Monday, January 28, 2013
This morning, I hauled myself up and, by the time I got a chance to look outside, it was about 6:45 or so. And I saw something at that hour that I hadn't seen in months.
So this winter business has an end after all. And I'm trying to keep that in mind as the Weather Channel tosses out warnings about snow and Armageddon or maybe it's just a dusting. I dunno.
And through it all (yes, there is a fitness point in all of this), there's the feeling that slow times and low times and hard times and fat times and itchy times and unpleasant times - yanno something? They come to an end eventually. And things do get better.
I see way too many people moaning the gaining of a pound as if the world were ending. I see far too many giving up because something didn't work the first time around. But as the amazing CAROLISCIOUS said recently, "What do you do when what you *know* works doesn't? You do it again."
And it's true. You do it again until it DOES work. And in the meantime, the fat times and the itchy times and the low times - they've got a finite cutoff date. You just need to find that.
Way back when I was first starting this journey, I went to a dinner party hosted by a lovely friend. And I had lost a good 40 pounds by then, and was finally flirting with getting out of the 300s for good. And she and other friends greeted me and no one said anything. It was weird to me. I hadn't seen them in a while so I thought, surely they would notice a change. But they didn't, and I ended up having to bring it up, which is weird but that's life. And it's not that these people were so self-absorbed. It's that they truly couldn't see it.
Yanno what else happened? I did not let that kill my motivation. I didn't let it bowl me over, and make me feel that the whole setup was useless and I might as well gorge myself on chips if no one notices or cares. I just kept at it.
And in a week or so, people finally started to notice the change. They all thought it was less - a 10 or a 20 pound loss. They were astounded when I told them it was 40+ pounds off.
Our perceptions differ. But they also matter. And we can change them.
Perception #1 - I've been eating right and exercising for months and no one notices. Might as well throw in the towel.
Perception #2 - I've been eating right and exercising for months and no one notices. Might as well do something different as it doesn't matter.
Perception #3 - I've been eating right and exercising for months and no one notices. Might as well keep going as they might not notice, but I do. And they'll eventually notice.
Really only #2 and #3 are viable at all. After all, there can sometimes be a need for a change. That's fine. But the change should be based upon sound principles.
Calorie cycling might or might not work. Low carbs might or might not work. Extra strength training might or might not work. Faster cardio, or steeper hills, might or might not work. All are worth a shot.
But nobody ever got thin by gorging themselves on chips.
I'm gonna go out and enjoy the sun before Armageddon.
Monday, January 21, 2013
I just spent the past 2 weekends doing massive family stuff, as my mother turned 80. Two parties to accommodate everyone without going to the expense of renting a hall or making people travel too much.
I came out of it with little exercise but with decent food choices. Over the course of the 2 weeks, I gained a big honkin' .2 pounds. My measurements are fine and are comparable to what they were. By all rights, this was a staggering success, considering the dearth of exercise opportunities and the plethora of bad food choices available.
I also watched. And learned. And here's what I learned.
* Obesity is family-related. It may or may not be genetic but it certainly related to family culture. That is, people who are used to playing sports or walking or whatever will be thinner, over time. Those who are used to eating everything in sight, and making unhealthy choices, will continue to do so unless they make a supreme effort. And, over time, they will be larger.
* Perception is all. I have gained back a good 60 pounds since my lightest on SP but it does not matter. They still tell me I'm thin, God bless 'em. And my relatives who are heavy tend to see that as their normal, even as I see them hitching up their clothes, or taking thirds, or untagging themselves from Facebook images as they think they look too fat. Well, I got news for ya. The reason why your picture makes you look fat is because you ARE fat. Sorry, that's harsh. But the camera isn't adding 100+ extra pounds. That part's all you.
* Amidst challenges, there are opportunities. During the first weekend, my father and I went to a local beach and walked on the boardwalk. We did, all told, about 1.75 miles (he had thought it was 2, but my pedometer claims otherwise). But I got him up and out there. At the events, I piled my plate with salad, or vegetables, or sushi, or shrimp, or plain turkey. I refused the store-bought cake but I did have some of the homemade.
