Friday, July 11, 2014
Today is my wedding anniversary. It is hard to believe that my husband and I have already been married for twelve years. Even on my grumpiest days, I am one-hundred percent thankful for having him as my partner. We are well matched in tastes and interests. Despite the way I was raised, we are not very extravagant people. I do not need big, fancy gifts or expensive vacations. I am just happy to spend the time with my husband.
Most years, we celebrate our anniversary by going out to eat. Our restaurant choices have been all over the place. Some years, we chose very basic, cheap restaurants and others, we went for fancy, expensive establishments. This year, my husband asked me to decide where to have our anniversary dinner since he now understands how important it is for me to stick with my Weight Watcher’s plan.
Over the past couple of days, I have spent a ridiculous amount of time on urbanspoon.com, trying to decide where we should go. Living between Seattle and Tacoma, there are so many options. Originally, the plan was to go to a little Chinese restaurant just south of Tacoma but I have since decided against it. It is not because Chinese food is one of my biggest trigger foods. Rather, it is because he has to work the next day and I cannot, in good conscience, ask him to drive all of the way home to pick me up then turn around and drive all of the way back past Tacoma. (His office is in Tacoma.) In addition, there is the heat to think about. With the warm weather we have been having as of late, neither one of us has had much of an appetite. To top everything off, I seem to have picked up a nasty little chest cold. In all honesty, all I really want to do is sit in front of a fan with a large glass of icy water and stare off into space. Romantic stuff, eh?
So how does one make a decision on how to spend their anniversary when taking all of the above into account? I have decided that this year, we will celebrate our anniversary at home. I will make a nice steak for him and a chicken breast for me and I will throw a couple of potatoes on the grill. We will have nice salads. His will be bleu cheese dressing with a little side of baby spinach and I will go for my beloved broccoli slaw style salad with a tiny bit of bleu cheese. Simple and delicious and we will dine in our own back yard with our little dogs by our sides. Perfection.
One day at a time. Small goals. Because I am worth it.
Monday, July 07, 2014
I found out recently that my niece is coming for a visit at the beginning of August. When she was young and I still lived in Michigan, the two of us were best buds. I spent nearly every weekend at my sister’s house and we took a lot of small trips together in the summers. As a result, my sister (who is the girliest girl I know) is raising a mini version of me. B is 19 now and she is all attitude, tattoos, books and a fair amount of wanderlust. I moved away from Michigan 12 years ago but B and I text almost daily and we have an unspoken agreement that we can call one another 24/7. I guess you could say that we are still pretty close.
When I found out that B was coming for a visit again this summer, I was over the moon excited. My first thought was to start buying tickets and making plans. My next thought was that I would have to ignore my eating plan while she is here and just resume when she left. (Insert screeching car tire sound here.) I let that idea float around in the back of my brain for a couple of days. As I did so, I found that I did not like that idea at all. I have been doing so well. I started Weight Watchers on June 27 and since then, I have lost 18.2 pounds. If I was to go off plan for two weeks, I could easily eat enough garbage to gain that back and then some. Seriously.
That brings me to my epiphany. (I seem to be having a lot of those lately, don’t I?) It took me a lifetime of starting and failing diets to get to the point where I was ready to try WW. It took me a lifetime to get to my starting weight of 451.8. I have been on plan for 42 days and really, it has been very easy to stick with. I never feel deprived, overworked or miserable on it and I have reached the point where I no longer crave the salt or sugar. Honestly, I’m not sure why I was so afraid to join WW before. The thing is, I decided it was time to get serious about my weight for me. I am not doing it for anyone else. I am doing it for me. (Get ready to cue light bulb ping.) Therefore, if I was to go off plan for two weeks, the only person I would truly be cheating would be me. (Ping!) The food choices I make while B is visiting are not going to make any difference in how much she enjoys her trip. (Ping! Ping!) In fact, the more weight I lose, the more active I become and the more active I become, the more we get to see and do each time B visits. (Ping! Ping! Ping!)
I know that I can cook over the top delicious food at home. I also know that with very few exceptions, pretty much anywhere we decide to eat, I can make healthier food choices that will fill me up, leave me satisfied and that will leave me with a sense of pride for having made the good choices. As a bonus, right not, I feel pretty darn good about my decision to stick to the healthier choices while B is here.
On top of my decision to stick with the healthier foods while B is here, we are going to be quite busy. So far our plans include: Road trip to Portland, OR, for Powell’s City of Books; Lefaux Show drag brunch at Julia’s in Seattle; Pike Place Market; Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum; Whidby Island; Rick Steve’s travel store in Edmonds, WA; the Hibulb Cultural Center in Tulalip, WA; a one evening Italian cooking class in Kent, WA; Shakespeare in the park; and shopping at Southcenter Mall in Tukwila, WA. In addition, I am sending my husband and B to a Seattle Sounders match. (I am so not a fan of sporting events. It seemed like a waste of money to spend it on a ticket for me since I would just be there for the people watching.) I am sure that I am forgetting to list a number of things that we plan to do.
