Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Biggest Loser Outrage - Part 3

Well, things went from bad to worse on The Biggest Loser last night. My commenter Matt, who suggested on my original Biggest Loser post that Neil had really pulled off a double scam, turned out to be right. Neil won the weigh-in last night because he had a 17-pound head start from cheating the week before.

Why is this guy even still on the show?

But it turns out the cheat was even bigger than we knew. Not only did Neil and Ryan cheat by loading water right before the weigh-in, but they pressured Amy from the Red Team into doing it as well, which is why she didn't lose any weight last week even though she was working out with Jillian Michaels. So it was a Blue Team-Red Team conspiracy to try to get rid of members from the Black Team since they couldn't beat them in a fair fight.

I was angry with Kae last week for voting Jez off, and because I thought she was in on the deal. But seeing her reaction to the scam this week made me change my mind. I think she was played, and kept in the dark about the intended cheat. I think Neil and Ryan knew Kae would never go along with it, so they just made a voting pact, which is perfectly acceptable, and Kae went along with the voting pact, not realizing the fix was in. The fact that she was so upset she wanted to leave the show told me a lot. I don't think she would have voted for Jez if she'd known that Neil and Ryan cheated, and I now definitely don't think she was told about their plans. She worked as hard as ever and lost as much weight as she usually does last week. I think she's honorable and was devastated when she heard last week's results came from cheating by her fellow Blue Team members, and that she had gotten caught up in it by casting her vote for someone who really didn't deserve to go home.


So this week, still thanks to Neil's original cheat from last week, another person who shouldn't have gone home this early is gone, David the cowboy. I was happy to see he is continuing to work out, watch his diet and lose weight at home. He's lost 103 pounds so far, but still has a good way to go. He and his wife look so happy in their interview, and their kids were just thrilled that daddy could now run and play with them, and ride horses with them without putting the poor horse in danger of its life.

My question to NBC and The Biggest Loser is this: why is Neil still in the game? Why is cheating tolerated? Do you really have no idea that you are turning your viewers away? Yes, we're talking about the show, but not in a good or supportive way. And talking about the show is way different that watching it. Remember what happened to Bravo when they screwed with the Top Chef show. Viewers were so outraged the whole show almost collapsed.

The other problem this year is the egregious product placement, I could not believe Bob Harper had the gall to stand there and promote an instant oatmeal product to a morbidly obese woman who needs to lose some serious weight. Instant oatmeal is loaded with sugar and chemicals and has little to no fiber and few of the nutritional attributes of real oatmeal...you know, the kind you actually cook, not nuke. But Quaker paid for the mention (read "ad") and so there it was...bogus advice being handed out to gullible contestants and viewers not because it was sound, or based on scientific principle, or even because it would promote good health and weight loss, but because a sponsor had paid for the product placement and therefore could claim whatever they wanted. They could say that oatmeal cures cancer, acne and baldness, and I'm sure they'd have Bob or Kim up there smiling and saying it was so.

Well, that's enough for this week. I sure hope Neil goes home next week. I really really don't like or respect him at all. And as soon as he goes, boot Ryan next, and then Amy. Cheaters shouldn't win.

Planet Fat Cat

The Last Temptation of Fat

Would you eat food from a vat?
Would you gain that extra fat?

I will not snorfle pizza, dear.
I will not guzzle all that beer!

But would you, could you, at a bar...
Consume all snacks though near and far?

I will not eat large portions now!
I will not look like that big cow!

Then won't you try a last buffet?
Perhaps to gorge there all damn day?

Oh no! I won't give in to lard,
Because I've worked just way too hard!

But won't you like some lobster bisque?
Will just one trough present a risk?

No, no, you fool! I won't get fat!
I won't give in to temptations that...

Will make my butt look like a cheese,
And make my gut shake when I sneeze.

If I should grow another size,
Chaffing will destroy my thighs!

My neck will sag and who wants that?
Tell me, why should I get fat?

Why shouldn't I be cute and light?
And exercise with all my might!

I will win this diet, see!
I will be the new, thin me!


I don't know why an overweight ghost of Dr. Seuss just possessed me, but I certainly hope he burns some calories while he channels his spirit through me. If he can clear up any troublesome blocked arteries or revive some hair follicles while he's at it, I might actually contribute to a charitable organization that his heirs have established in his name. Heck, if he also increases my memory, regrows my liver, and makes me look a few years younger, we'll hit the road and we can make a living as a good looking Exorcist on Ice freak show!

Never mind, I am sure I just felt him leave... in a hurry. Oh well.

But the point is still the same: People who have started to diet and lowered their portion sizes go supercalifragilistic-crazy-alidocious. At this point, if I saw pink elephants, I would simply hunt them down and roast them with a garlic chutney and honey glaze. Heck, after another few days of dieting I might eat raw unicorns with a little Hobbit for dessert.

So maybe I will just order a pizza. I have often succumbed to the "last temptation" syndrome when I pick a day in my head to really START my diet. Since it is Halloween and tomorrow begins a fresh month (as opposed to the stale, dying month of October), I think I will just indulge his ONE LAST TIME and begin anew in the morning.

Does anyone know what I'm talking about? Anyone else ever have that one last food fling before trying to diet? Nutritionists and psychologists alike claim nothing good comes from "last temptation" urges, but when my tummy is grumbling I can't think of a reason not to have one last tasty hurrah.

I'll let you know tomorrow what, if any, damage has come from this ill-conceived but delicious plan... and also a review of the new pizza I ordered from Domino's.

Piga-Seuss

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Shovel it in, boys

I can already see what this week's struggle is going to be; I am going to have to slap myself silly every time I get ready to eat a meal or a snack to keep them normal, regular sized meals. That's because I am so mad and discouraged right now that I want to eat a side of beef slathered with herb butter, topped off with a couple of loaves of buttered mozzarella garlic bread, and a few heads of steamed broccoli dripping with butter and lemon. Notice a butter theme developing here?

I want to fry a dozen eggs in butter and then fry a pound of bacon in butter. Heck, I even want to stir melted butter into my orange juice. I want to whip up 10 batches of my divine double Dutch fudge Ghiardelli chocolate brownies and put three inches of chocolate butter cream frosting on top.

Yeah, I know. Some women lie awake at night thinking about men. I lie awake chewing the edge of my blanket and I think about butter.

...and men.

Butter and men...hmm, sounds like a very tasty combination, but too calorific. Still, if I had to chose one or the other, I confess it would be butter, but only because it's pasteurized.

Anyway, instead of binging I have decided to add Body Flex to my exercise routine. I seriously considered weight training and know I will do that soon; but for the moment I don't yet feel strong enough physically to take that on. Body Flex is strength training, breathing and stretching all rolled into one, but it's a gentle program suitable for an ancient fossil like me. I can do it without risking life or limb.

For all my big butter talk, I know I couldn't handle binging. I can barely handle Christmas dinner or a wedding reception because I am a grazer, not a porker. I nibble all day long. My friends always make fun of me for never being able to finish a meal, and for always taking home doggy bags from restaurants. It's just that I have never been able to eat in one sitting the amount of food served as a typical meal at a typical restaurant.

Oh sure, you're saying. Then how did I get fat? I got fat because I am sedentary, took in about 25,000 liquid sugar calories a month in the form of Coca-Cola, and I never stopped eating. Even though I only took in little bits here and there over the course of a day, those little bits added up to a lot of calories.

No matter what, I am not going to quit now. I have come too far psychologically speaking, even if I've barely made it off the starting block in terms of my results. But here's the deal; when I was stepping off the scale this morning one of my hands brushed across my stomach.

I could swear I felt a muscle in there.

Planet Fat Cat

Monday, October 29, 2007

"Fat" Air and Other Phenomena

Last week I decided, for poo and giggles, to challenge Planet Fat Cat (who wasn't a stellar body at the time) to a contest to see who could lose the most weight. I must admit that I believed the whole thing a lark, a shenanigan, a Slick Willy, a Captain Morgan, a Darby O'Gill and the Little People.

Well, that doesn't make sense in the least, but you are beginning to get the point: How could I lose when I am me? Could you call something a contest when the deck was so stacked in one direction and the winner was obvious ("The Biggest Loser" aside)?

Apparently thanks to the fattening air that blew in with Halloween, you can.

This morning I dutifully stripped naked and mounted my scale, which thankfully sounds much naughtier than it was, and discovered to my chagrin that I had GAINED THREE POUNDS IN ONE WEEK. You can't imagine how upsetting it was to see the little digital read-out climb past 210 and keep going all the way to 213.5.

Without enjoying the prospect of admitting such an unappetising condition, I think I am the loser, so far. Maybe Fat Cat hadn't lost any weight this week, but apparently her walking and portion control had allowed her to stave off the extra pounds that grappled onto my body just from walking past all the Halloween candy in WalMart. Her effort, that I did not match in any way this week, did accomplish something: She did not gain any weight.

Okay, careful readers will note that Fat Cat hoped to LOSE weight and not just maintain her present body size. But I also thought I would lose weight just from sitting on my ass and eating candy and that did not happen so much. I understand the frustration and realize that it seems inconceivable that all that effort would produce "zero", but I also believe in Leprechauns so what does that tell us?

Nothing, it tells us nothing.

