Category Archives: Health

No shame in being me!

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I have been feeling pretty good lately. I admit that there is an underlying anxiety about
“stuff” sometimes but then I remind myself that there are things I can’t really control and
losing peace of mind over them is helping no one.

My emails this morning included a TEDx presentation from one of the “life coaches” that I
follow and whose newsletters I subscribe to.  I really enjoy watching her, she is young and is
passionate about her career and about connecting with people. I identify with her because if
I were younger I might actually look into a similar path for myself. Alas, at 61, frankly, the list
of things I will really be able to do before I’m 100 is getting shorter and shorter which is okay
with me.

I bring up the TEDx talk because about 10 years ago, I decided that I wanted to one day give
a TEDx presentation. I was so full of energy and I was involved in an organization in our small
town that was becoming somewhat successful at getting things done in the community. I felt
that I had the passion and the talking skills necessary to stand up in front of an audience and
energize them to feel the way I did: that the world was a friendly and wonderful place and that
we all had an obligation to be active participants in our lives. I felt I could really transmit the
message and that we would all benefit. Plus I thought it would be lots of fun.

My colleague (and up to that time, a person I thought was my close friend) mocked me and
essentially questioned not only my talent but my thinking that anything I could possibly put
forward would interest an audience. I remember being disappointed about the reaction but
I was so naive (embarrassingly naive, in fact) that I quickly decided that my “friend” had my
best interests at heart and probably knew best. A couple of years after that incident, our
friendship was permanently severed and it took me a few years to get back my early confidence.

Several years passed.  I was left to lead an organization that I didn’t want to be a part of at first
but was committed to finishing out my tenure at. I worked tirelessly and pro-bono because I
had pride and a reputation to protect. I did more than anyone but was humble when people
praised me. Looking back today, I can actually point out the many areas in our small town that
improved as a result of my personal attention. Rarely do I point these things out. However, today
when I watched the TEDx talk that the life coach shared with us, it took me back! And we all
know what happens in the world of Youtube! Suddenly you find yourself in that unavoidable
“rabbit hole” that brought me to a couple of other talks that had fat/body acceptance/living life
NOW rather than waiting to lose weight…that really, really motivated me.

In 2015, I was asked to give a motivational speech about bilingualism. I prepared my talk with
the usual energy I bring to everything and I was wonderfully fulfilled that it went exactly the way
I had hoped. I think of that speech as my TEDx talk and look forward to another opportunity to
be myself. At 61, I think I have earned the right to do so!

Here is the link to one of the talks I listened to today. Enjoy.

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More random thoughts on fat…

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I have been thinking about the post I wrote yesterday. I wrote that I could say someone was fat because I am fat and know that we prefer to be called fat rather than overweight, etc. But when I woke up this morning, I realized that it’s not true…we would rather no one singled us out for description of any kind. On the other hand, I am a writer. That means that when writing fiction, or a screenplay for example, there are elements of a person’s physique that need to be described. If a character has a big nose, or crooked teeth and these are aspects which are somehow important to the development of the story, then they must be described as such. I am not sure what I am thinking is translating properly onto the written page but I am going to continue to write without too much editing. I don’t think there is much danger of lots of people visiting my page, it is an exercise that I do mostly for myself because it (blogging) is by far the easiest way to make sure I write every, single day.

My mother was always preoccupied with my weight. I have never felt it as much as I have in the past couple of years (probably because I weigh more than I ever have in my life!) and I see my mom every week as she lies on her bed and stares vacantly at her surroundings. My mother was fat during most of her life, although she did have a couple of successful encounters with Weight Watchers. She worried all the time about my weight and decided to go to Weight Watchers once herself so that she could force me to join her. I was only 15 at the time and really didn’t have the wherewithal to refuse. It was a very bad thing to refuse my mother anything, she could be very unpleasant to be around although at the moment it escapes me what particular thing she did to make
it so. Yell? Silent treatment? Physical violence? I really don’t remember because I mostly complied with her directives and kept her happy. But I digress.

