Thursday, September 29, 2011


School cafeteria food..

I ate a hot dog at lunch. I actually halved it and laid one half (OKKKKK, the littler one) on a piece of paper about a foot from my plate.

It obviously wasn't far away enough! I should have gotten up and thrown it in the trash! It was so easy for me to reach over and cram the other half in my mouth. Which I did.

I actually justified eating the other half by telling myself that, frequently, I eat TWO hot dogs - so it was still half! Talk about rationalizing.

Becoming a conscious eater also has to mean that I need to quit falling for my own lies.

I also ate some ranch style beans.

But, I didn't eat cheese or chili or chips.

And, the reason I ate in the cafeteria is because I'm about to have a girls' group where we are having THREE pizzas delivered! I figure the hot dog and the beans were better than the amount of pizza I would have stuffed in my face.


Today's Nuts and Bolts (besides me)

My mom went into AA when I was 15. Alateen, a group for children of alcoholics, saved my life and the Twelve Steps and the Serenity Prayer became lifelong tools that I try to use.

God, grant me the Serenity to Accept the things I cannot Change,
The Courage to Change the things I can,
And the Wisdom to Know the Difference.

What I CANNOT Change today:
* my high calcium blood test result
* whatever the results of the other blood tests are going to be

What I CAN Change:
* what I focus (obsess) on
* what I do today
* what I put in my mouth
* what I put in my head

I need to keep this in mind and focus on what I can change.

I'm wearing my Serenity Prayer bracelet on my right (non-dominant) wrist today to help me remember. It bothers me on my non-dominant wrist which, in turn, serves as a constant reminder.

And I really need to find my silliness. It's hidden underneath my anxiety. But I need to get it out and wear it. I'm sick of this other shit.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I'm In My Dark Forest And Not Having A Fun Time

I am normally happy. I normally see the glass as "half full" rather than "half empty". I am normally satisfied with life. I normally see much more of the good in people, in situations, in life in general, than I see the bad.

But I can go into a dark, dark forest that is very scary. And I'm not a grown-up walking around in the forest. I'm a young child. Probably between eight and fifteen years old. Those were the bad years of my life.

Some things that DON'T put me in a dark forest:
* lack of money
* $602 worth of speeding tickets
* home repairs
* work problems
* friend problems

What DOES put me in a dark forest:
* worry about loss of my children
* worry about health issues

I'm a therapist. I know that the real name of the dark forest is anxious depression. Maybe, situational anxious depression.

I used to think I never experienced depression because my depression is not like most people that I know. I don't feel sad. I don't think "what's the use?", "why am I here?", "what's the purpose of it all?", "why are things always so hard?".


Yesterday, I had my annual physical and blood work. This morning, my doctor's nurse called and said that Dr. Church wanted to see me today about my lab work. She had already made me an appointment for 4:30 this afternoon.

I forgot to tell you, I don't do anxious depression quietly. My doctor and his nurse know that ANYTHING WRONG is going to send me into an emotional tailspin. As Dr. Church told me today, "I knew that one of us would go nuts if I didn't work you in today to go over this."

All my blood work was good except for my calcium. The high end of the calcium scale is 10.2. Mine is 10.4. But, you obviously don't screw around with high calcium because it affects many parts of your body.

It's weird because my calcium has always been normal until last May when everything got out of whack because I was taking 1600 mg of Ibuprofen a day for arthritis in my knee. My calcium was 10.4 then, too. I had to do all these scary-to-me tests and go off Ibuprofen and half my daily dose of HCTZ, a blood pressure medicine. My calcium level dropped to 9.6. Now, it's back up to 10.4.

So, today, I had blood work to check the hormone level of my parathyroid, four little glands that surround your thyroid gland. Apparently, you can have a benign growth on your parathyroid that causes increased calcium.

It will be a week and a half before I know the results of today's test. I can choose to spend the week and a half in the dark forest or to somehow figure out how to climb out.

I really hate the forest. It's not good for my stomach, my blood pressure, or my mood.

I googled. I know that's bad because, when you have a health issue, you can find all sorts of scary stuff on the Internet. But Google and Dr. Church seem to be pretty much on the same page:
* high calcium is usually caused by the parathyroid
* there are cancers that can cause high calcium like metastasized breast or lung cancer, multiple myleoma, or leukemia but those seem to be more rare. And, besides, they actually checked me for those things last May when all my blood work went out of whack because of the Ibuprofen. They were "ruling everything out".

