Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Some workout stats

This is for the haters who say I'm lazy.

From my SparkPeople account (WLRosie, if you wish to friend me).  I've done 180 minutes of exercise this week (it's Wednesday, for those reading in the future) and out of the yearly goal of 2880 minutes, I've already done 2611 minutes (it's the end of March). By next week I should be at that goal.  I guess I can quit working out until January 2012 right?  Ha ha.


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half marathon! I rock!

I did it. Yesterday I ran for 133 minutes straight in the pool at approximately 6 miles per hour (probably more, I rounded down a lot), just over 13 miles, or a half marathon (13.1 miles/~21K is the official distance on land).
It was tiring. And a bit painful. And mostly BORING. I might do it again, maybe once a month, but it just took so damn LONG. And since I do it by time (because my underwater pedometer doesn't work underwater), I can't speed up. Right at the end, about 5 minutes from the finish, the lifeguard TOOK DOWN THE CLOCK and started washing it. I wanted to scream. I tried to guess the length of the songs and that's how I ended up 3 minutes over.

I did take 2 blue gel Advil about 20 minutes before I left for the pool. When I got home I sprawled in the bed in a daze for a couple of hours, with one of the cats under the covers hugging my leg.
Last night about 10:30 I couldn't get comfortable while reading in bed. My left hip hurt in a weird burning way. I looked at it. Huge bruise, about 4 inches long, exactly where the elastic to my bathing suit is. My other side is fine.(There are no parts showing in the pic that shouldn't be.)
The best part?  Got up this morning and I'd lost a pound.  That's 92 if you're keeping track.
I also felt really good.  Confident.  Proud of myself.  My FB friends raved and put likes all over my posts.  My husband?  Meh.  My mom?  "Why'd you do that to yourself?" (She who walks 10 miles a day.)  It's hard when only the Internet cares about your accomplishments. (No, I'm not begging for compliments, although they are nice, just stating facts.)
Today I feel like I could do anything.  I ran a half marathon at 272 lbs.  In 15 lbs I'll be halfway to my goal weight.
The only thing I know I can't do is a triathlon.  They did one on Heavy on Monday.  I can't swim with proper strokes.  That trauma is another whole story; maybe I'll tell it someday.

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Reality of wrapping


I'm only wrapped to the knee on 1 leg and I hate it. I can't imagine adding in padding and wrapping toes to hips. No way.
-- My Palm Pre Plus is so awesome my typos are irrelevant. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

haters gotta hate

One of faithful, hate-filled readers has decided to chime in, ever-so-charmingly, on my blog.
Let's break it down, shall we? For people who claim to read my blog, they get a lot wrong.
(Spelling, etc, is from original.  And I love that the hater graphic is also badly spelled.)

what is wrong with you people, just cause your too fat to see your own privates,1 its just a little kid. BTW, two year olds can be potty trained and don't necessarily need diapers. Did you ask how old the child was?2 Or have you worked as a carnie guessing peoples age.3
Me and a friend of mine read this blog whenever we are feeling bad about ourselves or have setbacks in our own life (to feel better) because of how friggin depressing you are, how negative you are,4 how fast you jump onto fads "tai chi"5 your fat, run for christ sakes 6  and dont accidentally order chicken fingers. how did your "mind banding" work - you may be the biggest sucker ever. Pun intentional.

1. I'm no longer too fat to see my own privates. Which is why I felt inspired to write about it a few weeks ago.
2. I can tell the difference between a baby and a 2 year old. And also between being totally naked and wearing a bathing suit.
3. I don't need to have been a carnie. I do know some carnies and they are nice people, BTW, so I guess I should be flattered that you compared me to them.
4. I'm so glad that you and your buddies are uplifted by my blog and find me amusing. I get that a lot and it always makes me happy to hear I put a smile on someone's face.
5. I wasn't aware that Tai Chi was a fad. I thought it was pretty ancient. But you're the knowledgable one so I'll have to bow to your expertise. I'm sure my teacher, who's been doing Tai Chi for over 40 years, would be interested to hear about how he's wasting his life with a fad.
6. I run 5-8 miles almost every day, last week I ran 10 miles one morning. Sorry you missed it.

