Saturday, December 22, 2012
It's that time of year. I only make 3 sweets for Christmas, the favorites of decades in my family. I can pass up the pecan snowballs and have just a small piece of Chip N Cherry cake. But oh the sugar cookies! My kids and grandkids, nieces and nephews require them at Christmas, and it's my happy job to deliver. I use the same cookie cutters that my mother used when I was little, and I just ice them but don't decorate them which really would take hours and hours. My kids call them "crack", addicting, and they are. And I always eat them. Every year. I'll send them home to 5 grateful households after Christmas, leaving this grateful household without them.
And it's just once a year. I suppose that is part of why they taste so good. I won't eat commercial sugar cookies; they just aren't nearly as good as mine, and I never let myself eat other people's cookies just in case I like them too much. My family is very good at looking forward to a special food and only eating it then. It's something I trained them to do, then as I've gotten older, their comfortable joy in anticipation of a rare treat comes back to me. I taught my kids, now I learn those same lessons all over again from them. Which is a good thing since at my age weight comes on faster and comes off slower. My grandmother warned me about this phenomenon and I wish she were still here so I could chuckle with her about it.
Time to make the icing, and fight to keep the cats off the cookies. Unfortunately, they like it, too.
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
When a recovering gambling addict has a slip, he could wake up the next morning $100,000 in debt to the wrong people. When a recovering alcohol or drug addict has a slip, he could wake up the next day fired, divorced or in jail. Or dead and not wake up at all. When a recovering food addict has a slip, he will wake up the next day......what? Miserable, yes. Guilty, yes. With self-loathing, yes. But dead, fired or in jail? No. Would the threat of death help people not overeat? I don't know; there are too many gamblers and drug addicts that still don't get it, even sitting in jail the next day. Again.
What I'd really like to know is why we think that despair and self-loathing is better than jail. Is it? It is a self-imposed prison, visible only to those in it. I saw a dessert called "Death by Chocolate", and it was supposed to be funny. To those in that self-imposed prison it isn't death and it isn't funny. It may be early death in the long run, just not tomorrow. It's still early death, preceded by a lifetime of despair.
And are all those Christmas goodies really worth it?
Monday, December 10, 2012
While the judgement of others is often distressing, judging ourselves is essential to progress. We have all heard the old saw about insanity being defined as doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results. Yet how do we change if we don't carefully examine our actions, reactions, attitudes, and honestly decide if we have done the right thing, handled the situation best?
The whole process has to start with what we did wrong, which is usually manifested in a negative result. For some it's eating the wrong thing. For me it's usually saying something I shouldn't. Very few of us eat the Reeses thinking it's the right thing to do, and are anguished when the scale judges us with a "surprising" opposite. We KNOW it's wrong but do it anyway, and then we concentrate on the negative feelings engendered by doing something wrong. Our society these days, however, concentrates on not "hurting our feelings", but there is no chance of improvement with that.
I liken it to a sports team. After every game, the players go over the tapes of the game. They don't do it to make themselves feel better, and they don't concentrate on all the good plays so they don't have to deal with the bad ones. They look for every single failure, and they figure out how to do it differently next time. If you watched a quarterback throw a ball behind his receiver time after time, you wouldn't feel inhibited about thinking he isn't doing a good job. You'd wonder why he doesn't practice doing it the right way, a million times if necessary. The coach isn't going to say "Oh you poor baby", he's going to say "get to work". And that work isn't going to involve how well he pats himself on the back every time he throws the ball to the wrong person. It's going to involve actively, carefully, intentionally practicing in a careful, precise way, the right moves over and over and over and over until he gets it right. If he doesn't he will lose his slot to someone who is willing.
Careful weight loss doesn't involve competing with others. It's not like only 100 people can lose weight this year, can you be one of them? It doesn't involve any special talent, any gift not available to every single person alive. There are probably some people who would do better with that pressure, but I'm sure not one of them.
