Monday, December 31, 2012
In the last twelve months, I lost 28.4 pounds. Not a lot...less than three pounds a month average. But I am certainly happy that I'm nearly 30 pounds lighter than I was a year ago.
This year presented me with many challenges, including a very frustrating plateau, a trip to the ER and gallbladder surgery, and a couple of bouts of the flu (one of which I am currently experiencing!) I have survived a family reunion, Thanksgiving and Christmas, several pot lucks, dancing at the Dr. Phil Show, and being told off.
I transitioned into "regular size" clothing for the first time in 28 years.
I'm less likely than I used to be to turn to food when I'm stressed. (Sometimes I still feel the urge, but have learned that eating is not going to help.) I have more energy, and am a little more physically active. I'm starting to be okay with not cleaning my plate if I realize that I'm not hungry any more. I'm more comfortable in social situations involving food, and am feeling less threatened by situations where I don't have control over what is being served.
I'm starting to see myself, if not as a thin person, at least as a "not obese" person.
Probably the most important thing I've learned this year is the value of having supportive friends and family. I truly believe that all of my past weight loss attempts have failed because I tried to do it on my own without any support. So much of this effort has to do with love, acceptance and forgiveness! While it is important to be able to give these gifts to ourselves, the power of giving these gifts to each other is off the charts! I'm so very grateful to be the recipient of your love, acceptance and forgiveness, and I'm giving it right back to you.
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
I can be critical, judgmental and unpleasant to be around. I don't like this side of myself, but there it is. So many times I have wished people would understand that when I am less than my best self, it's because I'm battling old fears and hurts.
I bring this subject up in this-here-weight-loss blog because it's one of the reasons I have eaten too much over a vast portion of my life. For many years I buried my hurts under a pile of some kind of fattening food, or drowned them in a pool of alcohol, or both! Even though I look normal, I often feel handicapped, unable to deal with the normal pains and miseries that life sometimes brings to us all.
Then, it hit me. Life brings pain and miseries to us all. In a way, we are all handicapped. I'm not the only one. Everyone is dealing with something. Realizing this helps me, hopefully, to be more understanding. And hopefully, I can also remember this the next time I feel like being critical, judgemental or unpleasant.
I have always known that in order to win the weight-loss battle, I needed to deal with the underlying issues of why I was eating too much. This is definitely one of those issues. Please don't think that by recognizing this I am sitting here feeling bad about myself! On the contrary, I feel...relieved. It's like a knot has unloosed from my innards that has been there most of my life. I'm sure there will be other knots to untangle, but this feels like progress.
This is an imperfect world, and I tend to be a perfectionist. I have been frustrated by the inevitable imperfections that I see every day. I have tried to "fix" things, or have complained about the ones I couldn't fix, and/or have tried to eat my frustrations away. And all this time, I've been missing the point entirely. The point is, we are all doing the best we can, and we need to cut each other some slack. That doesn't mean we shouldn't be accountable, but we need...I NEED...to be more understanding when things don't go the way we wish they would.
One reason I have been so "prickly" most of my life is that I have felt so alone and unacceptable. But now, thanks to the wonderful friends God has brought into my life, I feel...how shall I put it?....more safe. I like this feeling. I love my friends. I'm so grateful to have you all in my life (including my sister!) Your love and acceptance is really helping me get through all this. It's like, yeah, we're all handicapped in some way, but we're going to make it through. Together.
Monday, December 17, 2012
Yes, I'll play the flute for that Vespers Service. Yes, I'll sing with you at the neighborhood Christmas party. Yes, I'll ring bells at church for you since you can't be there. Yes, I'll go Christmas caroling with you. Yes, I'll have a piece of carrot cake. Yes, a little wine would be nice!
Now you know all about my weekend. It was fun! I'm exhausted! Today will definitely be a day to say yes to rest and recovery. But if someone calls and asks if I'll do one more "special" thing between now and Christmas, I'll probably say, "No." (With a smile, of course!)
Yes and No. What my life looks like--and what I look like for that matter--depends on where I choose to say "Yes" and where I choose to say "No." It's easy to feel like I'm saying "Yes" too much during the holidays. There are so many....opportunities! The sweet treats are everywhere! The special occasions abound! I don't want to miss any of the fun. I guess the trick is to say yes to the things that really matter, and to not feel guilty about saying no to the others.
In my old life, I said yes to every kind of food and no to all but the most essential activities (like walking to the kitchen--essential!) Last year during the holidays I said "NO! NO! NO!" to most of the treats that were offered. This year, I'm saying, "Yes, thank you," to what I hope are reasonable amounts of special treats. I did say no to the Third Annual Cookie Exchange at my church. I wanted to go and be with my friends, but I knew that being surrounded by all those delicious home baked cookies would be too much for me to handle. (Good grief! Just thinking about it I swear I can smell cookies right now!) There's always next year. Maybe that is something I will be able to say yes to later.