I just hate this. Sometimes I wonder if I keep experiencing this because I haven't learned the lessons. The lessons I think I need to learn are to just stay calm, not catastrophize everything, have faith in good happening in my life. I think "normal" people (meaning the majority of the masses) take a blood level being off as a glitch. I take it as a calamity.

I become a child.
I become whiny.
I become needy.
I become terror-stricken.

GLITCH. GLITCH. SPEED BUMP. NORMAL. LIFE. (I can't find any more words in the thesaurus that fit.)

Blah, blah, blah. Sorry to lay this on you. But, you know - transparent, no boundaries.

Love you,
Calamity Jenn

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Blame It On That Guy

Nine years ago, my husband left me for a skinny woman. Now, I don't think he would ever say that he left me because I was fat. I think his perception was that he was in love with this other woman and not in love with me. But, somewhere... no matter what anyone says... I know that fat weighed into it. (I said it that way on purpose.) It had to be, at least, one more thing that helped him make his decision.

You'd think that might have motivated me to lose some weight, right? Nah....

Instead, I did this weird psychological turn-around and actually started telling people that I thought I had made myself get fat in order to stay safe in my marriage because I was afraid that I would have an affair if men found me attractive.

It's funny how screwed up our minds can get. I wanted to be the "leaver" rather than the "leavee". So I was essentially going around mouthing off that I got fat because I was unhappy with Charlie and that, if I had been skinny, I would have left him. So marriage to him made me fat.

That is such bullshit. In hindsight, I can't believe I tried to blame my weight on another person.

I could try to blame it on my grandmother (who was fat), on my dad (who died), on my mom (who was an alcoholic), on Charlie (who left me), on Tyler (who I gave birth to), or on my friends (who like to socially eat like I do).

I probably have blamed it on all of them at one time or another.

I need to recognize that I am THE ONLY ONE in control of my weight. It's a series of tiny subconscious choices I make all throughout the day.

Not just one, but hundreds.

Should I put this in my mouth? Should I illegally park in the close handicapped parking spot? Should I walk up the stairs to the bathroom or just hold it? (Really, I do that.) Should I sit here and watch tv or should I do the dishes? Should I go out to eat? Should I drink wine? Should I drink water? Should I drive or walk? Should I get Nina to go get it for me or should I get it myself? Should I eat THE WHOLE THING?

I think one of the keys for me to change me is to be aware and emotionally present for all those little decisions that I so inadvertently make throughout the day. It doesn't mean I have to be perfect. Many times, I am going to choose to sit and watch the tv, drink a glass of wine instead of water, eat more than I should. But.... if I can just GET CONSCIOUS!

I need to stop living in Jennyland and move to the real world.

Me in Jennyland. ;-)

Before Pictures - I Think I Have To Do This

I try not to think that I look this way.
I only like pictures that are -- "just right" -- head held in a way that doesn't bring the eye to the double chins, face shots (definitely showing nothing further than the boobs!), no upper arms, and DEFINITELY NEVER PICTURES WHERE MY TUMMY SHOWS!........... But, I have to face that this is what I look like. Right now.

I'll be damned if I'm gonna look this way next year.

And this one is especially good because, in addition to being fat, it looks like I'm picking my nose.


Monday, September 26, 2011

The First Six (out of probably 100) Embarrassing Reasons I Want to Lose Weight

This really and truly is embarrassing but I think I need to get it out there. It's connected with shame and self-hate, and I know those feelings are not emotionally healthy and don't bode well for weight loss.

1. Normal weight people don't know how uncomfortable it is to work in a sedentary job and not be able to comfortably cross your legs. I unconsciously look for table legs or other people's chairs to "hook" my foot around or prop my leg against so I can have my legs crossed. If there is nothing to hook to or prop against, I sometimes cross my legs and then, with my hand, hold my crossed leg by the hem of my pants or the strap of my shoe. In Jennyland, no one notices that. But, I think people probably do in the real world.

2. I've fallen more frequently as I've gotten older. Stairs are scary. I think part of this is because I literally can't see my feet as I walk down stairs. And, when I do fall, it's like a ship going down. Last Halloween, I fell while the big pockets of my Halloween costume were full of candy to hand out to children at the carnival. I looked like a parade float with a broken axle. Candy flying everywhere! I was surrounded by people in a church parking lot and the ambulance had to be called because I knew I had broken bones. I sat on the asphalt waiting for the ambulance feeling such embarrassment and shame, and wondering how they were ever going to get me up.

God bless the EMT that helped me get on the stretcher. I told him that I didn't think he could pick me up and he whispered to me that his girlfriend was bigger than me and he picked her up "all the time". Yeah, right. But what a sweetheart.

(At the Halloween Carnival before the fall.)