That, ladies and gentleman, sums up exactly what it is like to be overweight--that ignorant, hate-filled missive.  
Thanks, guys, for putting your vitriol on display for all to see and appreciate! 

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

lymph edema overview

Some people have been asking me about lymph edema (sometimes spelled as one word, lymphedema).  I'm not a doctor so this might not be 100% strictly correct, but it's my understanding of it.
It is a back-up of lymph fluid in one or more extremity. It can happen if you are very fat and sedentary. It can happen from an injury (how I got mine) that breaks or damages the lymph nodes. Or it can happen from surgery that removes the lymph nodes (like for breast cancer). Basically lymph is a clear fluid that is excreted by the cells, it's cellular poop. Some of it is recycled as water, the waste is filtered out by the kidneys (and I think the liver) and it goes away as part of our regular waste. Lymph is not a bad thing in itself, it's part of how the body works.
There is not any true pump for lymph (the way blood has the heart). It is moved along by our muscles. Most people exercise enough to keep from getting swollen in any of their extremities. But if the lymph nodes (in your groin and armpits) get damaged or removed, it messes up that flow. Or if you are so obese your very weight is crushing you and you don't move, the flow is impeded.
And the fluid drains into whatever arm or leg is affected, and it doesn't come back up. Every day your body makes more fluid so the extremity gets more and more swollen.
The condition is permanent and chronic and not curable.
However, it is manageable.  I was under the impression that I'd been doing a good job managing mine.  I've had it since June 2002 (almost 9 years) and it's somewhere between stage 1 and 2.  (Stage 3 is elephantiasis and cannot be treated or reversed.) I exercise and get it smaller, I keep my legs up, and I try to fidget if I'm forced to stand in place for a long time.
But last week's visit to the lymphedema treatment place really brought my spirits down.  I hate the idea of wearing giant elastic socks  from toes to hips 23 hours a day for the rest of my life.  I've given up so much already to lymph edema--ankle socks, high top sneakers, sexy boots, pretty shoes, high heels, low heels.  I can't give up sandals and shorts and capris and knee-length dresses and bare legs too.  How would I go to tropical beaches, on cruises, dressed like that?  I could cry.  I did cry.
They also told me I can't go outside if it's more than 94 degrees.  That any exercise except in the water is verboten. No more walks, no hiking, nothing...unless I undergo their therapy and wear the evil compression garments.
So I've been trying to at least wrap my ankles when I'm doing Tai-Chi or going shopping or walking about. I hate it.  The idea of doing this in a month or so when I want to be in capris is disgusting. 
My therapist says I should beg or borrow the money for the treatment.  But if I know in my heart that I won't be compliant with the after-treatment, why spend the money and the pain and humiliation of the 2 weeks with daily compression in foam and all that if I'm not going to live in the damn stockings forever afterward?  I'll accept ankle wraps; they make me look athletic. 
I feel really discouraged.  I've lost so much weight and my leg is really much better.  It doesn't get hot anymore or change color.  It still looks a little like a potato but not as bad as it used to.  I had been feeling encouraged about my progress (in general, weight loss, food, edema, etc) and now I feel horrid again.
(image source)

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Body dysphoria and proprioception

