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Dude, I Got Fat, Part II - if you can't be witty, then at least be bombastic [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
kyle cassidy

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Dude, I Got Fat, Part II [Nov. 14th, 2012|10:47 am]
kyle cassidy
[mood |accomplishedaccomplished]
[music |steven severin: the vampyre]

Reading all the replies to yesterday's blog post about my weight issues had churned my thinking. I want to direct your attention to three posts that you may or may not have seen ... but first I wanted to ask a questions.

Q: Many people responded with stories of a desire to lose weight but lacking the impetus to start and often the finances. With this in mind, would you be interested in contributing to chipin fund to buy a number of starter gym memberships for people motivated to lose weight who for whatever reason don't have the funds?

I know that the results I saw early on spurred me to continue, I'm wondering if we might be able to, collectively, help some people get started. Let me know if you'd be interested, and also we'd need a volunteer coordinator.

If we get ten people willing to help, we'll move ahead with it. Let me know in the comments.

Now, on to the comments --

I wasn't prepared for the outpouring of stories, some of them pages and pages long, of people's battles with weight, with self image, with perception, with acceptance. For many people weight was tied to abuse, for another group weight seems to have been strongly tied to gender issues. Throughout this, I saw as I read on and on, many people persevered, overcome, but many people still felt trapped. My mailbox flooded with people who didn't want to share their stories publicly. One was from a woman who had lost 350 pounds. Lost. She sent before and after photos and suddenly my own problems seemed trivial. I am astounded by how far some people have fought this battle.

I know that when I looked in the mirror I was unhappy with the person looking back, but I also know that I had a tremendous advantage going in -- I don't have children to take care of, I have access to a gym, I have access to healthy food which is nearby ... a lot of people don't have these things.

There were a lot of posts yesterday and I wanted to share a couple of them -- perhaps you have advice, solutions, or perhaps you'll be inspired.

sistersolace posted very eloquently about a) the difficulty of finding the time to work out and the types of workouts one can do as a full time mom who can't join a gym and b), another extremely important issue -- healthy food is expensive Ramin noodles, the staple of the college diet are super cheap and super bad for you, fresh broccoli on the other hand is great for you but really expensive. What are some ways that people can get fruits and vegetables on a budget?



I read this when you first posted it, and I've been lurking in the comments and mulling it over since.

Here's the deal: I'm only about 25 pounds overweight, and my body shape/wizardry with clothing makes that easy to disguise, so I feel a little weird posting. But my body has been a terrible struggle for the past 20 years, so I figured I'd go ahead and weigh in.

I have a gentleman caller coming to visit me from the far away east coast in a week. Today I looked in the mirror before my shower and kind of sighed, thinking that I'd meant to look better naked by now. I'd taken up running for a while in the summer, I'd been eating healthier, I'd been toning up and getting stronger (which is really way more important to me than what I weigh), and I was on track. Awesome, right?

And then I had to make a quick move out of an increasingly scary living situation a couple of months ago. Now I bring in about $100 less per month than I spend on bills alone. My food budget is literally negative numbers. I recently started a job but I don't know if it will pad my budget before my savings run out. Also? I'm a full-time student and a single mom with two growing boys who live with me 1/2 time.

I can't run when the kids are here, because there's no one to watch them. Even when they aren't here, I'm neck-deep in projects and papers. I try to motivate myself to go for a run, but it's difficult when I've been walking all day (to and from the train, to and from classes) and it's 9pm and I have 45 more thumbnail sketches due tomorrow. Sometimes I manage some yoga with a few push ups and crunches. Sometimes I just draw all the things and go to sleep.

I love, love, love fresh fruits and vegetables and would eat them all day long, but damn they're expensive. Noodles, rice, beans, potatoes, all those terrible pitfalls of dieting are cheap. The kids eat like a locust plague and they love fruits and veggies as much as I do. We go through a bag of carrots almost as soon as it comes in the door. I buy what I can on sale, but when there's no sale...

In the spring I'll try to grow my own veggies and the like, if my landlord will allow it. But it's Colorado, and it's winter, and I don't have the room to grow any plants inside.

If I so much as breathe a word about my weight, my desire to be healthier, or my increasingly-tighter wardrobe, my friends are quick to either tell me to stop whining ("you look FINE") or suggest a bunch of crazy fad diets that are expensive, time-consuming, or both.