Part of what was soooo mortifying about waiting to be picked up off the parking lot was my memory of Carol Jean from the summer before. I've written about Carol Jean - my super-sized friend with a heart to match. The summer that she was dying of cancer, I spent a month in Lubbock "helping" her. Really, I was just soaking up as much of her wisdom, kindness, and hilarity as possible. Carol Jean was totally bedridden. Cancer had spread throughout her body and, with chemo AND weight problems, she could only stand next to her bed to use the porta-potty. And even that was an absolute ordeal for her. One morning, as I watched her sit herself on the porta-potty, she stepped in such a way that twisted her ankle. She was stuck on the toilet. I tried to help her get back in bed to no avail. I suggested we call the hospice people but she was worried because her hospice nurse was "little". I suggested we call our friend, Doug, but she thought he would probably still be asleep.

Carol Jean sat on that toilet for HOURS while I paced around and wrung my hands. She finally told me to call the fire department that was a few blocks from her home.

EIGHT firemen came over. All traipsing through her living room. Four of them lifted Carol Jean off the toilet while one moved the porta-potty and three stood there gawking. Even the fact that she was dying did not lessen the shame that Carol Jean felt. We talked and cried about it for hours.

People get upset when they "gain a few pounds". But most people don't have an inkling to the emotional torture that weight can cause.

3. The idea of losing my ability to move and therefore, my personal freedom, is incredibly scary. I went fifty-six years without any joint pain. Pretty amazing given the fact that I was overweight twenty-four of those years. But eighteen months ago, my knee started hurting. Arthritis. Then, last Halloween's fall broke my elbow and bruised the knee cap of the other knee. And then, my broken shoulder from a fall out of a tree in the 5th grade started bothering me. Last fall and winter, ALL FOUR LIMBS HURT, ALL THE TIME. Talk about frightening! I'm better now but never want to go through that again.

4. I want a bath. I LOVE bubble baths. I LOVE to read in the bathtub. I LOVE to lounge in hot water and imagine myself in an exotic location. Now, I am scared to take a bath because I'm afraid I won't be able to get out.

It's like I've let weight slam a door in my face.

I haven't had a bath since my broken elbow. Don't worry - I have had a few showers.

5. And along with bathing, I want to be able to sit on the floor. Well, I can sit on the floor, but it takes heavy furniture, other people, and acts of God to get me up.

I am a therapist who specializes in working with children. I have dogs that I want to lay with on the floor. I have things stuck under my bed. I need to be able to get up and down off the floor!!!

6. It really is like Skinny Jenny is stuck in this big shell. My mind and my heart want to do so many things that my body just can't do at this weight. Skinny Jenny wants to ride rides at the fair, Skinny Jenny wants to walk with the homecoming parade, Skinny Jenny wants to skip, Skinny Jenny wants to go off the diving board, Skinny Jenny wants to go on a rafting trip, Skinny Jenny wants to learn to scuba dive, Skinny Jenny wants to buy clothes on the skinny side of Fashion Bug rather than the plus side. I WANT OUT OF THIS SHELL THAT I'VE PLACED MYSELF IN!!


But, guess what? I walked around the middle school track one time during lunch today. I know it was only one time. Five minutes. But, it's a start.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Today's Nuts and Bolts (besides me)

I'm sitting here hungry. I can feel my stomach growling. I've got the Sunday night blahs and I hope I'm not setting myself up.

This week:
* Work (which I'm feeling somewhat ambivalent about)
* Annual physical (which I am dreading right now and know that the dread will turn to anxiety and possibly puredee terror by the Tuesday appointment)
* Fear of the unknown (which always accompanies a doctor's appointment for me)
* Missing Nina
* Lots of chores planned

I need to focus on what I'm looking forward to:
* Friday, we get off work early for the homecoming parade (always a big deal in this small town and I LOVE it because it's such a social occasion - for reals!)
* The homecoming game on Friday night (again, I love it because I get to visit with lots of friends and people watch - my favorite activity)
* Three-day weekend
* My usual Thursday night escapades at DeColores
* And the tiny things like the premiere of Desperate Housewives that starts in thirty minutes and the new show that starts tonight, Pan Am (I'm easy to please)

I also need to get up and eat.

I KNOW what I need to do. Now, please give me the determination to do it.

Love. As always.

Thanks, Dianne!

My friend, Dianne, did me a great service by making me envious. She had the courage to have surgery two weeks ago that will help her lose weight.

The good Jenny was sooooo happy for her! Di is going to lose pounds and weight will not such a problem anymore.

The bad Jenny was green-eyed jealous and resentful.

