GUEST POST: Fitness Advice from A Formerly Fat Guy Who Loves Food, TV, and Lounge Wear

I am slightly less fat now. Apparently that qualifies me to give others advice now.  Take this with a grain of salt.  (But not too much, we want to keep your total sodium down.)

People I Hate
I don’t want fitness advice on how to eat, exercise, and be happy from skinny twenty-year-old fitness trainers who ran track in high school and have never been fat a day in their lives; I’m sure they’ll be heartbroken by the news.  And those biggest loser folks locked in a dorm with their 24×7 trainers? They work way harder than I ever will be willing to work, and get to dedicate their entire day to their fitness.  I’ve got work, household chores, and uh, (cough, sputter) TV, that interfere with my attempts to get fit.  I honestly wish I could find a fitness trainer who proudly displays his/her pre fit picture on an ergonomic standing desk and can fawn endlessly over Game of Thrones, Walking Dead, The Flash, and House of Cards.  It is not surprising, then, that I suddenly realize I roughly fit the description of my own perfect trainer.  So, though not remotely qualified, I offer up my own story and “advice.”

Damn you Dr. Oz
I am a 51 year old male who spent 25+ years working a computer job, had zero interest in exercise, and ate to relieve stress, boredom, and because I really, really, like food.  Over the years I went from wearing a size 36 pant to wearing a size 38, to wearing a size 38 with an expanding waist band, and finally wearing a size 40.  Ok.. a size 40 with an expanding waist band.  I was 5’10, 240 (ish) lbs, obese on the BMI scale, and winded taking two flights of stairs- and was not phased by any of it.  I looked in the mirror regularly, saw the same charming, extremely good looking, and modest guy I’ve always seen, and continued ordering fries with my lunch.  Dr. Oz ruined it for me.

What comes before beginner?
Dr. Oz convinced me the fat around my belly was bad.  And, he had a plan- walk 10000 steps a day, it’ll make you lose fat.  He had a lot of other advice on supplements, eating right, etc., but I pretty much zoned out after the walking bit.  I ordered “You on a Diet” and the “You Workout.” and..  failed.  Even the beginner workout was overwhelming.  I couldn’t get through the 20 minute Pilates and stretching type workout without pausing the DVD to breath, and then couldn’t do half the stretching moves fully.  I needed the dreamer workout, not the beginner one.

Advice 1: Walk
So I bought a pedometer and walked.  10000 steps is a lot.  So I started smaller.  I walked slowly, and not very far.  I figured I could spare 30 minutes, so I walked for 30 minutes.  Not fast, and not very far.  Never more than 30 minutes.   Having a number to hit made me keep walking just a little more trying to get to 10000.  I’d park my car a little further away for a few extra steps.  I’d get up once in a while at work and make the “long loop” around the building on the way to the diet soda machine.  (Did I mention my soda addiction?)

Advice 2: Get a Fitbit
In December 2012 I finally started hitting my 10000 step goal.  For me, seeing the number on my device was important, a fuel gauge doesn’t cut it.   Having to look at my phone is too delayed.  The app is nice, but get a numerical display.   The Fitbit site has great charts, great history tracking, and ways to add your friends and compete!  I bought a Fitbit.

Advice 3: Have goals
Have a goal.  Some of my past and future goals (in order of difficulty): extend my 30 minutes of walking to 60 minutes.  Up my walking from 3 days a week to 5 days a week.  Enter a 5k.  Do the couch to 5k program (probably should have done that before entering the 5K.)  Enter another 5k.  Jog continuously for 1 minute.  Jog continuously for 1 mile.  Jog continuously for 2 miles.  Enter another 5k (do better than last year.) Jog continuously for 3.11 miles. Put my socks on standing up.  Sit cross legged.  Touch my toes.  Some of these may seem ridiculous or silly, but I assure you getting up a ½ hour early to walk did not seem simple at 5:30am. There were days when I had to fool myself by saying “I’ll just do 10 minutes of walking today,” to get myself out of bed.   The point is that having the goal keeps me moving in the right direction.  Small goals are OK!  Full Disclosure: I still haven’t jogged continuously for 5k, and can’t touch my toes (yet.)

Advice 4: Watch TV
I am, it seems, the only human being to watch TV or actually eat at McDonald’s.  I have given impromptu surveys, and can’t find anyone who watches more than a few hours of TV, or has EVER eaten at McDonalds.  If, however, you, like me, like to watch TV- use that as an excuse to workout.  Get an app, download your program to your phone, tablet, etc.. and only watch when you workout.  This is harder to do while walking outside without walking into a tree, so probably you should confine the use of workout TV to the gym.

