Project FAT SHAME An Epic Fail

It seems like lab rats might soon be out of a job if we continue to conduct experiments on ourselves. Morgan Spurlock did it in 2004 for his documentary Super Size Me, when he subsisted solely on McDonald’s for an entire month to prove that the fast food industry contributes to the obesity epidemic by encouraging poor nutrition in exchange for profit.

In 2014, twins Alexander and Chris Van Tulleken (both doctors) conducted their own month long experiment called Sugar vs Fat in order to determine which diet is worse for us. One was given a fat free, high carb and sugar diet, and the other was given a carb free, high fat diet. Since they have identical genes, the outcome would be based on the diet, not genetics. Ultimately, they concluded we should avoid processed foods made with sugar and fat.

Then there’s little ol’ triangle me, doing 12 in 12, where I’m currently in the midst of testing 12 diets in 12 months to find out which claim works best for my body and my lifestyle.

And then there’s Katie Hopkins, a British journalist who decided to fat-shame every plus-sized person on the planet by conducting a six-month trial called To Fat and Back. Hopkins, a self-described fitness fanatic, was sick and tired of the excuses we fat people make for not losing weight, so she decided to show us just how easy it is. Apparently, she’s been vocal of her distain of anyone who can’t fit in size 4 jeans, publicly stating, she would never hire an overweight person because they look lazy. Geesh, she makes Simon Cowell look like a boy scout!

So off she went, gaining as much weight as she could for the first three months, and then trying to lose it in the last three. Hopkins started her experiment with a BMI of 19.6, 15% body fat, and weighing in at 124 lbs… on her 5’7” frame, she is considered clinically underweight.

It looked like her little experiment wasn’t going to work at first…. She couldn’t gain any weight in the first two weeks when she was eating 5,000 calories a day, so she had to up her intake to 6,500. This tells me her body burns at an exceptional rate, not like the “fatties” she’s trying to prove her point to.

She managed to gain 43 lbs in 3 months, taking her to 167 lbs. Then it was time to lose. She returned to her old workout routine, jogging several times a week and going to the gym. When it was time for her final weigh-in, she came in at 136 lbs, 12 lbs heavier than she started. Not so easy, hey Katiekins?

“This is a stupid project. I hate fat people for making me do this.”

You’re right, your project is stupid. I’m no doctor, but I can tell you if Hopkins, Spurlock, the Van Tulleken twins, and I conducted the same experiment, we’d all get different results, BECAUSE WE’RE ALL DIFFERENT!

What’s sad, besides Hopkins lack of compassion, is that her experiment was nothing more than a publicity stunt. She had an opportunity to affect change, but she failed miserably. She never discussed the many reasons why people are fat: medical issues, thyroid problems, genetic predisposition, socio-economic status, depression, and how the food industry contributes to the problem. But according to Hopkins, these are just excuses.

All fat people want is an excuse. But fatties have the one thing disabled people don’t have. They have a choice. Nobody’s forcing them to shovel food in their faces.”

I’m not saying that I don’t own what I’ve done myself, but to call me, and the millions like me, lazy is ludicrous! We are striving for a healthier lifestyle – just look at the profits the diet industry makes – BILLIONS! And if weight loss was as easy as she claims, we’d all be slim!

If I was lazy, I wouldn’t have spent most of my adult life searching for a solution. It’s people like Hopkins that have me on the defensive. What appears as lazy is actually mental and emotional defeat in a lifelong battle with addiction. If I could go back and tell my slender self not to head down that slippery slope, I would… but I’m not sure I would have listened to myself. My addiction became my addiction for a reason. The same would apply to a smoker, a drug addict, or an alcoholic. It appears Hopkins has an addiction of her own, she’s addicted to proving a point and she doesn’t care who she steamrolls over to make it.

If you haven’t had the joy of watching Ms. Hopkins defend her theory, I’ve taped a scene where she sits with psychologist, Emma Kenny for your viewing pleasure.

