Monday, October 28, 2013
Let me state for the record:
I HATE photographs of myself.
Both of my two childhood photos (I was the fourth of four kids) show a skinny girl with frizzy red hair, freckles, and buck teeth. UGH!
I could tolerate my wedding photos because there is some truth to the karma that surrounds a happy bride and besides by then I'd had orthodontia and learned how to use a blow dryer! Not to mention I weighed 105 lbs...
Next came motherhood with all THOSE photo ops. I did my best to hide behind the kids but at a weight that just kept climbing, that was hard to do. I never allowed photos of me standing up but that really didn't matter since most photos were taken at family celebrations and I was always photographed sitting at a table stuffing my face.
Even though I have always paid attention to my grooming - wearing make-up everyday and dressing nicely in clothes that fit but were never sloppy, I still looked heavy and much older than I was.
By the time my kids were getting married I dreaded the requisite photos. No expensive silky, satiny dress could improve upon helmet hair, big glasses, and 78 lbs too much weight on my little frame. Not even the beautiful bride could detract from how awful I felt that I looked, I thought. How egotistical!!
My husband on the other hand looks dashing in every photo ever taken of him. He's never had to particularly watch his weight. His hair is never turning gray. His eyes twinkle behind his glasses. His smile lights up his face. AND -- he just doesn't give a hoot!!
In my mind THAT only reduces his credibility when he looks at photos of me and says "You look beautiful as always"!
His theory is "It is what it is" and can't for the life of him understand why I get so filled with dread when anyone pulls out a camera and says "Smile"!
That phrase just makes me want to reply "Bend over" in that same cheery voice...
Someone at work snapped my picture standing next to the 33 year old doctor I worked for and I looked like I could be his mother even though I was only 39!! I have more chins in that picture than a Chinese phonebook! I cried when I saw it and yet it would be another 10 years before I lost any weight.
In the year 2006, at the funeral for my 25 year old son, I looked at the board of photos that we displayed at his visitation and I had an awakening. Those pictures were basically all that I had left of my son. Would I look at them and start pointing out that HE had put on weight, or had a little acne, or should have combed his hair?
Two months after he passed away I resolved to lose weight and get healthy. The "life is short saying" had new meaning to me and I didn't want to spend what was left of mine with no energy, on a bunch of medications, out of shape, wearing tents that stretched, even if Lane Byrant did their best to make them look modern.
So I found Sparkpeople and lost 78 pounds.
Did I automatically bury the hatchet with the camera? Sigh! Not entirely, but I did learn to tolerate it.
In fact last year around this time I saw a Groupon on line for "Boudior" photos from a local photographer. Ah hah! Every year I struggle with what to get the man for Christmas who professes that he already has everything that he needs. So After checking out her credentials and discovering that she is legit and this line is only a side gig for her, I booked my session. I browsed her website for outfit ideas and found the photos totally tasteful and classy. I also had a total ball pouring through the Victoria's Secret catalog for wispy, silky, coverings that I ordered for the occasion.
I started to tell the photographer all the flaws that I didn't want in the pictures and she shoved a glass of nice white wine in my hand and told me to RELAX. She basically "taught" me how to pose to highlight what I wanted and distract from what I didn't want to see. I changed outfits throughout the session in a flurry of giggles as I went from my work scrubs (the naughty nurse) to the WSOP hat (my hobby). Afterwards as I was looking through her promo photos I saw several heavier women looking so confident and sexy that I had to admit that sexy isn't a size.
Between her talent behind the camera and the wine, I, too, felt confident. I ended up having a very nice book made for my husband. The cover photo is just enough boudiorish to warn the kids when they encounter it after we pass on not to venture in if the sight of their mother's dťcolletage is going to require a trip to the river Jordan afterwards to wash their eyes.
I even selected a nice photo to frame and put up in our bedroom as well as one for my husband's desk at work. That's the one I use as a profile picture.
I have another one that I told the kids to crop out the cleavage and use as my obituary picture.
So has all this taught me how to appreciate having my picture taken? Yeah, but I'm still not a huge fan of myself in un-retouched photos. I hadn't realized just how much old habits die hard though, until I visited my sister in Virginia this fall. After I lost my weight, it inspired her and SHE joined Sparkpeople and lost 78 lbs. too! We are the best of friends and I was having a great visit with her. We were just lounging in her family room watching television in our jammies when around the corner comes her husband brandishing a camera! "Smile"! -- CLICK
We looked at the photo still on his camera and started protesting -- "I don't have make-up on", "My chins look awful", "My hair is stringy" "Mines thin" ---
"We look" "We look" "We look" --
He cut right through the chatter. "You look HAPPY"!!