And it really was half of one, six dozen of another (as my mom used to mistakenly say).

I'm too chicken to have surgery by choice. But Dianne's courage made me not want to be left behind. If I can continue to be conscious of my eating and not escape into Jennyland fat oblivion, next time Di visits from Boston, we will both be healthier, more flexible, and not take up so much physical space.

Thank you, Dianne. I know that it's tough to have surgery and it can be frustrating during the recovery period. But remember, you've not only helped yourself - you've also helped me.

The angel on my shoulder won out.

And we won't have to try to hide our chins anymore.

I love you, Di.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

A Little Bit Mad At Me

One thing I have to learn is how to make mistakes and not punish myself by giving up and giving in. Maybe I should try flogging.

Today, Barb and I went too long between meals. After breakfast, we walked around and shopped, then came back to our cabin and I snacked on pretzels. Now, unless you are on over-eater, you don't know what I mean by "snacked on pretzels". I mean half the bag.

Around 4:30, we went walking/shopping again while we waited to hear from Damon about dinner plans. We ended up starving, in a bar, where I DRANK THREE BEERS! Finally, we had dinner and I didn't too horrible. A grilled chicken breast with cheese and half a bun.

But those three beers!

I just have to let it go. It's over. It's not the end of the world. It doesn't have to be the end of me trying to make changes.



Please send positive thoughts.....
Love you,

Today's Nuts and Bolts (besides me)

Is this working?
I've blogged daily as a way to focus on the changes I want to make in my life, health, and weight. And I have to say - I have not eaten obliviously this week!


I haven't dieted and I haven't exercised but I have been more conscious of what I was putting in my mouth and how I move.

Plus, I've had some AHA! moments where I've seen into my psyche and thought, "That's why I'm the way I am!"

I told Barb that I didn't care if people read my blog. She said that was bullshit, if I didn't care, I wouldn't put it on Facebook. Maybe she's right. But I DO know that other people reading it is not important. It's important for me to write it. I also know that it is helping for me to be transparent and accountable to others.

I've finally found a use for my complete lack of boundaries.


The Evolution of Lipstick

For Becky Steritz ---

Meh, I'm tired to talking about fat. My tummy is full of HALF a bean burrito and a glass of wine. Becky told me I should write about my relationship with lipstick so that's what I'm going to do.

And, yes. I have a RELATIONSHIP with lipstick. Beggars can't be choosers.

No, really. I know lipstick is not "in style" anymore but I've worn it since I was a teenager and I CAN'T STOP! My mother was a lipstick wearer. Bright red. She wore it all the time like me.

In fact, funny but true story..... My mom died in 1991 when I was 37 years old. I was at the funeral home for the "visitation" the night before her memorial service. I was surrounded by elderly Southern Baptist "widow" women. I looked at my mom in her casket, noticed her bright PINK lips, and unknowingly said, "We have to change her lipstick. My mother wouldn't be caught dead in pink lipstick."

You know how you sometimes say things unknowingly? Like something comes out of your mouth and you go, "What the hell?" Do other people do that or is that just a Jennything? Those elderly Southern Baptist women looked at me with dropped jaws. But... I knew what I meant.

Until I was a teenager, my mom smeared Vaseline or Mentholatum on my lips every night. Really.

During my Junior and Senior years of high school, I worked in the afternoons at a pediatric dentist's office. One of my jobs was to "paint" children's teeth with a red dye "plaque disclosing" solution so they could see where they weren't brushing sufficiently.

I discovered that the plaque disclosing solution was a wonderful lipstick, making my lips a dark, luscious, Sangria red that was popular then. And it would stay on forever! I nearly had to brush my lips with toothpaste to get it off!

After graduating from high school and losing my source of plaque disclosing solution, I discovered green lipstick. It was called Mood Matcher and, though green, once it touched your lips it turned some shade of red - dependent on your mood. Basically, if you made your lips into the shape of an 'o', you had a living mood ring.

This lipstick was problematic if you were moody...or hormonal..or pre-menstrual..or mad. Some days, I'd get all dolled up, looking my professional best for a court appearance in my job as a Children's Protective Services caseworker. I'd look classy from the toes up to my bright neon glow-in-the-dark PINK lipstick. It was somewhat like playing with Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head and putting her big 'ole feminine lips on his masculine face. Remember?

For about ten years, I've been stuck on one brand and color of lipstick. Loreal Spiced Cider ($7.99) if you ever want to buy me a tube. I put it on countless times a day. I can't stand it if I can't feel it. Friends tease me, men won't kiss me, I mess up everyone's cups and glasses - but it's me. It's a Jenn-thing. And I don't think I would be 'me' without it.

