Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Fat Nation...horrible title but attention getting cover

This cover (which I still have in print format) and the accompanying article is what got me on my real quest for weight maintenance information.  I was taking a trip and in the airport I saw this cover, the title and yes, also the subtitle.  I was captivated.  The author decided to have bariatric surgery after years of struggling with his weight. He gets into his personal issues and that was great and then he started in with the statistics and I just could not contain myself.  I forgot for a moment that I was reading a magazine and started to look for his reference page and so on and so forth.   I am a medical/clinical librarian and I wanted the source of him stating that, “it will take less than 30 years for all black women to become overweight or obese.” First of all, I am a black woman and the part that sent me over the edge was the word “all.”  I just could not get this out of my head, he mentioned the journal, Obesity, so my quest was on and it was worse than I thought. The article is: "Will all Americans become overweight or obese? estimating the progression and cost of the US obesity epidemic."  The citation for the article is Obesity (Silver Springs)(2008) Oct; 16(10)2323-2330.  The prediction ended up being 96.9% of black women will be overweight or obese by the year 2034, going by the current rate.  So basically if 97% of black women are going to be overweight or obese, then that meant ALL.
I think this article made me more determined not to be a part of the 97%, but I don’t want that number to be so high.  I want to be a maintainer.  I wanted to stop failing at weight loss by not taking care of myself and making excuses about why I didn’t take care of myself.  The author goes on to call obesity a social illness and writes about embarrassing events experienced by obese people.  For me, this was another one of those events that have stuck with me in my goal of not to lead an obese life.  I always wonder what events happen to other people that make you feel like you will do something with your weight or what was your aha moment with your weight.

Friday, October 26, 2012


I find inspiration in a few places, for instance, other blogs, books and quotes from just reading or listening to something.  I want to highlight them here:
Refuse to Regain - Barbara Berkeley (~35 lbs. loser) was the first site I located that emphatically stressed maintenance.  No one ever got to the nuts and bolts of it and put it out there.  Now, this can and will be researched but in 2008-09, this is the site that gave me hope and made me feel like I could be a maintainer.  She has an Obesity Treatment practice in Cleveland, OH--I am just in awe of her for being so forward thinking.  I am from the Midwest and wished I still lived there; I would drive to Cleveland once a week for a session with her.
Lynn's Weigh-Lynn Haraldson lost over 160 lbs. and is still in the spotlight or rather the blogosphere.  I was following Lynn when she had her Lynn's Weight Loss Journey blog and then she teamed up with Dr. Berkeley and now she has Lynn's Weigh and contributes to Refuse to Regain at times.  She has never disappeared (except for surgery) and has continued to march (something we used in the military, more on that later)--meaning she has kept off the weight and continues to live her life.
The next group, I found via Dr. Berkeley's blog:
Keeping it OFF-Sandrelle is such a doll.  She lost 100 lbs. and has not looked back.  Her blog is choked full of information about her journey and maintenance.  You must read her scale series.  It's about what the scale really tells us and the water weight portion is like gold--I have read it many, many times.  She also talks about her struggles with Thyroiditis, pictures and all (well, not too graphic but there are pictures of her in the hospital--very brave).
Roni's Weigh-Roni is a Weight Watcher (~70 lbs. loser) and will especially be inspiring to the social media people. Ever the savvy blogger she has a pictorial collage like no other I had ever seen.  She took monthly photos during her journey and then after the journey turned it into a banner across the top of her blog (not the main banner anymore), and had another baby but continues to move forward.  She weighs herself every Wednesday for those who would like to take a peek.  She just started an Instagram Food Journey--such a great idea and Bravo!!! Check out the tummy tuck photos too--a girls gotta do, what a girl's gotta do!!!  
Keeping the Pounds OFF-Jane lost over 200 lbs. without surgery.  Whew!!  This woman is a beast (this is a good thing) who blogs about maintaining. She is honest and lists what works for her.  Jane blogs about what I have journaled about for years: "Every diet ended with a maintenance plan.  By the end of every book I read that I could now eat anything I wanted in moderation.  None of the books told me how to get my brain or my body to understand what moderation meant." Amen.  Jane went to a support group for compulsive eaters, not OA.  She gave up milk fat---dairy and sugar (I haven't given up dairy, yet, but I have given up sugar and caffeine, yikes!!!)
The following blogs I have looked at over the years but not consistently, but they are great maintainers:
Jack-Sprat.net-It was nice to read a male perspective on losing weight and keeping it off (they have the struggles as women).  A wicked sense of humor.  After trying everything under the sun, on Weight Watchers he lost ~50 lbs.
Ivana is Finally Slimming Down-She doesn't blog regularly anymore but she does give yearly updates of the previous year (so 2011 is up right now).  I found a great quote on her blog, "Maintenance: the least sexy aspect of weight loss, and statistically the least successful."  This Weight Watcher maintains an over ~60 lbs. weight loss.  I like how she stated that exercise will only get you so far; it's the eating habits.  So very true--the "live to eat" mentality comes to mind; when it changes to "eat to live" mentality then we start maintaining--just my opinion.
Fit to the Finish-Diane is a Superstar 150 lbs. loser whom I feel is a brand now.  She has been on Dr. Oz (my mother told me about her).  She has published a book, has a family and continues to maintain.  I like that Weight Maintenance is important to her and one of her main tabs across the top her website is Weight Maintenance.
Time for a Change-Tess is a no nonsense blogger/maintainer.  This Weight Watcher maintains a 150 lb. weight loss.  Her site is very organized with links to her "What did she do or how did she do it" items.  
Debra's Just Maintaining-Debra's site is not updated a lot but the information on it can live forever. The look  reminds me of the "Huffington Post."
The following are those I admire or think about often, they are maintainers (some maintain what they can and then others move into another stratosphere)
Jillian Michaels-Jillian, yes, the Biggest Loser Jillian is a maintainer.  She is now a brand who has taken maintenance to another level.  I think she was a chunky teenager and there is a picture of her online hovering in the 150s-170s (sorry, a flashdrive with a ton of information on it recently saw its demise).  Then got into martial arts (the kind I had never heard of, see bio) and the rest they say is history.  The only thing I don't like is that she doesn't really talk about (read: say the words, maintenance or maintaining) maintenance and maintaining which is the very commercial thing to do; but knowing her story and all she has and is accomplishing, I am willing to forgive, read and follow.
Rhonda Crittle-Rhonda is my daughter who was an overweight teen and lost ~90 lbs. on Weight Watchers and maintains her healthy weight now for over 7 years. Her story will be infused here on my blog with my story because they definitely intertwine.  She is a vegan; I am not but we still make it work together when traveling or just doing mother/daughter things.
Amy Rhodes-I still have the issue of Oxygen Magazine: Off the Couch issue with her on the cover 2010.  She lost over 300 lbs.  I have tried to locate her on the internet to no avail.  I would like to know how she is doing, if anyone knows please send me a private message.  I will not pry, I would just like to know.

