Category Archives: Health

Self-Esteem is an Issue

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I just spent a good 30 minutes reading all about Karen Carpenter. What did I come away with? That her issues were caused by a strong desire to get the attention of her dismissive mother. How sad, the mother had ample physical evidence and yet chose to be blind as her daughter lost pound after pound. It is heartbreaking and even more disturbing is the fact that even today, despite all we know, there are many many mothers (and fathers) making mistakes that could easily be corrected. Sometimes I wonder what gets into people’s minds when they decide to have children. Then I stop myself and remember that everyone has their own path to follow and it is not my place to be a judge.

Karen Carpenter was beautiful, talented and had no idea of her value. Self-esteem is nurtured in childhood. By her brother’s own account, no one was paying too much attention as Karen dwindled into a waif and then disappeared. I wonder at her perseverance. Having always had a weight problem (but not a body image one, since I accept what I look like!), I know how difficult it is to lose weight. Although I learned early on (from WW) all about sound nutrition for safe and slow weight loss, I can admit to crash dieting, starving and a very minute foray into bulimia. I was too scared to make a habit out of laxatives or vomiting because my desire to live (fat or thin) trumped everything. I thank my lucky stars that this is my way because fat and thin – well, normal weight – I have lived a very good life. It seems like it would be an easy thing to do, boost one’s child self-esteem by just telling the child he/she is loved for just breathing, but it would appear that many people who have children just repeat the same patterns they were brought up in even though in their deepest recesses they can accept these were not healthy. I sincerely hope that all the literature that abounds will one day reach the ears, eyes, and minds of all the people who find it imperative to continue to bring infants into the world.

I am not by nature a fan of dystopia but I can see the downward spiral we are succumbing to. I hope we can stop before it is too late.

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Another Approach to Weight Management

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I absolutely hate anything that promises to be “boot camp”.  I got invited to watch a webinar that was going to tell me all about the mysteries of weight loss or resistance to weight loss…what did I come away with? Not anything I didn’t know already although I did get a good explanation about dopamine and leptin! In any event, I am glad I reserved my space…and actually listened to the entire hour…and waited for the (sales) pitch…

While I was listening to the wonderfully sincere webinar “guru’s” pitch and story …I was mentally wondering how much I would be willing to pay (I am already doing WW at about $23/month). I watch my pennies, $23/month works to $276 with no added expense (unless I want to) for special food, equipment etc. What I want to do is live the rest of my days within a good weight for me…which I once was and was able to maintain for 25 years. I get annoyed that I allowed the weight back on…when the final price came at a price of more than $5000 for a private coach and the group price a bargain at $497 I felt like someone slapped me!

Wow, I am thankful, so thankful today. I know what to do, I need to do it and pay for the rest of this year until I reach my goal and then apply discipline, planning, prepping and NEVER EVER skipping breakfast but also not being silly enough to spend money like this. I am looking forward to getting a gorgeous headboard for my bedroom, many many high quality wooden bookcases and beautiful, colorful clothes to go with my lively personality. My hundreds of dollars can be spent in so many other ways. I hardly will have time to feel deprived, have cravings, etc.

I came away with the same answers I have always had, calories in and calories out, movement, a positive attitude and a lot of common sense. Although I can understand the wisdom of this particular program, I can also see how most people will still not be able to conquer it. Meanwhile, someone else is going on vacation, having a beautiful life on our hard-earned dollars.

What a shame…

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How boring it can be!

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When I was looking for an image to add to this post, I searched “boredom” on bing.com. The first image that caught my eye was this tired, lifeless woman who seems quietly desperate to be elsewhere. The caption reads “souvenir seller”…my goodness, who would buy anything from her? It is the perfect image to add to this post, as I am bored of the same tired subject of weight loss.

