Steps Forward, Steps Back

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Had pizza and cookie again last night.  Gained .02 lbs. Buh.

But I went to the gym this morning and climbed exactly a thousand stairs exactly in 30 minutes.  I’m still not going to beat myself up about the pizza.  This is my process.  I am trying.

It’s interesting that the stair machine didn’t hurt my back, and I sweat like crazy, and my heart rate was in the 150s most of the 30 minutes I was at the gym but it didn’t feel hard.  I think the stair machine is going to make its way into my gym routine.  I burned more calories and exercised my heart more than just the treadmill walking, and stairs felt better on my back and hips.  Huh.  Who knew?  Probably lots of trainers and chiropractors.  But it’s news to me.

Yesterday when I got to work I felt like I wanted a little something sweet.  There happened to be cookies in the break room, as there is almost always something open to eat in the break room.  I thought, oh, this is great, I’ll just have one, since they’re sweet, but not a kind of cookie I actually like very much.  And it’s true: I did have only one cookie.

But instead of nipping my craving in the bud, I think it just whetted my appetite for more sweets.

For the rest of the day I had a piece of chocolate here, a chocolate covered almond there. I logged every bite on MFP calorie counter, and they were within my caloric allotment for the day.  But I wonder, did those indulgences fuel my pizza and cookie binge later in the day?  That pizza and cookie sure as shit weren’t within my allowed calories–I didn’t even bother logging them.

I still think there is some emotional or mental component to why I got the pizza that I’m not completely clear on.  I wasn’t very hungry, I just wanted to eat it because it tasted good.  I also wanted to stay up and watch some tv before I went to bed, another habit I’m trying to break.  It’s not that it’s not good for me, it’s just that when I watch tv I tend to want to snack.

I talked to my therapist about all this last week, and she recommended I make a list of things I can do for self care to replace the habit of self care with pizza.

Things to Do that Feel Good Instead of Eating Pizza at 11 PM 

  1. take an epsom salt bath
  2. eat some fruit
  3. jerk off
  4. do some yoga
  5. read a comic book
  6. post a blog entry about wanting, but not eating, pizza and cookie

That last one isn’t necessarily something that “feels good,” but it will keep me on the righteous path. Also, my therapist recommended I not stop eating pizza altogether, as it seems like a sure fire way to eat more pizza.  Instead of telling myself I can’t have pizza ever again, she recommends I tell myself I just can’t have pizza after work.  And I do like the idea of having it earlier in the day, on say my weekend, as a treat.  But even then I’ll have to make sure to expend more calories at the gym to burn off the pizza.  Oh pizza, you old troublemaker.

Wish me luck tonight!

XOE

 

Cardio Psychology

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I had the last two days off work, so I gained a little over my weekend, dipping my toe above the 190 threshold.  Oops.  But I’m not that concerned.  If I stick to my sammie/salad/fruit routine I’ll be in the 189s by tomorrow morning.  And by the end of my workweek I should have a little more distance between me and 190.  Weekends are tricky, since I am pretty physically active at work.  It takes some extra planning to burn as many calories and not eat too much on my days off as my days on.  I’m still working out the bugs, but I made better choices this weekend than I did last weekend, so I’ll count it as a win.

I want to write this morning about weightlifting.  But that would be the cart before the horse.  The horse, in this analogy, is writing about why I haven’t been weightlifting, and how I envision a weightlifting routine for myself at this point in my efforts.  And before that, we have to start with my cardio routine. But, why?

I have been doing only cardio since I started this blog, because, well, why have I been only doing cardio?

I suppose I started there because I thought it would be a gentle way to get back into working out.  I have a back injury (and a shoulder injury as well, oh, and a wrist thing too) from lifting heavy boxes improperly at work, and it gets exasperated every time I go to work (and continue to lift improperly).  Also, my feet just generally hurt because I’m fat and I walk/stand on concrete 8 hours a day.  So I’m coming to exercise carrying a substantial amount of extra weight, and I have preexisting injuries.  Because of these circumstances, I wanted to find a way to work out that wouldn’t make my body hurt more than it already does, as more pain seems like the fast track to quitting this whole endeavor.