You know what? He is right. And that, my friends, is what REALLY counts.
Thursday, August 22, 2013
It's been a long time since I've blogged on SparkPeople, but trust me, it hasn't been a long time since I've Sparked. Some days I feel like keeping my weight off is a second job. Watching every bite that I put in my mouth, tracking my food on SP, going down to the Y after work each night and on Saturdays to get in the exercise.,,,
BUT - sometimes I think that the payoff is worth more than the money I earn at my real job.
Being thin doesn't guarantee that you'll never have health concerns as evidenced by my history over the last four years. I was plagued with sinus and upper respiratory infections. Severe allergic reactions to antibiotics. Perpetual GI distress. Severe fatigue. Hip and leg pain that just never let up.
YET - I kept watching every bite that I put in my mouth, tracking my food on SP, going down to the Y after work each night and on Saturdays to get in the exercise...
I saw the ENT and had sinus surgery. CHECK
I saw the GI doctor and found out that I have celiac disease and am now healed on a gluten free diet. CHECK
I saw the physical medicine doctor and found that I have bulging disks in my back and had an epidural injection and hours of physical therapy. CHECK
AND - I kept watching every bite that I put in my mouth, tracking my food on SP, going down to the Y after work each night and on Saturdays to get in the exercise...
Doctor after doctor told me that those were the smartest things that I could do for myself. Recovery time was cut in half. I wasn't at risk for all the complications that accompany obesity like hypertension and diabetes that make you a poor anesthesia risk. They praised me for being thin like I'd been that way all my life.
SO - I had to tell them about my weight loss story and the wonderful power of sparking with others who are struggling down the same path....
One asked me to sum up in one sentence why I lost weight, what made me stay the course and get to goal.
I REPLIED - Because I love myself...
Next time you climb on the bike, treadmill, elliptical, or cut that baked potato in half and wrap up the rest, tell yourself:
THAT'S -- why I watch every bite that I put in my mouth, track my food on SP, exercise every day...
BECAUSE I LOVE MYSELF!
Sunday, June 12, 2011
Stardate: Week II
Well folks itís been two full weeks since I started my own eight weeks to optimum health. Itís mostly patterned after the Andrew Weil, MDís book entitled ď8 Weeks to Optimum HealthĒ. I say mostly because he doesnít necessarily advocate going gluten free. In his book ďNatural Healing, Natural HealthĒ he suggests that if you fit the symptom profile of a gluten intolerant person, you should try it and see how you feel. Because I have several first degree relatives that are, I decided to give it a try when I was visiting my sister during week I. Iíve had a long history of irritable bowel, but as Iíve blogged about before, I attributed gas and bloating to compulsive eating. Iíve long had environmental allergies and sinus issues. Menopause disorders. Joint and muscle pain. Mild anxiety. Cravings. Compulsive eating. Fatigue, lack of energy.
Nah, that about covers itÖ
My sister said YES, YES, YES to about everything on my list, so Iím giving it a try. No wheat, rye, or barley. No other grains that have been processed in a factory that processes wheat, rye, or barley. No modified food starch, certain gums used as preservatives and so on.
Along with weaning off caffeine Ė Iím down to one cup of ďreal coffeeĒ in the morning and when it runs out, Iím done. Water, de-caf tea or coffee, and very occasional orange juice or low sodium tomato juice for me. I gave up soda pop a year ago.
I pretty much entirely gave up processed foods full of preservatives. My sodium levels have finally gone under the food trackerís recommended limit. Iím not eating or drinking artificial sweeteners. Really very minimal artificial anything.
Iím exercising 6 days a week Ė either on the treadmill, bike, or walking outdoors. Iím doing yoga type stretches at least 4 times a week. Next week work in the strength training.
Iím paying attention to my breathing each day for at least 5 minutes taking nice deep breaths in through the nose and giving nice long exhales through the mouth.
Iím standing straighter without locking my knees. Iím making my quads work when I sit instead of flopping back into chairs.
Iím heading to bed earlier.
I have fresh flowers on my dining room table.
Iím trying to spend at least 15 minutes daily sitting relaxed and thinking about my blessings.
Iím taking a vitamin B complex, 1000 mg fish oil caps, Calcium & vitamin D tablet with minerals, Vitamin C, and another vitamin D. Staggered throughout the day with meals.
Iím off my daily antihistamine and nasal steroid Ė using the netti pot when needed. Iím off Prilosec Ė the heartburn is gone. Iím weaning off the estrogen therapy. I've lost 5 lbs from eating lots of fresh fruit, vegetables, and small portions of chicken or fish. I am eating gluten free bread and gf cereal with flax. Occasional treats of SMALL amounts of real sugar stuff like a Dove dark chocolate.
