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If You Arrive and Don't See Me

Monday, July 25, 2011

I have thinking about budgets a LOT lately.

There's a pretty obvious reason. Unemployment is now gone. So we have to, quite literally, watch our pennies. We turn off fans and lights after each other. We sit together if we turn on the a/c (fortunately, the heat finally broke, so we can keep the a/c off -- and most of the fans as well -- and save more $$). And, of course, there's also the food budget. No more presliced mushrooms. I slice them now, and we save a buck. We eat more beans (they're good for ya! Just don't stand downwind of my home, mmmkay?) than chicken. Our salads are not piled quite so high. We use coupons. We look for generic alternatives. The once weekly dinner out is down to once every other week. It may end up being once per month but right now this scarcest bit of luxury is something we are holding onto.

I suspect that, at some point, this will translate into some losing (not this week, but TOM is looming). If nothing else, it should translate into some more cooking creativity. We are finding all sorts of interesting leftovers in the freezer, and they are finding their ways into our meals.

So -- anyway -- I wanted to talk about calorie budgets, and making good food choices. So many of us are overweight because of junk food, bad, greasy cakes, stale company meeting cookies, day-old doughnuts and the like. I suspect that few of us are, truly, carrying around extra poundage because we got too much Kobe beef or truffle oil or pheasant. And food need not be expensive to be good, of course. I am not saying that we didn't overindulge on things that tasted really good, or that were even good for us -- we just overdid it. Repeatedly.

If we are on a calorie budget, it makes sense to choose the best foods, right? To spend our caloric "money" wisely, and carefully decide where and how to spend it. Why purchase junk that won't be sustaining? Why not work to get the best that you can, within your limited means?

And that got me to thinking, which is always dangerous.

The idea of choosing the best foods reminded me of someone I knew a good 25 years ago.

I worked with a gal, a secretary, who was up to her eyeballs (and beyond) in debt. She made, probably, about $11k/year (I knew this because she told me; this was Delaware and apartments were $150/month for nice ones) but was in debt to the tune of about $50k.

Yes, more than she made in 4 1/2 YEARS.

And what was she buying?

It wasn't medical care or a house. It wasn't even a car. It was ... stretch pants. And blousy tops. I bet she had one for every day of the season, let alone week. She bought and ate fast food (yes, this was a large gal), and I recall overhearing her tell one of her pals, "I got a new credit card offer in the mail; the limit was $5,000 so I got it and once I got the card I went out and spent that sucker right up."

And I am thinking, huh?

You are destroying your future and essentially creating indentured servitude for yourself, probably for the remainder of your life, for Wendy's hamburgers and cheap stretchy pants from KMart which will not last beyond five washings. ARE YOU OUTTA YOUR FREAKIN' MIND?????

And becoming overweight, at least for me (and possibly for you), was not a festival of eating amazing foods, but just too much of them. I was not gorging myself on caviar and lobster and chateaubriand and truffles.

Nope. I did it on Taco Bell, stale old potato chips and low quality vanilla ice cream -- and a lot of it was foods that were not even marginally delicious, let alone super-delicious (and of course, as you are well aware, it need not be expensive in order to be super-delicious).

Essentially, I put myself into indentured servitude with my weight, and I sold myself out for cheap, much like the gal with the rainbow assortment of stretchy pants and no retirement fund.

The freedom is to eat the super-delicious (or at least rather delicious) foods, in moderation, LOVE them and stay out of indentured servitude.

Sparklies of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your calorically-induced chains!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PCOH051610 8/1/2011 1:57PM

    Our mutual friend Tempest272002 suggested I read this blog and am I ever glad I did. I'm thinking we are in similiar financial situations. Right now I have unemployment but my husband isn't working and his unemployment has run out too. We are lucky we have saved for retirement in the years that we could and are debating dipping into those now to see us through.

I've got several relatives like your friend from years ago and you know what? They are still acting the same way with the simple knowledge that "oh well, we'll go on welfare". Drives me nuts. Welfare is there for people who truly need and deserve it...not because you spent money you didn't have on the the latest stretch pants! Ha!

Thanks for making me see that food is like a financial budget too. We love to eat out and have to cut it back...err...out for awhile. Luckily we still have a freezer full of stuff I could be cooking up to see us through.

I think you are mentally a lot richer than you think you are! Once again, thanks for the great blog!

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    Wow Awesome perspective. How easy it is to look at what someone else's doing and think, "are you INSANE?" yet I do the same thing in another way. Nobody ever said it better than Shakespeare, "Oh what fools these mortals be!"

