Friday, October 03, 2008
Actually, I can see lots and lots of reasons.
This post is inspired by a fairly recent (late September) blog post from WolfKitty. In it, she talks about craving a pre-diet food and then, when she gets it thinking, "it's not all that".
I've been thinking about my old life, and being that I am nearly halfway through the weight loss portion of our program I think it's natural to look back and think about such things.
So, what was the old jes like? She had trouble with seat belts. Standard sized seating for things like stadiums and trains was too narrow. She couldn't get up the big hill at Plum Island without some major exertion and then shin pain for a subsequent few days.
She also ate papadum chips by the bag, great big handfuls of them. She ate poptarts for breakfast and deluded herself into thinking that that was all right because most of the rest of the day was healthy. She plunked down in front of a computer or TV every morning and night, and the rest of the day at work was spent with PCs and not people. She did go outside, but usually just to sit and read or write. Certainly not to exercise. She rarely helped with snow shoveling, lawn cutting, laundry or grocery carrying (although she did cook and washed dishes).
Her taste in food did cover spice but also a lot of fat, sugar and salt (she was never much of a fast food person). She hated every picture of herself. She saw her clothes getting more and more expensive and less and less like anything she ever wanted to wear. She selected clothes from catalogs based on size first and not on style, color or function. She had a lot of colds and general malaise. She was probably hurtling toward a life of sleep apnea. She also napped a lot, sometimes more than once in a day.
While that is the portrait of an overweight person, to be sure, it's also the portrait of another kind of person. A depressed person. Perhaps not clinical. But definitely someone on the low end of feelings, when it came to happiness, to energy and to self-esteem.
I suspect that major weight gain, such as I had and such as I am still shedding, is bound up tightly with depression no matter what else is happening. How, exactly, can such things happen? Sure a 10 lb. gain can happen. Or a 20 or a 50 lb. one. And these things take a while. But 200 lbs. overweight? And the last 40 or so -- I kid you not -- all happened within Calendar Year 2007, after a year ('06) when I had dropped 10 lbs.
Depression. Not a pretty word. But, I am sure, an accurate one. What does depression make you do, other than eat? Well, it makes you sleep. It depresses your immune system. It kills your self-esteem. It also, I believe, makes you crave certain foods. Sugar. Salt. Fat.
When the fog lifts, and the sun begins to shine again, a miracle takes place. Exercise gets interesting again. Fun creeps back into life. Self-esteem starts to rise. Naps become less appealing because they are not needed AND because you're too busy to waste your time that way. You treat yourself better. You have a spring in your step. You care more about your appearance. And food tastes differently.
Fat and salt and sugar still exist, but they have their places and those places are not front and center. You rediscover flavor. Jalapenos. Apples. Tuna steaks. Peanut butter. Snow peas. Dill. Sourdough bread. Yogurt. Olive Oil. Mint. Rice. Mangoes. Carrots. Cheeses.
And food is eaten differently, too. It stops being great handfuls that you need to cram in as quickly as possible. It stops being something that you'd better get out of the way, keep your fingers away from her teeth, folks, don't feed the animal, the animal is dangerous. It stops being that and returns to knives and forks and spoons. It returns to napkins and carefully arranged plates and bowls. It returns to conversations and thoughtful menu planning and shopping. It returns to ... civilization.
If anyone asks me, will I cheat, the answer is, why would I want to do that? It's not so much about the weight, not really, as it is about the feelings. Why should I make myself feel that old way, ever again? To what end does it enhance? What purpose does it serve?
If anyone asks me, when I am finished and on maintenance, will I return to my old ways, the answer is, what, are you insane? Sure, I may try some of those old foods every now and then, although I bet that for me, like it was for WolfKitty, they will be far less alluring, and my memories of them may be rosier than they ever really were. After all, no food is forbidden; you just have to watch portions. And yes, I may nap every now and then. There's nothing wrong with naps, so long as they don't dominate your days. There may be -- gasp! -- days I don't work out.
But to return to the old ways completely, and chuck all of this, it makes no sense. Life is meant to be lived, not to be endured. Food is meant to be enjoyed, not tossed behind your teeth as fast as possible to squash the screaming stomach beast. Beautiful days are meant for walks or runs or frisbee or maybe just hanging around but enjoying them rather than sleeping through them and making them slide past as quickly as possible.
I am no longer swimming in a circle. I am swimming forward. I am walking forward. I am jogging forward. I am running forward. I am flying forward.
I'm going to break the light-speed barrier. And if I do, I'll tell you yesterday. Thanks for reading.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Warning: this video is very, very weird.