Matthew 5:37 begins with, "Let your 'yes' be 'yes' and your 'no' be 'no.' " We need them both to get through this life!
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
It was crepes, filled with cream cheese, topped with a warm mixed berry sauce, and accompanied by two generous patties of turkey sausage. It was delicious.
In WW speak, we're talking 10 points here. That's more than a third of my daily allotment, and way more than I would ever eat for breakfast before my Bistro MD diet intervention!
So, to reassure myself, after I logged today's breakfast points I grabbed my other two meals for the day so I could go ahead and put them into my points-plus tracker, to make sure I wasn't going to go over. There it was. When both meals were added, I still had 4 points left for a snack or two during the day. All that cream cheese and points left over. And, I'm having salmon for dinner tonight. Amazing.
So while I was enjoying this decadent breakfast, confident in the knowledge that my points-plus limits were safe for the day, I realized that eating this way is satisfying. The way I was eating before the "intervention" was to consume as little as possible at each eating opportunity, because dieting is about deprivation, right? As it turns out....WRONG. I'm not going to find myself grazing in the kitchen in an hour, looking for a little something to snack on, because I'm satisfied. I'm nourished. I even feel like I had a treat. If I find myself needing a little something later, I'll be happy with an apple and a few nuts.
The really exciting thing, to me, is that I am looking forward to a lifetime of satisfying, delicious and healthy eating! There are many more berry crepes in my future! This is directly opposite of how I have always viewed dieting and post-dieting eating in the past, which promised only a future of deprivation, misery and backsliding. I now believe it truly is possible to enjoy wonderful foods and lose weight!
It's like....a miracle! And yet, the world hasn't changed. The laws of physics haven't changed. The change is happening in me! I'm finally beginning to understand there is a healthy way to eat and live that I can live with. That's pretty darn exciting!
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Everything we do... everything we say... matters. We influence those around us, even when we don't realize that we are influencing them. And how we live our lives (i.e., everything we do, everything we say) affects the people around us...for good or for ill.
So every time I crab about something or someone to a friend, I'm either discouraging them because I'm being so negative, or I'm encouraging them to be a crab too. And every time I do or say something positive, I may be encouraging someone who needs a little more "positive" in their life.
Even in trying to be positive, there's a danger that we might be criticised (the words "goody two shoes" come to mind.) But I, for one, would rather err on the positive side than the negative. Or, as a dear friend once told me, "Err on the side of grace."
I'm feeling much better today. I know that I will continue to fail in many ways, but I also know that life goes on and we almost always have a chance to try again...to choose better next time. I guess it's the same with my behavior as it is with my eating. If I mess up, the solution is not to keep messing up, but to try again. Oh, yeah, and allow for the fact that I am going to mess up. Messing up is not the end of the world; it's a course correction.
Monday, December 10, 2012
The source of the pain is difficult to share, and not really necessary. Suffice to say I recently had my faults laid out for me in a very up close and personal way.
The pain comes from the fact that everything that was laid before me was absolutely true, and that through these faults I unintentionally hurt someone I care about. Those of you who know me can probably name of few of my faults without much effort. You know...those things about ourselves that we know are not good, but that we hope that people will overlook.
I take several lessons from this experience. First, and least important, is that by some miracle I didn't turn to food for comfort in the wake of this pain. That, at least, is encouraging. Second, I am more aware of the fact that most of us are walking around in pain, and hiding it. I am hoping this awareness will help me remember to measure my interactions with people...to be more understanding and thoughtful in how I think about them and what I say.
One other lesson--and I'm sure more will surface--is that forgiveness is the key to moving forward. Forgiveness has been offered and received, from both sides. But today I realized that in order for me to move forward in a healthy and productive way, I also need to be able to forgive myself. This, it turns out, is the hardest thing to do. Right now I just want to shut down and shut up, so I don't accidentally hurt anybody else. But somewhere in there is a balance...a balance between doing nothing and getting out there anyway, taking the risk that I am going to totally blow it. Even writing this blog is a risk. It is presumptive that my thoughts are worth reading or thinking about. I have to believe that shutting down is just as destructive as eating too much or lashing out in revenge. So my toe is in the water. But I have to tell you, the water is cold.
Thursday, December 6, 2012
I guess I really did feel like dancing!
Yesterday I went to Los Angeles with some of my good friends to see a taping of the Dr. Phil show. During the pre-show audience warm-up, they offered a Dr. Phil Mug to anyone brave enough to go down to the stage and dance....
and I did it!
It was SOOOOOO much fun! Afterwards, I felt a little mortified. I wondered what had come over me. It's not like a needed another mug (although for some reason the promise of getting one was oddly motivating.)
