Monday, August 02, 2010
Um, I do! :)
I was out for breakfast a few weeks ago with a friend of mine. She's about 30 years my senior, but also a big girl, and we have a fun camaraderie together. She's totally kooky like me and we seem to really get each other. I showed up for breakfast in one of my favorite summer shirts - a black and white, cap sleeve, printed v-neck. I was feeling particularly pretty that day. The sun was shining, I looked great, and I had the use of the car (which always makes for a good day). I was feeling very "Carrie" in my own City - all 280+ pounds of me.
"How cute are you?" she exclaimed as I walked to the table. "You look GORGEOUS!!!" and then "You're just so brave to show your arms like that...I could never do that".
I shrugged. I have always shown my arms. And legs. I stop at the belly because I won't go around wearing a midriff-bearing top with my multitude of rolls, but the rest of me is pretty fair game within reason. I buy nice, good clothing that FITS, and otherwise I have always felt that as long as I feel good in something, there's no reason to be ashamed. I'm a big girl. I have been for the majority of my life. I don't feel like covering up my fat and floppy arms with a t-shirt or long sleeved top on a HOT day in the middle of the summer is hiding much. The sweat from being too hot in my "too many layers for the weather" clothing would eventually give me away anyway!
I guess you can see it in one of two ways. Either I have continually showed my skin because I've been in denial for so long about how big I really am, or that it doesn't matter how big I am, I'm confident with the woman I put out in the world. Both are true, and depending on how I feel in front of the mirror every morning, I honestly do lean toward either one or the other.
A couple of years ago I was getting ready for a pretty big interview at work. My boss at the time had set up the interview (my position with her company was ending and she was trying to help me secure a new title with the new company) - but she was also one of those women who couldn't keep her opinions to herself and felt it necessary to make occasional comments about my chunky appearance. I was wearing my favorite red tank (the one I just took the photo in the other day) and was feeling very confident in myself and my abilities as a future employee of my now, current company. She gave me a look from head to toe and said quite emphatically "I hope you brought a jacket to wear over that." Now, I HAD brought a jacket (the voices of my mother and grandmother in my head wouldn't let me out of the house without one that day) - but what business it was of hers to question my fashion sense I have no idea. Yes, my arms were large (larger then than they are now for sure), but I was in enough denial about how my fat arms might look to a future employer and confident enough in my own ability to wow my future boss by my credentials alone that I left that conversation bruised. Why couldn't I get a job because of my weight? What did my being BIG have to do with my abilities as an employee? I had never let my weight get in the way of any of my job tasks with her in the past, so why should she care so much? Wasn't she the same woman who had marveled at my ability to run up and down a ladder to the roof to check out a problem with the HVAC just a few weeks ago? (Yes, she made a comment about that too from the bottom of the ladder - I may be big, but I've always been relatively fit). I was angry. Though other bosses had danced around the "issue" before, she was the first of my employers to actually ever call me out on my physical appearance. And it wasn't until that very moment that I realized that it actually COULD matter when it came to getting a new job.
Well - I nailed the interview, got the job, and sanctioned a 20% raise. But that didn't stop me from the realization that were it a different type of person interviewing me that day, were it the type of person that she was, my fat arms may have lost me that job.
I still feel the sting of her words when I catch a glimpse of my visible fat in a store window or hallway mirror. I still have a momentary flash of terror whenever I suit up at the pool and have to stand there with my saddle bags hanging out of my one piece with the gaggle of skinny girls waiting for the lifeguards to unlock the doors to the pool deck. But once I'm gliding through that water, once I'm breathing in rhythm with my fat-arm strokes, the fear goes away. And not ONE of those girls would dare make comment on my rolls when I show them who's boss in the water. I don't mess around during my swims and I think I have surprised more people than I have offended with my cellulite. And the same goes for my job. I'm smart. I'm capable. And I don't let the fat hold me back.
Today I'm sitting at my desk in an adorable blue halter top (the turquoise colour of the water in my background image to be exact) and short shorts. And I feel great. I wouldn't wear this outfit to an interview, but for a hot, summer day in Chicago, it's a perfectly acceptable outfit for a day at the office. (I DO love working in a casual atmosphere every day!)
