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Sex Love and Obesity Part 1

I believe that there is a part of the weight loss journey that we don’t talk about nearly enough. The way obesity affects the decisions we make regarding sex, love and relationships.

I wasn’t always an Obesity Rebel. There have been times in my life that Obesity kicked my ass and suffering from this disease lead me to make some bad decisions in when it came to these things. There were times when I was 100% convinced that losing weight would fix all my relationship-oriented problems. Times I believed I would miraculously find Mr. Right if my waist size wasn’t in the high double digits or if the number on my scale didn’t start with a 2, 3 or 4.

In this next blog series, “Sex, Love and Obesity” I’m going to share some of my thoughts and experiences on this topic with you. 

Sex Love and Obesity Part 1: I thought losing weight was going to fix my love life.

When I first started my weight loss journey I was in the middle of a failing marriage. The marriage was already over honestly and there wasn’t really anything left to fix ; we’d already grown apart. I couldn’t tell you what was going through his mind at the time, but I had decided that after losing all that weight I was finally in a position where men might actually *WANT* to date me, and I was curious if something more fulfilling was out there.

I’d never really done that. The dating thing. As someone who suffered from obesity since childhood, my dating background was sort of slim. I had a high school sweetheart that was also a bit overweight. So, he was very accepting of me.

We broke up not long after graduation. I was 18 then and the internet had just become a thing. I met a 24-year-old guy in an AOL chat room. He was a computer geek, gamer, and wasn’t exactly the epitome of slender himself. I moved in with him within a month of dating him and together our poor lifestyle habits lead to an even more overweight me. Our relationship sexually was rather boring, so I started looking for more excitement in online sex chat rooms.

Cyber sex filled a void in my life.

It provided a venue for me to experience the sort of passionate romantic and exciting sexual escapades I was looking for without my weight being a hard limitation. However, as soon as anyone got close enough to me that they asked for a photo and realized how overweight I was, I’d feel the sting of their rejection.

As the number on the scale climbed, I probably weighed somewhere between 200-250 pounds. In the world of the internet chat room and internet chat lingo, I was what was referred to as a BBW, (Big Beautiful Woman) only nobody really thought big was beautiful and most the times the posts I would see from men advertising that they were looking for someone would exclude me. “No BBWs please,” was a common line in the online profiles I read.

In my search for men that were accepting of my size, I would often start-up chat conversations with just about anyone that didn’t post a weight restriction in their profile. I’d feel them out, avoid the part of the conversations where they would ask for photos, and try to build a relationship based on my personality first. I figured eventually I’d find someone who would like me for who I was and then what I looked like wouldn’t be so important.

I did meet someone like that. Someone that didn’t really care much about what I weighed or what I looked like. He was more focused on how I behaved. Particularly how submissive I was. He introduced me to the BDSM, (Bondage, Discipline, Sadism, Masochism) community. I was about 19 years old then. If you read erotica I’d say my life varied somewhere between The Story of O and the John Normal Gor Novels.

Pandora Williams Before Photo

Before Photo – Taken approx. 2001 – 400 lb.

I was owned, I was considered property, and I was used sexually.

Strangely, my lack-of-self-confidence made this all justifiable in my mind. I was proud to be such a good submissive, slave, or whatever label you wanted to put on it, that men wanted to own me. Being owned was a privilege. Being hand selected by a man to be his property made me special. That’s what I was taught, and that was the way I lived my life for the next thirteen years.

I entered into relationships as if they were contracts. I had rules that I had to follow. Rules that determined things like how I could speak, what I could wear, what changes I could make to my hair or my body, what music I could listen to, what television shows I could watch. If I broke the rules, I was punished. Sometimes the punishments were physical, sometimes they were emotional. But I spent my life striving to be so obedient that I was rarely punished.

In the beginning I had several owners. The alternative lifestyle community kind of promotes open relationships. Many of the men involved in these types of relationships have no problem sharing the women they own with others. This is often acceptable because they either wish to participate in sexual experiences with other women themselves or because they own more than one woman at a time. Swinging, poly amorous relationships and “sharing” were a common occurrence in these relationships.

I didn’t really want to share someone’s love and attention.

This presented a problem for me. I never really wanted that sort of relationship. I found myself constantly seeking a man who wanted only one slave. I envisioned the romanticized version of these relationships where in exchange for my undying love and devout submission, I was provided for, emotionally, mentally, physically and financially.