But I guess I did need to dance. To celebrate life! To sieze the moment! To live the experience! I needed, for once in my life, to say, "To heck with what anyone might think!" and just enjoy myself.
Later, a very lovely woman who was in the audience with us told me she wouldn't have done that if they had offered her TWENTY mugs. But it wasn't about the mug. It was about breaking free from past fears that I used to avoid by consuming mountains of mashed potatoes and gravy and little powdered sugar donuts.
I used to believe that I had to "get perfect" before I could participate in life. I dont' feel that way any more. For one thing, none of us is perfect, or ever will be. If that's the goal, then that's what we think about. We're always apologizing to each other because our hair wilted or we have a stain on our shirt. When we do that, we're focusing on ourselves instead of experiencing what life is offering us during that moment. No wonder we we spend so much time feeling like life is passing us by.
Honestly, I think that all of us want to dance! I recommend it highly.
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
After a long walk in the dieting desert, those numbers are going down again. Not a lot, but today I'm at least a pound and a half lower than last week.
The diet intervention is working! I'm loving the Bistro MD food (for the most part). Especially nice are the convenience and time savings, which is one of the reasons I chose to do it during this busy season. Because of other things going on in my life today and tomorrow, I'll be eating "regular" food, and I'm actually wishing I could have the Bistro food. I like it, and surprisingly, it's even saving me money!
Another reason to be happy today: it's Weight Watcher's Day! I love Tuesdays, because I get to go to WW and see all my good friends there. It truly is the high point of my week. Who would have thought? I didn't even want to go to those meetings! It's hard to believe I've been going to them for almost a year and half. What a joy!
All this gives me HOPE. Life change IS POSSIBLE! Happy Happy Joy Joy!
Thursday, November 29, 2012
Weight loss isn't something you do. It's something that happens when you change the way you live.
This, I believe, is why diets don't work. A diet is something you do. It has an end. You reach your goal and you're finished. You go back to what you used to do.
But changing your life--that's hard! How do I truly find a new path, one that leads to fitness and a normal weight body?
The only way I know how to change my life is to change my mind. The problem is, the mind I have is the one I have trained over fifty-plus years to go coo-coo for cocoa puffs (metaphysically speaking.) I am encouraged, however, that I'm less anxious about food and eating than I was this time last year. That indicates that I'm changing, right?
I know that I keep revisiting this subject. Change. Resistance to change. Looking for a new equilibrium. I think it's wrapped up in my last "aha" moment about all the things in life we have to do over and over again. Changing is just another one of those things you keep doing every day. And then every once in a while you notice you've lost another pound. At least, I hope that is how it works.
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
I especially love Fall and the beautiful leaves we get to see at this time of year. Except when they are on my driveway.
So this morning I decided to do some physical activity by sweeping the leaves off my driveway. My favorite way to do "exercise" is to do something that actually accomplishes a task. Like walking to the mailbox (which in my neighborhood is a pretty good hike.) Or, sweeping leaves!
So there I was. Enjoying the crisp, cool, morning air. Sweeping. Greeting passing neighbors with a cheerful, "Hello!" I had just gotten half the driveway cleared off, when the crisp, cool, morning air turned into a crisp, cool, morning breeze. In three seconds, the driveway was covered again.
Isn't this just the way life is? You think you've accomplished something and WHOOOSH! A crisp, cool, morning breeze blows through your life and messes everything up. There is just an every-dayness about life that we can't get around. That's why I can never get the laundry done. And just as soon as I get one project finished, there seem to be twenty more waiting in the wings for me to tackle.
I think this is a concept that I have always fought. I have resented that I could never "arrive". I am always trying to get things DONE. I have resented that I couldn't just wake up in the morning and be magically thin. But today, something about that WHOOSH across the driveway made me smile. Maybe the secret to enjoying life is simply in the living of it...every day. Doing things over and over again. That includes eating right, exercising, cleaning the house, doing laundry...over and over again. Day in and day out. If I can find a way to do that with a smile, I think I'll be ahead of the game.
(Rest in Peace, Zig Ziglar, who passed away this morning.)
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Hunger is a fierce motivator. It motivates you to EAT! After eating my Bistro MD food for the past week, I'm here to tell you I have not been hungry in that "feed me right now or I'm gonna hurt somebody" kind of way. The hunger I have experienced over these days has been more like, "Oh. I'm feeling a little empty. Maybe I should grab a yogurt."
I'm feeling strong. I'm...satisfied. I must come to the conclusion that eating this way is giving my body the nutrition it needs. I think ... maybe ... I've been spending too many of my WW points on empty foods--foods that don't nourish my body. Maybe that's why I've been so hungry and why I haven't lost weight for a while.