Let's face it: I have no clue why, past 30, it becomes almost impossible to lose weight. But I know that apparently it takes a Herculean effort to do so. If I have to lift the entire Earth on my shoulders to gain more muscle and lose some fat, then so be it.

I just hope that Fat Cat won't give into a moment of despair and throw the contest. She's worked too hard to give up now.

Besides, I can't wait to spike the victory cruller in her end zone.

Which again, isn't nearly as naughty as it sounds.

Pigassus

Weighty Matters

The Weekly Weigh-In was neither good nor bad. I weigh exactly the same today, 203.8 pounds, as I did a week ago, and the only place I lost any inches was in my chest...naturally. By the time this is over, I will look like a Hersey kiss, big and broad on the bottom and a mere slip of a girl up top.

But...and this is far more concerning, for some reason my blood pressure and resting heart rate were up this week...not good.

So I have come to a few conclusions about my walking program. You know the definition of insanity, don't you? Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Well, now that I have been doing the same thing over and over again for the past six weeks...walking, restricting my diet, not drinking any soda, and I'm still getting the same result, which is to say, almost no measurable result at all, then I have to conclude I am insane if I still keep doing only the same things.

Another thought that keeps recurring...as a society we like to make fun of fat people; the fatter they are, the more cruel the jokes. When fat people say they have been trying to lose weight, exercising and restricting calories, we all howl. Oh sure!!! we think. What'd you do? Eat only 499 French Fries instead of 500? Is that your idea of a restriction?

Since I have but 53 pounds to lose, which makes me relatively "skinny" in the world of fat people, I have been as guilty as any of you about turning my nose up at the morbidly obese. I didn't believe it when my super fat friends told me they had been exercising and dieting and couldn't lose weight. But I believe it now, because that is what is happening to me.

For the past six weeks, I have been faithfully following my walking program. I went from being totally sedentary to walking at a brisk pace for 20 to 30 minutes a day. By the time I finish the program six weeks from now, I will be walking 30 minutes a day, six days a week. And yet, adding that regular aerobic exercise to my daily regimen has accomplished very little. Yes, my blood pressure came down some, but it didn't stay down. My resting pulse came down, but also went back up. Those were the only two victories I could cling to to keep myself motivated to keep walking, and now even those are suspect.

I've lost about one inch from my hips and a half inch from my waist, but three inches from my chest. Why is that? It's not like my boobs are walking on the treadmill. My legs are, but they stubbornly remain the same hefty size, while my delicate chest is melting away like butter on a hot skillet. That's not exactly encouraging.

I have lost less than three pounds in six weeks of hard work, and if I so much as walk by a bakery I gain a pound. Not much to applaud there either.

I have totally given up my beloved Coca-Cola, ice cream, cookies, cake and a few dozen other little snacks I enjoyed on occasion. I am eating a healthy, balanced diet of organic fruits, vegetables and meats. I am eating measured portions; one of the biggest surprises to me when I started was the discovery that what I thought was a normal portion was actually twice the size of what I should have been eating. So now I measure or weigh everything that goes into my mouth. I have thought and thought about what I what more I can do, what I might be doing wrong...but the bottom line is, my bottom line has not changed. I am still fat. I am still out of shape. I cannot see much progress. And I am very discouraged.

In my bad moments, I say, "What the hell?" If any normal person had their choice of eating whatever they wanted whenever they wanted, guzzling Coca-Cola, never exercising and weighing 206 pounds, or denying themselves most of their favorite foods, measuring and weighing every bite they took, keeping careful records, and exercising 30 minutes 6 days a week to weigh in at 204 pounds after six weeks, which one would they chose?

It is very hard not to give in to these dark thoughts and go back to my old 206 pound ways. I mean really, what's the measurable difference? Apparently little to none.

Simple science says the changes I have made and the new exercise and diet regimen I am sticking to so faithfully should have made some significant difference by now, but they haven't. Friends try to comfort me by saying I am exchanging fat mass for muscle mass and muscle weighs more, blah, blah, blah. But my fancy scale says the only way my body mass has changed since I started exercising is for the worse. When I started the scale says I was 40.4 percent fat, a figure that boggles the mind. Now, after six weeks of hard work, the scale says I am 40.6 percent body fat. So much for the changing fat for muscle theory.

I can only conclude that walking is not enough. So I have decided to add something new to my exercise regimen. Instead of just walking for a half hour, I will walk and then do something else, maybe weight training, maybe stretching, maybe some yoga or pilates, but something to extend my exercise regimen to one hour a day.

If that doesn't work, I just don' t know what I'll do next.

Bleh.

A very discouraged

Planet Fat Cat

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Biggest Loser Outrage - Part 2

Wow, I guess I didn't realize there would be so many people who, like me, were outraged by the fact that Neil was allowed to get away with cheating on this week's episode of The Biggest Loser. The Internet has been abuzz with emails flying back and forth, blogsters penning their generally negative opinions of what went on, and search engines working overtime as people who missed the show look for little tidbits of information about what happened.

If you don't already know, here's the scoop. Right before the weigh-in, one of the Blue Team contestants, Neil, drank about 2 gallons of water to artificially pump up his weight by 17 pounds. So instead of losing weight after a week of hard work in the gym and dietary restrictions, he managed to GAIN 17 pounds by cheating with the water trick. That meant his team lost and one member would be voted off by the other three trios. By prior arrangement, Neil got the trios to vote Jez off.

In the real scheme of things, no one was going to beat the Black Team. Jillian Michaels had been kicking their butts in the gym and they were kicking butt at the weigh-ins. They'd only lost one team member and had more people, 5, than either of the other two teams. The Red Team was down to 3 members, and the Blue Team down to 4, so it pretty much looked like the Black Team was going to dominate right into the finals. And that's how it should have been because they did the work and they deserved to be in the finals.

Enter the weasly Blue and Red Teams. They obviously colluded with Neil on his wormy little plan to throw the weigh-in, because they voted Jez out even though he was one of the nicest, hardest working guys there. Weasels never want to compete on a level playing field; the Red and Blue Teams couldn't defeat the Black Team honestly, so they had to resort to cheating.

And Neil's reward for cheating doesn't end there. Just who do you suppose will be The Biggest Loser next week? Matt left a comment on my original post pointing out that Neil will almost certainly win and be immune from elimination because he will lose at least 17 pounds by next week and probably even more if you throw in the 7 or 8 pounds a week he usually loses when he's not busy cheating. It's highly unlikely that anyone who is playing the game fairly will be able to match that.

That's bad enough, but the idea that The Biggest Loser and NBC let Neil and his Blue Team members get way with their underhanded scheme is well nigh unthinkable. NBC almost had a lawsuit on its hands when its subsidiary Bravo TV let a similar situation get way out of hand on Top Chef Season 2. Reportedly, producers gave a video camera to some contestants who had been verbally assaulting another contestant. They were planning a physical attack and Bravo wanted to make sure they caught the smack down on tape.

Bad decision. When viewers saw the episode with the physical attack, they were sickened and outraged and let loose a flood-tide of angry email, snail mail and phone calls. The sheer volume of angry comments posted on the Bravo website almost fried their server and nearly took their website off-line. Bravo folks were unrepentant, and it fell to NBC, the parent company, to reign in its rambunctious offspring.

As a result, this year's Top Chef was a much calmer, more watchable show, still not as good as season one where food was the focus, but vastly better than season two. But just like this season's Biggest Lower, Top Chef Season 3 also suffered from too many stunts, where the cheftestants were asked to do ridiculous things in impossibly short amounts of time with few resources and inadequate budgets. In other words, not like in the real world of restaurants where chefs can plan their menus and budgets and allow adequate time and money to produce food of a consistent quality.

But I digress. Why did NBC, after having to reign in Bravo, fall prey to the same sort of misguided thinking in regard to its own flagship reality show? Somebody screwed up big time. If there is to be a next season of The Biggest Loser, one thing simply MUST happen or I won't ever watch again. There has to be a new rule stating that any contestant who artificially manipulates his or her weight through any means whatsoever is immediately disqualified from the show and sent home in disgrace. That's the only way the show can regain its credibility for me. If the producers and NBC don't take this simple step to ensure the integrity of the program, then in good conscious I can no longer watch.

Planet Fat Cat

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Alli Oops!

You just can't make this stuff up. I was waiting in the check-out line at Wally-World, perusing the magazine rack to see which star was sleeping with another star's husband; which star had gotten gigantic breast implants, which star was anorexic and which star was eating her way out of a career. You know, the kind of stuff that interests almost everyone, but no one will admit it.

Then this caught my eye on the cover of the October 22nd edition of First magazine:

ALLI side effects alert!


Small type, only one exclamation point.

Hmm, I pondered.

ALLI? As in Alley Oop, the beloved prehistoric caveman of comic strip fame, only misspelled?

Alley oop, as in the basketball play in which a player lobs the ball wa-a-a-y across the court to a team mate standing near the goal, who then immediately dunks it for a score...only misspelled again?

Oh, ALLI, as in the latest, "Take this pill and lose 10 pounds in 10 minutes" diet pills war. According to the experts who keep track of such things, Americans spend an average of 50 BILLION DOLLARS A YEAR on diet gimmicks, including pills, fads, machines and diet books. That's a huge market.