Mom has been bedridden for more than 6 years. She has dementia. She is cared for at home because she was a very hard-working woman who was smart about making sure that when she retired she would have a steady source of income. She continues to earn her keep by living. I am glad she is alive. I love my mother beyond words even though our outlook on life and people were so different. Anyway, back to the weight thing which is on my mind constantly even though I have tried all kinds of ways to simply accept the fatness and move on. I went to renew my driver’s license earlier this week. They took my picture. I compared my picture to the picture they took 6 years ago, the last time I had to renew. 6 years ago was probably also 40 lbs. ago. How did this happen?

I am never hungry these days, probably because I rarely skip a meal or a snack. I would say my weight has been the same for the last 3 years and each morning I wake up with new resolve to have a “good” day. In the evening, I do enjoy a bit of chocolate and one or two small servings of cognac! Gotta be about 500 calories right there. In my opinion although there are no good or bad calories, calories are calories and whether you have “thyroid” problems or not, too few calories will make you lose weight and too many will make you gain weight. I need to give up something during the day so that I can indulge in my tiny slice of heaven in the evening. Today for example I ate a large croissant for breakfast with butter (not very much) and a tiny bit of jam. I just tallied an approximation of calories and it is about 600 since the delicious-tasting croissant was on the large size.

I am fat and I am very short and my metabolism (probably from dieting) has always been very slow. When I am in New York, I walk a lot and since I am mostly on my own, I find that I am too lazy or absorbed in other things to cook or go out for dinner so my eating (though healthy) does naturally scale down. My calorie intake is reduced and I am usually 5 lbs. lighter when I come home. I would love to blame my husband’s cooking on my weight gain, I would love to say I have a thyroid condition, I would love to say anything…but the reality (and I am good about facing reality) is that I have gotten older, it is no longer easy to lose weight and I have not been very diligent about portion control. My husband is already planning lunch, I am not hungry! I will not skip lunch but I think it will go in a different direction from breakfast. Perhaps a bit of cottage cheese and some vegetables. I am actually looking forward to that.

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Father’s Day!

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Here it is again, another Father’s Day celebration in which we must/should all
remember our dads. My dad is a quiet man whose perseverance despite all the hurdles
he’s had to face inspires me. I watch him as he tends to my mother who has been
bedridden for these last 6 years. It is amazing because I am not certain that if the
roles were reversed, she would have been able to do what he does for her day in and
day out. He is not a perfect person but he has qualities that I deeply admire and
for which I am thankful.

I was reading the other day about a book that recently came out called “Hunger” by
Roxanne Gay. I just finished reading an interview and I also came across some very negative
comments directed at a woman in Australia who also interviewed Ms. Gay prior to the launch
of her book and who then made some very unkind comments in the introduction. Backlash from
the public made her delete her comments and apologize but the damage to Ms. Gay was done and
I can identify with how cruel people can be about fat people either directly to them or
behind their backs.

I am not sure right now where I am in my weight loss/body image journey. I never really
think about being fat until I see pictures of myself where I don’t recognize me as me
but resemble my much heavier older sister! I think it is an ironic kind of punishmen,
self-punishment if you will, since I used to wonder how my sister “allowed” herself
to become so fat. I have had plenty of pictures to look at recently, as my son’s wedding
photographer took and sent us over 1,000 pictures to choose from. On the one hand, I look
too fat to me, on the other hand, I also look extremely happy! I joke that I’m never hungry
(a true statement) but I also know that being winded after climbing a flight of stairs or a
short hill is an aspect that might be changed if I lost a few pounds.