The Bistro MD food is pretty good and I'm enjoying the convenience. I am really enjoying feeling hopeful to see the weight loss begin again! Even with enjoying myself (reasonably) on Thanksgiving, it looks like I've lost a pound a half this week. Of course, this is weight that I had previously gained, but at least I'm going in the right direction now.
Here's to good nutrition! It really works! (duh)
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
This is one of her beautiful watercolors. If you've ever tried to paint with watercolors, you can really appreciate how amazing it is that she could create such a beautiful piece!
This is something I could not do. Painting is not my thing. Some days (most days, really) I'm not sure what my "thing" is! I just seem to fumble along, trying to get from this day to the next.
I have been noticing, however, that through this journey I've been on I've been learning to be more...focused. I'm feeling less anxious about my place in the world, and whether or not I fit in.
A big part of this metamorphosis has to do with my friends. God has gifted me with a wonderful sister who is my friend, delightful friends at church, and my fantastic Weight Watchers buddies! There is so much power in feeling accepted! What a great gift I have received from all these loving people! A lot of my life, as you know, I have felt unaccepted and unacceptable. That is definitely changing.
The real gift is in realizing that I was not put on this earth to do anyone else's "thing". God created me (and you!) to do something special, and those special things are different for each of us. I can appreciate Deb's gift of artistry without being jealous of her, because I know that if I do my own "thing" I can bring similar joy to the lives of other people. And that's a good thing!
This has nothing to do with losing weight directly, but everything to do with losing the weight of long held fears and expectations I put on myself in the past. I felt frustrated and alone because I didn't fit in, and my excess body weight only emphasized those feelings of isolation. This journey is not just about getting rid of that excess body weight. It is also about learning to embrace the gifts God has given to me, and then opening my arms to share His gifts with the world.
Monday, November 19, 2012
We're doing the "Five Days a Week without Snacks" plan. That gives me Tuesdays to chow down (in a healthy way) with my WW buds, and Sundays. Of course, this week is the whole Thanksgiving thing, but I'll figure that out when I get there.
Anyway, we started this morning. I'm excited. This past week, after my dismal showing at my Tuesday weigh-in at WW, and knowing that the Bistro MD food was coming, I quit tracking my food. I didn't pig out, mind you, but did allow myself to eat a few things that I knew I'd be avoiding in the coming weeks. Nothing crazy. So this morning when I stepped on my own scales for the first time in a week, I was prepared to see a little bit of an increase.
Imagine my surprise when I saw I lost 1.4 pounds! I'm taking this as a good sign for what's to come. The next six weeks will be like a little weight loss adventure. After Christmas, I'll review what's going on and decide where to go from there.
It's a funny thing about intervention. Sometimes, it's welcome. I'm glad to know that five of my days each week will be very structured. For a season, I will be free from the stress of wondering what I'm going to eat next. Don't worry--I'm counting my points! In fact, I've already put in the points for today's three meals (since I know what they are) and found that I have four points left over for snacks. With fruit and vegetables being free, four points is plenty to get through the day.
So. I'm ready. I'm determined. I'm optimistic!
Friday, November 16, 2012
I haven't lost any weight for a long time. But today, as I put on my size 14 jeans, I remembered that when I started this journey I wore size 22. I'm not where I want to be, but I'm certainly not where I was. Today is just a little pictoral trip down memory lane. These are not particularly in order. Hugs.
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
She wanted to know (after reading my last few blog posts) why I care so much about what other people think of me and my weight.
It’s true. I care. I care what everyone thinks. I care what you think.
As a matter of fact, I got my first negative comment a couple of days ago on this blog. Someone, anonymously, called me a Loser, and not in the positive sense of being a weight loser. I deleted the comment, but it hurt. It was probably from some random person reading my blog who I don’t even know. But it still hurt.
Then I realized, this kind of negative reaction to me, my ideas and my physical appearance, is what I expect from people. It goes back to that “not being good enough” thing. Vicki’s question floated over me like superimposed words hanging in the air: Why do I care?
Today I’m contemplating the possibility of living a life that is unencumbered by caring what other people think. I need to care what I think. And I need to care about whether the life I’m living is one that is pleasing to God.
I need to realize that I can care about you, and not let myself be limited by whether or not you approve of me. I still care what you think of me. I want you to like me and what I write. But if you don’t, I need to be able to let that go and keep being the person I am supposed to be.
The hardest thing about putting my true feelings and insecurities “out there”is knowing that someone can take that offering and call me a Loser. So be it. It’s worth the risk.
Monday, November 12, 2012
I have to be honest with you guys. After all, that's why I started this blog! I am not doing well with my diet. I don't know if it was the surgery, or the medication, or the setback in not being able to exercise. All I know is that I'm not doing well. I have gained four pounds. Four pounds!
