Category Archives: Nutrition and Diet

Community

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One of the reasons I think I will be successful with this weight-loss attempt is that
I have signed up and in to the online community and perused the many successful
and not so successful stories there. I uploaded my picture which is something I have
not wanted to do in the past. A few minutes ago, my daughter showed me a family
picture that goes back almost 4 years and I can see the difference between then and
now. Like I told her, I was fat there already but now I long to go back and fit into the
blouse I was wearing.

Earlier this year, when I was going through one of those periods of de-cluttering, I saw
that pretty fitted blouse and decided it was just taking up room in my closet and it was
pointless to keep it so I packed it up and (along with many other cute things) gave it
to one of my cousins who has lots of relatives and friends who could use it. I am a little
sad now, it was a lovely peach color that flattered my complexion and the style was very
unique. I am sure that my reasoning went something like this: Well, it’s never going to fit
me again, it’s taking up room, if I ever get down to that weight again, I can always go out
and buy a new one…I know you can identify with this if you are trying to keep from being
one of those people who has 3 different sizes in their closet. For the longest time, I was
always sure that from one year to the next, my size would be the same so I had a lot of
clothes. I still have way too many clothes (I love clothes at all sizes) but now it takes me
a long time before I’m ready each morning because I have to try and discard.

I feel good today. I went to bed a little bit hungry and I think it’s because I have not been
eating enough protein. I will be more diligent in the future because the worst thing that could
happen is for me to get sick when I’m trying to stay healthy. I will confess that one of the issues
that concern me is that I have never had to lose this much weight before and I don’t know what
I can do to go slowly and steadily and not have extra sagging skin everywhere. I will invest time
reading about firming up and toning up my body. I know this seems superficial (well, it is super-
ficial) but after seeing before and after pictures of some of the brave souls on WW who post them,
it is not a small thing to me.

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0 point foods!

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I weighed myself this morning even though my official weigh-in date is Mondays. I was very
pleased with the number…well not pleased with the number per se, but pleased that the number is
less than it was on Monday morning when I started the new plan.

I went to bed hungry last night. I haven’t felt hungry in a few years. I am shocked that I could
have let myself get this heavy, which I have mentioned previously and which I won’t really dwell
on. My husband returns on Tuesday. It is my intention and goal to set up menus for our meals
which will satisfy both of us. I know now that my downfall in the last three years has not been that
he is a great cook (although he is) but that I do pop the odd cookie and chocolate into my mouth
and forget that I ate it and repeat the process a few times a day. With this new weight watchers
freedom plan, it doesn’t make any sense to have one cookie for 2 or 3 points (my max is 23 points
per day) when I can have a hard boiled egg for 0 points or a fruit or a vegetable for the same 0!
Oprah is happy because she can eat bread! I don’t care about eating bread, I’d rather be able to
enjoy my nightly 1 1/2 oz of expensive excellent Hennessy cognac!

By this time next year, I hope to be back at my normal weight but I will be patient and go with the
flow not making anyone suffer because I am on a “d-i-e-t” and not making myself suffer when I
have a less-than-stellar eating day. I think about food and weight all the time. When I was normal
weight, I remember just being very matter of fact about it. I ate almost the same thing for breakfast,
lunch and dinner every day except Fridays when I would have two slices of sicilian pizza (hopefully
the corners) and a large helping of freshly steamed broccoli. I did that for years. Then the weekends
were more relaxed but did not include sweets, cake, or alcohol.

When our children were little, the house was replete with food. My feeling was that all food was
valid, nothing was bad, nothing was special. I was never “tempted” by anything. In childhood
our kids were normal weight (except one year when our son discovered McDonald’s and gained
a lot of weight) and candy and cookies would get stale and disgusting because they were not
enticing to them. Naturally, as they got older things have changed. They have discovered that
they like asparagus, lobster, and a whole bunch of other items they would never touch in their
younger years! I have discovered what they really like is the taste of butter, and bacon…as in
asparagus wrapped in bacon and lobster drenched in butter. Oh well, I did the best I could, now
they are adults and know what’s what.

I have had a good week. It went by very quickly. I learned how to make a few zero point meals
and have even been able to roll over some points to use on the weekend. I will be making chili
on Sunday and I intend to enjoy every bite of it. I have noticed that food really, really tastes
good when one has not been eating all day!

Monday Morning Musings!

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Mondays are busy days for me. I do the laundry, I wash my very curly hair,
I have meetings in the afternoon, and today, I actually made an appointment
to have my teeth cleaned! Really? On a Monday? Well, I wasn’t thinking when
I made the appointment but it’s actually a good thing because it will motivate
me to putting a little more energy and less procrastinating into my morning.

