Monday, June 28, 2010

The Easy Way

Bariatric Clinics are popping up like Nail Salons around here.

That concerns me.

I don’t have a problem with bariatric surgery. Many people have had major medical problems alleviated by Gastric Bypass or Lap Band surgery. I have a friend who now has the use of his knees again after GP. Another friend of mine virtually eliminated her congestive heart failure by getting a Lap Band. Still a third friend has her Lupus under control after bariatric surgery.

Bariatric surgery is not a bad thing. And those of us who choose not to have it do not need to get all judgy about it. (You know who you are! Stop it right now!)

I admit to getting a little envious when I see my friends who’ve had the surgery & see how great they look. It’s hard to see the debilitating medical conditions that drove them to surgery in the first place.

That’s why I am so concerned about all these clinics popping up.

They make it look so easy.

Their marketing is just like Jenny Craig’s, Slimfast or Weight Watchers: Lose weight, be beautiful, and solve your problems with one little surgery. One little surgery that costs thousands of dollars and is rarely covered by insurance. One little surgery that essentially removes (or permanently constricts) a major organ. One little surgery.

This isn’t like getting your tonsils out.

One of my friends, Carmen, had GP about 6 years ago. She opened my eyes to what it’s really like. She lost 100 lbs and looks very pretty – as long as her clothes are on. She gets sick every time she eats. She lost most of her hair – and the hair she has is dull & brittle. She has loose skin – which chafes and becomes irritated all the time. She had additional surgery to remove it. When she needed knee surgery last year, the fact that she no longer had a stomach made her recovery that much more difficult.

Carmen needed the surgery, and she would do the same thing over again. It took a few years, but she is looking and feeling healthy again. It took a few years to feel healthy again. And the battle is still raging. The weight could come back.

Carmen would be the first to say that having a Gastric Bypass is not the same as getting a boob job. Or Botox. Or liposuction. Bariatric Surgery is not about how you look.

It’s not easy.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Chutzpah or Humiliating. . .I can't decide

Dance Your Ass Off is in a new season & I really can't decide.

Is it a positive, empowering show featuring confident, beautiful, fat people moving their bodies and defying what society says about what fat can do?

Or is it a humiliating Lose-Weight-Or-You-Are-A-Loser show vis-a-vis Jillian Michaels?

I suspect it's a little of both.

I LOVE to dance. LOVE it! LOVE IT!

Seriously -- you should see me at Zumba. I'm all Christina Aguilera. I love to pretend I'm a Solid Gold dancer. (if you weren't born between 1965 & 1970, don't even try to get that reference. It's too obscure.) Dancing brings me joy.

It also makes my face red & I get all sweaty.

My first Zumba class one of the older ladies in the class looked at me & said "Ay! Mija! Your face is so red -- you bedder sit down or you gonna have a heart attack!"

No ma'am. I'm just Irish.

The people on Dance Your Ass Off look just like me. Mostly. (Some are African-American. Some are tattooed. Some are boys. But other than that? Twins.) They dance. With joy. They move, they are confident, they are sexy, they are graceful, they are vibrant, they are artistes.

Then they get weighed.


Do Simon & Randy WEIGH their contestants?

Here's where the cool dance contest turns into Mean Girls. I guess nobody would watch a bunch of fat people dance unless they promised to weigh themselves on National TV first. Then this Downtown Julie Brown wannabe announces their weight, tabulates their score and gives them their ranking. And if they don't lose lots & lots of weight?

They lose.

People on this show were losing 6, 7, 8, 9 & 10 lbs. In a week! One girl lost 0.9 & was treated as if she had just cut a fart.

I have a problem with this on so many levels.

One: Anyone with chronic obesity can tell you that a healthy eight loss is NO MORE than 2 lbs per week. More than that and you run into all sorts of health problems with your liver, gall bladder and other internal organs. But, as my wonderful husband said: "The TV Execs don't care if it kills them, they just want ratings".

Two: Weighing in public.