So here is what I am going to do. As soon as I finish writing this post, I am going to the BistroMD website. It's home delivery calorie-controlled meals. For five days a week, I'm going to eat BistroMD food, giving me two days a week to try to eat properly on my own.
I am not beating myself up about this! As a matter of fact, I'm pretty proud of what I have accomplished so far. But, by the same token, I know myself. And I am in....actually have been in....very dangerous territory. I'm tired of counting points and no amount of pep talking to myself has been able to convince me that I still want to do that right now. At least with prepared meals, I know I will be getting good, balanced nutrition.
The plan is to stay on this program through Christmas and then take another look at what is going on.
Maybe I've been enjoying cooking too much! Wish me luck.
Thursday, November 8, 2012
I don't mean that I am particularly attractive (although I am quite a bit cuter than I used to be!)
It occurs to me that calling someone becoming is a compliment. But what is "becoming", really? One definition is "attractive", but another is "moving from one state of being to another."
If you follow the logic of the transitive property of math, then the act of "becoming" is, by definition, attractive!
Okay, maybe I'm stretching a little bit here. But think about it. Positive change IS attractive! In many ways, I AM becoming! I am becoming healthier. I am becoming more capable of overcoming old, destructive eating cues. I am becoming more active. I am also becoming a little bit bi-lingual (I listen to Spanish instruction CD's in the car.) And, I am becoming a person who cooks!
The other thing I like about the idea of "becoming" is that it is not a destination. It is a state of being. It's like this weight loss thing. The choices I make each day are taking me to a different kind of life. I will never "arrive", really, because even when I reach my weight goal the journey will not be over. In order to stay there I will have to continue to carry out the lessons I have learned along the way, as well as learning new lessons about maintaining a healthy weight. I will have to continue "becoming" in order to stay healthy.
We are all becoming! That, my friends, is very attractive.
Friday, November 2, 2012
This is hard to write about. The bottom line is, I'm afraid that I will become thin and attractive...and that it still won't be enough. I still won't be good enough.
If I fail and I'm fat, I can blame my failure on being fat. I can say things like, people don't take me seriously because I'm fat. But if I am thin, and people don't take me seriously, then what? Then that must mean there is something fundamentally wrong with me. With who I am.
I'm not saying this fear is rational. It comes from years of hurt and rejection that isn't worth going into here. The ultimate fear is that all those people who hurt and rejected me were right. That I am really not good enough.
But what if all those people were wrong? What if the hurt and rejection we feel from other people is more about them that it is about us? What if the reason I can't get over my past pain is that I need to forgive them for how they made me feel? What if I am good enough...we are all good enough...just the way we are...warts and all? What if it's okay for me to get thin and still not be good enough for some people?
I love this quote from Churchill. The success or failure of my journey is not what matters. What matters is having the courage to step out onto the bridge. To keep going. To dare to succeed and let other people think what they will. To try to understand and forgive them. To try to understand and forgive myself.
Thursday, November 1, 2012
At least, that's what my mother once said to me when I chose to do something other than come home from college for my Dad's birthday celebration.
It's a statement I have pondered over oh these many years. I argue with it. I tell myself, I don't always get to do what I WANT to do. There are things I HAVE to do...where I don't have a choice.
But, ultimately, I think she was right. I choose to do the things I don't want to do because I don't want the negative consequences that happen if I don't do those things. So, technically, I'm doing what I want to do, even if I don't want to do it.
Yeah, I know. It's confusing. But let's assume for a moment that the statement is true. People do what they want to do. To personalize it and take responsibility for it...I do what I want to do. So, if that's true, and I'm not losing weight right now, it must be because that's what I want. I must want to treat myself here and have a little extra there. I'm starting to understand that right now, I want to stay where I am, weight-wise. I don't want to gain, but I don't want to lose either. I want a break from the relentless pursuit for the next two-tenths of a pound weight loss.
Part of this wanting to stay where I am comes from that part of me that rebels against my worth being attached to my weight, or in this case, my weight loss. I love that I feel better, look better, and that people compliment me on the accomplishment. But at the same time, I wish we could talk about something else. Being in the weight loss limelight (pardon the pun) wears thin sometimes. I just want to be about more than my size. It all gets confusing for me.
I'm sharing my confusion because I believe that all of us on this journey are struggling with this "doing what we want to do" question, even if we haven't thought about it in those terms. It's like, there's this mental bridge we have get across to make it to the land of the normal weight people. I'm standing at one end, afraid to step out over the abyss below the rickety rails. My knees are weak. Right now it feels safe to stay where I am. For a while. That's what I want to do.
Monday, October 29, 2012
I'm only halfway to my goal, but I look different than I did before. After spending most of my adult life being very obese, it's a bit of challenge to see myself as this smaller, "merely" overweight person. It takes some getting used to.
