Saturday, April 14, 2012

I’m Here! (And I brought along a “60 Minutes Australia” link)

I apologize for my absence. Clearly, I can’t blog and learn medical terminology, medical nutrition therapy, employment law, and the names of bacteria, viruses and tapeworms that cause food borne illnesses (which I can thank for my newly acquired hand washing compulsion) at the same time.
I feel like I’m in boot camp for the left-brain inept. Geez-oh-man… Summer offers no breaks, either. I just registered for five weeks of chemistry and lab and 10 weeks of algebra. And as if THAT won’t be enough fun, I’m registered for biochemistry and advanced algebra in the fall. Like my advisor said, “You know how to party.”

So if I’m not here much between now and winter break, I’m probably drooling in a corner somewhere begging to read Jane Austen.

Oh, I kid! Life’s not been all work and no “weigh.” My jeans are looser and my legs are stronger. I’m still committed to my food plan, exercise, meditation, and the people who keep me sane.

Here’s a bit of a summary:

Daughter Carlene and Boyfriend Ben got engaged! (No, it’s not a shotgun wedding. Carlene’s holding baby Mae in that picture.) Wedding date TBD, but next April seems likely.
Grandbaby Mae rode in my Jeep for the first time since being able to legally sit facing forward.
My stepson Andrew moved into his dorm. He’s studying filmmaking at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. It’s good to have the boy so close.
Claire helped.
Andrew’s brain food. When he was younger, we called him “Cereal Boy.”
I ate at bd’s Mongolian Grill with BF and his son a few weeks ago for the first time. Yum!  
Got the bike in to the shop for a much needed tune up. I upgraded her seat and pack, too. Comfy seat means longer rides. Longer rides means I have to pack more stuff than just a cell phone and Kleenex.

I also went to see the Moody Blues with Larry (my ex-husband, for those of you who aren’t familiar with his name). Larry and I have seen the Moodies 9 times in 15 years, and it was at one of their concerts that I felt the weight of my 300 pounds more profoundly than ever before, and that feeling contributed to my decision to finally lose weight for the last time.

It was 2003. The Moodies were playing a concert in a casino in West Virginia. Larry and I checked into the hotel, played a few slots, had dinner, and then about an hour before the show, went to the lobby to wait for the shuttle that would take us to the concert venue. A few other concert goers began to gather, too, when Larry nudged me and whispered, “Look to your left.”

Standing next to me was Moody’s front man Justin Hayward, whose music is the soundtrack of my life. I don’t remember a time I didn’t know “Nights In White Satin,” “Tuesday Afternoon,” or “Question.” When I need to remember to believe in myself, I listen to “The Voice.” And the song “Forever Autumn”… Gets me every time.

Justin’s shoulder was no further than a foot from mine. I wanted to say hello and to thank him for the gift his music had been to my life. Then I remembered I had  57-inch hips and I said nothing. 

At the concert, I sat in the second row, regretting all the choices that had brought me to such disappointment in myself. Disappointment not only in my size, but disappointment for feeling so unworthy as to not thank someone who’d contributed such depth of feeling to my life. 

I recall that unworthiness every time I see the Moody Blues, and each time, I vow that if I ever stand next to Justin Hayward again, I will tell him – no matter what I look like – “Thank you.”

My former body and the me who occupied it continue to be the source of my determination. I would dishonor she who was me by giving up the fight, because she is the one who thought enough about herself to start that march down the scale. 
David Ballment, Richard Malone, me, Howard Sacre, Liam Bartlett
Which leads me to the “60 Minutes Australia” piece I participated in. It aired last weekend and I just now had the courage to watch it. I’m OK with my part in it, but what surprised me was the almost defeatist attitude of the Australian researcher, Professor Joe Proietto. (Liam Bartlett is the “60 Minutes” correspondent.)

LIAM BARTLETT: So if we’re not completely obsessive, we’re just leading a normal life, we’ll probably put the weight back on?

JOE: Yep, yep. And that certainly explains the experience of all of us who treat obesity – that it’s a difficult thing. Not so much to get the weight off but the failure rate after a few years is very, very high. 

Thank goodness for, Dr. Rena Wing from Brown University, one of the researchers at the Weight Control Registry, of which I and many maintainers are a part.  

RENA: The Melbourne study was a very small study and I think that’s a very pessimistic message for viewers and listeners to hear because we know that many people are able to be successful at weight loss and so…

LIAM BARTLETT: It may be pessimistic but is it reality?

RENA: Ah, I don’t think it is. On average they’ve lost about 30 kilograms and they’ve kept it off about six years. One of the interesting things is that they report that they have tried many times before to lose weight unsuccessfully but this time they got it right okay.