Last night was my second Tai-Chi class. I wrapped my legs in Ace bandages like a good girl who cares about her lymph edema. And again, I was like a turtle turned on its back. I enjoy the movements, I feel good doing them, but I am not doing them correctly and that bothers the hell out of me. I am very into having perfect form when I exercise.
Last week, I just couldn't "get" the 2 poses he taught us--push hands and push left? Something like that. Good thing my husband was with me, and he's done Tai-Chi before. When we went home he spent an hour going over those moves with me and getting me to about 80% correct. Meaning I do the right movements with legs and arms in the right order but they aren't exactly like they should be. My hand is pointed in the right direction, but it's at the wrong level, for instance.
Most frustrating is the fact that my feet, my goddamn lymph edema fat stupid feet, aren't ever where they should be or pointing in the right direction.
Part of the problem is that I can't SEE my feet. If I bend over to see them, I'm losing the posture I need to be in. My boobs are still giant, even though they're doing a couple of cup sizes. If my feet aren't pointed right, I can't lean in the right direction to complete the pose. My husband made a terrible and mean comment that there's all the Tai-Chi poses and then there's adipose (fat tissue) and that's me. The adi-pose.
I know exactly what's wrong. Well, there are 2 things.  I'm sure there is some relationship between them, but I don't know how it works.   My proprioception is off.  That's the sense that you know what your body is doing when you aren't looking.  Like closing your eyes and being able to touch your nose.  I can do that. but little things stymie me. I had a horrible time learning to touch type, for instance. It was the first and only time in my life that I ever got a "you're failing" notice halfway through the term. I finally started wearing rings on every other finger, then I could tell which fingers I was moving and was able to learn to type properly.
I also have body dysphoria (also seen in anorexic people and those with gender identity issues).  My body doesn't look like what I see in my head.  In a reversal of anorexic dysphoria, I think I am smaller and skinnier than I am.  I can't feel my fat, if that makes any sense. I feel only the parts of my body that are muscle.  So the hanging flaps on my arms? I can't sense them. I feel the weight of them, as if you hung a sling from my upper arm with some jello in it.  If I leaned across a table that was freshly painted, I wouldn't know if they were dragging in the paint.  So I bump into things a lot; I take up more space than I think.  I'm lucky I've never gotten stuck between two cars in a parking lot or in a too-small restaurant booth!  I don't know if not knowing what size I am makes me not know what my body is doing when I'm not looking, or if not being able to feel myself in space means I don't know how big I am.  If that makes any sense?
I want to do Tai-Chi.  I paid for a month so I have 3 more classes.  I don't want to quit.  But if I suck, why keep spending the money? Then again, my husband enjoys it, and he'll quit if I do, and he really needs the exercise.
(image source)

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37 Posture Tai chi Form

This is my new Tai-Chi teacher doing the form I'm learning. I watch this over and over trying to get it right but I feel like a failure.



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Friday, March 11, 2011

So much for lymph edema treatment...

My visit to the lymph edema clinic was today. I felt pretty excited. I had all my x-rays and MRIs and various reports on my leg, lists of medicines, everything I needed. When I got there, they had a coffee machine and actually offered k-cups with hot chocolate! I had a nice positive feeling. (Although the hot chocolate, alas, was very coffee-flavored.) Everyone's so coffee-coffee-coffee and maybe some herbal tea. No one ever has nice plain black tea or hot cocoa! (I'm the only person in New England, I think, that doesn't require an IV of coffee to function.)
During the interview, the therapist thought that everything I was doing for my leg was positive and correct--the pool especially--(Except for the Tai Chi.)--that I keep my leg up, that if I have to stand I sway or shuffle my feet, if I sit I jiggle them. I continued to feel very optimistic.
I knew they were big on wrapping lymph edema limbs but I was hoping that I could avoid that part. I wanted to come in once in a while for some lymph drainage massage (she assured me the way they do it there doesn't feel like an Indian rope burn), and get some exercises I could do at home. After all I have all this great equipment: Bowflex, stair machine, bands, balls, hand weights, etc. and if I had to, I'd pay the extra $10 a month to also use the gym where I go to the pool.  I mean, it's a physical therapy place that concentrates on lymph edema, and physical therapy is about exercise right?  And I am a person who actually LIKES exercise.
But it was not to be, and in the end the visit was for naught, basically a waste of my time.