I joined Weight Watchers last night so that I could start my week in a good way.
It is not my first time with WW but I am happy to say it is not my 10th either!
I believe I have accepted that I can’t/won’t go it alone. I need the accountability
and discipline that tracking food offers. It’s tough to accept that but going along
with that “mind game” of pretending to be invited to the Royal wedding in May
will have to be my incentive. I need to lose about 50 lbs. really but I am starting
with 30! 43 years ago I lost 35 lbs. in 4 months…probably won’t happen that
fast this time, but I am confident that I can do it.

My husband is away. We have talked about my desire to eat less (we eat pretty
healthily but overeat and snack heavily at night). He does not think it is necessary
but he is not the one who is out of breath from a short walk or have achy joints
every morning (well, maybe he is but he’s not sharing!).

I feel good, eager to see some creative recipes and learn the new “program”.

I hope for a good week. So far, I have eaten one banana (0 points), one cup of
black coffee (no sacrifice since I’ve been drinking my coffee black since 40 years
ago) and I have hard boiled half a dozen eggs to snack on as needed. On my
own, I can be and do enjoy being disciplined about food without being extreme.
The challenge will be when hubby comes back because he is such a great cook!

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A Royal Engagement!

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Ever since I was a little girl, I have tried to image what it would be like to have
been able to marry into the Royal Family! I was a child when the Beatles came
along and that fed into my fantasy in such a way that when people asked me who
I wanted to marry, my pat answer was always: “I want to marry an Englishman.”

Fast forward to Prince Charles and Diana’s engagement and I believe I couldn’t
shake the notion that she was getting into a marriage that wasn’t going to make her
very happy. A man so many years her senior and not very handsome at that, regardless
of his position, education and her prospects. But I suppose I was thinking of my own
situation back then. I had married a serious man many years my senior when I was in
the prime of my youth and very pretty, educated and with many more prospects. Only
I didn’t see myself as particularly pretty, educated or worth more than what I settled for.

So now many years later, Prince Harry has met and proposed to the love of his life: Meghan
Markle. I felt surprised at my own shock! Like Ms. Markle and Prince Harry really care
what I think! But today I realized what a great story it is, how Diana would have been so
proud of her son and that mostly, I wish them much happiness.  In fact, I am so inspired
by this story, I am going to pretend that I will be a guest. Since I would not like to be
photographed at my current weight in a dress that will look like a tent, I have become
very motivated to do something about that! Hey, who knows???

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Pies Galore!

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I don’t remember ever eating pies in my early childhood. I think I started doing
so only when we arrived to New York and perhaps on the first or second Thanksgiving
in the mid 1960’s.

My mom was not a baker. She wasn’t really even a good cook but Thanksgiving got a hold
of her and she relished the holiday year after year because it gave her an excuse to gather
together the small number of family members we had in New York and the large number
of friends she and my dad had made over the years.

I remember Thanksgiving as always being special. The aromas, the large amounts of food
and most of all, the fact that Mom was not paying any attention to how much I was eating.
On this one day, she forgot all about my being overweight and was perhaps thankful for
everything she had, including her fat daughter!

It’s really odd. I always knew I was fat but I never really thought about it until or unless
someone commented. But I guess someone always did. My well-meaning aunts, my mom
who saw my “condition” as an physical reminder of my neediness…teachers, friends, etc.
The ironic thing is that I was never really that fat and if left alone the fat would probably
have disappeared naturally eventually.

By the time I was 14, I had a couple of close friends whose family celebrated Thanksgiving
in a big way, with lots of different foods from my own family.  It was not unusual for me to
partake of two other feasts after or before my family’s! I have nothing but wonderful memories
of this special holiday which remains my favorite till today!

When our children were old enough to help, they did so. Our daughter put together the
packages of flatware in their Thanksgiving napkins, our sons cut up broccoli and cauliflower
florets and trimmed the ends of the green beans. Everyone participated and the atmosphere
at our home was always positive and loving.

My children are all grown up now and they have been celebrating on their own, with their
friends and loved ones for several years. The distance between us (and the cost of travel at
this time) makes me miss them very much but I am grateful for today’s technology and what
it allows us to do in terms of communication.

I am about to start making my list for the small gathering I will host on Thursday. It will
include traditional and non traditional foods and of course, lots of pies.

Happy Thanksgiving to us all.

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Musings…

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It’s almost five o’clock on Sunday afternoon. It turned into a very busy
weekend with activities early Saturday morning until just an hour ago.

I am a lifelong Yankees fan and while I realize the Yankees have a young
team again and we should feel optimistic about chances of World Series
winnings in the next few years, this year it is not to be. I am torn between
rooting for the American League Astros or the National League Dodgers
even though former Yankee Don Mattingly is no longer their manager. Wow,
these are truly superficial first-world problems and I am embarrassed to even
admit these thoughts to anyone but the anonymous internet!