So has cardio been gentle?

Well, yes and no.  Psychologically, it has been easy to go to the gym and walk on the treadmill.  Before worrying about losing weight from exercise I first just need to start going and keep going: first I need to form a habit of going to the gym.  And in that way this minimal cardio has been effective.  I have gone to the gym and walked every morning I have told myself I would since I started trying.  This is huge for me.  Mentally, I am forming a habit of going to the gym.  I actually look forward to waking up and going in the morning.  I look forward to watching the news on tv and seeing the people that are at the gym every morning at the same time as me.  I don’t mean I’m making friends, I mean I just like the routine.  It is comforting to me.  It feels good.

But walking at a brisk pace actually hurts my back.  My lower back and hips are tight from the injury, and so while I don’t want to run, I think it might actually be better for my back.  I think the gait I keep while walking quickly makes my injury worse.  I also don’t think I should be walking or running every morning.  I think I should be doing it every other day.  And I’m not going to stop going to the gym every day, so weights will be what I do on the non-running days.  I think my body will feel better if I change my routine every other day.

Also, I have always enjoyed weights much more than cardio, so I am looking into a weight routine for the days after my running days.  There is a lot of research to do, if I am to do this properly.

(Side note: I did skip the gym today in order to do this research.  But I went last Wednesday, which was normally my day off, so I could skip today and not feel like I was skipping altogether.  I think that kind of thinking, of skipping a day for no serious reason, this early in my efforts, is another sure fire way to quitting altogether.  I know it doesn’t sound very serious, but too many times I have justified skipping a day during previous weight loss efforts, that then leads to quitting full stop.)

First, what days am I doing what?

I’m going to start with 3 days of cardio, three days of weights, one day off. I want to start my work week with running (despite the pain of walking, and not looking forward to running, I do enjoy the feeling I get from running, and I think that will be a nice way to start my work week), so I’ll run Sat-Mon-Wed.  This leaves Sun-Tue-Thrs as my weight days.  Friday will be my day off, that’s my Sunday anyway, so it’ll be nice to sleep in.

I have run in the past, but have no idea how to start now from my current state.  So I goggled “how to start running when you’re fat” and found the Couch to 5K app.  This isn’t an endorsement, since I won’t start using it until next week, I just wanted to record what I’m using and when I’ll start.

For weights, I am fortunate and have a friend that’s a trainer.  I referenced her in my last post.  We didn’t make it to the gym together that night, but I’m meeting her Thursday at her gym.  She told me to come with lots of questions, so I’m going to ask her to help me figure out a weight routine, including how to start and how to progress.  I have used weights in the past, but they were always the weight machines, and I imagine using free weights is going to be B’s suggested route.  I will start with an embarrassingly low amount of weight.  I have to be ok with that to do it right and to progress.  Ouch, my ego.

If you don’t have a friend and you want to start working out I suggest you check out Nerd Fitness.  They have tons of free info for beginners, and it’s presented in a very approachable way.

So for this week, I will just keep going for my 30 min walk at the gym in the mornings to keep up the good routine I have going so far.  I’ll take Friday off, too, to start my new routine and to give my body a day of rest before my first day of running on Saturday.

XOE

 

 

A List of Things I Hate About Being Fat

Got pizza and a cookie last night because I had a thousand calorie deficit at the end of my work day so when I weighted myself this morning I was up a half pound.  Cool.

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I wonder if I will someday learn my lesson.  Or if this is it for me.  Just being a fat guy.  My biological father is a fat guy. Most white American dudes are fat guys.  Do I want to be most American white guys?  Nope.  OK.  Time for a pep talk:

SUCK IT UP SHITHEAD. THIS IS THE PROCESS.  STOP FUCKING AROUND AND STOP EATING PIZZA, DICK FOR BRAINS.

Ok. I feel better.  The lesson?  I can’t eat pizza and cookies and lose weight.  Fuck.  I’ve known that all along.  Welp, guess I really do have dick for brains.  Doesn’t mean I have to stay fat.  Tons of hot guys have dick for brains.  So Imma keep trying.