* Related to the last one - choices are all. You can make good or bad ones. No one is holding a gun to your head either way. Choose carrots or choose chips. Both are out. You're a grownup and can make this choice.
* Nobody notices if you don't finish something. I helped clean up after the second party (the first was at a restaurant). And I noticed food on people's plates. They didn't scrape them clean. Who did that? Damned if I know. And it doesn't matter. What am I, the Food Police? Yes, they should have taken less. But they didn't intake as much. Either way is a victory.
* There will always be critics. "Oh, you shouldn't run so much. My brother destroyed his knees that way." This was said by a guy who's about 12 years older than me, and walks with a cane because he's so heavy. Er, your brother destroyed his knees because he was running in the 70s, when equipment was bad. But I didn't say that. I just said, "I'll be careful, thanks." And I moved on.
* Children's behaviors should be of interest. One doesn't like fruit. Another hoarded vegetables and dip. Another was shy but ultimately made good choices. Another ran around, bored, but didn't intake too much. How will they all grow up? Of course I have no idea, but I wonder about what I saw. Will the fruit-hater learn to embrace apples? Will the run-around-er slow down and then stop and let weight catch up? Will the one making good choices continue to do so? Will the dip and veggie hoarder start hoarding much worse foods? Stay tuned, I suppose.
And through it all, these were good experiences. They are not all about food, and failed fitness opportunities. It was all, after all, really about my mother.
And what is the best gift I can give her?
To be as fit and healthy as I can be. To keep the worst of diseases at bay, if I can. To be available for her, and able to help when she (eventually) needs me, as will my father.
And so today's walk, and the omelet with tofu and the 11 cups of water? They're for you, Mom.
Monday, January 14, 2013
I am back for a few days, in between parties. My mother turned 80 and so there are 2 parties. Because, well, why not?
The first one went well, and I was also the videographer for THIS - www.youtube.com/watch?v=80hS89l2T34
Yep, that's my Dad.
He learned the napkin-folding trick from his aunt, who brought it to the US from Austria. So consider it a bit o' my traditions for you.
Oh, and the buffet that was larger than Venezuela did not do too much damage.
Monday, January 07, 2013
I am poised on the brink of some massive family stuff. My mother is turning 80 later this week. And so there will be two parties. It's not that the two sides of the family don't get along or anything like that; it's just that there are WAY too many people. Hence there's just no way we could do a party without it turning into an *affair*, complete with a hall and a caterer and all that other junk.
Therefore, the first will be my mother's side, held at a Chinese buffet near their home, on the 12th. I am taking a train in on the 11th and staying until the 14th. The second will be at my aunt's in NJ, on the 19th. For that one, both Mr. j and I are coming in on the 18th and staying until the 20th.
In the meantime, the number of people staying at my folks' is spiraling out of control. As in, I received an email, asking which couch I preferred. Argh. I would go to a motel, but it just ain't in the budget. And so I flipped a coin and it came up guest bedroom, rather than den.
I suspect I will also be on driving duty. I have been on photo album duty already, which has resulted in pics of mystery babies and forgotten images of their friends from God knows when and holy crap when did your hair look like THAT?
Helpful hint from jes - never, EVER, make it apparent if you're at all good at anything like that. 'Cause you'll be stuck doing it every f'in' time.
But I do it, I do it because I have to, but also because of course I love my mother and I want her to be happy. I haven't got the bucks to give her a trip or a day spa visit or an iPad or whatever. So the album is it. I wrote a sonnet.
In dieting news, this whole trip will be an occasion to try to stay away from really bad foods and squeeze in some form of exercise. Since pretty much no one but me regularly works out, this will be tricky, as this is supposed to be Family Togetherness Time (TM). Hence running off (literally) for an hour every day may not be in the cards. As for walking with someone, er, I'm not so sure I want to do that, either. I'll find a way; I always do. This might involve getting up super-early. Pain in the patoot but otherwise I get no exercise and no alone time and that is not good.