The song is because yesterday I saw my friend. It was for less than a minute as he was busy talking to some coworker but he did say hi and I did, too. It had been a while as I haven't been food shopping when he's been working. A small thing, but, hey, I'll take all the smiles I can get. In the interests of weird karma, while I did see him in a totally random and unexpected way, I was also a total mess, as in uncombed hair, no makeup and an old shirt thrown over jeans. I need better flirting outfits! :)
Aside from my buddy being otherwise engaged -- e. g. no time to chat -- I, too, was on a mission. I was walking through the grocery in order to get to City Sports. Why there? Because I need tee shirts!
My current crop are HUGE on me. I bought a few (my husband went with me and he got a few for himself, too), including some that will fit now and others that will fit later. Today I did some tossing, and I'll do some more when the new stuff comes out of the wash. Today, actually, I decided, well, tomorrow it'll be October. There's just no way that it'll be tank top weather again until maybe May. Hence I took out the tanks from my work wardrobe, traded them for bigger or rattier tank tops in my tee shirt drawer and sent the rejects off to Goodwill. I also did this with short sleeved tops although I had fewer smaller versions of those. What I bought was all short sleeved stuff so I'll do the replacement trick with a few there, too.
I'm just tired of swimming in my old clothes. I'm no clothes horse by any means but this stuff is OLD. And it's falling apart, which is a good reason to replace it even if I wasn't losing weight like gangbusters. I'll probably just sleep in these tee shirts but it's still better if they aren't tents.
My smaller pants are getting long on me. These are 22s, pants that were impossible dreams not that long ago. Soon enough, they'll be fodder for Goodwill as I zoom past, on my way to double digit sizes that don't start with a 2. I am anticipating the day when I can call the large women's catalogs I get (Woman Within, Jessica London, that sort of thing) and ask them to take me off their mailing list as I won't be needing their stuff any more.
So long, ensign …
Monday, September 29, 2008
In case you don't know, a Bar Mitzvah is a coming of age ceremony. Essentially it means, you're thirteen, you're a man (or a woman, if you're a girl and it's a Bat Mitzvah). This is where I was all weekend -- doing the Bar Mitzvah thing with my older nephew and a hundred nearest and dearest.
I am tired. Man, I am beat. It's not just from all of the traveling and the change in the routine, but also because my husband and I went to the hotel gym on Saturday. We walked/jogged on treadmills, lifted weights, swam in the pool and marinated in the hot tub. It was delightful and we didn't feel like, oh God, what a chore, what a millstone around our necks, what a horrible obligation. Instead, it was fun, and we wanted to go back to the pool before leaving. The only two things stopping us were the lifeguard wasn't going to be there before we left plus we would've had an issue transporting that much volume in the way of wet swimsuits. :)
As for food, I did very well if I must say so myself. Now, I could've gone without the alli. Heck, I could've left it at home if I wanted to. But I didn't want to get out of that habit. So I took it at every meal and was careful. And yanno something? At the reception my plate was piled skyhigh, but it was roasted vegetables, salads and some salmon. I never felt deprived and always felt like I was a part of what was happening.
At the reception, we also danced a bit. My husband isn't too into dancing but we did the obligatory hora and I managed to get him off his feet to dance to the B52s' "Love Shack". It was a blast; my cousins were also dancing and we found out we had that in common as well. I wish we could see my cousins more often as they're fun people. It's hard when they're in New York or New Jersey and we're here in Massachusetts.
Oh yeah, and the icing on the Bar Mitzvah cake is that I lost 4 lbs. and my butt, heh, that measurement is FINALLY under 50" (49" if you please)!!! Therefore, I had, as we say, an awesome, excellent, kick-bun (rapidly disappearing bun) week/weekend!
A Bar Mitzvah is a regeneration. It's a transition. You move from childhood to adulthood. We don't use the New Testament but it does have a great quote that sums it all up, from 1 Corinthians 13:11: “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.”
And that's what it is, you move from one phase to another one.
And so it is with weight loss, at least it is with a huge weight loss such as I'm going through. You move from one stage to another, and then another. The Bar Mitzvah, for me, was my first truly large goal. It was a definite place, an end point that I could neither change nor weasel out of nor negotiate away. And now it has come and gone, but I am still here, and I am still committed, and I am still losing and I am pushing through to the next phase.
