Girl, You Fat.

Consider this in between the last post and the new post.  It is post #2.5 if you will, because I am being harassed in my every day life to update this thing.

One of the problems I have most often at work is that I have an oral fixation (please…enter jokes here) and pretty much always have to be eating or drinking something.  That’s occurred since I was a baby, walking around with an empty bottle hanging out of my mouth.  At work, I’m trying to drink water to pacify this, but during a 9 hour day, I have to snack on something (not counting lunch, which I generally get from the Best Vegetarian Restaurant Ever, right around the corner).  Lately, this “snack” has consisted of dark chocolate, which I guess is better than milk chocolate, but I’m thinking it should probably not be an occurrence in each of the six days a week that I work.  So I’ve been on the look out for a good snack to bring to work.

LUCKILY, I have this girl on my Facebook feed that I went to Mexico with way back in 2007.  This girl is studying to be a dietician and thus is blogging about it.  Recently she blogged about roasted chickpeas.

Now let me tell you, Girl, I’m Fat Audience.  I love me some chickpeas/garbanzo beans.  Whether whole, in the form of hummus, as falafel…I don’t care.  I will chow the hell down.  So this seemed like an obvious approach.  I’ve whipped up a batch in the last couple of hours and I must say, they are delicious.  So to give credit where credit is due, I feel you should all check out Amari’s blog here, at Eat Chic.  She’s a smart, cool girl, though I’m not sure she remembers who I am, and she seems to know what the hell she’s talking about.  I’ve linked specifically to the garbanzo bean recipe.

However, I did modify mine a little bit.  I did the following:

Throw a whole damn bag of raw, whole chickpeas into a pot of water.  Let that boil for two minutes, and then let it sit for two hours.  Or, you can go about it in the non-Panamanian approach, and just buy those guys in cans.

Once they are edible (or taken out of their cans), mix them up with olive oil, lemon juice (I had about three cups of beans, so I used about 5T olive oil, and 2T lemon juice).  Then toss them in the following spice mixture of salt, pepper, cumin, curry, brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves,  and probably some more curry, since it prevents Alzheimer’s.  Roast them up for thirty minutes, making sure to stir part way through.

This recipe is for everyone.  It’s vegetarian, it’s vegan, it’s gluten free, it’s pretty diabetic friendly…I really don’t know of anyone who *couldn’t* eat this.  Plus, it’s a good source of protein, so when I’m hitting my 3pm slouch and am about read to throttle my ridiculous boss, I will just reach for my handy Tupperware container of these guys, instead.

BRAVO, Garbanzo.


A note before we begin: Yahoo has proclaimed that eating full fat cheese actually aids in weight loss. You can read the article here. I am more thrilled than any of you can actually imagine. Obviously the key is moderation, but hello! CHEDDAR CHEESE FOR WEIGHT LOSS. I am a glutton.

I am evidently the most infrequent blogger ever. I think I got momentarily inspired when I went to see Julie & Julia and actually thought that maybe I would have updated on a daily basis. Ha! I also thought I had a job with daily internet access, but I guess that isn’t so much the case.

So what has been happening in the last eighteen days? I will tell you what. It is difficult trying to get into the swing of this weight-loss thing, and especially around the holidays. Here in Panama, Christmas is celebrated by buying a giant wreath of “egg bread,” whatever that is, and eating it at pretty much every meal. It is Jorge’s favorite bread ever, and as it’s only available once a year, it is a constant presence in our apartment.

Other delicacies that fall into the “once-a-year-so-let’s-eat-as-much-as-possible-of-it-now” category are cookies that are made out of almost entirely butter, eggnog, giant 25 lb. turkeys filled with pork sausage stuffing, whole legs of pig, and fruitcake fruitcake FRUITCAKE. So while that’s all well and good and not nearly as damaging to cardiac health as the types of food my American family indulges in during the holidays (nor as delicious…), it’s also not the best fare when one is trying to “rebajar.” Add that to the fact that my new job is not nearly as physical as my old one, and we have a problem on our hands.

What to do, what to do? I will tell you what: we will start an account at Sparkpeople. Sparkpeople is an amazing, wondrous website that almost the whole world already knows about, but which I will shamelessly pimp out anyway. It’s effective, supportive (with this whole huge online community thing that holds you accountable), nagging (in that it sends you various emails EVERY SINGLE DAY if you forget to turn off the notification like I did), and most importantly, it’s free. You enter in your information, your goals, and your lifestyle, and it creates a work out plan, eating plan, and grocery list for you.

And weight loss isn’t the only goal with Sparkpeople. There are various goals to choose from that can help improve the quality of your day, and that don’t necessarily have anything to do with your weight loss. My personal goals include “drink 8 glasses of water every day,” because I am a Diet Coke (or rather, Coca-Cola Light) addict who should be a paid sponsor for the company, as well as “listen to an upbeat song every day.” So while obviously the website’s primary goal is to encourage weight loss, it also fosters a very healthy online environment that also encourages people to take control of their lives in other ways. I should mention that Sparkpeople is definitely for everyone.

Now obviously, I am still in Panama. Sparkpeople doesn’t exactly take this into account when it creates, for example, my grocery list. What’s that, Sparkpeople? You want me to buy swiss chard and quinoa? Even if I did know how to translate “swiss chard” into Spanish, I highly doubt any supermarket around here would have it at an affordable price. The only supermarket in which I can find some of these things is the local Kosher place. There, quinoa costs $6 a can, which in the United States I guess wouldn’t be bad, but here that’s the equivalent of two hours of work. So no, Sparkpeople, I will not be using quinoa. I will be defaulting to brown rice.