And it just dawned on me that it's ANOTHER ADDICTION!!!!!


Friday, September 23, 2011

Coming Clean - Last Part, or HOW I HAD A SEVENTY-FIVE POUND BABY!

Tyler weighed 75 pounds at birth. Talk about a tub of lard.....

That's just the fantasy that I've carried around for TWENTY-FIVE years because, if that were true, I WOULD HAVE LOST ALL THIS WEIGHT! IN ONE FELL SWOOP! ((Did you know those two words have been around for over 400 years and were used by Shakespeare in Macbeth? I googled.)

Unfortunately, Tyler really only weighed 8.5 pounds. And get this: After 18 hours of labor, I had to be quickly put to sleep and Tyler had to be CUT OUT OF ME because MY PELVIS IS TOO LITTLE!!!!!

The ONE part of me that is little is inside me, hidden from view, and very infrequently used!

So.... that brings me up to now.
I know that was twenty-five years ago, but weight-wise, there hasn't been much change since I had my 75 pound baby boy. 'Course I've spent a lot of time with Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, TOPS, Nutrisystem, Fen-Phen, Topomax, Slimfast, Curves (not!), and even Optifast (no food for three months - just Optifast shakes). But essentially I'm the same weight. My body has gotten comfortable at 240 pounds. Sometimes it handles a bit more, sometimes a bit less but, it obviously doesn't like changes!

Come on, Body. The Brain is tired of this! The Soul is tired of this! Inside this beefy body is Skinny Jenny. SHE WANTS OUT!

Skinny Jenny is stuck in here and she wants out!!

Me, right at this second. I had to take a better one after the one with my mouth open.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Coming Clean - Part 2 (My Big Secret From Charlie And How It Affected My Weight)

The first thing you've got to know about Charlie is that he has a PhD in Mathematics. He's smart! But I was able to pull one over on him for a LONG time!

I used to be a cigarette smoker. I's socially unacceptable, it's bad for you, it's nasty and gross, blah, blah, blah. But, I LOVED IT! I started smoking when I was a senior in high school. Kinda late, huh? I was actually the LAST person in my high school to start smoking AND to lose my virginity (but that's another story).

Sam Schaal taught me how to smoke. Bad boy. He's a minister now.

Anyway, I was a smoker when I started dating Charlie at age 25. Like a pack a day smoker! This was in 1980 and we could smoke anywhere - the office, restaurants, college classes, hospital rooms, airplanes, ANYWHERE!

However, Charlie didn't smoke so I hid my smoking from him. Looking back on it, I'm not quite sure how I did it. Gum, perfume, white knuckles, lots of lies.....
He was in love, I guess.... and I come across much more scrupulous than I really am!

We dated for over a year before we got married and, luckily for smoking ME, Charlie spent the last six months of that time in Idaho. Our romance was phone-based. That makes it easy to be a secret smoker - as long as you quietly exhale.

I tried to quit smoking fifty million hundred gazillion times during that six months. But... you know the problem when you quit smoking for a couple of days? It makes you feel SO GOOD to have a cigarette! So I stopped and started, stopped and started, all the way up to my wedding day. The night before my wedding, I dreamed that my wedding ring was a little itsy bitsy tiny ashtray - surrounded by diamonds.

I made it to the second day of our honeymoon before I smoked behind Charlie's back. We were on our way to Idaho when our car broke down right outside of Santa Fe. We had to call a tow truck to tow us into the Dodge place. I STOLE a pack of cigarettes from a carton sitting on the tow truck's dashboard while the tow truck man and Charlie were hooking the car up to the truck.

Now, one thing you have to know about me that I am not a thief. The only other thing I ever remember stealing was my cousin Doak's toys when I was four. And my mom made me give them back. I have a HUGE guilt complex and feel guilty about things I didn't even do! It's a sign of puredee desperation that I stole a pack of cigarettes. I locked myself in the bathroom of the Dodge place for half an hour and smoked as many as I could. In later years (after I came clean to him about smoking), Charlie said he thought I had some sort of bowel problem on our honeymoon because we had to stop so often so I could go to the bathroom!

We were married and living in Idaho for probably six months before I finally told Charlie that I smoked. I finally HAD to get honest when he came home from work earlier than expected one day. I was sitting at the dining table, next to an open window, smoking a cigarette when I heard his car in the garage. I quickly stubbed the cigarette out as best I could and put the ashtray in the dining room buffet. Twenty minutes later, he noticed smoke coming out of the buffet drawer. My bad.

