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You Can Get Addicted to a Certain Kind of Sadness

Monday, April 23, 2012

On the Internet, no one knows you're a dog.

And they don't need to know anything else about you, either. You can slip and slide online, being one way or another. Pretend to be someone you are not, if you like. The Internet, for the most part, will not try to stop you. Hell, in nearly every instance, it will be IMPOSSIBLE to stop you.

Or you can step back and be honest with yourself.

Same is true here.

Take a look at this article in the NY Times -

I used to wonder about myself, as I would look at myself in the bathroom mirror, which only shows me about from the chest up, and I would think, hey, I look fine. The full-length mirror in the next room would be wholly ignored. After all, it was the source of bad news. And so I would look only at a piece of the puzzle, deny to myself what I was, and go on blithely ignoring the truth.

According to the article, it wasn't just my bathroom mirror that was pushing me in that direction. It was also, to a large (heh, pun not intended) extent the people around me.

* When the average size of your peer group is a 6, and you're a 26, you know you're obese.
* When their average size is a 12 but you are still a 26, you know you're obese.
* When they average 18, but you're still a 26, you know you're overweight.
* When they average a 22, you know you might be a little chunky.
* When they average a 26, and you're a 26, you know you're average.
* When they average a 28, you're a little under.
* When they average a 32, and you're still a 26, you're the red-hot mama, the skinny girl.

It's almost like trying to figure out the temperature without a thermometer. When yesterday was 80, and today is 60, it feels cold. When yesterday was 40 and today is 60, suddenly it's hot.

People ask all the time about what they can do for their families who are not following the program and are obese and doing nothing about it. A few ideas -
* Lead by example. You go out together? Eat properly, and SLOWLY. Chat and have fun in ways that do not involve eating. And promote a few ways to enjoy each others' company without food.
* Another idea - take photographs. The full-length kind. I see this all the time, friends and family members who untag themselves from FB photos where they feel they look fat. Well, I got news for ya. At a size 26, there isn't an angle on the planet that will make you look thin. So here, as your dieting friend/family member, I present the photo to you. You can ignore it or utilize it as inspiration. I am not here to rub your nose in things. But here are the pics. Do with them what you will.
* One final idea - be there. Be the friend. Be the person in their life who is doing it. Your news is of 5Ks and that great new vegan place and buying cute clothes. And it's more, too, as there are other aspects of your life, yes? The message is getting there, even if it's just on an unconscious level.

Be that one.

PS My cover model is an unknown German Shepherd puppy I found online and photoshopped a bit so that she's wearing a little green tee shirt. Isn't she a cutie pie?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Great blog. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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LILSUNFLOWER 4/27/2012 8:39AM

    Fantastic blog! And so true.

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    Much to think about. Great tips too. How is this for denial. I am surrounded by fit, active people. I still see myself as the skinny kid I once was. And I am shocked when I see a photo of myself as I actually am. Truth is photography is a brilliant idea not for me to help others but to keep me in touch with reality. I have avoid photos. I won't do that any more. Thank you friend.

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OPTIMIST1948 4/25/2012 12:28PM

    I agree with the comparison point. Really thoughtful insights. Thank you for sharing!

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CAROLISCIOUS 4/24/2012 9:03PM

    All of it...including the article...very intriguing. I don't think I was actually as fat as I thought I was growing up...I just had super skinny friends. Now, even at goal weight, it doesn't take much for me to feel like the fat girl.

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MADERINERUE 4/24/2012 8:30PM

    Like resignation to the end, always the end. I think we're secret song sisters.

Great great great blog (as usual).


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DOGLADY13 4/23/2012 9:17PM

    Great blog. You stirred up a lot inside me. Rather than dump here, I am going to process on my own blog. I hope you don't mind if I refer to your post.

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DDOORN 4/23/2012 5:01PM

    Missed that article on in NYT...thx for catching it for us!

Great suggestions, as always, Jes! Still struggling with mirrors and pics...ugh!