I know I am a beautiful, proud, fat woman who isn't afraid to own my size 24. But you never see me put my weight on here, do you? No. Nuh uh. Nope. You never will.

Hell, I moved to Texas partly because they don't put your weight on your driver's licence.

My husband doesn't know the number. I won't say it in confession. My girlfriends don't know it, I won't tell my children, and I certainly would never get on national television and let Mean Julie Brown announce it to the world. Partly because it embarrasses me, and partly because I don't want it to define me.

So I am conflicted. Is Dance Your Ass Off a good thing? Or Not?

Whaddya think?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Sorry I haven't posted in a while!

I was out of town.


And maybe shopping (a little).

There is an "Outlet Mall" halfway between Austin & San Antonio. We all know that there is rarely anything "outlet" about "outlet malls" but that doesn't keep me from stopping.

I WISH I had photos of the 100% silk dress I got at Jones of New York for $10! Or the LINED suit -- $45! And the white patent leather open toe pumps -- $19!

Did I say white? I meant cream. I mean bone.

OK. You caught me. I bought white pumps.

I SWORE up & down I would never buy white pumps. They're so. . .tacky.

My friend Christy & I used to amuse ourselves for hours by people guessing the profession based on the outfit.

Shapeless grey suit, no makeup & flats? Attorney. Maybe accountant.

Loose t-shirt, broomstick skirt and birkenstocks? Teacher.

Dockers & an oxford? Engineer.

And our favorite? Big hair, black hose, white pumps. RECEPTIONIST!

Now Christy is a stay at home mom. She still looks like a million bucks. And her clothes are very casual. . .but so pulled together.

And I bought a pair of white pumps.

But they're CUTE pumps.

And I PROMISE not to wear them with black hose.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Dressing Up

Ever the typical American woman, there's always something to be dissatisfied about my looks.

I've come to terms with my size and I hope to speak for others who aren't here yet. There is something about my appearance that bothers me though. It's shallow of me. I shouldn't care. But when it's time to dress up, look pretty or go out on the town, I admit it still bothers me.

We went to a wedding last night.

I haven't had a chance to dress up -- I mean REALLY dress up -- in a long time. So I was excited about getting out the Little Black Dress, doing my hair & makeup & donning sparkly accessories.

But as I dressed, my inadequacy seemed more pronunced than usual.

You see, I am flat.

If I wasn't a size 24, I'd look like an ironing board. I must be the only size 24 in the world who can get away with a B cup. Hell, my Dad has bigger boobs than I do.

And some outfits -- my LBD, for example -- look better with cleavage. Sigh. I felt like a gawky adolescent getting ready for her first dance.

After being happily married for almost 18 years and having 3 children, it's ridiculous to feel inadequate about my figure. No one will be looking at me anyway. So I rallied myself and did what I did when I got ready for my first dance.

I got out a couple of pairs of tube socks.

And I had cleavage at the wedding.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Not all Fat Girls are Self Loathing Hoarders. . .

Yes Jillian Michaels, I am talking to YOU.

I've seen the previews for your new show.

I watched your intense kohl-lined eyes framed by perfectly tousled tresses stare into the pink, sweaty & makeup-free face of your "client". Whatever. I look just like that girl when I work out except I don't cry like an idiot. When I work out (2 miles yesterday thankyouverymuch!), my hair is back in a chongo (which is South Texican for ponytail. Awesome word, right??), I'm wearing glasses instead of contacts, and my face is bright red.

I watched the blonde, composed and beautifully made up doctor chastise the pink-faced crying girl about her weight. I heard her say something like "If you don't do something about this, you are going to have to make arrangements for someone else to take care of your kids!" Excuse me? She IS doing something about it. She's at the doctor. (I'll rant about doctors and weight loss in a minute).

Then I watched Jillian & her tight abs walk through a very cluttered room, while Pinkface sobs in the background.

That's the preview.

Can't wait to see the show.

Know what? I am not going to watch it. And I am going to ask you not to watch it.


