Friday, May 03, 2013
I ended up thinking about perspectives yesterday, and doing some pondering on how I look at things:
- the most important thing is adding happiness to our days
- comparing myself to others is silly – we’re too different for it to make any sense
- lifestyle matters, not what other people might think about our appearances
- I have a pretty accurate view of myself and my body, and I think I’m pretty darned fine
- life is a journey, the journey should be fun, and humour can be found in the most unexpected places
A bit of background:
My partner was overweight a few years back and decided to do something about it. He chose to just cut his portion sizes, and succeeded in losing about 60 pounds in 6 months by doing so. He has a ridiculously high “mantabolism” (thank you, TawdryElephant, for that expression!), and drops weight really easily. With his build, a few pounds up or down really shows.
I, on the other hand, do not show changes in weight. Seriously, I apparently have about a 40 to 50 pound range in which I can wear the same size of clothes, without them being obviously too big or too small. As I’ve dropped weight over the past months, the only change that I can see is that my sunglasses are now too big. (Yes, go ahead and laugh – apparently I carry most of my weight in my fat head!) My partner, dear man that he is, has told me that he can see changes throughout my body, which I’ve accepted as him “being nice”, since I can’t see any differences at all. He tells me that I must have a distorted view of myself if I can’t see it (Hmmm – really? We shall see…).
So, over the past few months I have been learning to cook, and have started serving us healthier meals with smaller portions for myself. Without consciously noticing it, my partner had been dropping his portions proportionately as well, and started losing weight. We noticed it a couple of months ago, when he was down about 10 pounds, and he started being more mindful about increasing his portions back to where they should be. He’s now up about 5 pounds again.
(Honestly, I wasn’t starving him! He still has all of his treats in the house, and I always make at least 4 of “my size” servings, so there is more than enough for him to have “his size” servings! Really – it’s not my fault!)
We’ve both been having a great deal of fun in experimenting with new foods and new recipes. There is a lot of laughter going on when he shows up at home with some odd vegetable and challenges me to figure out what to do with it!
So, what got me to pondering:
Yesterday we went to my oncologist appointment. These appointments always start with the nurse weighing me before we head in to the exam room. As you can imagine, I was quite happy to see that their scales showed me as being over 30 pounds down from my last appointment. The nurse noted my weight in her file, directly under the measurement from the last appointment.
We walked in to the exam room, and the nurse looked at my partner and exclaimed “Oh my God, have you ever lost weight! How much have you lost? Are you okay?” (Now remember – this is an oncologist office, so they’re used to watching for sudden weight loss as a symptom of cancer. They also keep an eye on caregivers to make sure that they aren’t being adversely affected by the stress.) He raises an eyebrow, glances over at me, looks back at her, and with a perfectly straight face informs her that he’s down about 5 pounds now, and is perfectly fine, it’s just that “the Mrs went on a diet…”
At this point, she looks surprised, looks at me, and starts saying “oh, and do you need any help in making successful changes…” and pauses as she looks at her chart… “Oh. I guess you ARE doing okay...” (accompanied by look of shock and a blush creeping up her face).
The poor gal didn’t know what to say when I “harrumphed”, and said a very pointed “I told you so” to my partner, at which point we both started howling with laughter. We never did explain to her what the “I told you so” was about, so I’m sure she thinks we’re both at least mildly insane…
My only “goal” in losing weight is to get down enough that I can have my incisional hernia repaired successfully without mesh (I’m allergic to mesh). My surgeon is the one who will decide what that weight will be, and we’ll schedule the surgery when I get there (so there’s no “Must Be By This Date” pressure). I will need to maintain that size for the rest of my life or risk having a new hernia be caused by the excess fat, so the lifestyle changes that I’m making have to be enduring.
In my life, changes only last if they make me happy, so that’s what I am focussing on. My journey so far has been one of pleasure – of adding new tastes and new experiences that bring more joy into my life and my partner’s life. Honestly, it has been easy. Yup – I seriously mean that. For me, not worrying about “goals” or “timelines” makes it simple to concentrate on making happy changes. I don’t have an “end point” on this, as all of the changes are ones that I want, and expect, to maintain forever.
My partner and I talked about it on the way home from the oncologist. We talked about how we both found the situation hilarious, and how we both seem to have a ridiculously high amount of self-esteem. We talked about how much fun we are having with making changes together, and how we looked forward to making more. We talked about perspective, and how much easier it is to do things when you concentrate on the happiness and the humour, and not looking at it as “work”.
We talked about how different people are - in their approaches, and perspectives, and in how their bodies work. We talked about how horrible I would have felt if I was a person who compares my “performance” with others – especially when the “results” don’t show on me. We talked about how the nurse needs to be careful, because someone who cares a lot about how others see them could have been very hurt by not having a 30+ pound loss noticed – especially when that’s one of the “symptoms” that they’re supposed to watch for!
We talked about how our perspective seems to make major things easier - whether it’s dealing with cancer, dealing with a hernia, dealing with weight-loss, or dealing with other major changes to our daily lives. We talked about how our “happiness first” ideal seems to be in the minority, and doesn’t seem to be very common amongst the folks we know.
He said, “You should blog about this.”
And so I did.
Wishing you all a happy, healthful, and humorous journey!