Tag Archives: Weight Loss

I Relapsed on Mexican Food: The Craziest Diet I’ve Ever Tried (Part Three)

I stepped off the plane at LAX, pulled my over sized sunglasses down over my eyes and began to maneuver my Diane Von Furstenberg luggage through the terminal. I was in California for a family reunion, and I was stoked! I was also nervous, since this would be my first time traveling while doing the WMP (Weight Management Program).

I stepped out into the warm California air and a few minutes later my parents and sisters pulled up in the car. After five sets of hugs and kisses, my Dad grabbed my luggage and put it in the trunk while the rest of us piled back into the car. As we pulled out into the stream of traffic, my Dad adjusted the rear view mirror onto me.

“You’re looking good,” he said.

“Thank You,” I replied, beaming.

My Dad could be a man of few words, but they were always the right ones. Although my weight has been something I struggled with since forever, my Dad has never told me I was anything but beautiful, no matter what my size was. But of course it was especially exciting to hear that from him this time around since I had lost exactly 41 pounds since the last time he’d seen me… he noticed!

Later as we sat by the pool, my Mom and sisters asked for more detail. I think they were shocked by my response.

“So! Tell me about your weight loss system,” My mom asked.

Augh! I dunno,” I groaned, shielding my eyes from the sun. “I’m thinking about quiting…”

Before I could stop myself it all spilled out… I began to explain to them that while I got thinner, so did my wallet… and my patience.

The WMP was expensive and insurance didn’t cover a cent of it. Between the weekly meetings, the food and the doctors visits, I was shelling out $300+ per month. As a soon-to-be college graduate who wasn’t sure what the New York City job market held for her, I didn’t know how much longer I could maintain.

I was also beginning to resent the actual meetings. This is going to sound horrible but– attending the WMP meetings made me feel like I had been banished to the “geek table” in the school cafeteria. I wasn’t loosing weight with vibrant, sociable, interesting women who just happened to be overweight. I was loosing weight with elderly, needy women who appeared to have little interaction with others outside of our meetings. They would talk about the most random, non-weight related things and I often felt like I was wasting my time sitting through their rants.

“Celeste, despite the people in you’re group, you’ve made a lot of progress. You’re weight loss speaks for its self. I’d hate to see you throw that away.”

“I know, Mom, but you don’t understand– these meetings can be painful. Anyway, I’ll figure it out… I mean I brought a whole bunch of food boxes and shakes…”

(the foods don’t need to be frozen, so they travel well)

“…and I only plan of eating ‘out of the box’ once a day during the seven days I’m here!” With that I closed my eyes and leaned back onto my beach chair.

I skipped dinner that night and opted for a shake an entree and an energy bar. But the next day, after a family brunch, instead of switching back to my prescribed foods for dinner, I went to have Mexican food with my cousins.

Chips… Salsa… Guacamole… ChimichangasRefried Beans… Rice…. Cheese…. Sour Cream… and Chocolate Mousse for dessert!!!

That was the meal that did me in.

For the rest of my trip, my precious prescribed foods lay abandoned with only my Diane Von Furstenberg suitcase to keep them company. Not only did I begin to eat what was on the menu for the reunion (barbeque, potato salad, rolls, cakes, pies etc.) I went to restaurants like In n’ Out, Rosco’s Chicken and Waffles and Del Taco! I didn’t want to be left out of any fun, and I hadn’t had real food in so long… I lost my mind!

It took a 6 day binge to ruin everything.

By the time I got back to New York, I just could not get back on track. I was working out, I was eating the leftover prescribed foods, but my drive to stay in the program was gone. I could use that $300+ for so many other things.

My weight loss counselor called to check in on me. I ignored the call and deleted the message. I convinced myself that I could do it alone. Months later, I had gained the weight back (and then some).

This all happened about a year ago. Now its January… 15 days into 2009 and I’ve lost eight pounds on my own since New Years. The funny thing is that a small part of me thought that my friends might become my new support group. Of course that never happened because they’re all model types who didn’t want to offend me by bringing up my weight. I guess when it comes to weight loss, they’d never understand me like the old ladies at the WMP.

A Big Girl Rant: December!