Thank you for giving me something to think about. You are so, so right -- years of the indentured servitude of not being happy in my own skin and not being able to do all the things I really love and enjoy because of my weight has not been worth the fleeting pleasures of fast food and junk food that does not even taste amazing.

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CAROLISCIOUS 7/26/2011 9:50PM

    I can't help but wonder where your former spendalishus co-worker is now...that's very scary. Yet I'm willing to "spend" my weekend calories all at once by eating out...or by nibbling without care on some stupid snack like cheddar goldfish.

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KAYWEB555 7/26/2011 8:26PM

    Good Blog, Thanks for sharing your thoughts ! Gives all of us something to think about! food stamps only go so far, so I started a veggie garden with the help of a friends back yard ! we have tomatoes , peppers, lettuce raspberries, strawberries, beans! It sure will starte soon helping out with the stretch of the buck.

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ANONYGIRL 7/26/2011 8:23PM

    I eat a lot better now than I did when I was gaining. I got fat on good-tasting food, home baked and made from scratch, but devoid of nutritional value and heavy on carbs. And I told myself I ate healthy because I cooked it all from whole food. Right.

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AMBER281 7/26/2011 5:38PM

    I love this blog. Thank you so much for sharing!!!

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MARCHMAID 7/26/2011 11:02AM

    Well turned phrases here. ; ) I'm going to carry the image around with me for a while. Actually, I HAVE put on my weight by eating too high on the hog mostly. Too much of too many good things over the years. It's only recently that I realized and have acted on that understanding. For me it's been about my husband's love of companionship while eating. Really. I cook for him and eat even when I'm not hungry to be "sociable." Then I ate out of boredom and fatigue. No more of that sort of servitude for me!

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    I do love the way you think. What the heck is Kobe beef by the way. Oh I could Google it but I just know there is a story behind this.

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WOLFKITTY 7/26/2011 2:03AM

    This is awesome! :)

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TEMPEST272002 7/25/2011 2:29PM

    Great blog! I'm right on top of our budget & I make sure we live within our means. Sometimes that means we live very simply. So this is a great analogy for me.

We almost never eat out at restaurants, but I've become a great cook. Most of what we eat is better tasting than restaurant food anyhow & a fraction of the cost. Instead of going out to eat, what about date night with hubby at a cooking class? Could be fun!

What you said about selling out for crap food - that hit home & will stick with me. Thanks!

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CANNOTFATHOM 7/25/2011 1:47PM

    Great blog! You are right junk food can be cheaper, but I buy the better quality foods by what's on sale and utilizing our farmer's market.


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BLUEANGELLK 7/25/2011 1:10PM

    Being an indentured slave to food really got me thinking. Even now as I am trying to eat more healthfully, I find myself staying home and by myself more. I am trying to stay away from the temptations of fast food and large meals out, but what I am doing is further making me a slave to food. It is just slavery to healthier foods now. I need to be able to live my life AND make smart choices about food, not wait until I get thin before I live my life again. Thanks for the thoughts!

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NORAB52GOOD 7/25/2011 11:46AM

    Thinking is indeed a dangerous pastime. emoticon Your idea of indentured servitude is an interesting one. I often consider calories in terms of how much something 'costs' or if I can 'afford' it or indeed if a particular food is 'worth it'. It helps focus my mind and make things more logical instead of emotional. And if I am going to limit what I eat, I am damn sure going to enjoy what I do eat! emoticon

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DMPRIDER 7/25/2011 10:25AM

    Thanks JES, this is a really good way to look at things as we track calories and try to stay "on budget" and in range.

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1CRAZYDOG 7/25/2011 10:15AM

    Terriffic blog!!! To me there is NOTHING that tastes as good as being healthy feels!!!!

And boy, there were so many, many things that I make NOW that are as described, a "poor man's meal", but we had not idea! All we knew was it tasted good and it was surprisingly healthy! Keep those recipes as a treasure! They are!!!!!

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SWEETZMIX 7/25/2011 10:05AM

    You know this made me think when I was younger my mom used to make white rice and fried eggs. Supposedly a lot of Puerto Rican families ate this as a regular meal, but my mom would make it when money got tight. And you know what, we loved it lol We knew nothing about it being the poor mans meal for her to make. Some of the best meals are made when money is tight, you become more creative and put more effort into the meal.

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BYEPOUNDS 7/25/2011 9:47AM

    When things were really tight when i was a single mom, we made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and went on o picnic, instead of the fast food place. To this day my kids comment how they loved the picnic, I didn't share with them that things were tight then, and I'm surprised that what they wanted was my time. Thanks for your article, it made me think of the past in a different light. Best to you!

