Category Archives: Inspiration

A week of transformation preparation…

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On Easter Sunday I was invited to a lovely family gathering. It has been a long time since I actually spent Easter here on the East Coast, I have been living in the tropics for almost 20 years! The holidays, like the rest of my “real” life are celebrated differently due to many factors, mostly the culture, climate and availability (or lack thereof) of traditional foods that go with the celebrations. But I digress.

Easter Sunday was fantastic until almost the end of the visit when one of the spouses of the couple hosting decided to take a young friend for a practice drive in the family car. It seemed natural enough to me until I noticed that the wife was washing utensils and metal baking pans in anger. Not realizing what I was getting into, I asked innocently whether our hostess was angry, to which she replied “No, I am just not a gentle person.”

When she said this, her husband glanced in her direction and stood by for a moment while she continued with her chore. I sat back and tried to resume my earlier conversation with another guest when I heard a loud crash as metal pan collided against metal sink. At this, the husband replied “Yes, she is angry” and looked to his wife for an explanation which she did not offer.

No one has to be reminded how it feels to be an unwitting participant in someone else’s argument. What followed left me uncomfortable and worried since this young couple is one of my favorites. I could sense they were in for a long night even as the husband led his friend out to the driveway. Although I wanted to stay out of the fight, I am also often given to self-appointed errands of social work and communication. I asked my questions and the answers from our hostess came quickly: she wasn’t consulted, he doesn’t share any information, he doesn’t trust her, a licensed driver, to go out in his car, how come a young unlicensed driver gets to use “her” car without so much as her permission?

I was speechless but also wise enough (or old enough?) to know that this was just the proverbial straw that broke that camel’s back and not the issue itself. My young friend agreed that communication between them had been lacking lately because their work and family obligations had not allowed sufficient time for them to spend together just contemplating the world, their hopes and aspirations, and their place in it.

A few minutes later, everyone came back (safely) and the husband apologized for his thoughtlessness with as much sincerity as he could given the circumstances. The wife graciously (if somewhat detached) accepted it and after a wonderful dessert, we all packed into the car for our return to the train station to head back home. I worried about my young friends as we made our way home but as in many things, I have learned that one cannot do the work that others must do themselves.

That night I had a dream that I remembered all too clearly the next morning. I told it to my daughter, mentioning that it seemed to be a very clear and detailed account of what is going on psychologically for this couple and in many ways for me personally. It had to do with veneers and the crumbling of walls. I don’t know why I didn’t write it down as I was retelling it. I tried to recall it yesterday and came up with only bits and pieces. I will devote some time today to quiet contemplation in the hopes that I can recall it. Always have a paper and pencil handy a friend tells me, one never knows when these gems will appear. I have rarely been able to remember a dream so I have not invested too much effort in the paper and pencil idea. That is about to change.

I spoke with my young friends yesterday and they have worked out a schedule where they are spending at least one day a week together, recapturing the stage in their marriage when they had less obligations and more time. It is a bit of sunshine in these often dark times. Love is always the answer.

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A good week of healthy eating.

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I am not a vegetarian but the picture of this happy one made me smile and I thought I would add it to today’s blog post.

I have made my way through almost a week of successful healthy eating. I find myself away from home with many fruits, vegetables and single-serve options at my fingertips. This availability of variety makes it so much easier to stay focused and on plan. It has long been my contention that if one has a chef and people to do the every day tasks so one can devote oneself to creating, painting, writing, thinking, there would be no need for dieting. Alas how many of us can really do that? How many of us would really want to? I suppose the novelty would wear off just as it does for everything. That’s life.

My current geographical location is somewhere in the U.S. I know where I am but since I am not sharing that information with every person in my life, I would rather be low key. Suffice it to say that I am enjoying being a bit off the grid for a while while I devote myself to the long-neglected novel I began last November. I am currently procrastinating getting back to it by writing blog entries and reading lots of colorful, entertaining fashion magazines. Who would really wear these outrageous clothes? Let’s be real, who in my circle could really afford them?

