Tuesday, January 31, 2012
I know, it sounds impossible. When I first stopped working I was terrified: What would I do with my time? What would get me out of bed in the morning? What would shape my life, give me purpose? Well, like most retirees, it wasn't long before I wondered when I ever found the time to work. Life was slower, I had control over what I would do most days.
But then, the activities took on a life of their own. Which isn't a bad thing. I LOVE going to 6 or 7 stores a week to buy food because I love to cook and spend a couple of hours every night making food better than any (well, most) restaurant. I was available to help out my kids more than ever before, and be part of my grandchildren's lives.
When my husband had a few strokes, then broke his leg (which still hasn't healed), I was able to take good care of him here at home. Which made a dreadful situation much better.
Now my mother needs my help. She is having trouble managing her affairs so I will be taking over. It's an easy task by itself, but I will essentially be working for her. I want her to be happy, but since retiring I'm kind of used to doing things my way in my time. "Do you REALLY need to shop at that many stores just for food?" Well by now, yes.
All these things that I started doing to "fill up time" all those years ago have become my comfort, express my creativity. The stress comes in having to curtail what others see as frivolous so that I can help Mom.
I can get through about anything if I have the time to cook and eat well. The only practical stress reliever I have is cooking, which seems to be irrelevant to many people in this day of take out and ready made food.
I have maintained my loss for a long time by cooking, and took it to a whole new level after retiring. My mother doesn't like to eat, doesn't understand why I like to eat, and has little patience for interests in which she doesn't share. I'll manage but it is going to be a second very stressful year in a row.
Funny, even in stress, it's all about the food.
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
One of the things I learned riding my motorcycle is to make sure to always look long. If you stare at the pothole thinking it will make it easier to avoid it, you WILL hit it. You and your bike will always head toward where your eyes are pointed. If you want to go left around the corner, lead with your eyes. If you are always aware, your peripheral vision will sharpen and you will be able to see and avoid road hazards.
It's the same for me with my goals. If I concentrate on the cookies, I'll surely eat them. I am always aware of potential hazards with my peripheral "vision", and I am able to aim toward the goal.
Stay always aware and keep looking long!!
Saturday, December 24, 2011
Today I am frantically preparing a feast for 17 people, and all the food will be fabulous! And I intend to enjoy every bite!! Of course, it won't be as many bites as it might have been at one time, and it won't include as many foods as it did at one time. There are many dieters who limit themselves to very few foods.
They keep telling me "Eat to live, don't live to eat". Well I live to eat! I spend a couple of hours every day to make a great dinner that will be consumed in 15 minutes, but they are a very important 15 minutes. A simply glorious 15 minutes! I don't care if I have to start dinner at noon, using a recipe that calls for 30 ingredients. If that's what it takes to make my 15 minutes the center of my day, then I will do it.
I don't need to eat great quantities of food to enjoy it. Ever see wine tasters take one sip, move it around in their mouths, then spit it out? Well I certainly don't spit out my food, but I do notice that they learned what they needed to know of the wine from just one taste. I savor my weighed and measured tastes of food I have lovingly prepared, from Chicken Pot Pie to "fried" bread (all Weight Watchers recipes from years gone by) and I can eat them and love them, and look forward to the next meal.
I can love a small plate of food just as much as a big one. It's the love! It's the taste! It isn't quantity that makes food one of the great joys of life.
Friday, December 23, 2011
I have been reading a couple of books about people's tendency to be overly optimistic about their abilities to do something, and about the world in general. No one ever thinks the house will burn, or the hurricane will hit THEIR home, and tend to underinsure. People always assume they will pay all bills on time, never overdraw their accounts, never lose their jobs, so never read the fine print in their documents. Then when something DOES happen it's someone else's fault for not explaining consequences carefully enough.
Alas, things DO happen. I always plan for the possible negatives. I give myself "cookie insurance" during the holidays: I keep them away from me, then give them all away. I eat very carefully and during this season I write EVERYTHING down. This is all in anticipation of the possibility that I may not live up to my own expectations without a LOT of careful planning.
Many people consider it "negative thinking" to even consider a less than perfect outcome, but I am old enough to know that I can "positive think" myself into a corner. I am aware of my weaknesses, and know all too well that I can put myself in an uncomfortable position where inner strength won't be enough. I know that sometimes I can't rely on "motivation" any more than I can rely on the weather or the guy driving the other car.
So I always carry insurance. I carry it on my life, my cars, my home, and my eating.
Monday, December 12, 2011
I just finished a great book by Stuart Vyse called "Going Broke". It is an economic and sociological discussion about why we spend, but also discusses why we succumb to any temptation. He talks about what we want in the immediate future vs what we want long term: the car now vs comfortable retirement, the drink now vs sobriety, or the food now vs long term weight loss. He says that surveys about why we do what we do don't work because you are talking to people when they aren't immediately confronted by temptation. Some people either inherently have or have developed not so much self control, but a desire for a long term goal that exceeds the pull of immediate temptation. There are some who want to ban credit cards or fast food outlets so that they are never confronted with temptation, and there are people who create temptation free zones: they don't have credit cards, they never keep snack foods in the house. Americans value total freedom of choice, but in the end are confounded by it, and allow themselves to partake simply because it's there.
I, for one, tend to allow myself to think that I am giving up so much for one long term goal that I should be able to postpone the realities of achieving another long term goal. It isn't so much self-control (I still don't know what that actually IS) but I have developed mantras and methods to keep my eyes focused on my long term goals, trying not to confuse one goal with another. I mean one order of french fries won't impact my savings, but it WILL impact another goal. Over the years and decades, they are ALL important to me. I just need to make sure they are important at that one brief moment of choice.
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