I've got to say that Charlie was one of the most tolerant people around. He accepted the fact that I smoked. It really wasn't a problem for him nearly as much as it was for me.

But, that period of time of having to hide my smoking played havoc with my weight. When you can't smoke, you eat!

So, the second time I joined Weight Watchers was in Idaho. I weighed 133. ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY THREE! Oh my God, I was just a little more than half the person I am now. I'd give my eye teeth (the real one and the one that's capped) to weigh that again!

I finally quit smoking two years later when we moved to Los Alamos. Even back in 1984, HARDLY ANYBODY smoked here in Los Alamos. I truly felt like a second class citizen, a pariah.

So, I quit smoking and became THE bitch from hell. Actually the constantly-eating-have-to-have-something-in-my-mouth-bitch-from-hell.

One addiction took the place of the other.

I literally did not know how to stop eating. As a smoker, you end your meal by lighting a cigarette (remember, then you could even do that in a restaurant). As a smoker who is not smoking, you don't know how to end your meal. So you just keep eating.

So, I ate myself up to 185 and then I got pregnant with Tyler...............

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Coming Clean - Part 1 (This is pretty boring but good for my soul.)

I think everyone who is overweight has their "weight gain story". Well, mine's not necessarily the truth. Well, most of it is but I leave out some important facts.

One of the treatment techniques used with alcohol and drug affected youth is for them to "come clean" to their parents. We actually have them make a time line poster showing the first time of their drug and alcohol use, how frequently, and how much. In the process, they come clean about all the lies they've told.

Once someone knows your whole truth, you don't have to lie so much or keep up the stories.

So, for all practical purposes, you are my parents.

I always blame my weight on quitting smoking and getting pregnant. Well, I gotta give that story up. I was fat first.

I grew up on chocolate pie, red beans, potato salad, chicken fried steak, and ketchup. Good Texas food. Most people in my extended family were either fighting weight or alcoholism. I called my grandma and grandpa "Hamburger and Hotdog" because Grandma was round and Pa was long and thin. Because Grandma and her sister Annie were ALWAYS on a diet, in addition to the chocolate pie, us grandkids grew up drinking Fresca and Tab when they first came out, using little tiny saccharin tablets to sweeten our iced tea, and counting Weight Watcher points with Aunt Annie back in the days when Weight Watchers made you peel your apples because the peel was too fattening.

(I'm the biggest of the family.)

I think I was "normal" then. Not too skinny, not too fat. But I know I LOVED food. All the emotionally healthy experiences in my childhood were surrounding food. Family reunions, weekends at Grandma's, wonderful times at Aunt Sissy's with my cousins Doak and Timi (and ham salad sandwiches and homemade chocolate milkshakes). My family used food to celebrate, to play, and to deal with crises. When my dad died, my Aunt Billie Jean walked with me to a little restaurant for a piece of pie while my mom was still talking to the Sheriff.

But I don't remember much about food in the lonely, scary times in my childhood. In the bad years of my mom's alcoholism, I remember rotten vegetables in the refrigerator, being forced to drink apple cider vinegar because mom swore it was apple juice, a group of coworkers coming over for a potluck that mom forgot she scheduled and us having no clean dishes to eat off of (we borrowed dishes from the neighbor rather than washing the ones we had), and eating a whole piece of bread before noticing on the last bite that there was blue mold all over it.

Hmmm, writing that, even I can see the pattern.
Security = food.
Scary times = no food.
Fun = food.
Loneliness = no food.

And I'm all for security and fun....

The first time I went on Weight Watchers was BEFORE I met Charlie (so I can't blame it on him - that's another story). I started Weight Watchers when I weighed 150 and had gotten down to 118 by the time of my wedding. But that didn't last long........

Stay tuned for Part 2, or My Big Secret From Charlie and How It Affected My Weight.

Today's Nuts and Bolts (besides me)


To those who love me. Well, actually this is directed to those who love me and eat with me.
This is what I need from you.

If we go out to eat and you're willing to half something with me, let's do it. I'm not good at being like Barb and eating half my meal and asking for the other half to be put in a take-home box. I just eat it when I get in the car.

But..... if we actually share a meal, and I see the other half go in your mouth, I'll probably be less likely to want it. And I promise I won't try to get it.

And if I eat dinner at your house, will you fill my plate? I have absolutely no sense of portion control. And don't let me have seconds. Once is enough. Actually, it would help if you fill my plate even if I invite you to dinner at my house.