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Ask not for Shelter or for Charity

Monday, July 18, 2011

This is my 5K finisher song. I try to be hitting the end somewhere during this song. I like it and, because I am more of a lyrics than a music gal, the lyrics have some meaning to me.

I was originally going to post this for the blog entry where I hit goal. Well, that ain't happenin' any time soon and I like the song so, why not? That rule was self-imposed, anyway. It does not mean I am leaving, etc. Don't worry, lil Sparklies.

I ran my 20th 5K on Saturday and it was meh. It was hot as blazes so times were not good for either Mr. J or me. Sobeit. No biggie. But a few other things are happening at the same time, which got me in the mood for this song and, in particular, for the lyric that is this week's blog title.

Unemployment is gone or nearly gone. Communications from the Commonwealth are confusing. Am I done? Done in a week? Done in a month? I have no idea, not really, and it's impossible to get through to a live humanoid. Because Massachusetts hit less than 8% unemployment for 3 months in a row, the big Federal extension was cut. Well, less than 8% should be a source of celebration, yes? It still means that a good three-quarters of a million people are outta work in my state alone.

Including me, and since November of '09.

It is not that I don't look, apply, go on interviews, network and otherwise try.

It's that the economy stinks on ice, 8% or no. I suspect that the less than 8% figure is a chimera. It probably reflects people who completely dropped off the grid, who hit the absolute end of their benefits and are now, doing what, exactly? Defaulting on their mortgages? Handing out "Spare Change" newspapers at South Station? Leaving the state? Knocking over liquor stores?

Regardless of what is really happening with my benefits, my husband and I are on severe austerity. We know that, even if I have $$ coming in until mid to late August, we should still do some serious belt-tightening. We had been going out to dinner once per week. That is now gone. He had been buying both breakfast and lunch out almost every day of the week. Now he's eating breakfast at home and trying to bring sandwiches. I quit the gym (my last day I've paid up to is August 15th). We won't sign up for any more 5Ks this year (although we have already paid for another 3. We will definitely go to those). Lights are off unless we are in a room. Fans are mostly taking the place of air conditioning. We are trying to think of other areas where we can cut back.

I cannot imagine what my retirement will look like. Actually, I can. It will be a void, because it will not exist. I will be either managing an online community or doing data analysis when I am 97 (if I should live so long) when I suddenly keel over. That is assuming, of course, that I get work then.

I am not writing this for a pity party (really, I'm not). It's more as a meditation on self-reliance. And this does fit in with health, believe it or not.

There are a lot of things that we can do on our own which will help us lose weight and keep it off. We track, we measure, we purchase the right foods, etc. We report on these things (sometimes). Reporting on them does not cause the weight loss. It's the doing of those things that does, yes?

But sometimes -- and maybe even a lot of the time -- what we are doing does not have immediate results, or even results that seem directly applicable and can be traced back in a chain of causation. I want to believe that the application for a job I put in today will lead to an interview by Friday, an offer by next week and a brand-spankin' new job by the first of next month. I want to believe that the peanut butter and jelly sandwich I just had for lunch, and the swimming I am going to do later today will lead to a pound or two off next week.

But they might not, or that job might come later, or not at all. That pound lost might be a pound up next week, or down in five weeks, and it's hard to trace it all back and see the connection.

This does not mean that doing the right things is futile.

What it means, instead, is that cause and effect are a more complicated marriage than we probably realize.

And we still need to do the right things -- whatever they are -- for any goals in our lives that are worthwhile, whether they are losing weight, finding a job, running a 5K, saving money or anything else.

And we should help each other along the way. For the title to this blog entry is actually a bit wrong.

Go ahead and ask for shelter. Ask for charity. For we have all been there, or are there, or will be there, and if we don't have each other, then all of that doing of right things is just so much isolation. It's like a boulder we're pushing uphill.

I will help you push your boulder if you help me push mine.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

UNICORN212 7/22/2011 6:04PM

    I hope your job prospects improve soon. Just remember, things could always be worse, so be thankful for what you do have.

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KSGROTHE 7/22/2011 3:26PM

    I would love to help you push your boulder, if only I knew what would help. Somehow, giving emoticon hugs and words of support don't seem like enough. I am unemployed now, too, and trying (probably later than I should have started) to build a network. But my confidence is lacking, and I feel just a bit shy to ask for help.