Alli's particular claim to fame is that it's the first and only FDA-approved over the counter diet aid (meaning you don't need a prescription to buy it). Well, that certainly is reassuring, seeing as how the FDA has approved prescription diet pills in the past that killed people. Remember fen-phen? AKA Pondamin and Redux? Yeah, good stuff, that. You lost weight, and you lost your life. What a swell deal! Your heart and lungs may have been destroyed, but at least they could squeeze you into a smaller coffin.

Alli supposedly helps you lose weight by blocking the absorption of fat. NOTA BENE: when you block the absorption of fat, you also block the absorption of many essential oil-based vitamins, including Vitamins A, D and E.

Still, alli doesn't seem to cause any deadly problems, only deadly embarrassing. Go back to that magazine cover for a minute: "ALLI side effects alert!" Then notice the second line: Why Black Pants Are Not Enough

What the heck?


I turn to the article on page 22 of the magazine and quickly discovered that Alli makes you lose weight alright, by giving you such uncontrollable, explosive diarrhea that you are likely to suddenly soil yourself in public. Hence, the "black pants" thing. They might hide the spreading stain, but they sure can't hide the smell.


The magazine coyly calls these humiliating public accidents being reported by many women, "Alli oops." Isn't that cute? You're about to be so publicly mortified that you'll probably just want to go somewhere and kill yourself and they're making a joke.

ALLI OOPS #1 is oil leaks.

ALLI OOPS #2 is bad gas.

ALLI OOPS #3 is euphemistically called Trouble Taking a Vacation, but what they're really referring to is the aforementioned public "accidents."


This latest diet pill is being marketed almost exclusively to women, so I guess this means that the powers that be think it's alright for women to suffer publicly like this just so they can lose weight. I don't know about you, but I think there's something kind of sick about that.

I headed on over to the alli website, myalli.com. It's all pink and pretty looking. It's features glowing photographs of women talking happily, not I presume about their last ALLI oops. I read through the FAQs looking for any mention of the product's side effects, but there was nothing there. Finally, I found a tiny, hidden in plain sight link called Treatment Effects or Adverse Events. Adverse event? I'd saying soiling my pants in public was an adverse event, all right.

The first question was: What are the side effects of alli?

Pretty straightforward question, but the answer was anything but. Here it is, word for word.

Most side effects are related to the way you take the product and how much fat you consume when taking alli. Not everyone experiences GI side effects (or "treatment effects"), but they can be manageable when you follow a reduced-calorie, low-fat diet.

All drugs can have side effects and you should check with your doctor if anything unusual or sever occurs when using any weight loss product. In controlled trials, only about 5% of subjects on alli dropped out due to treatment effects. In fact, anecdotally, many users have told us that treatment effects served as a signal that helped them adopt healthier eating patterns.

Okay, maybe I'm dumb, but anywhere in those two paragraphs, did you actually see anything about what the side effects are? Did you see an answer to the question? Because I didn't. I didn't see oil leaks, bad gas, or "accidents" mentioned anywhere. But I do love that part about the treatment effects serving as a signal that helped them (the gullible women taking alli) to adopt healthier eating patterns. Why thank you, alli! I could never have made that decision to eat better all by my little old self unless your pill had prompted me to do it by causing me to sh_t myself in public. What great humanitarians you guys are!!! And speaking of guys, why are all the ads for this product in women's magazines only?

Oh, that's right! I forgot! If a man took your product and shat himself in public, he would go postal and open up a can of whup ass on you guys. He might invade your headquarters with weapons of mass destruction and take his rage out on your sorry asses. We women, we just sigh and reach for another anti-depressant and figure it's all our fault, anyway, right?

This is beyond horrifying. Someone at the FDA thought it was a good idea to okay an over the counter diet pill even though the poor women taking it, the poor women already overwrought because they can't lose weight, might experience explosive, public, uncontrollable diarrhea? Someone thought this was a minor, acceptable side effect?

Someone at the FDA is one sick puppy.

You'll notice the article doesn't actually tell you not to take alli; it just tells you how to manage the side effects. Call me silly, but pooping in my pants is not a side effect I want to learn how to manage. Normal, healthy, ambulatory adults should not soil themselves with any sort of regularity. That there are people in this world who think nothing of trying to guilt overweight women into accepting uncontrolled public bowel movements as a natural consequence of their desire to lose their excess weight...well, I'm just at a loss for words.

Planet Fat Cat

P. S. - I may be a fat cat, but I will NEVER be a soiled cat.



P. S. S. - If you want to lose weight, you don't need pills or surgery, just determination. That's what I admire about the contestants voted off The Biggest Loser. They have learned new, better habits and take those habits home where they continue their weight loss...no gimmicks, no gadgets...just hard work and dedication...like Planet Fat Cat.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Hannibal Lechter Wants to Eat My Readers

A few blogs back I asked any readers to e-mail us here at Fat-Chat and pose any questions to our “experts” or leave any comments that they didn’t feel were appropriate for the regular comment section. Since I love inappropriate things, unless it involves cramped elevators and people with uncontrollable flatulence, I am happy to print and respond to our first Fat-Chat reader e-mail.

(note: This e-mail has been edited for length and content. Original e-mail appears in exciting, fun-loving bold type, my responses are in plain, average, work-a-day text.)

Dear Fat-Chat Friends,

I love you, dear reader, for getting our name right and proving you know what blog you’re on in such a polite, literate way. Good folks like you make me smile. :)

What in the world is wrong with you people?

You are dead to me.

Therefore I shall summarize the rest of the e-mail. In essence Queen of the Universe shares a program I will call the “Liver Bemoan, She’s Divine” diet (if for no other reason than I like the way it sounds).

The diet consists of meal and lifestyle advice such as, “for dinner… two tall vodka/sodas with lime juice, fresh or concentrate (avoid scurvy!)… have a bottle of wine for dessert… glass of Scotch as a bedtime snack… enjoy the warm, alcohol induced slumber you so richly deserve.”

It includes a list of expectations like, “You get so drunk you don’t miss food,” and “When you wake in the morning you are so dehydrated you weigh in at LEAST five pounds less than you really are.”

The e-mail closes with a program testimonial: Believe me my friends, it works. It’s worked for me for YEARS. The only thing fat about me is my liver, and clearly that’s between you and me and the coroner. XOXOXOX Queen of the Universe

Wow.

I can’t believe what she wrote. I am shocked. Shocked! The amazement I am experiencing has left me unable to write coherently. What do you say to something like that? How can I express my disbelief, my incredulity? How dare Queen of the Universe suggest a “diet” plan so outrageous as to be…

AWESOME.

Now, other than the time a girl called me the “love doctor”, I am no physician, so I can’t comment on whether or not the “Liver Bemoan, She’s Divine” health plan has any sound medical theory. But in my opinion it has a great deal of merit. Queen of the Universe manages to stay thin, well-rested, popular and wise, all without sweating. Other than a warning about the dependency disease some, more judgemental, folks might call “college student”, my only advice would be try some moderation and variety.

Margaritas have fruit juice in them and would make a fine substitute for the wine (which, lest we forget, comes from grapes). Bourbon does not have any vitamins, but it also lacks carbohydrates, gives a warm, tingly feeling when it goes down and covers the odor of the mini pearl onions you ate with your Gibson cocktail. Worried that this “diet” lacks essential fatty acids or protein? A martini with three olives or a “Bloody Bull” (a Bloody Mary made with beef broth) would provide those missing ingredients and likely make grocery shopping more enjoyable.

Actually if you really think about “Liver Bemoan, She’s Divine”, just being on it would make most activities more fun. Add to that my own anecdotal evidence that girls on similar alcohol diets tend to be more willing to enjoy special “couples” aerobic therapy, and this has WINNER written all over it.

Just don’t drive, because no one wants to carry a big casket.

Thanks Queen, I’ll give it the old college try, and keep the e-mails coming!

Pigassus

Post Script: We all have ways to stay healthy and seriously good looking, but really, moderation is the key. I, for example, have just one family-sized bag of Peanut M&Ms a week, even though I want to have a bag a day. I also only have Papa John’s Thin Crust Six-Cheese pizza once or twice a week and almost never get Chinese take-out in the afternoons. It’s that kind of dedication that allowed me to lose another pound last week. I can’t wait to see what happens next week when I give Queenie’s plan a go.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Biggest Loser Outrage

Those of you who have followed this blog from the beginning know that one of the original inspirations for my decision to lose weight, get fit and stay that way was NBC's The Biggest Loser. I watch the show every week and usually enjoy it. But what happened tonight was an outrage and I wish every one of you who watches the show would write NBC and complain.

Basically, one of the contestants cheated big time, and they let him get away with it. As a result, one of my favorite contestants was unfairly and unethically eliminated from the game. And I think he was someone who might have had a chance to win the whole thing.

The show had three teams, but the Red Team sort of did itself in last week by eliminating its leader, Phil, who was very strong and helped them win most of the physical challenges. But the team usually did the worst at the weigh-ins, losing the least amount of weight.

The Blue Team was kind of sketchy from the get-go, not really winning any challenges, but doing okay in the weight loss part. But the Black Team, the 6 people who hadn't been picked for the original two teams, who had been abandoned in the desert and secretly trained by kick-ass trainer Jillian Michaels, the Black Team had been dominating everything, winning weigh-ins and challenges. They worked so hard and pulled together as a team so well that they seemed indomitable. There wasn't a whiner among them; everyone on the team was strong and worked hard. As a result, they'd only been to one elimination challenge; together and as individuals, they looked mighty hard to beat. So instead of taking up the gauntlet and redoubling their efforts to beat the Black Team ethically, the Blue Team decided to cheat.