LIAM BARTLETT: So what was the difference?

RENA: What they say is “this time I was more committed to behaviour change and this time physical activity was a bigger part of my regimen than it was in other approaches.”

I’ll shut up now and let you read the transcript or watch the piece yourself. I’d like to hear what YOU have to say about it. 

17 comments:

E. Jane said...

Wow, Lynn, what a post--well worth waiting for! I'm glad to hear that you're doing well, and I know you're working hard on your studies.

I do have to say, however, that the Australian piece kind of "blew me away!"

I think there is some truth to their theory about being biologically predisposed to obesity, but I also believe (or want to beieve) that we have some choices in the matter, even if the choices that we have are not always easy ones.

I have always regained the weight that I have lost, but I did keep it off during periods of time when I was able to be "hypervigilant" about what I ate. That seems to also be true for many maintenance bloggers who have actually maintained.

I am currently in weight loss mode again, and I will respect the more hypervigilant approach I will need to take to keep it off. I liken it to a diabetic who has to always be vigilant about diet and exercise, if they want to live a healthy life. This is what I also have to do. That is what is "normal" for me.

I am no longer resistent to the fact that I am different from other people who don't have to self-monitor so closely and limit certain food groups.

Thank you so much for sharing this piece in your post. You always share such good information and I am always rooting for you, as you maintain your weight and live your life.

Lyn said...

Welcome back! Interesting stuff but my biggest thought was what the heck happened to "baby" Claire
?? She turned into a big kid all of a sudden! So cute :)

Ivana said...

Like Tara Parker-Pope's piece in the New York Times (based on the same small, extreme Melbourne study), I found the Australian segment to be overly pessimistic.

Defining one hour of physical activity a day as "obsessive-compulsive" is a sorry state of affairs. It truly bothers me that so many people equate consistent self-control with mental derangement. No wonder our society struggles with obesity.

When I was 70 lbs heavier, I chronically overate, and often had small binges. I think back to that time, and view that as more of a problem than wanting to keep the weight off through exercise, WHICH I ENJOY, and moderating my diet.

I'm glad that singer has come to peace with her body, as we all should, but I don't like how you seemed to be portrayed as some extreme obsessive compulsive.

Lori said...

An hour of physical activity is obsessive-compulsive? Why does no one say watching an hour of TV a day obsessive compulsive?

The thing is, when you are formerly obese or morbidly obese, your body is just different and you have to maintain differently than other people. It's just hard to keep up, but not impossible.

Shelley said...

Not enough Lynn, is what I thought after seeing the piece!!! The first woman - she's young yet. I bet in another 10 years she'll change her ways, lose the weight (we KNOW it can be done!) and be singing (haha, I crack myself up) a different tune.

And so it's not ok to exercise for an hour a day, but it IS ok to sit on your a$$ and moan about how you can't keep the weight off? Thought that was really dumb. Better that you are doing something to stay healthy...but then, that makes too much sense.

You looked great in the show!

debby said...

I'm always so glad to hear from you.

Just watched the show, and I wouldn't put much stock in that Melbourne study. But there sure is a lot of practical evidence that it is really hard for people to maintain weight loss.

LOL at Lori's and Shelley's comments. And I agree with them.

As always you looked AND sounded great--such a nice speaking voice!

Anonymous said...

Looking good Lynn! I don't think knowing the calories in what you eat is obsessive - not knowing is clearly the bigger danger. When I actually look at calories I am shocked at the calories in things like little candy bars and oreos...then the fun is taken out of eating them. I have a daughter who says if she can have a tablespoon of butter for 100 calories or 100 calories of carrots the obvious choice is the carrots. People who are a normal weight haven't eaten everything that passes by them in a day, they are more careful. And for someone like me who knows how to lose weight and procrastinates starting my diet for another day, I clearly need to get my head on straight and just get started.

Love the pictures of you and your family - adorable!

Pam

Caron said...

Some of us may well have a tendency to gain weight easier than others. In spite of that, I do not agree that there is little we can do about it because our bodies have the last say in the matter.

I think it is sad that this doctor would share such a dismal view with his patients.

Anonymous said...

I thought you did wonderful, Lynn!

Like the other people who have commented here, I do not think watching your calories and exercising for one hour a day is obsessive-compulsive. I think it is healthy!

I think it is hard to lose weight--and I have done so taking some medications that make weight loss harder--but it is worth it to me! I realize that I am never going to fit the height-weight charts, but I like being healthy and not carrying around an excessive amount of weight.

