Tuesday, February 27, 2007

binge eating

A new article on CNN.com asks "Are you a binge eater?"
I thought binge eating was a very specific disease, an eating disorder like anorexia. In fact those who've been reading this for a long time know I was accused a few years back of having a "sub-clinical binging disorder" and denied weight loss surgery because I couldn't prove I DIDN'T have it!
So if you eat too much and revel in it, you aren't a binge eater, according to this article. You're just a, well, a piggy. If you eat too much, hide it and feel guilty, you're a binge eater.
Sounds to me like it's a question of what religion you were raised in. I wonder if anyone's done studies to see if many binge eaters are Catholic or used to be. (I tell people I used to be Catholic but I got better.) Or maybe Jewish--Jewish moms are good for layering on guilt trips too.
Notice that I didn't quote the article. It really didn't say much. Nor did it answer the question "How to tell if you're a binge eater".
Although it had a link to a list...on OA. I tried OA. The people were AWFUL. I went for a couple of months and gained nothing. I couldn't even get a sponsor.
You can follow the link and read the questions yourself. But they are a combination of two things--binge eating and being overweight. I guess binge eating is only a problem if you are overweight in OA. Not all overweight people binge and not all binge eaters are overweight.

hatred for fat people

I was thinking the other day about a former friend of mine. (Former because she moved away and we lost touch.) She was thin and hated fat people. (She knew me when I was thinner--not thin, but under 200 lbs.) She said all the usual things--that fat people were lazy and had no self control or will power, etc.
But the funny thing is, at the same time, she was one of those people who bragged about eating anything she wanted and never working out. She might have been "thin" to look at, but she had no muscle tone. We used to call her "Squishy" because her butt was like a beanbag. It just hung there limply--she couldn't clench it and make the muscles hard. She wouldn't walk if she could drive (or better yet, be driven). She was about 20 years old then.
What is the difference between a thin person who eats like a pig and never works out and a fat person who eats like a pig and never works out? Nothing except what the scale says...and I wonder what ol' Squishy looks like now, in her mid-30's, her metabolism slowing down, maybe she's had a couple of kids...
So did my squishy friend "deserve" to be thin? Does an overweight person who watches what he eats and works out "deserve" to be fat?
Don't get me wrong. A thin person who lives on salads and works out four hours a day to stay that way can be contemptuous all she wants of someone who eats like a pig and never steps into the gym or even takes a walk. But she should be equally contemptuous to the lazy 120 lb pig as the 320 lb one.
Does that make any sense?

Sunday, February 25, 2007

fat funnies

  • I gave up jogging for my health when my thighs kept rubbing together and setting my pantyhose on fire.
  • Amazing! You hang something in your closet for a while and it shrinks two sizes!
  • Skinny people irritate me! Especially when they say things like, "You know, sometimes I just forget to eat." I've forgotten my address, my mother's maiden name, and my keys. But I've never forgotten to eat. You have to be a special kind of stupid to forget to eat.
  • I read this article that said the typical symptoms of stress are: eating too much, impulse buying, and driving too fast. Are they kidding? That is my idea of a perfect day.
  • I know what Victoria 's Secret is. The secret is that nobody older than 30 can fit into their stuff.
(from a forwarded email; I didn't write these.)

Protective Karate Fat

I just saw the Reno 911 movie and there's a great line: "I'm not chubby; it's protective karate fat!"
I like the show. The movie was hilarious.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

bathroom claustrophobia

I have a kind of claustrophobia. Which is fear of being in small spaces. Probably comes from being large.
There is a tunnel on Route 15 which leads under East Rock. (Or maybe it's West Rock, I can't keep them straight.) I was at a home demo last night & was astounded when the person doing the demo TURNED DOWN a party because she'd have to drive through the tunnel. I drive through it all the time (maybe 4-6 times a month) and it never bothers me. Maybe because it's short. You can always see daylight at the other end. (Except when it's night.)
So I'm okay with that tunnel. But I hate small bathroom stalls.
I hate the way the doors open inward. That's problem #1. Even the skinniest person, I am convinced, practically has to stand on the toilet to swing the door out of the way. Whose brilliant idea was that?
The toilet paper is always hung too low. You practically have to crawl onto the floor to get to it.
And now they have those mega-rolls which are on triangular "rolls" which means you only get 1 or 2 squares per pull. This isn't helpful. It's ANNOYING. I want to wipe, not blow my nose.
Half the time, the stall is narrow as well as shallow, so the top of the too-low paper dispenser is jabbing you in the elbow or hip or both. God forbid you need to do something complex, like change a tampon.
(And now I've grossed out all my male readers. Sorry. It's a fact of life. And being fat and crammed into a tiny stall doesn't make the job any easier.)
I use the handicap stall if I haven't seen any handicapped people around who look like they have to pee. I know it's wrong, but I can't bear to be shoe-horned into a tin can to do my toilet-type business. WHY are they so small?
The logical thing would be to make less stalls in the same amount of space. but then of course the back-up in a busy bathroom would be worse. Why not make the men's room SMALLER and the women's BIGGER with slightly bigger stalls?
Ah, I'm being logical again. Must stop.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Weight Loss Supplements that might work

