marsha."<==No excuse for this, your file was in front of him, names are important.
Wishing you fun times in yoga, biking, Zumba and all that, be and stay blessed.  

Monica said...

 Running is something I watch other people do. :P I usually get my cardio via powerwalking. I like kettlebells when I don't feel like going out.

I'll blow the dust off ye olde Tae Bo vhs tapes before I start running.

Moni said...

"What they're not seeing is that while I may only be a size 12, my small
body frame is meant to rock an 8 (Black girl weight). According to the
charts I should be a 4 (white girl weight)." I am so there with you.  Currently a 10/12, when I should really be a 8.  But I would definitely be too small for my frame if I was where the charts say I should be. 

Moni said...

 This is the truth!  I was the smallest I have ever been in my life in my jr year of college after strictly following the south beach diet, which follows similar principles (lots of lean meat and veggies, limited whole grains, good fat, etc.).  I have tried to follow those principles for the past 10 years and am definitely healthiest when I do.  Lately avoiding sugar has been the hardest part because of a bf with a serious sweet tooth.

motown_skater said...

knowing the foods is half the battle the other half is giving them up :-( ......

check out a book called the gerson therapy.....very interesting read....

good luck!!!!! :-)

Chree Carr said...

I understand the struggle.  After I moved back to Dallas, the combination of love (met my now ex SO) and depression (looking for a job) weight was no joke and I went to a size I had never been before (I was already overweight, but it became worse).  A few months ago I realized my friend's wedding was near and I was going to be a bridesmaid, and that became my motivation.  About 20 pounds down and I'm still trucking along. 

When it comes to exercising, I think of every excuse I could have and block it.  Too hot or tired after work?  I go in the morning.  It's boring?  I listen to music to make the time go faster.  I'm not saying it's smooth sailing for me (I still struggle with old habits), but I find things I want to do when I hit my goal weight and try to keep my eye on that prize.  My advice is to find what motivates you (even if it's superficial) and find a solution for every excuse you would have.  Good luck!

MsJamie14 said...

Thanks for sharing. I am glad your recovery is going better...but more importantly you are doing better.

Side eye to Clay and that "mop in heels" comment. Let's just apprecate all ends of the spectrum! LOL

Only1DivaC said...

I agree with everybody. Running isn't for everybody. All I ask is that everyone find things that they like that gets them moving. One friend enjoys climbing the steps at her high-rise office bldg, another likes zumba, and my BFF likes cycling. Honestly, at the end of the day just find something that you don't mind doing for 30 to 45 minutes. I only run 3 times a week and rest of the days I switch out with hot yoga, strength training, Tabata, etc.

Earthangel172 said...

 Thanks Mo!

Only1DivaC said...

Thank you ma'am. Every day is a struggle, and I occassionally back slide. However, I quickly look at my mom, dad, and uncle and snap back into reality. I refuse to have those same issues when I reach their age.

truthseeker411 said...

This is a very good post! I can totally relate. I have been battling with weight since my late twenties and I was finally diagnosed with PCOS at age 30.  That explained a lot of questions about weight gain, irregular cycles, etc. There is not a lot of treatment for it. Taking Metformin was a horrid experience. My doctor said losing weight can decrease chances of diabetes, heart disease, etc. and increase chances of getting pregnant. Seems easy...........Having PCOS made it harder to lose weight. I've been on the journey to fitness since. I have managed to lose weight. Now I'm on the journey to lose more weight and keep it off *sigh* I basically try to stay under 1200 calories a day and exercise 2-3 times a week. I'm glad you shared your story. I have not encountered a lot of women with PCOS. Especially women of color. It's refreshing to know someone shares my struggle.

Asada said...

yeah, anytime I get discouraged
I watch a video on diabetes and weight gain health issues.
Its no joke, I wish you the best in recovery.

tishatweets said...

Similar to Earthangel172, I've always had the opposite problem. And felt like no one understood. Ever. People will be like "Why are you trippin'? Shut up." So then you kinda just stop sharing. I did finally put on a little weight after I met my ex-husband (which could be just as much about how well he fried chicken as it was about my metabolism starting to slow down a little bit LOL), but I've come to the conclusion that I will not ever be the "consummate Black girl"--big booty, big breasts, thick in all the right places. And...it's taken me a long time, but I've come to accept it.