I've yo-yoed between 120 and 180 most of my adult life. When I cut out sodas and fast food from my weekly intake, started drinking water like it was my job, and started walking everywhere it became a smaller swing from 130 to 150. Right now, though, I'm sitting at 150 and I'm not sure if it's going to stop there. The stress, the lack of sleep, the not-terribly-great food, the lack of real exercise... they're all catching up with me, and I don't see any of this changing in the next year or more. Honestly, I'm too tired to care, most times.

This post made me care, though.

I guess what I'm saying here is that I'm in a place where I'm really frustrated with the whole thing, but it's so good to see you kicking ass and taking names. I can't alter my diet too much and I can't join a gym, but maybe I'll knock these sketches out this afternoon, grab my shoes, and go for a run after my night class. You know, just to keep you company a little.




wroughtirony is in a spiral of depression which triggers weight gain. This was a not infrequent story -- how do you get motivated to start and keep at it?



I'm an overweight chef with some problems with depression and OCD.

It's so easy for me to see what's wrong with me, and what I need to do is very clear.

But I can't seem to strike a balance between ignoring the problem and obsessively over-managing my diet and exercise regimen. When I think about working out, my internal dialogue is "you're a disgusting fat slob. You're fat because you're weak and stupid. All you have to do is eat 1500 calories a day, no simple carbs few fats and zero dairy. Even a trained monkey can do 45 min of intense cardio 6 times a week plus weight training 3 times a week, minimum. You must give up alcohol, naps, caffeine, sorbet, bread, pasta, butter, pretty much all the other foods you like, and snacks. Fail to do any of this and you're a disgusting loser who deserves to be fat."

So when I think like that, I get depressed.

And when I'm depressed, the OCD gets worse.


Two years ago, I managed to lose about thirty pounds by just letting myself become obsessed with the whole process. With the help of a dietitian, I had my diet down to 1000kcal/day (my metabolism is very slow.) What I ate was managed down to within ten calories. I worked out all the time. This allowed me to lose a little over a pound per week for about nine months. Needless to say, I put it all back on over the course of two years.


I've got all the knowledge I need, I just can't seem to get my head in the right place.



lady_isis talks about a spouse who is verbally supportive but often suggests eating out or brings calorie-loaded foods home. How do you fight this on your own, or how do you tell your s.o. what kind of support you need from them?


I did really well for awhile. Was going to the gym 5-6 days a week. I started to work with a nutritionist who gave me a meal plan and I saw once a week (he was amazingly supportive). I was doing really well.
Then I moved in with my now husband. He is supportive. But, he was used to eating whatever he wanted, was never taught to cook. We were lazy and ate out alot. I did not cook because I was tired. I stopped going to the gym because I had to clean the apartment.
Those excuses still apply now (but now it is a house). He never says I am fat and always says I am beautiful. I know he means it. He gets take out because he does not want me to have to cook. I know he is trying to help, but...I keep gaining weight. I am older now, it is going to be harder to do.
I know what I need to do. I have the information in my head. For some reason that I have not been able to figure entirely out, I can't do it..yet.
I am not happy with my body or my health. I want and know I deserve to be healthy.








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Comments:
[User Picture]From: tsarina
2012-11-14 04:09 pm (UTC)
I'd be interested in contributing to this project Kyle. I recognize that I'm so lucky because I'm financially stable and I have more free time than someone with kids or family requiring care. Someone gave me a flier for two months of free kickboxing classes, and I'm so stupidly grateful for that because it pushed me out the door. I get up three mornings a week in the dark and drag my sorry ass out to class. But I feel so good for it. So if I can help someone find something similar, hell yes.

Frozen vegetables are better than going without them. Yeah, nothing is going to be as good as farm fresh loveliness. But frozen vegetables can be cheap, and you can throw those into the ramen for bulk and nutrition. Plus they can last longer.

Losing weight without slipping into some bad obsession for me was very, very hard. Maybe just try writing everything down for a week or two. Don't try to do anything differently - just write it all down. Sometimes seeing it like that can make finding a place to begin all the more clear. When I realized I was eating two days worth of food at once, and then nothing for two days, I realized I had to try to balance that out. It's really goddamn hard to fight back against that voice of perfectionism. That's why I go one day at a time - every day is a new start, every day I can make the choices. It's helped me a lot.