Advice 5: You can’t outrun your mouth
I started walking 5 miles a day, almost every day, two years ago. I started jogging some of that along the way. I walked over 3 million steps in 2013, 3 million steps in 2014, and lost roughly (tada) zip, nada, nothing. Damn you and your lies Dr. Oz! I’m not complaining, though, because I didn’t add any weight over those two years, either, and I improved my overall fitness. I no longer got winded going up stairs, could walk / jog (WOGGING™ is a trademark of Byron Ferguson Fitness Enterprises), and go up and down the stairs without holding the banister. Here are some potential reasons I didn’t lose some weight at the same time: I ate more because working out made me hungrier, I added muscle mass (ha!), I figured since I was working out I could eat stuff that was a little worse (ouch, painfully true), or my average workout burned only burned 300 or so calories. The truth is, if you really need to lose weight, you’ve got to pay attention to the food you eat. I knew that, I just did my best to prove it wasn’t true for two years.

Two years not much progress on weight loss. October 2014- Started paying attention to food.

Two years not much progress on weight loss. October 2014- Started paying attention to food.

Advice 6: Eat a little better, rinse, repeat.
Shortly after I started paying attention to what I would eat using the MyFitnessPal app, I joined the Whole Life Challenge with my sister ( The challenge encourages different eating habits, and has different levels. The simplest level asks you to cut out bad oils, sugar as an ingredient, bread and pasta, beer, soda, diet soda, chips, fries, and a few other foods. (What the heck is left!) While doing this “cold turkey” might be challenging (not hard- cancer is hard, not eating something is not hard -WLC), try cutting ONE thing out for ONE meal.  If I gave you $100 to not have soda for one meal, could you?  Of course! One meal is EASY!    Now just do that three times and you’ve done it for the day.  Good?  Try two days.  Say to yourself, “I have had ______ all my life, I can not have it just this once.”  Got the soda down?  Do the same for fries.  (OMG I love fries!)  Keep making small changes and eventually you WILL see a huge difference.

Advice 7: Fail quickly, rinse, repeat.
Once I started really paying attention to food, I bought a scale and logged my weight. I set my goal high- lose just one pound. Not 75 pounds overall. Just one pound (Really I wanted to lose all 75 pounds in one week but that seemed just a little unrealistic.) At the end of one week I had lost one pound. Winning! Two days later I had gained four pounds. Fail. 🙁 I started again. This time I lost two pounds.

Obviously your weight is going to fluctuate daily, but weighing myself daily did three things for me. First, weighing daily made it impossible for me to hide going off the rails at that all-you-can-eat country buffet. Second, not hiding from the scale made me plan how I could go off the rails less (not less times, but like only going back for seconds ONCE at the buffet. Finally, this eventually made me go off the rails less FREQUENTLY! A way to measure, even an imperfect one, allows us to correct course and head in the right direction.

Chart showing weight loss via scale

Way off the rails in September. Restart. May looking a little rocky. Focus.

Advice 8: Jedi Mind Tricks
I’d like to think I’m too smart to fall for simple tricks, but the truth is I’m easily swayed. Here are a few mind tricks that made me make better decisions. If people ask me if I’m losing weight I never reply with “I’m working on it,” “so far,” etc. I say, “Thanks for noticing,” or better yet- “Only 20 more pounds to go.” Trying implies failure is still an option. There is no try; do or do not! At least tell yourself that. Also, stop telling yourself losing weight, working out, … is HARD! The Whole Life Challenge tricked me well by saying, “Cancer is hard, living a healthy lifestyle is EASY!” Tying hard to cancer made it impossible for me to whine to myself.. “it’s hard.” Finally, one last trick- when you’re at a meal and want those french fries, garlic toast, or other food non grata (not to be confused with au gratin,) remind yourself, “I am not a wild dog that has to eat everything someone puts in front of me. Just this once, I can not eat this.” I know, you’re thinking these are all silly word games. Words don’t matter. I’m not saying these. Yep. You’re right. Don’t say them. Don’t think of them. Oh, and don’t think of pink elephants today, young padawan.

Advice 9: Burn your bridges
I wore my size 38 expanding waist pants as long as my wife would let me. After she started calling me homeless man, I finally had to bite the bullet and start buying clothes. I hate buying clothes. I would much rather give my money to an obviously faking homeless guy. I could slowly transition, switching, as laundry required, between clothes that fit and don’t fit until I finally hit my target weight, or I could go all in. I went all in. I donated nearly my entire closet to Goodwill. My wife asked, “what if you put the weight back on?” I have in the past kept the old clothes, finished twenty pounds or so, and then put it all back. This time, however, I’ve made a full commitment. I’m not going back. The bridge is fully burnt. If I do go back, guess I’ll have to parade around buck ‘nekid. Nope. Not going back.