At the end of the day - it's not about what you're wearing (as long as it's tasteful). It's about how much of the real YOU you allow people to see. I choose not to hide. I think it's disrespectful to the fabulous person I am inside. So what if my arms flap a little in the breeze, or if my thighs rub together - I'm growing more comfortable every day in my skin and that's something the whole world should see!
Sunday, August 01, 2010
Lord help me, I've become Domesticated.
The scientist has now moved in with me (for 3 weeks, until his flight leaves for Germany). I'm not sure how exactly I feel about the whole thing, but quite honestly I haven't had much time to think about it this weekend. Between grocery shopping (ok - not shopping exactly so much as delivery, but it did take me about an hour to select what we needed online), laundry and cooking up a storm, I have no idea what has happened to the Laissez-Faire Lady. She has been replaced by the Kitchen Nazi and now my feet hurt.
Yesterday I attended my regular Saturday morning Zumba class. It was hard. Our instructor (god love her) made up for an easier class last week by kicking our asses with non-stop Merengue beats. But my regular Saturday afternoon nap time was hijacked by the need to get the man out of his place and a table that I had claimed for myself back to my house. Since the table wouldn't fit in the car, I needed to carry it home on the bus. 2 hours later, I finally wrestled the thing into my basement for the time being and collapsed on my couch with the computer to order groceries. Dinner was put together with a bunch of leftovers to clean out the fridge and we called it a night.
When the groceries arrived this morning, I quickly realized that I was in a "my eyes were bigger than my stomach" situation since there was no way I was fitting everything I had ordered into my fridge/freezer. So I started cooking. More muffin tin quiches, mini meatloaves for lunches and a dinner of pork & lamb kebabs with rice and a salad. It's easy writing it all out in a sentence, but it took me ALL afternoon between loads of laundry (which, thankfully I was helped with by the scientist running up and down the stairs a few times for me). The worst part about cooking is of course the dishes. I think I dirtied almost every dish in my house...twice. I'll have dishpan hands for the next week, but my tummy will be happy! I actually had to do one load of dishes before I even started cooking just to clear the sink - all of the dinners I've sent home with the scientist over the past 2 years finally made it back to me in a sink FULL of tupperware that all just got returned...clean, but dusty enough that it was a better idea to wash it again. It came in handy though as it's all now full again and back in the fridge for the week. I keep telling him he's going to have to learn to cook for himself. He's learning. Slowly. He's going to get very tired of Bratwurst & pretzel bread!
Anyway - I think it's finally bed time for me. The laundry is folded and put away, the dishes are done, the living room is tidy, and I have clean sheets on the bed. Monday awaits.
Here's to entering August with a clean slate (literally). Best wishes to all for a fantastic month!
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Sometimes, no matter how hard we try or how much we plan, we have one of those days where things just don't go exactly the way we expected.
Take today for example. This morning, I gave half of my lunch to a homeless man. Little did he know, I'm sure, just how important my lunch was to me. I don't even have to go into my "interesting" relationship with food - the fact that I somehow equate the items in my lunches to small pieces of my soul - to know that giving up anything out of that bag hurt just a little bit. It also hurt my plans for my day - my lunch items all carefully counted out to ensure that I meet my daily nutrient requirements and calorie intake. But he clearly needed the food, as he took it from me and immediately rushed away to stuff his mouth with my Frigo Light String Cheese. Not exactly what I had planned for my day, but not to worry because I still know I'm on track for breakfast.
Every Thursday I get a ham, egg & cheese breakfast sandwich and fresh brewed iced tea from Starbucks. I have dreams about this sandwich. I can taste it the minute I roll out of bed with it's doughy, Brioche bun and sweet, salty ham and cheese. My friendly, neighbourhood Starbucks has been out of these little babies all week. Their regular morning order has been hijacked this week and none of the supervisors can figure out what's going on (I get the daily dish from them every morning). But today - TODAY, they were sure that their order was arriving as planned. Not the case. They were out of sandwiches. ALL sandwiches. I couldn't even switch up my order and get an egg and sausage muffin. I about cried at the counter...I hadn't eaten before I left home, so now I was forced to make a decision between going somewhere else (McDonald's is about the only other breakfast option in my neighbourhood) or ordering something else from that glass case of ooey, gooey, decadent, sugary DEATH to my daily nutrition tracker. I opted for a plain bagel (they didn't have any multigrain left) and cream cheese (regular, because they no longer carry light). Ugh. This day is for the dogs. Not enough protein this morning and an hour after my bagel, my stomach is rumbling for the half of the lunch that I have left.
