I’ve decided to write this post as a declaration, a “line in the sand” of sorts – hopefully a point of demarcation that will help me get back to where I once was in terms of my health.
I am very unhealthy as a result of personal sacrifices because of the legal battle of the past 3+ years and I am going to try to do something about it – starting today.
One of my favorite documentary films was Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. An old friend (who I am no longer connected with) worked on the camera work for that project and I had the chance to connect with the director / main character in a coaching call for my film years ago.
I’ve seen Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead a couple of times at least, but it didn’t make the transformational difference for me that I would have liked. I didn’t change my ways. I didn’t go on a life-changing juice fast. I didn’t lose a bunch of weight – all the stuff that the film inspired me to do. [Although I did get fresh organic vegetable juice at the juice bar Satsuma nearly every day I was filming New Orleans – so I felt really healthy then, and that was definitely inspired by Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead! I also try to have fresh organic vegetable juice when I am traveling – although that is not always easy to find!]
However, for MOST of the last 8 years – I just continued doing what I had been doing (there always seems to be too much going on to focus on taking care of myself!)
In the past three years (as a result of the legal battle and related costs) poverty and food scarcity (along with more stress than anyone should have in a lifetime) have created a super unhealthy version of me.
You may have noticed this in my photos or videos (the dramatic change from my portraits of ten years ago, or even 5 years ago to now.) Of course you could easily say that *some* of this is due to aging…. one doesn’t move from 45 years old to 49 years old without at least *a bit* of wear and tear on your body, but in the past three years the wear and tear on my body has been fairly extreme.
How fat are you exactly?
If you have seen any of my documentary film I weighed between 190 and 200 lbs during most of that period of shooting (and I actually didn’t look too bad – the video on this page – where I am reporting a violation – was filmed in March of 2012, so about 7 years ago.)
The skinniest I have ever been was about 160 pounds in college when I was 18 years old (and right after I had spent 45 days trekking around Mexico with my mother.) I was super skinny then! See picture below!
Continue reading below the images!
Image below: December/January 1987/1988, Mexico
My “normal” weight (where I have been comfortable in my skin and people did not think of me as obese when they saw me) is in the 180 to 190 range. I remember that I weighed 188 when I married my ex-husband on May 8, 1994 (when I was 24 years old) – picture below. My ideal weight about now is probably 175 (I don’t think it’s realistic to get below that!)
Continue reading below the images!
May 7, 1994 – Rehearsal Dinner, 188 lbs.
I’ve gained about 60 pounds in the past few years!
I now weigh (this morning, July 19, 2019, 10:30 a.m.) 251.4 pounds. For context (to give you an idea of how bad that is) I used to be just about 5 ft. 6-1/2, although I have shrunk and I think I am now closer to 5 foot 5-1/2 inches tall. (my 11 year old son Charlie was officially taller than me as of last week!)
Also, I like to think of things this way (to motivate myself to do something): Charlie weighed 5 lbs 10 ounces at birth… I have gained about 10 baby Charlies throughout all this. It’s like I packed 5 baby Charlies around my tummy and 2 baby Charlies on to each of my thighs and another baby Charlie spread around in other parts. 10 extra babies worth of weight spread across my body. YIKES!
I’d give an arm and a leg to get back to 190. [Actually cutting off my arm and leg might just about accomplish that goal – lol!] I KNOW it’s not about pounds, but about how much fat you carry (vs. muscle) and I need to get rid of at least 60 pounds of fat as far as I am concerned!
Continue reading below the picture!
May 2017 with my “car”– Portland, Oregon
What are your symptoms?
My symptoms now are EVERYTHING it seems. Most of this has emerged since the legal battle started:
- Weight gain
- Joint pain
- Itching skin (inability to get wet at all without my skin burning!)
- I get what feels like a heat rash (my skin burns when it gets hot)
- I have spots all over my skin (have been to dermatologist, gotten biopsies, etc. – inconclusive really.)
- Sleep issues
- Sleep apnea
- Thyroid disorder
- Swollen ankles
- Whole body pain
- Lack of stamina
- Vision issues (I see spots every now and then!)
- Missed periods (never had that before!)
- Heavy menstrual bleeding (never had that before!)
- Plantar fasciitis
- … and probably more, but that’s just what I can think of at the moment!
I’m not even 50 years old yet for Pete’s sake! My husband is afraid I am going to have a heart attack any moment (but I don’t feel *that* sick!)
I Googled all of my symptoms last night (and have talked to a couple of health care provider friends over the past two months) and it looks like I might be heading in to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (the beginnings of it) which makes sense with how much weight I have gained, and with my percentage of body fat right now (a number I stopped tracking when it passed 50%!)
What’s the main reason for your deteriorating health?
If I had to speculate what the main reason might be for my deteriorating health I would put it to stress (and the related lack of sleep caused by the legal battle) and food scarcity (caused by the resultant poverty of our situation).