Anyway, hang in there. It sounds like you're doing all the right things (and setting a very good example for me, by the way!). emoticon

- Karen

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CAROLISCIOUS 7/19/2011 9:28PM

    I am amazed at what emerges from your brain in spite of the adversity you face. This was a beautiful reminder of the importance of keeping at it...regardless. I do hope something opens up for you soon.

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    Whew. You set my head a spinning Sistah. I feel your determination and your courage. Still I want to ask...How can this be happening? It does not add up. We work hard. We do the steps. Is this some kind of altered reality? And that is the piece you don't spell out but I am reading in every line. The stress of this. That is certainly not what "retirement" is supposed to be about. You as usual have given me something to chew on here. Thank you.

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MARCHMAID 7/19/2011 7:30AM

    The response has got to be political in some measure anyway. I see people talking about "them" taking away social security and "them" not fixing the economy. We the voters have to pay more attention to who it is we elect. Look at the mess the voters have created by electing the current House of Representatives! Just the wrong people to actually get the job done. Here in Massachusetts we have a mostly one party system--just as bad in its own way.

I'm not in the mood to write much this morning, but I urge everyone to stop thinking of government as "them." Get involved. Learn about the issues from somewhere other than Fox News. Pay attention to the details of the proposals of various candidates. Stop hiring pretty faces and smooth talkers and fanatics to run things!

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FIT_TERI 7/18/2011 9:38PM

    Oh, Jes. You're so right about doing the right thing not being futile. That's often so hard to remember, though. At our core, like children, we want to be rewarded for "doing the right thing".....but sometimes the reward is a long time in coming. I truly hope that you get some good news on the job front soon. I think you've been waiting long enough.

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MS.ELENI 7/18/2011 12:02PM

    I am constantly counting my blessings as We are doing ok. If they take away our SS then we will be hurting.
But it sucks to see so many people having such a hard time. I have always felt that homeless and hungry people should never happen in America but it does. I often wonder how those that in the government and make mind blowing salaries sleep at night.

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ARLENE_MOVES 7/18/2011 9:39AM

    I don't know what to say. You're right about the real unemployment -- gov't massages it, the real is about 18% nationwide - but they tell us the economy is improving. Only the big bankers and otherwise rich people are doing OK. If only the regular people would understand that they are voting against themselves when they vote.

I'm hoping my little bit I donate to my local shelter helps someone - there are so many hurting and all that is wanted is a way to support themselves. This economy does suck and when one thinks about it, the economy your dealing with is really the only one that matters.


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Hundred Billion Bottles, Washed up on the Shore

Monday, July 11, 2011

I have been thinking a lot about messages and communications lately. How we talk past each other. How we disagree ... kinda. How we say one thing but imply another. How being online distorts, changes, transmogrifies and royally screws up the layers, textures and nuances of meaning, and how an emoticon is a poor substitute for how we really feel.

I went to a forums site recently, one that I had not been to before. Like 99% of the planet, I skimmed the Terms of Service when I signed on. Then I went to a welcome area and I told people, I'm new here but have been on forums for over 9 years (it's probably 10 by now, and I've been in forum management for it'll be 9 years next month).

And all was well until I made some wave or another. Which, truth be told, might've been prevented by a much more careful reading of their Terms of Service, going over it, syllable by syllable, much like people go over the Zapruder film frame by frame. The big rule that I violated (and I checked this!), was buried amidst other rules, rules that seemed more important. Essentially what that site had done, as they say in the journalism biz -- they buried the lede. What that means is, the most important piece of the rules (to them) was not spelled out, clearly, bodly, importantly, etc., front and center, first on the list.

Nope. It was down there.

So I suggested, maybe change the order of the rules. Not change the rules. Just, move them around and put your Numero Uno really up there as #1. Or, perhaps, do something to your software, adding a reminder or feature that can really spell this out.

And, I had my head handed to me.

I will not go into specifics (the site has naught to do with diets, exercise, health anyway). It did make me a bit peeved (including when I was told the protocol for going to a new site -- uh, I've been going to new sites for years. I do actually know the drill). This should not bother me, but it does, and it is not because I had my hand slapped (it's been slapped before, and it will be slapped again, I have little doubt), as rather that it seemed that so much of the communication going on was at cross-purposes. Mixed messages were spiked with what certainly looked like anger, then the anger was denied even more vehemently, and around and around we go (and yeah, I offered an apology, was told there was no anger, and then my head was handed back to me again. WTF?).

My husband has heard me complain about this treatment for days, and he finally said: Sever all ties.

And of course he is absolutely, 100% correct about that. And I make an effort to do that but it's the nagging question of: could communications have been better?

