Monthly Archive for February, 2007

Diet Pills

I am in a somber mood today.

I take my role as a public weight loss blogger extremely seriously. Perhaps @ times, too seriously, but that’s my own personal demons to battle. I post things I like, don’t like, do, don’t do w/the acute awareness that my words and actions can be influential to a few folks.

To that end, I try to be as honest and forthcoming as I can in demystifying the whole weight loss experience that one doesn’t wake up overnight and voila become 60lbs lighter. It’s a day after day struggle, victory, setbacks & huzzahs. The damn thing is a process.

And in that process…you try things.

I’ve alluded to doing this before, but I’m never specific, again b/c I know it may influence someone else and b/c I always due my own extensive research before I try something as benign as eating fruit to as radical as diet pills.

Coming off the news of of Anna Nicole Smith’s passing yesterday, and while there are tons of factors that could’ve led up to her death, including harboring an unhealed broken heart after losing her son, last night, I made a decision to never ever again use diet pills.

This post isn’t a call to promote any new fangled diet pill, to slam me for my own use, or attack that industry as a whole. I am not saying her use of diet pills contributed to her death, but I do have a right to voice an opinion and share my thoughts on how something makes me feel.

That said, below, I’ll share my own history w/diet pills and at the end, while I don’t particularly like to steer comments in any given direction, if you’d like to share your own history w/diet pills (I’d rather you not name specific names yea or nay) or your feelings on Anna or the extreme measures people use to lose weight, feel free.

When I was 13, I was quite pudgy. It felt like it happened overnight, but it really happened the summer before I went into the 8th grade. I don’t remember really feeling fat, except for the times I’d go clothes shopping. Other than that, I was fairly active, I walked more times than not. If the bus was running late, I’d just walk the 20+ blocks to school. Or my best friends and I would spend hours roaming around our neighborhoods and they’d either walk me ½ way home, or I’d walk them ½ way home.

Plus I had gym daily and on weekends played outdoors w/my friends. Tag, double dutch or just hide and seek up and down the stairs of 6 story apartment building.

The one thing I did more, or more than I had before, was eat a lot of fast foods. Hey, it was my first year of public school and I had lunch money allowance burning a hole in my pocket.

But looking back now, I’d say the main reason for my pudginess was, puberty. It would take me going into high school a year later, to shoot up about 5 inches and just like that *fingersnap* I was slim.

While I can’t say for sure my mom said anything to make me feel fat nor was I teased by anyone in junior high, I vividly remember making a decision to go to the drugstore to get Dexatrim. I vaguely remember hearing the name from commercials and that’s how I knew what to buy.

Yet, even @ 12…13…it felt wrong. I was also too lazy to commit to taking the stupid pills for 30 days and I dunno, something about those side effects scared me, so I took it for 3 or 4 days and that was it.

Many years later, post high school w/a car at my beck and call, my one-way 30 minute walks to work, that kept my figure down, ceased. In it’s place, I now had access to any and every food I craved @ that minute w/o having to wait for the weekend to catch a ride. That included having Red Lobster dinners for lunch! I packed on the lbs. Not much by today’s standards, but a lot for me @ the time.

I was still leery about diet pills as a whole and while I didn’t have a brand in mind, something called Chromium Picollate (sp?) was the hot thing, so I got that. I was also veering into my zen like way of living so I also bought some kind of liquid w/fermenting mushrooms in it.

Once again, I took the pills for 3 or 4 days. I barely opened the mushroom tea and that was that.

Fast forward to the recent past.

My philosophy on diet pills didn’t change. It still wasn’t something I wanted to do long term and as much as possible I wanted to take a “healthy” version. In other words, not one that had been pulled from the market. I wasn’t the type of person to try to find it anyway on eBay.

The fact that certain diet pills made full grown physically healthy athletic men drop dead, just didn’t bode well for me.

Plus I like to do things by the book, I didn’t take diet pills in lieu of working out or eating healthy, I took it while I did it. The minute I’d fall off the wagon, especially when it came to working out, I stopped.

My final rule was @ least 1 month, preferably 2, off for every 1 month I took pills. That was to give my system a break of chemicals.

I have a slight heart murmur. Nothing serious my doctor says, and something that benefits from exercise. So I wasn’t one to take more of any pill to lose weight faster.

As I thought about all this last night, I really think the pills were just a catalyst for me.

For one, it forced me to eat on a regular schedule as you take a few an hour before breakfast lunch and dinner. It was another way to get more water in, as I was chugging glasses to wash it down and to flush it out. For all I cared, it could be a placebo. Sometimes I just needed the mindfuck to get me back in the fitness game.