I know I'm talking silly but I'm really being serious. It takes a village to raise a child? It takes a village for me to lose weight. I mean, I'm putting this out there. Me in all my fat and glory. This is stuff that I've tried to hide since 1985. I will be forever thankful to Facebook for bringing me out of the fat closet. I used to hide when I went to Lubbock so no one I knew would see me fat. I have memories of skulking in the aisles of Hastings to stay hidden from Alan Burke, someone I deeply loved and wanted to see. And I will actually never forgive myself for letting my fat keep me from seeing my friend, Don Stapleton, before he died. I was just too ashamed of myself to go see him - until it was too late.

So, I'm being my sincere self. It will help me if, when we go out to eat, you share a meal with me. If you want your own food, that's OK. But, if you're willing to share, let me know.

And please don't ever feel timid about reminding me of this blog. Remember, I go to an oblivious place (I think it's Jennyland) where I'm skinny and I can eat anything I want. I can even go to that oblivious place while crammed into a restaurant booth so tightly that my belly hurts.

And, if I eat at your house, think of me as a four-year-old who needs her plate made. This is one area where I want to remain immature.

Does anyone want to take me on as a project?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Are you a rock or a balloon?

In Jennyland, things are pretty simple. People fall into basically two categories - the rocks or the balloons.

If you're a rock, you're probably very grounded. You are dependable, strong, steadfast, and predictable. However, you tend to get stuck and might even sometimes be boring.

If you're a balloon, you're hard to pin down. You don't always do what you say, you may be physically/emotionally/mentally all over the place, you can be fragile and fickle. But.. you're fun and joyful.

We need each other. In fact, we would emotionally (and probably physically) die without each other.

Without some balloons in a rock's life, the rock would just get stuck in the ground, deeper and deeper, until it was lost to the earth. Without some rocks in a balloon's life, the balloon has no security, no center, and could just crazily fly away and burst in the sky. Now, of course, there are probably light rocks and heavy balloons and blah blah blah but remember, I said that in Jennyland, things are S.I.M.P.L.E.

I am a balloon. Definitely. There have been times in my life that I haven't really had many rocks around. Especially my childhood when my mom was drunk. I think I've come close to crazily flying away or bursting.

But God has always put rocks in my life. My rocks help me focus on what needs to be focused on. They are there when I need them. They stabilize me. They buttress me and make me feel safe.

My rocks also piss me off and sometimes rain on my parade. There's nothing that can drive a balloon crazier than a rock when you're not in the mood for a rock!

I usually have much more fun when I'm around other balloons but I'm likely to eat too much, drink too much, spend too much, drive too fast, or laugh until I pee! Things can escalate quickly when there is a bunch of balloons and nothing holding them down.

Some of my fellow balloons who bring me joy and make me laugh and skip (at least emotionally) are Doak and Barb and Tyler and Di and Amber and Bev and Pancha and Becky and Gay and Cindy and Kara and Rosie and Deon.

Some of my important living rocks are Donna and Nina and Charlie (even now, who'd a thunk it) and Shawnna and Josh and Elisa and Timi and Karen and Stan (no matter how long it's been since I've seen them).

When I type these lists, I'm aware of these facts and inconsistencies:
1. Lots of my rocks also feed me food. That's obviously comforting to me.
2. Shawnna is both a rock and a balloon.
3. So is Barb. Her spirituality and her cooking make her rock-like in my life.
4. So is Gay.
4. Rosie probably thinks that she's a rock in my life but she's really a balloon.

I could go on and on through all my facebook friends and divide people into rocks and baloons but right now, I'm BORING myself HORRIBLY so I can't imagine what I'm doing to you!

Suffice it to say, I'm so grateful for the rocks and balloons in my life.

And ask yourself, are you a rock or a balloon? And remember just because you see yourself as one or the other doesn't mean that other people see you the same way. Could I possibly be a rock in someone else's life?

Love you.

P.S. Can one skip emotionally? I think I do.

Feeling Like a Lithe Little Fairy Sprite

I'm still stuck on perspective.

I haven't known a whole lot of people bigger than me. Or maybe some people are bigger than me in real life, but not in my head. I always FEEL the biggest.

Except with my dear friend, Carol Jean. Carol Jean was larger than life in many ways. She was BIG. Maybe two of me. She was emotionally strong. She was bossy. She knew something about everything and had an opinion about it all. Carol Jean had the biggest laugh and the biggest personality of anyone I've ever known.

I loved it when Carol Jean would come visit me because I would get to BE SKINNY.
I would make my house as comfortable for her as possible - renting a queen sized bed and putting it in my family room so she wouldn't have to walk up and down the stairs, making sure I was well stocked on her favorite Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia ice cream. It was important for me to take good care of her because she was a "rock" in my life - someone who grounded and centered me. After my mom died and Charlie left, Carol Jean was one of my few rocks. (More about my rock and balloon theory tomorrow.)