You read that right. They decided to cheat. They stacked the deck, bent the rules, violated the spirit of the competition and all that's moral and right...by cheating to make sure they won and could eliminate a Black Team member. And this was only made possible by a surprise twist The Biggest Loser imposed last night. I doubt seriously the producers of the show ever envisioned a team would stoop so low to take advantage of the new rules. But the Blue Team did, particularly two of its members. But all its members are guilty and have forever lost my respect, because instead of telling the two members who planned to cheat not to do it, they supported them by following through with the second part of the plan and voting as a block even though all the teams had been broken apart by the game twist. Here's what happened.


Tonight, the teams were divided into 4 "trios," consisting of three people each. Jez, one of my favorite contestants, won the right to pick the new trios from the existing, lop-sided teams.

He did a thoughtful job, and tried to balance the trios fairly so that every team would have a chance to win. But what Jez didn't know was that the remaining members of the Blue Team had entered an unholy pact to win at any cost. Instead of the losing team voting off its own member, the three top trios would now vote off a member of the losing team. Because Jez tried to be so fair in balancing the teams, there were two trios that had 2 Blue Team members, giving them a voting majority on those trios. So they decided to cheat by deliberately throwing the weight challenge, agreeing ahead of time that they would vote off a Black Team member once their evil plot succeeded.

Right before the weigh-in, Neil and Ryan drank lots of water to hide their week's weight loss and make themselves themselves heavier. Ryan gained a pound, the first time anyone on this season has gained weight. But Neil drank TWO FULL GALLONS OF WATER JUST BEFORE HE STEPPED ON THE SCALE, AND HE GAINED 17 POUNDS IN ONE DAY!!!

Naturally, his team lost the weigh-in. But by deliberately "losing," he and his nefarious Blue Team members really won, because they got to vote Jez of the kick-ass Black Team out. Never mind that they won the right to vote by cheating; never mind that their cheating basically screws the rest of the game. Nothing will be fair in the game from this point on because of the sleazy, low, cheater-baby mindset of the blue team members. They've been crybabies and lazy from the start, so since they couldn't win legitimately, they decided to win by cheating. And by the way, I DON'T blame their trainer, Bob Harper, because this plan is something they cooked up on their own. Bob's a good guy and when he found out what his former team had done, he was enraged, ashamed and embarrassed.

It makes me furious that The Biggest Loser is letting the Blue Team get away with this. Both Neil and Ryan should be immediately eliminated from the game for cheating, and Jez should be brought back into the game.

Just go to nbc.com, click on "Contact Us" and use the drop-down menu to select "The Biggest Loser." Then let them know you don't appreciate people being allowed to blatantly cheat on their reality shows.

Alright. Even though I know this show was filmed months ago and the letters won't do any good, now I feel better.

Planet Fat Cat

Monday, October 22, 2007

Way-Out Weigh-In

Today was weekly weigh-in, and it was a much happier day than last Monday. I finally lost a full pound in a week. Never mind that it was the exact same pound I lost three weeks ago. I managed to lose it again, and that's a good thing.

Also never mind that yesterday morning I weighed even less, a full pound less, so if I could have somehow put myself into suspended animation overnight, my weight loss for the week would have been two whole pounds. But oh, no! My body wasn't going to let me get away with that outrage. So somehow, overnight, it figured out how to pump out another pound of flab from the ether. I ate right; I exercised and my reward was...drum roll please...I gained a pound overnight.

Someone should study how my body is able to manufacture fat cells from thin air. Maybe they could use the technique to mass produce fuel, reduce our dependency on foreign oil and leave our corn crops alone. I just wish I could do that "Instant Perfect Body" thing Pigassus was talking about. But he says he wants to be Justin Timberlake. Why? Has his grey matter been replaced by phat cells?

As for me, I want to be this woman I've been seeing in my dreams for years and years, a woman I know is me. I am slim, willowy and wearing a flowing, diaphanous gown. I am gliding through a verdant meadow, with birds of the field perched upon my arms and flowers twined into my hair. Fragrant blossoms spring up in my path, and I am surrounded by loving, gentle animals. The lion is lying down with the lamb.

I am Mother Nature.

I am also seriously deluded, but that is a whole other post, so back to reality.

Here's my theory on why I gained that pound overnight. I think Pigassus drive two hundred miles during the night, drilled a hole in my skull and extracted my exact thoughts for his last column. So, my theory is that it was brain swelling that caused the weight gain.

It's all your fault, Pigassus!

And please hold the fathead jokes. I am now officially Planet Fat Cat. Despite five weeks of effort, I am still the size of a small outbuilding. How do I know this? Because my yard man accidentally tried to park his lawnmower under my skirt.

But, I am feeling better and stronger. I am mulling over the idea of adding something to my exercise routine other than walking. I have the walking down as a habit now and I feel secure enough to try something else without worrying about keeling over dead. I'm having problems with leg pain and I think it's because I've been doing the same thing over and over for five weeks now. So it's time to try something new.

I will be a goddess again...I will. I just wish I could do that "Instant Perfect Body" thing.

I know, I know. A year from now, I will have an "Instant Perfect Body." I just have to work really hard for it.

Planet Fat Cat

Corpus Transmorphica Grande

If you are like me and know just enough Latin to be a danger to yourself and also enjoy highly Americanized Mexican food, you likely believe the above title refers to Taco Bell's newest burrito. Actually, if it did, it could hardly be any more disturbing or bland than their usual attempts to meld the six bulk ingredients they have on hand to create novel menu items. Just because they give it a new name, do they really think we don't realize it's the same inexpensive cheese product and questionably edible bean-like paste? Don't even get me started on the lumpy grey goop they call "meat".

But that's not what I wish to talk about in this column.

Instead I'd like to delve into the fantasy that I believe many people have had that might also be called the "Instant Perfect Body".

Most of you know what I mean by that, but just in case a stray Abercrombie model surfed by, I will simply state that the IPB fantasy is a day-dream where one's physical flaws are all wiped away by an unnatural (and benevolent) force and all of one's good features are enhanced to a point of exquisite beauty normally unseen in nature. The details of the transformation vary from person to person, as does the extent, but in the end we all become just friggin' GORGEOUS in comparatively little time. Poof! We're models!

What interests me about the IPB desire are the three parts of it that I would call the Delivery Devices, the Larval Stages, and the Guilty Pleasures phase. These parts, I imagine, make an otherwise common desire wildly divergent and certainly fascinating, even uniquely cool. As no two dimples on an ass cheek are alike, no two IPBs are either.

For myself, the greatest variation in my IPB comes from the "Delivery Devices". Something powerful, and external, has to make the change in my appearance, and rarely do I receive an explanation of why I am the beneficiary of such delicious beauty. The Lord, aliens, stray chemical waste leaks, leprechauns, and confused evil sorcerers have all made appearances in my fantasy as the actuators of my transformation. At times I have called forth the agents by prayer or (for example) by looking under a rainbow for a pot of gold, and each entity grants me my wish.

How they grant me those good looks are what I call the "Larval Stages".

In keeping with the spirit of "Instant Perfect Body", many times the Larval Stages are truncated and consist only of the aforementioned "poof!" One second I am standing there with unconditioned abs and a crooked smile (my only two flaws of any note) and a flash of bright light later I have a six-pack of hard muscles and a dazzlingly straight mouth full of gleaming white teeth. But sometimes there are actual stages. Some desire to make the fantasy more real prods me to make the change more gradual so that any observer would think it natural. Instead of just becoming perfect in seconds, I take a few days or weeks so that my friends would notice, but not immediately assume I had sold my soul to nefarious agents. I have fantasized on occasion that my "Instant" perfect body took three months of slow, progressive improvement.

But no matter who does it or how I become perfect, eventually I get the undeniably handsome body that I unquestionably deserve. And thus I begin to use my new found looks and end up experiencing the "Guilty Pleasures".

And I do mean "guilty".

Let's face it: If you looked like Justin Timberlake, you would go out and party like friggin' Justin Timberlake. Joining that monastery, which I'm sure sounds reasonable to short, fat, balding folks, would make absolutely no sense if you had the body of a porn star. If you got it, flaunt it.

Still, even in fantasy land, I have something resembling a conscience and inevitably the guilty part of the Guilty Pleasures enters the dream. What happens to my friends and family while I am off cavorting with Rachel McAdams and Jessica Alba? Do I pretend not to know any of the still "normal" looking folks that I once proudly interacted with after I become awesome? How can I leave them all back in Average Acres when I have moved on to Glamour Gulch?

Like this: So long suckers! Hello, Rachel...

Okay, so maybe I don't have that much guilt. But the results of my transformation do vary and sometimes I actually put my looks to good use once I have them. I get a great job, find a new wife, buy my parents giant mansions etc. etc. Eventually I work out the kinks and end up happy.

And then I wonder: Why do I need to be beautiful to be happy?

I'll tackle that whopper another time. For now, I would ask that anyone interested e-mail me a description of an IPB fantasy. Perhaps we've had a similar one involving leprechauns and Jessica Alba (or Justin Timberlake depending on your preference). I'll post some of mine from time to time just to see if at various stages of my life the IPB changes too.

