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In the Spirit of Julie and Julia - #18

Friday, October 23, 2009

In the Spirit of Julie and Julia - #18

Days Remaining: 89

The Book: When You Eat at the Refrigerator, Pull Up a Chair - 50 Ways to Feel Thin, Gorgeous, and Happy (When You Feel Anything But), by Geneen Roth

#18 - Begin to Tolerate Joy

This is something that I didn't really think applied to me. In fact, when I originally started this entry of my blog, I said that I had this one tackled. And as I wrote on, I had to scroll back up and change this paragraph to read . . . THIS IS SOMETHING I NEED TO WORK ON.

If I think back about my reasons for eating . . . well, not eating, but truly going overboard . . . there were some constants around the eating. Stress. Anger. Depression. Exhaustion. Boredom. These were all reasons I ate. But there was one more. Joy. If I was happy, I might "celebrate." And the "celebration" could turn into a binge . . . one Snickers miniature leading to another, and another, and another . . . until the bag was gone. And that celebration would lead to a stomach ache, the incessant guilt and the joy would be gone. So perhaps I was happy for a simple reason. Maybe I got a shipment of scrapbooking papers and embellishments (my hobby of choice), and I would be happy and celebrate. I would eat the candy or the cookies, or something to excess. Then I felt sick and the joy would be gone.

Was I sabotaging the joy?

Taking it a step further, feeling joy is an interesting emotion. It is almost easier to be miserable than to be happy. If you're feeling joyful around people who are miserable, you worry that they may think that you're bragging or boasting. You worry that you might hurt someone's feelings being excited over something that's coming up in your life, when they have nothing. "No one will hate you for being in pain."

I do play the miserable card. If I'm happy about something, I will often downplay it. Why do I do this? If I have a vacation coming up, I will often look at the negatives. Is it because I don't want people to feel slighted over my happiness? Is it because I have guilt over feeling happy? Yet others feel joy around me over their upcoming ventures.

So, yes. This is something that I need to work on. I need to "begin to tolerate joy." I need to be willing to be happy even though people around me may be depressed or sad. I need to be willing to take a chance that someone I care about may be envious or threatened.

As I think back on this last week or two, there is a moment of joy that I have downplayed tremendously. My husband, who was laid off nearly a year ago, has been back working at a new job for several months now. However, he has no vacation time. So taking a vacation this year was going to be a problem. On the other hand, I have loads of vacation time. However, without something to do, taking time off for me means being by myself, eating, and getting into trouble. So over the summer, I chose to take a week of vacation time and run a scrapbooking camp for kids. I was being paid my vacation time, but then I was paid for the camp so I would have the extra cash for a long weekend. The long weekend never got planned, but then during an auction for the United Way, a penthouse suite in New York City, valued at $2,000 for a two-night stay, was on the block. I got it for less than half the value. I was elated. My mini-vacation was going to come true.

My joy was short-lived. It was followed by guilt over whether it was a good use of my money. Then when my husband became alarmed with how I spent my summer "extra earnings," I was angry. How does this happen that something you wanted, that you thought was the perfect answer, that you were so excited about suddenly becomes a negative. I found that I couldn't talk about it without expressing something negative to downplay it. When someone asked me about the auction item that I won, I responded with, "Well, I did have to pay for it." Yep, that's a little negative.

So this is something that I need to work on - tolerating joy. Take some time to notice what happens when you feel gladness or joy. It has been an eye opener for me.

I'm excited for my trip, which is coming up in just four weeks. Two nights in New York City in a penthouse suite near Central Park. We have tickets to a hockey game at Madison Square Garden. We're planning the rest of our trip to include some other interesting sites. I'm feeling joy, and I'm not afraid to talk about it. No guilt. It's all good.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KRESKA 10/24/2009 8:42AM

    I'm guilty of the same...I let negatives bring me down while I should be on the lookout for my own happiness.
emoticon blog!

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CRYSTALLULLABY 10/24/2009 8:23AM

  WOW. This is so true - it blew me away.

Your comment: "It is almost easier to be miserable than to be happy." hits the nail on the head. We are not a society that likes happy - we are a society that values the overthinking and analyzing and looking at for all the reasons it is too good to be true.

I have also had your experience with spending money - why is it so difficult to spend money (ours that is set aside for us to do with whatever we want) on something that maybe just WE want (and not our family, friends, extended family, coworkers)? There are days I get it right and there are days I don't. But the good days are starting to outnumber the bad so I'm calling it a success.