I was at a birthday party today. My husband is away so I attended alone. It was
the celebration of a first birthday for the child of close friends of mine. I was without
a doubt the only non-family member present. Although I knew a lot of the people,
I still felt a bit odd about being there, yet not going was equally not acceptable.
The theme was Minnie Mouse, the decorations, costumes, piñata, cake, etc. were
wonderful. They even hired a DJ who did his utmost to get the audience to take
part in his many clever and fun games. As a writer, I am almost always comfortable
to observe behaviors but today I was a bit uncomfortable to note that the response
from the audience would have made any party planner quit midway in disgust. My
congratulations to the young man who never gave up, smiling through it all. Perhaps
because I am so used to directing events, I found it hard to just sit quietly and let
the event unfold. In any event, the food was good, the cake outstanding and I had
the chance to take many pictures of the happy family.

Tomorrow begins a new week. I have been reading a book called Diary of a Fat Girl
by Lisa Sargese. I am not sure how I found it, probably some pitch by Amazon or
other Kindle book providers who follow my interest in food/weight related reading.
I am really glad that I purchased the book, Ms. Sargese’s sharing of her story has
given me a desire to renew my commitment to maintaining my health while losing
a few pounds. I have always wondered if really heavy people (+400 lbs.) suffer
constant pain but I have never had the nerve to actually ask anyone. The reason it
is of interest to me is that at my current weight (about 185 lbs./short frame), for the
first time in my life, I find it difficult: to climb stairs, to walk without becoming short
of breath, to bounce in and out of chairs like I once did – even at 150 lbs. Ms. Sargese
is candid with her story and addresses things that have never occurred to me.  She
is very smart and hard working and has managed to lose quite a bit of weight in the
last ten years. I have found myself questioning whether I really want that second cookie,
that extra butter, those few nuts. At the end of the days in the last week, I have been
going to bed with a lovely cup of green tea and just the tiniest hint of hunger. I feel good.

Today, I dressed for the party in clothes that did not feel extremely tight and I ate the
food presented to me slowly, enjoying every morsel. I hope this trend continues, I know
that if I successfully lose just 30 of the 50 extra pounds my small frame carries, I will be
so much freer to continue to enjoy my life. I know that part of the reason I don’t feel so
compelled to lose the weight is because I am not keeping myself from doing things. I go
out, I volunteer, I write, I have my parents and children and a lovely selection of good
friends. Still, I would like to fit into some of the cute outfits I still hang in my closet, not
the size 6s but certainly the 12’s! When I look at pictures of me 30 lbs. ago, I long for
those days.

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No shame in being me!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Healthy eating as a mood booster!

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Mondays are crazy days for me. I am one of those people who thrives on routine so this
is the weekday that I choose to wash my hair (long, lots, curly), to do the laundry, change
the sheets and generally make a plan for what the rest of the week will be like.  I try not
to schedule any outside errands so that I can just concentrate on staying in and tidying up
the house from the relaxing clutter that builds up during the weekend.

Yesterday it took me three tries before I found a blouse that fit me properly.  I’ve shared
my weight challenges so we won’t revisit that subject. Suffice it to say that I found myself
in a kind of bad mood yesterday, something I notice happens to me when I reach for
something in the close that I haven’t worn in a very long time. I miss the years when I could
reach for anything and it fit me. But the reason I was upset yesterday is really because the
clothes that are snug (and I hate that snug feeling) are not S or M …they are XL!

After a few hours of mentally bashing myself, I decided to just get on with my day and do
what needed to get done, which included a trip to the supermarket. While at the supermarket
I disciplined myself and DID NOT pick up my favorite cookies or candies. Instead I went for
the veggies and the cottage cheese. I know me, I do so much better these days when the tasty
high calorie items stay outside the house. It wasn’t always so, I could have a cookie and that
would be that, but lately, I am not happy until the package is gone. What’s with that?

This morning, my husband offered me a croissant with butter and jam. I thought about it
for a micro-second, then heard myself replying that I was having green beans and cottage
cheese for my breakfast. He chuckled as he spread a generous amount of jam on his lovely
lightly toasted croissant. I served myself my cottage cheese and green beans and thought
about how lovely it will be when the XL blouse buttons properly. I love starting a busy
day on a good note, it makes every single thing that much nicer. As Tony Robbins once
quipped “Nothing tastes as good as being healthy feels.” I paraphrase, but it went something
like that and I totally concur.

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More random thoughts on fat…

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

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

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

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

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

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Father’s Day!

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

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

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

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

Happy Father’s Day!