Pigassus

Post Script 1: If any Abercrombie models did wander by, please allow me to be the first to help you with any difficult words and accept any photos you wish to pass on.

Post Script 2: I write out my IPBs like so:

Delivery Device: Unknown Golden Ray coming from my shower head.

Laval Stages: Instant improvements wherever the rays land followed by successive improvements each time I shower.

Guilty Pleasures: After a couple months of magical showers, Rachel McAdams sees me having lunch with my Mom and instantly falls in love with me. Take that Ryan Gosling!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Britney Spears is NOT Fat!

Being softies (in EVERY sense of the word...), we here at Fat Chat would like to speak out on behalf of the beleaguered Britney Spears...AKA the former Mrs. Kevin Federline. The following picture was recently published on the World Wide Web under the headline: "Britney Spears is Getting Fat!"


Okay, if Britney Spears is fat is this photo, then I'm a heavenly body. And by that I don't mean I have a beautiful figure. I mean, compared to Britney, I'm a whole other planet. How can I tell I'm a planet? Because of the regular elliptical orbit I maintain...refrigerator, stove, recliner. Refrigerator, stove, recliner. You could set your clock by it.

You might notice Miss Britney is proudly carrying a special award in the above photo. It's the first-ever Fat-Chat Cruller of Kindness award. Brit is so beleaguered these days, we just thought we would give her an award to acknowledge that she is still beautiful and talented, even if she is also making some rather bad choices at the moment.

In fact, upon due consideration, we realized we had to give Britney another accord, this one perhaps not so welcome, the first-ever Fat-Chat Donut of Disapproval. But Miss Fat Cat confesses she felt some trepidation when she was giving out this designation, because the very thing she was trying to cover up..., well, I guess she never took into consideration that donuts have holes in very awkward places. But at least the donut hole is better than seeing Miss Britney's bits.


Upon further consideration, Miss Fat Cat decided she had to make this a whole donut rather than a holey donut. The holey donut was actually quite unholy, and could possibly have offended some of our more tender readers.

Now, for our next topic. Shut up, Cris Crocker. Yes, we said Shut up!

Because you are not the only one who likes Britney and who is willing to go out on a limb to defend her. She may be drunk, disorderly, fast as a pick pocket on pay day and easy as a 10-piece puzzle, but she is not not not FAT. Or even Phat. Okay, Pigassus just told me she is maybe phat. Can I help it if I'm older than God's dog and don't quite understand ebonics?


Yes, we awarded Cris Crocker the second official Fat-Chat Donut of Disapproval. We made him eat it!

Still, it's just not fair. There is such a double standard in Hollywood. Male stars can have paunches down to their knees and still be cast as romantic leads. The 20-something starlets they hire to play the ingenue to the old goat must grimace when they're forced to kiss these geezers for the cameras, but the folks who run Hollywood think it's okay. But just let a female star gain an ounce, get a wrinkle or a grey hair...and God forbid! Run her out of town! Eeeeew! Who does that hag think she is, still trying to work in Tinseltown when she's old and fat?

Yep, it's the old double standard alright. Just let Britney have the teensiest bit of tummy after two prenancies and all of a sudden she's a heifer. I'll tell you who's at fault in that whole Video Music Award thing, other than the person who gave Brit all that joy juice before she went on stage. It's whoever designed her costume and dressed her. Beyonce has a rather pronounced and generous-sized booty, but her mother, who is an ingenius costume designer, makes her clothes to emphasize her tiny waist and flat stomach, and she looks like a dream. Of course, the fact that she is drop dead gorgeous helps a lot, but you get my drift.


As far as I'm concerned. whoever designed Brit's VMA costume is a rather mean-spirited person, because they put parts on full display that could have been camouflaged to make Britney look as slim as she actually is. Instead, she might as well have been wearing a flashing neon arrow pointing at her ever so slightly untoned midriff and making it look 10 times worse than it actually is. By my sights, Britney is still about a size 8 and that's a slender woman. Sure, she has a bit of a rounded stomach, but that's what happens after women have babies, and she's just had two in quick succession.


Take a look at this picture. This is NOT a fat woman. Misguided? Yes. Impulsive and impetuous? Most Definitely. Mother or Driver of the Year candidate? Um, in a word...no. But fat? FAT? Most definitely not. So cut her some slack, world!

Speaking of the double standard, the following male star is still beloved and considered highly sexy, especially by his good friend, Oprah. But look at this picture of him. He is quite frankly, fat. In fact, he is fatter than Fat Cat. But he is still bringing home the bacon...if you get my meaning.


As a matter of fact, that's a whole mess of bacon, that is.

Hmm, bacon. Time to go into orbit. Ta-ta for now!

Planet Fat Cat

P. S. - Planet Fat Cat almost forgot to thank Piggy for his brilliance. She was mulling over the idea of Fat-Chat giving out some sort of awards when he oinked out in an instant - Cruller of Kindness and Donut of Disapproval. Dearest Piggy can always be relied upon to come up with a food-based solution to any problem. However, I had quite a struggle in trying not to eat the awards before I handed them out.

Oink!

I mean, um, er...meow.

Yes, We Listen

For all of you Peeping Thomases out there who question the interactive nature of the Internet, we here at Fat-Chat shall prove scientifically that we are, for lack of a better vocabulary, interactive. To that end, I would like to respond to a comment left by our most prolific commenter, Gucci Muse.

Her original comment, reproduced scientifically, is as follows:

Gucci Muse said...

ok, this is what I think, or what I know.

I have seen MANY MANY MANY MANY gorgeous men with FAT or OBESE women. Once I saw at a bar on the beach, a chunky assed woman, in a BIKINI, with her belly HANGING OVER the bottoms, sitting at a bar, with a STUD, tanned gorgeous boy standing at the bar trying to hit on her and was obviously mesmerized.

I often wondered what she had.

My friend's mother said: CONFIDENCE, and its true. It also works for FUGLY women b/c they have it as well.

So don't worry so much about the number on the scale, just keep doing what you do.


My scientific reply to her comment:

Pigassus said...

I understand what professional pick-up men call the "confidence game". In this game dice are shaved, imperceptibly at the corners, so that they will have a better chance of landing on the desired numbers, usually 7 or 11, also called "craps". And since I am so knowledgeable in this game, I can say without a doubt that it has nothing to do with chubby women in bikinis and the staggering beefcake trying to "score" with them.

No. Only one thing can explain the actions of the man in the above example and that complex psycho-chemical behavioral theory can be summed up in two words: Beer Goggles.

Or the dreaded "Margarita Mask" if you live near Texas.

You see, the muscle bound stud was intoxicated, and not by Orca's confident charm I assure you. Men and women both understand the social lubricator that is a mass consumption of strong libations. Was she displaying a great deal of confidence? Sure, but probably because she noticed he had recently vomited into the cabana trash can. As he squinted heavily upon his approach to her place at the buffet, she gained a great deal of courage and certainty that must have looked a lot like old-fashioned confidence.

In case you are not convinced, allow me to regale you with another provably learned example:

I was at the grocery store last week buying healthy, organically grown, farm-raised Cheetos and beer when I spotted what can best be described as a "slammin' hottie". Tall, dark haired with strong, slender legs and a huge set of gorgeous teeth, she turned into the chip isle where I was about to grab a low-fat bag of baked Doritos (for good health). Upon seeing her, I quickly and imperceptibly drew myself up to my full height and reached for the snacks with my muscular arm confidently. I couldn't have looked more self-assured lurching for those tasty treats.

But I could have been part of the coupon display.

And why did she not notice me? Because she wasn't drunk and I am poor.

In her sober, calculating state, she might have literally failed to see me. Like actually as she walked down the isle she only saw chips and peanuts and my cart and thought to herself, "What jerk left a cart unattended? And this isn't the tanning lotion isle. Where am I? "

Had I been thinking clearly, which I wasn't because of the attempt to suck in my six-pack of "abs", I would have pulled out some cash. But since I just had a few ones and a nickle, likely she would have only seen the money and I would have remained invisible and prompted a frightened, "OMG, who left their money floating in mid-air?"

So you see, confidence means nothing to dumb girls and now we have proof.

All we need now are some drinks.

Pigassus

Post Script: All kidding aside, Gucci is right about confidence. Maybe it doesn't get you a night of indescribable fun with "slammin' hotties", but if you are less than physically perfect, it sure can take you a long way... to the free clinic.

So I hear.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Law of Fat and Effect

In case you missed a recent British study on the causes of obesity and the resultant damage to society: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21340725/from/ET/wid/11915773?gt1=10514 I will give you a very quick summation: Being fat is not your fault.

Hooray! Three cheers and a bucket of hot wings! Finally, the scientific community has conclusive evidence that the porcine amongst us aren't the conductors of their own fat orchestra.

Really... Well then who is to blame for XXXL shirts and "appetizers" large enough to feed six adult Somalians? What chthonic agent then is to blame for clogged arteries in teens and asses that require an airline seat for each cheek?

You guessed it: GLOBAL WARMING.

Turns out all that trapped heat has expanded our energy absorbent bodies and, like a kettle left too long on a burner, we're all about to explode! Run for the hills!