In short: I feel AMAZING. I havenít had this much energy in years.
With everything Iíve done at once, it might be hard to pinpoint exactly what has helped the most especially when it comes to the gluten and I will need a doctorís advice to help me determine if I am TRULY intolerant vs. a wheat allergy vs. placebo effect from just eating healthier. It can be essential to know, but right now I have no desire to go back to eating gluten. I feel that good. Good enough to never have a cold beer on a hot day again. Good enough to never again indulge in pizza at our favorite pizza joint. Only homemade or Godfatherís gluten free for me.
The defining moment? The hubby and I live by a Marble Slab and I love their frozen yogurt so I suggested that we go tonight after supper. I was prepared to eat a jr. size of the real ice cream if the yogurt had gluten in it, but when she said BOTH the yogurt and the ice cream had gluten in it I didnít hesitate Ė I told her no thanks, none for me.
My DH is so impressed; he has agreed to start doing what I do Ė right down to the gluten free.
The most amazing part: ABSOLUTELY NO MORE CRAVING.
What can I say? I pray that I can make this a lifetime deal. So far I feel like why wouldnít I????
Live long and prosperÖ
Monday, June 06, 2011
In my last blog I mentioned that I had gotten two books by Andrew Weil, MD:
ďNatural Health, Natural MedicineĒ and ď8 Weeks to Optimum HealthĒ
They are both excellent books and I highly recommend them. His approach to good health is based on sound principles that would make total sense to our ancestors: moderate daily exercise, a diet comprised mostly of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, limited protein especially from animal sources and to eliminate processed, artificial ingredients as much as possible. Drink lots of clean water. Eliminate caffeine, soda pop, and unhealthy fats. Limit or eliminate alcohol. Take time daily to breathe deep and RELAX. Appreciate your surroundings. Get adequate rest. Sounds elementary, doesnít it? Not to a busy caffeine fueled woman who hits the floor at 5:45 am, work at 7:30 am, the Y at 5:30 pm, who finds herself laying a supper of mostly meat and processed foods on the table for her husband and her at 7 pm. Iíve been known to be folding laundry at 11 pm.
Last week I took a WONDERFUL vacation to visit my sister and her husband across the country in Virginia. She lost 70 lbs last year with the help of SP. Despite the miles that separate us we have always been close. She encouraged me to try eating her gluten free diet (she is gluten intolerant) with her, so all week we had healthy, fresh produce, lean protein mostly from fish and beans, and just enough sugar to make us feel decadent. Plenty of ďskinny ď de-caf lattes. We went to her gym daily and exercised. I took a drop in gentle yoga class with her and she thoughtfully arranged a ďtrainingĒ session for me with her trainer/yoga instructor. I left her home feeling so energized. Her lifestyle all melded perfectly with Dr. Weilís books. Sigh! Good-byes are hard...
Donít get me wrong Ė Iím glad to be home. I missed my DH. I missed my cats. I even missed my job (the patients mostly). But I feel motivated to continue with my new plan. I discovered that it isnít enough just to be thin because Iíve been at or near my goal for almost 5 years now. Mostly, I want to be healthy and feel full of energy. Not full of aches and pains and stress. I realized that when I spent more time in the pharmacy aisle getting ready for my trip than I did in the grooming aisle that I needed to take some proactive steps to tune my immune system and get away from masking symptoms with pills to combat heartburn, joint pains, sinus troubles.
It will not be easy. Old habits die hard as they say. I have definite perfectionist tendencies and have been known to throw in the towel if I slip up and mar my ďstreakĒ. So with that in mind, I began my journey by writing myself a letter:
Like all things that matter, this will not be easy at times and sometimes you WILL fail. Thatís Ok. Remember to cut yourself some slack. Please take stock of your life and not make this journey just about weight, but about whatís healthy for you. Donít use other people as excuses to veer off your path; ignoring what you know is the best for yourself. Itís Ok to be a little self-centered, especially while you are trying to establish new habits. Yet at the same time, donít lose sight of trying to be a better person, friend, and mate. Get your ďhouseĒ in order but donít make it more of a struggle than it needs to be. RELAX! There is no time-line. It is not about a finish. Itís about feeling Ė healthy, balanced, happy, and serene. There is room for gentle drive and focus, but only as a means to enhance your journey. Listen not only to your physical body, but to that little voice inside that says: I love youÖ
(written while sipping a cup of decaffeinated copy and listening to quiet, gentle music)
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