Monday, April 06, 2009
I was thinking about this song recently because Spark isn't the only place online where I hear/read people talking about weight loss. And there is a lot of despair out there, and a lot of misinformation and a lot of well-meaning kinda, sorta right stuff and all I can say is it's a good thing that there is a Spark where there is good information on nearly everything. Because out there, there are a lot of sad people and a lot of scared people and a lot of people in denial, and they look for answers and they don't always get them.
Case in point #1.
A woman came to my site (I run a general Q & A site) and asked about weight loss. Actually, she didn't ask, she just complained, and claimed that she would eat next to nothing but still gain. She said she'd weigh herself every day and see variations, so - ha! - diets don't work and life is all despair so why try this cockamamie idea of eating less and moving more when it's all going to end in ashes anyway?
A member who means well but has certain ideas told her that eating less WOULD make her lose weight, WITHOUT FAIL. Welllll, that's not 100% true, as then the extreme would be true, too, and fasting would be the quickest and easiest method of losing weight. Which it's not. I said nothing (I have discussed such with this person before and didn't feel the need to rehash it). Now, this member made some great points, that the daily weigh-in idea was insane, and that there are normal fluctuations. This member was not advocating starvation, either. But I do feel that, in order to be truly and fully informative about such things, it's more than just a simple equation of less in your mouth equals less on your butt. That's not 100% the case, and it is not a linear progression. I feel a lot of folks get hung up on that, that the cause and effect relationship is neither perfect nor simple, and then things don't work out in that perfectly simple manner and then suddenly that's an excuse to let it all go to hell in a handbasket.
Case in point #2.
There is a long-term member on my site who also weighs in (pun intended) on the weight loss topics. Not on the one I was discussing above, but on plenty others. This person is near 80 if not already there and is disabled. And this person, I suspect, has been overweight for a long time.
That person lamented that there's no good way to lose weight. And that because that person couldn't exercise, they were doomed to sorrow and despair.
The member who's into the linear progression told this person to not eat so much. And while this is true (albeit not necessarily 100% tactful), it's not, like I said above, a perfectly linear progression. And the elder member balked -- not being able to exercise was tantamount to it just not being good, ever! Nothing could possibly work, so why even try?
I mentioned hand weights. I mentioned the arm-strengthening cardio used in physical therapy (I've forgotten what it's called, but it's like a little bicycle axle; you push the pedals around with your hands). I mentioned eating fewer calorically dense foods. I mentioned eating frequent smaller meals in order to stave off hunger and binging. Oh no. None of that could possibly work. Never, ever, ever, no sense in even trying and was I ever on crack for even suggesting such insanity.
So I let it go. After all, there are plenty of people -- and I was one of them for a very, very long time -- who really just want to complain that it's not easy. Well, I'm here to say that it's easy to do it. The hard parts are getting started and then sustaining, in particular when things don't seem to be going right, despite your best efforts. But the actual weighing in, measuring and recording of food and moving your body, I mean, let's face it. This is not the equivalent of defending your dissertation. It is not brain power that is necessary. It isn't even, completely, will power. It's determination. It's wanting to do it and being receptive to it. It's opening up your mind to this experience, and letting it work, and giving it a chance, even if you're skeptical. Even if everything you ever thought, or believed or were taught said that it was impossible and that you were foolish and gullible to ever believe in it.
And I wonder -- here's where the title and song come in, folks -- who DID put those ideas in our heads? Who told us that we couldn't make it? Who told us that trying was absurd or wrong or bad or a waste of time? Was it our parents? Our teachers? Our coaches? Our clergy? Our classmates? Our friends? Our neighbors?
Who told us that we'd always be fat? Who told us that we'd never succeed? Who gave us the old line about, "she's got such a pretty face ... but .."? But what? Who was it?
But, in the end, does it really matter? Does it count that someone put a notion in your head that you were not worthy of health, and that you don't matter? It's YOUR head. Choose what to fill it with just as you choose what to fill your stomach with or your house with or your life with. My case in point #2 still laments how things did not work out perfectly back in grammar school sports. That was, what, 70 YEARS ago?
It's time to let it go.
And it's time to let all of those other notions go, too, and replace them with, with what, exactly?
With the knowledge that you can do this. With the strength that you have, even if you don't know it yet. And with the understanding that, even if you're not so sure you believe it right now, that you are so worth it.
And when you're done putting those ideas in your own head, I hope you'll do just one more thing.
I hope you'll do whatever you can to put those ideas into someone else's head.
Because they're worth it, too.
Monday, March 30, 2009
I was thinking about this song because recently my routine was disrupted. And there was a time when that would have caused a complete meltdown, and that time was not too terribly long ago.