Sorry for the lack of funny in this post – Hopkins knocked the jolly out of this fat girl today. But here’s a little something to tie you over until my next post when I promise to be hilarious.

Pie

 

 

You Can Have It All, But Not All At Once

If I’m not careful, I can find myself in All-Or-Nothing territory. When I’m in my ALL phase, everything is done in excess – good or bad: binge eating, strict dieting, organizing, TV watching benders, workaholic, volunteeraholic, spending sprees, and the list goes on. When I’m out of balance and find myself on either end of the spectrum, my friend Cindy lovingly reminds me that, “I can have it all, but not all at once.” This should be Weight Watchers motto.

To learn more about Weight Watchers, and to view Week 8’s food journal, click here: 2. January 2015.

My Hips Don’t Lie Either Shakira!

It’s no secret that I’m on speed dial with the Big Guy upstairs – I actually blogged about a recent tête-à-tête in my last post. We talk about all sorts of things – sometimes I praise Him, thank Him, or just give Him a two-thumbs up whenever I’m in awe of one of the kagillion amazing things He’s created. On occasion, I offer Him suggestions, but apparently He’s good and doesn’t need my input – nevertheless, He amuses me and listens to my ideas anyway. But like most humans, I typically go to Him with my list of needs, wants, complaints, and questions. I can be quite the petulant child tugging at His pant leg asking, why, repeatedly. Why is the sky blue? Why is yawning contagious? Why did You make me a triangle – not a lovely equilateral or isosceles triangle, but the bottom heavy, and dimwittedly named, obtuse triangle?

Triangles with SFMA

I used to wonder if He created me first thing on a Monday morning, before taking a sip of coffee out of His Universe’s Greatest Dad mug. I envisioned Him wiping the sleep from His eyes, and telling the angels to rev the creation conveyor belt as He grabbed a small top from one bin, and an extra-large bottom from another, then super-gluing them together with holy spit, only to realize He assembled me with mismatched parts, after the caffeine kicked in and I was already on planet Earth.

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Posing a la Kardashian, but with clothes on.

I know in my head and heart that I am ‘wonderfully made’, but the rest of me wishes I was a bit more proportionally made too. Buying clothes for someone my shape is beyond frustrating! I can’t wear dresses – if I want to get it over my hips, it will be baggy on top. If it fits my boobs, then I can’t get it over my hips.

Designers dress beanpoles and hourglasses, not triangles. You won’t ever see someone like me at the House of Dior, Lauren, or Gucci. My couture comes from the House of Stretchy.

  • Pants: Black, grey, or dark blue.
  • Tops: Anything that rests just above the hips.
  • Sweater: Drape to conceal the transition between the sizes and give the illusion of balance.

And the crown jewel in this ensemble? Spanx. Just one pair is worth more to a triangle than a truckload of Louis Vuitton anything! My hips don’t lie either Shakira, unless I’m wearing Spanx of course, and then they’re outright liars! God, one more question: where the heck does all my fat go when I origami myself into a pair of those miraculous blubbler-smooshers?

Can you imagine what those frou frou designers would say if they had to dress a triangle like me?!

“Oh là là, what iz diz?” as they poke my Pillsbury-dough-girl flanks.

“Mon hips.”

“Mond dieu! And what iz dat, on ze floor?” clutching heart and fighting off dry heaves.

“Chillax, Henri – they’re just my cankles.”

Too bad I wasn’t born in Rubens’ time – I would have been on the cover of Renaissance Vogue!

I was once told I had great birthing hips (yeah, they could get away with saying crap like that in the 80s) – I must admit they did serve me well in that regard. I may have had morning, noon, and night sickness during both my pregnancies, but I popped my kids out like a Pez dispenser during delivery! At least that’s one plus-side to being plus-size!

Vive La Différence!

Since we can’t do anything about our shape, we can learn how to work with we got. According to the fitness experts there are three body types:

  1. Ectomorph: Thin build, long limbs, finds it hard to gain weight
  2. Mesomorph: Athletic, strong, well defined muscles
  3. Endomorph: Soft and round body, short, stocky, slow metabolism (I’m an endo, because I’ve got lots of… end-o).