I'm leery of all this, but here is the list of supplements that MIGHT work and those that definitely DON'T work. Supplements, as in OTC, not prescription. (Heavily edited and I'm too lazy to put in ellipses today.)

  • Caffeine: the most effective weight-loss ingredient. A stimulant, caffeine speeds up metabolism and can ward off listlessness from dieting. It may suppress appetite, too, and boost the power of other weight-loss ingredients. More than 400 milligrams per day (equivalent to three to four cups of coffee) won't help you lose more weight and could bring on jitteriness, headaches, and insomnia.
  • EGCG: It's green tea's main antioxidant--90-plus milligrams per day. Or just drink four cups of green tea. EGCG appears to work synergistically with the caffeine in green tea to boost metabolism. And a few small studies suggest it'll help you burn about 4 percent more calories (about 80) a day and specifically burn fat.
80 calories a day is 15 lbs a year.
  • Chromium: The effective dosage seems to be 200 micrograms per day. Chromium seems to slightly limit weight gain in people with diabetes or pre-diabetes.
  • Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA): A natural substance found in meat and dairy products. The effective dosage used in studies is 3,000 milligrams per day. In one trial, women lost 9 percent of their body fat in a year -- and gained muscle, too. In another study, men and women lost about 6 percent of their fat after 6 months. CLA may raise cholesterol and worsen insulin resistance.
  • 5-HTP: (AKA) Griffonia simplicifolia, 5-hydroxytryptophan is an amino acid that your body eventually converts into serotonin, the brain chemical thought to be lacking in people with depression. The usual dosage: 100 milligrams, three times a day.Why try it: 5-HTP may increase levels of a hormone that tells your brain when you're full.
  • L-dopa or L-tyrosine: Your body turns the amino acid L-tyrosine into L-dopa and then turns L-dopa into dopamine, another brain chemical linked to cravings and pleasure. A common daily dosage is 500 milligrams. Low dopamine levels may lead to overeating. L-dopa may trigger production of human growth hormone, which builds muscle and reduces fat.

What not to buy

  • Cascara: This is a natural laxative -- not a safe way to shed pounds.
  • Dandelion: It's a natural diuretic, so you lose only water weight.
  • Ephedra: The Food and Drug Administration banned it in 2004; now, court challenges hope to put it back on the shelf. Ephedra increases the risk of heart problems and stroke.
  • Garcinia: There are possible links to liver damage.
  • Hoodia There's been lots of hype about hoodia gordonni, a cactuslike South African plant with appetite-suppressing chemicals (in one study, people who took it ate 1,000 fewer calories a day). But the hoodia in that test isn't available right now. The hoodia products in stores or online probably contain other hoodia types that don't work -- or none at all.
  • Usnic acid: Found in some bodybuilders' formulas, it's been linked to severe liver damage.

Friday, February 16, 2007


I was wearing a sweater I like yesterday. I was admiring it in the mirror and for whatever reason I turned sideways. (Why would I want to go and ruin my day like that?) And I realized something.
I am thicker than I am wide.
Most people turn sideways to enter a tight space. I fit better if I go straight forward.
How the hell did this weirdness happen? I am some kind of deformed freak. I should just buy a burqa and cover myself from head to toe. No, neck to toe. I mostly like my head.
People keep saying I look thinner. From which direction?!
I am so self conscious about this now. How could this have happened? Is this normal?
Why would I even ask that? When I have ever been "normal"? WTF is normal anyway?

Monday, February 12, 2007

food jokes

In an attempt to inject some levity into my life:


Q: I've heard that cardiovascular exercise can prolong life; is this true?

A: Your heart is only good for so many beats, and that's it... don't waste them on exercise. Everything wears out eventually. Speeding up your heart will not make you live longer; that's like saying you can extend the life of your car by driving it faster. Want to live longer? Take a nap.


Q: Should I cut down on meat and eat more fruits and vegetables?