I went to the gym this morning, and I intend on eating my sammie and salad for my meals today, and having fruit, not pizza, when I come home.  The main reason I’ve failed in the past is because I’ve given up.  So this time I’m not giving up.  YOU HEAR ME PIZZA?!  I’M NOT QUITTING!

Let’s refocus by listing all the shitty things about being fat:

  1. My double chin touches my neck when I look down.
  2. The ingrown hair follicle on my inner thigh that is irritated because of the fat that pushes it against my other fat thigh and that I have to put a hot press on it at night because that shit hurts all day.
  3. I don’t look good in the mirror anymore.  I look like a short fat guy because I am a short fat guy.
  4. I snore. I didn’t used to.
  5. I can’t run. I mean, I can, for like a block and it’s painful.  I used to love running.
  6. When I bend over my belly touches my leg way before it used to. I kinda have to shift my fat to the side of my leg to reach the ground. Gross.
  7. My work shirts come unbuttoned because my fat is constantly trying to come out.
  8. I have to tuck in my shirts because if I leave them untucked I look super fat.  But tucked in makes me look like an assistant manager for a Gurnee Mills Outlet.
  9. I have persistent back/hip/knee/shin pain that I didn’t have when I wasn’t fat.
  10. I have high cholesterol that you’ve read me bitch about before.
  11. None of my sexy clothes fit, and I refuse to buy clothes now because I don’t like how I look in anything so getting dressed to leave the apartment sucks.  I have my fat guy shorts, and my fat guy pants, and a couple fat guy shirts.  I look like a suburban dad because I don’t deserve nice things until I lose some weight.
  12. When I stay in, I wear huge house shorts and no shirt.  I used to love being shirtless, but now when I’m shirtless my belly is starting to do the fat guy hang down thing.  It’s a mini hang down, but christ, that’s a lot of fat.  It’s like an episode of Cops in my studio.

That’s a good list.  I feel refocused.

XOE

Daddy’s First Fuck Up

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A screenshot from my scale this morning.  Obvi I went up by about a pound and a half.

And I know why. I had it in my schedule that I would skip the gym Wednesday mornings.  I have a standing weekly appointment at that time, and if I’m being realistic I won’t have time for the gym then, so why not avoid the unrealistic gym goal, and build in one day a week that I don’t go?  That seems reasonable.  So I didn’t go Wednesday morning. I went to work, and had my Potbelly’s for lunch and my salad for dinner.

Wednesday is my Friday, meaning I have Thursdays and Fridays off work every week.  I came home at the normal time that night, and I wasn’t hungry, like normal, and I had my fruit waiting for me at home, like normal.

But something happened in my brain in the span of getting off the train and walking down two flights of stairs to the street.  Without thinking, or rather, with a little weak justification and then no critical thinking about those justifications or my subsequent actions, I straightaway went into the pizza place across the street and got a slice and a cookie, my regular after work meal before that got me into this fat pickle in the first place.

And then I didn’t go to the gym Thursday.  Or Friday.  And I ate garbage too.  And I avoided this blog.  I basically laid on the couch and watched shitty tv and ate whatever the hell I wanted.

So let’s figure out what the fuck happened.

I made the following justifications that shoved me right the fuck off the wagon:

  1. It’s my weekend, I deserve some treats.
  2. I haven’t lost much weight yet, and I probably will fail this time like I’ve failed in the past when trying to lose weight so fuck it I’m going to eat an entire pint of ice cream because nothing matters.

And I avoided my goals by taking naps and watching tv.  What’s weird is that I enjoyed my mornings going to the gym*, and I felt better eating better.  I didn’t even really enjoy the pizza, and I felt bad for eating garbage I knew wasn’t good for me.

So what I think is happening is maybe a couple things:

  1.  Old habits die hard, and are going to take time to not only rewire my brain with a new habit, but also, and even before the rewiring takes place, I’m going to have to practice some serious awareness with actions that are so insidious they are nearly automatic.
  2. There is a lot of data out there about how our gut microbiome drives our food cravings, and I think my pizza and cookie microbes are strong, because I’ve been feeding them a lot for a long time, and that’s likely where my “automatic” drive to eat pizza and cookies comes from.