Hell yeah.

And that brings me to my point and the actual connection to here on Sparkpeople.

I see people asking all sorts of interesting questions that, essentially, truly just boil down to communications:
* How can I tell my mother-in-law to stop offering me seconds?
* How can I tell my husband he's eating himself to death?
* What can I tell people (some zinger) when they are mean about my weight?

And on and on, ad infinitum, as if we were all back in Junior High.

And I dunno about you, but I was last in Junior High a good 35 (yes, really) years ago. I'm glad to be done with that, and have no desire to return.

Are we all really so bad at communicating, at telling people what we want, that we cannot do it? I can understand a teen being confused, or even a younger adult, perhaps, being befuddled. But at a certain point, shouldn't experience and (somewhat) common sense kick in? I wonder. Are we all so intimidated by others, so afraid of making offense or, whatever, that we cannot (with grace, good humor and KINDNESS) tell each other what we need to?

Kindness, yeah, that's a good one. Criticism is fine, and when it's leavened with kindness, there's a fighting chance that it will sink in. When it is not ... it is easy to tune it all out, yes?

Good humor, yeah, there's another one. Humor in understanding our shared foibles, as opposed to mean spiritedly laughing at each other. Do we do that? Not outwardly, but there are judgments, even here, yes. Don't deny it, folks. I've heard 'em -- oh, I did it all without drugs (therefore I am superior) or I did it all without plastic surgery (and therefore I am superior) or I never let myself get that big (whatever the magic figure is -- and therefore I am superior).

And grace, too, as we are on the receiving end of it at times. But I don't think there's anything wrong with pushing back when you need to. If a reaction to you is all out of proportion, well, I say feel strong enough to push back and face that reaction, and challenge it.

We are the message.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MARCHMAID 7/16/2011 7:58AM

    Good thinking here. Lots of people could relate no doubt.

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    Great blog Jes. Well said. Wish I could achieve a kind of dispassionate attitude towards obviously wacky communicators. it is hard not to get sucked in, even when it is obviously pointless to engage. Your words are a good reminder. I am with the DH in theory. But I don't know if I would have the smarts to follow the good advice in real time.

And you have me thinking about what my own middle school level self doubts and questions may be! Oh Nooooo....

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MADERINERUE 7/11/2011 10:26PM

    Hey, Jes. Great blog, as usual. My line of work is all about communication and I've spent the better part of a one-year fellowship learning how to do it better. I still have miles to go, in that regard, before I sleep (my apologies to Robert Frost). The thing I struggle with is not taking every conversation personally. Truthfully, 96% of conversations (including both overt and covert content) are NOT about me. I am working on cultivating a sense of wonder, as in, "Oh, you think I'm a ****ing dirty rotten dumb***? Tell me more about that, because that wasn't the message I was trying to convey."

It's a work in progress. I am still very, very reactive. I stay off of a lot of online forums now because I could feel myself flush and my blood pressure would go up whenever I even thought someone MIGHT be making a personal comment or thinking I was stupid. Better not to subject myself to my own neurosis in that way.

Hugs to you!

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LESS_IS_MO 7/11/2011 7:48PM

    Just finished reading with Sting's last note. (Genius lad, he is)

Ah communication. Fine line to walk with some folks. My motto is usually to ask people for exactly what I want or need, because they just might give it to me. Maybe. And ain't it grand when they do? Push back? I don't do enough of it.

I hope that site experience doesn't have a lingering aftertaste. Keep on walking!

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CAROLISCIOUS 7/11/2011 7:21PM

    I just read your post on the Nuns team. I love how you took that negative experience and turned it into some sound thinking fodder. I find it very hard to say what I think. I'm alsways worried that #1 I'm wrong and I will feel stupid when I get corrected; #2 I will hurt someone's feelings if I don't agree with them, or #3 All of the above.

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ARLENE_MOVES 7/11/2011 7:14PM

    I like this... it make one think. I've had a few incidences here on SP that bothered me because of the bluntness, when I didn't even ask for suggestions, but I've ignored it. I've got more pressing issues!!

Still love that funny flat face on your page. My Buddy says 'HI"

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MS.ELENI 7/11/2011 6:48PM

    Your blogs always give us something to think about.

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KSGROTHE 7/11/2011 6:25PM

    Interesting blog. I think I hold back a lot of what I'm thinking when I'm in online forums for many of the same things you mention here - primarily that misunderstanding, judgment, and sometimes outright teasing can occur. We should all be adults about communication, but it seems like online forums bring out the junior high inner child in many people, probably because they feel mostly anonymous.