Anyway, my ramblings actually had to do with remembering that my father never, ever made
any comments about my weight when I was growing up. I understand too well the connection
between trauma and weight and always resented Mrs. Obama’s assumption that obesity in
school children was the product of unhealthy foods; it is a much more complex issue.
I believe that there really are ways in which our brain lets go or holds on to our fat
but most “normal” people can’t get that idea and focus only on food consumption. It is a
very complicated journey and as soon as I am finished with a few books I have recently
purchased, I will probably buy Hunger and see where and if I can identify
with Ms. Gay’s take on it.

Happy Father’s Day!

First post of July

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Cluster of colorful Fourth of July fireworks

Cluster of colorful Fourth of July fireworks

I know I’m a little late with the fireworks but the days just seem to slip
by without pause. I live in a place where the 4th of July is just another day
so it’s not always easy to remember. I hope everyone had wonderful holidays.

There is something in the air that doesn’t feel quite right. Lots of mis-
communications are happening in my town and community right now and it adds
lots of stress to my days. All I long for is to be free of hassles and the
responsibilities that came with my life as a young adult, then wife and mother.
Now that my children are grown and I am beginning my “golden years” (60+) I
feel I deserve to take it easy.

Mercury is not in retrograde so something else must be at play!

Weight Watchers…and diets…and Oprah

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I read today that Oprah has purchased 10% of Weight Watchers stock and I am very
happy for her. I believe in Weight Watchers but I also believe that ANY and ALL
diets will work (temporarily) to help us lose weight. Keeping it off, well, that
is an entirely different matter.

It seems to me that these days a lot of attention is being focused on the epidemic proportions
of obesity in the world. I was a chubby kid, an overweight teenager, a normal weight young adult
and adult until about 15 years ago. My weight has gone up 2 to 3 lbs. per year for the last 15
years, causing me to now be significantly overweight although NOT morbidly obese. I have tried
and succeeded and failed at taking the weight off for the past 15 years because I have honestly
not been trying very hard. I know as well as anyone who has ever really ‘studied’ dieting that
the only true formula is to eat less calories than one burns up and I KNOW that those calories
can actually be fats or protein or carbs…it’s input and output … but of course, we all
know that the mind will believe what it wants and every gimmick or shortcut out there will
induce some of us to part with our hard earned dollars by joining a program or gym and then being gung- ho
a few days or weeks or even months and then something triggers a binge and off we go.

Last January (2015) I decided to do away with any fancy dieting…just deciding to try to
lose 10% of my weight by September, the month I would mark my 60th birthday. I didn’t really
follow a plan, I just tried to eat smarter. 10% was not an impossible goal, it would have been
16 lbs. I did nothing for the first three months. Then in April I followed the Whole-30
not to lose weight but because for many months everything I ate was giving me heartburn. I
experienced no heartburn in the 30 days I followed the program and I even lost 10 lbs. Then
life got in the way, I had a lot of stress and for some reason going off the Whole 30 put
me right back in the mindless eating (mostly at night) which allowed me to regain the weight.
The only difference is that when I reached the beginning weight, I decided that I would
gain no more. I am today the exact same weight I was last January. While I am not thrilled
with that number, I am happy that it is no larger than the previous year for the first time in
a long time.

Oprah has shared her many failures and successes in this area. I remember attending a NOW
conference in 1988 or thereabouts (I was at my normal weight, a weight I had for 25 years)
where she had done Opti Fast or something and she looked fabulous. She spoke to us hundreds
of women from her heart (This I know) when she promised “I will never be fat again!”

I remember thinking OMG, how does she know? How can she say this with such certainty? Well, she didn’t know, did she? Anyway, I know in
my heart that weight problems (overweight ones) often have nothing to do with lack of discipline,
being a food addict, not having a chef who can prepare these foods for us but everything to do
with really thinking about what we are doing, and having a support system that encourages us and does not judge us when we eat beyond our calorie range…

I think I should write a book about it…and maybe I will.

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A great way to be greeted on a Monday!