Advice 10: Don’t be done
The biggest problem with every other “diet” I’ve tried is that it was a diet. Oh, I told myself occasionally that I was doing a lifestyle change, but in truth, I knew it was a diet. The more weight I lost, the more likely I was to cheat. I’ve lost some weight, I’m entitled. My changes have started much slower this time, but every change I’ve made is something I can live with, and feel I HAVE to live with, forever.  I want to eat more real food, and less boxed stuff.  That’s not a diet, it’s a decision.  I want to eat less (or no) fried food.  That’s not a diet, it’s a decision.  The other problem with a diet was that after it was done, I was done.  Now I can go back to eating fries, etc- until I finally have to diet again.  This time I’ve made decisions that I will do forever.  And now, I don’t have to be done.  That change makes all the difference.

Do Something.  Anything.
I might be wrong.  Really.  If it doesn’t work, dump it.  If you keep doing what you’re doing you’ll keep getting what you already have.  I’ve gotten so much help from others online, I hope my story and advice will help someone.  Want to be my fitbit friend, email me telling me how much this helped?  My email is, and may the force be with you!

Byron Ferguson is a professional “computer guy,” who likes performing magic, building stuff, cooking, and hanging out with his family.  He does not like to exercise, but it a necessary part of his master plan to live forever.   So far his plan is going swimmingly. Byron currently lives in Parker, CO with his wife Toni and their two kids Nolan and Kyra.


Calling All FitBit-ers – Let’s Feed America!

Do you like helping people? Did you know that being hungry sucks? Do you own a FitBit?

If you answered yes to these life questions like I did, then LEMME TELL YOU A STORY.

Last Thursday, I found out about the FitBit/Feed America challenge to make the calories I burn between today and March 3rd count toward 1.5 million meals for hungry Americans. HELLO, SIGN ME UP!

It’s ridiculously simple. All you need is a FitBit and a few minutes of time.  Here’s the scoop:

fitforfood1. Read more about the project on the FitBit Blog and on Feeding America’s Website.

2. Sign up here.

3. Track your calories on your dashboard.

4. Watch the video because it’s kinda hilarious.


I hope you’ll join Mer, Vic, and I in this virtual race to punch hunger in the face! MyFitBit Profile Link

The Lies They Tell Us

As a one of the new Chicks, I’ve been very conscious of the content of my posts. I mean, duh, right? Us Chicks always want to provide you with informative, entertaining, and maybe sometimes, thought-provoking content. As writers, we expect no less of ourselves, and as readers, you expect no less of us. Personally, I’ve also tried to stay in neutral topic territory. Because, well…opinions. And I assure you I can be quite opinionated about my opinions. The thing is, I saw something the other day that bothered me, and I’d like to share it with you and get your opinion, friends.

On my lunch break, I went to the local supermarket and was all excited to look through the January issue of Women’s Running, which I didn’t find. So, I started looking over the rack. thinking that maybe a Runner’s World would do. Nope, didn’t see that either. On to plan C. I need some help with strength and cross training, maybe a women’s fitness magazine? Obviously, I just wanted to buy a magazine. Any magazine. I stood there perusing the covers, and nearly shouted my disgust aloud when I realized what I was seeing. I snapped this photo, my mouth agape in horror.

I don’t care what you say, you evil, evil magazine covers, I’m not fat!

Aside from poor Katie Holmes’ divorce drama, this scene inspired some epic eye rolling on my part. Okay, I admit I rolled my eyes in sympathy for Katie, too, because we all know Tom is lame-o. But seriously, look at this photo.

Immediately, subconsciously, it triggered several responses in my brain. The nasty, blaring appearance of the word belly on three of the covers made me guiltily think about the six pounds I’m looking forward to running off, forever with any luck. Although you can’t see them all, trust me that all of them had some blurb about a diet or losing weight. The models are beautiful and their figures are inspiring, but for most of us, they are hardly a realistic ideal. Not to mention the store’s thoughtlessness in placing the Family Circle chocolate trifle and Women’s Day cupcake covers RIGHT NEXT to the fitness and diet magazines. Sadly, not even diabetics can catch a break at this store. Thanks for the support, Kroger.

Now, I know I’m not telling you anything you don’t know. We see this all the time, and I’m the zillionth person to rabble-rabble-rabble about it. So yes, perhaps I’m failing in the informative category this week. Also, I must allow for the fact that it is January, the time when people set new goals to be fit and lose weight. I must allow that it is possible that these magazines are writing to that annual trend. Also, I was looking at fitness magazines after all, and they should have this information in them. I suppose it struck me because I wasn’t looking to read about losing weight or the latest diet, I only wanted some sound advice on safe and effective fitness. I just couldn’t get past the you’re-too-fat messaging. At least, that’s how it made me feel.