I have been examining that whole “secondary gains” idea. I think that one of the secondary gains is that I can now find stylish clothing that fits me whereas in my younger days, anything that fit me was designed for frumpy older women who were not coquettish the way I have always been. In my youth, I had to re-design and sew my own stuff. Now, there are plenty of designers who are smart enough not to turn their noses up at the buying power of that demographic. Not having to spend my time sewing is a secondary gain. Yesterday I went shopping and found a nice pair of (extra-stretchy) jeans that I only had to hem. They were a “perfect” size 16! I chuckle as I write that, what’s “perfect” about a size 16, old me would ask sarcastically? These days, it feels perfect to me. I hemmed them this morning, ironed a complimentary blouse and voila, ready for the day and night. It feels good and if I don’t look great, at least I look presentable and that is no small thing.

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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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After Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving has come and gone! It is amazing how one day turns
quickly into a week, a month, a year and soon we will be greeting
2019!

I have remained committed to my “healthy eating plan”, having lost
25 lbs. and then reaching a not-surprising plateau which then led
me into not tracking, not trying, not caring…

A couple of days after my last post, a family member died unexpectedly.
I think at that point, rather than properly deal with grief, I became a bit
numb and stopped even attempting to diet. I gained a couple of pounds.
Although I was tempted not to share that information, I decided that the
best thing to do is own up to it, admit that my participation or lack of it
is what caused the weight gain. Not beat myself up, rather understand
and decide that one of these meals would be the one that would make me
get back on the straight and narrow, if you will…

Enter November…still that couple of pounds not gone and now I decided
on the spur of the moment to join my pal who was participating in this
years Nanowrimo! Since writing is really all I care to do, even though when
I am about to sit down to write, I always find something more compelling…
I decided to give it a go. The challenge is to write 50,000 words in one
month, a novel…no, I am not going to finish the challenge, perhaps I will
make it to 20,000 words, I am pretty close, but the experience has been so
worth it. I have learned a lot about myself during the month and I am not
going to give up on the story I am writing because I have become invested
in it and in my characters.

So, November and Thanksgiving added another pound, so I lost 25 added
3 for a net loss of 22 lbs. in 2018. I cannot say I am disappointed. I still need
to lose another 30 lbs. but I have 2019 to look forward to. God willing!

Noguchi Museum

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I find myself in NYC at the moment. The last time I was here it
was a quick trip just like this one but I had an obligation to be
around for my daughter’s cat while she went away on a trip to
California for a close friend’s wedding. Although it was just a few
months ago, I feel like it was ages since I was “home”…

Yesterday I took myself out to the Noguchi Museum. I was filled
with admiration for the sculptures and the quiet meditative feel
that I absorbed from just being in the rooms. The garden was also
peace inspiring.  I sat and observed a young artist drawing, a few
people quietly chatting, and a toddler sitting on the coarse gravel
ground cover playing with one of the stones. My immediate thought
was that his bottom must be hurting but then I remembered that a
child of that age has a built in cushion thanks to his diaper!

Museums conjure up feelings of reverence in me. I love to go into
churches and settle my soul. The feelings I get from sitting quietly
and alone in churches is replicated in museums, especially if I am
by myself. Yesterday was one of those days. I am very happy to be
living in a city (albeit temporarily) that has so many options for an
afternoon of culture.

Nothing’s changed, so my perspective needs to!

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Ten days ago, I blogged that the world was angry! Nothing’s changed in
the days ensuing this remark, in fact the fact that everyone is angry has
actually become even more apparent since I mentioned it. Going on FB
has become a challenge…I already can predict which of my “friends” will
be there and what they will say. I do have to sign on at least once a day
because I made a commitment to the FB community that I belong to that
I would share a couple of things on a daily basis in 2018. Thank goodness
it’s already the end of July…I can keep it going for another few months
and then make a life decision. Do I stay or do I go?

I have been looking into options of where to go on Social Media to get
the kind of interactions I want: non-political, compassionate, intelligent
conversations about where our world could be headed if we all decided we
are in this together and should really try to improve things.

Because of my age (60’s), I find that there are limited options because the
world at large still caters to the youth! Nothing wrong with that, I was a
youth once and in essence, still identify more with the young than with the
old simply because they are more involved and invested in making sure that
our planet survives. Still, I want to have real and important conversations with
people who have been around the block and have gone through some stuff.
Unfortunately, some of the sites for older folk that existed a few years back are
“parked” or “gone”…does that mean their founders are also? It doesn’t make me
feel so good but I will spend a good part of my morning searching.