After the better part of 6 years, I found the type of Master I believed I wanted. But by that point my relationship with food and my habit of feeding my feelings had caused me to gain a tremendous amount of weight. I weighed nearly 420 lb. and even though I had found my equivalent of Prince Charming in my BDSM fairy-tale.  My happy ending came with a caveat, I had to lose weight if I wanted to be owned by him.

When he presented my weight as an obstacle to a relationship he was kind about it. He let me know that it wasn’t just about what I looked like and his level of physical attraction to me, it was also about not wanting to be with someone who was unhealthy. He had concerns about the physical ailments and medical ramifications associated with obesity. He wanted me to be healthy if he was going to make a lifelong commitment to owning me.

When he presented this issue to me, in my mind, any loyal submissive that truly wanted the commitment of ownership from a man on the level that I did, would do anything asked of them to earn it. So, I decided, for the first time in my entire life of struggling with obesity to make a commitment to losing the weight. I started dieting and exercising and the weight started melting off.

In just a little over a year, I had shed 195 pounds and moved to another state to be closer to him. I achieved that coveted title of being his slave. About 9 months later he decided we should get married. It made sense at the time. It sealed our commitment to each other in a way the world recognized. It would allow him to make medical decisions for me as my “Husband” that he wouldn’t be able to make as my “Master.” – I was elated. I thought I had found my 50 Shades of Gray version of happily ever after and my fairy-tale ending.

I also thought I was correct in my interpretation that losing weight would miraculously solve all my love life problems.

But my romantic problems were just beginning.

My struggle with obesity was nowhere near over and every decision I had made in my love life thus far was more an act of desperation than an act of love.

I had no idea how much suffering from obesity had damaged my self-worth. I was unaware how much it had caused me to devalue myself. I was oblivious to how it was affecting my decisions when it came to sex, love and relationships. But, I was about to find out.

Stay tuned next week the next part of this blog series.

Sex Love and Obesity Part 2 – How Gaining & Losing Weight Ruined My Marriage

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Pandora Williams author of Desperately Seeking Slender is an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer and Cooper Institute Approved Wellness Coach Trained in Weight Management Strategies. Her training and coaching services are offered exclusively through GoGirl Fitness Studio.

Turn Your Food Journal Into A Food Prep Tool

In last week’s blog, Food Journaling Adds Accountability and Success to Weight Loss we talked about your food journal, why it is important and how to get started with MyFitnessPal, the food journal that I recommend to my clients.

This week, I want to talk a little bit more about how your food journal can also be your food prep tool.

I cannot say this enough. Plan and prep, plan and prep, plan and prep.

Planning your meals and preparing everything you can ahead of time is one of the best offenses you have in the fight against obesity.

Using your food journal to log your food makes your mindful and accountable for what you are eating. It’s a great defensive strategy. But when it comes to trying to lose weight, being on the defensive side of the fight sometimes leaves you struggling to get the results you want.

It’s time to get on the offensive, which means don’t just follow the age old “If you bite it write it” adage. Start using your food journal to plan your offensive strategy. Use it to decide what is going to be on the grocery list and what you’re going to be preparing each day.

For right now. Forget about today. Instead open MyFitnessPal and from the homepage go to “Diary” and press that little arrow button that says “Tomorrow” and start planning. Pick the meal that requires the most preparation for you and decide what you’ll be having.

I personally always start with dinner. It’s the meal I must put the most thought and creativity into, especially if I am cooking for more than just myself. Today I’ve decided that tomorrow I am going to cook pork chops with green beans and a salad.

I bake my pork chops so no need to allow for any oils there; I steam my green beans and usually just throw some spray butter on them, so no need to count for oils there either. My salad on the other hand will have some fats.  I’ll be putting some balsamic vinaigrette on and probably some goat cheese. My salad will likely include mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, cucumber and radishes as those are the fresh veggies I usually have on hand already cut up in the fridge. Great, I’ve got that all in MyFitnessPal now.

I typically make a protein shake for lunch, it’s an easy prep and take to go with me way of getting my protein and energy in on my way to work. My protein shakes usually consist of 12oz of non-fat milk, a scoop of protein powder, a cup of frozen mixed fruit, a ¼ cup of Greek yogurt and about 4-6 ice cubes. Great I’ve got that all logged in for tomorrow in MyFitnessPal now.

Next, I’m going to add in my dailies. The things I typically do every single day. I drink a lot of coffee. Like a lot of coffee. I use about 2 tablespoons of fat free half and half in each cup which typically comes to about 8-10 tablespoons per day. I put that under “snacks” in my food journal.