Then there’s an entirely different list put out by the fashion industry: The Hourglass, The Cello, The Vase, The Pear, The Skillet, The Bell, The Apple, The Column, The Cornet, The Lollipop, The Goblet, and The Brick.

http://www.bodyshapecalculator.co.uk/trinny-and-susannahs-12-body-shapes

http://www.wikihow.com/Work-out-What-Body-Shape-You-Have

And then there’s Dr. Carolyn Mein, who takes it to a whole new level in her book Different Bodies, Different Diets where she identifies 25 different body types.

imageMein, a chiropractor, acupuncturist, kinesiologist, bio-nutritionist, author and speaker (boy, that’s one busy lady!) claims each person has a major gland, organ, or system that controls how our bodies digests and metabolizes food, therefore, requiring a specific set of rules to live in order to achieve optimal health. She goes on to suggest that our personalities and emotional characteristics align with our body type.

http://www.bodytype.com/

I’ve had this book in my library for over a decade and I haven’t been able to figure out what type I am, but I’ve narrowed it to either Spleen or Thyroid. The models photographed in the book are slender – I need to see a chunked up version to assess which category I fall into. The book also offers customized  diets and exercises for each profile.

I can’t vouch for the credibility of Mein’s theory, but like all the other claims out there, it doesn’t hurt to try – providing it is safe! If someone is telling you to eat grapefruits and sparkplugs all day, I’d say it’s probably some quack trying to make a quick buck.

Although I won’t be testing Different Bodies, Different Diets during 12 in 12, you might find flipping through the book entertaining. In a way, it feels like reading your horoscope – who knows, you might find something intriguing that helps you on your journey, or at the very least know if you should go on an extended vacation if Hypothalamus is in retrograde with Pancreas.

Like I said when I first set out in search for my after – there are countless plans, claims, and theories out there it makes my head spin. That’s why I’ll be sampling 12 of them over 12 months – I need to test-drive a few to see what works best for my obtuse self since one size clearly does not fit all.

Counting My Blessings Instead of Calories

I’m really ticked off as I write this. Everything, and anything, that could go wrong this week, did.

Find out if I fell into my old self-sabotaging pattern of face-planting in a tub of ice cream when all heck broke loose, by clicking the following link: 2. January 2015

Note: Searching For My After is getting a bit of a facelift (it will be a gradual process as I am still learning how to drive this thing).  Weekly food journals will now be listed under separate monthly drop down tabs under 12 in 12.  Each of these sub-tabs will feature the plan I’m testing for that month.

As a result of the changes, links to 12 in 12 in previous posts will now default to the main page and not to the post it was intended.  Those posts have been relocated to their corresponding monthly tab.

A Mathematician, a Muppet, and a Curvy Girl walk into a store…

Weighing portions. Taking measurements. Tallying Points. Calculating gains and losses. All this math got me thinking about one thing. Flirting. Yes, you heard me right… flirting.

I don’t date much as a 50 year-old, single, curvy gal, and by ‘much’ I mean, never. After breaking up with my boyfriend 4 years ago, it took me a while to get back up on the proverbial stallion. I tried online dating for precisely one month and I met four interesting men. I didn’t hide my size, so I was pleasantly surprised when I was asked out. The Harlequin romance part of me was hoping to be swept away by a shirtless Fabio, but the plus-sized part wondered, what’s wrong with these guys?

Each date was over coffee at the local Starbucks, and before I finished my skinny-vanilla-latte with lactose-free milk, I was ready to pull my eyelashes out one by one. One guy was ready to pick out china patterns before I got halfway through my overly priced cup-a-joe and it freaked me out, so I closed my account that night, and made a list of pros and cons of being single:

Pros and Cons of being Single

About a year after my online dating fiasco, I needed to earn extra money for a family trip, so I took on a part-time job at Urban Barn, a contemporary furniture and home décor store, in addition to holding down my 9-5 at the office. I had a lot of fun working at the store – it allowed me to be creative and meet a lot of nice people. This was during my last hard-core effort at weight-loss and I was hovering around 180 lbs., so I was starting to feel better about myself physically – I stopped wearing the plus-sized gal’s uniform: black head-to-toe, and dared to wear a splash of colour… only from the waist up. Hey, it’s a start.