December has always been a difficult month for me. Not because of all the holiday goodies I have to avoid, but because its the end of another year… where I haven’t met my weight loss goals.

Every December I map out a master plan to trim down significantly in six months, just in time for my June birthday, and every June, I am disappointed with my progress– So what gives?
What’s worse is to reflect on the 10-20 pounds I have lost and regained all year. If I added up all the times I’ve lost the same TEN pounds this year, only to gain them back– I’ve probably lost at least 30 pounds!
So I guess the question is, what am I going to do to make this December-June time frame different? How am I going to ensure that I have a trimmer, slimmer birthday? I mean… if I loose 2-5 pounds a week for the next 6 months I could be 50-100 pounds lighter!
I’ve taken a huge step by leaving my high-end expensive gym that often closes before I can get there, and joining a basic, no-frills, 24 hour gym that is walking distance from my house (this goes against my “princess” tendencies, so its kind of a big deal).
I’m really hoping that this time I can get things done, dropping the weight in a healthy and timely manner.
Of course I will keep you updated every step of the way….
Merry Christmas!

Dating on a Diet: Is he worth the calories?

Autumn in New York makes me want to be in love….

So, when I checked my online dating account and saw that I had a message from a guy named Steve, it was perfect timing. I could tell Steve was creative from his online profile which said he was into things like punk rock, doo wop and that he collected vinyl records. He had one photo, which was an angular close-up of his face, showing his big brown puppy dog eyes through black framed glasses.

After a few emails back and forth, Steve and I began talking on the phone. He was from London originally and I loved listening to his accent. We chatted easily, and soon he asked me if I wanted to have dinner with him. It was Autumn in New York and I wanted to be in love, so of course– I accepted.

When we hung up the phone, I remembered the diet I was on! I was weeks into the Weight Management Program and was dropping 5+ pounds per week. I didn’t want to ruin my progress, but I also didn’t want to ruin my chances with Steve… I was stuck.

As part of the WMP, I receive weekly calls from Natalie, my nutritionist, on Fridays. She calls to check in on my progress since our Tuesday meeting and also to provide encouragement for the weekend ahead. My date with Steve was Friday Night and when she asked me if I had any upcoming hurdles I told her about it.

“Do you feel comfortable explaining your diet to him?” Natalie asked.

“No.”

“Maybe you could do something other than dinner…” she suggested.

“Maybe, but I don’t know him that well, dinner is safe and I don’t want to change our plans at the last minute”

“Okay, I understand. Well– go on your date, have fun… but eat your prescribed foods before you go. Double up on shakes and entrees, and that way you’ll be full and it will be easier to order something small.”

I agreed to follow Natalie’s advice, she wished me luck and we hung up.

I rushed home after work and started getting dressed. I decided on a denim skirt and a pink turtle neck sweater. I zipped up my slouchy soft leather boots, pulled my bangs back with a green scarf and I was ready.

I took the train downtown and called him. As we spoke on the phone trying to locate each other by describing what we had on, I realized I didn’t really know what Steve looked like. From his photo I knew he had brown eyes and black framed glasses and because I asked, I knew he was 6’1 but that was it! I scanned the crowd and my eyes fell on a man wearing black framed glasses talking on the phone– He was about 5’11, portly, with badly slouching shoulders and as he scanned the crowed it seemed that he had a lazy eye. That couldn’t be Steve… could it? I slowed my pace and continued talking to him hoping that the person I was looking at was on the phone with someone else and not me… but sure enough his mouth was forming the words I was hearing.

I walked over to him, we said our hello’s and he ushered me into a trendy restaurant. We sat down and I focused intently on the menu so I could gather my thoughts. My mind was racing! I felt so foolish! I wasn’t sure if I should blame him for his “optical illusion” profile photo or blame myself for leaving so much to my own imagination. I needed to get over it, and as I composed myself I could feel his eyes on me.

“You– You’re much prettier in person,” He said.

I looked up from my menu into his asymmetrical eyes, he smiled, and our dinner began. After a few drinks I pushed past my physical disappointments with him. It was then that I realized I had another hurdle… he was was really awkward! Not just awkward, but borderline weird. It made me anxious and my whole diet went out the window. I had cocktails, I had a full dinner and when he insisted that I order dessert, I caved! (but I only ate half of it).

