Friday, February 19, 2010
I come from a soft fluffy fat family of short-waisted women who mostly look like soft pillows for grandchildren to cuddle up to. I don't believe there is a long boned body among all 40 of my cousins! That's why I have that silly photo of the fashion model Imam, with my cartoon head on her shoulders. Because my goodness - it would be fun to be that long and that lean.
It will never happen, but still, for 20 odd years, from my late teens to my early 40's I managed to maintain a healthy weight. It fluctuated, but always within a healthy BMI. I began to pile it on somewhere around in the mid-1990's. If you were to see a graph of me from then to today it would look like the Appalachian mountains. From about 150 lbs. I gradually rose to a peak of about 200 (by then I would have died rather than get on a scale) At that airy height I had my first Moment of Truth when a dear friend saw my photograph in the local paper.
"You looked like a proper dowager", this courtly oldfashioned gentleman said. When my mouth dropped in horror and my eyes teared up he tried to recover with "Oh I meant you looked like one of those women of influence ....." but the damage was done.
And the good. With great effort I scaled down that mountain to about 165 and a size 14. (wonder why I can't fit into a 14 now that I am back at 165?) Alas. I could not stay there. Bad habits and bad eating dragged me back up the mountain side till I was once again in the high 180's. One day I had on my skinny sweater (you know - the one where you can wear when you're at the bottom of your weight range) and so I let my husband take my photo. He brought it back from the one hour photo place and showed it to me. I gasped in horror - I looked like a purple beach ball!!! I said in a dreadful whisper "I don't really look like that, do I?" and ... with all the love in the world beaming from his blue eyes he said "Yes! that's exactly what you look like"
I began to cry and he stuttered "But... but HONEY! Look at your MOTHER!"
And that's when I knew ... he should die.
No. teasing there. That's when I knew I had gotten beyond acceptable. I confiscated the picture and showed it to my best friend a little later. "Do I really look like that?" I asked in still shocked tones - and she, being my best friend, said "No sugar, of course not" but I saw in her eyes that I really DID look like that photo.
I joined WW the next week and took of 37 lbs.
At 150, with a BMI of 25 at last, I was surprised at the many things I could do now - like ... wearing dangling earrings. At 187 my face was too round to look good with things swinging beside it. Even jewels! And my feet no longer hurt and I could wear heels again. And it wasn't too hard to keep the lbs. off for a while - but then a deep family tragedy followed swiftly by my parents' drastic needs and some health issues and BAMMO - the weight began to creep back up.
I've been dancing between 175 and 165 now for 3 years. I was beginning to think this was my body's natural weight - no I was playing with the idea of claiming that this was my body's natural weight. But you know? I just couldn't give up the image in my mind of a lithe streamlined healthy body. And I hate taking so many pills. I will, of course. I'd far rather take them than die without them! but what if?
What if I could really change?
What if I could believe "The only thing I inherited from my family was the skeleton. What I put on that skeleton is my choice."
Happily a friend put me on to Spark People and I am certainly enjoying myself on the journey - especially this blogging stuff. I am SUCH a talker anyway but writing about things has turned out to be a particular help in finding the underlying reasons for things - in this case - things to do with why I am the way I am. Often when I start my daily blog I have no idea where I'm going or why, but always by the end I've revealed what I was looking for.
With this long post I realize i was trying to find out why I derail my heroic efforts and I believe there are two reasons.
1. Crisis - I tend to cope with a crisis by dancing with Mr.IceCreamBox and his friends Baron Butter and Sir Sugar. Each time I gained substantial weight was preceded by a huge life crisis.
2. I rather prefer the journey to the destination. Once I lost weight it was hard for me to stay there because it wasn't fun, I wasn't doing it with friends. There were no mileposts or rewards or celebrations for ... for just staying where I was - even if where I was was such a great place.
Well. I know there will be other crises in the future and I hope to find a way to live at a healthy weight for the rest of my life. It behooves me to think about how I will deal with those two issues before hand.
Ahh but not today. Today it's enough that I've identified the issues.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Itís true. I love lent. While the grand climax at the end of the Lenten season is a triumphant victory over death, these 40 days to prepare for something wonderful have always filled me with the knowledge that I, too, have a role to play Ė if only in coming to understand what the meaning of sacrifice is.