Ali

Anonymous said...

Oh, wow. I guess I'll choose to be obsessive-compulsive!! You look good, Lynn, the piece is totally slanted but what can you do.

Did you notice, and it's true for me, too, that even if you decide to accept your weight you cannot eat whatever you want? At least I wasn't. In other words I was heavy and I STILL was watching what I ate!!

Keep up the good work. I "lurk" a lot and I really think reading your blog helps.

mo

Ellen FatGirlWearingThin said...

Lynn, you are always a breath of fresh air - good to hear from you; it sounds like you are really enjoying school - and are really busy!!
I was intrigued by this study. When I was heavy, I would have welcomed Australia's findings with open arms; it would have made me feel better about why I kept failing - that it simply wasn't my fault. However, now that I've been maintaining for 7 years myself, I can be one of the 10,000 who say that yes, it is possible to lose it and keep it off. Am I obsessive compulsive? That comment had me rolling my eyes. Seriously? Diligent, yes. Anything that important is worth fighting for.

Jeanne's Rides said...

I remember the Australian study. The subjects went on a super low calorie diet for 10 weeks. Of course, their bodies went haywire and of course they gained the weight back. A low level of caloric intake is bad for you, can't be maintained for life and 10 weeks isn't nearly long enough to learn new habits. I've been doing this for almost 2 and half years and I can still fall off the deep end, given the chance.

And I rolled my eyes with everybody else with that obsessive compulsive crack. Obsessive compulsive is how you eat to gain all that weight.

Still, these studies scare me. What if there's something to it? What if I gain the weight back even if I still exercise daily and track everything I eat? What if I have to eat less and exercise more than I did when I was "dieting" in order to keep the weight off? I have to admit it worries me sometimes.

You looked great! I wish the piece had been more about you and your journey - now that would have been helpful!

Vickie said...

The Australia thing was interesting, glad you posted it because I never would have heard about it otherwise. Also glad I didn't know I 'would not be able to maintain' before I started maintaining. I might have believed them.

Vickie said...

And, I give you a lot of credit for being able to absorb the college work. I look at what my kids are doing (two in college) and think I don't have quite enough brain cells left to manage. Good job on some really tough classes.

RedPanda said...

I like the way Lori put it:

An hour of physical activity is obsessive-compulsive? Why does no one say watching an hour of TV a day obsessive compulsive?

The thing is, when you are formerly obese or morbidly obese, your body is just different and you have to maintain differently than other people. It's just hard to keep up, but not impossible.


I was very disappointed in that piece, and Dr Pareto - so negative...

As for Casey Donovan, did she not realise the irony in saying, "I'm not bigger than anyone else queuing for food?

Lynn Haraldson said...

RedPanda, I liked what Lori said, too. If an hour of exercise is obsessive, but not copious amounts of TV that we seem to find "normal", we have a really messed up idea of obsessive.

E. Jane, I agree that our bodies are definitely different after large weight losses. I simply cannot eat the way a "normal, never been overweight" 140-pound woman can. Good luck with your weight loss mode again! I love your posts :)

Thanks so much for everyone's support about the Australian study. I was pretty disappointed in how I was portrayed, but I had a great time filming the part in Central Park! The guys were a lot of fun, and the whole experience was enriching.

val said...

Yeah, wow.

You looked fantastic and healthy and gorgeous, sounded intelligent and happy and committed to maintaining a weight that pleases you and allows you to be active and strong.

However YOU need to do that? Do it.

And honestly, I'm a normal, never been overweight 140 pound (50 year old) woman and I describe this body as a very efficient machine.

My body needs very little fuel.

I'd live forever in a famine.

I burn so few calories--way less than we're told. A 2,000 calorie diet? Good Lor-ED. No. 1200-1500 is plenty. Any more and the weight starts creeping on.

I avoid carbs. If I ignore carbs one day, I eat ZERO the next two or three days.

I eat no fruit, pasta, bread.

If that makes me obsessive, so be it. I deal with the reality I find myself in, in metabolism and the rest of life too.

There's no universal NORMAL. We are all unique in a multitude of ways.

I find people who play video games a bit obsessive. But then again, I barely played Pacman.

Do I get to define the way they live?

No. They don't care.

I see a lot of people with lifestyle choices I personally think are a bit overboard, but because they don't involve weight and diet, they're exempt?

Pah.

When I was breastfeeding all those cute babies, I could eat anything--they were rosy and luscious, all those calorie diverted from my hips into their growth.

Well, that's not how it is now.

Consider yourself and me a pair of Priuses. Survival of the fittest, Baby.

We'd win. love you, Val