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TEMPEST272002 4/23/2012 3:47PM

    For many years, I didn't even own a full length mirror. And as "the photographer" I could pretty much avoid pictures of myself too. It's somewhat of a shock to see my "before" pics now. At the time, I was in complete denial. Great blog!

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2WHEELEDSHARON 4/23/2012 2:09PM

    She's an excellent model of someone who looks like she'd be there for you:)
I always forget to slow down and chew slowly when I eat with people, that's an excellent reminder for me.
Have a pleasant week!

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BESEVEN 4/23/2012 1:14PM

    This was inspiring. Thanks. You're a great writer, BTW.

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MS.ELENI 4/23/2012 11:41AM

    Great blog as usual emoticon

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So Let's Set the World on Fire

Monday, April 16, 2012

Today is quite a warm day, and it also just so happens to be the running of the Boston Marathon. I live pretty close to Heartbreak Hill and will probably check people out at some point.

I am not them, and I will never be them. And that can sometimes, in some small moments, feel a little like a failure. Despite how ridiculous that sounds as I type it. It's still the reality of it. Sometimes it feels like a reproach.

And I look at my body these days, too, and I am perhaps 30 pounds heavier than I was a couple of years ago, when I really got down there. And I can see a spare tire and my face is round again, that old familiar moon. And that, too, can feel like a reproach, and a smack upside the head.


And then I decided, what the hell - haul out the old "before" pic. And I realized it would be a good idea to do the comparison side-by-side shot. The left side pic has a few other people in it for a reason. For you need to see a true comparison there.

I didn't just have a spare tire. I had four steel-belted radials. I didn't have a moon-shaped face. It was Jupiter in its hugeness.

And now, looking at the, well, "after" is not a good name for the pic on the right, which was taken at the first 5K of this year. What's a good name for it? "In progress"? "130 off"? "2012"? "Where I am right now"?

I think I like that last one - Where I am right now.

This is where I am, right now. This is the moment I am living in.

In the talk of goals and dreams, sometimes you forget where you are - RIGHT NOW.

Just look what you've done to yourself.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DDOORN 4/19/2012 2:31PM

    Love the pep talk...need it badly now, having slipped from 200 to 240...but hey, was once 450! So YES, YAY US!! :-)


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NEWKIM1 4/18/2012 8:53PM

    You are so right and such an inspiration! Thank you for taking the time to share!!!!!

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CAROLISCIOUS 4/16/2012 8:46PM

    Bet that girl on the left doesn't run 5Ks...

Don't ever forget how far you have come. Thank goodness for pictures...snapped even if we didn't want we have a reminder.

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SHEL1181 4/16/2012 1:40PM

    I agree with are an INSPIRATION! I can't even imagine running a 5K and you are doing it! That alone inspires me to run.....even if it's only in spurts right now. You may not be exactly where you want to be but you are still amazing!!!!!

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MS.ELENI 4/16/2012 11:45AM

    You forget sometimes how very special you are. You are great. emoticon emoticon

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PHEBESS 4/16/2012 11:24AM

    You've done great things to yourself!!!!!!!

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2WHEELEDSHARON 4/16/2012 10:55AM

    When I'm marathon watching, it's too easy to forget that I've accomplished a lot more than a lot of people who weigh less than me.
I think your "now" is pretty awesome!

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VALERIEMAHA 4/16/2012 10:48AM

    You are are an amazing, star-spangled being, leading the way for so many of us!

And good morning to you!

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CHEETARA79 4/16/2012 10:42AM

    You know what I see when I look at your side by side pictures? INSPIRATION! Seriously, you have lost so much weight and that is incredible. Not just that but the 2nd picture is of you RUNNING a 5k, something you probably couldn't have even walked at your previous weight.

Yeah, you're not 100% satisfied with your weight right now but who is? I mean, this Spark thing is a continuous work in progress and something that we'll all have to work at for the rest of our lives.