I just finished reading a simple, free PDF book by Brooke Castillo called “If I Am So Smart, Why Can’t I Lose Weight?”.  Ms. Castillo is frank about not being a doctor or nutritionist, just a successful entrepreneur who managed to lose 70 lbs. and maintain it. In my book, that lends a lot of credibility to her pitch. I read the book quickly once through as she suggests, and will probably go back and print out the exercises, etc. There are a couple of things in the book that are different from others of its kind. For example, Ms. Castillo does not suggest we get rid of the temptations (junk food) in our cabinets or the scale in our bathroom. She insists they have a place in our life if we are to successfully and once and for all get rid of the excess weight that is keeping us from living our best days.

My “boredom” with everything related to my weight issue is hopefully the beginning of a once and for all permanent weight loss. No matter how long it takes (hopefully not beyond 2019), it is my intention to be rid of the 30 excess pounds on my small frame and never have them coming back to me. Intellectually, I know what to do. It is all about calories in and out. There are thousands of programs out there, for nutrition, for exercise, for inspiration…but everything really has its roots internally. At my age (63), I have read and tried everything. My problem is that I have secondary gains from this weight or I wouldn’t hold on to it.

That is where I am this morning: cogitating the secondary gains. I know they are there and serve some purpose. Today my goal is to be kind to me as I navigate my day from meal to meal. I have just enjoyed a delicious, lovingly prepared squash and cheese omelet, two strips of bacon and one half of an English muffin. I had eaten a banana earlier and I am finishing my second cup of black coffee. This substantial breakfast will hold me for several hours. I can honestly say that I rarely feel real hunger. I snack healthily every couple of hours. My problem comes at night when, after dinner, my husband and I enjoy watching television together and we like to have a cocktail or two and a couple of chocolates. If I reduce what I eat during the day, these “empty but delicious” calories would be no problem. If I increase how much I exercise during the day, the same would be true. But I don’t do either…so my weight either remains the same for weeks on end or (if the indulgence is greater), I gain a pound or two. Like many permanent dieters, I fight with the same few pounds for months at a time.

After childhood obesity, I successfully lost 35 lbs. when I was 19. I maintained that normal weight for decades. A medical emergency in 2000 caused me to gain 6 lbs. in the hospital due to a high calorie diet ordered by my doctor to protect my organs from the strong medication to treat my condition. But 6 lbs. is not 30 lbs. I no longer have any medical conditions (except some knee pain due no doubt to the excess weight) but there has to be some mental reason for this inability to get rid of the weight. I owe it to myself to stop making excuses and delve deep into my psyche. I think this is the big takeaway I got from Brooke Castillo’s book: I owe it to me, no one else is going to do it for me. I can and will succeed.

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Such a conundrum…

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Recently, The New York Times posted an article about that controversial topic: eggs! (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/15/well/eat/eggs-cholesterol-heart-health.html)

I have been following the Weight Watchers (WW) program for a little over a year and of course, Zero point foods are an incredibly popular part of success. In the last year, I have consumed more eggs that ever before in my life because they are easy, tasty and zero points.

I “slipped” for a few months from the WW program and gained back 6 lbs. of a modest weight loss. I decided to give the Whole-30 another try since it requires the elimination of high point items like rice and bread, both my pitfalls.  I know that the Whole-30 is really geared towards pinpointing foods that make us break out or give us allergies, etc. but I tried it a couple of years ago, not only did I feel great, I lost 10 lbs. I discovered that I do have a slight allergy to almonds if I eat them in large quantities or in combination with chocolate but I otherwise can tolerate most foods, which is wonderful.

After being on the Whole-30 and only being able to eat eggs as zero point foods (well, veggies and fruits too but no more plain yogurt), I have only lost a couple of pounds which is very frustrating because I was hoping it would move quickly. Then I remembered that Whole-30 is not for weight loss (although that can happen). I am in a spot that I put myself in. At my age, no one is telling me (or frankly caring about) what goes in my mouth. My personal goal is to lose (once and for all this year) the 30 pounds that continue to haunt me.