That trip sounds absolutely wonderful. I am so happy for you and for how happy you sound about it. It will be a great break. I hope you have a glorious time and enjoy every single minute of whatever you decide to do (and of course, share when you return about the the penthouse - that's so neat!)

Hope you have a good day!

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In the Spirit of Julie and Julia - #17

Sunday, October 18, 2009

In the Spirit of Julie and Julia - #17

Days Remaining: 94

The Book: When You Eat at the Refrigerator, Pull Up a Chair - 50 Ways to Feel Thin, Gorgeous, and Happy (When You Feel Anything But), by Geneen Roth

#17 - Wear Red

I had this red dress many, many years ago. I bought it just before the song, "Lady in Red" came out. It was one of my favorite dresses, and while I outgrew it a long, long time ago, and it is long since gone, it is an article of clothing that I've never forgotten.

So let's talk about the "feeling fat days." We all have them. It can be that you overate the day before, or your time of the month, or just too much sodium. I find it amazing that every once in a while, as heavy as I am, I will have a day where I feel thinner. Not thin! Just thinner. And unfortunately, it doesn't usually last because several hours could pass and I feel like a bloated fool. Must be the fiber. But it is truly amazing how we "feel" a certain weight.

As I read this chapter of the book, a few things resonated with me. The author suggested that the colors we wear have an impact on us. So I did a little "Ouija Googling." What is "Ouija Googling"? A friend of mine got me started on "Ouija Googling" several years ago. I think she invented the concept, but I can't say for sure. It's where you throw a question into "Google" and look merely at the response you get back, without clicking on any of the links. You have to weed through what you see there to really find a few phrases that might "click" without "clicking".

So, I "Ouija Googled" the question: What are the effects of clothing color on a person? The response that I got back (again, without clicking on any of the links) were interesting. Some did not include enough information, so I moved on to the next. But here are a few that left me thinking . . .

- Your clothes also effect the way you feel. Lots of colors represents lots of ... Everybody needs a certain color, and as a depression and anxiety person red ...

- Color has a great emotional impact on a person that comes out via the clothes we chose to wear, decorations to fill our homes, personality, ...

- The color overpowers the person. The person, not the color, ... Effects of Color on the Figure. figure 4 & 5 Clothing colors affect apparent body size. ...

- It is also the color of love. Red clothing gets noticed and makes the ... Q: Does a person's favorite color have anything to do with their personality? ...

Interesting . . . a few references to red. In fact, the only colors I saw referenced in the first two pages of choices, were red and blue. According to the author of the book, red corresponds to courage, strength, autonomy, and power. Green to compassion and a melting heart. Yellow to joy. And she has discovered "that red is a remarkable antidote for feeling-fat days." Wearing red allows you to be strong and powerful.

And remember . . . red comes in many shades including magenta, maroon, burgundy . . . so you're not limited to the stark fire engine tone that screams something out of that song, "Roxanne." Phew!

I think it's interesting that in my internet surfing on this subject, I found one article in the "Irish Times" that suggested athletes are now wearing red for a similar reason. "The theory holds that wearing red delivers a signal to others of being more aggressive. It creates an unconscious bias, associating redness with dominance, something that could impart an unfair advantage in athletic competitions as hard-fought as during the Olympic Games, he suggested."

So I'm going to challenge myself to find an article of clothing that is red. I used to wear a lot of red in my thinner days, and I moved away from it. I've been wearing more blue. How interesting that I found some indication that wearing blue would have the opposite impact as wearing red. Blue is calming, but can also be cold and depressing. Blue is great for bedrooms, and is a recommended color for a job interview because it symbolizes loyalty.

I myself like to keep a lot of color in my closet. I've got plenty of black and blue, there is some brown, green, purple, turquoise, pink . . . but nothing that is truly red. Hmmm . . .

So I "Ouija Googled" - "Should I take a trip to the mall for red clothing today?

The very first response returned . . . "Take a Trip to the Mall and Improve Your Blog"

Oh, the power of the "Ouija Google"!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HONEYDRIPPER 10/22/2009 8:59AM

    What does it say about a person that red is thier favorite color? I don't consider myself powerful, strong or couragegous. Maybe I'm trying to chanel those qualities to myself. I've been keeping my eye out for another red dress since both my favorite red dresses are now too big and I've learned that I'm holding on to my fat by holding onto fat clothes.