BTW, Greg and I ran our first official 5k this weekend with the Central Mass Striders. It was fun and we came in first and second (to last) place. Some of the people in the race are running the Boston marathon today.

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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I Notice Nothing Makes You Shatter

Monday, April 09, 2012

It's Passover and yanno what that means.

I don't, either.

Actually, I know what it was when I was a kid. It was seemingly endlessly long Seders and the food was meh and weird and all week long I'd take matzoh sandwiches with peanut butter and jelly to school and everyone looked at me funny. And the Seders were a marathon of, I dunno, praying, yes, but also endurance. My uncle (who has been dead for a good 2 decades already) was insistent that we read EVERY SINGLE SYLLABLE. Which is nuts when you think about it, as the Seder is actually supposed to be a teaching moment for children.

Shrug. I don't see it as a particularly effective teaching moment if the kids are starving or are hopped up on grape juice or can't understand the language anyway.

I celebrate these days by buying a box of matzoh and eating it during the week. I will also make matzoh brei today (which is essentially a matzoh omelet). Most people eat it with jam or honey. I find that disgusting, and eat it with ketchup, which in turn grosses my parents out.

All of this is still more religious than my husband's side of things. And so the springtime cycle of rebirth begins, eh?

But there is more going on there, you see.

We have rituals for springtime, you know. And they are not just hidden eggs or hidden matzohs. They are the changes in the clocks in much of the United States. They are the changes in our wardrobes as we begin to pull out the short-sleeved stuff more often than the long. Where the long underwear is folded and put away for another season. The cute shoes begin to replace the heavy boots.

And our bodies come out as this transformation occurs.

We can see this as a scary opportunity for people to suddenly see how pasty pale we are. And how the closer-fitting clothes don't hide the bumps and lumps quite so well as the big jackets did. There's nowhere to hide anymore.

Or, we can see it as a time when suddenly our necks appear, like swans, and we look at them and think, hey, not bad. Or our calves are bared and we think, hey, they're firm. People can see that I've been doing a lot of walking. Or our faces emerge from behind scarves and are no longer obscured by hats and we think, good for another year, another 10,000 miles.

Not bad for 30.

Not bad for 40.

Not bad for 50.

Not bad for 60.

Not bad for 70.

Not bad for 80.

Pick your "not bad for" and repeat after me -

I am going to be happy with myself today.

I am going to celebrate today, and myself within the essence of today.

I am going out there and I will turn heads. People will wonder who that beauty (or handsome dude) is, or whisper to each other about that athlete. Or maybe they'll cower in terror at the prospect of facing me, for I am their greatest enemy - a person with confidence.

See me and my sturdy thighs. See my parentheses lines around my mouth. See my less than optimal triceps. See my belly. Witness my crow's feet. Note my grey hairs.

Tremble ye citizens, and despair, for I know who I am and I know what I want and you cannot stop me.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MS.ELENI 4/10/2012 10:25PM

    emoticon emoticon

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2WHEELEDSHARON 4/10/2012 10:08PM

    Remember when Margaret Cho said something about how if a woman wants to start a revolution, all she needs to do is have high self esteem? I loved that! You go girl! Not bad at all!

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CAROLISCIOUS 4/9/2012 8:15PM

    Not too bad for almost 54!

Comment edited on: 4/9/2012 8:16:16 PM

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SHEL1181 4/9/2012 4:06PM

    Love this! Such great motivation! I'm Methodist and we have friends that are Jewish so we are usually invited to Seder. They usually shorten everything up a little which always makes me laugh because they argue over what they are keeping in or out while everyone is there. I can't imagine sitting through the whole thing though emoticon Someone brought matzoh with a caramel concoction and chocolate on top.....that was super yummy!!!