But the fact of the matter is that there kinda is a routine, and there kinda isn't. I mean, I get up, I go to work, yadda yadda yadda, but things are radically different from what they were two years ago. They are even different from last year as there is room for a gym in my life now.
This experience has been one long routine-disruptor. And that's all to the good, because the old routine was pretty dull. Sure I still got up, went to work, etc., but would come home, go online and gorge myself in front of the PC. Then it would be time for dinner and more food. Then TV and, you guessed it, more and more and more. When I was cold at home, I'd grab a blanket or turn up the heat, not move myself. My husband did much of the laundry. It wasn't even so much that I was incapable or refused, I was just so slow.
So different things have happened, and life has changed in about a thousand ways and it will a thousand more, I am sure. And while I attempt to put a lasso around some things, others just won't be corraled. I do have a lasso around my eating, and if there is one thing I can impart it is to record the food before you even eat it. Check the numbers and work them out. And if that eclair doesn't fit the numbers, either live with the consequences or select something else. Know before you bite. That way you won't be surprised. That way you won't be blindsided. That way you won't be a victim. That way you won't have an excuse.
But there are other matters that just won't stay put no matter what. For a control freak like me to be able to let go of them is no small feat. But there are days when the weather does not cooperate. But I go out anyway. Or someone is jogging on my favorite treadmill. So I pick another one. Or someone is using the rower. So I do something else while I wait. Or I forgot to bring Cheerios into work. So I grab from the emergency oatmeal stash. Or the restaurant is all out of something I want. So I get something else, or we get up and eat elsewhere.
I've recognized that not everything can or should be tamed. And sometimes going around is one way to get there, and another is to go through, or go later. And those can work, too.
How do YOU handle the curves that life throws you?
I mean, I figure, I might as well jump.
Friday, March 27, 2009
Okay, kindly ignore the oh so saccharine cutesy frolicing of the Olsen twins, circa their eight year old cuter than dirt period, and just concentrate on the song. Thanks.
Today's post, just like last year's on this date (see: www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=1101364 ) is dedicated to my wonderful husband.
One of the things they tell you on Spark is to surround yourself with positive, supportive people. If you're really lucky, you get to live with or marry them.
I am very lucky.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
In this case, the island is not Jamaica (although there is a Jamaica on it, go figya). It's Long Island. Er, sorry, Lun Guyland. I have worked all my life to not have that accent.
I was there last weekend in order to see my parents and then have a small family reunion with people from my mother's mother's side and then seeing her sister and the aunt's family (the aunt had been recently hospitalized and needed to stick close to home). There were fitness opportunities -- with my father, at age 77! -- half an hour of walking every day. Plus I brought weights and resistance bands and used them every day. Eating was okay considering all of the restaurant eating that went on. I stayed within calorie range but it was not easy.
I came out of it with a truly minimal .4 lb. gain which probably isn't even a gain at all as by the time I weighed myself yesterday it was after 4 PM. I figure it's more likely that I either maintained or even lost a little. My measurements are in line with last week, including hitting a new personal best in the keister area. It's all good.
But let me tell you about the family reunion, which is kinda the origin of the title of this post. There were 14 people there. Keep in mind that the generations are a little skewed because my grandmother had six siblings. Hence my mother has first cousins who are closer in age to me than to her, and I have second cousins who are somewhere between my and my nephew's age.
The attendees: my parents, who are in their 70s. My mother's first cousin and his wife. They are near 60. These four are in the first generation as they have common grandparents. The second generation is me and two sets of second cousins, two of whom are the kids of the aforementioned first cousin, plus the other two are different second cousins (her parents are in Florida so did not attend). Plus the girlfriend of one of the first cousin's kids, plus me. These six are the second generation. We all have common great-grandparents and range from about 25 to 55 years of age. Then the remaining four are the daughters and sons-in-law of the second cousin couple where her folks are in Florida. They are third generation, with a common great-great-grandparent. Their relationship to me is called second cousin once removed. They are my nephew's third cousins and are about 25 - 35 years of age. Confused yet?
First generation was two people over 300 lbs., one of whom walks with a cane. One is over 200 lbs. The other (my father) is under 200 lbs. and walks like a fiend.
Second generation was two people in their 20s who are over 300 lbs., one person in her 20s who was over 200, one person in her 40s over 200 (me) and two people in their 50s who are over 200.
Third generation was three in their 20s or early 30s who were under 200 and one who was in his late 20s or early 30s who was probably very close to 200 (hard to tell; may have been just over or just under).
And who was watching their diet? Me, my mother (kinda) and one of the second generation people in their 20s. Plus most of the third generation (hard to see what was happening at that end of the table). Who asked me about alli? One of the first generation people in their late 50s and one of the second generation people in their 50s.
Everyone else ate. And ate. And ate some more. And talked about food, too.