While I have been frustrated with my stalled weight loss, I'm also glad that I've had some time to get used to this new, smaller person I see in the mirror. It's the strangest thing...not being comfortable in your own skin. It's especially strange because, of course, getting smaller is the goal. But getting smaller is freaking me out a little.
For most of my adult life, I have taken up a certain amount of space in the world. That space has diminished. I have gotten smaller. Oddly enough, being smaller (for a woman) brings more power. It's almost like the bigger you are, the more invisible you are, and the smaller you are, the more presence you have. For me, I think being extremely large was my way of blending into the woodwork. Becoming smaller, I feel more...exposed.
It all just makes me realize that who I am...what size I am...is not just a function of what I eat and how much I exercise, but it also depends on what and how I think. I believe this aspect of weight loss is why 95% of the people who lose weight end up gaining it all back. They change the outside but they don't change their minds about who they are, fundamentally.
For me, making that fundamental change is my real goal. I want eating right to be just the way I eat. I want exercise to be something I look forward to. My body is changing, but I want to change my mind too.
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
This is due in large part to my wonderful friends who support me and reassure me during my moments of doubt...thanks! I'm SO grateful that I'm not in this struggle alone! Your comments on this here blog mean more to me than I can say. And my Tuesday morning Weight Watcher's meeting is one of the most important appointments of the week. It always helps to go. I hope I never quit going.
Come to think of it, I have been told in no uncertain terms that I will never be allowed to quit, because my WW friends will gang up on me and MAKE me keep going! Now, that's support!
This morning I heard a song with interesting lyrics. They went something like, "Everybody is miserable, and that's beautiful. Everybody is going to die unfulfilled and alone, and that's beautiful." I think the song was, sort of, a joke. But it's true. We are all struggling. It's the nature of life on this earth. It's even in the Bible: "In this world you will have tribulation." Actually, here is the whole verse (John 16:33) "These things I have spoken to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you have tribuation, but take courage; I have overcome the world."
Monday, October 22, 2012
We're coming into the biggest eating season of the year, and I am already floundering. My weight is up, then down, then up again. I'm eating right and keeping track of my points. Because of the gallbladder thing I haven't been able to exercise for the past month, and it shows!
This time last year, I was determined. Steely. Uncompromising! Getting through the holidays was tough, but I did it, and lost seven pounds to boot. But now...I don't know if I can make it. I feel like I'm starting out in a much weaker position. My weight loss has not only slowed down, it has come to a grinding halt. In fact, the last several days, it has been going up! I don't know what I am doing wrong, or if my body is just rebelling and saying it's done.
I'm scared. In previous weight-loss attempts, I've gotten to points like this. I typically "pretended" for a few weeks that I was still making progress, and then would realize that I wasn't...and quit trying. When I look back at my weight loss chart that is what I see...that I have basically made zero progress since the end of July. That's three whole months! Have I been pretending?
I wish I could skip the holidays this year. I wish every social occasion didn't revolve around food. I wish food that is bad for you didn't taste so good. I wish I wasn't overweight in the first place. I wish being slim wasn't so darned important in our society. I wish I could exercise! I wish I didn't feel so ugly and unacceptable. I wish I could really change.
Sorry to be so down, but this is where I am today.
I could use a hug.
Friday, October 19, 2012
Today I had the strangest thought. Since I have to eat three times a day every day for the rest of my life (more or less), why not make the best of it?
Why not make preparing all those meals a "How healthy can I make this?" game? Why not put time and effort into making the most out of the food available to me?
To most of you, this may seem rather obvious. You may be thinking, "Isn't that what she's been doing all along?" Not really. I've gone from eating only frozen, pre-prepared diet meals and eating out to dappling in cooking my own meals to...this. This idea. This crazy, life-changing possibility of a new way of looking at food.
It occured to me that I spend a lot of time on other things: learning to speak Spanish (un pocito), shopping, quilting, reading, and let's face it -- watching tv -- but I haven't spent that much time or attention in my life on learning how to do what might be one of the most important things I can learn to do for my physical health...cooking well! I have only wanted to eat when I get hungry, and a lot of times I just want food to magically appear in front of me, like it did when I was a kid and my mom was the one doing the cooking.
Hmmmm. This does seem rather obvious. Yet, for me, it's somehow new. I can only hope that beginning to think this way is part of my overall healing of whatever came before in my life that caused me to get out of balance in the first place.
Turkey burgers, spinach salad, and baked sweet potato fries for dinner!
Thursday, October 18, 2012
One of the hardest parts of getting through my recovery has been not being able to move around without feeling totally exhausted after about five minutes.
I'm not a die-hard exercise person. I enjoy an occasional stroll, or my walks in the pool, but I don't hit the gym or train for marathons or anything like that. However, I am realizing that losing weight had put a spring in my step and and enjoyment in moving around that I had not experienced for most of my overweight, adult life. Now that the spring is temporarily gone, I'm missing it!