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I worked with a bunch of 20-somethings who were encouraging me to start dating again. Maxi dubbed it the “Get-Mare-A-Man-Plan.” They taught me the things to look for when a man walked in the store alone: (1) check for a wedding ring, (2) determine if he’s gay… most of our male customers were – they know fabulous décor when they see it!, and (3) ask subtle questions about the space he’s buying the furniture for to determine if he lives alone or not. Funny, my criteria had always been, (1) does he have a pulse. End of list.

During a busy Saturday shift just days before Christmas, I was on the floor schmoozing with a customer when Maxi came up and nudged me, “Silver fox at 3 o’clock”. I turned to 3… “Your other 3,” Maxi chimed as she turned me by the shoulders and pointed me in the direction of our accessory wall. I spotted a Clooney-esque gent wandering around the store looking a bit confused. Often husbands are dragged into the store by their wives and they’re left to roam, looking out of place.

“Remember what we told you,” Maxi whispered in my ear and launched me in his direction.

Ring. Gay. Size. Errr – size of living space. I rehearsed as I approached him. I’m sure glad I wore my leopard print top today – roar! I greeted him and asked if he needed any help. He said he was looking for Christmas gifts. I glanced down at his ring finger – nothing – good start, but sometimes men don’t wear them even though they’re married. So I deviated from the script a bit. I was about as subtle and stealthy as an ox in… well… a contemporary furniture and home décor store. “For your wife?” I asked.

“No. I’m not married,” he replied as he picked up one of our Dijon plaid throws.

“Girlfriend?”

“No. My parents,” he continued as he picked up our plush wine blanket.

Now to check to see if he was gay.

“Do these go together?” he asked.

Ding-ding-ding-ding! No gay man would pick out that hideous combination!

I’ll spare you my salesperson shtick and take you to the cash where I convinced him to buy a decorative bowl the size of a microwave. Maxi and the other girls were circling around speaking volumes with their glares. My manager was on cash ringing him through as I helped wrap the gift. He asked if we could box it up, but all we had appeared to be too small. He took a box and in a David Copperfield move managed to get the ginormous bowl in. I was impressed.

“You must be an engineer.” I said.

“Mathematician,” he replied.

My boss grinned and kicked me behind the counter. The girls on the floor circled in a bit closer to hear me ‘close the deal’. All of a sudden I started to feel self-conscious and when that happens, I do one of three things: (1) clam up completely, (2) start to babble senselessly, or (3) try to be funny. Guess what I went with?

Now, in all fairness, I can be really funny, but sometimes the jokes bomb… allow me to give you a play-by-play of one of my most humiliating flops:

As my boss rang up colour-blind Clooney, I carefully wrapped the mammoth helmet, and as I started putting the tissue in, I wanted to make a math joke. Instead of channelling someone like Newton, I tuned into someone more at my level… Count von Count from Sesame Street.

With each tissue I put in, I said: “One, ah-ah-ah! Two, ah-ah-ah! Three, ah-ah-ah!” He stared at me like I sprouted a nipple on my forehead. My boss stopped ringing in the purchase and stared at it too.

“What are you doing?” he asked.

“It’s… the… Count,” I stammered, my eyes darting back and forth between them.

They continued to stare at my forehead nipple.

“Ahhh… forget it. It was a joke.”

“I don’t get it,” he said dryly.

“The Count… from Sesame Street.” I tried to dig myself out of my 180 lb hole.

I must have sprouted another nipple because he stared more intently.

“I was trying to make a math joke.” I explained.

The word ‘math’ broke his gaze and he started grinning. “I’ll tell you a math joke,” he exclaimed. “Descartes is on a plane.” He stops and looks me in the eyes this time. “You know who Descartes is, don’t you?” he asked.

