Category Archives: Motivation

Day 1 Whole 30!

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They (yes, those all knowing “they”) say that people who belong to committees or social groups, etc. quickly put on weight. I can only agree with this opinion/fact and have been able to prove it because it is almost impossible to resist the social atmosphere that exists in almost all the neighborhood groups I belong to!

Yesterday’s meeting began with greetings and refreshments. Yesterday was my first day on the second round of the Whole-30 for which I have been preparing for the last week. I took one look at the plate, drooled over the cake, caught a whiff of the freshly-baked bread and with unwavering discipline, quickly passed the whole thing to my closest colleague. So far by that point in the day, I had had an egg, fruit and coffee for breakfast, and a small serving of mahimahi with a salad. It was 4 p.m. the time I usually indulge in my afternoon coffee with a pastry. It was not to be. I instead enjoyed my cup of strong, black coffee which is actually no sacrifice since I have drunk my coffee that way for more than 40 years.

No one remarked or even noticed, probably because we had guests and there were many items on our agenda. The meeting lasted almost two hours, quickly followed by an equally long second meeting with a different set of committee members. Fortunately it was too late for coffee and too early for dinner so we just had our meeting and I went home.

My dinner on DaY 1 was a sweet potato with lots of ghee (clarified butter, to be more accurate) and a small salad, with a bottle of water. I can honestly say I was not really hungry. As my husband and I watched a couple of episodes of our latest BBC detective drama, I missed the ritual of the chocolate and wine and cognac!

I made myself a cup of herbal tea just before bedtime and slept soundly. When I woke up this morning (for day 2!), I was aware of Tony Robbins’ remark once (and I paraphrase) that nothing tastes as good as being healthy and looking great feel. I admit that is something that boosted my resolve this morning.

My trip to NY in the spring is another such booster. I have already started saving some pennies for what I hope will be a lovely shopping excursion, either for RTW clothes or some spectacular fabric.

Not a bad start!

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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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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!

Household help!

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By anyone’s definition, my house is very big. Although it is only my
husband and me living here now, there was a time when our home
did not seem big enough for our family and the many guests we had
over the years when our children were young.

In my early childhood, my parents were able to afford household help
so that other than making my bed and the “teach-your-children-
responsibility phase” my mother was going through, my chores were
not very many. That all changed when we moved to New York and
household help was something that only the very wealthy could afford.
That was my introduction to the “real” world of hard physical labor
if one wanted a clean home.

Both my parents worked during my childhood so that each one of us
was expected to do our share. I remember waiting until the last minute
each day and then scrambling off the couch when I realized my mother
could be walking in any minute and would scold us for the fact that
nothing was done. I wouldn’t have minded the scolding except that my
mother’s scolding was actually more of a whine…the kind that is tinged
with just the appropriate amount of guilt-producing expressions that
are difficult to forget even years after the events have passed.

To give an example, my mom would say: “What have I got here? Four
mortgages?” and sigh deeply. Once, in my haste to clean up all the dishes
that had piled up during the day, I didn’t realize that one of the glasses
in the sink was broken until I felt the stab as I plunged my hand deeply
into it. I remember panicking more about the scolding than about the
blood that was profusely dripping into the sink or the stitches I should
have gotten at the hospital or clinic. Instead I made my sister promise
not to say anything to my parents and I hid my injury for however long
it took to heal (at least two weeks). I still have the scar.

The silver lining is that I never, ever again let dishes accumulate in the
sink. To this day, my sink is always ready for action. I am always washing
and putting away the dishes, whether they are mine or everyone else’s.
Peace of mind is very important to me.

But I was actually intending to write about household help. Like the
frustration I feel when I see that my cleaning lady (who has been with
me for 3 years) still doesn’t sweep behind things…unless I specifically
ask her…Just this morning, I noticed accumulated debris under the
pingpong table. I am not sure what the problem is, I have already said
that this is a big house, still it is not a big deal to just sweep it. And
having said that, I guess I will take myself, my broom and dustpan and
take care of it now!

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Where do the days go?

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bright day environment field

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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.

The world is angry!

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I live in a small town. You know what they say about small towns: Big Hell!
Until recently, I was very content in my small town, living my life, enjoying
the odd social gathering and essentially knowing how my days would begin
and end. The last several months have been increasing my discomfort level
as I hear and see many acquaintances really get into the misery the rest of the
world seems intent on living.

My writing has always been a need for me. I cannot agree with people who say
they “love” to write, for that has never been my feeling. I need to write, I want
to write and get paid for it, but even though I don’t get paid for it, I still need
to do it every single day. Some days it is just a sentence in my head. Some
days I actually draft things out in a notebook the old-fashioned way, with pen
and paper and then I forget how important the particular prose felt in the
moment and I lose the paper, or the notebook until I am clearing off a particular
space and come upon it again.

The social media rants that I voluntarily read increasingly rob me of time and
energy and deplete whatever optimism lives in me; yet I find myself having to
really exercise discipline to sign off or at the very least, put my phone aside to
do other things. It is amazing, I rarely respond to posts even though many of
them stir deep feelings. I get a kick out of those who do because they often end
up saying things I am sure they regret. Not to mention getting “blocked” by the
administrators for offensive and crude language. I can’t entertain the idea of
ever being blocked so I simply do what many others do, read and move on.