Then yesterday, I stumbled upon this Buzzfeed article wherein contributor Marie Southard Ospina tries on ten different brands of size sixteen jeans and all of them fit differently, or not at all. I found it reassuring because I can totally relate. My guess is you will as well.  In contrast to Marie, I’m 5’ 2” and a buck twenty sopping wet. But like Marie, I have 6 different sizes of pants in my closet right now. When I buy jeans, which I hate doing despite my addiction to shopping, I seriously question who, or what, was in control of product development at all of these labels. If I find a pair that fits my pygmy height, it’s two or three inches too big in the waist. If I find a pair that fits my waist, there are 7 inches of extra denim covering my toes. With the latter, I’m always wondering who the eff wears these?! You can see that Marie and I have the same problem only we’re on opposite sides of the sizing spectrum. Based on that,  I would venture to bet that most women have this same problem regardless of their weight.

Let’s talk numbers for a sec, shall we? If I’m 5’10 and weigh 118 (i.e. tall and thin enough to actually fit into those jeans), my BMI would be 16.9. A BMI of less than 18.5 is underweight for that height/weight ratio. Clearly, this is complete and total insanity. The kind of insanity that makes us feel inadequate and imperfect. It makes us feel…not pretty. And whether we’re a size 0 or 24, it makes us feel overweight. Worst of all, it’s not a healthy message in any respect.

What in the hell do these people want from us? More importantly, WHY ARE THEY MESSING WITH OUR HEADS?

When the jeans thing happens to me, I shake it off. Those people who design those clothes are nuts. Maybe it’s the seamstress in me that can say that because I know what it takes to make a pair of jeans, and seriously, some of those people have got to be high. Don’t believe them, gorgeous readers. Don’t let them, or anyone, trick you into feeling shitty about any aspect of the beautiful force of life that is you and only you. Plus, remember this girl?

Neither do I, sister.

Neither do I, sister.

She really wanted to have a pot. Yep. That’s right. The adorable French girl in Pulp Fiction actually wanted a pot belly because she thought they were sexy. And French girls know.


What types of body image messaging affects you most? Do you have opinions? Do you have opinions on pot bellies and/or blueberry pancakes? Hit me up, yo!

My Mission, Should I Choose to Write One

Sometimes you hear exactly what you need to hear exactly when you need to hear it. Sometimes, even when you don’t know you need to hear it.

Today, I was sitting at my desk at work – you know, working, as you do – when my co-worker sent me a link to an article. We typically send each other things back and forth during the day. In the interest of being completely transparent with you, it’s usually Buzzfeed articles or celeb gossip.

But today, it was an article called “Creating a New Mission Statement”. Not our typical fare, to say the least. But I opened it and started to read it, and as I read it, I thought, “huh. This is exactly what I needed to read today.”

And not just today, but lately. For the last year or so. I’ve been pretty open about struggling with my body image on this blog. About how, after I stopped nursing Bug, I quickly gained the ten pounds that basically refuse to evacuate my body no matter what I do to it.

And, you know, continuing in the vein of being transparent, I haven’t been that nice to it. I’ve derided it. I’ve called it names. I’ve scoffed at its reflection in the mirror and called myself fat and stared at myself in windows as I walk down the street, thinking “you have really let yourself go, man.”

This is something I think about all the time.

Anyway, this article. This article is about the power of creating a personal mission statement. The article states that “in creating a mission statement, coaches say it is important to identify the underlying values that may motivate change rather than focusing on a single behavior.” When you tap into these values – the why and the what of your goal – you begin to understand intrinsically why it’s so important to you. “I want to be skinny again” isn’t digging deep, and that’s what I’ve been telling myself. That’s it. “I want to be skinny again.”

Well, that’s great. But why? Why am I so desperate to get back to this girl?

Ironically enough, this was the day I found out I was pregnant!

Ironically enough, this was the day I found out I was pregnant!

I don’t know. She is essentially the same girl I am now, except maybe a little happier.

So, I’ve decided to work on my mission statement. To dig deep and try to understand why I want to get “skinny” again. And maybe once I uncover all of it (which, to be honest, probably has to do with my looks tying in with self worth and people telling me I was beautiful when I was young and abunch of other self-esteem things that are way too crazy to get into here), it won’t even have anything to do with getting skinny again. Maybe it’ll have more to do with eating food that makes my body feel good. Or getting back into yoga because it calms my mind. Or doing bar method, because while I am in perma-FML mode while I’m doing it, I love it as soon as it’s over.

Maybe because it’s over.