My spouse can eat whatever. It's hard. I try to suggest take out from places where I know I can get something less calorie laden - so sandwiches instead of fried chicken. I try to steer him towards foods we haven't always eaten, so I can say we are getting variety when I'm just trying to get something with a vegetable that isn't covered in cheese sauce.
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[User Picture]From: humglum
2012-11-14 04:27 pm (UTC)

In my looking into the options of gym vs. YMCA I found out that the Y has a discounted program for those who need financial assistance. This is also something that people could look into, if they have access to a decent YMCA.

Still not sure which we'll end up choosing, but I lean towards the Y because of the pool and variety of classes. Also, they have a "couples" rate which ends up being a decent discount. If we lived closer to the beach, we wouldn't even need to be doing this.
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[User Picture]From: mizkit
2012-11-14 04:29 pm (UTC)
I'd probably throw in a bit, but for me it's not that I need a gym membership, it's that I need a babysitter. If only teleporters were real. :p
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[User Picture]From: textualchauvini
2012-11-14 04:58 pm (UTC)
I don't know if this is helpful at all, but some gyms do offer babysitting services for the hour or two you are working out. For instance, I get a membership to the local JCC (Jewish Community Center - you don't need to be Jewish though!) through work, and they offer really low-cost babysitting services for members. I wouldn't be surprised if some Ys do this as well. So check out gyms that are part of community centers, they seem to offer more services of that nature.
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[User Picture]From: mizkit
2012-11-14 05:40 pm (UTC)
Unfortunately I'm in Ireland, where that sort of service is rare indeed.
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[User Picture]From: themouseketeer
2012-11-14 07:47 pm (UTC)
Hey mizkit, fancy seeing you here :-)

Babysitters in gyms may be rare, but IrishKate likes kids ;-)

Another option may be to swap with another parent. Take it in turns to watch the children at a soft play area?
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[User Picture]From: saraaaaaa
2012-11-14 04:38 pm (UTC)
I know for many women, gyms can be a scary, and unsafe space, which leads women who are otherwise interested in getting healthy to avoid going to the gym. I was like this, because going to the gym after college (where due to going to a Bryn Mawr, was a rather safe experience) was never comfortable and I stopped going.

For ladies in the Philly/New Jersey/New York area, I suggest Lucille Roberts. It is an all women's gym and a very safe, very welcoming space to focus not on getting thin, but getting well and healthy. It is rather on the lower side of gym prices at $25 a month.

I hate to sound like a sales pitch, but it seems to make such a difference to many women to have a space to exercise in which they feel comfortable.
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2012-11-14 05:19 pm (UTC)
excellent suggestions.

I found, myself, the gym a scary place -- there's the feeling that people are watching you trying to figure out how to work things, that you don't know where things are -- that sort of thing was troublesome to me. Having someone to go with you really helped me and also having someone who will goad you and who you can goad back to not skip is important.
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[User Picture]From: humglum
2012-11-14 05:59 pm (UTC)

That right there is exactly what makes me nervous. Having to figure out those crazy machines. I'd really rather walk outside for 45 minutes every day I can, than be stuck inside on some machine. In Atlanta, we lived near a park that had interesting terrain (small hills,even) and we could vary our daily walk. Here, it's not easy, interesting, or particularly safe to walk daily, so we simply do not do it and have suffered mightily.

Cutting out excess sugar, except for very special occasional treats, has always been my first step when getting back to being healthy.
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[User Picture]From: kuroshii
2012-11-14 06:56 pm (UTC)
a "better" gym will have a personal trainer go around and show you all the machines your first time there, as a sort of welcome/orientation thing that comes with membership. a less swank establishment still should offer a one-time session with a trainer to do the same thing.
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[User Picture]From: gaminette
2012-11-14 07:14 pm (UTC)
Hi Kyle! Regarding what you said about there's the feeling that people are watching you trying to figure out how to work things, that you don't know where things are, I'm pleased to say that at my gym, the people are super nice and approachable. They've even got people roaming the floor (in bright blue t-shirts that say in big letters "I'm here to help") who will show you how to work the machines, spot you, give you pointers, etc. I would recommend asking the gym staff. They're probably bored and would welcome the distraction. haha!