Anyway, what I can relate to, though, is wanting to be healthy and look good while being so. And I'm working on some things to that end. Good for you. :)

tishatweets said...

Sis, how bout I got on Depo with the express purpose of gaining>/b> weight. It did not work. LOL.

C Nelson said...

 Exactly, though you don't even need to go 45 minutes if you don't want to. The research says 30 minutes a day, five days a week is about where we get peak returns from exercise, health-wise. (Not weight-wise, but blood pressure, blood sugar, resting heart rate, depression relief type of health-wise.) Doesn't have to be hard exercise either -- if you can keep up a conversation but you're a little too winded to sing, you're doing it right.

tishatweets said...

"but the comments of being accused of being anorexic are just as hurtful as comments that are directed at those who are larger than me."

THIIIIIIIS! This. Oh, and this.

Angel Blanca said...

Chele, you are amazing! Thank you for sharing your story with us!! I can relate to your journey and to your struggle, as I've had my own of both...frequently.  In 2007 when I left work on disability due to MS, I became quite depressed and barely got out of bed each day. I literally did everything from that bed...except really live.

During the intervening years, my weight jumped to 364. Yes, you read that right. I was carrying around an adult male of above-average height. In 2010, I snapped back to myself and began working out, although I was using a gym that did not offer my beloved aqua aerobics classes as regularly as I'd believed when I began. By the start of 2012, I weighed 346 and began doing aquatics classes at our local rec center.

On 18 March 2012, I joined Weight Watchers. Since that time, I've lost 28.6 lbs, and overall I've dropped t 75.2 lbs.  I still have a long way to go until I reach my goal, but, for the first time in a long time, I actually know I will reach that goal.

I applaud you for taking the steps that you have, and I wish you the best of health now and always. You have been an inspiration for some time, and you've only become more so!

CaliGirlED said...

Cardio is a must! (HATE IT!!!) Maybe only do 10 mins at fast speed intervals of 20 -30 seconds to burn quickly.

Disclaimer: I am a stickler for form, so I would highly recommend you have someone show you proper form (or google the exercises). Always keep your head and neck aligned (straight) and your stomach tight.

Abs: crunches on an exercise ball; sit on same ball up straight for 30 mins; sit-ups (if you don't have back problems); tightening your stomach muscles during ALLworkout routines (yes you can do this and still breathe :-); balancing on one leg while doing upper bicep curls. (Anything requiring balancing will help strength the abs/core). Do not use weights for ab workouts.

Arms: push-ups; bicep curls, tricep curls. Use light weights, do many reps, if you do not want to bulk up.

Thighs: squats and lunges.

Aerobics and pilates are good for toning.

Angel Blanca said...

 That SaveYourDo wrap is amazing! I have two: the full triangle and the narrow band. I use one in the pool and the other in the weight room and/or walking. I'm as fierce after working out as I am before. Get it!!

PatriciaW said...

Can't share.  Thinking about my weight problems, which have been foremost in my mind because I too am borderline diabetic and have lost/regained more than I care to remember, brings me to tears.

But kudos to you.  BIG ups!   

My sister had bariatric surgery successfully.  Had my brother done so, he might still be with us.  Like to think I'm not at the stage where that's necessary.  Could be right, could be delusional...

FullBloom said...

Chele, thanks so much for your story.  I can so relate to it.  I am in my mid-forties and my body has definitely changed.  I have struggled with the love of food, being short, and my family tree.  Throw in my age and it is hard to manage my weight sometimes. I have been doing zumba, walking, and yoga tapes to mix up the monotony.  I feel better, but staying healthy is a struggle.  I know that if I have a bad day or two days of eating, then I just get focused again.  I'm much more disciplined about getting my exercise in now than when I was in my thirties. 
 

CaliGirlED said...

Aware of all the options, CaliGirl is only interested in sitting and laying right now! :-(....I'm going to get out of this rut though, that's a promise!

happinessisme said...