Now, I realize there is very little above about me actually enjoying any of this. I do like seeing my family and all of that. And I haven't seen my cousins in a LONG time (although I keep up with most of them on Facebook, so it's not like I'm completely clueless as to how their lives are currently going). But it just seems so trying.
And, the unspoken bit, the part that nobody mentions, is, we all wonder - is this the last big birthday where all are together? Is this the swan song, the final hurrah? Or is it one in a continuing series, and we'll laugh about how silly and scared we were when she hits 90 or 100? Of course, there's no way for me to know, or for anyone to know, not right now.
And so I will go. And I will grin and bear it, and will try to have my own needs fulfilled as I dovetail them with others' needs and it all gets wrapped up in a pretty little anxiety bow.
That frustrated scream you're hearing from the vague direction of Long Island? That would be me. Enjoy the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Monday, December 31, 2012
I am thinking of Decembers, and of transitions. This is the end of my - no lie - 5th year at Spark. And I am ending it at my heaviest (albeit not by much), even more than at the end of the first year, when I had lost a good 120 or so in 365 days and was feeling incredible and invincible and did not see the bumpy road ahead, despite numerous warnings.
Numbers are ... interesting. But it makes the most sense to look at not only the last measured day of each year, but also at the closest thing I've got to the last day I measured before starting (I didn't start measuring until the end of January of 2008, but cut me a modicum of slack, okay?).
So, yeah, it's not wonderful right now, except of course in comparison to '07. The 20 or so pounds gained every year is troubling. But check out some inch #s.
2010 43.25/43.25 *Note I count them the same since I had surgery to remove an apron of skin
And I look at these #s. While they are not wonderful right now, they're not bad. I find it particularly interesting to compare to the end of 2009, my lowest December. And my inch #s are just, well, they're pretty damned amazing when you consider it's a 53.6 pound gain. Hips are the biggest gain (5 inches). But otherwise, well, there's a reason why I'm still fitting into size Medium tees. And my size below is between a 14 and a 16 (it had been down to 10 at the lowest).
I'm more densely packed. So I'm more muscle-bound, I suppose. It came out yesterday, as I swung a shovel for nearly an hour and got almost half of our rather long driveway cleared of heavy, wet snow. And today I feel fine, ready to tackle the second half.
But what does 2013 hold? And 2014 and beyond?
I will admit it is far, FAR more difficult to get motivated. I see my fellow long-termers struggling, at whatever weight they feel is too much (and half the time, their drop-dead weight is lower than my lowest had been, and I admit to feelings of less than charity at times when I see those numbers and I read those complaints). Many simply drop out, for weeks at a time, or months, perhaps ashamed to post certain #s or maybe it's all too overwhelming and the whole thing is just too depressing and unpleasant.
Dammit, this life business is HARD!!!
And so it is.
What would you say to the end of 2007 you?
I'll tell you one thing I WOULDN'T say to her.
I wouldn't tell her that she'd have a quick glory year and then mire in gains again. I wouldn't tell her that Onederland would be but a fleeting visit.
Because that does no good. And it's not accurate, anyway, for things may change, right?
I'd tell her that she can do this. I'd tell her that it's not easy. I'd tell her that it will be a mixed bag. I'd tell that there will be some regaining. I'd tell her that 50 is a tougher year than 45, but it's probably an easier year than 55 and what does that say about things?
It's funny. We go through our immature periods, and we have little discipline and self-control, and we gain. And then when we get our collective acts in gear and can trust ourselves to be careful with weighing and measuring and counting and the like, our bodies laugh and say - Hey, you shoulda done this earlier.
But until a time machine is invented, this is what we've got. And so, ask yourself, what will my 2017 self say to me?
You're so thin.
Your hair is so dark.
You don't have (so many) crows' feet.
Your skin is softer.
You can do it.
It's not easy.
There will be mixed results.
You will get discouraged about some things, and encouraged about others.
Try to remember the encouraging things more.
Happy new year.
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