In the meantime, if any “third agers” happen upon this blog and can offer some
ideas, please send them my way!

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A slow journey, the weight loss route!

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April has indeed been a very busy month for me. When I began my weight loss
journey in December it was motivated by my disbelief at how much weight I had
gained in the last few years. All my “reasons” for the weight gain were understood
by me, both emotionally and intellectually. When I saw a picture of myself (that I
immediately deleted), I was spurred into action mode.

It is now almost 5 months later. I have managed to lose almost 19 lbs. and wish
it was so much more but I am feeling much better these days that the speed at
which I am losing (slowly) will allow me to “fit” into the idea that going quickly
is not in my reality or future. I cannot say that I have not been hungry on this
program (Weight Watchers) but I also cannot say that I have deprived myself
of healthy or tasty food in the last few months.

I track my food for accountability (personal since I am strictly on the program
“on line”), weigh myself every day (it works for me) and have good support from
those around me. I use the tools available to me, especially the ones that allow
me to see other people’s progress and read their comments.

A new weight watchers enrollee asked others to share their motivations and the
ways in which they get or stay inspired. I began to think about that; I usually
don’t give it much thought, I just do what I do because I know it will get results.
But when I looked deep into my soul, I realized that I am motivated by the most
superficial of reasons: I don’t like what I see when I see myself in pictures!

It’s that simple and that superficial and for now, it is the best incentive I have. I
realized last week that the almost 19 lb. loss has allowed me to consider trying on
clothing that had been relegated to the back of my closet. I am a clotheshorse and
although I have gotten rid of impossible-to-get-back-into-sizes, I have kept those
that are reasonably within my reach. Much to my great surprise and joy, I was able
to fit into a lovely blouse and slacks (size 14…) that I wore to an event last week. My
friend and I took a picture and I did not balk when I saw it; I am beginning to see
the self I recall…it is also worth mentioning that even though I usually drive every-
where I was forced to take a bus last week and I fit into the seat without any discomfort.
All of these non-scale victories are doing wonders for motivation and my self-esteem.

I am eager to continue my slow and steady progress. Just like the turtle, I too will
get to the finish line!

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Changing the Setting!

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I’m the kind of gal who can sometimes drown in a glass of water! I can be
so hands on in certain situations and then a really nonsensical thing can
completely throw me off!

Take my weigh-in day with Weight Watchers. When I started the program
it was established that my day for this activity was Mondays! As with all
kinds of “new” projects, the beginning was just fine, energy was wonderful,
I was delighted with the food plan, the variety, the recipes, etc. So Mondays
were just fine for the weigh-in (I do the program on-line BTW). Fast forward
a couple of months, now you’re used to the program, it starts to get a little
stale, the daily menus are not being planned with as much precision and the
tracking is not as strict so the losses each week are really, really low. This is
also the result of eating a little more on the weekend, using up those extra
points, etc. I began to feel miserable on Sunday evenings, eliminating the
one chocolate truffle I was splurging on because I feared gaining an ounce
or not losing at all…instead of doing something about it, I chose to deny my-
self and that is never a good feeling.

Last night, it occurred to me that I have complete control of how I work my
program. I signed on and found the “settings” button. I changed my weigh-in
day from Monday to Saturday so that I can be “good” during the week and
have a few treats on the weekend, after all, isn’t that what the weekend is for?
Fun, treats and enjoyment. I still weigh myself each morning, it’s what works
for me and today I actually had a lovely surprise but I do have a plan for this
week (a food plan that is) and I know that on Saturday morning, the surprise
will be even nicer! No need to drown in this glass of water!

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A fuzzy brain

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A few years ago, suffering from constant clutter, I came across
the Fly Lady, the woman who would change my life from CHAOS
to serene! Well, it was good while it lasted until I started to receive
so many emails per day from her that I had to release her. Email
clutter is just as bad as physical clutter. I found eventually that I
had subscribed to a lot of sites just because I didn’t want to have
nothing to read on a daily basis. Then I figured out that the
amount of time I was wasting on the computer was taking its toll
on my home and family (even though they didn’t realize it).