Although I have never thought of myself as a veteran dieter, the truth is that I had a normal weight for a very long time because I followed a very strict routine. I ate breakfast consisting of a slice of toast, one slice of cheese, a small fruit juice and a cup of black coffee. Lunch was either soup with saltines, or yogurt, an apple and a diet soda. Dinner was a salad. I drank lots of water, did not snack between meals and cannot really ever say I was hungry. I suppose my stomach shrunk. On Fridays, I did indulge in a dinner which consisted of two slices of sicilian pizza (New York style), a large serving of steamed broccoli and a huge shortbread cookie triangle that had pecans and chocolate in one corner. It was a wonderful treat and something I looked forward to for years. I didn’t lose or gain weight with this method and I always had energy, good moods, etc.

My pregnancies were great, I followed the guidelines so that I gained a nice amount of weight to ensure healthy babies (one was 7 lbs. one was 7 1/2 lbs.) and then I joined WW for a few months to safely return to my “normal” weight. A medical emergency almost 20 years ago landed me in a hospital with antibiotics. The doctor ordered a high-calorie diet to ensure no damage to my organs. I left the hospital weighing 6 lbs. more than when I went in. I was unable or maybe just not motivated to lose the 6 lbs. and every year added just one or two more. In the course of 20 years, it adds up. I am now the carrier of an excess of 30 lbs. (at least it’s not the 50 lbs. it was last year!). I don’t like the way I look in pictures and frankly, I want to live for a long time.

So, the article has made it difficult for me to continue to eat my zero point eggs with abandon because now I have to worry that my health will suffer! I am laughing at myself because I might need to go back and just count calories, the only thing that really works. I will be spending my time this afternoon researching the diets (or to be more “correct” – the nutrition plans) of long ago that used simple caloric counts and common sense. I just want to lose the weight, safely and permanently. Wish me luck!

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Time is personal

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Time is Personal

I’m currently reading a mainstream NYTimes best seller. It is very enjoyable and the author is or has recently been on a tour to promote her two books and working on her third. I can’t really remember how I happened to catch the title, really, and when I went on Amazon, it was a bit costly so I didn’t buy it. Then I remembered that through my library I am able to “borrow” books electronically. I searched for the title and reserved it for at least two months. When the library informed me last week that the title was available, I promptly downloaded it into my app and began reading. I am finding it entertaining but I do notice that I am reading with an editor’s eye, rather than just enjoying the book for what it offers. It is a terrible thing.

My ambition is to write a mainstream novel this year. Whether or not it gets published is not really important to me. Getting it down on paper (well, in my case in Scrivener!) is what I really want to do. I spent the month of November 2018 participating in NaNoWriMo and got about 90 pages done, or more or less 30%. I did not “win” because I did not complete 50,000 words in that month, but I did write almost every single day. I have not written very much on the novel since December 1st. I find it hard to believe how the days and weeks just fly by.

Someone told me recently that “time” was personal…whatever that meant. Today I kind of got his message: I spend at least one hour every day on personal grooming. I try to make it go faster but by the time I shower, apply body lotion everywhere, comb and style my long, curly hair, find appropriate clothing that is clean, pressed and fits for the day, and then put on my makeup, an hour has gone by. Then I try to spend at least 40 minutes practicing my guitar, another 20 minutes watering or tending to my plants…right there are two hours that my friends who have short hair and wear t-shirts and jeans and no makeup, have no musical hobby or plants save…so I guess he is right.

My weight loss journey continues. I am pleased to say that I have been following the Whole-30 pretty closely although I have given myself a couple of “cheat” days and then begin anew. I am in a different space, at +60 it is no longer appropriate to be wondering if anyone is going to scold me for being overweight! I feel really good though and have lots of energy despite not eating any bread or added sugar. My problem has and will always be portion control! Each meal is an opportunity to practice, that part is fun, watching myself as if I were a stranger!

 

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Personal responsibility…

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It has been kind of an odd day. I woke up pretty early, didn’t do my laps because my husband was traveling and I was going with him to the airport. All went well with that outing and on my return home, I stopped in my favorite nursery and purchased a few things I needed for repotting an orchid. As a prize, I also bought myself two lovely, flowering African violets for my growing collection. I love my violets and their flowers tell me they love me back.

