Monday, October 05, 2009
I saw that on a sign about 6 months ago when I went to a rehab facility to see a patient. I was curious as to what the significance was, so I asked one of the therapists. He said it's a favorite saying in group therapy when one group member is in denial and starts making excuses for his or her drug or alcohol issues -- justifying behaviors. The group will shout "Denial is a river in Egypt". No denial allowed!
For some reason through out the week following that visit the sign kept haunting me. "Why was it bugging me?" I asked my very wise 27 year old daughter. I'm certainly not in denial about anything! She rolled her eyes." Oh mother, you are so in denial about a lot of things"! "Like what"?? I asked her indignantly.
"Well for starters, how about the 15 pounds you put on last year after finally reaching your goal weight"?
I wasn't in denial, I protested. I was embracing reality. I launched into the role that menopause and hormone replacement therapy plays in metabolism and cruised into the effect that the steroid inhaler that I use for my asthma has on my weight. "Oh", she wondered, "so the french fries and cheesecake you ate last Friday had nothing to do with it"?
Still indignant, I told her all about our "set point" weight. You know - the weight you can comfortably maintain without starving yourself?
This time it was her turn to get indignant. She manages a food bank for a local charity in Omaha and is well versed in hungry people. Starving, she told me is not being able to afford lean cuts of meat, fresh produce and vegetables, and bottled water anytime I want. Think pictures of children in Africa with swollen bellies! Or right here in the USA, children being poisoned with lead from the paint chips they are eating because they are HUNGRY!
Well, maybe starving was the wrong term. Maybe I should have said without depriving ourselves. She snorted. She told me to make a horizontal scale 1 to 10. 10 being the things that make us the happiest. No problem. Family. Love. Faith. Grandchildren filled the line. "Where", she asked me "is the notch for tenderloin"? Then she really hit below the belt. Remember when our son died and his ex-girlfriend took their daughter and left the state deciding not to include us in her life? Of course I did. Nothing was worse than not getting to share in our granddaughter's life. Ok Ok! THAT was feeling deprived. (Thankfully that fence was mended and our little granddaughter is back in our lives.) Not saying no thanks to the cake the co-worker made and brought to work.
What else am I denying? "That you can't run", she told me. "I've tried", I told her defensively. Many times. My knee hurts. I get short of breath - probably from the asthma. And it's not like I don't do other cardio exercise. I do! She reminded me that I had said on more than one occasion that I wished I could run like her. Give me a break I'm 26 years older! Maybe I did say that but I've since discovered that some people - like 52 year olds - just aren't meant to run. "BS", she replied. "If you don't want to run and are happy doing other cardio just say so, but quit making excuses"!
She challenged me -- "Run with me", she said.
We started out from our warm up walk and the first thing she told me was to slow down. I wasn't in a race. I slowed a little. No! Slow way down. I felt like I was shuffling. Now slow your breathing, she told me. Keep going. But people are going to look at me for running so funny I feared out loud. Nonsense she said. People who don't run aren't critiquing your form. People who do run are saying "Newbie..." and "Way to go"!
Every time I wanted to just stop, she gently said come on you can do it. She kept my pace and shuffled right along with me. I saw the school coming up. OH MY GOSH! That's 1/4 of a mile!!I've never ran 1/4 of a mile in my entire life!! I remember in grade school having to stay after school because I couldn't run it during PE class and the sadistic gym teacher made me stay until I did it. Right before I threw up. Maybe that's why unconsciously I wanted to be a runner...
My daughter smiled at me and said now I could walk. She told me to do the same thing again the next day and only go further after one week of that 1/4 mile.Add a 1/10 of a mile a week. Now I am up to 1 1/2 consecutive miles on the treadmill with another 1 1/2 run/walking. My pace has improved considerably. I love to run! The first half mile often starts out with thoughts of why on God's earth is a 52 year old trying to run? But, after that I'm on cruise control.I feel like a runner now and am looking forward to a 5K and maybe even a 10K someday!
Anytime I'm faced with unhealthy food choices that look just too appealing, I think of the scale. No, not the one that weighs you. The 1 - 10 scale of happiness. And I put good health and longevity so I can enjoy my family and grandkids waaay above a cheeseburger or movie theater popcorn.
So those 15 pounds are gone again along with my denial. Hopefully never to return again!