As if that weren’t enough, the universe nudged me again today. I went on Tumblr earlier (kind of addicted, not even sorry) and was hit in the face with this:


Working on it. We’ll see what happens. Hopefully I’ll be bringing my mission statement to you next post.

In the meantime, tell me what your mission statement is, or would be, or let’s just sing Bootylicious by Destiny’s Child. 

Putting Up a Fight…And Winning!

Well, so far.

A few weeks ago I blogged about how I was going on a diet. And the next day I went on said diet. And that same day I asked myself, “Self? Why did you go on this diet?” The day after that I seriously pondered the link between lack of carbs and homicide. But I kept going. And going. And going on phase 1 of the South Beach diet, which lets you have yummy things like lean protein and veggies and dairy (THANK GOD) and nuts and beans and blah blah blah no carbs blah no sugar blah blah what the hell am I going to eat blah blah etcetera.

At any rate, I kept chugging along. And what do you know?

It’s working! I’m down 6 pounds. I’ve actually been down 6 pounds for a couple weeks and have basically plateaued, but you know what? That’s okay, because I’ve lost 6 POUNDS!

Other interesting things to note: when I sneak a bite of something that’s not-so-healthy, I immediately feel it. As in, “wow that was good in my mouth but no me gusta in my stomach.” It seems that my body likes the good stuff I’m feeding it, and now that I’m feeding it 90% good stuff, the bad stuff sticks out even more. I’m surprised by this revelation because I felt like I was always going to have to battle against wanting to eat the crapola foods.

Of course, I say this having just snuck a piece of brownie. But I snuck JUST a piece. That was enough, and yeah, my body’s kind of eh about it. But my mouth? Looooved it.

The best part of all of this is that I’m starting to feel good about my body again. The second best part of all of this is that my co-workers are telling me how great I look. I’m still the same size I was before. I don’t think my body looks insanely different. But my clothes fit better and I’m definitely slimmer and the scale and I are really starting to mend our relationship.

So there it is, people. I’m winning the fight so far. You were all so lovely with your words of commiseration and encouragement that I had to update you.

And, may I submit into evidence this before (left) and after (right)? Both taken in work restrooms, I’m sorry to say. I wish I had a more beautiful backdrop but alas.



I’m going to keep at it and fight the good fight. If any of you out there are dealing with the same thing (and I know you are!) I hope this encourages YOU, since you were all so wonderful about encouraging me.

Getting Bec to Basics

It all started with an Instagram post. 10 Day Back to Basics Challenge (#10dayB2B). Steph/@getting_2_goal over at Light Bites Done Right is one of my absolute favorite Instagramers. She posts beautiful pictures of real food, and talks about her weight loss journey. So when she posted the idea of a 10 day challenge, I was immediately intrigued.

The ‘what not to eat’ list was short, and looked simple enough.

No ‘white’ bread, pasta, potatoes, added sugar (white cane sugar)

No artificial sugars/sweeteners

No deep fried food, like chips, breaded and fried chicken or fish

No chocolate or candy

No cakes, cupcakes, cookies

No alcohol

Add in a couple of good, healthy ‘to do’ items.

Drink at least 64 ounces of plain water a day

Eat 5 servings of fruit and veggies a day

The idea was that people that wanted to would all do it together, for the same 10 days (9/22-10/1) and share pictures on Instagram using the hashtag above. (If you want to see all my food pics, of which there were MANY, you can check out my Instagram).

Having tried, and miserably failed, at Whole 30 earlier this year, this looked doable. It was only 10 days, after all, and this was far less restrictive. Grains were still fine, as long as they were whole grains. Sugars were not forbidden, just limited to less processed sugars like honey, real maple syrup and turbinado sugar. Dairy was still very much an option, which meant not trying to make ‘compliant’ coffee creamer out of strange ingredients. It also meant cheese was still an option, which meant less of me crying my eyes out. All good things.

I decided to do it. I found recipes that would work with the program, and made a shopping list full of healthy ingredients. With some sadness, I pushed the bevy of delicious, but highly processed, pumpkin flavored items I had recently purchased to the back of the cabinets. They’d still be there in 10 days.

Stocking up

Stocking up

From day one, I saw two similarities to Whole 30. I was going to do a lot of label reading, and I was going to spend a lot of time cooking my own food. That didn’t deter me. Whole 30 had already opened my eyes to just how many food items contain added sugar, and I really love cooking. So, I knew I’d be fine. This would help get me out of the cookie aisle and into my kitchen.

As I’m writing this, I am at the end of day 9. When I say that I have stuck to nothing for 9 days in a damn long while, I’m really not exaggerating. My Weight Watchers pattern has been pretty steady since rejoining in May; two or three days on, a week off, one day on, two weeks off, etc. And since May, I was down 3 pounds. Which hey, it’s down 3 pounds! Except no.