Okay, calm down. I just went back to the article and re-read it to check and make sure that the word "global" didn't have two "l"s, and it seems I got something wrong. Actually, I got everything wrong and the real culprit is much more logical and true. You see, SOCIETY is to blame for society becoming overweight.

I wish I had made the second reason up.

Apparently a group of well-paid, bespectacled geek-types have come to the conclusion that overwhelming forces in our nebulous culture make it impossible to avoid gaining weight. The very act of "storing" food in your home, where cave men did not posses such stockpiles of calories, make obesity not just likely, but inevitable. Throw in advertising of food, fast food availability, corn syrup in our drinks, and it's a damn miracle we aren't ALL 400lbs.

It's not your fault, see; it's everyone else's.

"They" did it to you.

Now all we need to do is pass a few hundred laws prohibiting the sale, manufacture, consumption, and desire for sweet and fatty foods and presto! Thin Earth, here we come.

Except that of course that will not happen. The truth is that WE are society and WE are actually individuals that make a million choices each year that affect our own health. Just because we can order an extra large six-cheese deep-dish pizza and have it delivered fresh and hot to our door doesn't mean we should. And it certainly doesn't mean we should eat that whole delicious melty goodness alone. We have the choice now to eat bean sprouts and soy curd if we think that will keep us alive longer.

The point is that we have those choices. As soon as any government declares that we cannot think for ourselves and our "problems" are beyond our individual control then, all kidding aside, it is time to run for the hills.

So walk, Fat Cat, walk! If you don't lose some weight, the government will make us all eat Subway sandwiches without mayo, yuck, and it will have been your fault. The planet is counting on you!

But, no pressure.

Pigassus

Post Script: If I have to eat bean sprouts, which taste like dirty old dirt, instead of the aforementioned eight slices of pizza Heaven, then I don't want to live longer.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Losing the Same Pound...527 Times

I am feeling chipper this morning. Want to know why? Because today, my demon scale says I weigh 203.8 pounds. Sure, that just two-tenths of a pound less than yesterday, but it puts me down in the 203s again.

Which brings to mind this point: how many times am I going to have to lose this particular pound before it stays gone for good? How many months is it going to take me to break 200 pounds? I have this nightmare vision of hovering around 201 pounds for months, maybe even years, while my stubborn old body desperately contrives new ways to manufacture fat out of thin air.

The day I weigh 199 pounds should be joyful but it will not be, because I know no matter how hard I work to get there, my body will go into full fat panic mode and start churning out globules of fat in record fashion, just to hang on to my thunder thighs. Which means, the day after I hit 199 pounds, I will wake up and discover that I weigh 257 pounds. If thighs could smile, mine would be grinning like mad.

Today is day 30 of my 90 Day Fitness Walking Program, and I haven't missed a single check mark in my journal. I am very proud of this accomplishment, but seeing so few tangible results from my month of hard work is discouraging. I now understand why people who have a substantial amount of weight to lose, people like me, don't stay with our exercise programs. We don't see results, we bail out.

In my little pea-sized heart, I think a month is a long time to go without seeing visible results. I want to kiss my jiggly ass and flubbery thighs goodbye, but they are still there, menacing innocent knickknacks on my friends' furniture. (I specify my friends' houses because I have been forced to "butt-proof" my own house.) It makes me sad to look at myself in the rear view mirror and see the "Queen of all Butts" still leering evilly at me. Will I be dragging that thing around forever? Will it never bow to the dictates of physics and contain itself?

We have been conditioned by shows like The Biggest Loser to think that all we have to do is eat less and exercise more and the pounds will come flying off. In real life, that's just not so. 30 days ago I weighed 206.4 pounds and today, after a month of walking, a month with no Coca-Cola or ice cream or homemade Ghiardelli Chocolate Brownies or Chocolate Chip Cookies or crunchy, buttery cinnamon toast, I weigh 203.8 pounds, a loss of just 2.6 pounds.

Like I said, pretty discouraging results for a month of work. This is where most people would get off the bus. Heck, I've wanted to get off the bus for a couple of weeks now. But I'm not going to. If I accomplish one goal with this, it will be to stop requiring blood pressure medication. I don't want to have to take a pill every day for the rest of my life when my "condition" could easily be normalized with regular exercise and better fitness. And my blood pressure numbers don't lie or bounce around like my scale does. They have been coming down steadily and staying down.

Besides, I have a sneaking suspicion the medication is at least partially responsible for me suffering something called a vitreous tear in my left eye. The doctor told me it happens as you get older, particularly if you lift something heavy (I had been hefting some heavy boxes around) and...if your eyes are dry.

Duh, I've been taking a diuretic. Of course my eyes are dry. Everything on me is dry – my lips, my mouth, my throat. I drink water like I just completed a 7-day desert trek. I go through lip balm like it was Easter Candy or perhaps, considering the time of year, I should say, Halloween Candy.

So am I to believe that my poor eye just up and spontaneously ripped itself apart, sort of committed eye hari kiri?

Uh, I don't think so. But here's a multiple choice question I never thought I would have to answer:

a. Would you like to have a heart attack, stroke or kidney failure?

or:

b. Would you like to go blind from the medicine we're giving you to keep you from having a heart attack, stroke or kidney failure?

Gee, is America's pill-driven medical culture swell or what?

I choose Answer c. @#$%!!! you all!

Yes, I know that technically that answer wasn't actually on the quiz, but it was a trick quiz anyway, designed to drive frightened patients into an expensive lifetime of pill dependency when frequently, all they have to do is modify their behavior to save their own lives. And yes, crazy pill company lawyers...I realize there are some lifesaving drugs that absolutely cannot be replaced by simple dietary or lifestyle modifications...so tuck your lawsuits away inside your stuffed shirts and leave me alone.

I'm taking responsibility for my health into my own hands. I am slowly weaning myself off the blood pressure pills, taking one just every other day now, and my pressure is staying way down. Next week, I will start taking a pill every third day, and so on until I am off the things entirely.

The way I see it, a little 30-minute walk every day on my treadmill is a small price to pay to keep from having to pick either a. or b. – even if it does mean I have to keep losing the same lame pound over and over and over again.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Genetic Lottery

I am not resigned to being a fat person, but I will say this: getting slimmer would be a lot easier if my body would cooperate with me and with science. When you eat LESS and exercise MORE, you are SUPPOSED to lose weight. It's scientific.

Unfortunately, for many older, overweight women, that just isn't how it works. (Note to self: Journal entry #488. Must talk to the Big Mysogynist in the Sky about why he hates women so much...)

On The Biggest Loser, the male contestants sweat and groan and cry like babies and lose 10 pounds a week. The female contestants sweat and groan and cry like babies and lose 1 pound, or do not lose any weight, or...drum roll please! Like yours truly, actually gain weight.

How is this fair?

It's not fair, my child.

Okay, Big Mysogynist in the Sky (hereafter known as b-mits). No one was talking to...


um, err...heh-heh-heh!

I didn't really mean that, not at all, just the old proverbial "slip of the tongue," so you can hold off on the lightning bolt, b-mits. You really can, unless you arrange it to burn just the fat off my ass and thighs.

I am just SO FRUSTRATED today. Yes, I am down .8 pounds from yesterday to a more moderate 204.0, but there were days last week when I weighed 202.0 pounds, so how and why am I back here at 204?

I'll tell you why. It's the genetic lottery. Even though I am descended from aristocracy (no kidding) it was Polish aristocracy and there has to be a field hand or two stuck in there somewhere, a little slap and tickle in the green Polish verge whilst Mamá was at prayers. Otherwise, how do explain my delicate, aristocratic turn of feature, the high cheekbones, the noble forehead creased with selfless thoughts, stacked on top of the Pillars of Hercules? How do you correlate the baby-fine blond hair with hands any NFL quarterback would be proud to own?

How do you?

You don't.

There is this woman at work. I will call her Madame X. She is not only the single most exquisitely beautiful creature I have ever laid eyes upon, she is also the nicest, the kindest, the sweetest. I want to hate her, but in good conscious, I cannot. The men all swoon around her. A friend of mine says she looks like she's carved out of cream cheese, just that luscious. I do not feel such thoughts when I see her; I feel envy.

She recently had her second baby, and three minutes later, she was back in her size one jeans. She is the same height as I am, but weighs almost a hundred pounds less. She is NOT anorexic, she is NOT scrawny or skinny, she is willowy. And why? Because she won the genetic lottery. She was standing at the front of the line for the best teeth, best eyes, best skin, best hair, best body...heck, even her toes, which are frequently on display and painted to match her outfit...even her toes are cute. And lest you be making some stereotypical assumption that all that beauty must come at a price and she is perforce, dumb, you would be wrong. She is also smart. She was also in the front of the brains line.

I know. It hardly seems fair. Couldn't I have been near the front for at least one of the lines?

Oh wait! I forgot. I was at the front of the lines for "Fat Ass" and "Thunder Thighs." I also think I was first in the "Knows the meaning of the word, 'irony' and can use it in a complete sentence" line.

Thanks, b-mits, but next time, can I please have big ta-tas, a vapid stare and a minuscule brain? Then I wouldn't have to work for a living.

Anyway, my dear little Piggie, who seems quite fussy this morning, was also at the front of several lines...looks, brains, personality. But he was so used to the world falling at his feet, at it so often does for attractive people, that he simply can't get used to the loss of adulation now that he's packing some extra pounds.

