THE ART OF PAINTING (De Schilderkonst)
c. 1666- 1668
oil on canvas
47 1/4 x 39 3/8 in. (120 X 100 cm.)
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna
I chose Vermeer’s Art of Painting to illustrate this blog because it does a great job of reflecting how I feel as I celebrate my 1 year Spark Anniversary and some family birthdays as well.
This painting is rich in allegory but that is not what I want to talk about. The woman in the painting has not yet been painted, but she has been painted. The painting is not finished, yet it is finished. Both we observers and the artist view the woman, yet she chooses to close her eyes.
I’ve finished a year on Spark People, yet my eating for a healthy life is not finished. I continue to view it as a practice, with a new chance to practice every day. Like anything else, the more I practice eating for health the better I get at it. I desire healthy foods, fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish and chicken.
When I was joining Spark People, I told myself I wouldn’t interact with anyone else; I would just use the tracking. Most of all I wanted the exercise tracker because when I could I was walking. I wrote a couple of blogs and my fellow sparkers reached out to me. I joined some teams and have not looked back. I have met so many wonderful people who have helped me along the way. I’ve done a couple challenges, but the one that benefited me the most was the winter challenge. I did not realize I could do so much exercise in a day. I am in better shape than I have been in 20 years and if these people hadn’t invited me to join I probably would still be boring myself with a single exercise.
I’ve had a lot of changes in my life in the last year; the biggest one was retiring in October. I gave myself one year to dedicate to myself. I am not making any commitments for a year. I’ve used this time to focus on finding a way of healthy living that works for me.
I flew back to Chicago yesterday from Sao Paulo. I had to change planes in Miami and it was brutal. You have to go through immigration, go through customs (they interview everyone), pick up your luggage, drop off your luggage and go through security again. At that point you can find your gate to make your connection. I don’t want to have too much hubris, but I was able to run up and down stairs. I was able to stay patient in the lines. I was able to walk quickly to move from place to place. My luggage didn’t even feel heavy to me. Last year at this time there is no way I could’ve done all this in 2 hours. I would have had to have some help with so many things. There is no way I would’ve made the plane connection without some sort of assistance. I am so grateful that the hard work I’ve done this last year has given me more benefit than I could have imagined.
There are two “paintings” that I can show you today, one is the finished painting, where I sit a year in to this community. I have lost 45 pounds. I am probably about 33% to my goal weight. I am no longer morbidly obese. I do yoga. I walk further and further every day. I am no longer flying off the handle at every little thing. I am no longer a slave to sugar, salt and fat so I no longer have binges or night eating. I have reduced my high blood pressure by 25%. I have made a mind-body connection.
The other painting is the unfinished me. I will continue to work towards healthy goals. I had a long plateau a few weeks ago and it would have been devastating if all I was trying to do was lose weight. I have many goals as far as my good health goes. I continue to track my food and exercise every day. I measure myself, I take my blood pressure and I know how much better I feel.
The good feeling I have is truly more important to me than any kind of snack or so-caalled food treat. Those don’t really interest me anymore. Once in a while I have a 3 oz scoop of artisan gelato, handmade at a local shop. Once in a while I have a small piece of 70% dark chocolate made a factory in my area.
I have learned to give myself non-food treats. When I hit the 45 lb mark, I took an afternoon and went to a special show at the Chicago Art Institute. That feeds me better than any junk food. Oh yes, and what is a bigger treat than new clothes? A few months ago I went and was fitted for French lingerie. I think that was at 40 lbs. That underwear is a reminder every day of how much I have to look forward to as I continue to work toward good health.
This is a photo of me, my daughter and my oldest grandson taken on our trip to Sao Paulo. I am breaking through the shame that has surrounded my body for far too long.
I am proud of what I’ve accomplished, and I now understand that I am enough.
Thanks for all your support and friendship. Best wishes to you and me for continued success. If you are new to this way of life, keep practicing. You'll get it.