And I trust you've seen this? http://theoatmeal.com/comics/gym

Thanks for your posts, Kyle. All inspirational! ♥
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[User Picture]From: rivervox
2012-11-14 09:07 pm (UTC)
In regards to fears about the gym, it was tremendously liberating for me to see other women's bodies in the locker room. No one is perfect without their clothes on. My women-only gym has elderly ladies, college students and everyone in between. There are wrinkles, cellulite, stretch marks, pouches, flabbiness and droopy bits of all kinds. You will never know this until you see people without their clothes on. If the only bodies you see are in fashion magazines, you will never feel good about yourself. Go see some live human flesh at the gym! (And by the way, my gym has changing booths and most women are partially dressed at all times.)
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[User Picture]From: saraaaaaa
2012-11-14 10:49 pm (UTC)
I mostly just love seeing the range in the classes. In my pilates and zumba classes you have everything from in shape jumpy college sophomores to tiny 5 foot nothing 70 year old women who are managing to keep up just fine. And then everything in between. Last month's 'success' story was a woman who lost 60lbs and her cardio vascular health has improved vastly (bp, heart rate, cholesterol). It wasn't that she got abs or toned arms. It was that her heart was healthier now.

It's just so neat. Makes going to the gym way more pleasant.
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[User Picture]From: mystral721
2012-11-14 05:03 pm (UTC)
I've been working on changing over to a healthier lifestyle myself and I've had a lot of the same struggles with getting started. There's one website that has helped me immeasurably and has a great sense of community. I'd like to share a few of the blog posts from this site and another food-based one that have very good advice.

One of the things that I learned is that it's not necessary to have a gym membership to get a good workout. I canceled my gym membership when I lost my job and now I do a beginning body weight workout at home. The one thing that I've found is that it doesn't take a lot of time to get in a good workout: three times a week with a rest day in between can do a lot. There's one guy on the site, Joe, who lost 128 lbs in 10 months and he travels for work all the time. He does body weight workouts in his hotel room and is careful of what he eats. Here's his story:
http://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/2012/01/18/10-months-128-pounds-lost/

Here's a list of blog posts about different types of workouts:
http://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/category/workouts/page/2/

There have been a lot of people struggling to eat healthy foods while on a budget. Here is one article about that and a good round-up of links at the end of the article with more advice:
http://www.marksdailyapple.com/how-to-eat-healthy-save-money/#axzz2CDKGda3x

I also have a hard time with getting and staying motivated. One of the important things on the Nerdfitness site is the creation of good exercise and eating habits. It takes time to form a good habit, as much time as to form a bad one. Here is a good article about will power, how it's finite but can be circumvented by forming good habits. When you automatically do something, it doesn't take any finite will power:
http://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/2012/10/08/willpower/

There was one other recent blog post on getting healthy despite your significant other. Being single, I can't speak to it myself but it's a good article:
http://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/2012/10/15/unhealthy-spouse/

Finally, there's one recent blog post that's helped me a lot. It's a great synopsis of what works:
http://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/2012/10/22/3-reasons-people-succeed/

I hope that some people find this site to be as valuable as I have!

Edited at 2012-11-14 05:17 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2012-11-14 05:20 pm (UTC)
thanks for all this!!
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[User Picture]From: Catherine Noujaim
2012-11-14 05:54 pm (UTC)
Some CSAs even have a discount program. The Farmers markets in some states do accept food stamps, and sometimes you can bargain the farmers down at the end of the day.

Frozen veggies are healthy, as someone else said. And eating in season and from the bulk bins. I know it sounds odd to say to go to Whole Foods, but they have good bulk bins, and usually comparable/cheap prices for the whole grains. Also, sometimes ethnic stores.