Can I hold out hope that dinner might be fairly normal? Not a chance. I got a last minute "change of plans" email yesterday from the director of my new show. We're meeting the cast at the Art Institute tonight to spend some quality time with the painting on which our musical is based (we're doing 'Sunday In The Park With George' which is loosely based on the life of the painter Georges Seurat while he painted his pointillist masterpiece "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte"). Afterward - drinks and dinner at some place downtown. Oh joy, oh bliss - an unexpected weekly expense for my pocketbook AND my meal plan. It's just not in the cards - today I am not going to win.
But I'm not giving up! I'm only one meal in to my day. I still have half a lunch. And the extra calories saved from my donation to the poor this morning will allow me a beverage with dinner if I so choose. I'll opt for whatever is healthy on the menu and all will not be lost. I can save this pimple of a day! It's just going to take a little cover-up action and no one will ever know. So it wasn't part of the plan, but this is just how I'm gonna have to roll. And I can dig that.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Despite the scale's attempts to conspire against me today, I'm having a very "I feel thin and pretty day" - so I thought I'd share:
I love that you can see my little witch behind me on my shoulder in this picture. She's belonged to my Grandmother for as long as I can remember and throughout the years of my grandparents moving to new houses and new towns, she was always a constant in the rec room. When my grandparents made their most recent move to a retirement home after my grandma's heart surgery, my mom asked me if there was anything from the house that I wanted, and I immediately asked for the witch. When she brought it to me she said "I have no idea why you'd want this thing - she's the ugliest little woman I've ever seen" - but to me she's not ugly. She reminds me of my inner child and playing in my grandparent's basement on visits, watching the CBC broadcast of "Pirates of Penzance" on repeat and singing at the top of my lungs.
You can also see one of my other little "secrets of success" - my Starbucks reusable cold cup with straw. It's a 16 ouncer, so I know it's 2 cups of water every time I fill it. It goes to work with me every morning and home with me every night and has seen gallons of water pass through it since I bought it. I was told yesterday by one of my favorite Starbucks baristas that I was lucky to have one seeing as they sold out of them early in the summer and you can't even get one online anymore in some places.
Last night at 11pm (otherwise known as bedtime in my house) I got the urge to purge. I had just finished a load of laundry and realized that many of the items I was folding didn't even fit any more, so I hauled out a couple of bags and started filling them. I'm pretty sure my "I feel pretty" day today is because I know now that I have emptied my closet of all items that are either Size 26 or 3x!!! I actually also set aside a bunch of winter items that were still lingering in my closet that are Size 22/24, but that I know won't fit by the time the weather turns again. I tossed some items that I have literally been hanging onto for YEARS and could never bring myself to get rid of and it feels so good to finally be free of those things that never did quite fit the way they should have - which actually had little to do with my body and more to do with the shape of the garment. For whatever reason I kept them around thinking that if I changed enough they might somehow fit. And now I just say - good riddance! By the time I actually get around to wondering where they went the next time I think about them, I'll be too small to fit into them properly anyway!
I feel lighter, my closet feels lighter (I can actually fit almost everything I own into it now), and by this time next week I'm sure that I will officially be down 10% of my starting weight (31lbs). On to the next 10% and my quest for Size 18!
Monday, July 19, 2010
After reading the recent Spark Article about "picky eaters" www.dailyspark.com/blog.asp?post=whe
n_picky_eating_becomes_a_health_problem it occurred to me just how lucky I am that I LOVE FOOD!
So often we berate ourselves for our desire to eat, our "healthy" appetites and our inability to control ourselves in a grocery store - but after reading the article I realize that I would far much rather have it that way than to never have experienced the pure BLISS of fresh-caught lobster dipped in garlic butter, or a plump, sweet, juicy, ripe-red strawberry still hot from the sun in the field, or as KARVY09 recently blogged about - a fresh fig.