When Charlie and I were married, we lived in a house with a hot tub on the deck off the master bedroom. I loved getting into the hot tub when Carol Jean visited. There was something about her being bigger than me that made me feel like I was built like a Barbie. In the evenings, I'd practically skip out to the hot tub, naked as a jaybird! I felt petite. I felt lithe. I felt athletic. I felt invincible. I felt sexy (remember, Charlie was there, too). When I think about it now, I'm just glad it was dark.

Carol Jean loved me even I compared myself to her in order to feel skinny. She loved me even when I danced around her naked. Carol Jean loved me when I really WAS slender and then, when I was fat. And I loved Carol Jean. Her body was the least important part of her that was big. The size of her heart, the magnitude of her presence, the intensity of her love, the loudness of her laugh are the big things about her that mattered.

I know that the people who love me "see" more than my big body - just like I saw more than Carol Jean's body. For that, I am grateful.

Monday, September 19, 2011


Funny thing about weight gain. The weights that used to be mortifying become your goal weights as you keep going up.

I remember the first time I went on Weight Watchers. I weighed 133 and thought I was HUGE. I remember when 150 was mortifying. I remember when 180 was mortifying. I remember when 200 was mortifying. All of those would now be more than satisfying goal weights. It's all a matter of perspective.

This is what I want to look like.
Not the jar of jelly hiding behind the wine bottle.

I don't want to be skinny. I just don't want to be fat. I want to be normal.

Today's Nuts and Bolts (besides me)

From Overeaters Anonymous, I know that if I say my plan for the day, I'll do better following it. Don't know if that's true but, for right now, I'm going to act as if.

I'm taking yogurt, a banana, Lean Cuisine spaghetti, and a little bag of fruit snacks to work. That means that, no matter how crazy it gets, I cannot raid Debbie or Dawn's chocolate.

Tonight, I'm having some friends over for a Two and a Half Men Premiere/Breakfast party. We're making scrambled eggs with cheese, bacon, and Texas-shaped waffles. Luckily, I don't like waffles - though I LOVE my Texas-shaped waffle iron! My plan is to stick with eggs and a piece of toast. And one mimosa? Ya think?

What's your plan for today?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

What in the hell am I doing?

People who know me are probably thinking, "Jenn's starting a blog because she can't be left out and EVERYONE has a blog but her." Well, not everyone........................... but Barb does.

But that's really not the reason.

This is ONE MORE attempt at dieting. Or a "lifestyle change". Or trying to make myself healthier. Doesn't really matter what you call it, it's an attempt to try to stop carrying 100 extra pounds of baggage around with me everywhere.

When I type the word baggage, I'm very aware that THERE IS NO WAY IN HELL that I would EVER carry anything remotely that heavy. I won't even bring the cat litter into the house. I wait for someone to carry it for me. But this, these pounds, I've carried for 26 years. Nearly half my life. And it's not like I haven't tried to let them go. Let's see.... I've tried...

* Weight Watchers (maybe 30 times - sometimes only for one day)
* Optifast (where, by not eating ANY food for 3 months, I lost over 50 pounds - but soon found them)
* NutriSystem
* Jenny Craig (at least 5 times)
* Fen-phen (the diet pills where I lost no weight but did gain a heart murmur and won $11,000 in a class action suit)
* Topomax (a pill that made me not eat as much but unable to retrieve words and finish
* my Capri diet last Spring where I decided that every day that I wore capris, I couldn't eat bread, cheese, or ketchup
* Weigh Down
* paying for years of Curves memberships but never going
* Richard Simmons Dial-A-Meal
* Reading "Woman's World" and "First" magazines and pretending that just reading the articles was enough to magically lose the weight
* the Prayer Diet (a great book but doesn't do a lot when it just sits on my bedside table). And, besides, it belongs to Cindy.
* Overeaters' Anonymous

Oh my God, I could go on and on. I'm sure I've left stuff out. All the contracts with myself, promises to myself, lists of what to eat and not eat, running down the block after dark (that's as far as I can get), water aerobics, drinking 10 glasses of water a day, making myself gulp down vinegar, eating hundreds of thousands of Lean Cuisines (not all at once), AD NAUSEAM!

So, in order to be transparent and keep up my long history of having no boundaries, plus with hope to make myself accountable to my friends, I've decided to start this blog.

Tomorrow, I'm going to write the history of my weight problems. And I'm gonna tell the truth for once.

Love you,