This particular blog has turned into my most honest one, the one where I often really do have a stream of consciousness, unapologetic narrative that deals with real issues going on in my life. I rarely read over what I write because it is a good exercise in purging myself of toxic things that might otherwise make me ill or require the help of a therapist.

I have shared that I was an overweight kid. Not obese by any standard but a good 10 lbs. overweight before my 10th birthday, causing my mother a lot of guilt, some embarrassment but mainly a sense of her own failure up close and personal. As a consequence of my fatness, I was not ever happy about a clothes shopping spree with Mom because pretty clothes in my size did not exist. My personality is such that I never really believed there was anything intrinsically wrong with me (we can credit Grandma for that, she never, ever made me feel inferior because I was fat), just that I enjoyed food and didn’t like to feel hungry.

I learned to sew in my early teens and never knew what size I wore because I made my own clothes. I was a happy kid despite the rejection from Mom and the relentless teasing and taunting of other people. My other (positive) traits became strong. I felt a need to be helpful, funny, responsible, etc. and those attributes did not feel like burdens. For the most part, I enjoyed being me although I do admit that I had imaginary friends who loved me unconditionally for more years than I care to admit.

Today, after the long and rather hectic day, I decided to take a look at the Discover part of WordPress to see what was new and exciting in the world of blogging. I came across a blog written by a fat person (I am one so I don’t feel I need to apologize for calling the blogger that too) writing long and hard to thin people she feels were/are judging her as she is getting on an airplane to travel. I admit that the writing is excellent and the thought process also. The long blog made me curious to see other blogs by the author so I visited her page and found one that was specifically about one of the popular weight loss programs in existence for about 60 years. It is the only one I feel really works and one that has taught me all about nutrition, calories, and getting to know good habits for maintaining weight and fitness.

It has always been my belief that we are each responsible for our lives. Unless there is some real issue, mental or physical, most of us should be able to accept that most of our decisions are responsible for where we find ourselves in our life. I believe that it is true that some of us have more of a tendency to have a hard time putting on or taking weight off but for the most part, it has to do with calories in (eating) and calories out (exercise, etc.) All diets will work if given enough time and most people who lose weight can maintain their loss if they continue to follow a routine of eating in a healthy manner. If one is consuming too many calories for their height/body type, etc. even from good food, one will gain weight. There is no way around this. To say that a particular diet plan is simply a business endeavor designed to make one fail and keep re-joining is to disrespect one’s power. I know what she means in a way but I can’t really accept the thesis. I have about 30 lbs. to lose. When I traveled 25 lbs. heavier than I am now in my small frame, I could feel the sides of the airline seat squeeze me in and so I purchased a first class ticket…these days, minus those 20 lbs. I can sit in coach and spend the extra cash somewhere else.

The blogger’s arguments against weight loss plans are not without merit but to simply give up the idea of travel because the preparation just along the weight issue (will people stare, will people not want to be seated next to me, will people insult me, will people assume laziness, etc.) is a nightmare very sad to me. I envision myself 30 lbs. lighter by the end of this year. My motivation is maximized when I look at pictures of myself 15 years ago because I remember that I never felt deprived foodwise but I always stuck to a more or less healthy, normal eating pattern. Years of dieting in my childhood and teenage years has made my metabolism very slow. This is something I know. I also know how many calories I can consume to maintain my weight. Extra calories without any extra exercise will make me gain weight. Although that is not the end of the world, being fat interferes with the way I want to live my life.

I want to wear belts and dresses. Right now, they don’t look good on me. I want to be able to go into my closet, pick out any item and know that it fits. I used to be able to do that, I am annoyed because these days I often have to try on a few things before I find something that is clean, ironed and fits. I want the old days back. Nothing wrong with that. Nothing wrong with paying for it when I can see that trying to do it on my own simply doesn’t work for me.  So while I accept that the blogger has a right to feel empowered by her rejection of following a plan, I think it is important to point out that some of us thrive (without obsessing) by sticking with it. Discipline, commitment and optimism are key to losing weight initially and perseverance and attention are required to maintain. What is wrong with that?