So what am I going to do in the future to try and beat back this bad behavior?

Next Wednesday, I will still skip the gym.  I think it’s good for me to have a rest day at this early stage.  And like I said, I can’t make it that morning b/c of a scheduling conflict anyway.  Also, it wasn’t a problem to eat well during the day.  I just fucked up when I came home after my work week and thought I deserved something for completing that task.  And my need for a reward wasn’t even very strong.  The biggest hurdle was that I wasn’t thinking about what I was doing.

I think the answer is to plan to write a blog post that night.  It will give me something to do and it will force me to use my brain and think about what I’m doing as well.  And if I need a treat, I will bring home some different fruit, so I’m staying within my good eating routine but still getting something special.  I love mango, so I will likely bring home some pre-cut mango slices from work, and destroy the whole container, guilt free, because even a whole container will be well within my calorie allotment.  I think the most important takeaway here is to stay the course.  I fucked up.  I will likely fuck up again.  I just can’t give up.

XOE


*I’m not going to lie and say I enjoyed the exercise, because that’s bullshit.  The exercise is hard because I’m fat and out of shape.  But I do enjoy how I feel after the exercise.  I like the shower and the blogging and the water drinking.  And the exercise isn’t as bad as I think it’s going to be when I’m rousing in bed before I go.

Food Fight

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I broke the 180s.  Down 1.2 lbs from yesterday.  That’s hot.  40 more days like yesterday and I’m at my target.

The above graphic is taken directly from my scale this morning.  I weight myself every morning, naked, post- (TMI WARNING FOR THE SQUEMISH…AVERT YOUR EYES NOW UNTIL THE NEXT PARAGRAPH) shit. I think this is the most realistic way to weigh myself.

Last time I wrote about my workout routine and generally what that entails.  Today I’m going to write about food: what I eat & when I eat.

A few months ago I read Penn Jillette’s book, Presto.  I was hoping  it would give me the kick in the ass I needed to start losing weight.  And it did play a role.  The thing that stuck with me the the bit about how he’s a drastic guy, and so he needed a drastic dietary change.  Most dietitians and trainers will tell you, generally, that drastic doesn’t work, won’t last.  I think they will also tell you the routine that will work is the one that’s right for you.  I think Penn just found what was right for him.

And so I have been spending a lot of time reading, and thinking, and failing, trying to figure out what’s right for me.  That’s all fine, it’s part of the process.  You failing?  That’s ok.  Keep trying.  You only really fail if you don’t try again.  Failing and trying again is just process. You trying to get healthier? Then you’re in process. I’m in process. Our lives are just process until we die.  Sound defeating?  I find comfort in that.  We’re all just trying.

But I digress. I’ll write more in another entry about the reading I did and the things I learned that are helping me now.  This entry is about food.

What I eat now:

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This is a screenshot taken directly from My Fitness Pal.  I prefer vegetarian meals. and I had that remarkably low cholesterol when I was vegetarian, so for now I’m sticking to vegetarian.  I’m not much of a cook, that is to say, I’m actually very capable in the kitchen, thanks to the women in my life, but I don’t enjoy cooking.  So for this weight loss to work, I have to be honest and acknowledge that, right now, I don’t enjoy cooking.  So I find pre-made, reasonably healthy alternatives.  Almost anything is better than pizza and ice cream.  You know what I also love? Hot sandwiches. So I eat Potbelly’s for lunch.  I love hummus.  I love onions.  I love red peppers.  Their Mediterranean sammie has all those and more.  And while it has feta on it, the amount they put on is much less than the six slices of cheese I would get on their other vegetarian option, the mushroom melt.  Sure, I could ask them to not put any cheese on at all, but I think that would be the fast track to failure.  I can adjust later.  For now, the cheese stays.