If you know someone with a membership to Costco/BJs/etc, you can often get fruit/veg at great prices. (sometimes these warehouse stores offer a trial membership as well)

Shop veggies in season. If you live in a decent climate, container gardening....
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[User Picture]From: cate polacek
2012-11-14 07:04 pm (UTC)

inspiration and ideas

Food, weight, body image - they are such a battle. It shouldn't be, but it is, and for so many people. I don't think we realize it's a battle until we're well into it. I grew up skinny, but with lots of people, even in my family, saying things like, "I can't wait until you're older and get fat." Then I hit 30, and age, combined with the medication I was on at the time, gave them their wish, and how gleeful they were. Amid all that, my father had a triple bypass at 46 years old. His father died of a heart attack at 50. I remember standing at the end of my father's bed in the ICU, observing that he was hooked up to two walls of machines monitoring his vitals and who knows what besides, that there were tubes everywhere, and a respirator breathing for him, and he had scars on his chest and on his arm and leg (where the surgeon had taken the arteries for the grafts), and I thought, "that could be me in 20 years." And that's when my relationship with food went wacko. I tried a lot of different diets, and while some worked short-term and got some pounds off, they always came back, and with friends. I tried a vegetarian and then vegan diet, and actually gained weight. I didn't know that was possible, but seeing as I was always hungry, never satisfied with what I was eating, grazing all the time, thinking about food all the time, with no energy to exercise, hair was falling out, everything ached, and I was having monster panic attacks, the weight gain shouldn't have been a surprise. I kept at that diet for 7 years, though - I felt virtuous, and miserable.

My acupuncturist was the one to finally break it to me that the vegetarian/vegan diet was obviously not working for me - I didn't feel healthy, and I didn't look healthy. That was the first moment of enlightenment and pointer back to sanity - "the perfect diet" is highly individual to a person - genetics, living and working environments, culture, lifestyle, stress levels and their sources, exposure to chemicals, toxins and pollution, addictions, habits, allergies, sleep patterns, medications, current life stage, social interactions, activity levels, and on and on, they all make us unique. And yet, with all that uniqueness, experts and media often still seem to cling to the idea that one diet should work for everyone, all the time, no matter the above factors. What a nutty idea. We learned about controls and variables in science classes for nothing?

There's more than one food pyramid out there. Dr Weil has one, the paleo/primal diet has one, vegetarian/vegan has one, Weston A Price has one, the Mediterranean diet has one, the DASH diet has one, and I'm sure there are many others...I guess we all have to research them and self-experiment with all those variables under consideration and try them to find the one we can cope with and the one that doesn't feel like a burden or punishment and one that actually makes us feel good. Or hell, create your own. And it can take awhile to find the right one, not to mention having to change it as life stage and other circumstances change. And then it's so easy to go off the rails and become obsessive and clingy with one particular diet because we think it "should" be the right one, despite what our bodies might tell us to the contrary.

Right now, I'm trying the paleo/primal diet. I was attracted to it because of its concept of "eat real food." It's working for me so far, in that I've lost some weight and feel healthier and sleep better, the hair loss has stopped, and the panic attacks have subsided. But I've been down this road before - seeing initial good results and then it all goes horribly wrong - so I'm not pinning my hopes on this being the way I eat for the rest of my life. Still, I'll stick to it until I have a darn good personal health reason to switch to something else, and hopefully, I'll be smart enough to recognize that reason, rather than deny it.
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[User Picture]From: mystral721
2012-11-14 08:45 pm (UTC)

Re: inspiration and ideas

I'm also following the paleo diet. The hardest parts for me are giving up bread and getting into the habit of cooking for myself. It's worth it, though, since weight loss and being healthy is 80% what you eat and 20% activity. I was going to find a link to that stat but I think there's one in one of these good paleo blog posts: http://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/category/paleo/

Oh, and this recipe looks awesome! I'm going to make some later on today.
http://www.marksdailyapple.com/tomato-garlic-butter/#axzz2CDKGda3x
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From: no_stigmas
2012-11-14 07:17 pm (UTC)
I think the key with exercise is that you need to find something that moves you (pun intended) in and of itself. Gyms never worked for me -- I've tried them off and on over the years and could never stick with it because gyms are BORING. Running on a treadmill? I'm just waiting and agonizing for my 45 minutes to be up. Running outside? I get to meditate, mentally process things that are going on and/or bothering me, and it clears my head. There's also the issue of timing -- having to add an hour to get to and from the gym to my workout time is much more difficult to squeeze into my busy schedule than just throwing on my workout clothes (which I'd have to do anyway) and walking out the door.