I live in a small town that has a large quantity of expats. Although I lived in a
different country and learned its culture well, I am now living in my birth land
and identify more with it. I find that the typical expat (whether originating in
U.S., Canada, Europe, Asia or Africa) believes their new country is somehow
lacking and wants things to be just the way they were “back home”. This attitude
irks me but I remain silent because silence is the path to peace and understanding.

There are so many things that can be said about learning a new language, about
preparing mentally to make a huge move, especially when the one certain is that
wherever you go, there YOU are. I lived in Puerto Rico once. I do remember that
the absence of family and friends was a bit lonely, but it was also tremendously
liberating. I found that I developed some new (positive) traits by not being labeled
or thought of the way family and old friends can see and pigeonhole one. Rather
than wanting things the way they were in my past, I was thrilled to be living in a
completely different culture and learned to love it just the way it was.

I don’t really remember where I was going with this blog, but there it is. I guess
the lesson for today is that if you want to make a smooth transition into a place,
it is best to go gently and quietly into its spaces to first absorb and understand
and then to pitch changes if they are necessary or even wanted.

 

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July is here already!

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It’s the Fourth of July! Celebrations are going on in the U.S. but
where I live (in a tropical paradise), nothing seems to be going
on in quite the same scale as the celebrations of years past.

I feel a bit odd that one entire month (June) went by and I didn’t
post a single entry. It is not that I don’t write every single day,
because I do, it just hasn’t been the kind of writing that I feel
comfortable sharing. Not sure what that’s about.

My husband was away for almost the entire month of June. He
returned quite exhausted and seems to have caught a bug, maybe
on the airplane? I feel bad for him but in a way, perhaps it is best
to let him rest while I catch up on some of the writing that I have
put on the side so I could devote myself to doing the chores that
keep our household running and that he is usually responsible for.
A few more days won’t make any difference, the poor guy has a lot
of things on his mind.

So July! I have continued to have slow progress with my Weight
Watchers plan and I am confident that by the end of this year, I
will have lost most of the weight I have set myself a goal for. It
would be wonderful to begin 2019 (which feels like it is just around
the corner!) in some new clothes…

I have done some serious decluttering in June. I actually got rid of
a good amount of clothing and knickknacks that were not bringing
me any joy. It is amazing how light one feels after disposing of items
that no longer fit one’s life. I finally accepted that I was keeping things
for the wrong reasons. For example, a friend of mine gave my daughter
and me earrings that were crafted by her then-boyfriend, a man I know
and whose behavior has impressed me, but not in a good way. I never
wore the earrings because they were too long for my short neck and my
daughter never wore hers because they were not in a style she liked. But
I felt I needed to keep them because my friend might be hurt if I found
another home for them.

A few months after the earrings were given to us, my friend’s relationship
ended. The artist boyfriend began a new relationship and a year later, that
one also ended. Every morning, I saw the earrings. I moved them from one
side of the dresser to another.  I began to question why I still had them.
One serendipitous night as I was watching Youtube, I ended up catching a
video on Marie Kondo, the decluttering consultant…she has a very unique
way of approaching decluttering. You have to gather all the items you own
wherever you are working. You hold each item in your hand until they either
spark “joy” or not. If they still give you joy, that is your permission to keep
them; otherwise, it is best to find a new home for them.

I held each pair in my hands. Waited for the “joy” that never came. I made
two beautiful packages for these lovely items and then placed them with
other “treasures” I was giving away to the local Animal Shelter for their
fundraising campaign. It felt so good to send the earrings to a place that
I know will find someone they can bring joy to.

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In and On Plan

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I begin every morning with fruit. Early this morning, I realized I had
finished the last of my blueberries yesterday morning and completely
forgot to buy new fruit. Then I remembered I had a lovely salad left
from yesterday’s lunch which included two slices of tomato! Tomato
is fruit…so I added a bit (a lot actually) of cottage cheese and voilá,
my dilemma was solved. If only all of life’s tribulations could so easily
be remedied.

It has been a hectic week. I have travelled to the U.S. for just a few
days to take care of some very necessary errands and I am fully aware
that two of the ten days are traveling days so don’t really count. It is
eye-opening to see just how little one can actually get done in a week
in New York. Life here is hard, it seems much harder than when I was
younger and living here. Living in a tropical paradise where everything
moves slower has definitely spoiled me for the hectic pace that is kept
here.

I find I am more sensitive to the sounds, smells, and attitudes than I ever
was before. Although I excuse people because the pace of New York has
always been very fast, I find myself feeling disoriented and quite out of
touch with what the population of New York finds important. Listening to
the news is always disconcerting, journalism finds its success in sensation-
alizing everything but there is no doubt there are situations of violence on
every corner of this melting pot, patchwork quilt or mosaic, pick your term!

My visit is coming quickly to an end. I am blessed by having the most loving
children and for them I am grateful. My work here for the moment is done
and I will be back late in the summer to get any shopping done that I want.
For now, I will enjoy my last day in the company of my children, taking nice
pictures to share with my husband back home.

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