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NINE_PURRCENT 10/20/2009 2:01PM

    LOL - I used to have a georgeous red scalloped dress many years ago! I loved that dress. I felt confident and sexy wearing it. After reading this and thinking about the colours I wear now - NO red at all. Not even a tee shirt! I have moved into blacks, browns, greys and green. emoticon I think I feel a shopping day coming .....

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SPIRITSEEKER2 10/19/2009 11:20PM


I found I get a great reaction to a yellow button up shirt and an aqua T-shirt I have.. funny what colors do.. I have a lucky red top I wear to my art shows, I do well with it on.

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MYMAWSCRAPS 10/18/2009 11:22PM

    I love red, and never noticed until now that I too have ventured away from red. When I do wear it, I get plenty of compliments on the fact that it is "my" color.
I do own several favorites are probably my American Eagle flannel plaid jammies. When you go to the mall for red, it's gonna be so exciting to buy something red but also something in your new smaller size. Enjoy!! Oh no, I forgot about my snuggly bath robe that I might get to wear this week...we finally have cooler weather in Texas.

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TALLTABBY 10/18/2009 5:51PM

  I never have found a red piece of clothing that looks good on me. I guess I am going to have to go looking for something.

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DESERT_BIRD 10/18/2009 2:37PM

    Nice blog. I Ouija Google all the time, but I've never heard it called that! And I usually end up clicking on at least one of the links to get the rest of the story. Try Ouija Googling color therapy and see what you get!


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In the Spirit of Julie and Julia - #16

Saturday, October 17, 2009

In the Spirit of Julie and Julia - #16

Days Remaining: 95

The Book: When You Eat at the Refrigerator, Pull Up a Chair - 50 Ways to Feel Thin, Gorgeous, and Happy (When You Feel Anything But), by Geneen Roth

#16 - Lose the Muumuus and Just-in-Case Clothes

Oh no! Not the closet again. I didn't complete that first closet assignment yet (still moving through it about one square inch a day - lol).

We need to lose the muumuus and Just-in-Case Clothes. Those are the ones you keep around in the event that you ravage through a gallon of ice cream or an entire cake. Well, I certainly hope they don't mean that we get rid of the comfy lounging clothes. I am one to hang out in my sweats, and that's something I won't give up. It means the difference between a work day (business casual), an errand day (jeans), and a day of much needed rested (sweats). But I do promise to wear them smaller and smaller as I lose the weight. That is a commitment I will make.

If there is one thing that I've learned in the last few weeks, it is that if I do go a little crazy, I'm not going to gain five pounds in one day. I just have to get right back on the road to working toward my goals. And my goal is not to lose weight . . . my goal is to be healthier. My goal is to control my destiny.

I really don't have any muumuus in my closet. And I really don't have any "just-in-case I gain weight" clothing. I have "just-in-case I want to frump around the house while heating my homemade Spinach and Bean soup" clothing, and I think that those are o.k. I think the key is to be sure that we stick to our size, and not keep clothing around "just in case."

You know what I mean!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MYMAWSCRAPS 10/18/2009 11:09PM

    Lounging in sweats right now. For me though, I have to have my patchwork Jammies, that means staying in, simmering stew, drinking coffee and dreaming a project. NOT the closet project either. Keep "inching" away at the closet, you'll find the floor or back wall soon. Thanks for sticking with your blogs.

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TALLTABBY 10/18/2009 5:43PM

  It sounds to me like you don't have anything to worry about on this one. I really don't think that sweats count, as long as you keep buying smaller ones. So just keep working on that closet.

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BIG_SCOTS_LASS 10/18/2009 1:25PM

    I've already had a clear out of my wardrobe and need to do another one, as the majority of my tops are all far too big for me. This is rather disappointing in some ways, as it means I have to keep buying new clothes, which I grudge a little, as I know they're not doing to fit me for long and I'll be taking them to the charity shop soon. I wish I'd kept more of my clothes on the way up so I had something to wear now. Ah well, hindsight is 20/20.

I haven't kept any "Just In Case" clothes, as I have no intentions of every needing them ever again. You should do the same, clear out everything that's too big and give it to Goodwill, or whatever. But you can hang onto your sweats for as long as you like.

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KO1215 10/17/2009 7:51PM

    Cute blog! I agree! I'm not giving up my sweats for nothing!!!!