Here is their plan.  For 2 weeks, I'd have to go there DAILY and have my leg wrapped in foam and then in Comprilan bandages. These have to stay on 23 hours a day.  The foam is between the toes, around the whole leg from toes to hip.  There is no bending of the knee.  The cost for this is $40 per session co-pay.  ($560).  No pool.  No exercise.  I am unsure of showering.  I guess I'd have to take them off, shower quickly and drive there to get them put back on.  How I'm supposed to drive home when wrapped like a mummy, I don't know.  I don't know what kind of shoes would fit over the wrappings either. If I have a job, how I'm supposed to take 2 hours a day (plus travel time & shower time) to get my leg wrapped for two week, I also don't know.  But without a job, I can't pay, so the question is moot.
This is on both legs, of course.
At the end of the 2 weeks, when I have gained about 20 lbs from being in bed all day every day since I can't walk or do anything without knees or shoes, they measure me for compression stockings.  Insurance probably doesn't pay.  Up to $200 per leg.  New ones every 6 months.  Must wear them day in and day out except for an hour a day in the pool and to take a shower.  Forever.  Never allowed to have bare legs again.  And if you know me IRL, you know that from May-October I wear capris or knee-length shorts.   Also never do any exercise on land--everything in my house, in a gym, my tai-chi, etc.
If I don't do this treatment, my left leg (bad one) will continue to get worse.  The small swelling in my right leg will spread upward until it matches my left.  Eventually I will be cripple.
Even if someone magically handed me the money, the promise I made to my husband was that the next time we had extra money he could get his teeth fixed.  He had to have 2 pulled and he looks like a redneck now and we both hate it.  The co-pay on getting them repaired is about $600.  His bonus and raise were shitty this year and so was our tax return (because the temp job I had last year didn't take out taxes or anything)--we got 1/3 of our usual tax return and he got about half last year's bonus and raise (damn the economy).
The options I have are: beg for about $1200 from my mom, who probably doesn't have it either.  Try to get it from my retirement fund, but I'd have to pay it back and how would I do that.  Or charge it, just when we got out of the credit card hell we'd been in for so long.
Or I can try to just get the stockings, skip the massage and foam bandages, give up shorts and land exercise, and hope for the best.
Really all those options suck. I'm seriously thinking about putting a PayPal "donate" button on my sidebar.  But assholes will donate 1 penny which makes me actually have to pay to receive it.
(image source)


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Tuesday, March 08, 2011

incomprehensible whinging about two-part thoughts

I like the English word "whinge" better than the American word "whine".
I'm going to whinge. Just a bit. I'm allowed to once in a while, right? It's my blog and I can whinge if I want to...

My mind is making me crazy.  It's almost like I'm schizophrenic.  I have a menu in front of me.  I think, "I should get the grilled chicken. It's good here.  And it's a healthy choice, with a baked potato.  Better than the fried chicken fingers with french fries."  So that programming, the "healthy choice" programming, must be working, right?
And then server comes over and I say "I'll have the chicken fingers with fries please."
WTF?  How did that happen?  I am LOOKING at the grilled chicken entree.  My INTENT is the grilled chicken.  And then, boom, fried chicken.
So then I look at the plate of fried chicken fingers and french fries, and I portion it out into uneven halves with the intent to eat only the small half and take the rest home. I am partially done with the small half (maybe a third of the plate, if that) and my mind says, "Actually, I'm plenty full. I can stop here. I am very satisfied."  And I am, I am totally done eating.  I'm not stuffed, but comfortable.   And what do I do? I finish out the half.  And then maybe split a dessert with my friend.  Even though I KNOW I was already finished.
I am really, really confused why this is happening.  It's like I have two halves and they aren't communicating at all.  Or like I'm playing a bizarre game of Telephone where "grilled chicken with a baked potato" sounds exactly like "chicken fingers with french fries" when it gets to the other end.
This isn't the only place this is happening.  Exercise too is affected, although not as badly.  If I can get myself into the pool, I stay at least an hour.  But some days I'm in bed, it's 6:15 a.m. and I just turn off the alarm and go back to sleep. 
I sit at my desk writing and look at my Bowflex--it's literally 2 feet away, right in front of me--and think, "Strength training would build more muscle and make me look thinner, feel better, and burn more calories.  And I really like using my Bowflex."  But do I get my fat ass out of the chair and onto the machine?  No.
It's this really bizarre form of self-sabotage and I don't understand why it's happening.  I would feel better about myself if I just give up consciously, and say "I'm not going to watch what I eat, I'm not going to work out, fuck it, I don't care."  But I DON'T feel like that, I don't WANT to eat like a pig, and I love the pool and my Bowflex.  
My Gastric Mind Band therapist contacted me today and some of this came out in my return email to her, but I felt like I needed to get it out there and try to figure out, basically WTF.   I'm so frustrated.
(image source)