So if someone is having trouble finding motivation for the gym, it may be time to try something else. Some sort of team sport club. Organizations that teach specific skills (that happen to be athletic) rather than just pushing weights around. If anyone is in Chicago, there are three gyms available which teach aerial circus skills, and Actors Gymnasium, at least, offers scholarships for financial hardship. (The other two are Aloft Loft and MSA Circus Arts.) There's also Forteza Physical Culture center, which has historical physical combat classes: Bartitsu (Victorian hand-to-hand based on Jiujitsu), rapier fencing, broadsword, etc. They're full service and have physical trainers and nutritionists on staff.

http://www.actorsgymnasium.com/
http://www.aloftloft.com/
http://msacircusarts.com/
http://fortezafitness.com/

As for food, unfortunately the good-fast-cheap adage applies -- pick any two. I have managed to reduce my food budget significantly while improving the quality of my food simply because I'm taking the time to cook with whole foods. Nothing is pre-packaged. I even make my own bread (HUGE savings, right there). In fact I'd recommend the cookbook Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day to anyone considering this route. There's some up-front cost for equipment (containers to mix and store the bread dough, and the baking stone, although I'd recommend going to a home improvement store and getting untreated terra cotta tiles and seasoning them yourself -- one-tenth the price of "official" baking stones and they're the exact same thing). But overall I saw my food budget go down by over $50 a month just from cooking/baking from food rather than from a package. And I believe that getting rid of the chemicals they put in pre-packaged stuff will also help; I can't imagine that a metabolism that evolved processing actual organic stuff would react in a predictable fashion to trying to process things that are not food.

When time is at a premium, perhaps try doing your entire week's worth of cooking in one go, and reheating through the rest of the week.

The biggest thing, though, is recognizing that this HAS to be a lifestyle change, not a temporary thing you do to lose weight before going back to the way things were. If you stop exercising, you will lose health and fitness, and gain weight. If you value feeling comfortable and capable in your own body (which I feel is a really important part of self-care), it needs to be built into your life in such a way that it's not that "extra" thing that gets shoved aside when things get busy. Things will always get busy. You will have to decide how important self-care is to you.

Oh, almost forgot -- in addition to many farmers markets accepting SNAP benefits (food stamps), some of them (in Chicago, anyway) get grants so that they can provide matching benefits. That is, at my local market, if I spent $10 or more on SNAP tokens for the market, they'd give me an extra $10 worth of tokens for free. Not huge, but helpful. I'm also a fan of Trader Joes -- better quality produce, and pricing that is competitive with or sometimes even cheaper than the cheapo mega-chain groceries.

For context, I created the permanent lifestyle change in my early 20s and lost 65 pounds. In the last 5 years or so I've gained 10 pounds but lost two more sizes. I'm ovo-lacto vegetarian but beyond that and the whole foods cooking follow no "special" diet.

Edited at 2012-11-14 07:28 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: snow_leopard
2012-11-14 08:27 pm (UTC)
I'd contribute to a chip in.
I didn't post about my own battle, but a lot of it rang so true.
I am so lucky to be in a position to afford exercise (I do Bikram Yoga which helps not only my weight issues, but also various auto-immune health issues I have) and eat healthily these days.
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[User Picture]From: midnightstation
2012-11-14 09:30 pm (UTC)
I talked this over with my wife. I have bad self body image. I also have little time. I am a father with a child and need to be home to help out my wife. I had gym memberships but I would spend 1-2+ hours at the gym and that was not time efficient for my family.

So I invested and bought the adjustable 5-25lb dumbbell set. I went online and looked up dumbbell workouts. I got my workout down to 25 minutes. There are plenty of free online tips for doing cardio that do not involve jogging. Many are aerobic exercises that you can do in your room. I just did google searches and found so many different exercises. The great thing is you can find many routines. This way you can change them up every week. Just collect them and print them out to follow.

I do a quick 15 minute stretch/yoga routine in the morning followed by 10-15 minute quick dumbbell arm routine. I switch it up sometimes to a cardio dumbbell exercise if I need to leave quicker. The stretching/yoga helps my body overall since I sit in a chair at the office all the time.

The big thing is we DO NOT allow any food with High Fructose Corn Syrup into the house. Our snacks are all dried fruits (we choose the ones with no sugar added) or nuts from nutsonline.com. So my only cheat time is lunch. My wife and I create a lifestyle to allow us little room to slip and be bad. We also try to eat lots of veggies and cut down out pasta and rice intake to 1-2 meals a week for dinner.