Dinner was winding down and he began complimenting me again on how attractive I was.

“What made you put that green scarf in your hair?” he asked. “it looks great!”

“Um– I dunno…” I stammered.

“Its very retro, I like that… I noticed your boots on the way in,” he continued “can I see them?”

He leaned over the side of the table and before I knew it I was sliding my leg out.

“Lovely…” he murmured. “… and your bag?” he said glancing at the leather xoxo tote I had in my lap.

“Very nice,” he said nodding “very nice.”

I didn’t know what was happening, but I knew I had to leave. He paid the bill and I stood up abruptly, I couldn’t make my way out of the restaurant and onto the train fast enough. I woke up early Saturday morning and forced myself to do a double work out. After 45 minutes on the treadmill, and 15 minutes on the stair climber, I jumped in the pool for 30 minutes of laps.

Steve– what a waste of calories!

The Craziest Diet I’ve Ever Tried (part two)

I stepped onto the digital scale and watched the digits roll around a bit until they settled on a number, I winced a little and looked away.

I had taken off my cowboy style belt because it was heavy and would have added to my weight, but now that small amount I had shaved off seemed pointless. The nurse gave me a big smile and scribbled the number down.

“This is the beginning!” she said.

And she was right, it was. I had signed up and paid for this medically supervised Weight Management Program (WMP) and there was no where to go but up… or down rather, in weight. After being weighed and a conversation with the doctor who ran the program, I got in line to purchase my food. For the next 10 dress sizes, I was going to be eating:

  • Shakes (made with powder, water and ice.)
  • Snack Bars (in one of three flavors)
  • Tiny Entrees (the size of two iPhones put together)

But I could eat as much of the above foods as I wanted… *sigh*. According to the informational meeting I attended, these meals, combined with weekly weigh-ins and meetings were going to bring my weight down tremendously, without surgery. I looked around at the other participants, they were chatting and munching on Snack Bars– complimenting each other on inches lost, and slimming faces. The program had a rolling admission, so I was the new girl.

After purchasing food for the week, we were ushered into one of the hospital’s conference rooms for our meeting. I walked in and took a seat at the huge table. I started reading the back of my shake container and when I glanced up, I noticed that everyone was writing their name and weight on the whiteboard. Hopefully this part of the program was optional, because my actual weight was something I did not want to share with strangers. I mean, the number was something I didn’t care to see for a brief moment on the scale– why would I want to stare at it in red dry erase marker for 90 minutes?

Natalie, the counselor for the WMP, entered carrying a blender, a bottle of water, a box of shakes and a bowl of ice… and so the meeting began. She made us a chocolate shake and added little pieces of the prescribed peanut butter snack bar to the blender before whipping it into a smooth drink. She passed out samples for us to try and called it a “Reese’s shake”. She explained that if we are creative with our limited food selection we wont get bored.

“You can eat as much as you want– as long as your eating the prescribed foods!” she reminded us. Then she asked everyone to go around the table and state their name and weight loss for the week. As people shared their progress, she would give encouragement and kudos where needed.

Then she got to me…

“Hi, I’m Celeste”

There was a chorus of “Hi’s” “hello’s” and “welcomes” and surprisingly Natalie didn’t ask me about my weight. Maybe she saw the fear in my eyes or maybe she forgot– either way I was grateful.

The following week I followed the program 100%. I avoided social gatherings where dinner and/or drinks were involved. I drank shakes, eat small entrees and nibbled on snack bars. And when I wasn’t doing that, I was at the gym.

Seven days later, I was in the doctors office for my second WMP meeting. The nurse ushered me into the room to be weighed.

I slipped off my belt buckle stepped onto the scale and watched the digits roll around a bit. I couldn’t believe my eyes– I lost EIGHT POUNDS!

Big Girl Needs a JOB!

There was still snow on the ground when I looked at my most recent paycheck and decided that I needed a new job.