I LOVE FOOD - and that is nothing to be ashamed about. I have also been spending a lot of time recently rediscovering my love of making food - cooking, baking, blending and the like - if it happens in my kitchen, chances are it's a sacred love of mine. I read cookbooks and magazines, drooling over the colourful photos of food plated in the most delicious-looking of ways, though you will rarely find me actually using a recipe. I love studying the gastronomical field to get ideas, but my kitchen is my canvas, and I'm most certainly adventurous when it comes to the art I create. Sure I've had a few flops - but more than enough I find new and exciting tastes that just GO together that I never would have thought of before. If I could wallpaper my kitchen with photos from those magazines I would. I most certainly eat with my eyes and my nose before my mouth, and I think I can certainly credit my "super-spidey-senses" as my boyfriend calls them to my absolute love and desire for all things yummy. I'm one of those people who can tell you what's on the BBQ just my smelling it. It's one of my favorite things about summer - walking around the neighbourhood at about 6pm and just taking in all of the different menu options for the evening - pork chops, steak, hamburgers, chicken, corn - each have their own distinct and delicious char-grilled smell. I'm making myself hungry just writing this.
So why would I want to give any of that up? Why would I want to go on a "diet" and limit myself so much that I deny myself of one of my real, true loves? My inability to "break up" with food is what derailed me before in my attempts to lose weight. It is the most loyal and beautiful and delicious lover that I have ever had - so it is not a wonder that in the past I chose it over the deprivation diet. You don't even have to read that twice to know which one is more appealing. But in a "lifestyle change" there is still room for food. In fact, not only is there ROOM for food, but there's an acceptance of food and the relationship I have with it. There's also room and a new-found love for exercise, which in fact strengthens and makes MORE room for my relationship with food. There's room for head and heart and health - the trifecta of well being, which I will be honest is what has surprised me the most about this journey so far. Previous attempts saw me trying to cut out pieces of who I am to have what I always wanted - and isn't that a backwards way of thinking? To feel like you can't be WHOLE to be the person you want to be. It never once occurred to me that to be the person I want to be, I have to in fact ADD to myself instead of subtract from. I have to embrace my love of food, and find a love of exercise, and grow my ability to plan for myself, and expand on my current abilities to organize my life. I have to MAKE MYSELF FULL, not continue to empty myself of my loves. Because when we are FULL of life, we are also full of food, and the need to feed gradually goes away.
Yesterday morning I made some very yummy Ham & Cheese Quiche Muffins and some Oatmeal Pancake Muffins. For 25 minutes the smell in my kitchen as they baked was to die for. And when I pulled the trays from the oven and saw those puffy, golden brown, cheese-crusted tops, expanding from the pan, I was literally overcome with joy. I love it when things come out looking as pretty as they smell. I really should have grabbed my camera and snapped some pictures - but my boyfriend already thinks I'm crazy and I fear the photos wouldn't have done their beauty justice. Plus - we were hungry! I savoured every single bite. Delicious and healthy - and made by me. It makes me feel warm and tingly inside - and it wasn't just because the oven on a sweltering day in Chicago made my kitchen about 2000 degrees!
I am allowed to love food. In fact, I am expected to love food. I come from a foodie family - all just as adventurous as the next in terms of what we will try. My love of food feels like home. And in terms of my therapy and my process, there have been times that that has been a help and other times that it has been a hindrance. Eating has been and will continue to be an emotional experience for me. But EATING is helping me heal. Learning to love food all over again - this time with added knowledge of what I'm putting in my body - is an ongoing process. But it's an experience that I will never deny myself ever again. Because sometimes there is just nothing in this world that can replace the feeling of fresh-picked blueberries bursting on your tongue, or the taste of a medium rare NY strip steak with a side of baked potato.
It will be a while yet before I no longer feel like I have to eat to feel "full". But for the time being, I'm re-cultivating my gastronomy muscles. I'm the opposite of a picky eater, so I wouldn't mind actually becoming a little bit of a food snob. It just means that I care more about what I put in my mouth and what I will spend time eating. Saying no to things that I don't particularly like still isn't an easy task - but I'm sure I can hone my trash bin skills in the near future. When I am surrounded by the fresh fruits and vegetables of the summer, there's really no reason to eat less than the absolute freshest and best. And it is certainly the best time of the year to try something new, or retry something you dismissed before.
Alas - my lunch calls! So I'm going to go ENJOY it!
Get An Email Alert Each Time KITHKINCAID Posts