I think about all the former Biggest Loser and Extreme Weight Loss people also.  I am not saying that a maintenance forum is the key but it certainly can help.  Many people search for a place after losing weight and according to Diane Carbonell, "Many people have questions about the maintenance part of weight loss.  This isn't surprising, because many studies show that only about five percent of people who lose weight keep it off for more than two years."  So there is a 95% failure rate for weight maintenance.  Ouch!!! I hope a lot of light bulbs go off here because if the weight loss/diet industry generates over ~ $40 billion;* what do you think the weight maintenance industry generates? (Hint: it starts with the letter z).  Just like Ivana says, "...least sexy," but this is such backwards thinking to me.  My hope is that this will change.  There will be more weight maintenance sites, blogs, and centers with counselors, support groups to attend and research to read more about what is working.  I want the Google search of choice to be "Weight Maintenance."  Maintenance really does follow the weight loss journey.

*This was a quick source that I just looked up, I only wanted a ballpark figure for the purposes of this sentence.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

definitions and meanings

Definitions and meanings of words give me a clear path to what I am doing and where I am going.  I sometimes use these definitions and meanings as guiding principles for myself.  I looked up these meanings in January 2012:

c.1369, "bearing, deportment," from O.Fr. maintenance, from maintenir (see maintain). Meaning "action of upholding or keeping in being" is from 1413. "Action of providing a person with the necessities of life" is from 1389.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper 

mid-13c., "to practice habitually," from Anglo-Fr. meintenir (O.Fr. maintenir), from L. manu tenere "hold in the hand," from manu, abl. of manus "hand" (see manual) + tenere "to hold" (see tenet). Meaning "to carry on, keep up" is from mid-14c.;
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper 

Sometimes I prefer using an etymology dictionary to see if the meaning of the word has varied over time and of course for us maintenance and maintain(ing) has not really.  My favorite part is the "action of upholding."  I think about how I used to get to a certain point and going back, get to a certain point and go back, and on and on and on.  Now I see it all as one gigantic ongoing action. Yes, I have lost weight; yes, my weight will fluctuate and yes, I am continuing to lose.  It has taken me such a long time to get to this point and I am grateful I am here.  From time to time I will write about my journey, things that would set me off, things I thought I needed from other people and just plain ole low self esteem.  My opening post dealt with my epiphany about my sister.  She was a beautiful tall big woman and after two children her weight had ballooned to over 300 lbs.  She wanted to do something about her weight but did not really know exactly what to do (stomach stapling had come up but my mother talked her out of it--this was after all, the early 80s.)  After the fact, I wished my sister had had more education and information, but I am not sure if this would have helped.  It seems as though we are in information overload and the obesity rate continues to climb.  I would love to hear how others define what they are doing right now as far as keeping the weight down and off.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

So much to say

“Heart attack due to Obesity” is what the death certificate read under cause of death, my
31 year old sister, a wife and mother of 2 was dead and that’s what the death certificate
said. That was almost 30 years ago and I was 17 years old. It would take years before
I began to unravel the goings on in my head from reading those words in my almost late
teens. I think we all knew in 1983 what being fat or overweight was; but the word obese
was only used by the medical examiner back then, I was sure of it because I had never
really heard the word. There would be this constant battle in my head with the word
obesity and how I would never allow myself to be “obese.” But it’s now 2012 and we all
know the word obesity as one who is classified as obese at ~30 pounds overweight.

I have attempted to start a blog on a few occasions but wanted to have some clear goals, so here I go:

  • I want to be a Maintainer
  • I want to champion many more Maintainers
  • 1 year from today I want to join the National Weight Control Registry
I believe that everyone has a story to tell about their journey and I am no different.  The program I am on, I have lost 41 lbs (since the day after Thanksgiving 2011, weighing 199 lbs) and 30 of this total has been lost 3 times over the last 3 years.  This blog is still in the staging process.  I just want to take one day at time, maintain and continue the process.  My process includes inspiration from other Maintainers--I have read weight loss blogs for years but two years ago, I started seeking weight maintenance blogs and it was slim pickings.  And then I started to ponder why?  Which has lead me to this day or that day after Thanksgiving last year.  I started thinking that there are so many people who are inundated with weight loss this and weight loss that, what about something for Maintainers.  How about something for ME when I do lose this weight?  I have read many weight loss books and there is always a very small section on Maintenance if any section at all.  As in the title of my post, I have so much to say and I will....