The other thing I do is to NOT look at the number weight on a scale. I look at the shape of my body and I gauge my weight by how well I fit into my skinny jeans. Obsessing over a number is not good for my brain. Seeing how I look in the mirror is better. Gaugeing my weight by the clothes I own reinforces the reality of what I see and feel.

Just wanted to add my 2 cents.

-S
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[User Picture]From: niamh_sage
2012-11-14 09:58 pm (UTC)
Regarding sistersolace's comments about food expenses, maybe see if there is a local food co-op that can offer better prices? Another possibility is to get a bunch of friends together to see about negotiating bulk prices for staple items from grower's markets. Small local businesses may be worth approaching too for something like this.

I'd be happy to contribute to a ChipIn for fitness memberships.

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[User Picture]From: didjiman
2012-11-15 01:12 am (UTC)
One thing most people do not really realize is how slow their metabolism can get once they hit certain age. I am eating less than I was 5 years ago, and 5 years prior to that and etc. Once you hit mid-30s or so, every 5 years or so increment means that you have to eat even less (or exercise more).

I am blessed with "Asian genes" (we look the same from 20-50s, then we age a billion years in a day), and my wife also looks very good:
http://richardmanphoto.com/PICS/20121111-L1017373.jpg
http://richardmanphoto.com/PICS/20121017-_A173312.jpg

We eat fairly balanced meals and any fast food is in the order of cheap Asian noodles rather than McD and the like. She sometimes counts calories. We can definitely do more exercises. Unfortunately, our favorite exercise is Tai Chi and that actually teaches to move very efficiently, i.e. not very cardio nor working your muscle at all.

Good luck!
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[User Picture]From: kuroshii
2012-11-15 07:06 pm (UTC)
I've heard that Tai Chi raises your energy level, though, which is why they advise against doing it too close to bedtime. Wouldn't that translate to at least a modest increase in metabolism?
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[User Picture]From: didjiman
2012-11-16 08:35 am (UTC)
Yes, Tai Chi is the best exercise and martial arts in the world. I really believe that. My pulse is typically around 62 and I hardly do any other exercises. Even though I am small (5'4"), I go to photograph most anywhere without too much fear as I know I can take care of myself etc.

However, if you want to lose weight, you probably do want to do something else.
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[User Picture]From: kuroshii
2012-11-16 03:44 pm (UTC)
My boyfriend has discovered Tai Chi as a physical activity that he actually enjoys, after decades of ZERO exercise. So I am loathe to tell him he should be doing something else! He needs to get his pulse and blood pressure down first and foremost, and I know Tai Chi will help him immensely in that regard. Maybe later (after discovering hey, moving around some isn't all that bad) he'll find additional movement-related activities that can help get rid of his barrel-tummy.
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[User Picture]From: sidewinder
2012-11-15 01:26 am (UTC)

The thing is, for me, gyms and access to healthy food aren't enough. They aren't the problem. My own head is the problem space. And perhaps getting access to the counseling that could really help with the real problems BEHIND my weight problems.

If you have an unhealthy relationship with food, with alcohol, with sweets, whatever, you can work out obsessively and it doesn't do a damn thing to help the real problem. You're still addicted to food for comfort. It's not that you don't understand how calories in should balance calories out. It's that you understand it and you just can't bring yourself to see the sacrifices necessary as worthwhile.

When it comes down to it, I know my problem is more with using food (and alcohol) as mood altering substances. Weight gain is a side effect of that, which I hate. I can exercise until I'm blue in the face and sometimes work out to unhealthy levels...yet it's not the solution to my problem. If I don't combat the mental issues behind it all, access to a gym and healthier foods just don't do a damn thing one way or another.

Edited at 2012-11-15 01:27 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: schquee
2012-11-15 02:00 am (UTC)
wroughtirony: Your internal dialog is wrong, it's really fucking hard to do those things!
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[User Picture]From: wroughtirony
2012-11-15 10:17 pm (UTC)
You sound just like my therapist! She loves to remind me that a lot of the challenges I face are difficult even for people without any mental illness and I should give myself credit for the things I do instead of focusing on the things that I should do.