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Saturday, March 05, 2011

FEED the movie

I just finished watching the movie Feed (available from Blockbuster at home, see link).  It is about force feeding women on camera.  Or maybe they want to be force fed.  And it's also about involuntary cannibalism.  And murder.  And psychos from both America and Australia. 
It's a pretty badly made movie, almost incomprehensible in plot, and it contradicts itself.
I especially am disgusted by the portrayal of the main fat woman, Deirdre (played by a thin woman in an obvious fat suit), and how she acts like a stupid, spoiled child.  It doesn't matter if you are 600 lbs, that doesn't make you into an idiot.
I'm not sure if it is a snuff film.  Or porn.  Or both.   But it's a pretty badly done movie either way.
I was also hoping for some insight into the culture of feeding. I didn't get it.

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Thursday, March 03, 2011

music to run to (or from...)

You may remember that back in October I was all excited about the purchase of a new underwater MP3 player to replace my third, beloved H2O man. Since my H2O man (men?) had all worked so fabulously (and were sadly discontinued) of course I got the next best thing from the same company, the H20 Man Extreme (or Duo, I'm not sure what the difference is honestly, I own both now).  You will notice the lack of links to purchase this Extreme/Duo.
I am sad to say that it is a piece of junk.  The first one I got was the H2O Man Extreme, it charged the first time, but never again.  They sent me a new player, charger and headphones.  Same thing.  They asked me to send it back that time, I did, got a new one (a whole new package, a Duo), same thing.  (Now we're up to 3 in 3 months.)  I gave up, bought a different brand (more on that in a moment) and when Intova followed up about player #3 and I said it was the same thing, and that I figured out what was happening, that it was absolutely a design flaw, they said they'd sent me ANOTHER one.  #4 is en route.  Sigh. 

Basically the player is too damn complex (see photo). You have to swap out parts to charge it, parts for the pool, parts for land, and other parts to change the music.  All these parts go together via a pair of rings.  The rings should be threaded with a rubber gasket like the outer capsule of the old version, but they aren't.  They kinda pop together.  After a few times of undoing and redoing them, they stop sealing. If they aren't sealing, it won't charge.  Or play.
I went back to Amazon and did a lot of research trying to find a different player that was under $100 (since I paid $89 for the POS Duo/Extreme) and that had good ratings.  I found the Fitness Technologies G2.  It is about the size of a dental floss package (the picture is close to life size).  The headphone wires are short, but it's so tiny that I just clip it to my hair clip (it's designed to be hung on the back of swim goggles).  Unlike the Duo/Extreme, the same cord charges it and allows you to swap out music.  There is only ONE simple connector, it is a screw-type and gasketed (the headphones screw in, and the charger cord screws into the same port).  The sound is fine.  My only complaints is that the first couple of seconds of songs get cut off sometimes, and that the controls aren't easy to use without being able to see them.  I can live with that.  Besides what's in the picture, the G2 came with a headphone cord extender (for land only), foam earphone tips (3 sizes) for land, and an arm strap (which doesn't fit my fat arm, of course).  Simple, simple, simple.
Here is my current playlist:
  • Muse "Uprising"
  • Nickelback "Burn it to the Ground"
  • Gravity Kills "Personal Jesus" "Crashing" "Disintegrate" "Guilty"
  • Combichrist "Shut up and Bleed"
  • Rammstein "Du Hast"  "Blade Theme"
  • Static X "Bled for Days" "Push It"  "Tainted Love"
  • Nine Inch Nails "Into the Void"
  • Cagiche track 8  (it's in Polish, my friend gave it to me)
I'm running a 10K every time I go into the pool (6-7 miles, ~1100 calories) and I just hit 99 miles for this year.  Which is pretty sucky, actually.  I hardly went to the pool in January because of my sprained (broken) ankle, and in February because I had that growth cut off my finger that got infected and then I split it open right after the stitches came out.
Next week I'm going to that lympedema clinic and they don't want me to work out, they want my leg to be bad.  I'm going on Friday, I'm going to work out Monday and Tuesday only.  I need the calorie burn as well as the lymph pumping.


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