Because as far as I can see, this show is about perpetuating the myth that one can only truly be happy when they are fit, thin and clutter free.

I am sure the pink faced crying girl is going to have a happy ending. I am sure she has real issues. And I know a lot of us feel like you do, Pinky. But you're not helping us by letting Jillian humiliate you publicly.

When Dr. Model chastises you, you need to look her calmly in the eye and say "I understand there are significant health implications. That's why I am here. I don't appreciate your condescending tone. I am not stupid."

I am sure that Dr. Model doesn't berate her other clients with chronic health conditions. I am sure her asthma patients aren't told that they have character issues because of their condition. Does she tell patients with eczema that they need to make arrangements to have someone care for their families? No. She treats them. With respect.

I asked my doctor (who is also beautiful, but not condescending) why she couldn't treat my weight like she would any other chronic illness. Know why? Insurance. So she sent me to Weight Watchers. The only way my weight can be treated by a physician is if I have gastric bypass surgery.

Is it just me, or is there something horribly wrong with a system that expects for-profit companies to treat an illness, and then when it doesn't work, they will pay to have a major organ amputated?

I'm not up for gastric bypass -- at least not now. But it would be better than having Jillian Michaels humiliate me in front of a TV Audience.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

It's gonna be a long, long road

Yesterday, full of energy and determination, I got my happy butt out of bed, slipped into the walking togs and knocked of a quick 2 miles before breakfast.

This morning, rainy & gray. Sleep feels soooooo good.

Did you know that after 10 hits on a snooze alarm, it turns itself off?

This afternoon. Walking. 2 miles.


Monday, June 7, 2010

A Lesson from the bible. . ..

I heard this at mass the other day:

1Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

Romans 5:1-5

So cool, right?? These are the gifts of fat for sure!!

I think it's gonna be on my dedication page.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Well Meaning People Who Piss Me Off. . .

I don't know why this bugs me so much, but it does.

I mean RANKLES. Annoys. Irritates. Bothers. Frustrates. Grates, peeves and vexes.

A few times a year, I decide enough is enough and I work on my fitness. I vow to eat better, exercise more and embrace a healthier lifestyle. My goal is health, you understand. If I am a few dress sizes smaller, so be it.

Fitness shows. It shows in the way your clothes fit. It shows in what you eat & drink. It shows in how you feel. It shows.

And when people compliment me on it, I want to scream.


"Oh my God you are getting so skinny!" (I am a size twenty-fucking-two. On what universe is that skinny?)

"You look great! Keep it up!" (Keep it up? If you like someones hair color, would you tell them to keep it up? "Love the blonde, Carmen! Keep it up girl! Don't let those roots creep back down! Get yourself to the stylist! And don't forget to condition!!" Seriously? Seriously. Pisses me off.)

"You are so good!" ( Well, fuck you very much. Know what? Fitness is not a moral issue. I am no better than I was 10 lbs ago. Mother Teresa was good. I'm just doing my best.)

And then there are the affiliators. These are the people who want to make sure you know that they understand. They've been there. Unless you've lived a good part of your life as a size 20 or larger? You haven't been here. Affiliators say shit like this:

"I just lost 20 lbs -- I was disgusting!" ( Pedophiles are disgusting. Fat people are not.)

"What worked for me was I just cut my fruit up as soon as I came home from the grocery store & put it in the fridge, so my snack was all ready." (The person who makes this comment is always someone who went from a size 6 to a size 4. Always. No wonder I am a size 24. My fucking fruit isn't cut up.)

"If I need to lose a few lbs, I just don't eat lunch for a few days." (That's my husband. He's a man. He's Japanese -- well, technically, he's Okinawan -- I mean ethnically he's Okinawan because he was born in California. But back to the point. Japanese-Okinawan MEN do not have weight problems so shuthefuckup.)

I guess what I am trying to say is: I am going to be exercising. I am modifying my food choices. I am going to look different. If you like it, tell me I look fabulous.

Then shut up.