A: You must grasp logistical efficiencies. What does a cow eat? Hay and corn. And what are these? Vegetables. So a steak is nothing more than an efficient mechanism of delivering vegetables to your system. Need grain? Eat chicken. Beef is also a good source of field grass (green leafy vegetable). And a pork chop can give you 100% of your recommended daily allowance of vegetable products.


Q: Should I reduce my alcohol intake?

A: No, not at all. Wine is made from fruit. Brandy is distilled wine, that means they take the water out of the fruity bit so you get even more of the goodness that way. Beer is also made out of grain. Bottoms up!


Q: How can I calculate my body/fat ratio?

A: Well, if you have a body and you have fat, your ratio is one to one. If you have two bodies, your ratio is two to one, etc.


Q: What are some of the advantages of participating in a regular exercise program?

A: Can't think of a single one, sorry. My philosophy is: No Pain...Good!


Q: Aren't fried foods bad for you?

A: YOU'RE NOT LISTENING! Foods are fried these days in vegetable oil. In fact, they're permeated in it. How could getting more vegetables be bad for you?


Q: Will sit-ups help prevent me from getting a little soft around the middle?

A: Definitely not! When you exercise a muscle, it gets bigger. You should only be doing sit-ups if you want a bigger stomach.


Q: Is chocolate bad for me?

A: Are you crazy? HELLO ...... Cocoa beans! Another vegetable!!! It's the best feel-good food around!


Q: Is swimming good for your figure?

A: If swimming is good for your figure, explain whales to me.


Q: Is getting in shape important for my lifestyle?

A: Hey! 'Round' is a shape!


Well, I hope this has cleared up any misconceptions you may have had about food and diets.

And remember:
Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways -- Chardonnay in one hand, chocolate in the other -- body thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and screaming "WOO HOO, what a Ride!"

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Impossible dream

My trainer gave me a book on metabolic resistance to read. I took the little quiz in the front and only scored 6/20 so I haven't got it, but I'm reading it anyway. As with all diet books, it contradicts itself constantly. On the one hand, any weight-loss goal is attainable. On the other hand, given the formula they introduce, unless you can devote yourself full-time to working out, it's not.
They say that to lose 20 lbs you must cut 200 calories a day from your food OR add 200 calories a day of movement. Then you plateau.
To budge from the plateau, you cut another 200 calories of food OR add 200 calories of movement. Etc. Of course after a certain point you can't cut any more calories or you can't function, so you've got to increase your exercise. I started working on a little chart to see what it would look like to go from 340 to 120 using this formula. I found a site where you put in your weight and the exercise you do and for how long, and it tells you how many calories you burn. (try it).
The insidious thing is, the less you weigh, the less you burn, so you need to work out longer to achieve the same goal...but as you lose weight, your goal of calories burned per day increases exponentially...
To get from the final 140 to 120 lbs, you must work out 8 hours and 45 minutes per day.
Here is my concise little chart, using water aerobics as the example (since that's what I do).
The first column is weight lost.
The second is how many calories you have to use per day.
The 3d column is your starting weight.
The 4th is how many calories water aerobics burns per hour at that weight.
The last is how many hours a day you need to work out at that weight to meet that goal.
You gotta scroll way down. Don't ask me why. There's nothing in the HTML to make it so.

Weight LossExpendedWeightHourly CaloriesHours Needed


Thursday, February 08, 2007

first REAL otc diet pill approved by FDA

I guess I'll have to amend my usual "all OTC diet pills are crap and not FDA approved" to all but "ALLI" which is what they are calling the OTC version of Orlistat. It's apparently a half-dosage of the prescription version. The article doesn't say when it hits shelves.
Dieters got a new tool Wednesday to help them take off the extra pounds -- the first government-approved nonprescription diet pill.
The Food and Drug Administration said the fat-blocking weight-loss pill orlistat, which has been available by prescription, can be sold in a reduced-strength version over the counter.
The new version will be sold as "alli". Xenical (is) the prescription version
The drug is intended for people 18 and older to use along with a reduced-calorie, low-fat diet and exercise.
hahaha. Does anyone really do this? I mean, I do the exercise thing all the time, but most overweight people don't.
(I)n trials, for every five pounds people lost through diet and exercise, those using orlistat lost an additional two to three pounds.
That's respectable. That's a 50% or so increase.
When taken with meals, orlistat blocks the absorption of about one-quarter of any fat consumed...about 150 to 200 calories worth.
And then what happens, professor?
The most common side effect of the product is a change in bowel habits including loose stool and some oily spotting.
Yum. Oily spotting. But to lose 50% more weight...
Eating a low-fat diet will reduce the likelihood of this side effect.
That's the problem. If I could eat a low fat diet, I would. I'm lazy like everyone else. I'd love a pill to solve all my problems. Wouldn't you? Not that I eat a HIGH fat diet, it's just not LOW fat.
I wonder what happens if you mix it with Phentermine?