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Preparing for the Whole 30!

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Following up on yesterday’s blog, I am almost ready to tackle the program again on Monday. I know there is nothing in the program that will compete or negate anything WW has so I feel pretty excited about doing it this way.

I spent the morning shopping and looking over the recipes and reviewing the “rules” again. I have to say that the practical and grounded me feels comforted by the fact that I can rely on someone to tell me exactly what I can and cannot eat. I love that every once in a while the author reminds us that we are “grown ups” and gives us much needed “tough love” as feedback. It is tough love that will work with me, even if that coach exists only in my head.

My husband, who will probably NOT join me in the 30 days, has been very supportive in the past of all my efforts and wondered out loud earlier why I had picked up a bottle of red wine. With a straight face, I replied that I was starting on MONDAY, no need to get crazy over the weekend.

I will keep us posted…perhaps with pictures so I can motivate myself. I realized not long ago that one of ways in which I was able to sublimate my desire to overeat in the past was by purchasing beautifully photographed cookbooks (I have an extensive collection) and reading and drooling over the recipes. Sometimes, I would indulge in a bite of something really spectacular and found that when it is just a bite it never did much harm and satisfied whatever the craving was.

When life is stressful, I crave crunchy things. When I am sad, I enjoy chocolate things, but really high quality stuff. When I am angry, I go for nuts that require shelling, like peanuts (which are actually legumes, I know, I know).

Have a great rest of the weekend. Perhaps I’ll take the day off tomorrow and post my menu on Monday!

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Is it tough to lose weight?

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The answer frequently heard is Yes, it is tough to lose weight. Depending on how much and how long you want to “diet”, it could be tough or easy. I remember years ago listening to older women discuss their sacrifices after gaining a couple of pounds over the holidays. That was back when I was myself overweight and a young girl. I remember thinking that these women were really crazy to consider themselves “fat” and compared myself to them and felt terrible about my shape and my lack of motivation to get thin.

I lost a lot of weight (35 lbs. on my small frame put me in the obese category) the year I was going to turn 20 and kept the weight off for more than 30 years. I have written or talked about this ad nauseum…then I started gaining weight, first in the hospital where I was fed a high calorie diet to combat damage from antibiotics given to me for cellulitis in my arm. Along with the high calories came a 6-lb. weight gain in 2000. I was still within a normal weight for my height and age but never got serious about returning to my former weight, in fact the last almost 20 years has had me putting on a pound or two every year which now has me weighing almost 40 lbs. more than I should. I am now obese. I feel great, and I think I look pretty good until I see pictures of me, then I feel like “Wow, why doesn’t anybody tell me how fat I am?”

At my age (63), no one is going to tell me how fat I am. And in this day and age of “everything acceptance” and “political correctness”, no one is going to call me out on it.

Last year I lost 25 lbs. (I have also written about this before) but managed to put back 6 or 7. I still pay for and try to follow the Weight Watchers on-line program but do feel that the tremendous freedom we have to eat what we want and track it, does not work for me because I work better with a program and strict rules…I am a Virgo, need I say more?

I tried the Whole 30 in the month of April 2015 with tremendous success. I am gearing up to do it again starting on Monday.

In the meantime, I will figure out the points on WW of following the Whole 30 (like I have nothing else going on in my life) and I want to get as excited now as I was the first time around. I don’t know how I got here but I cannot stay here…I want to live a long, healthy, happy life AND be able to fit into anything in my closet that brings me JOY…the JOY that Marie Kondo talks about. I have started de-cluttering and yes, when I feel joy coming from clothes that are too small for me, I keep them because I know I can muster the right program and willpower to fit into them in the future.

My goals are within reach. There are people on WW who have more than 100 lbs. to lose and they do it the same way as those of us who have 40 lbs. to lose, with determination, patience, and good habits.

