Category Archives: Inspiration

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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Writing…

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only gets done by sitting down and writing! How true it is. Yesterday I was incredibly prolific,
not sure any of my writing made sense or would be worthy of a pulitzer prize but it was plentiful
and by day’s end, I felt that I had found a nice rhythm. For this week, I would like to challenge
myself to just sit and write without worrying too much about grammar, topic, misspellings,
using words incorrectly, etc. Indeed, it is better to just sit, write and then go back and edit
than to spend a lot of time thinking about a good topic.

In my country, elections are coming up in another 5 weeks (second round). I am nervous
about the outcome, it seems to me that people are focusing more on the personality of the
candidates (neither of which got to this point by being particularly popular with anyone)
rather than their plans to get us out of debt and back on track to celebrating our 200th
anniversary with our Carbon Neutrality in place.

Yesterday I wrote a little bit about our small writers group and how one member suggested
we invite others along. Although I am fine with the status quo, I guess it is not entirely up to
me to decide for everyone else.

I have been reading and watching movies that I would not normally watch. I think getting away
from my “Pollyana-like” choices has opened my eyes to a lot of things. Some of the dark humor
contained in the recent movies I’ve watched (plus the fact that they are foreign) has allowed me
to tap into my imagination the way I used to when I was a child. Hopefully this will translate into
some kind of motivation to write more and to write different and to add those necessary traits
that will allow my protagonist to have some depth.

Another weekend …

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They come so quickly, the weekends! On Sunday afternoons, I usually feel the blahs that so
many of us are prone to as we start to make the switch from two days of (mostly) relaxing
to the upcoming obligations of work, school and general parenting.

When I was a young, single gal in “like” with a co-worker, I used to hate weekends and love
Monday mornings! Naturally, it was because my quasi SO would be there to greet me. I am
happy that I have those memories because sometimes I can remember what it felt like to be
excited about Mondays and try to “fool” my brain into thinking all those things that made me
feel giddy will be mine again.

I have not been writing in this blog, although I have been quite busy writing everywhere else.
Ever since I was a child, I have placed many responsibilities on my shoulders, something that
I can’t explain and maybe I shouldn’t try. The reality is that while my siblings were out there
enjoying their allotted 1/3 of the day of “their” time, I was busy doing whatever it took to keep
the home fires burning and the household running smoothly. It was not my job, and in fact
try as I may, I cannot place any blame on my parents for this self-imposed mandate. My
mother worried sometimes that I was not social enough. I never thought of myself as a wall-
flower but I can look back and see that indeed when all my friends were out having fun, I could
be found listening to music in the background while I vacuumed, loaded or emptied the dish-
washer, did the laundry, started dinner, etc. I guess I felt needed in a way and then it just
became a habit so ingrained in me that to this day, I feel I am wasting time if I am not doing
something I consider “productive”.

My life is very different right now. At this moment, my children are grown and living in another
country. We have a wonderful relationship and communicate almost on a daily basis. My husband
in away for the next 12 days or so. We have a dog who is about to turn 8 and of course, I have my
dad who is 89. These are my very strong connections and I love them all. Today, after the cleaning
lady left (my house is spotless for one day!), I realized that I have a very blessed existence. I can
do or not do anything I want after I meet my obligations. I have fed my dog, turned off the water
that is making the lawn a lovely green in this dry weather and am eating a comforting lentil soup
that I made earlier this week. My kitchen is spotless, just the way I like it, no dishes in the sink.
My food plan has been successful this week and for that I am also very glad.

I look forward to this particular weekend because I get to indulge in a massage tomorrow. It has
become a necessity rather than a luxury and I am blessed to be living in a country where household
help and massages are affordable. My writing is coming along and hopefully this weekend will have
me taking out my latest attempt at a novel and begin again to work on it. My protagonist needs to
get some attention, he is so superficial I can’t even fall in love with him, how do I expect my readers
to do so.

Let’s all have a great weekend, and us writers especially!

 

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A slow journey

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I went to get a massage for the first time this year. I have been doing so regularly for
the last 10 years or so but since I haven’t been home until this week, I was unable to do
it. It was wonderful. I allowed myself to just drift away under the skilled hands of my
masseuse who has known this wonderful body for the last 10 years. It felt relaxing and
totally necessary.

While I was away taking care of all the necessary documentation after my mom’s passing,
I somehow managed not to eat very much and lost 3 lbs. It is unusual for me to lose that
many lbs. in a matter of days and I was elated when I stepped on the scale after so many
days away. Naturally, this week I have been back to eating more or less “normally” which
means adding the odd chocolate, the extra 4 oz. of wine or being a little more relaxed about
tracking. What has happened is that the scale is not showing any loss, just staying where it
is. I have today and tomorrow to curb the appetite in time for weighing myself on Monday
morning. Although I would love to say that the long-term goal is what matters, the days can
become l-o-n-g when snacks become boring and cooking is on the agenda.

For today, I have logged onto the Weight Watchers Connect section of my on-line Plus
program and I am inspired by people who have to lose so much more weight than I do
and who are not daunted by the sheer numbers. I have downloaded an app (Happy Scale)
which seems like it will allow me to add another dimension while I lose. I know if I work
the program, the program will work for me, as it has done in the past and continues to
for all who really apply it.

My goal is not only to lose weight but to get back on track with my writing, decluttering,
and preparing myself for a television debut in 2019! Best wishes to me, and may I continue
to do this just for me because I know that my health deserves it and that my family can do
with a good example to follow.