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I have the world’s most amazing husband! I am sure many of you
would disagree but I know what I know 🙂

My husband brings me coffee and fruit before I am even out of bed each day.
I never know what kind of fruit is going to be presented to me but I know
it will be cut perfectly and that I will enjoy it immensely. After my
fruit and first cup of coffee, I make my way to the pool and do my laps.
While I am doing my 40 laps, I go into a sort of zone since the way I swim
can never be called competitive. It takes me a while to do my 40 laps but
speed is not the object, it is to make that connection with my surroundings
and then get ready for the day.

I am fortunate. My life is such that I no longer have to rush to get kids
out to school, or get on public transportation to get to work. Although I
do consider myself lucky, I also realize that it has taken a lot of years and
a lot of work to get to this point.

I began this blog to dissect every single thought about weight (or in my case
overweight) so that I could finally come up with the one true reason a normal
weight for my size has eluded me for the last 15 years or so. However, I
have noticed that I no longer feel compelled to examine the reasons but rather
I am eager to accept myself where I am at the moment, to forgive myself for the
times I ‘slip up’ but mostly to understand that the weight is hanging around due
to some unexplained reason and that maybe I just need to be steady in my efforts
and things will change.

Imagine my surprise when I opened my email this morning and found that 14 new
people looked at my blog. That’s amazing…

on death and dying…

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I went to the funeral mass of a very endearing 85 year old last week.

A person (almost 85) who has been in my life for 25 years is terminally ill.

All this transitioning makes me think about my own life and my own mortality.

I am not ready to die yet and I wonder if it is helpful to know ahead of time
that it is almost one’s time or whether a sudden death is preferable…

There are so many questions, only each individual can answer them for him/herself
but do we ever really think or talk about it?

What a difference a few days make!

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Wow, I feel like a completely different person. After eating and drinking normally
and keeping it simple, I am back to my energetic self.

It is really amazing how quickly we can get into a bad cycle of eating and drinking and
spoiling all the progress that had taken so long to make. As I age, I realize that the
candy, cookies, chips and booze will always be there, there is really no sense in trying
to eat and drink it all in one day!

Moderation, moderation, moderation!

Hobbies and health

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hobbies

I believe everyone should have a hobby they are passionate about and can really enjoy.
When I was younger, I had plenty of time to indulge in my hobby which was reading. These
days I can barely remember when the last time I actually read a good book was…it is a
sad state of affairs.

Nowadays, my life is busy with activity and at the end of the day, I admit all I want to
do is play a few games on my iPhone and go to sleep! I do enjoy writing but I don’t think
of that as a hobby, it is more of a need for self-expression. However, with all the
activities that comprise my regular life and from which I find it difficult to extricate
without feeling like I am letting others down, I find that I push away the writing until
all else is complete. By the time I actually get to sit down in front of my computer, the
inspiration is either gone or severely blurred by everything else that is hanging around
my head.

For today, I will try to play my guitar, and focus on life-affirming happy things.

Noticing our families

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I have always been aware of the issues of weight as a result of having been overweight from
birth (+8 lbs. ) and having had a mother who focused on my weight rather than on what might
have been happening for me internally to compel me to overeat. I don’t know when I finally
made peace with the whole idea of ‘diets’ but I do know that I am very aware of calories and
exercise, etc.

I have never stopped myself from being outgoing or doing the things that I enjoy because of
my weight but I do know people whose lives are restricted because of it, either too thin or
too heavy. Although I am currently overweight (though 10 lbs. less than 2 months ago!), I
still like to look nice and I am active in my community and generally interested in the world!

Recently, I have learned that a friend of mine has a child who is battling with anorexia. I
look at my own child and know how anything that makes our children suffer translates to
suffering for the entire family and I am sad for my friend. Fortunately, they realized
in time and are doing what they can to have her admitted to a program that specializes in
this disease. For a person with anorexia, being asked to gain weight is as difficult as
it is to be asked to lose weight when one is heavy. My heart goes out to all of us who
are currently dealing with the issues of weight and body image. One day at a time is all
we can do.