Lord, I thought I was the only one.  Even though I've been eating homemade smoothies, spinach salad, and going hard in the paint at the gym for months, the weight isn't dropping as fast as I'd like. I've seen some loss but it seems like, two steps forward, one step back. Sheesh.

nylse said...

i'm glad you survived! but i'm trying to get back down to a size 2 :)!  (don't smack me!)

Chance said...

Thanks so much CaliGirlEd! I really appreciate it!

C Nelson said...

 Awh! Here's hoping you break out soon, into something you love doing.

Marioned said...

I love that runners high!!  Currently I am running 3 miles four times a week!

Guest said...

In the past few years, I have recently had weight issues.  As a child and until my mid 20s, I was ALWAYS skinny. I honestly thought I would never get fat.  Fast forward to my late 20s and the weight and lack of energy has creeped up.  I blame this all on medical residency and my first job out of residency (the job from hell).  I ate at odd hours , ate many sweets, cake EVERYDAY, and drank coffee mixed with hot chocolate and tons of sugar.  Within the course of 5 years, I have gained 30 lbs, and gone from a size zero to a size 6-8.  
I am working on losing this weight, but some days I am just so tired.  I hope to get back on track soon.

rozb said...

Hey Chele! I am glad you are feeling better - and you are right; that surgery is not to be taken lightly. As for me, I have gained half a person since I retired from the Navy in 2006, and I am over it. I always get the "Do you know you look like Jill Scott?" comments, and "You are tall, so you carry the weight so well!"

Guess what? My back always hurts, I am on blood pressure meds, my joints stay crackling, and my wardrobe is ballooning every month. So now, I have undertaken an ambitious goal: I am going to run/walk a half-marathon in September. Did I tell you I haven't run in almost two years? Right now I can walk three miles straight without coughing up a lung and my pancreas, but I am working on it. Can I do it? Iunno *kicking random rock*, but I will at least be in better shape then than I am now.

I have a co-worker who is a beast at working out, but he is so patient and understanding, and having a cheerleader in your corner always helps. My husband loves me fat or thin, but I told him I need to be around to enjoy this new life with him so I will be healthier. This time around I am not going to completely forgo working out for school and I am going to use all my tools I have.

BTW - my husband needed to lose weight and just stopped eating sausage for breakfast and lost five pounds in 2 weeks; I stopped eating sausage and my weight. Did. Not. Budge. WDDDA?

rozb said...

 I'll be there one day! *\O/*

Marioned said...

A low-carbohydrate diet is often recommended for women who have polycystic ovary syndrome. Often called PCOS, polycystic ovary syndrome, is a reproductive disorder affecting a woman's hormones and menstrual cycle. The disorder can cause infertility, weight gain, excess hair growth, oily skin and other symptoms. A diet low in carbohydrates may ease some of those symptoms.
To understand how a low-carbohydrate diet affects PCOS, it's important to understand how the hormone insulin works. Women with PCOS often have high insulin levels, leading to problems with weight gain and ovulatory disorders. High levels of insulin also affect how certain foods are processed, especially starches and sugars. When people consume too many carbohydrates and starches, their insulin levels may rise, which can wreak havoc for women with PCOS. To counteract this effect, some women with PCOS may benefit from following a low-carbohydrate diet.

Jamie Wesley said...

Kudos to you you for listening to your body and being proactive about figuring out what the problem was and addressing it. That's a lesson for all of us to learn from, regardless of what our health issues are.

As for me, I'm underweight. My body isn't interested in hanging  on to any weight no matter what I eat, so I've learned to just let it go. Besides, my body hates me in other ways. It's always something.

CaliGirlED said...

 Good for you Roz!!! I hate that men can lose weight like that! Argh

Bougie Girl said...

I come from a long line of heart disease patients. No one in my family is obese which makes it very important for us to stay vigilant. I am a fit size 6 but, I am still cognizant of eating healthy and avoiding the junk food trap. I did Biggest Loser at work last year and the women kept looking at my slim frame and shaking their heads. Ine even asked "Why in the hell are you even doing this? You're a skinny minnie."
The answer is heart disease. Sending you good healing vibes. 

EvolvingElle said...

Thank you for being so transparent and sharing your story with us.  Though we haven't met in person, I feel like we're family!! So when you mentioned you were having surgery in April, I was definitely concernced.  Glad to know you are recovering nicely.