This is a good thing to know. There's much more at stake here than fitting into a smaller size. I don't want to be old and unable to do things like get myself up out of bed or even up out of a chair because I am so unfit and heavy. Losing weight, learning to eat in a healthy way, and incorporating exercise into my life are all hard things to do, but SO WORTH IT!!!! I want to experience that view from the top! I want to be able to climb that hill!
I need to remember that the choice is mine. I can choose to stay on my plan, write down what I eat, and make healthy choices. I can remember that sometimes all I'm going to be able to see is the next step, not the fabulous view. But each step takes me closer to the life I long to live, where I can bounce down the street in time with the sunshine.
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Last week was a tough one for me. My recovery has being progressing more slowly than I would like, and I admit that I have been... well... feeling lonely and depressed!
When I was explaining to Vicki at Weight Watchers this morning that my depressed mood was why I hadn't blogged anything, she asked me why I hadn't called somebody from our group.
This is a Very Good Question. Why didn't I? When I get into those funky "I am all alone in the world" moods, calling someone is the last thing on my mind. I guess I would rather sit around and mope than do something about it.
I'm glad Vicki reminded me that I have many friends who care about me, friends who are there for me. I especially love that my friends totally understand how hard it is to change your whole life, because they are doing it too. I guess I forgot, for a while, that this journey is not a solitary one, but one that I am on with lots of other people who are struggling with the same things that nag at me.
So here is a shout out to all my friends out there who are on the journey with me. Please forgive me for trying to struggle through a difficult week without asking for your support! You are a blessing to me, and together we are going to make it!
Monday, October 8, 2012
I finally reached a goal I had set for myself before we went on our Texas vacation this summer. The objective was to lose three pounds while I was gone. Let's see...that was July 21st.
And now, on October 8th, I'm there! Three pounds in two and a half months. I'm not going to win any speed records here.
Lucky for me, speed isn't the goal. Healthy living is the goal, with the blessed side effect of losing weight as my body normalizes and reflects my new lifestyle. I am now 59 pounds away from the upper limit that Weight Watchers sets for my healthy weight range. Personally, I'd like to lose a few more than that, say, 65 more. Which means I'm half way there!
The other good news is that I woke up feeling good today...finally. So my biggest challenge for the day will be to keep resting and not overdo it. Patience. Perseverance. Peace.
Thursday, October 4, 2012
I guess that's because instead of doing a big slice across the abdomen, they do four small holes. Pretty amazing, really, what they can do with four small holes, a camera and I guess some very tiny surgical tools.
But I'm here to tell you that it still hurts. There are going to be scars.
I'm feeling a bit frustrated today because I am not bouncing back the way I had hoped. Every little thing seems to tire me out. Then my side aches. So I sit. Concentrate on resting. On healing, so I can get back to swimming and walking and shopping and cooking healthy meals. I really want to wake up tomorrow and feel normal.
Then I realize, it's kind of like the weight loss. I still have in me the old dream of "when I wake up tomorrow I want to be thin." But this waiting period reminds me that healing of wounds takes time. My body can't change overnight, as much as I wish it could. But when it comes to the weight loss, it's not so much my body that needs to heal as it is my spirit.
The healing process can, frankly, be inconvenient. But there is no speeding it up. These things possess their own time tables. So, as I sit and rest and await my physical healing, I also will try to understand that my spirit needs time to sit and rest too. I need to understand that there will be scars that may always inhibit my ability to stay on top of my goal and living a healthy lifestyle. I need to remember that although I feel down today, tomorrow can and probably will seem brighter.
Monday, October 1, 2012
This may not sound like such a big deal, but it is. I haven't been able to cross my legs for years. I did it without thinking...just crossed them! It was comfortable.
All those years I couldn't cross my legs because my legs were just too big to cross. There was too much fat in the way.
It made me think about other stuff that gets in the way of being who God means me to be. Like when I insist on people doing things MY WAY. Or my tendency to procrastinate. And then there's how much I am able to enjoy grumbling about something.
This little taste of freedom in being able to cross my legs makes me wonder...what else have I been missing out on? It's a big question, one which I don't expect to answer quickly. But I want to open my eyes and start being aware of those self-imposed encumbrances in my life that are keeping me from being the person I am supposed to be. I guess I want to exercise my character and get rid of the "fat" that represents my unwillingness to change.
Just thinking about this makes me want to take a nap! At least I don't want to eat a donut. That's a positive start.
Friday, September 28, 2012
This whole gallbladder thing is turning out to be a watershed event in my life. For one thing, it stopped me dead in my tracks and forced me to evaluate what was going on in my life. And for another, getting rid of the pesky thing seems to have unlocked the gate to more weight loss! Since coming home from the hospital last week, my weight has gone down almost five pounds. I'm finally in some new territory and feel like I'm back on track with the overall health program.