As for me, I may be 40 years old, but I spent many years in a marriage where my husband (now X) told me that I wasn't diplomatic enough in my communications, so I feel unsure of myself a lot of times when I'm trying to communicate, both in writing and when speaking. As much as email can be misconstrued due to loss of tone, etc., I tend to prefer communicating by email over talking on the phone. I guess I feel like I really am that bad at communicating.

Anyway, you've made some great points here, and I hope some people take it to heart.

- Karen

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JOPAPGH 7/11/2011 5:33PM

    I really liked this blog. I have found many folks on Spark have got to their breaking point, the point that got them to sign up, because they do have communication issues. Shyness, feeling of inferiority, lack of self worth. It seems basic to many of us, but other here really are looking for help finding their inner voice. I offer what advice I can.

Funny, I created a blog post called "Message in a Bottle", referring to the same song:


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You're Wearing Your Dresses Way Too High

Monday, July 04, 2011

Y'know, today I am wearing a top that -- gasp! -- shows my navel.

The top is short and the capris are low and so, yeah, you can see it. It's, eh, it's not the nicest one in the world. I had a tummy tuck a year ago and the way my navel healed is that it ended up very shallow, almost looking (but not quite) like an outie. Don't really wanna post pics of it but at least I have one -- there are people who get tucks who lose 'em, which has gotta be really bizarre, like you've stepped into some odd, alternate Stepford Wives/Barbie dream house universe or something.

So I have one, and it is imperfect, and I do not have a flat stomach so that is imperfect, but yanno something? I am wearing the top and the capris anyway.

I have seen folks who constantly harp on things that others should not wear. Oh, she's too fat for a short skirt. Oh, he should stick to dark colors. She shouldn't go strapless. He has no business being in shorts. Or whatever.

And while I am as in favor of happy, pretty aesthetics as anyone is, I suppose, the takeaway for me is -- I am a damned grownup and you are not gonna tell me how to dress. I am well aware that I need to wear a suit for job interviews. And I should not go swimming in blue jeans. And my clothes needs to cover my private parts. And certain clothes can invoke certain reactions or judgments about me, e. g. thoughts that I am cheap, or authoritative, or poor, or educated or whatever. I get all of that.

But I am still a grownup. And if I wanna show my wacky navel then dammit, I'm gonna show it. If you don't like it, well, my eyes are up here, anyway.

That is my Declaration of Independence today.

Happy Fourth.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PICKIE98 7/11/2011 5:36PM

    Farm out man, farm out!! Gravy, man, gravy!! You are one hip chick!! As long as I am not a candidate for the cyber walmart photo pics of those beautiful shoppers they attract, I feel that I can wear some things that I should not..
I am big, I am very white, I have some vericose veins,, ,,,
I wear under garments and clothing that covers private parts and some that maybe should be KEPT private, so I try to stay comfortable..

remember back in the day when everybody wore high heels to dress up, no matter how much they killed your feet?
girdles, sanitary belts, panty hose, slips, garter belts, nylons, EVENING GLOVES with dresses, hats?????????

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LBEEKMA 7/7/2011 8:06PM

    Funny...I admire your guts (no pun intended). I'm a wimp!

Comment edited on: 7/7/2011 8:08:06 PM

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KSGROTHE 7/6/2011 10:12PM

    Way to go for doing your own thing! I have not accepted myself enough to do such a thing myself. I haven't even worn a swimsuit in years (and I live by the beach).

Thanks for setting a good example of accepting yourself and doing your own thing!

- Karen

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LESS_IS_MO 7/5/2011 6:11PM

    Heyll YA!

I was just thinking today that while I don't have beautiful arms, I'm not afraid of going sleeveless as other big people have admitted to being. Then I was thinking that if I had hideous arms, I hoped I would STILL feel like baring them on hot days like today. But then I had a reality check thinking about my legs. I have horrible varicose veins...they are the bulging kind and they are absolutely awful. And what do I do? I wear capris and cover them up. I'm not liberated in thought enough to wear shorts and say fcuk em'. WHen I used to wear shorts when my legs were slimmer, I covered my veins up with knee socks. But now my legs are fatter again, so I was thinking that all summer long, I'd be going out in capris. I wish I were where you are. Maybe one day. But you go girl. You've got this.

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SWEETZMIX 7/5/2011 12:55PM

    Love it! We shouldn't wear clothes for other people, we should wear them for ourselves!