Have no fear, Pigassus. It is on, and together we will scale Mount Mashed Potato and plant the flag of skinny victory upon its summit.

Or roll down the hill inhaling as much mashed potato as we can before we crash into lardiferous heaps at the bottom, whichever comes first.

Fat Cat

Oh, It's On and Brought and Such

I think I smell a challenge.

Not the usual kind of challenge like when I try to mix bacon and spinach with tomato and lemon in a cheese soup base with sliced, grilled chicken. No. This is the bitter, disappointing scent of gym socks, tears, and carrots... the weight loss program smell. Fat Cat has, perhaps without realizing it, asked me to duel her to the DEATH in a Winner Loses All Fat Eviscerating Contest.

Okay, that's a bit dramatic. Perhaps, "Loser Wins a Something Fitness Sparing Jamboree."

Which explains the demise of my marketing career and calls into question my sense of smell.

Anywho, what better way to inspire someone than with a good old fashioned trial against a peer-like person? Even though it is commonly recognized that I am perfection and needn't lose any weight, isn't it time I showed my commitment to this site and my friend by going ahead and getting perfecter anyways? Doesn't my appetizer of humility demand a entrée of altruism with just a side of buttery graciousness?

The answer is a tasty YES.

So although friends, relatives, strangers and other ne'er-do-wells all agree that I might actually degrade my looks with a drastic weight loss, I am willing to try for Fat Cat's sake.

Therefore, let the Jamboree begin! We'll work out the rules and prizes and all that gritty, technical mumbo gumbo later.

Pigassus

Post Script 1: In a later post I'll include instructions so that anyone with the "stones" to do so can join in our Jamboree to the DEATH Fat Loss Evisceration or whatever we'll call it by then.

Post Script 2: This morning I weighed 211.5 pounds dry and by the "sc-eye-entific" method it was nearly 90% muscle. Beat that Harvard scale! The oven mitts are off!

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Dreaded Weigh-In

This morning was my fourth weekly weigh-in since I started my weight loss journey, and I can honestly say it's the first one I dreaded. As I approached the weigh day all the other weeks,I was full of joy. I had been sneaking my measurements and could see that they had gone down, and of course, my CDWIs (Constant Daily Weight-Ins) offered mostly good news, too. If my weight bumped up at all, it was only by a pound or so, and then it went right back down the next day or even lower.

But all this week my weight has been creeping higher and higher, no matter what I did. I actually upped my walks from 25 to 30 minutes this week, so I am exercising more, not less, and I increased the incline on my treadmill from 1% to 2% just to make my workout a little harder. The only thing I didn't do this week was my arm workout because I overdid it last week and pulled a muscle, so I took the week off to give it time to heal.

Yeah I know. It's damned hard to hurt yourself with three pounds weights but I managed it.

I stuck closely to my nutritional plan - no sodas, no ice cream, no cinnamon toast - just healthy food in reasonable portions consumed before 8 at night except for that one meal out on Wednesday, the night of the by now legendary Chocolate Eruption. But that one lapse was last Wednesday and the weigh-in was today, so I should have been alright, right?

Wrong.


Every day last week, the scales crept up and up. I was pulling my hair out (like I really need to add baldness to fatness). What was I doing wrong? I was exercising, I was eating right, but my stubborn body was hanging on to every fat cell like it was a pearl beyond price. The Keebler Elves of Fat were working overtime inside my Pillars of Hercules to make sure my thighs stayed properly plumped.


Now I am NOT starving myself. First of all, I like food too much to do that; secondly, as a medical reporter I know not eating enough sends your body, particularly the female body into panic fat storage mode. But despite my care to
eat normal meals at normal times, my body has gone into panic fat storage mode anyway. In fact, my body is currently in panic fat manufacturing mode. If I listened closely enough (and understood thigh) I swear I could almost hear my thighs whispering to each other in their guttural, prehistoric tongue: Ugh, woman eat last of woolly mastodon this morning. Must conserve fat. Must make fat. Must make more fat. Ugh.

So anyway, here's the tragic truth of the weigh-in:

I know. MY EYES! MY EYES! That's what I said, too. But since I pledged from the beginning that I was going to be honest on this blog, that's the numbers, horrifying though they are.

Hear that, oh hott one?

I GAINED almost a pound and a half, apparently from breathing in too much air; either that or my scale's been smoking crack cocaine. I GAINED .2% in my body fat, going from 40.4% fat to 40.6%, and this after 4 weeks of walking 6 days a week. According to my fancy, Harvard-educated scale, all that exercise caused my muscle mass to fall from 28.8% of my body to 28.7%. What? How can I even stand up? It's a wonder I have enough muscle power to press the keys on this computer.

HOW CAN I STILL BE SO FAT AFTER FOUR WEEKS OF EXERCISE AND MODERATE EATING? HOW CAN I HAVE ONLY LOST BARELY A POUND IN A MONTH OF HARD WORK AND DEDICATION? WHERE IS KIM LYONS WHEN I NEED HER?

I walk on a treadmill so I know exactly how fast I am going, 3 miles per hour, so it's not like I am crawling like a slug upon the ground. But no matter. I still GAINED a half inch in each thigh this week, the same half inch it took me three weeks to lose. But before you kindly try to tell me that maybe it's muscle, let me just say...muscle doesn't jiggle.

All this goes against common sense, logic, fairness, all that's holy, and I think maybe even Robert's Rules of Order. I was robbed, I was cheated, I was kicked around by the Universe and spat upon.

But, and but...look at my blood pressure and resting heart rate. When I started, even with medication my blood pressure was 140 over 94, not terrifying like it was back in March, 217 over 107 when I took myself to the emergency room, but not great either. Now look at it: 128 over 78 (she says proudly...). And my resting heart rate has gone from 77 beats per minute down to 65. Maybe that doesn't mean much to you but to me it means I am getting more fit, even if my damned scale refuses to believe it.

My first reaction to all the bad news this morning was to go on a binge, even though I am not a binge person. I wanted to fry up a pound of bacon and roll around in it. I wanted to slather butter on a whole loaf of bread, coat each slice with sugar, then coat the sugar with cinnamon, and stick it under the broiler until the butter bubbled up through the sugar and made a luscious crunchy crust on top of each slice. I wanted to drizzle chocolate sauce all over my hands and lick it off. I wanted to suck whipped cream straight from the Lucky Whip nozzle. Why the hell not? Apparently it didn't make any difference to my body what I ate or didn't eat; it was going to stay fat even if it had to manufacture the stuff out of thin air. So why not enjoy myself?

Here's why. Because if I let this set-back defeat me, a year from now I will still be a fat person. And I don't want to be a fat person any more. So I didn't eat all that food I fancied; I just enjoyed my carefully measured one cup of raisin bran with one small sliced banana. I did allow myself the satisfaction of going into the bathroom and staring at my scale with evil intent. I resisted the urge to pick it up and smash it against the bathroom wall. I mean, I just painted. No sense ruining a perfectly good paint job in a fit of pique.

So, Round 4 goes to the scale. But I will win the match.

I will.

Fat Cat

When To Seek Help

For many of the large-ish people out there, there comes a point when they ask themselves an important question: "One dozen glazed or two?" But of course they choose two, and then they ask themselves an even more critical follow-up question: "Holy crap, do I have a problem with my weight?" Since they are carrying a few pounds of sugar-coated, deep-fried pastries and it's breakfast, the short answer is "duh".

But the odd thing is many people never get to the "duh". Like a truffle pig searching the forest floor, the clueless doughnut addict from the above example keeps nosing around from shrub to shrub looking for tasty fungus to clamp their surprisingly articulate lips around.

No, back up, that's both insensitive and not really what I meant.

What I actually mean is that most people keep endlessly searching for signs that they have a problem with their health and the behaviors that cause their weight gain. Though they are given ample clues, they dismiss the obvious and keep waiting for the one conclusive piece of evidence that will indelibly stamp a mark on their forehead that says, "Overweight Person! Seek Help!"

In the meantime, they not only endanger their health, but also the welfare of anyone they collide with on the street.

So in an effort to give people in need a sure-fire sign that they absolutely, definitely, positively should start looking for help and support for their weight problem, we here at Fat-Chat have designed an incredibly unscientific and possibly offensive test.

Please retain your answers for the analysis at the end.

1. In previous posts a dessert was mentioned by the name of "Chocolate Eruption". When you read the name, did you snicker to yourself because it sounded vaguely like a bodily function, a body part, or (depending on your level of adventure) an act between two consenting adults? Or did you think about a Snickers bar?

2.

3. (For men) Does the part of your belly under the navel sag low enough to cover from sight or, Heaven forbid, actually cover any important parts that were referenced in question one?

4. (For women) Is it difficult for people to determine exactly where your knees, calves, and ankles begin or end?

5. Do you look at a restaurant menu like other people view "adult" magazines and consider the phrase "dinner is served" naughty talk?


Scoring:

1. If you answered, "Yes, eruption is a funny word, man!" then you are a a teenage boy and you have very little problem with your weight and everyone else reading this hates you and hopes you get really fat when you get older. If your mouth watered a little when you saw the word Snickers, mark one point.