I put my resume up on a career website and within days my phone rang:
“Hi, Celeste this is Gina, from ABC Staffing, Inc., I saw your resume online it and looks great! You have a lot of good experience and with your university education, I think you are a perfect fit for a few positions we’re looking to fill. I would love to meet you, when can you come in and interview?”
I had just read an article on how in today’s economy, agencies are a good way to find work. I told Gina that I was available the next week, and after we said our goodbye’s, I quickly logged onto the ABC staffing website and saw a list of the positions that were available. It was a lot of receptionist/assistant type work on Wall Street and the jobs paid more than what I was making! (This was perfect for me as I wasn’t looking for a career as much as a way to pay my bills while I continued to pursue my artistic dreams).
I was so excited! I began imagining myself in the role of posh receptionist on Wall Street taking messages for my millionaire boss… I would wear cap-sleeved blouses and high waist skirts that hit just above the knee, with kitten heels, I could leave a simple black cardigan draped over my chair in case it got cold in the office… maybe I’d wear glasses… I’d be so cute!!!
On the day of my interview, I clicked down Madison Avenue feeling great; my curls and pearls were on point, my professional black dress was pressed and my crisp white resume was tucked safely in my bag.
I made my way into the reception area of ABC Staffing, and was greeted by indifferent glances from other candidates. They too were in their cutest outfits (pencil skirts, white button downs, etc.) It was then that I began to worry. Although I was dressed as well (if not better than) the other girls, I was… well… bigger than all of them. As I took a seat, my mind began to race:
  • When Gina heard my California accent over the phone, what did she imagine me to look like?
  • Do millionaire bosses only want receptionists that double as eye-candy?
  • I’m cute, but am I cute enough to be a posh receptionist??
The interview went well, Gina asked me lots of questions, and then asked me to go downstairs and take some computer tests.
“When you are finished with your tests, we can go over the positions I have available and see which ones you like” she said.
I took the tests (scoring 90%+ across the board) and came back up to her office ready to choose my next job. I got back upstairs and her receptionist handed me a note that read:
Hi Celeste,
In a meeting now, I’ll call you later today.

She didn’t call.
But she did email me two days later letting me know that all of the positions had been filled and she would let me know when something came up that was a “fit” for me.
I went back to the ABC Staffing website. All but one of the positions WERE STILL OPEN since my interview.
I made appointments with two other staffing agencies. The script began to play out like clockwork.
They love my resume… we have a great mini phone interview… I go into the office… they meet/see me… ask me to keep in touch… I do… they don’t return calls/emails… I never hear from them again.
So, when Spring flowers began to bloom and my paycheck became more depressing, my friend Roxy (who makes an excellent living by temping as she pursues her artistic dreams) suggested that I try the staffing agency she used. I looked at Roxy’s bangin’ body and then my own and hesitated… but I was desperate, so I made one last agency appointment.
Early Monday morning I sat with Dee, the agent Roxy recommended. She was nice and gave me some advice on my resume. We talked for a bit and then she asked if I had any questions for her, I held my tongue from asking “Am I too fat for this agency?” instead I said “no” and thanked her for her time.
The next day, my phone rang– it was DEE!!!!
“I have a position you may be interested in…”
My heart leaped!
Two weeks and three interviews later, I was hired as a receptionist for a Fortune 500 company on Wall Street.
And although it shouldn’t matter, I’m proud to say that I am cute enough to be a posh receptionist!

The Craziest Diet I’ve Ever Tried (Part One)

It was a rainy Spring day as I sat in Dr. L’s office. Dr. L was an endocrinologist at the largest Upper East Side medical facility in New York.

After she went over my results, she glanced down at my feet. “Cute boots,” she said.

“Thanks,” I murmured.

They were bright orange rubber rain boots with cute little white flowers. A drag queen had given them to me the year before. Usually I would jump right into the random “only in New York” story behind the shoes, but I couldn’t. I was too busy trying to maintain composure despite the lump in my throat. This was a new doctor, but these weren’t new results….

She had run so many tests, drawn so much blood, and there was still no explanation. I am 100% healthy, no diabetes, no high blood pressure, no nothing. Everything about my body is perfect… except that I am overweight.

She went into the age old suggestions: Exercise… Portion Control… Fruits and Veggies…”

I sat there nodding mechanically. Tears began stinging my eyes. I felt an eruption of emotion and I’m not sure if I was speaking to myself or her but I heard myself saying “I do those things, and… it’s not working!”