musings on being sick

(not graphic)
I find it interesting that when I get some kind of digestive upset that I've clearly caught from someone I know (co-worker/husband/relative), I always have it worse than whoever I got it from. And even if I pass it on (such a generous person I am) the recipient doesn't have it as bad as me. So clearly it's me. There is something about my digestive system (shaky at best) that just reacts very strongly (very badly) to any kind of upset.
Which is yet another reason why I'm so iffy about weight loss surgery.
I was recently out with a friend of mine who has cancer and she was very earnestly telling me she doesn't want me to have weight loss surgery because it's too dangerous. She has had part of her digestive system taken out already due to her cancer so I guess she knows what it's like. I was just so touched that she'd be worrying about ME...and reading up on MY problems when she's got so much to deal with on her own. It is so wrong that someone a year younger than me is dying. I hate it.
Funny about that--her lack of intestines--because I met a guy this weekend who had all of his large intestines removed and he GAINED weight from it. He had some kind of weird disease. So, not counting my friends who've had weight loss surgery, that's 2 other people who are walking around sans intestines. Who would ever know? Medical science can be amazing, but it's also scary.

not a good way to lose weight

(graphic sickness ahead)
On Sunday my dad was sick, as in throwing up and all that. Which isn't good because he's SICK, as in, dying. On Tuesday, I had to go over there to help my mom with some stuff (part of my job as dutiful daughter) and I heard a strange noise. I said to my dad, "Where's mommy?" and from the bathroom she groaned, "throwing up". She said my dad had been sick for a few hours and then got better and same for her.
At 4 a.m. yesterday, I woke up to that "uh oh" feeling, racing to the bathroom before I was even quite aware of what was going on. I immediately took some Imodium but all that did was make me throw up instead. The last time I threw up was 8 p.m. last night--yes, 16 hours. I was supposed to see my friend who I haven't seen since September--the closest I got was when she put a bottle of cold ginger ale just inside my door and yelled "Call me!" at 6 p.m. last night.
I threw up the ginger ale too.
I thought about weighing myself this morning but then I forgot. I'll do it tomorrow. I've got a fierce dehydration headache and I feel totally exhausted and stupid and slow minded. Not unlike how I feel on Atkins, actually. I haven't eaten food since about 7 p.m. on Tuesday. All I have ingested is about a liter of ginger ale and most of that came back out.
I want to go back to sleep but I know that won't help. Yesterday I'd be sick, wash out my puke bucket, crawl back upstairs with it, pass out, wake up, puke in the bucket, carry it downstairs, poop, wash out the bucket, and crawl back upstairs to pass out. What a day. I couldn't even muster enough brain power to read a romance novel. At 8 p.m. I woke up and remembered that I wanted to watch the future cars show on discovery. First I had to puke in my bucket. (By that time, the bucket was my friend. I loved the bucket. I'd rather have the bucket than try to get downstairs and through the house without projectile vomiting on something I shouldn't--been there, done that, disgusting to clean up.) I couldn't even roll over in the bed to watch the TV. I just laid there listening to it and wondering what these cool cars looked like.
So how was YOUR day?