In the past I have given up sodas (twice, because the first time I was such a nasty crabby thing that though I fulfilled the deed, I did not fulfill the spirit), chocolate, criticizing my husband, gossip Ė a score of different things. From time to time I also/instead add something to my life. It just depends on where I feel I need the most work.
This year Lent caught me by surprise and I had to scramble to find something I can give up and/or add to my life. Iím doing a lot of little things already as I work towards better health and I didnít want to be so ambitious I failed either in a Lenten sacrifice or in my healthy SP life. And then I hit on something that is both a subtraction and an addition and Iím excited about it.
I have a besetting sin of grousing to myself about Bad Things. I donít do it all the time Ė there might be whole days when I go through life seeing only the bright side of things. But I have my dark gloomy grouchy complaining moments and if I used them to make positive changes in my life they might be good for me. All too often, though, they just decay into rants and ugly mutterings that leave me feeling sorry for myself and blaming Other People.
And so, for the next 40 days I am going to wear a little rubber band on my left wrist. The moment I catch myself grumbling and muttering and grousing about something in my life that I hate I will snap that rubber band Ė lightly - but snap it enough to notice and from that moment on I have 1 hour to find a piece of paper and pen and to spend 10 minutes listing all the ways that I can actively change whatever is bothering me for the better. The snap of the band is to get me to STOP grousing. The hour is because I may not be at a point where I can grab a pencil and paper but I am sure I can within an hour. The 10 minute limit is because I just want to flood my brain with possibilities, positives, solutions and choices. I donít have to actually DO any of these things but I have to discover them, think about them and admit that there ARE choices in every situation.
This year I have a subtraction and an addition - for I plan to subtract the minutes I spend muttering and grumbling and add lots of good choices. And this is why I really, really love Lent.
Monday, February 15, 2010
Again, I want to thank all of you who shared my excitement by commenting on yesterday's blog post. I hope your valentines day was sweet and there are no chocolates left to lead you astray.
This week I begin Stage 3 of the Spark Plan Diet. I've been at Stage 2 a long time because I wanted to be sure I was serious about staying with this program all the way through to a new way of living.
I knew I could stick with it all the way to a weight goal. I've done THAT before. But I wasn't yet sure I would stick with this all the way to a new life. I really wasn't sure I wanted to change me or even if I could.
I don't quite like calling this a lifestyle change because that word feels too much like magazine jargon and pop culture language. It's true, I realize. We all do develop different lifestyles and they shift in time from youthful to responsible to whatever.... Believe me. I have changed my lifestyles several times - though, perhaps not as many times as I have changed my weight.
What I wasn't quite positive about was ... could I change Bess in a permanent way so that she would be slim, strong, supple, steady - in short - could I be different from now on?
Whenever I have something daunting to do at work I create an external structure to help me get it done. I have time lines and gant charts and to-do lists. There are all sorts of artifical deadlines I set up so that I can keep moving forward. I do this because I know it's easy for me to procrastinate my life away. Stage 2 of the SP was like my external structures. It's very mechanical with it's nutrition tracker and the calorie counts and the potassium charts. The daily exercise routines are there and if I submit to them I will progress.
But what I am longing for is a Bess who doesn't need all that external structure to live a healthy life. Oh - not that I won't want access to it when my path has bumps or curves that throw me for a loop. I want all these things to be here for me, as tools for when there is a job to be done. But I would like, most of the time, to just BE the sort of person who eats healthy food but only as much as her body needs, and who exercises her body - not because exercising is something she has to tick off a list - but because ... that's just who Bess is! A woman who exercises her body.
Because once, long long ago, when I was about 5 years old, I was that kind of woman. I ate till I was full and ran around all day till I was tired. Ha! Who knew!? I sure didn't, when I started writing this blog. Lordy! If you had asked me I would have told you I have struggled with my weight all my life. But that's not true! There was a time when I always made the right choices for my body. So I want to be 5 years old again. Well. At least I want to approach each day like that 5 year old.
So. So maybe I don't want to change myself at all. Maybe what I want is to be true to that first Bess - that little girl who went all day long doing what was good for her. What a happy thought to take with me into Stage 3.
Hope you find your inner 5-year old today.
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