If the pills I took contained an extra ingredient that would help me burn off a few extra calories while exercising, that was even better, but that wasn’t my goal.

But it still didn’t feel right. I never wanted my weight loss to come from a product that I would either have to take forever to keep the weight off or diminish the other work, eating better & exercising, that went into it. I wanted to keep my efforts as organic as possible.

Over the weekend, as I planned out my meals for the coming week, I went to my vitamin chest and started planning out my doses of vitamins again. Which is another thing I only take when I’m eating balanced. In doing that, I discovered 2 unopened bottles of diet pills that I’d been taking over the summer and figured, why not? I’m going to be eating better next week, I have my work out regime in place, I can start taking them again. I divvied up my doses and put them in baggies.

This week, @ least 2-3 days, I’ve worked out 2 hours a day and the other days @ least 30 minutes. I stopped taking afternoon naps and have been setting my alarm to wake up @ insane AM…yet…I can’t sleep. By mid week, thinking it’s the stupid jitters I get from knowing I’d wake up early, I STILL wasn’t sleepy and today being Friday I’ve slept an average of 3-4 hours every night this week.

I’d start getting sleepy around 7pm, really sleepy by 8 and just when I’m ready to go to bed, 10, I’m keyed up. It’s around 6pm that I take my final dose of diet pills for the evening. I found myself looking @ the ingredients on the pills.

On Wednesday, not exactly wanting to stop cold turkey, I just thought to myself, I’m gonna cut these things out after this weekend. I think they are keeping me up @ night.

Then Thursday happened.

The pills are not worth it.

Even if they help me burn an extra 100 calories by speeding up my heart, who knows what that’ll do to me in 10 years w/a heart that’s already a bit weak?

Plus if what I really want for myself is some sort of act, a ritual, some sort of placebo, to make eating more structured, I rather have a glass of hot green tea w/honey and lemon an hour before eating or working out than take a pill that has some chemically altered green tea extract that’s 1000 times the dose of what a cup of pure tea can give me.

In a way this is hard to write b/c I hate that Anna Nicole Smith died. I wasn’t a huge fan, didn’t know much of her, never watched her reality show, vaguely knew she was the Marilyn Monroe look-alike GUESS model and married an old guy.

I hate that she died @ 39 just like I hate that Chris Penn & Gerald Levert died so young and both those dudes had weight as a contributing factor.

I hate that her daughter will never ever know her mom and that her son died the way he did almost the day she gave birth.

I didn’t know her personally, but I can empathize that she was a tragic soul and from the bottom of my heart, I hope that she finds the peace in her after life that she didn’t find here on earth.

This is going to be hard

I have absolutely no idea what loving myself means. Sure on a literal level, I get it. Love yourself. Fine. But on a practical level, I’m twiddling my thumbs on today, day 2 of 30 days of love.

Challenge me to do something physical, say run, no problem. Tell me to look myself square in the eye and really see what the mirror reflects, I feel like I will literally die.

Yesterday and today I did a feeble, positive affirmation, in my head. Later in the month, I have ideas of various things I can treat myself too, like manicures, a facial etc, but they seem so superficial. I’m not sure how I even begin to scratch the surface of how I feel about myself.

Thinking through it today, I realized, it was far easier for me to want a guy who my intuition told me from day 1, was all wrong for me, to say he loved me so I could coo it back to him. How could I even utter those words to a stranger, when I can’t say it to myself about myself?

I guess if I end the month doing nothing more than being more mindful of my negative chatter that would be a good thing. I also realize, b/c I don’t want attention, b/c I don’t want to be hurt, b/c it’s easier to be judged when I’m “temporarily” fat b/c when I’m judged while I’m skinny, it’s way too much pressure so being fat means no one has expectations, I can just fade into the background, that it made it easier for me to stop caring in general. First I let the small things slide, now it feels like everything is out of control.

If I really truly *loved* myself, deep down I know this, not only wouldn’t I abuse myself in the various methods I do, I won’t tolerate ½ the shit I do, that I only allow b/c I feel I deserve to be treated poorly or I’m not worthy of respect, which makes my eyes sting w/tears just to write, much less think out loud and publically admit.

So I guess as petty and superficial as the manicure and facial may seem, maybe those tiny steps back to myself, will spur the inside to match how the outside looks.

I really dunno y’all. @ this point, I’m just winging it. This is painful.