So...I can definitely relate to the weight issues.  I've never been smaller than a 12/14 as an adult (even in high school).  Then after college graduation, with not being active, celebrating birthdays/marriages/babies at work, and sitting down for 8 hours a day, I creeped up to a size 18 (and I'm bordering on a 20... (YIKES!!!!!)).  I feel you on the struggle.  (I should have gone to the gym this morning.)  But I have started to run with Black Girls Run! (BGR) in DC, so I'm excited about that.  And I'm a shorty...so I need to lose this weight.  Even my mom got serious about her health and lost 35 pounds over the past year.  If I can get back into my favorite pair of jeans from undergrad, I'll be good...

mojitochica said...

I was there, but going from excellent health to pregnancy-induced-hypertension to delivery of a 2 lb baby via emergency c-section within one week complete with lingering hypertension is sure making me change my tune! 

As soon as I can walk more than 10 steps without getting winded and can lift more than 10 lbs I'm starting some sort of excersise program.  Does anyone have any suggestions?  I think P90X and Insanity are too much way too soon!

invectiva said...

 I wish you well in your struggle, PatriciaW.

Chele, thank you for sharing your story and your inspiration. I hope you heal well and your  health continues to improve.

Only1DivaC said...

Hey fellow BGR! sister. I run with the Dallas group. Hopefully I will see on the pavement in September for the first National BGR! Conference!!

Ace of Rambles said...

I was diagnosed with PCOS when I was 21. I'm 25 now and the weight struggle has been REAL. I've lost 40 pounds last spring and gained it all back. I'm currently deeply engrossed in a book about eating and weight loss for women with PCOS. Wish me luck!

Thanks for sharing your story.

blackprofessor said...

 Hey Marioned,
I love the runners high too! Currently, I am at 5.3 miles a day, 3 times a week! I love, love, love running and increase my mileage every 4 to 6 weeks.  Are you familiar with Black Girls Run? They have running groups in most major cities, check out their website.

blackprofessor said...

Hey ladies!
Also a member of Black Girls Run, the Raleigh chapter. Great to see other sisters in BnB who are runners.

Ms.LTB said...

I've been putting forth effort for the past few months (doing much better on the food end than I am on the exercise end, my energy levels are ridiculously  low right now probably from the low iron and so yea the motivation to get up and work out when I'm already exhausted isn't there) and I do the drop 1-3 lbs one week then gain 1-2 lbs the following week then stay the same a week or two (or more).  I've been trying since March/April and I STILL haven't made it to my second goal marker (10 lbs).  I was within 0.3 ounces two week ago and now I'm 4-5 lbs up from it SMH.  On the plus side, the going is slow but I am still able to get into clothes that refused to zip months ago so I haven't given up yet.  I've found that my fitbit (pedometer on steroids) inspires me a lot more than my trial attempt at weight watchers did.  Once I figured out that my normal eating habits were within my points allotment it because useless and I stopped.  I think that took less than a month LOL

Seriously glad that you are doing better though.  Hopefully for you the fight between fit ad fat as you put it, now has fit beating fat over the head on a regular basis :-)

Brneyed1 said...

Chele, so sorry to hear about your health issues, but happy to hear that you are on the path to recovery and better overall  health!

Brneyed1 said...

"I spent the majority of my life under weight so "normal" is foreign to me. I ate whatever, whenever without a care and never gained an ounce."  <-- I lived that life.  I was eating with the hopes of gaining weight!  I PRAYED to gain the "freshman 15" in college!!Now?? HA! Horrendous eating habits + age + slower metabolism + sit-down job + eat-as-much-as-the-SO-eats + moving to the suburbs (driving everywhere; no walking) = 22 pounds in 10 years.  That 2.2 lbs/year sneaks up on you, because you still look the same in most of your clothes.  An article I read called this "concealed corpulence" or "skinny fat":http://frugivoremag.com/2011/04/concealed-corpulence-why-skinny-fat-should-be-the-face-of-obesity/

Brneyed1 said...

Guess I need to get them both...one less excuse for not working out...

Brneyed1 said...