What many people (especially people who have not experienced poverty and food scarcity) don’t understand is this: When you have four children and very little money (because you are “fighting the good fight” or for whatever reason) your priorities are always your children.
What this means for most low-income mothers is that mom’s “diet” (whatever they choose to put into their mouth to give them the calories to keep going) is always LAST. What that means is that their children eat first and mom always eats the leftovers. Mom can almost NEVER choose what she wants to eat or when she wants to eat or how much she wants to eat. In a family like ours – this means that the kids get all the fruits and veggies (because they absolutely need them for their health, growth and development) and mom ends up living on coffee and left over bits of pasta and bread or pancakes and other things the kids may not have finished.
In our house (especially with the kiddos’ G.I. related issues from Lead-poisoning) I am the veggie police. I have to be or my son Avi can end up in the hospital (as he has several times.) What this means for me is micromanaging his consumption of fresh whole raw vegetables – making sure he eats them, making sure he eats them many times a day and making sure he eats a balanced variety that keeps him healthy. You would think this might be easy given Avi is a vegetarian (and almost vegan) but it is one of my most difficult challenges as a mother because Avi also has severe OCD as a result of his Lead-poisoning; so if an apple is not “perfect” (as determined by Avi) there’s a significant chance he might not touch it. As a result – the kids also get the first pick of all of the veggies and I get what’s left over (if any!) – usually onions, mushrooms and if I am lucky some potatoes!
What are you going to do today that is going to make a difference, Tamara? How are you going to get better?
In a dream scenario – instead of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars fighting a legal battle – I would have taken at least a portion of that money and gone off to a health spa for a few months and rebooted my life… but – um – that did not happen and my life is far from being a dream! In another dream scenario someone might buy me a lifetime gift certificate to Kure (and I would ride my bike there every day for my juice fix!)
Back to reality….
A friend is volunteering to do a portrait session for us this coming Sunday evening (so I will have a new headshot and family portrait to use here on my blog), so for starters I am going to do a little juice fast from now (starting last night Thursday night) through until then (Sunday afternoon.) Hopefully this (a three-day juice fast reboot) will be enough of a reboot that I don’t look like total crap for the photo session.
If I make it through to Sunday evening with my juice fast I may continue it too. I would like to go for at least a week and possibly 10 days or longer. I need to reboot my life, even if in a symbolic way and I think this will make a difference. I have had good experience with juice cleanses in the past.
I’m going to restrict my diet to juice and coffee! Yes I should give up coffee too, but I just can’t bring myself to quite do that yet (and coffee is a type of vegetable juice anyway, right?)
There are two reasons I am able to do a juice fast at this point in my life:
- My husband: who takes care of me and feeds me healthy food (like sautéed vegetables and fresh fruit) whenever it is available. He’s my guardian angel and has been taking care of me for 18+ years now. I asked him to make me vegetable juice this morning and he made me an amazing fresh organic green juice (with limes, ginger, chard, carrots, kale, and celery!)
- My good friend who I am calling “The Food Fairy”: The food fairy has been helping us stay nourished the past 8 months or so (maybe it’s been a year?! the past three years have all been such a blur it’s hard for me to keep track!) and she has recently subscribed to Imperfect Produce on our behalf, sending us boxes of fresh vegetables and fruit every two weeks. Last night (Thursday evening – 7/18/19) three big boxes of fresh fruits and veggies arrived so this is a perfect time to start a little juice fast / reboot! Thank you Food Fairy for all you have done.
This is a picture of a delivery from the Food Fairy in November of 2018!
I decided to write about this here on my blog to give myself a structure for accountability, so that I wasn’t just doing this in a bubble. It’s really easy to quit if you are doing something in a bubble and no one is looking!
So you, my readers, are my accountability on this and I will keep you posted periodically!
As always, thank you for reading. Thank you for being here.
Friday, July 19, 2019
Please excuse the: typos, poor word choice, bad punctuation and mixed metaphors. This post was not edited by my editor extraordinaire (my husband!)
Photo below (with all four of my sons) from 2009… about 10 years ago already!
Let’s consider this photos (with my husband, below – taken last night) the “before” pictures ;-).
I will also try to get some full body shots (clothed of course!) for the record.
Photo below taken July 18, 2019
I’m going to start a little weight chart here (more for me than for you, because I don’t think anyone else is going to read down this far – lol!)
- 251.4 lbs – starting weight, July 19, 2019 – Friday – 10:30 a.m.
- 249.6 lbs – Saturday (7/20), 11:30 a.m.
- 248.4 lbs – Sunday (7/21) – 3:15 p.m.
- 244.0 lbs – Friday, December 13, 2019 – 2:44 p.m.
- Headed in the right direction! Down 7.5 lbs in 5 months… which is probably a sustainable trajectory! I think this is mainly because my husband has been making me green juice a few times a week!
Below are some random other pictures of me in different times!
(Check out the captions at the bottom of each picture).