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SPIRITSEEKER2 10/17/2009 6:14PM


I agree and not given up my sweats in winter...LOL

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In the Spirit of Julie and Julia - #15

Monday, October 12, 2009

In the Spirit of Julie and Julia - #15

Days Remaining: 100

The Book: When You Eat at the Refrigerator, Pull Up a Chair - 50 Ways to Feel Thin, Gorgeous, and Happy (When You Feel Anything But), by Geneen Roth

#15 - Carry a Chunk of Chocolate Everywhere

Two days ago I said I was going to step it up a notch. The very next day I had what was probably my worst eating day since joining Spark. Was it a binge? No. It was just a few poor choices, with a few good choices, with another poor choice and then a good choice.

Sure, I'll fess up. We drove two hours to Vermont to meet family for lunch at a beautiful country Inn, and then I ordered a few items that I wanted off the menu . . . butternut squash soup that was absolute smooth heaven, and then a pasta dish that was loaded with cheese. Sure, it was not the best choice. But it called to me on the menu. Folks, when in Vermont, eat the Vermont cheese! Then the good choice . . . I only ate one-third of my pasta dish and took the rest home. I also skipped dessert (wanted the key lime pie) and watched others eat crème bruleè cheesecake and maple mousse. But then on the trip home, stuck in traffic, we stopped at Yankee Candle in Massachusetts and we bought some candles (of course) and some caramel corn. When we got back on the road and were stuck in traffic, confined in the car with the caramel corn, the caramel corn (which I only planned to have a taste of) bit the dust. End of the day, I consumed about 2,000 calories. The three positives . . . I lived my life and enjoyed. I made some good choices. And I had a healthy dinner last night, so life and my plot to control myself goes on!

How interesting that the very next day I am facing up to #15 - Carry a Chunk of Chocolate Everywhere. This handy little chapter starts out by telling you that if you don't like chocolate, you don't need to develop a passion for it now. It's funny, because I've always considered myself more of a vanilla kind of girl. For me, it's vanilla ice cream, hands down! I don't like chocolate ice cream and will pass it up. Yellow cake is a definite. And yes, I will take a sugar cookie over a chocolate chip one any day of the week. But that said . . . fudge brownies . . . yum. The gooier the better. And I like my chocolate "milk" not "dark". So I do love chocolate.

The suggestion is that you not settle for the kind of chocolate that others love, but rather you carry your own so when you do have it, it's exactly what you want. So if you prefer Hershey over Godiva, carry it with you. Dark over milk, carry it with you. If a Ring-Ding is not your thing, but the Hostess Cupcake is your cake of choice, carry it with you. Don't depend on other's definitions of good chocolate, because you will be disappointed.

Second, don't be ashamed to eat it in public. If you've been a regular reader of my blog, you know that this one is tough for me. I actually felt a little bit of shame just yesterday ordering that cheesy pasta dish over the baked fish. But I threw caution to the wind and got what I wanted, and then I felt great when I was one of only two people in nine to leave the meal with a take-out container (and the other was a five year old who took her chicken fingers and fries home after eating most of her mom's dinner instead).

Things, tastes, people, and activities that give you pleasure are good, and there is a place for them in our lives. We just have to pay attention to them. And this, of course, leads to the third principle of chocolate wisdom in the book. Take time with the chocolate. If you eat it while doing something else . . . watching television, working, driving, etc., you will just reach for more. And you miss the taste, because you weren't fully present. And then you believe that the relationship is a dysfunctional one. In reality, if you pay attention to it and really taste it, you can have that relationship.

It is unbelievable that my experience in Vermont yesterday is a perfect example of this very logic. At the restaurant, I was focused on the food. I ordered what I wanted. I truly enjoyed the soup and savored it as I ate it. The flavors were amazing. And when the pasta dish arrived, I recall taking small bites, one spiral noodle at a time, and just allowing myself to be in heaven for a bit. When I hit that one-third mark, I stopped. I had so enjoyed the meal, and I didn't really feel bad giving up dessert. But then later, in the car, in the traffic with the stress of "how much longer are we going to sit on this highway" the caramel corn just disappeared. I had enjoyed the first few bites (I wasn't driving), but when the bag came out the second time, it was gone and the enjoyment was completely gone with it.

I find the timing incredible. How interesting that it completely correlates just one day later as I'm reading this chapter. And how true it really is . . . the relationship between me and pasta was fine. Because I took the time to really pay attention to it. "When we pay attention, enough is possible, here, now, right this very moment." It is so true.

"There are many doors to wisdom. Why not choose one that tastes like shooting stars?"