At the end of every day I take an inventory of my day. I take note of progress, but I also note everything I could have done better. I cannot take back words I wish I hadn't said, but I can note the situation and figure out how to do better next time. I can decide that I need to avoid certain situations, that I need to have a better attitude in certain situations, that I need to ask for help in certain situations. And then I go about the process of how to do those things. What words can I say to myself when my mother is pushing every button I have? While words cannot make me fat, the aftereffects sure can. I need to see the signs of impending trouble BEFORE they happen and deal with them, rather than wait until after and wonder why why why. I have met many who believe that it doesn't matter what they do as long as they feel appropriately miserable about it, that the misery is sufficient penalty. Personally I'd rather do without it.
I do not judge others, not their bodies or their hair or their cars. I do judge myself, but it's an inventory rather than a self-flagellation. In that lies progress.
Saturday, December 08, 2012
I think it's Catherine Deneuve who is credited with the comment that at a certain age a woman has to choose between her body and her face.
I am thin now, and at my age (over 60) thin means a gaunt face. I have just had a facelift to try to even out the creases, and the surgeon sucked some fat out of my hips and injected it into my face to try to plump it up, to fill in the big creases. With age my skin has gotten thinner, and gravity has done it's inexorable work on pulling it all down. I don't want to gain weight to fill out my face, but that is the choice. I look at older faces now much more than I used to. Thin older women look younger than their heavier counterparts, but the faces of heavier women do look better.
Of course, we older women are much rounder around the middle. Left the face and migrated to my middle. I remember my grandmothers both patting under their chins, which was supposed to "break up the fat". I remember these chin straps they wore to bed in hopes of getting rid of the sags of age. I am eternally grateful for modern surgical techniques to restore some semblance of youth. But as the doc said when he removed the stitches, gravity picks up right where it left off.
I am sure that when the swelling goes down and I can see my cheekbones again I'll be thrilled, but oh to have that dewy, plump skin again! More fat would fill it out, but I'm not willing to have the round body (like Catherine Deneuve now has) in order to improve my face.
It IS a choice: my body or my face? I'm choosing my body.
Friday, December 07, 2012
I live to eat. Who on earth would want to eat just to live? 4 cans of Ensure a day will do that. Ugh!! Anyone remember the 1964 World's Fair, when displays touted the day when we could just get our nutrition from pills and wouldn't need to eat at all? What's the fun in that?
BUT (and there's always a "but") I have selections every day and I don't necessarily choose them because they are "healthy". For example, I get 6 bread selections a day. Each bread selection is 3/4 oz dry rice or pasta or beans, or oz raw potato, or 1 oz bread (part of a long list). If I want my 1 oz of bread to be white bread, so what? Ever made garlic croutons out of whole wheat bread? They're awful. I want yummy and I only get one ounce, so it better be good. Over the course of a week or a month I eat plenty of different bread group choices, so "healthy" is pretty much taken care of when going for variety, and without my counting.
This morning I was making my husband's breakfast, and it included an apple and an orange. After I'd made his plate there was 1/4 of the apple still left, but I didn't eat that 1/4 of the apple. I only get 2 fruits a day, and I'd already had a banana (3 oz weighed with skin). That 1/4 apple would have been 1/2 a fruit (4 oz apple with skin and seeds=1 fruit). Even though it would have been "healthy", it would have left me with only 1/2 a fruit for the rest of the day. I don't get a pass just because the thoughtless thing I pop into my mouth is "healthy".
According to government regulations, you can take a bunch of vitamins that are found in strawberries, add artificial strawberry flavor, and while you can't call it a strawberry on the label, you can call it "as healthy as a strawberry". Really?????
When you revel in food, "good for you" better translate as "delicious". Fortunately, my weight loss and maintenance journey has melded "delicious" with "legal" (an old WW term that meant "On Plan"). While aiming for that glorious combination of fabulous and legal, "Healthy" just sort of emerged as an incidental result.
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