The reunion was conducted at a Ben's Delicatessen. Understand that these (they're a chain) are a landmine of fat, salt and cholesterol. Immediately, you sit down and every three to four people are given a bowl of sour and half-sour pickles and cole slaw (in all fairness, the slaw was not slathered in mayo). My cousin who walks with the cane? He was complaining about too much salt in the food, all while eating pickle after pickle after pickle.
A cousin in the second group ate cole slaw by the ton. So did other people. Metal bowl after metal bowl of cole slaw was brought to the table, as it seemed no one could wait to be served, that it was too much to be expectant.
Then the ordering began. I ordered a mesculun salad with chicken. My mother ordered a half a sandwich and a small (it was a bowl -- you should see the large) soup. The third generation mainly ordered like she did. One of the second generation ordered a cucumber salad. Everyone else had huge full sandwiches or pots of soup. Yes, pots. The large is called a shissel. It is a pot. As in, what you cook dinner in. For four people. Yet this was a portion for one, and none of those people shared.
Food food food.
My salad was the biggest salad I have ever seen. I ate a quarter of it, then my folks and I ate the remainder for dinner the following night and there were even enough leftovers after that for my folks to make it lunch yesterday. Imagine what the sandwiches were like. You could not get your mouth around them.
Knishes. Soup. Sandwiches. Pickles. Cole slaw cole slaw cole slaw.
More more more take take take gimme gimme gimme.
I love my family.
Do not misunderstand me.
I am not here to judge them or to pity them. They are all over the age of 18. They are all perfectly capable of making their own choices. They are educated and are able to tell what is good to eat from what is bad. Except for the guy with the cane, they are all physically capable. They can see who is fit and who is not. They can tell that my father can get around better than people who are 10, 15, 20 years younger than he is. They can see my own transformation. Some of them have been able to make their own transformations as well.
I am not writing this to hurt them.
I am writing this as a record of my own reactions to what was happening.
I felt -- I don't know what I felt. I stuck to the plan. I was not tempted. Nothing screamed at me -- cheat now! Nothing whatsoever. I sat and watched it all unfold as I slowly ate my salad.
And it's funny.
When he first saw me, one of the second generation guys grabbed my waist and said, "Jes*, you're hot!" The third generation all told me how great I look, as did, well, pretty much everyone.
I ate my salad.
PS With all of the walking around the town, my Dad and I were bound to be seen by someone. Theirs is a small town, so people are watchful but also a tad busybodyish. And a woman who has known me for some 35+ years called my mother yesterday and told her that my Dad was walking around with some strange young blonde woman. You know, in case she wanted to know. My mother said, "That's Jes.*" "Oh my God." replied this woman.
Hence I believe I have achieved young chippy status. Holy moley.
*They used my real name, obviously.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
It's been a year and two months since the adventure began. So it's time for a month in review, plus I recently saw Cezanne and wanted to talk about that, too. But first the numbers.
When I started, I was 346.0 lbs. Monday afternoon I was 212.8, or 133.2 lbs. less. I look and feel so different it's hard to remember or fathom who or what I was.
Bicep: Original: 19.00" Current: 13.25" Difference: 5.75"
Bust: Original: 54.75" Current: 42.25" Difference: 12.50"
Band: Original: 47.50" Current: 36.25" Difference: 11.25"
Waist: Original: 49.00" Current: 37.50" Difference: 11.50"
Belly: Original: 59.50" Current: 39.25" Difference: 20.25" AMAZING! This is also a new personal best
Hip: Original: 51.00" Current: 44.25" Difference: 6.75" Hmmm
Rear: Original: 64.00" Current: 47.25" Difference: 16.75" Terrific!
Thigh: Original: 32.25" Current: 22.00" Difference: 10.25" Overall average loss: 11.875"
Minus outlyers loss: 13.167"
I started off at size 3x/26W up top and 4x/28W below. Right now, I'm hovering between a Large and XL, and size 16s are too big for me. It's harder to move from 16 to 14 than it is to move between any other two sizes, as this is about where the transition occurs between Misses and Womens clothing. It's cut differently (usually less full in the hip and seat areas), hence this movement to the next size is taking longer but I assure you I am getting there and will probably be there by my next month in review.
***NEWS FLASH*** I got on a pair of size 14 jeans yesterday, as in zipping and buttoning them. They give me a muffin top so they are not yet ready for prime time, but should be in a month. Oh and I am wearing size L long underwear. But bras? According to www.herroom.com/bra-fitting-advice,9
01,30.html , I should be a 43A. Heh, I don't think so. 40Ds sometimes fit, sometimes are too big and sometimes are too small. So, weird. Oh and size 8 panties are still not a great fit. I'm all over the place once you peel back the first layer of clothing.