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SPIRITSEEKER2 10/13/2009 6:59PM

    loved this blog.. and yes we can indulge every now and then and enjoy every second of it- having the caramel corn in the car- I would have devoured it too.. LOL

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DESERT_BIRD 10/13/2009 8:12AM

    Great blog post!...And you're right about paying attention so you can really enjoy what you're eating...and eating what you enjoy.


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PFLEEG 10/12/2009 7:14PM

    Your blog is so right on! Experience and enjoy your meal. Put away the guilt. Makes great sense.

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In the Spirit of Julie and Julia - #14

Saturday, October 10, 2009

In the Spirit of Julie and Julia - #14

Days Remaining: 102

The Book: When You Eat at the Refrigerator, Pull Up a Chair - 50 Ways to Feel Thin, Gorgeous, and Happy (When You Feel Anything But), by Geneen Roth

#14 - Learn the Difference Between Self-Indulgence and Self-Kindness

Oh my gosh! Where have I been? I have not blogged on my book in nine days, which can only mean that I have to step it up a notch if I expect to finish this assignment in the 150 days allotted. Crikey!

Are you all with me?

So on this one I decided to really look at the words "indulgence" and "kindness." When I originally looked up the meaning of indulgence, the first thing I found was "remission of part or all of the temporal and especially purgatorial punishment that according to Roman Catholicism is due for sins whose eternal punishment has been remitted and whose guilt has been pardoned. Wow. I'm not catholic, but I know a bit about guilt. Don't we all?

So I decided to look at the root of the word . . . indulge . . . to give free rein to . . . to take unrestrained pleasure in . . . to yield to the desire of . . . to treat with excessive leniency, generosity, or consideration. And then kindness . . . a kind deed . . . the quality or state of being kind. So when you add the word "self" to indulgence and kindness, it takes on a whole new meaning. The word "self" alone with "unrestrained" is a really scary thought for me. I think those two words alone tell the story of my life. With self-indulgence, I am the one taking free rein; I am the one yielding to desires; I am the one being excessively lenient to myself. Emphasis is on the word "I". It's what I am allowing myself to do. I am continuing to do harm to myself, being angry with foul ups in my eating plan or when I don't exercise. When I don't ask for help or I break the commitment that I've made to myself, I'm being self-indulgent.

With self-kindness, again placing the emphasis on the word "I" . . . I am being kind to myself. I stop doing harmful things to myself, I ask for help, and I take care of myself.

This is truly about taking ownership. We don't trust ourselves. We habitually try to diet and then go off on a binge. The process repeats itself, over and over again. Face it! My entire life has been a cycle of on again, off again dieting. Trusting myself to never diet again has given me the power to be kind to myself. And I really have been doing a few things to be kind to myself on a regular basis. I take the time to shop for groceries and really plan. I have taken the time to plan ahead. I have stopped thinking that I will never have the things that I want again. I just plan for them and make room for them.

I have an unwritten agreement that I'm going to be kind to myself. In the past, when dieting, if I ate "off plan" I felt guilt. I binged. I completely went off. And repeated instances were followed by longer and worse binges until the diet completely ended for months. Now that I no longer diet, when I go over on my calories on a day, I am kind to myself and get back on track. I've finally learned that I can have whatever I want, provided I'm honest with myself about it. I'm taking ownership, and it's working.

So, do what you have to do to experience that self-kindness. Remember that you have this one body, and be kind to it. I find it interesting that people can own a car and take it in for routine maintenance, but the way we abuse our bodies is another whole story. But then again, I've never had to say . . . "I'll hold off on taking the car in for routine maintenance until it loses thirty pounds."

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TALLTABBY 10/11/2009 10:28PM

  I am so glad to see your blog back up again. I was really starting to miss it. As always you are right on point. WE have to be kind to ourselves. There are going to be times when we mess up, and during those times we have to be able to forgive ourselves.
I also agree you have to plan for your meals by grocery shopping. I have really started to love grocery shopping. Every week I can't wait to see what fresh fruit and veg I can get.

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MYMAWSCRAPS 10/11/2009 8:48PM

    Hi Girlie,
Funny thing, I signed on tonight just because I was wondering if you had any words of wisdom for me. In a "funk" and totally off track for today. Should have listened to my inner push last night and not texted my walking buddy to "let me sleep in". As a result...I've just taken it easy all day and eaten everything but the refrigerator. So...
I've been self indulgent today and tomorrow...I'll just try to be kind to myself and get back on track. UHMMMMMMMMMM... Your blog always seem to be there, when I need ya'.

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SACTOKAREN 10/10/2009 5:34PM

    Good points!

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