Anyway, after all that ranting, my point is this: use Sparkpeople. It’s an incredibly useful tool not only for weight loss, but also for nutritional planning and all around health-management. I suggest every single one of you head right on ever there right now to create an account.

In other news, I took my measurements about two weeks ago. They are the following:

Waist: 31
Hips: 42
Thighs: 24
Arms: 13

I am, as I am told often in this country, “murlona.” That translates, basically, to “thick-legged.” It’s a fact of life and one that I’m not getting around any time soon. I can lose all the weight I want and I’ll still be pear-shaped as hell. My calves do not fit into knee high boots and didn’t even at my thinnest, and the skinny jeans at Zara are my “thinspiration,” as it were. If I wear a six around my waist, I will still wear about an 8 just to accommodate my huge Viking legs (another Jorge-ism).

An anecdote for you: while in the Peace Corps, I got parasites pretty badly (multiple times). The first time I was struck down with them, I traveled to the local rural clinic to get some anti-parasite drugs. I walked into the clinic, and the doctor’s first reaction upon seeing me was “why are your legs so swollen? Is that a build up of fluid? We’re going to have to drain them!”

Yeah, he was talking about my normal, giant calves. My calves which I try to attribute to years of tap and hockey and figure skating, but which are abnormally large regardless.

I am hoping, however, that with my vigorous combination of exercise (which I will get into on my next post) and eating somewhat healthily, my calves will shrink, but if anyone has any tried and true ways of deflating these bad boys, let me know.

I realize, in all my glorious partying, caring about the change of the decade ways, that it became 2010 while making this post. So I wish all of you a safe and happy New Year, and you can probably all predict my resolution for 2010: lose this fucking weight. And I promise you all: the next post will include pictures! Yay!

I am a fatty.

I’ll come right out and say it. I am a fatty. It’s been this way for as long as I can remember. Maybe at one point in my toddler-hood, I was a normal, active girl, but I don’t actually remember that time; it only exists in pictures and anecdotes. Since my very first memory, I have been chubby, overweight, “pleasantly plump.” Whichever horrifyingly cute word you use to describe it, it still comes down to the same thing: I am fat.

It’s garnered attention all my life.

My Godfather, whom I love, called me Chipmunk Cheeks for the fatty deposits on the side of my face that resemble a chipmunk storing enough food to last him a winter.

I always had to order the giant leotards in my dance classes, and fight against the tights that didn’t want to fit my ginormous calves. When the other girls had no problem changing out in the open, I ran behind a curtain so that no one had to stare at my rolls. I was conscious of this at age 10.

My fiance calls me Piernona (big legs) or Viking, both in reference to the huge tree trunks that are trying to pass as my lower extremities. He loves them, and means it purely as a compliment, but it is still as reference to my big-ness.

Suffice to say, I am not a small girl. However, as big as I am now, it was, at one point, worse. Let’s all reflect on these pictures from high school/early college, where I stood at 5’7″ and weighed between 200-230 lbs., depending on the year the photo was taken.

In this picture, I am the seafoam green monster.

In school, I was not just fat. I was “holy shit, girl, you’re huge.” Some classmates made sure I didn’t forget it, especially from fourth grade to around eighth grade. Granted, the “wide load, Bessie” comments died down by the time I got to college, but my self-esteem took a definite hit. Eventually, it came to the point where I got sick of moping around about poor Fatty Melissa, and decided to buy a bike (this coincided with my impatience regarding the Chicago Transit Authority). Riding it as my main form of transportation, along with consciously not stuffing my face with chocolate, resulted in a thirty pound weight loss over two years…I went from 230 lbs. to 200 by my college graduation.

And then I took the biggest step yet toward weight loss: I joined the Peace Corps. Getting shipped off to Panama, complements of the United States Government, insured me another thirty pound weight loss. I dropped to 170 – my lowest weight ever. Here’s a picture of how I was hot, to commemorate that event:

On the right, in my sassy size 10 Gap jeans.

But eventually, my body had to adjust to the parasites in the water, and I had to start eating all that strange food being served to me. The diarrhea stopped, the love of arroz con pollo began, and after 2.5 years of living in this country, I have gone back up to 185 lbs.

And enough is enough.

I am a 24 year old. I only weigh 185 lbs. I am not heavy enough to be a Biggest Loser Contestant, and yet I am not nearly as motivated to lose the weight, either. Those people are way heavier than I ever was, and yet they manage to put their ass on a treadmill and do something about it. I, on the other hand, can’t haul my ass out of bed any later than a half an hour before I need to leave my house. That kind of “self-determination” does not exactly lead to permanent and lasting weight loss. Which is where this blog comes in.

I’m hoping that, by having a blog, there will be some amount of accountability. Maybe I’ll have readers, or maybe I won’t. If I do, maybe they’ll be people I know, who leave messages like “Melissa, get up off your fat ass and run a mile.” Who knows. I just know that if I have to write about it, then I’ll do it. It’ll be like homework for me, every day.

So thus begins “Girl, You Fat.” A look at a 24 year old girl’s struggle with weight loss, from a country where the food is rice and fried meat, and pretty much everyone suffers from adult-onset diabetes. Where potatoes and plaintains are considered vegetables, and eating a salad for an entire meal is unheard of.

And I have motivation. The goal: look hot as hell for my May 29th, 2010 wedding, and then come back to the United States and stun everyone I ever knew in my old life.

I have the dress. I have the blog. Let’s go.

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