2. A trick question. If you saw the blank spot and just wondered if I was incompetent or lazy, then you are mean and judgemental. If you saw the second line and made a bet with yourself that I had gone to have a snack and forgot to write something and now you are trying to figure out what's still edible in your refrigerator so you can get a snack, mark one point. Mark a second point if you did in fact pull out three-day old mac-and-cheese and go to town.

3. Mark a point if, in reference to the question, the phrase "little snake coming out of the cave" makes any sense. Actually, mark two points.

4. If you looked confused for a second but then while looking down at your lower leg, nodded, mark a point. Mark two points if you had trouble seeing your lower leg.

5. Yes, food is an aphrodisiac? Mark a point and remind me not to invite you to dinner.


Analysis:

Okay, the obvious thing is that I probably think more than I should about food and carnal "relations". But since I am not the one with a problem, I will instead just offer this advice:

If you marked ANY points, SEEK HELP.

Now, for a change, I am serious (though not in any professional way). Think about asking someone to help you if you are struggling with your health and weight. Just telling someone you intend to lose weight or get in shape will make it ten times more likely that you will try. Disappointing yourself is easy; being a let-down to someone else is hard. I don't mean that you need to go to a private dietitian or physical therapist (unless you think you should), but maybe try getting someone else involved with your weight loss. Join a group, tell your kids to remind you to go for a jog, find someone to have regular erotic aerobic adventures with... anything that will get an external force to help support and encourage you in your difficult endeavor. ANYBODY.

Even someone hott like me.

As long as you bring the doughnuts.

Pigassus

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Frustration

Tomorrow is weigh-in day and already I'm dreading it. Until now, I could look at my daily weight loss journal entries and even in the spiraling ups and downs of my weight, still see a gradual pattern of weight loss emerging. But this week, the sprials have all been up and what I see emerging, even though I am only four weeks into this thing and have really only lost three pounds or so...is a dreaded "plateau."

Now a plateau, at least in the world of dieters, is when your body basically says, "F@#$!!@!! you!" I've dropped all the pounds I care to drop. You want to lose any more? Get lipo! Get a lap band! Leave me alone. I prefer the ass just like it is now, got it?"

Yes, I know. It's appalling that my body would speak to me in such a manner. I myself was raised by a true Southern belle who had exquisite manners (Thank you, mama...). But since I am the only one who "raised" my body (grew it all by myself, with a little help from Blue Bell and Coca-Cola) it's not quite as well-mannered as I, or at least, as I pretend to be when people are looking.

Translated into plain English, this means my body has gotten used to the amount of exercise I am doing and the type and amount of food I am eating and in order to lose more, I am going to have to do more and eat less.

I HATE THIS! IT'S NOT FAIR!!!

I must take a few paragraphs to whine. Don't you think giving up guzzling Coca-Cola should count for something? By my estimate I got rid of 897 calories a day just by switching to water (3 12-ounce cans a day x 155 calories = 465 calories + one 32-ounce gut buster from any convenient drive-in a day at 432 calories = 897 empty liquid but simply divine calories a day.) Multiply that times the 28 days I have been on this program and it equals 25,116 calories. Divide that by 3,500, the number of calories you have to either burn or give up to lose one pound, and that equals 7.176 pounds. So, survey says, I should have lost 7.176 pounds from this sacrifice alone by now, but my body is saying, "Oh, hell no!"

That's not even taking into account the ice cream and chocolate I have given up, or the hot, buttery, crunchy cinnamon toast that I make so well but won't let myself make any more because I am trying to become healthy.

That's also not taking into account the fact that over the last month, by sheer dint of will, I have transformed myself from:

• a human sloth who got up and moved away from my computers (yes, there's more than one) only to eat, go to work and attend to the call of nature

into:

• a fantastic human exercise machine

Um, err, well...

into:

• a human sloth who grudgingly gets up on the treadmill every day so I can make an honest check mark in my 90 Day Fitness Walking Program journal.

So with all the calories I've burned walking this past month and all the calories I haven't taken in by giving up many of my favorite indulgences and NOT replacing them with any other indulgence, I think I should have lost 10 pounds or so by now. But once again, my body is saying, "Oh, hell no! We likes it fat! We likes it blubbery!" (I have no idea why my body is talking like Golem, but it's kind of creepy and scary...)

So this week, despite my faithfulness to the program and sticking mostly to my diet (what's one Chocolate Eruption amongst friends?) despite that...it looks like I am going to have a weight gain this week, not a weight loss, and it also looks like I am not losing any additional inches this week.

In the past, my old self would have said, "Screw this! I'm not flogging myself and depriving myself for no reason. If my body wants to stay fat, let it stay fat! I'm not working this hard for nothing. If it's a choice between lounging on my double-wide, snorkeling in Coca-Cola and weighing 204 pounds or busting my hump on the treadmill, counting every calorie and still weighing 204 pounds, then bring on the Coca-Cola! Bring it on!"

But my new self is watching the one number that does keep going down...my blood pressure. And my new self is focusing on the true reason I am on this program, which is to get fit and healthy. And fit and healthy does not always mean skinny. Apparently, at least in my case, it will NEVER mean skinny. But if I keep going as I am, I will be able to wean myself off my blood pressure medication and keep my pressure under control simply through regular cardiovascular exercise and healthy eating. Notice I didn't saying dieting, because I am not on a diet, I am on a journey.

Actually, I am on a mission. And you know what they say, there is no one more fervent than a recent convert. I am a recent convert who doesn't want to become a recent martyr.

And so...I walk.

Fat Cat

Friday, October 12, 2007

Finding the Right Carrot

It may or may not surprise you to know that I bought my treadmill wa-a-ay back in 1991, and if length of use were the sole measurement employed to determine its condition, it would still be practically brand new.

Over the years, I walked on it occasionally, and once I even walked on it pretty regularly, for about ten days or so. But something else always came up to distract me. The problem was, I wasn't determined to walk on the treadmill so...I almost never did. I did however, turn it into a fetching free-form Art Deco clothes hangar and box storage unit.

The clothes and boxes are gone now and I am on Day 25 of my 90 Day Fitness Walking Program. I am doing it. I am sticking with an exercise program because I finally found the right carrot. Telling myself I was going to get slender and beautiful never did the trick, but telling myself if I didn't get up off my doublewide and walk I was going to die sooner rather than later, well...that had a most efficacious effect on my motivation.

But just realize, this is my carrot, and my carrot may not work for you at all. You really do have to find your own.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I learned way back in March that I had dangerously high blood pressure. Now that's a health problem that responds rather quickly to a walking done as an exercise, a health problem that can sometimes be totally managed or even "cured" by regular walking. Yet, even knowing this, it still took me to October to get up on the treadmill. I walked a few times between then and now, but it was always a desultory sort of "catch as catch can" sort of thing. I knew my health was on the line, but I was still not motivated to make the changes I needed to make to improve my health.

I know. I'm probably a head case.

Then I figured out how to give myself a dandy carrot, a carrot that is working. It's a sort of unusual carrot to be sure, but a carrot nonetheless and as long as I don't cheat, as long as I play by the rules I have set for myself to be allowed to grab that carrot every day, my exercise program will continue unabated.

I'm sure you're all wondering what in the heck my carrot it. It's simple. It's TV.

What? What? TV? How can that be a carrot?

It can be a carrot if there's a show you really enjoy that you won't let yourself watch unless your hump is up on the treadmill working out. In my case, the carrot is Frazier. "What?" again? Yes, Frazier.

In the 11 years that show was on the air, I never saw it once. My kids were young then and every night there was homework, music lessons, soccer practice, quality family time - a dozen things way more important than a television show. But as I laid up in that hospital bed last March, scared half to death and worried about how my test results would turn out, I tuned in to the TV hanging from the ceiling and found...nothing.

Endless shopping channels, Spanish channels I couldn't understand, wrestling, hunting, fishing, kick boxing, TV preachers of the most odious "Send me your money and I'll build you a staircase to heaven just as soon as I get finished building my 12-million dollar mansion sort" ... and little else.

Desperate, I flipped backwards through the channels and found an episode of Frazier. I'd heard a lot about it; I knew Kelsey Grammer had owned the Emmys for a few years in his role as Dr. Frazier Crane, so I thought, "Why not?" There was nothing else on that was even remotely interesting to me.

Turned out to be just the thing. I was fortunate enough to catch the pilot episode, The Good Son, which explains how Frazier ends up living with his father, Martin, a policeman recovering from a bullet wound suffered during a robbery. Then I found out a local station was running the series in order late at night; that was five episodes of Frazier a week. I started watching them as soon as I got home. But the problem was, I was supposed to be getting a lot of sleep to help me get better faster, and watching Frazier kept me up too late, until past midnight.

The solution was to tape the shows and watch them the next morning. I did that for a while but finally realized I could use my growing affection for the show and its cast of characters to my benefit. If I made a rule stating that I couldn't watch my taped Frazier show unless I was walking on my treadmill, then that, coupled with my desire to get fit and healthy, would be a wonderful carrot. And it's working.

Every morning, I turn on my TV and DVR and press play, then hop on the treadmill to walk the specified number of minutes. It has now become a ritual and in this case, the ritual is a very good thing.

So what's going to happen when I finally run out of Frazier episodes? It's getting close. Niles and Dapne have already eloped and found out they're expecting a child.

I expect I will just find another classic half hour comedy to keep me going, because laughing and walking...well, that's a good combination.