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

How to eat less

This article's been hanging around online for a while. The headline "foods that make you feel full" never appealed to me. I was thinking it would be one of those "eat celery and chew it really slow" type throw-away pieces. Instead it's got some good information. That'll teach me to judge by appearances.
(W)hat, beyond overindulgence, makes people feel full -- and how can we leverage foods' filling powers to help control portions?...It's a complex sequence of events that starts with the eyes, the mouth, the stomach, and the gut....But hunger and satiety, the scientific term for that full feeling that comes after eating, are also influenced by our environment.
Armed with insight about the environmental cues that compel you to eat and the foods that offer the most satisfaction, you can make smart choices that will fill you up, and not out.
....The size of the portions you eat and whom you eat them with have a direct effect on your intake.
I can tell you the second part is SO true. I went out to a buffet with a friend who ate about 2 bites and I ended up eating about 3 bites and it was a total waste of money--together we didn't eat enough food satisfy ONE meal's price.
When you're served larger portions, you'll most likely finish them and then some.... Subjects who supped from these bowls (which stayed full) consumed 73 percent more soup than those who used ordinary bowls; however, they didn't rate their feelings of satiety any higher than those who consumed less.
Of course. You're judging how much soup you've eaten by how full the bowl is. If the bowl is being secretly refilled, you're not going to realize how much you've eaten. Not that this happens much in real life. Anyone had a bottomless bowl of soup lately?
The presentation of portions can also influence the amount of food you eat. Most of us are likely to eat considerably more than usual from a buffet-style table. One study showed that just increasing the variety of foods available increased intake by 60 percent....
(S)ubjects regulated their food intake by keeping an eye on their colleagues' plates, eating more when in the presence of someone who ate heartily....
The flexible physiology of the stomach helps place us at the mercy of environmental stimuli. Although ordinarily about the size of a closed fist, the stomach expands as food enters, (to) hold about three pints of food....That's about the size of a football.
As a non-sports person I have only the vaguest idea of how big a football is.
Fill the stomach too quickly, and your body won't have time to recognize messages from the hormones that help regulate appetite. Insulin, leptin, cortisol, and ghrelin are some of the chemical messengers that send signals between the stomach and the brain, inducing hunger and registering satiety. ....It takes about 20 minutes for food to be digested enough that glucose gets into the bloodstream and the hormones start working. If you have already consumed most of a meal in 20 minutes' time, your brain will receive satiety signals too late to slow your eating.
I've know that for a long time. That doesn't help much when you've only got 30 minutes for a meal break at work, does it? It's not like you can slow down and savor your food, whatever it may be.
(C)ertain nutrients -- most notably protein, fiber, and water -- can help tilt our internal scales toward "full" before we reach the red line.
Here comes the eat celery part, I suppose.
Protein is the most satiating nutrient.
I can believe that. If I'm on Atkins, I can't stand to eat more than few bites of meat without any carbs to "cut" it.
Carbohydrates are the next most satiating foods.
Then why are they so bad? Why are they the enemy?

Thursday, February 01, 2007

I'm not fat, I have a 93 lb tumor

This poor woman.
A 32-year-old woman, who was repeatedly told she needed to lose weight, soon discovered why years of dieting simply didn't work; she was carrying around a 93 pound growth on her ovary.
Taquela Hilton said she struggled with weight for 12 years and during that time, the cyst was never diagnosed.
"I quit going to doctors, every one I went to told me to lose weight and I had tried every diet I could think of," said Hilton.
Since the surgery three weeks ago Taquela has lost 137 pounds.
I wonder if that 137 lbs includes the 93 lbs of tumor? On another site, someone said that the hormones from an ovarian tumor would have caused her to keep gaining weight. She was up to around 500 lbs when they did the surgery.

diet verus exercise

The jury is in, and diet and exercise are equal, and building muscle mass doesn't increase your metabolism. Dieting without exercise doesn't make you lose muscle mass either.
Hm. It's not that I'm not open-minded, but in my case, I know that I can't lose weight, no matter how little I eat unless I work out. And I thought the muscle mass-metabolism thing already WAS a proven fact, I mean, it makes perfect sense. Muscle tissue is alive in a way fat isn't...does that make sense? Fat just sits there (hangs there) while muscle is doing stuff.
Anyway, here's the findings. Take 'em or leave 'em.
Eating less and exercising more are equally good at helping take off the pounds... researchers said ...in a study that challenges many of the popular tenets of the multibillion dollar diet and fitness industry.
Tests on overweight people show that a calorie is just a calorie, whether lost by dieting or by running.
How about diets that make no sense but work? Like Atkins. Pounds really do melt off (although they tend to coagulate right back on as soon as you add a bun to your cheeseburger).
(T)here is no way to selectively lose belly fat...or trim thighs. And their carefully controlled study added to evidence that adding muscle mass does not somehow boost metabolism and help dieters take off even more weight.
I understand the no way to spot-reduce thing. If you lose 10% of your fat, it comes from all over. It might look like you lost "more" weight in your fatter areas but that's because 10% of that is more than 10% of the fat under your chin, for instance. But commercials lie and people want to believe.
(I)ndividuals are genetically programmed for fat storage in a particular pattern and ...this programming cannot easily be overcome....(O)ther studies...also dispute the idea that exercise builds muscle that helps people lose weight.
If anything, highly trained people are highly efficient, so they burn fewer calories at rest.
That is absurd. We are not talking about "highly trained people". We are talking about Joe Schmoe and Jane Smith down at the local gym working out on a Nautilus machine trying to get their pants to button again. "Highly trained" people don't worry about their weight and if they "diet" it has to do with training for a sport, not with weight loss or fat percentage. Some smart people can be do dumb. (Myself included.)