I couldn’t make eye contact, I found myself fixated on my boots. Last week Dr. L saw me wearing nothing but a blue paper jacket, but in the statement I just made, I felt truly naked.

Dr. L took a pause and looked at me, her eyes softening. She sat down on the edge of her desk, “Well,” she began “we need to explore other options.”

Then Dr. L mentioned something that had never crossed my mind, “weight loss surgery”.

My mind began to race… Wasn’t weight loss surgery for people on the Discovery channel who were confined to their beds for years at a time?? I was a young, fashionable, active girl who still took dance classes weekly (and rocked it), I easily trot up the stairs when exiting the subway and I walk just as briskly as the next New Yorker… do I really need surgery to reach my goals?

“Absolutely not.” I replied, “No.”

Dr. L smiled “Good, that’s what I wanted to hear. I really think you can do this, now– we have a program that I think may work for you. Its been very successful…”

She wouldn’t tell me much about the program, just that it would drastically change my eating habits and calorie intake. She signed me up for an informational meeting the next week.

Though it was still raining, I left her office in a sunny mood. I tucked my jeans into my rain boots and walked through Central Park on my way home. Might as well get a head start on (yet another) weight loss journey.

I’m in the Fat Girl Closet

The other day, I witnessed someone ask an effeminate acquaintance of mine if he had a “boyfriend”. While this man triggers my gaydar each time I see him, I know that he lives his life as if he is straight. The look on his face was a mix of emotions. It was as if for a moment, he was startled into the reality he constantly works to ignore. The odd thing was that I understood.

I understood because, I am in the Fat Girl Closet.

It is a rare occasion that I acknowledge the fact that I am larger than most of the people I know. I don’t talk about my weight, instead, I ignore it. I’ve convinced myself that if I pretend its not there, people wont notice it.

But every once in a while I will get startled into the reality that even if I say nothing about it, the size of my body speaks for its self.

Its not that I’m ashamed. I know that I am attractive, I just don’t want to be defined by my weight.

Like a few weeks ago, I decided to go swimming at my gym. I had recently purchased a black vintage inspired halter-top bathing suit and as I slipped on my pink sequined flip flops and walked to grab a towel a woman stopped me and said, “You have confidence!” I wasn’t sure what to say, so I just smiled. She took this as a cue to continue, “I love seeing a woman of your size who isn’t embarrassed!”

Though I was in a Manhattan gym locker-room with women who were a size 10 or smaller, it wasn’t until she made her comments that I became self conscious.

She had outed me as Fat.

I even keep the BBW scene a secret from my skinny friends. Although they’ve all been out with me at mainstream clubs and see that I don’t get much “action” I don’t want to admit that I have to go to a special club to meet guys. (I don’t think I have to make the comparison between me secretly going to BBW parties and person secretly going to gay bars… I’m in the Fat Girl Closet!)

Until I started writing this blog, my weight was something that was reserved for quiet conversations with my Mother and sisters. While I love sharing my experiences here, I often wonder if I do it because its more or less anonymous.

Dana is my only friend who knows about thebiggirlblog, I don’t share it with my skinny friends (who all know that I write and pester me about blogging often). Sometimes I want to tell them, but having them read my experiences would pull the curtain down from the facade I’ve been maintaining that my weight has no effect on my life.

My weight does not define me.

…Okay, maybe it does.

Perhaps the person I really don’t want to know how much being an overweight person in New York City defines me is… me.

“Skinny Bitches”

I walked into the gym the other day and was surprised to find a camera man filming on the cardio floor.
I found an elliptical machine behind him, so I wouldn’t be filmed during my session. As I began pedaling in place, a woman in a suit walked up to me with an index card in her hand.
“Hi, my name is Stacy. I’m with CBS news”
“Um… hi”
“We’re doing a story based on a recent study that was released saying that some women are less likely to work out as hard when they are working out next to ‘skinny bitches’. You know, those model types that don’t need to be here,” she said. “So could I ask you a few questions on camera?”
“I dont really fit that profile,” I replied.
“Oh,” she said.
There was a slight pause, “Does working out next to skinny people make you work out harder?” she asked with a big smile.
“No, I just don’t think about anyone else while I’m working out.”
“Oh… okay… well… that’s okay too. Thanks!” She replied and walked away.