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PICKIE98 4/9/2012 2:24PM

    Shalom Sister-woman!! Challah , peanut butter and bananas..mmmm.. Seder is about symbols, suffering, not droning words that are not understood by all present..
I guess to each his own...
I would rather be at your place for Seder,,,

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DDOORN 4/9/2012 10:46AM

    "I am going to be happy with myself today." Great mantra to hang onto!

Thx Jes,


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GEMINIMUMMA 4/9/2012 9:58AM

    Love this post!! I needed this today.

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    Great blog!! :)

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KASEYCOFF 4/9/2012 9:17AM

    Demmed good blog, hon. Demmed good addition to my day, thinks me. (And I'm not bad for 59-1/2, lol...)

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Take Me to Your Best Friend's House

Monday, April 02, 2012

We ran another 5K this past weekend (the pic is actually from the first 5K of the year, which was 10 days before that), and I improved my time by almost 2 1/2 minutes.

I also gained back nearly 5 pounds.


I dunno.

I am finding that, these days, unlike in prior years, 5Ks make me ravenous. And then my choices aren't necessarily as good as they could be. Don't worry, I take stuff to the races and it's my own food and drink. But I still want loads of it.

So, weird.

I do 5Ks and they make me gain weight.

Wacky, eh?

The real test will be this month, as there are no 5Ks scheduled at all. So if I can lose or at least maintain, that might lend some credence to the theory.

Or not. One thing I have learned from long-term big-time weight loss is that things are rarely what they seem to be on the surface. And so, well, this is odd but the whole thing is odd and so nice and neat explanations aren't necessarily going to be forthcoming. About all I can definitively say is that salt does not help me in the weight department. But I need it, in order to stave off vasovagal (fainting) episodes. Sheesh. My body, a supreme saboteur, sometimes.

I still feel great about the 5K. I've got another 9 to go for the year (7 of which are already paid for). I am not giving up on them.

This little bit of hard to explain annoyance will not keep me down.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

2WHEELEDSHARON 4/3/2012 9:13PM

    Stupid scale! I'm convinced they're no good unless they tell me what I want to hear or provide an explanation if they don't. I'm truckloads impressed by your running dedication.

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WOLFKITTY 4/3/2012 1:43AM

    Your body is a supreme machine.

I don't know what your training for it was like, but there's that whole water-retention-because-of-mucles-b
ringing-in-gylcogen theory.

Hang in there, and keep doing what's right for you!
Lots of love,

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CAROLISCIOUS 4/2/2012 10:53PM

    What you are gaining FOR your health by doing the 5Ks cannot be outweighed...

Oh, I am just too cute for words! Point is...keep doing the 5Ks!

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    You will figure it out. For sure. Do you do your measurements too? Wonder if it is extra hydration or more muscle? Anyhow great picts.

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VEEJAY3 4/2/2012 6:15PM

    Ten races scheduled for your season? Sheeeeesh! I'm so impressed!

My summer "thing" is biking, and I suppose the thing to do would be to set myself a milage goal, or a certain number of 50/60 or 70 mile rides or something like that. Maybe then you wouldn't make me feel like such a slacker.


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SHEL1181 4/2/2012 4:13PM

    You are awesome!!!!

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MS.ELENI 4/2/2012 4:07PM

    Love the pic of you emoticon

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DDOORN 4/2/2012 3:40PM

    I'm sure one ALWAYS comes out ahead doing a 5K, 5# or no... :-)

Trying to get myself pumped up and primed for the only 5K of the year coming up early May...ugh...! Just NOT a runner, but feel like I got toss my hat in the ring at least ONCE a!


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I'm Going to Kick Until I Need New Shoes

Monday, March 26, 2012

Last week's photograph was from the start of the first 5K of the year. This photograph is from that same race's end.

Funny, how perspectives can change.

Last week, I was complaining about gaining 4.2 pounds, due to excess salt intake.

This week, I celebrate losing 6.26 pounds and going down to a tie for the lowest weight of this year so far.