So, let’s be real. The main reason I embarked on this challenge was weight loss. I thought this could be the jump start that my floundering Weight Watchers efforts needed. A little push in the right direction. 10 days to give me a nice loss on the scale, and maybe get me out of the low points prepared food rut I’d been in.

It was so much more than that.

Physically, this challenge has been incredible for me. My taste buds are already adjusting to less sugar, and things the used to seem not nearly sweet enough taste fine, good even. I no longer feel like every night has to end with dessert. I pack plenty of food for work, so I’m not constantly hungry and searching for something. I’ve discovered how much more satisfied I am when I eat real, whole foods. Not full, satisfied. There is a difference. Not that I’m going hungry, I’m not. But being satisfied, for me, comes from things like having a smaller amount of full fat sour cream on my taco salad, instead of a lot of light sour cream. Label reading showed me that light sour cream is full of additives, things my body doesn’t need.


I have more energy, because I’m eating a balanced diet of good proteins and whole grains and plenty of fruits and veggies. I’m still tracking all my foods and counting my points, and this works well with Weight Watchers, especially considering the meeting last week was all about eating power foods.  My skin looks better. I’m sleeping better. I feel better. I feel lighter. Oh, and as of my Weight Watchers meeting last night, I am lighter. By 8.8 pounds. (Booyah!)



But those things were probably pretty predictable. Physically, if you are eating less crap, you should feel less like crap. Not rocket science, right?

What I didn’t expect was the ways this would impact me mentally. I didn’t expect to feel so much more hopeful that I could actually lose this weight once and for all. I didn’t expect the feeling of being in control of my diet, and my body, for the first time in a long time. I wasn’t anticipating how much this would change my feelings about food, about what I put into my body, and the direct correlation that would have to how I feel about myself.

I’m proud of myself for sticking with this. On some level, I don’t think I believed I would be able to do it. But that’s part of what got me here, anyway. Not believing in me, and in the fact that I can do anything I put my mind to. But I did do it. I even got through a birthday celebration for my husband at a Chinese restaurant. I passed on cupcakes. I did that!

Credit where it’s due, there is definitely another factor in my changing attitude towards food, towards myself, and in my changing behaviors. I’ve been working with a nutritionist for the past couple of months, one that specializes in eating disorders. She’s really helped me to see how disordered some of my habits and patterns of behavior are. She’s helping me learn to look at things in a less black or white manner, helping me understand that there are grey areas, that overweight does not have to equal unhealthy, that small changes will make a difference over time. Had I not already been working with her, I don’t know that I would have been in a good enough mental place to do this challenge.

I’m glad I was.

Tomorrow is Day 10, and I’m going into it feeling strong, and not a bit nervous about what happens the next day. A few people have asked me if I’ll stick with those guidelines longer. I thought a lot about that, and the answer is… no. Not all of them, all the time, anyway. I mean, no alcohol forever? Not reality. No cake or cookies ever again? Nope. I would, and plan to, repeat the challenge again, probably a few times a year, as a means of making sure things stay in check. But permanent? No.

With the exception of artificial sweeteners, which I can vehemently say will never cross my lips again (my nutritionist will be so happy), I will integrate those foods back into my diet, in a much more occasional manner. Because this wasn’t supposed to be a forever thing, really.

It was about getting Bec back to basics. Mission accomplished.

How’s It Going, Bec?

Well, since you asked…

I’ve been meaning to post a status update of sorts for a while. You know, the skinny (or not so skinny) on how things have been since I rejoined Weight Watchers, if the foot is healed, how the gradual walking to C25K to eventual half marathon running training plan is working out, how I’m enjoying the beautiful summer weather.

But every time I sat down to write said progress update post, it wound up reading a bit like this.

I’m still fat*. 

My foot hurts. 

That half is so far away, I’ve got plenty of time. 

Oh, I’m slightly less fat**! Oh wait, nevermind, I’m the same amount of fat again. 

Why is Massachusetts hotter than the face of the sun? 

Does anyone remember why I wanted to run a half marathon again? I forget. 

God, I’m fat***. I wish I had a cookie. 

I’ll never run again. Stupid foot, I loathe you. 

Oh, cookies! I love cookies! 

Walk? In this humidity? ARE YOU INSANE? 

You know what is awesome in the humidity? ICE CREAM. WITH COOKIES. 

So, while all very true things that I have said, out loud, over the past few months, they don’t exactly make for scintillating blog post reading. But at the end of the day, that has been the state of this particular union.