I can say that I made very good use of lots of the Fly Lady’s advice
and to this day (although it was a habit of mine already), my kitchen
sink (where it all begins) is shining (well, as much as possible since
the material it’s made from doesn’t really shine, but you get the point).

These days, I feel like I am having a constant battle with brain fog. You
know, you start doing an activity, or looking something up, or gathering
materials for a project and suddenly, you freeze because you can’t recall
exactly what you were going to do. I feel that maybe it is because I have
way too many things on my mind…not able to prioritize so that at the
end of each day I feel like I got nothing done.

Take today for an example: my cleaning lady is here. I find that her (very
much needed) presence is an intrusion. I love the fact that the house is
dusted and the floors are mopped and things look lovely but I dislike the
fact that I have to prepare for her arrival which cuts into the time that I
would ordinarily use to draft an essay or at least devote some time to it.
In the end, though, I know that it is really just an excuse, that in fact, I have
nothing thought out or outlined and perhaps for the very first time in my
life, I feel like I am flying by the seat of my pants. I have never been this way
but then again, I have never had the life I have today.

I find myself a little lost. Every day since my mother’s passing on January 1st
has reminded me of the temporary nature of things. Granted my mother lived
almost 89 years, an almost permanent presence in my life but I wonder now if
my brain fog is my way of grieving. Since I was expecting my mother to die, I
didn’t get hysterical in the moment. So many things needed to be done. I had
joined Weight Watchers just a month before and I was so determined to lose
the weight this time, that except for one night where I had an excessive
amount of Johnny Walker Black label Whiskey (and no hangover!), I did not
grieve by eating myself through it. I know she would be proud of me for not
overeating.

I think of my mother every single day,  I guess I always did; she was an6
incredibly strong influence in my life; of both what to do and what NOT
to do when faced with life’s adversities. I was always very proud of her
and I hope she knew it because I don’t remember every saying it to her in
quite that way.

So Weight Watchers has been pretty good to me. I find that I can “connect”
with others who, like me, struggle to get back to a good weight and know
that it will be a lifetime commitment. My husband and I celebrated our
anniversary yesterday. Our daughter posted a picture of us taken one year
ago, and although we both look very happy, it is obvious we are both in the
category of “American overweight couples”! It isn’t funny and while I have
lost about 20 lbs. since the picture was taken, I feel a bit embarrassed that I
allowed the weight to creep up like that. But onward…getting menus for the
week done is a good way to clear up some of that brain fog today. I think I
will get to it.

 

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Second round elections…

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My mind is ajumbled. Yeah, I know; that’s not really a word, but I bet you got
my meaning just fine!

Lately I have been preoccupied with the second round of presidential elections
that is taking place in my country tomorrow. Tomorrow, the 3rd month
anniversary of my mother’s passing, is also Easter Sunday. I have had plenty of
time and opportunity in the last couple of days for deep reflection and decision-
making. I will be voting for the candidate I feel is best suited and prepared
for the job.  I go from hopeful to desperate when thinking about what my fellow
patriots might do. Many people are returning from the beach early or catching
an airplane from overseas to vote because these elections are that important. This
campaign has been called “the campaign of hate” and in a country that is known
for our Pura Vida attitude and peaceful nature, it is a label that does not fit in
well with what we think of ourselves. I can’t wait until Monday, the day after, so
we can begin to work on all the things that need fixing regardless of who wins.

I have been watching a baseball game for the last couple of hours. I love baseball
but today, I will be the first to admit, it does take a long time…in fact, with all the
technology available these days and the slow connection I have at home, I actually
know from my phone what the television is about to tell me…if I were a dishonest
betting person…the Jays and Yankees are tied right now, bottom of the 7th. I’m
a Yankee fan and this year we have a strong, young team that is a pleasure to watch.

Our preparation for Easter Sunday is unlike any we have had in recent years. We are
doing NOTHING special although I did promise my husband I will make a lovely
batter so he can make us pancakes tomorrow to accompany our bacon and yummy
coffee.  There are no children at home right now, and I am dieting, so that means
there are no chocolate eggs or fancy desserts. Funny, every once in a while I miss
unwrapping a pastel colored Hershey kiss but when I think about how good it feels
to be able to zip and button my pants, I console myself with the thought that it is
only a temporary sacrifice. After I lose the weight this time, I intend to eat mind-
fully and not gain it back.

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