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All I want is to heal

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I am currently reading Marianne Williamson’s A Course in Weight Loss. It is my second time around with this book, the first time I read it, my motivation was not strong and the weight I needed to lose was more modest than currently. I was in New York and found myself in one of those bookshops that buys college textbooks to sell second hand and has a section where limited copies of current best sellers can be found for a fraction of what they would cost at a proper bookstore like B&N.

My interest in everything to do with weight loss has always been high even when my need to lose weight has not been the all-consuming affair it has become in the last couple of years. Of course, my weight has never been as high as it is now…well, that’s not entirely true, last year I was at my heaviest which is 20 lbs. more than it is today.

I joined WW in December 2017. It is important for me to get all of this in a blog. If it never gets read by anyone, that is fine, at least I know I have done what I needed to do and that is to get it down. Okay so, after joining WW in December 2017, my mom passes away on the first day of 2018. My mom was always after me in my youth to lose weight. By the time I was 20 I was slim and remained that way for many, many years. I got married, divorced, remarried, had a couple of kids, raised them and off they went and my weight fluctuated maybe 10 lbs. which was easy enough to get off my body quickly.

Menopause happened and I began to see the weight go up a pound or two every year. I did not panic or worry about it, until 2017…when I saw a picture of myself that I didn’t recognize. Panic set in, I had to admit to myself that I was more than 50 lbs. overweight. I have a very small frame, I cannot continue down that path. I worked with the new WW model and had great success. My weight loss has always been slow but by August 2018 I had lost 26 lbs. I went to New York to visit my children. I don’t know what happened…I cannot blame the variety and deliciousness of the food in NY, it still baffles me. I was unable to stay on track and I have gained at least 6 or 7 lbs. which I have not been able to take off. Add that to the remaining 30…it seems overwhelming sometimes.

I have lots of literature in the house on weight loss. Indeed, I am an expert. I could have written the books I read on the subject, I am that knowledgeable. Alas, I have not written the books and I have not taken off the weight. That is the difference between me and Marianne Williamson, between me and Geneen Roth whose books and workshops on weight loss I have also purchased. I guess I just have to commit…this time for what I hope will be the last and permanent time.

One thing that I have learned from both Marianne and Geneen is that I really, really, really need to be kind to myself. I need to stop chastising myself for overeating or for being stuck in this place which I just don’t understand. It is not easy, I feel humbled and sometimes a little scared that I will never come out on the other side, but I have to try again.

 

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Where do the days go?

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I find it hard to believe that my last post on this blog is almost a month old.
Every day, I write at least in one of my blogs (I have five, not sure why except that I feel like every one of my passions needs its own space where I can express things about it). So I have a blog about dogs, a blog about optimism and gratitude, a blog about senior citizens, this blog which is mostly about weight and life issues and then a final one which is a collaborative effort with a few other friends who are also writers.

One of my frustrations has been not to be able (or willing) to take the time to get to my as yet unpublished (because it´s not finished) work of fiction.. Or should I say, works of fiction, since like blogging, I find that I have too many ideas for just one book. Anyway, right now I am working away on a mini iPad that I have not been very nice to…complaining always that it is too small, when in reality, all it takes is a little getting used to. I purchased it about two or three years ago, it was really reasonable. Then I bought a nice keyboard for it, and a case and it is actually working very nicely. So maybe the problem is me, and not it.

Not sure why I went off on a tangent like that except that I felt guitly about not writing in this blog for my faithful followers. I agree that blogging in each site every day is excessive, but once a month is really not cutting it either. Either we put the time in and honor our followers, or we simply go away.

I hope all this rambling hasn´t turned you off. In closing, I would just like to say that although I haven´t been writing here, I have been writing generally, reading also. My weight watchers journey is going strong although I admit that the weight loss is very slow because I don´t feel desperately about it. Of the 50 lbs. I would like to have lost by the end of this year, I have lost 26, so there we are.