I don’t want to write one of those posts where I swear to you, and to me, and to everyone in the universe that THIS TIME is the time, that starting now, everything will change. You say those things too often, and I do, they start to sound cheap and hollow. I have, however, starting to realize some things about myself, so I figured I’d share those. with you.

I avoid things that are uncomfortable. Confrontation, weigh-ins I know won’t be in my favor, exercise (especially in the heat), any type of food restriction. 

I am a complete creature of habit. I don’t fear change, but I find the action of changing uncomfortable, so… see above. 

I am a sheep (baaaaa, Jess). I started running because all of my friends were running. I’m not even sure I like running. (There was a time when I was pretty sure I loved running, even though I agree with Jess that is is boring as all get out). A huge part of the reason I want to run a half marathon is because all my friends have. I don’t think that is the best reason, and I don’t think it’s enough to get me across the finish line. 

I kind of like being fat****. Okay, no. I don’t like being fat. But I understand being fat. It is what I know. I have functioned this was for years. Anything that strays from this is change, and thus uncomfortable, and thus… see above. 

I really like cookies.

So, it turns out this is one of those rambly posts that sort of goes nowhere. But I think those are okay sometimes? I don’t know, I’ve had a lot on my mind and it feels good to unload some of it.

If you’re curious, the actual status update is that I’m down 1.6 pounds since rejoining Weight Watchers (at week two, there was another 1 at the front of that number), the foot is better but not completely, walking happens when it happens, and I loathe the humidity more than I can talk about.

*Don’t freak out, it’s just a word.

** Seriously, I’m not being all self loathing over here. Just a word, not a weapon.

***Fat. I’m fat. I’m talking about myself, so that pretty much makes it okay to say ‘fat’. But if you want to call me fat, that’s fine too.

****Fatty fatty fat fat 🙂


Dear Pizza, I Miss You

This is definitely going to be a TMI post.  But I’m okay with it if you are.

All I’ve ever wanted was to be one of those people who could just eat like a normal person and not worry about gaining ten pounds immediately.  I don’t think it’s too much to ask.  I don’t even want to be skinny, I just want to be able to eat the food I love.  And I love food.  How could I not?  I grew up sneaking rolls in my family’s Italian restaurant.  And it just so happens my grandma makes the best berry custard pies on the planet.  Seriously, they’re magic.  This culinary-rich childhood has led to an extreme appreciation for really, really good food.  Unfortunately, the metabolism gods hate my guts.

Side ponytail for the WIN

Side ponytail for the WIN

My Body Back session is wrapping up and I’ve already enrolled in the class again.  I’ve lost about 10 pounds in 8 weeks.  Which I’m fine with because I’m stronger today than I was 8 weeks ago.  What I’m not fine with is the fact that I’ve lost and gained over 100 pounds during my twenties and thirties.  I’ve tried every fad diet known to mankind and I’ve been pretty successful with some of them but I always revert back to my old eating comforts.  I’ve come to the reluctant realization that those comforts have to be replaced if I’m ever going to maintain a body I’m healthy in.  Forgoing my favorite foods has been incredibly hard for me.  My family IS food.  Whether it’s crepes that taste just like my great grandma’s or homemade pizza from a secret recipe, every family memory I have is wrapped in a meal.  How can I just give that up?

Well, my future satisfaction with my life depends on it.  Because right now, I’m not satisfied with the quality of that comfortable life.  My energy levels suck.  Dairy has declared war on my intestines.  I’m medicated for depression and medicated for the side effects of depression medication.  I’m pre-diabetic and anemic.  And all I want to do is comfort myself with a giant, cheesy, slightly burnt piece of pizza.

I don’t know if I’ll ever get over my cravings for comfort food.  I don’t know if I SHOULD get over them.  Part of me wants to scream fuck it and eat a damn piece of pizza.  And then some cake and coffee.  Because I’ve worked really hard these last two months.  I deserve it.

Another part of me knows these foods will actually provide very little comfort, especially all that dairy.  How do I find new comforts?  How does this become a life change?  How do I come to terms with the stuff on the inside so I can be comfortable with the outside?  When will I stop being tired?

The key word here is change.

Finding Balance on the Scale

The scale and I have been having a disagreement lately. I get on it in the morning and it gives me a number I don’t like. I give it a look, eat my way through the day, and then get back on it at night. It still gives me a number I don’t like. Rinse and repeat for the past two months. That number really isn’t budging. It’s frustrating. It’s irritating. It’s disappointing, even.

I’ve been slender for my entire life. Before I had Bug, my metabolism was epic. If I gained a couple pounds and was unhappy about it, all I had to do was cut back on my calories for a few days and I’d settle back into my happy zone. I ate what I wanted for the most part. Didn’t have to exercise all that much to maintain a slim, not-too-squishy build. I had a flat stomach! And guess what? I still complained about my weight. I still looked in the mirror and thought “hmm. Not good enough.”