I have decided that vacation does not have to be about making unhealthy food choices and then trying to make up for it by being extra active. I can eat healthy and still have loads of fun AND be extra active. I can do this for me.
One day at a time. Small Goals. Because I am worth it.
Wednesday, July 02, 2014
I love my husband. Most of the time, he is very supportive of my decisions. Like any married couple, though, we have occasional little spats.
Yesterday, I had planned to cook a nice healthy dinner but as the temperatures soared, my resolve to do so melted. Since we had a few errands to run, I suggested that we do those first then pick up some dinner. As we left Home Depot, we had to drive past the local China Buffet. Now, it is worth mentioning here that Chinese food is not his favorite cuisine. He refused to touch the stuff before we were married. Add to that, the China Buffet that we were driving past was his least favorite Chinese food in town.
To my surprise, as I turned out onto the road (I was driving), he started going on about how we should go there for dinner. When I told him that I did not want to go because I had been doing so well making better food choices, he replied that I should reward myself for doing so well and take a night off. What?! Really?? This, of course, began a small argument that ended with a light going on in the old attic.
Food has been a struggle for me my entire life. It is a personal demon that I have to deal with much in the same way an alcoholic deals with beverage choices. Even if I set out to make healthier choices and eat appropriate portions, there are certain foods where I seem to lose all self-control. For that reason, you might equate Chinese food to my bottle of beer and the China Buffet to my local bar.
What I had never really considered was that my husband did not understand that this is the relationship I have with certain foods. He did not understand that I cannot reward myself for making good food choices by making bad food choices. He did not understand that every single day is a struggle with me when it comes to food. He did not understand until I explained it to him. (Cue lightbulb.) Until we had a conversation about why I needed to avoid certain places for the time being, he only understood that particular restaurant was one of my favorites. He only wanted to go there because he knew that in the past, it was always my first choice.
One of my failings of every single diet plan and nutritional change in the past is that I always tried to do it in secret. I never told a single person what I was doing or why I was making different food choices. I always tried to pass it off as, “Oh, I’m just in the mood for salad—Lots and lots of salad.” Partially, I think it was because I was afraid of how people would look at me if I fell off a plan. Partially, it was because I was afraid that people would look at me and think, “It’s about time. If anyone needs a diet, it’s her.” (Hello? They were probably doing that anyway with as much as I weighed!)
In the end, I finally realized that it does not matter what other people think. What does matter is that the people around me understand what I am doing and why I am doing it. Those are the people who will be there to help me along when I stumble and they are the people who will be there to cheer for me when I am doing well. They are the people who will be my companions along the journey of life.
One day at a time. Small goals. Because I am worth it.
Tuesday, July 01, 2014
A number of years ago, I had this acquaintance that I would have lunch with about once a week. I use the word acquaintance because no friend would make statements to a person like those she made to me. It was a song I had heard many times before but never had it ever been put so bluntly.
On one of our lunch dates, I sat eating my salad and she sat eating some ooey, gooey concoction and some other type of garbage. I am sure we looked like an odd combination because she was rail thin and I, well, I was not so much rail thin. At some point in our conversation, she began telling me about this woman she had seen who was out jogging. To my horror, she described the woman as “this incredibly fat cow who had no right to be out running in public.” She went on to described how wrong it was for fat people to exercise in public because no one wanted to “see all of that blubber bouncing all over the place.”
At first, I was kind of stunned. I am relatively certain that she had never met anyone who weighed nearly as much as me. Then I began to wonder why she would tell me a story like that. It certainly was not funny. Was she trying to tell me that I better not get it in my head to exercise in public? Was it possible that she was telling me that she believed that as a thin person, she had more right to spend time in the public than someone who was fat like me?
Once I got over my shock, I tried to point out the fact that by exercising the woman was probably trying to do something about her weight. Her response? “Well she needs to work out at home with the curtains drawn and lose a lot of weight before she tries to do anything in public. Nobody likes to see something as gross as all of that blubber.”
To my credit, that was the last time I met her for lunch. I have listened to a lot of people say nasty things to me over the years but I felt like her words were so far out of line, you couldn’t see the line with a pair of high-powered binoculars. I started bringing my lunch on our usual lunch date days and either ate at my desk or hid off in a far corner of the cafeteria and ate by myself. Either way, eating alone was far better than eating in the company of someone with such an ugly heart.
At the time, I choose to ignore the fact that the conversation with nasty acquaintance ever happened. After a while, I thought that I had let the conversation go. Deep down, though, when someone says something that you could easily take so personally, can you ever truly let it go?
Whenever possible, my husband and I used to carpool into town. On the occasions when he had to work later than me, I would walk the 2.6 miles from the hospital complex where I worked to the mall where he worked. Everyone I worked with thought I was barking mad for doing it because they thought it was too far. Even at the 370 pounds I weighed at the time, I never thought the walk was so bad. There were sidewalks almost the entire way and it gave me a feeling of accomplishment when I walked up to the mall.