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ASHLEIGH27 7/5/2011 9:00AM

    That's the way to go! Do it for yourself and not anyone else, and who cares what others think, if you like and you've got it, giver!!!!! emoticon

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    I like to remember that people who need to play in my stuff don't have enough of a life of their own. HaHaHa! Flaunt it girlie.

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MARCHMAID 7/5/2011 7:36AM

    Grown ups probably wouldn't take the attitude, but I take your point. Me, I prefer not to inflict my physical shortcomings on the rest of the world. Independent or in your face? emoticon

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JOPAPGH 7/4/2011 7:12PM

    Tell it, Sister!! emoticon

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LAB-LOVER 7/4/2011 3:06PM

    You brazen hussy you...

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THECITYMOUSE 7/4/2011 2:15PM

    You are SUCH a babe.


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PHEBESS 7/4/2011 12:57PM

    Hey, if you've got it, flaunt it! I wear skirts/dresses a bit short for a 56 yr old, but my legs are great and so I can still totally rock it!

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FIT_TERI 7/4/2011 11:06AM

    Good for you!! Be independent of what others think!! Happy 4th!
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KRYS210 7/4/2011 10:28AM

    Boy that song title brought back some memories! LOL You enjoy your day!

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MARISSA0512 7/4/2011 10:21AM

    Love it! emoticon

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MS.ELENI 7/4/2011 9:47AM

    emoticon emoticon Good for you.

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BLUEANGELLK 7/4/2011 9:33AM

    Good for you!!!

Happy 4th!

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Ghosts Appear and Fade Away

Monday, June 27, 2011

Ah, and here is the week where I lose 1/3 of what I gained last week.

Good, yes?

So why is it so often that the highs are no so high, but the lows can be devastating?

We are nuts here, many of us, overthinking the scale, cramming as much control into our days as possible, oh so carefully balancing work, home, family, life and calorie cycling as well. Oops, can't have carbs from a yellow vegetable because it's 9 AM on a Monday. Oh, no!

Breaches in our routines throw us for considerably larger loops than they should. And we worship and track and pay attention to the scale in a manner that is not good for us. It occupies a position of far more importance than it should.

Now, I am not knocking calorie cyclers. If that works for you, hey, have at it. And I am well aware that, for many diabetics, life is kinda like that whether you want it to be, or not. I am also not saying to pitch your scale out the window, despite how tempting that may seem. It is a useful tool. IF YOU LOOK AT IT ONCE PER WEEK.

After that, though, really, what are you expecting to see? I ate a grape yesterday, let's see what happened? Cripes, you ate a damned grape! It was, what, 2 calories? I got news for you. The scale will only tell you one of three things:

1) you lost weight. Was it because of the grape? No, it was because of other good choices, and from working out.
2) you gained weight. Was it because of the grape? No, it was because of other choices, and they may even have been good ones but there may be something else at work, like water retention or the workout wasn't as good as you thought it was or the diet gods are laughing at you this week.
3) you stayed the same. Was it because of the grape? Helfino.

Substitute grape for Pasta Alla Puttanesca or spelt or pizza or birthday cake or whatever and you get thousands of inner conversations that so many of us have as we step on the scale.

I refuse to have those internal conversations anymore. I am sick of them.

I pledge to you, from now on - I will step on the scale on Monday morning ONLY. And I will lose, or I will gain, or I will stay the same. And the world will not break away from orbit and spin off its axis and life as we know it will not end because I wasn't insane for every single minute of every single day. This does not mean that I stop tracking, or I stop working out, or I stop eating well or that I stop caring. No.

It means that I am going to do my level best to stop obsessing.

It's just overkill.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KUNGFOOD 7/4/2011 11:47AM

    Those crazy neurotic conversations. Gaaaah! Love your sense of humor.

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JENJENBUG 6/29/2011 3:09PM


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GRACEFULIFE 6/29/2011 12:02PM

    Daily weighing using a smoothing algorithm actually got me OUT of scale weight obsession.

It's nearly as bad to make adjustments based on a weekly weight than a daily weight. Consider that we are advised to lose not more than 2 pounds per week, typically more like 1 pound or a half pound per week approaching goal weight. Further consider that due to water intake, salt balance, liver and muscle glycogen levels and other factors, daily weight can vary by 3-4 pounds. And that is plus or minus from true weight, so it's entirely possible to vary 6-8 pounds within the space of 3-4 days without actually losing or gaining anything at all. So weekly weigh-ins could change 6-8 pounds over a week without gaining or losing at all, which clearly swamps the 1-2 lb/wk suggested loss rate. I posit this would cause most on this site to panic or make an adjustment. Sure, panicking once a week is better than panicking every day.