I go to the gym two or three times per week. I've found that one hour is optimal for me. I could potentially do more but I am destroyed by the end of the week anyway, plus I want to be fresh for each visit so that I can get the most out of it. I do 20 minutes on the treadmill, then 9 reps of the heaviest weights I can stand on whatever 3 machines fit the body parts I am working (Mondays are upper body, Wednesdays is half and half and Fridays are lower body), then 10 minutes on the rower doing intervals, then 8 reps on whatever 3 different machines fit the body parts I'm working, then 5 minutes on either the elliptical or the stair stepper (I have little endurance on those, but I'm getting better), another 8 reps on the machines (this is now a total of 25 reps, see?), then 15 - 20 minutes on the bike (depends on how much time is left), then 25 crunches regardless of which body parts are on tap for that particular day. I have found that this regimen works well and keeps me interested. My belly in particular is benefiting. It hasn't been below 40" around in a dog's age. A few more inches off and I will have lost two feet from there.
Eh, it's okay. I like the fitness and diet and love the way I look (albeit I know I could improve quite a bit) but my work has turned extremely stressful and that shows few signs of letting up. Given the current state of the economy, I have little recourse. And so it goes. I take my frustrations out on the treadmill. Perhaps I'll take up boxing.
Now -- Philadelphia and Cezanne!
This is long so bear with me.
I had to slay some vacation time and I had to do it before the end of the first quarter of the year. Compound this with the fact that my husband gets less time off than I do, plus we are planning on going to Cape Cod twice this year. Hence I needed a quick and cheap vacation.
I had already spent three days (Mondays of consecutive weeks) hanging around at home but that did not feel like real time off, plus the weather was depressing. Therefore I thought about a place that would fit the bill. Philly was good as I have a friend who still lives there, plus it's accessible via the Acela train. I got a good inexpensive hotel (Club Quarters -- they totally rock!) and was good to go.
Then I saw another friend last month who lives in NJ. I put two and two together and asked my Philly friend if she minded meeting my NJ friend. Of course not. She learned we could get Cezanne tickets. We got four: her, me, my NJ friend and her little brother.
I arrived on Saturday and she met me at the train. We had not seen each other since my wedding, which was May of 1992. We both -- except for a few odd crinkles around the eyes -- look the same. We dropped off my stuff and just walked around the city. That ended up being two hours and then she let me go for a while so that she could go to her office (she's an attorney) and I could rest and data enter food.
We met again in a few hours and went to dinner in Chinatown. Another 45 minutes of walking! She told me no one likes to walk with her, or they start and then they're winded after 5 blocks. I was psyched that I could keep up with her (she's tiny and always has been).
The following day I got up and worked out at the hotel gym. It was small but still had treadmills, bikes, a couple of stair steppers and free weights. I modified my usual workout and went to it.
I met my NJ friend, my PA friend and her brother for lunch. My NJ friend (who is also watching) and I both had the teeniest little beet salad you ever saw. I ate sooooo slowly. I was determined to let it sustain me, such as it was.
We went to the Cezanne and Beyond exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (the steps were featured in the first Rocky movie). We had to go through the gauntlet of Irish step dancers and bands as the St. Patrick's Day parade was in full swing by then.
The Cezanne exhibit was an interesting little conceit. The idea was that the artist had influenced a lot of different later artists so there were comparative pieces about various subjects, including nature scenes, bathers, studios and, of all things, apples. Apple paintings are not a good thing to look at when you're a bit hungry.
The comparisons were between Cezanne and more contemporary artists like Matisse and Picasso, but also with newer artists like Jasper Johns. Lots of apples, lots of bathers, lots of women in chairs. I confess I am often a Philistine at such things, but I try to be appreciative. I know there is a great deal of skill and creativity involved. But the apples were definitely making me peckish.
When we got out of the Cezanne and Beyond exhibit, we went into a Medieval area for a while and looked at stone archways. Then it was time to meet my Philly friend's SO.
My Philly pal's brother went home and we met her Significant Other (we traded one guy for another). We got in her car and drove to the Italian section to a restaurant called Marra's. I had the chicken cacciatore, which was good but huge. The leftovers went to my Philly friend's St. Bernards.
We had a great time, talking about whatever, including the merits of Philly versus Boston, home improvement projects and, of course, the exhibit we had just seen. Everyone got along so well that my Philly friend gave her business card to my NJ friend and told him -- I might have a girl for you (my Philly friend's business partner).
I got to the hotel early as I had a super skeery early train the following day. Yes, it left at 6:32. AM. Ai yi yi. At least I got home before noon, and weighed myself immediately. Three pounds off! Score!
It was a fantastic weekend. Next weekend: Long Island and my parents and cousins. Stay tuned.
Get An Email Alert Each Time JESPAH Posts