My past was resigned to hopelessly being fat and miserable for the rest of my life. But now...hope! I truly do not feel weighed down by that old me. This makes me think of a favorite Bible verse:
- "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will." Romans 12:2 NIV
I feel like I am being transformed. I pray that I am being transformed into someone who will not want to go back to those old ways which were so oppressive and miserable. Every person who loses weight worries about that going back part. Can we truly move beyond our old selves? With God's help, I believe we can.
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
So, now, just because I've decided my life is about health and not about weight loss, I shouldn't expect everything to be...well...a piece of cake from here on out!
And let's be very clear, here. I'm still interested in weight loss. My hope is that by focusing on health, my weight will eventually normalize to a level that is healthy for me. I don't know if that will be a level congruent with Weight Watcher's goal charts or not. We'll just have to wait and see.
In the meantime, I still expect to face many challenges. Church potlucks are not going away. Well-meaning friends and relatives with mayo-loaded vegetable dishes are still in my future. But a little thought entered my feeble brain this morning. What if...WHAT IF?...I could somehow turn these upcoming challenges into opportunities? Hey...what if every challenge I face is an opportunity to do something extraordinary, special, and positive?
It's an interesting thought. If I'm invited to someone's home for dinner, do I have an opportunity to offer to bring something I know I can eat? If I have a really frustrating day, do I have an opportunity to enjoy a healthy dinner instead of trying to eat my frustrations away? If I'm around someone who I find particularly annoying, is that an opportunity to show kindness?
I think the key to finding the opportunities in life's challenges lies in looking beyond the moment. Usually, when I'm facing challenges, all I can see is how I feel right that very second. That's when I am most vulnerable to do something I will later regret. I'm intrigued by the idea of learning to do something other than my normal knee-jerk reaction to a challenge. I'm intrigued that learning to see these moments as opportunities might also bring unexpected rewards along the way.
BTW, thank you, Vicki, for getting me started in this line of thinking!
Monday, September 24, 2012
A woman was given a 90 day goal of losing 85 pounds. 85 pounds in 90 days, my friends! She didn't make it. She "only" lost 77 pounds in 90 days. And she was depressed about that.
But this is what happens when weight loss is the goal. You define your worth based on "that number." If you happen to reach "that number", you are done. But we all know that you are never done. It's never over. Even if you reach "that number" it's just the beginning of a new battle to stay there. And who wants to live their life always battling the desire to eat unhealthy foods? So many of us ultimately decide that the struggle just isn't worth it, because we are miserable and can't maintain "that number" anyway.
I look at it this way. I can either make weight loss my goal, and be forever frustrated when the numbers don't go the way I want, OR I can change my perspective. What if, instead, I make a HEALTHY LIFESTYLE my goal? Then, my diet, instead of being a burden that limits the enjoyment I have in life, becomes a tool that supports what I'm going for! My weight, instead of being the focus of all my attention, becomes merely a by-product of the life choices I make.
Maybe this way of thinking seems obvious to you. But to me, this is HUGE. It is a complete paradigm shift. Suddenly, instead of looking at what I'm going to eat in terms of "what I can get away with and still lose weight", I see my food choices as building blocks for a healthy future. Is that too corny? I don't think so. I think...maybe...this may be the secret to real success.
Sunday, September 23, 2012
Other realizations have been slower to emerge. They begin as nagging suspicions, which often I turn away from and choose to ignore. But then, something happens that brings something to the surface.
Something like, for example, thinking you are having a heart attack and ending up having gallbladder surgery.
As I recover from the surgery two days ago, I'm realizing that being able to overcome my eating issues means coming face to face with who I am...really. It means accepting my faults, and becoming willing to make improvements where I can. It also means, somehow, learning to love myself in spite of those obvious or not-so-obvious shortcomings I find in my own nature.
The thing that has been bubbling to the surface in these recent days is how impatient I am...have always been. Impatient with myself. Impatient with others. With the world. I am always looking for the "quick fix". The get-it-over-with thing to do. I'm the person who prays for patience and follows up with, "..and I want it right now!"
I'm feeling impatient right now because, even though I have been faithfully counting my points and eating correctly, my weight has gone up a couple of pounds. I'm not thinking about all that my body has been through in the past week, and frankly, I am way out of line. Instead of being grateful that my problem was diagnosed and dealt with, I'm stomping my foot and pouting about a couple of temporary pounds.
So, this is a picture of me telling myself to take it easy. Be patient. Take responsibility and move on. I know in the past I have given up on healthy eating because I didn't see the results when I wanted to see them. I need to learn that healthy eating is a worthy goal all by itself, with or without accompanying weight loss.