Better still, though, to train yourself not to panic (to which you alluded). This is what daily weighing+smoothing has done for me and others. It doesn't take more than a couple months to begin to regard your daily weight as data, clues to one's actual weight, rather than directly indicating one's actual weight. Your smoothed weight is considered to be more indicative of your actual weight, and since it only swings 10% toward a daily weight measurement (in the physicsdiet algorithm) from the current smoothed weight, you only get 10% of the daily variation - not really enough to cause panic.

I personally reject any argument in this arena for one size fits all solutions, whether it is for a workout regime, dietary makeup, frequency of weighing, you name it.

Additionally, in truth the scale does not really represent the actual goal for most people anyway. Who cares what number is on the scale? Are you functional beyond your daily life, and preferably well into anything you like to do occasionally for fun or adventure? How do you look in the mirror? How do you look naked to your significant other(s)? From this standpoint the scale is just a progress indicator anyway. I've seen women on here obsess over gaining 8 pounds after starting a weight training program - but guess what, they have usually lost size when they measure indicating they gained all of that plus more in muscle and lost more in fat than they gained in muscle. An excellent result to be sure - but one that runs epically counter to the idea that scale weight is the ultimate goal.

Daily weighing is not necessarily an obsessive behavior, just as much as tracking all one's intake is not necessarily an obsessive behavior. It's the same with almost any other behavior; I've seen many people on here obsessed with cardio. Whether or not either is obsessive, over the top, or damaging depends entirely on how one approaches it. The line between being results-oriented and being obsessive can be thin at times. I think the actual central message of the Spark approach with its emphasis on moderation and life integration, while still implementing daily intake tracking and regular weighing, is trying to teach people to successfully walk that line.

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CARRIE1948 6/28/2011 3:15PM

    I think the real trick is to do what works for you. I weigh myself every day. Not to obsess about minute changes, but to monitor trends. I also track percentages of fat and water so I can see if weight changes are something to be concerned about.

If daily tracking doesn't work for you, so be it. That doesn't mean it isn't helpful to others. I think what matters is that we find the set of skills and tools that keep us focused on what we want to accomplish.

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 6/28/2011 10:48AM

    You have to find what works for you.

What works for me is daily weighing, and putting it into I like numbers. I like the accountability. I like the fine-grain monitoring of the trend weight. And I can see trends sooner (and do something about them sooner) than if I wait a whole week. Since I'm bouncing around close to goal I need the feedback on the trend line to help me tweak my intake. It works for me.

Hang in there.

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PICKIE98 6/27/2011 7:14PM

    Daily scales are for fish!!

Some people HAVE to be obsessed about SOMETHING,, this is just another choice..
When you mentioned grape calories, I, as a diabetic, was thinking, that is a carb, sugar,, a treat.. but did not think about the calories,,
see how it is different for all of us?

If we eat healthy things in moderation, move, and drink water, stay positive, we will lose and feel better eventually!! Period, amen, finis, the end!!! Thanks for pointing this out for us!!

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KASEYCOFF 6/27/2011 6:15PM

    I'm reading along and I think - two calories? A leetle teeny tiny grape is TWO CALORIES?!? Argh. The mindset is so easy to slip into, lol... And you're right: I weigh once a week - or not at all.

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MADERINERUE 6/27/2011 5:30PM

    I don't even own a scale, which is its own sort of pathology...

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TEMPEST272002 6/27/2011 2:00PM

    Woot! Here's to not obsessing over the scale! There are so many other - more accurate, less crazy-making - ways to track progress.

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MARCHMAID 6/27/2011 1:54PM

    Amen amen I say unto you. LOL

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KSGROTHE 6/27/2011 1:22PM

    Wow! I had forgotten about that song! Great choice for your blog subject!

It's a great idea to stop obsessing! After all, it is just "oooooverkilllllll". emoticon emoticon

- Karen

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BABAJEAN 6/27/2011 12:09PM

    This is exactly what I have been thinking lately - no more daily scale - I don't even track food anymore - It seems it puts too much emphasis on my every move - my every thought of failure and success - I have decided to stop the stress of obseessing and simply do the best I can - Your post was great !

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MS.ELENI 6/27/2011 10:51AM

    You hit the nail on the head again. I am still struggling but I know why. I also hate obsessing about food and it is so easy to do. Thanks for sharing your great comments.

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TERRIREDUX 6/27/2011 9:58AM

    Love this! Excellent take on the battle with the scale vs the battle in our heads. (plus, I now have "that song" in my head!) emoticon

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