Yikes! Time to redeem myself, “Ahhhhh… yeah – Old. Dead. French guy?” I replied, more of a question than an answer. Shut up, Mare! Stop talking!

“Mathematician…. I think, therefore I am,” he stated.

Now I was staring at his forehead nipple.

He started to get animated. Geesh, this guy gets turned on by numbers – I should have given him my weight in kilos and pounds – that might have closed the deal.

“So, Descartes is on a plane. The stewardess asks, ‘Do you want a drink?’ Descartes says, ‘I think not’, and poof, he vanished!”

Smarty-pants starts cracking up – I mean he loses it. Now I  wanted to vanish.

“Get it, I think not – and he vanishes!” he continued laughing.

My response?

“Four, ah-ah-ah,” as I added the last tissue in the box.

And that ladies and gentlemen was this curvy-girl’s last attempt at flirting.

Count von Count

12 in 12

You Bite It, You Write It!

I want to thank everyone who contacted me with useful tips and suggestions when I announced that I would be testing Weight Watchers as this month’s  12 in 12 plan. You’ll be happy to know my math headache is gone, and I’m getting better at calculating and budgeting my daily Points.

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Week 6 – food journal and more about my first full week on Weight Watchers posted here: 12 in 12.

Holy Cannoli – I Just Pulled a Skinny Girl!

Have you ever heard a skinny girl say, “I forgot to eat.”? Have you wanted to punch her in her skinny face when she said it? Who the heck forgets to eat?! Food is the first thing on my mind when I wake up in the morning, and last thing I think about before I fall asleep – some people count sheep, I count Oreos!

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Step away from my Oreos! Mare – searchingformyafter.com

The devil must have been bundled up in a snowsuit and leg warmers today because guess what happened to me? I FORGOT TO EAT! This only happened once before in 2007. It was a Tuesday on a crisp October day. I remember it well – it was monumental, and I thought it would be a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence. But twice in my prime plump years… who’da thunk it?! That’s it, I’m going to buy a lottery ticket tonight ‘cuz Momma’s feeling lucky!

So here’s the low-down of my overlooked chow-down….

I’ve been über busy over the last few months with numerous projects at work that I rarely have time to step away from my cubicle – sadly, my food journals can attest to all the times I’ve eaten at my desk lately. It’s been so hectic that I refrain from drinking anything after my morning coffee because I can’t afford to take a pee break. Well, it was around 3:30 PM when I started to feel a little light-headed. I couldn’t figure it out, and then I spotted it in the corner of my eye… my unopened lunch bag. Could it be? Did I really forget to eat?

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Wow! I still can’t believe it!

Holy cream-filled cannoli, I did forget to eat! I did!!!!! With tears in my eyes I called my friend Karen on the 5th floor.

“Karen! Karen! I, I…” I gasped between sobs.

“What’s wrong? Is everything okay? Do you want me to come down?” she asked all panicked.

“No. It’s just… I needed to tell somebody… *sniff* I… I just pulled a skinny girl.”

Then silence – a holy silence. It was like I achieved enlightenment, and in a way, I did. I savoured the realization that for a few brief hours, the thought of food did not consume me. I marveled that my inner calorie-seeking missile malfunctioned.   Is this what ‘normal’ feels like?

I slowly reached for my lunch bag and held it gently as though it contained sticks of dynamite instead of my sandwich. Ever so carefully, I un-zzzzzzzzzzzipped the bag and WHACK! The skinny girl spell was broken the moment I caught a whiff of the deli meat. Food was once again first and foremost on my mind as I devoured the sandwich like a piranha.

It was so surreal, but it did happen – I have a witness – YES, KAREN IS REAL! And she too had a skinny girl moment of her own a few years ago, and guess who she called? Me!

Events like these are epic for curvy girls like us. You’ve got to broadcast it otherwise nobody will believe you. It’s just like that tree that fell in the forest, if nobody’s around to hear me brag about it, it never really happened, so TIMBER!!!!