So maybe the problem isn’t my weight. Maybe my real problem is that I am never satisfied with my body. This body, which has carried me through 31 years of life and given me a crazy-amazing kid and kept me healthy, is still a disappointment to me. And I think it’s okay to feel uncomfortable when your weight creeps up to a higher number than you’re used to, or want. But the fact that I weigh myself, on average, 2 to 3 times a day sets off alarm bells in my head. It puts me in the danger zone. It means that I hear words like “thigh gap” and “ideal build” and think that my body, for everything it’s done for me, isn’t good enough. That my body, when it’s not perfect, makes me somehow less than. It’s not true, but it feels true.

I think about how I, a fairly reasonable adult who has the maturity to understand on some intellectual level that my weight and how I look doesn’t define who I am as a human being,  struggle with this problem on a daily basis and I’m a little befuddled. I have thighs that jiggle. I’ve got a booty on me (look out, JLo, I’m coming for you). My stomach is soft and I have to hike up my jeans when I sit down so my little pooch doesn’t flap over my waistband. I’m carrying around 10 extra pounds that I’d love to take a hike. But that doesn’t mean that I’m not a rad person. I totally get that, and yet I don’t. I look in the mirror and think “ugh.”

Then and now (this was not fun to post).

Then and now (this is not fun to post).

This is not just my struggle. I love and hate that I’m not alone thinking these things. And I’m using Scoot as my diary today because I think that speaking these fearful thoughts out loud gives them less power. Also, I’m not going to turn down a pep talk or a “me, too” from you wonderful, kind readers.

I am working on living a healthier life. I hope that by default that sort of squashes the argument between me and my scale; I hate when we fight. But I know at the end of the day, the argument is really one-sided. It’s just giving me the facts. I’m the one who’s skewing them. I’m the one who’s making them uglier than they need to be.

Anyone else out there who feels the way I do? Or do you have some advice for me? Let’s talk it out in the comments. 

Weight a Minute

There was a point in my life that I weighed myself every day. That’s right. Every. Single. Day. I was definitely obsessed, if not on the edge of disordered. Truthfully, I was driving myself a little crazy.

Until one day, I just stopped.

I decided that it wasn’t healthy for my mind to be so wrapped up in the numbers. So the morning visit to the scale ceased. I was mindful of my food but no longer tracked every morsel I consumed. I continued to work out. And I was content.

2013 brought many good things my way, including more half marathons, shorter races and workouts with my trainer at the gym. However, I injured myself in September and that put a damper on what I was able to do physically. My miles shrank but my food intake continued as though they hadn’t.

(You see where this is going, don’t you?)

I weighed myself the other day for the first time since the summer. I wasn’t all together surprised by the number but I will admit that I wasn’t happy with it either. That’s not to say that I’m not happy with myself, because I am. I’m at a good place, a much different place than I was when I was the girl weighing herself daily.  Generally speaking, I’m pretty awesome.

But I would like to work hard to get back down, weight wise.

At my leanest, I was at 144. This was in 2012, when I was tracking everything – my weight, my food, my workouts – everything.

By the end of last summer, I was at 152 – I tracked my workouts, but that was basically it.

And now, here I am, at 156. I knew I was gaining weight. I could tell by the way my clothes were fitting mostly. I think that I tend to have a bit of body dysmorphia so no matter when I look in the mirror, I always see the same thing – whether I’m 10 pounds lighter or 20 pounds heavier. That doesn’t help matters.

What I do know is this: I need to make a change.

Rather than focusing on the numbers (since that hasn’t really worked well for my psyche in the past), I’m going to try to present things to myself in more than/less than fashion. For example…

More water and less 180 calorie drinks

More water and less bazillion (slight exaggeration)  calorie drinks

More homecooked, less takeout. More veggies, less cookies. Smaller meals throughout the day and smarter choices.

I’m going to leave the numbers bit of things in the trusty hands(?) of my Fitbit One and myfitnesspal.

Treadmill outranks couch (that's "my" spot that everyone steals - and I'm going to let them steal it.)

Treadmill outranks couch (that’s “my” spot that everyone steals – and I’m going to let them steal it.) And outside will outrank treadmill when it’s not 3 degrees.

And I plan to continue my exercising. I don’t think that I’ll feasibly be able to add things like hot yoga back into my schedule but I would like to hit the 10,000 step goal set by the Fitbit each day. (Okay, fine, maybe focusing a little bit on numbers isn’t the worst thing in the world.)

No excuses, no whining. I’m ready to get this done. I can and I will!

What sort of challenges or goals are you looking forward to tackling in 2014?