Let’s take a break and talk about alerts.

MyFitnessPal has this neat feature. It alerts you when you go over your goals in your food selections. For example, with everything I just entered it altered me that my sugar goal for the day (a setting it decided not me) was to stay under 45 grams of sugar.

Sugars add up fast. I had 10 grams in my berries, 12 grams in my non-fat milk, 1.5 grams in my Greek yogurt, 2 grams in my protein powder, about 10 grams in my logged vegetables, and 2.4 grams my balsamic vinaigrette. Adding my Fat Free Half and Half 8 grams of sugar knocked me over that goal of staying under 45 grams of sugar each day. Clicking on each one of these foods in my food journal told me what the sugar content of each food was and allowed me to see where all those sugars were adding up on me.

Now if this is a big deal for me, and I really want to keep my sugar and thusly carbohydrate and calorie counts lower, I might move some things around. I might decide to use almond milk instead of non-fat milk in my protein shake. Almond milk is lower in sugar, but higher in fat than non-fat milk. That quick change, because I was planning my food ahead, got my sugar intake back under the 45-gram goal. I also got a feedback alert from MyFitnessPal letting me know that almond milk is high in calcium. Kudos to me for a good swap there.

Food Journal Screen ShotNow I need to plan for the meals I have a hard time with.

I hate breakfast. Don’t love eating it. So, breakfast must be something quick, painless and effortless for me. Tomorrow I think I’ll go for a couple hard-boiled eggs. Egg yolks can kick your fats and cholesterol up real fast though. I typically throw one of the yolks out to avoid those numbers getting high on me. When I added my eggs MyFitnessPal just told me that food was high in protein. Another good choice! See how easy this can be?

Time to plan my snacks. A quick glance at my nutrition stats in MyFitnessPal let’s me know I still need some more protein. I’ll throw a protein bar in there. I also need some more veggies; 3 ounces of baby carrots and 3 ounces of celery will help me get my veggies in and give me something crunchy to snack on in the middle of the day. Even with all that I still need more healthy carbs and protein, so I’ll throw on my typical greek yogurt for dessert, add an apple as a snack and add some brown rice to my dinner selections.

That gets my stats to: 1370 Calories for the day. My caloric goal is 1350 so I’m okay with that. My carbs are at 143 for the day, a little under my goals but it’s a single digit number so I am okay with that. My fats are 1 gram under, again I’m good with this and my protein is at walloping 115 grams, 14 grams over my goal. I’ll consider that a successful day very inline with my micronutrient needs.

Now I have tomorrow’s meal planning done. I know what to eat when, and if I change anything along the way during the day it will be easy for me to account for it and see how my changes affect my  day.

I typically plan my days out like this a week in advance. I try to have all my planning done by Thursday or Friday,  print out my days and make my grocery list for the week. Then I do all my grocery shopping on Saturday and any meal prepping I can do ahead of time on Sunday to get me all prepared for the week ahead of me.

Your software platform can make a difference.

It is probably worth noting that I tend use my desktop computer or laptop computer for my pre-planning as the view on the PC version of MyFitnessPal allows me to easily see my entire day at a glance and allows me to see the amount of carbs, fats and protein, sodium and sugar in each of my food selections all at once.

The app version on your phone makes you have to hunt these numbers down in different areas and can make the process a little more time-consuming. When I can see all the details at once it’s easy for me to see where I need to adjust if the numbers at the bottom aren’t where I want them to be.

I also do it because it this way because it allows me to put two different foods in at the same time and compare them to see which one is going to get me closer to where I want to be with my micronutrient goals. For example, when I wanted to get my sugar intake down for the day it was easy for me to see that switching out my non-fat milk for almond milk would help me.

Knowing how to use your food journal in both the mobile app and website version can be the difference between loving or hating your food journaling experience. Since using your food journal to plan ahead can be a big tool in your weight loss journey I hope this little guide helps make it easier and more pleasant for you.

If you have any questions about how I use MyFitnessPal to make my food journaling life as simple as possible don’t be afraid to leave a question in the comment section below. Otherwise, happy food logging.

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Pandora Williams author of Desperately Seeking Slender is an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer and Cooper Institute Approved Wellness Coach Trained in Weight Management Strategies. Her training and coaching services are offered exclusively through GoGirl Fitness Studio.
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Author: Pandora Williams

Author of Desperately Seeking Slender

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