And I work at Trader Joe’s, so grabbing dinner there is easy.  I had a sandwich for lunch, so I have a salad for dinner.  Dinner’s closer to bedtime than lunch is, so I try to eat less bread later in the day (fewer simple carbs hanging out overnight, just begging to become a part of my waistline). The salad is good because it has quinoa in it, which will help raise my good cholesterol and lower the bad.  It also helps me feel fuller.  It’s got kale and cabbage and tomatoes, all super healthy.  But the best part is the cilantro and lime dressing, with some cotija cheese and roasted corn.  The dressing is the least healthy part, but the tastiest.  As I continue to eat better, my taste will continue to shift toward desiring healthier foods, but for now, just like the sandwich, this salad, dressing and all, is a much healthier option than pizza.

As for snacks, I love a decaf iced coffee with some soy milk added.  The milk is a little sweet, so it beats back my cravings for an entire chocolate cake.  I have some fruit every night when I get home, because I am a little peckish after work, and I don’t want to fuck up my day by going for pizza.  If I have the fruit to look forward to, it keeps me on track.  It also scratches that sweet itch.  The cookie?  Well, there’s always something open in the break room at work for us to share, and it’s a real struggle.  I love our sugar cookies.  So I ate one & logged it on MFP.  I didn’t eat 4, and I didn’t leave it off my tracker, so it’s still a win.

You might notice I don’t eat breakfast.  Through my research (mostly reading and podcast listening) I am persuaded by the weight loss results others have had with intermittent fasting.  Unfamiliar with IF? Go here for more info. Briefly, IF for me is the decision to not consume anything but water between my fruit when I get home at 11pm and my Potbelly lunch before work at 1:30 pm.  That’s 14 glorious hours of not eating!  Here you can find out about all the sick benefits of IF. And you will notice I am consuming the amount of calories myself and my doctor are comfortable with (i.e. I’m not starving myself), and because I dragged my ass to the gym yesterday morning and I’m fortunate in that I have an active job, I left plenty of calories on the table to run a good deficit.  Fuck yeah.

So for now that’s my routine: gym in the morning, blog post in the morning (both activities keep me from getting bored and confusing that boredom with hunger), sandwich for lunch, salad for dinner, coffee snack, fruit snack (and it has to be fresh fruit, nothing dried or artificially sweetened.  I want the fiber and water only fresh fruit can give me.), then bed.  I sleep about 9 hours, if you care to know that.  That’s what feels good for me.

Oh, and I drink around 100 ounces of water a day: 30 before work, 70 at work (I count the 16 oz. coffee with that because it’s decaffeinated) and another pint at home before bed.

Stop thinking about me in bed, you perverts.

XOE

 

Fuck Being Fat: An Introduction

Hi, I’m Eli.
A fat trans guy.
A fat trans guy in his 40s.
A fat, white, trans guy in his 40s.

God, I bet you guys can’t click away fast enough.

But wait, you know what people do love?
Comeback stories.
I’m letting you in on this one on the ground floor.

You see, I wasn’t always fat.  I was always trans, but just started the physical transition a little over five years ago.

If you give a shit about my transition, click over to this site’s big brother, My Life With Tits.

If not, stay put.  This entry ain’t over.

A Condensed Background for Interested Parties

Why am I here?  Well, I’m here writing this blog because I used to look hot in the mirror. That’s no longer the case. That’s my truth.  You don’t like it?  Fuck off, this blog’s not for you. Unless you’re a fat trans guy tired of being a fat trans guy.  Then this blog might be for you.

This blog is about my health, and FTM issues relating to health.  This blog is for trans guys, and cis guys, in that we sometimes overlap.  This blog is for allies if you find it helpful.

I swear a lot, and my outlook on my appearance and the way I talk about myself might not be for you.  That’s ok.  I bet there’s some shit you’re into that I find offensive.  So I can fuck off, right? Right. I can fuck right off.

But if you’re ok with the swears, and how I talk about my body, and you find this stuff interesting or helpful or encouraging, well then fuck yeah, stick around.  Watch my fat ass get skinny agin.

What Can I Expect as an Observer?

Welp, you can expect posts a couple times a week.

You can expect the swears to keep coming.

You can expect links and tips from others in the trans health community. You can expect responses to any queries within a reasonable amount of time.

You got questions?  Ask them.  If not, let’s get uncomfortable together. Let’s dive right the fuck in.

XOE