I just wish I could somehow detach the idea that I'm a horrible failure as a human being from observations and ideas about things I could change for the better. If I didn't get that "you're worthless!" jolt every time I thought about changing my diet a little or working out more, those things would be way easier.
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[User Picture]From: kuroshii
2012-11-16 06:06 am (UTC)
stick with us, kiddo. we'll keep shouting YOU'RE NOT WORTHLESS at you whenever you need it. :D
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[User Picture]From: schquee
2012-11-17 10:20 pm (UTC)
I think it's really important to learn to forgive yourself. Pretend you're someone else who's come upon yourself, downhearted and feeling broken. You seem like a kind person--you'd have mercy on them and you'd have sympathy for them.
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[User Picture]From: schquee
2012-11-17 10:25 pm (UTC)
I don't know if it would help at all, but what has helped me in life is to imagine myself when I was a child, and go back to moments which pain me, and try to comfort that child. "They didn't understand they were hurting you. They were feeling their own pain." or "You were just a child, you didn't know any better!" and it was really helpful to get me to love myself again and forgive myself and others.

It did, however, involve psilocybin. But that may not be necessary!
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[User Picture]From: midnightstation
2012-11-15 03:52 pm (UTC)
The other thing I forgot to add is the reason I do not follow the number on a scale is because it shows total weight. Whether you gain muscle or fat the scale shows it as one number. This is why I use the mirror and my skinny clothes as a gauge of my weight loss. I gained more arm muscle and lost weight yet the scale showed me gaining number weight. The muscle was heavier than the fat. I lost some fat but gained muscle.

Sometimes number do lie when you don;t factor int he equation and only look at the total.

-S
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2012-11-15 05:47 pm (UTC)
so true.
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[User Picture]From: lady_isis
2012-11-16 01:13 am (UTC)
I would be willing to do the chip in. And if we get something going and at least one person goes to the gym, I am going to promise to get myself to the gym I pay for already. :) I admit, I am lazy and don't want to get on the freeway to get to my gym. :/

On the subject of people watching you at the gym...The don't. People are there to work out and really only care if you are hogging the cardio machines. And most people there will be happy to show you how to use a machine if you don't know how. I actually liked showing people stuff when I was getting my butt to the gym.

On the subject of cheap food. See if there is a farmers market nearby. Our grocery bill each week is 1/4 what it was since we started to hit the market every week. :)

I also wanted to share an example of the my supportive/non supportive husband. Last night I did not get home until 7pm (I leave for work at 5:45am). I was exhausted and texted him to ask him to start the rice for dinner so I had just the rest (tofu and squash) to saute when I got home. Instead he got mexican take out because he thought I would be too tired to cook.. :(
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[User Picture]From: snidegrrl
2012-11-18 08:04 am (UTC)
Auch, could a topic be more close to everyone's heart??

I spent two years in nursing school learning how to help people get better, be more healthy, learning how to teach people. I gained 25 pounds from stress eating and lack of time to fix my food/work out. IRONY!!

I've read a lot of books on this topic over the years. There's a lot of valuable info and a lot of hooey and a lot of redundancy. But one lesson that was very valuable was from The End of Overeating. Some of this stuff is neurological; food "addiction" is real; sometimes willpower is not going to be strong enough and that's not your fault. BUT I am not saying give up it's hopeless, I'm saying that will power can be enhanced with education and mindfulness. Understand what's happening when you see the object of your desire and understand the nature of desire and be kind to yourself. Then you can be present in the moment of decision and be able to change something.

Not that I'm really THERE yet. Calorie restrictive dieting in the past has led me to be in a psychological place where it is very hard for me to deny myself food. So I'm attacking the activity part, like you, with the privileged fancy gym route. Now that I have a job again, I'm pouring a lot of my paycheck into a trainer. And I know completely that I'd never do it without that obligation. I entered a contract where if I don't go see this guy I lose a lot of money. I'm not going to say it's 100% reliable, but I'm hoping...

It's my fondest dream that my life partner would catch the work out fever with me. He loathes the idea. He eats whatever he wants and stays relatively skinny. There's no impetus except when his cholesterol came back borderline, and he cut back for a month and it went down. I'm on my own on that one.

I love myself, and I hate myself a bit, and I want change. More than I want to be skinny though, I want people to not assume stuff about me because I'm overweight. (I reckon that's not a character flaw of your friends.) :)

When I saw you posting about the rowing machine I was in the throes of the same thing. :) It warmed my heart.

Edited at 2012-11-18 08:05 am (UTC)
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