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It’s Christmas Eve Eve

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Every once in a while I think of myself as a writer. I do write in one way or other every, single
day but because my name does not appear on any of the books I see every day on my bookshelves,
I know myself not to be a “known” author. I have writing materials (in the form of journals, books
on the craft, etc.) that go back to grammar and high school. It is what I have always wanted to do:
tell stories my way, because I am the only one who can tell a story my way. I am not sure why the
profession of journalism never occurred to me. There are some modestly famous musicians in my
family and a published writer or two but for some reason, making music and writing were never
really pushed on us as careers that would put food on the table or clothes on our back.

When our children were young, I pushed out of their minds any thoughts of becoming lawyers or
doctors. I reasoned there were too many doctors and lawyers, well we all know about lawyer jokes,
who wants their children to be the butt of those? Instead, I steered them into the arts: music,
painting, writing, photography. Now, I am not sure if I didn’t fall down on the job and should
have instead suggested they study technology or practical things like plumbing and construction!

My kids are doing okay. At this point in my life, when I have lived more years than are available
to me, I sit back and wonder what would have been my life if I had been more forceful as a child
and insisted on spending my “free” time doing the things I enjoyed instead of having to spend my
vacations and weekends doing chores and taking care of things that I had not signed up for. I hope
I am not sounding bitter, I am very grateful really for the kind of life all those lessons brought me
but today, on the eve of Christmas eve, I am feeling nostalgic for my children and hoping that they
are doing well in their lives at this moment.

Since they are all living in New York City, I haven’t decorated any tree, or hung any lights…and
since I am “dieting” there are no aromas of homemade cookies in the air or the fragrance of any
kind of cider…my husband is napping in our room while I busy myself getting extra rooms ready
for visitors we expect in a day or two. I have never had the luxury to sit and think my thoughts as
I do presently and I am having trouble just sitting with the feelings that not reaching for food is
bringing up. I feel like crying but at the same time, I feel joyful! Go figure.

 

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New perspectives

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When we first moved into the little town we live in, my only thoughts were of
living my life in peace away from the hustle and bustle of the city and definitely
enjoying the big change that this tropical jungle was from the cement jungle of
New York City in which I spent most of my childhood and adult life.

Now that I am following a more disciplined and healthy eating routine, I find
myself focusing on other things besides food. The food aspect is easy so far: I
plan my meals, track them and then get on with my days. I go to bed a little bit
hungry each night but it is manageable and I have not lost any sleep. However,
the fact that I am not grazing all day means that I am also not “stuffing” my
feelings with food, something I frankly never thought I did. Now, though, I have
come to the realization that maybe I have been doing that and for longer than I
thought.

Back to my original reason for bringing up my small town. We arrived here almost
16 years ago to a brand new modern home that took more than one year to build.
Almost instantaneously, I was introduced to a woman who would catapult me into
a position in town that I never sought or enjoyed but found difficult to extricate
myself from once I unwittingly committed to different projects. My plans to be just
another citizen enjoying the benefits of a rural existence and having time to make
jewelry, read, devote myself to writing, learn to embroider, etc. came to a halt because
I set myself up to have many, many responsibilities. I am one of those people who can
always be counted on to see a project to the end while the previously mentioned woman
was the “my way or the highway” sort of gal.

When I finally (after almost a decade) began to resent the constant interruptions in my
life, phone calls at all hours of the day or night, unreasonable demands on my time and
other resources, and started to respect myself enough to make boundaries, the woman
turned on me without hesitation. I had been unaware that we were not friends, that’s
how naive I was and how manipulative she was. The awakening was very hard for me to
face and now looking back, I wonder at myself and my capacity to have withstood all that
I did for so long.

But this is not a post about whining or feeling sorry for myself. Au contraire. I have
recently been approached to help someone achieve something they want, NOT something
I want. My initial response was an almost automatic “yes”…in other words me committing
to a project that did not originate with me…because I don’t want to let my “friend” down.
Not having food as a substitute is allowing me to think deeply about this “friend”. He
wants to ingratiate himself with a certain group in town that he believes I have influence
over, which is actually not true! I have been able to step back this time and ask myself
whether or not my time should not be spent on my writing, my family, my hobbies! Old
me would have asked him to elaborate on his idea so I could see a way to carry it out for
him. New me (or on the way to becoming New Me!) is busily trying to find out why I still
have the idea I need to curry favor with everyone. It is making interesting food for thought
with the added benefits of coming without any calories!

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I’ve only been doing the Freedom plan for two weeks and I feel great. Granted last week’s
weight loss (.8 lbs.) was very modest and I could feel a little disheartened until I talk a close
look at my food diary and could come up with very good reasons for the fact that the loss was
not more.

After my husband came home from his trip, there was a slight slip and instead of keeping very
close watch on the quantity of (my favorite) cognac, I had a double and counted it as a single.
Then there was the odd (extra) piece of bread, the chocolate, the tamal that is so in vogue at this
time of year. So when I jumped on the scale yesterday and didn’t see the expected loss, I became
an investigator. Yesterday I behaved very well, tracking everything and today when I stepped on
the scale, the number was more pleasing.

I know all about weight loss and weight gain. I have tried everything, from eating when and what
I want to keeping strict tabs. From not weighing myself for weeks and months, to weighing myself
every few hours.  I have come to realize that we are all different in our approach to weight, weight
loss/gain, and in the way our bodies work. For me, it is necessary to write things down, to become
excited about using new spices in different ways, to imagine myself wearing clothes I haven’t fit
into for years. I enjoy discipline and I am glad that there is so much freedom in this new plan.

Every now and then I feel the days are long, hunger is not a sensation I have felt for a long time
and I am feeling it now, but I also realize that I haven’t met too many +80 year olds who are
obese and know myself to be newly hopeful that I will live beyond 80 and will be at a good
normal weight. I admire people who have to lose more than 100 lbs. and are doing so, their
stories inspire me and their before and after pictures even more so.

 

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