What's the next phase? I suppose it's to finish up the calendar year and see how far I get. The end of the year is another hard stop, another date that cannot be moved no matter how much I desire it. I changed my ticker to 100 lbs. off as that is a huge milestone and is also my next alli goal. I'll probably, from now on, for the most part have the ticker follow the alli goals. How far do I really, honestly, heart to heart, it's just us talking, you and me, where do I feel I'm going to be at New Year's?
New Year's is a different proposition as it is a major massive milestone. After all, it's when I started all of this. I said to my husband, "My New Year's Resolution is to treat myself better.". And so I am walking that walk. Where will I be when resolution time rolls around again? Ah, gentle reader, that's a mystery.
Come along with me as we journey through this, the next phase. Sometimes I'll lead, sometimes you will. And when you do, I will follow.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Dang, I love that song.
Okay, oops, what was my point?
One, I'll be away for the weeknd. The Bar Mitzvah weekend has arrived! I'm feeling good. I know I'm not super-thin but that's okay. After all, I still have over 100 lbs. to lose in order to hit healthy BMI. But I look infinitely better than I did and, more importantly, I feel a heckuva lot better.
I've also scoped out my food as well as I can, and essentially have a little list of what to eat. No spontanaeity, but, truly, that's not essentially with this. I do hope it doesn't pour down rain every single day but that is a very real possibility.
The other thing is -- and it's weird -- is I started a little bit of jogging. Just in the morning, just to get to the bus, just because I'm late. And I'm finding I feel perfectly fine. No shortness of breath. No shin splints. No knee pain. No extra fatigue beyond the usual.
I feel totally fine. I've been doing it for three days now and I certainly don't go very fast, but my legs are going up and there are moments when neither foot is on the ground and it's almost -- dare I say it? -- fun.
I've never, ever had a runner's high. And I realize I'm not getting one now. And I've always thought of myself as being the sort of person who would be bored silly with a lot of running. That actually hasn't changed much. But at the same time, I'm enjoying the feeling of going just a tiny bit faster. It's not much. As Jimmy Buffett sang in "Everybody's On the Run" (a song that isn't on Youtube, but SHOULD be):
First time I ran
was to the end of the block
Well, I haven't gotten that far yet. It's a long block. On Tuesday I ran 1/4 of it. On Wednesday I ran 1/3 of the block. And today I jogged for half of the block.
I don't know what the next few days will bring. I'll do my best to eat right and get in some exercise but, frankly, if it's not perfect I'm not going to beat myself up about it.
And when I get home, I'll resume my jogging ways. That block is going to be conquered. I will do it.
Monday, September 22, 2008
Today I smiled at the homeless guy who I see almost every morning and every afternoon, walking to and from my office to the bus stop.
Now, this guy is no threat and it is no come on. It was just a smile. A little smile. And the dude smiled back a little.
And I thought to myself, my smile isn't so expensive that I can't give it away.
So I gave it away.
Now, I don't smile at everyone on the planet, of course. I do not walk around all day long, grinning like and idiot and looking as if the only reason I'm out and about is because the institution had no free chairs.
No. Of course not. But if I'm feeling good or at least neutral, what the heck? Why not?
There's a psychological value to smiling. It literally can make you happier. Even if you're not feeling so hot. Smile anyway. I don't mean: deny your feelings. Of course not! You have feelings. And they are wonderful and important and appropriate, no matter what they are and no matter what the circumstances are.
But if you want to be happy, and you aren't, try it. Smile therapy. Smile exercises. Just a little each day. A shy upturn of the lips to the paperboy in the morning. A small brightening of the face when you return a library book. A tiny shining of the eyes when you pay your trolley fare or pass every third house on your street or hear the word "interface" used in a sentence. Hey, whatever works for you. Select your own triggers, whatever they may be. And you may find that other things become triggers, things you never even thought about. These days, for me, the phrase "thank you" is a trigger, whether I say it or hear it, it doesn't seem to matter. I just smile. Certain people are triggers for me. I just can't help smiling when I see them. And yanno something? They smile right back.
And, today, I have more to smile about. I made my fifth alli goal. This means I have lost over 25 % of my initial weight. No, I haven't made it to my 90 lbs. off ticker, but so what? I'm smiling anyway.
And my measurements? Good news! I made a few new personal bests this week! My left bicep is down to 14.25"! My bust is down to an actually manageable 45.25"! My band is a sweet 38.75" -- I may, one of these days, start wearing a bra that's smaller than a 40! My hips are tied for two previous personals best of 46.25"! Only the rear and the thigh went up, 1" and .25", respectively. But, yanno, so what?
I'm smiling anyway.
My smile isn't so expensive that I can't give it away.
So I'm giving it away.
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