I desperately want to just even LIKE running!

Brneyed1 said...

Was counting calories like a mad woman; lost 5 lbs!  Got off track; gained 9 back...

Brneyed1 said...

Isn't that just sickening??

tiffanyinhouston said...

Thank you for being so brave and sharing with us. I don't really like how I'm looking these days either. It's time to move. I didn't gain much weight at all until I joined the 30 club. I just turned 39, it's time to do something about it.

Marioned said...

Black professor that's great. Had not heard of BGR.  I am outside DC.   I will look them up.  My schedule is tight  and I am a solitary runner. 

Sol_dier said...

Bravo. 
What a brave thing to do!. Both the surgery and sharing something personal. 
May your journey continue from strength to strength

EvolvingElle said...

Thanks, ladies!!! I"m not running yet, but hope to be soon!  I'm starting with the Couch to 5K program. Hopefully I'll be running in no time! :)

Only1DivaC said...

I keep telling folks running is my therapy! I love all my frustrations, tears, and stress out on that pavement. I usually run 3 or 4 miles 2 times during the week and then have my long runs (over 6 miles) on the weekends.

The_A said...

"my cute did not diminish regardless of shirt size" 
YOU!  BETTER!  TEACH!!! 

I love it! Nevermind about modesty, that's fabulous from the inside out! 

Here's to your health Michele!Thanks for sharing your story with us. Your transparency really touched me in a great way. I'm always encouraged to celebrate whenever someone can step beyond the expectations "others" have for them to keep up the fabulous especially when those expectations come from the love and adoration of friends and family. That superwoman phenom is one heck of a persistent disease. It's taking more of us ladies out than cancer, heart disease & strokes, diabetes, AIDS, & domestic violence combined.

Now as for the PCOS, What is really going on here? Your points about the medical professionals is worth repeating. Some of these doctors come at you like they carve pumpkins for a living. I can't count the ladies in my life that have had surgery or are being pushed into surgery by their doctors to treat PCOS. It reminds me of when I was young & cancer started taking out random mothers & wives. No one was talking about it. We've been talking among friends about just the sheer numbers of women we know who are dealing with this thing. I'm looking at the comments not surprised by the number in Bougieland who are also dealing. It's high time to start learning more about the signs, symptoms, alternative treatments & preventative measures of this condition. Thank you for bringing more awareness to this situation.

winter137 said...

I applaud you fr sharing your journey. I struggle with my weight so much and the psychological effects; am I not loving myself the way I am?  Am I too understanding? Am I putting too much stock into societys definition of beauty? etc. I was thinking to myself earlier ...I wish I knew how much muscle tone would be necessary for me to look fab, feel energized, and be healthy  while carrying some good weight ( w/o looking hungry) a range I could stay in and enjoy my life w/o counting calories and points....I just want to be normal and live. My sizes go between 8 -16, I'm tall so it's not so devestating but harder to shop at my current 16.  Its a tough thing to be honest about ...the every day struggle and I appreciate you sharing.

JOY2LOVE4LIFE said...

Girl, I am sending prayers and positive energy your direction. Having PCOS sucks royally, and there are times when I seriously feel like losing weight is impossible. Luckily I was always super skinny as a kid and in my young adult life only weighing 119 at 5'9, now that I tip the scale at 195, I am happy to say that I wear it well, since most of it went to the boobies and thighs, but with PCOS keeping your tummy fat is a daily battle. Have you tried eating a lot of beans with each meal, I have found that it helps with managing the issue of abdominal fat. Hoping you keep the faith and remember your amazing at any size!

Brittany said...

Wow what a candid post! Thanks for sharing. I'm one of those you mentioned toward the end...tryin to lose 10-15 pounds so I can get back to college size. But it is SO hard. I love to eat and sleep, and working out is last on the priority list lol. But your post is every inspirational, thanks Michele!

Natalia Ivanova said...

Thanx for sharing your experience! I have the same problem and just don't know what to do:(

One Chele said...

I keep telling folks running is my therapy! I love all my frustrations, tears, and stress out on that pavement. I usually run 3 or 4 miles 2 times during the week and then have my long runs (over 6 miles) on the weekends.

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