I did it with, well, the same stuff I normally do, except I didn't go quite so silly with the salt. Salt is kind of a double-edged sword for me, as I need to get some in, in order to keep from feeling faint so often (I have low blood pressure. Very low. As in, the nurse checks her instruments low.). But of course with too much I have the same issues that anyone else does - I retain water.

Ah, a balance.

They are so difficult to find sometimes, eh?

And then I see the extremes, too, where I see the woman who was 346. And the one who was, perhaps, below 180 (hard to say if that was real as the scale was on the fritz). The stationary one of last week's photo. The one running all-out in this week's photo.

Who IS that?

And I am reminded that both are me, and that creating one persona, one face, one name, one life, one being, one look, one feel, one idea is wrong-headed, for we are many people. We are dieters and exercisers, to be sure, or we are trying to be. But we are also workers and lovers and artists and neighbors and businesspeople and children and sometimes parents and sometimes siblings and poets and mourners and mischief-makers and writers and photographers and philosophers and social networkers and patients and jokers and spectators and chefs and sometimes soldiers and freaks and animal lovers and fans and and and ....

And we are someone's painful reminder of what they can never have, or can never be. And we are another's amusing joke of how they will never allow themselves to become that way or cannot imagine themselves ever being there. We are someone's "you're going too fast" and someone else's "you're going too slow". We are someone's hero and someone else's villain or weakling.

I am not a fast runner. Photo notwithstanding, I do very little of the all-out stuff. I just plain don't have the stamina for it. I am s...l...o...w.

But yanno something? I figure, next time I fret about how slow I am, I just gotta remember how many people I am carrying around inside of me. And you are, too.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PHEBESS 3/28/2012 7:53AM

    You know, I used to swim every day - and it took me a half hour to swim a half mile, or I'd do a full mile (one hour) on Saturday.

And it bothered me, all these people zooming past me, swimming quickly.

Then I realized, NONE of them swam for an hour. They'd come and go in 20 minutes or so.

Then I also realized - those of us without speed have ENDURANCE!!!!!!! We're in it for the long haul. And seriously, other than being chased by a marauding buffalo or lion or something, how often do we need speed???? We need to be strong and have endurance, not so much speed - right?

So keep on running slowly! You're getting stronger, you're getting healthier - and that's what this is all about!

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TELERIE 3/27/2012 1:54PM

    You're my hero! Among many other things. Friend, mischief-maker, sister, and and and...

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ABURRIS2 3/27/2012 11:09AM

    Great picture! Timely reminder. Thanks. ~ann

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DDOORN 3/27/2012 8:45AM

    Always a joy to hear from you Jes...! May your Sparks fly far and bright for many, many years!


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    Oh how glad I am to have met you here. You nailed it again. Love from your fellow mischief maker.

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CAROLISCIOUS 3/26/2012 9:47PM

    Slow is better than not at all! Awesome photo!

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STRINGS58 3/26/2012 6:40PM

    I loved the pic -- determination plus AND doin' it!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon May you carry all those people in you to greater and greater "feel good" parties together!
emoticon emoticon

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2WHEELEDSHARON 3/26/2012 6:03PM

    Hey, thanks for this. I've been putting a lot of weird pressure on myself to be someone different, but I forgot that I already am! emoticon

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BUTRFLY_FREEDOM 3/26/2012 3:29PM


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MS.ELENI 3/26/2012 2:45PM

    Slow beats nothing. I think you do awesome emoticon

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FLPALM 3/26/2012 2:23PM

    I love the "comparisons" of ALL THE PEOPLE WE ARE! So true! And I also love the comment from REJ7777,

"When you're running s...l...o...w, remember that no matter how slow you go, you're trumping everyone who's sitting on the couch!"

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REJ7777 3/26/2012 2:12PM

    Great reflection! We do play many roles, some of which even seem contradictory to one another.

When you're running s...l...o...w, remember that no matter how slow you go, you're trumping everyone who's sitting on the couch! (I read that on Spark somewhere.)

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