I kept making the walk from the hospital to the mall a couple of times a week for a few of months before I gave it up for the bus. See, it turns out that the nasty acquaintance was not the only person who had that particular view of fat people exercising in public. Every single time I made that walk, at least one vehicle slowed down to yell something rude as they went by. Often, it was more than one. On one occasion, someone threw a bag of McDonald’s garbage at me as they went by. On another occasion, a group of teenagers kept driving in circles and yelled nasty things at me for 8 blocks. I am pretty sure that one time, nasty acquaintance even drove by and yelled, “Fatty!” out the window at me too.
Now, I have been overweight my entire life so I do not remember a time when people have not felt that it was OK to say rude things to me about my weight. Because of this, I have learned to just let a lot of things go. One can only take so much, though, so in the end, I decided to quit those walks.
For a while, I tried to take walks at night. For some reason, I got it in my head that nighttime was the only time it was OK for me to be out in public. Even still, on occasion I had to put up with people yelling at me as they went by. In the end, I bought a treadmill and just began walking in my house – with the curtains tightly closed.
Years have gone by since that conversation with nasty acquaintance and I all but forgot about it. The other day, something sparked the memory of it, though, and I suddenly realized what a major role it has played in my life. To this day, I rarely walk anywhere in public (especially during the day). When I do, I am always bracing myself for the insults or I am sure that people are pointing and talking behind my back. When I go grocery shopping, I almost always go at between the hours of midnight and 6 a.m. On the occasion that I go any other time, my husband is with me. The only time I ever do any sightseeing is when company is in town and I have to show them around. I rarely even spend any time in my backyard because the neighbors put their trampoline up against the privacy fence and when the kids jump on it, they can see over the fence and they make rude comments. I never go out and enjoy parks anymore and that is really something since I spent a good number of years working in the park industry.
Over the years, not only have I listened to complete strangers say rude things to me, I have also listened to people who I thought were my friends say a lot of not very nice things to me. AND I never truly let any of it go. Instead, I let the nasty comments box me in to the point where I spend my entire life in the shadows – watching life instead of participating in it. I let the opinions of a few people rule my life.
You know what, though? I am not going to let those people dictate how I live my life anymore. The time has come for me to step out of the shadows and back into the sunlight. I deserve to enjoy parks and sightseeing and whatever else I feel like just as much as everyone else. I have as much right to enjoy life as anyone else. If I want to go out and walk in public, I am going to do it with my head held high. This coming weekend is the Fourth of July and rain or shine, I am going to find a nice park to explore.
Fortunately, I live in a different state than I did when I knew nasty acquaintance so there is little chance I will ever see her again. For anyone who decides yell rude comments or throw garbage at me as they drive past: Bite me. At least I am out doing something about my weight problem. Chances are, if you are the type of person who is rude enough to drive around yelling nasty things at people, you probably have an ugly heart. The thing is, I can lose the weight but it’s nearly impossible to change an ugly heart.
One day at a time. Small goals. Because I am worth it.
Friday, June 20, 2014
I can’t really put my finger on exactly what it is but I feel like something is different since I started Weight Watchers. Maybe I just had to get to a certain point in my life before everything clicked into place and flipped the switch. Maybe it is because WW is a program I feel like I can live with. On one hand, I can look at 25 days on the program as being not very long. However, when I compare it to my countless other attempts at losing weight, 25 days is a long time. I’m going to go with it being a program I can live with.
In the past, I have always been an all or nothing dieter. Today, when I think about it, I know I will be disappointed when I see no change or a gain on the scale. I know it won’t be the end of the world, though. I feel like, when that day comes, I will be able to shrug it off and keep going because I know it won’t be the end of the world.
When I first started WW, I even though I know that processed foods are not a health choice, I did a lot of the frozen meals. I think it was a crutch to help me get past that "what will I eat?" mentality that comes with starting a new program. I have always enjoyed cooking so I have started exploring new recipes. In fact, in order to help wean myself off the prepackaged frozen meals, I have begun cooking things I like in larger batches and packaging up point friendly meals to freeze for myself. And you know what? I like mine better than the pre-packaged stuff. (Um, hello? Who doesn’t like real food better than processed garbage?!)
I recently set up a reward system for reaching mini goals that seems to be working quite well. I saw the idea posted on a message board by another WW member and I thought it was genius so I decided to do it myself. So what is it? Well, for every 5 pounds I lose, I am going to buy myself a bead/charm for a Queenberry bracelet (like Pandora). When I lost my first 5 pounds, I bought the bracelet and a safety chain. When I lost my second 5, I bought a Dachshund bead. Now, instead of focusing on the number itself, I am thinking about what charm or bead I am going to get when I reach my next goal. This is really important for me because it helps me to focus on the small goals instead of the massive number of pounds I have to lose. Plus, whenever I look at my wrist, I smile and think of how proud I am of myself for losing the weight I have so far.
One day at a time. Small goals. Because I’m worth it.
(Hmm. Maybe I’ll just mosey on over to Amazon to have a look at the bead selection there…)
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