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?
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.
JUST LOOK WHAT YOU'VE DONE TO YOURSELF!
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.
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.
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 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.
I do 5Ks and they make me gain weight.
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.
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.
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