Category Archives: Nutrition and Diet

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.

cottage cheese wikipedia image

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!

and more on United!

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Avalon Reef Isla Mujeres
Quintana Roo, Mexico.

When I first began to write this blog, I thought I would be dealing with weight issues.
I didn’t really think it through and have come to the realization that writing exclusively
about weight issues is actually quite boring and self-defeating.

I am fat. Objective sentence. Writing or not writing about that is not going to change it.
Signing up for the many (last chance! time running out!) specials run by those whose livelihood
is tied up with those that are overweight and not happy about it has not made a bit of long-
term difference in my case. I am an expert in nutrition, I know what has to be done and just
don’t do it. So spending money foolishly is not very smart. And creating a blog page devoted
to writing about it was also not a good idea. However, I do have the blog and rather than spend
time trying to create another blog, I will just expand the topics in this one.

I’d like to continue yesterday’s essay on United Airlines and their current public relations
daily nightmares! Today in the news, we read that a couple traveling to their destination
wedding was also asked to leave the plane. I don’t know about you, but by this time, I have
an inclination to give United the benefit of the doubt. Call me cynical but I think many
will try to capitalize on the current (negative) reputation to their own advantage. We will
never know the whole truth but I hope the newlyweds will begin their marriage without lies
to each other and that they will be able to trust one another after (or if) they were in
cahoots to get better seats to their destination place. Score for United on this one…but
I am sure it won’t be the last we’ll hear about people’s experiences. I am a long-time flyer
with United and have my own share of adventures, but those I’m saving (all names will be changed)
for the blockbuster I will write!

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Remembering my childhood!

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obese youngster clipart

Whenever Geneen Roth tells us her weight story, she mentions that she when she “quit”
dieting, she was about 50 lbs. overweight, had one sundress that fit her and decided
that she was the only one who could make choices about what went into her mouth. A
year after making this monumental decision, she had reached her normal/goal weight and
never looked back. She became a pioneer (author, coach) in the world of weight loss and
has maintained her normal weight, which is a relief to us all, I’m sure.

When I was a child, I was chubby but not yet obese. My mother suffered because she
was very concerned about what people would think of her since she believed (or knew)
that it was her inattention to me that made me overeat. I don’t remember much about
the causes, I enjoyed eating and since my grandparents had a small grocery store, I
never had any reason to go hungry. My father (then and now) has never made a single
remark about my weight although it has gone up and down my entire life. I guess it
was something that just never entered his “circle of concerns”.

Today is Father’s Day and I feel particularly happy that I can look back and know that
my father’s love for me transcended whatever number was on the scale. I’m sorry to say
that until I was a young adult, the subject of my weight was never far from my mother’s
mind. I can still remember how she tried to hide the disgust she felt when she saw the
bulges on my back, even though she herself was not exactly thin.

I have not been thinking too much about weight these days. Back in April, I was in
New York where the most delicious foods and desserts are everywhere. Because I was not
motivated to cook, I ate fruit for breakfast, yogurt or a small sandwich for lunch and
dinner out. The portions of dinner were so large that I actually could make one order
last two or three nights. When I came home, I had lost 5 lbs. and I knew it even before
I set foot on my scale. I was pleased with the way my clothes fit, 5 lbs. on my small
frame might not be noticeable by others, but I sure could tell. It was a sort of victory.

Fast forward one month: my husband cooks lovely, calorie-rich meals and although I am the
boss of what I put in my mouth, I find it hard (for many reasons) to forgo the food he has
lovingly spent hours preparing. I need to revisit the subject because I know it is not about
his wanting to sabotage or anything like that. I can control what I eat for breakfast and
lunch and even dinner…but sitting in front of the television afterwards makes me crave a
glass (or two or three) of wine with some accompaniment. As I said, this is something that
I need to revisit.

Quick the month is almost over!

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New-Weight-Watchers-Plan

I have been away from home for about three weeks. In those three weeks, I have had the
chance to do a lot of soul searching, etc. I am dumbfounded to realize that given the
opportunity, my first instinct has not been to reach for the unhealthy, high-calorie snack…
it seems like a new discovery.

I came back home having lost 5 lbs. without any effort. I simply ate what I wanted when
I wanted and stopped when I was full. I suppose I should look into vitamins but it seems
that my body is very good at balking at foods that don’t go down well (in my case, yes,
a certain tendency to lactose intolerance and wheat allergy) and when I listen to the
needs of my body, it actually craves water, fruits and vegetables. I can’t say I don’t
love my cheeses, nuts and fine dining opportunities but I can definitely say that I am
not a food addict. I just need to be mindful when I eat and simply let go of the idea
that numbers matter…not weight, not size, but instead the health, energy and vibrancy
that I feel in the morning when I awake.

My tremendous problems with a recent bout of plantar fasciitis seems to be lessening.
I believe as a result of better eating and a little less weight not to mention the
wonderful technique of low dye taping to protect them arches!

A new discovery about Obesity…

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New ‘Biggest Loser’ Study Shows Why It’s So Hard to Keep Off Lost Weight

I read the above article and everything related to it with much interest. It is
amazing how much or how little we know about metabolism etc. I had successfully
maintained a 35 lb. loss for over 25 years until I became complacent and began to
eat in a disorganized manner. Today, I weigh about 40 lbs. more than the maximum
for my height and I can feel it. It isn’t that I feel “ugly”, it’s actually more
that after walking for a while, climbing stairs, doing chores, my body feels the
aches and pains that come with age, certainly, but more importantly are the result
of the excess weight I have put on my small frame.

When I was a child, my mom was very concerned with my weight. I was overweight, yes,
but I was never obese until the last couple of years. Right now, I am concentrating
on being mindful of what I eat, knowing that my metabolism has always been slow as a
result of who knows what! All I know is that the referenced article made me feel like
I have been right all these years at being mad at Michelle Obama for simplifying what
it takes to lose weight, it is often not just a question of getting rid of the junk
food, the problem is much deeper than that. Having said that, however, I do think
that those of us who have slower metabolism and a tendency to love food and put weight
on quickly really do need to be mindful about what we put in our mouths.

I have been “non-dieting” for the last 6 weeks or so. Although I think personally that
I need to weigh myself every day, I am not obsessive about it. I can feel by the way
my clothes fit that my body is undergoing a positive change. I am rarely hungry and
since I must cook for myself these days because I am away from my husband for a few weeks,
I find that I can discipline myself and do other things (like write!) instead of opening
a refrigerator to look to see what I can shove into my mouth.

Today will be a good day. My thoughts are with all those people who are more than 100 lbs.
over their maximum because that in itself brings a whole other dimension to what we call life.
May they all find their way, 10 lbs. or 100 lbs. are lost the same way, one meal at a time.

Being present

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Being in the moment is something that is a bit difficult for me to accomplish since my tendency towards being scattered is ever present. Yesterday and today have been good changes from the normal in terms of my being able to focus on the activity or task at hand. I am not sure why it is happening but rather than question it, I will strive to make it a new, good habit.

Yesterday was laundry day, most Mondays are. In between laundry though, I thought I would begin the overwhelming task of looking in our garage to determine what bag or box I should tackle first. I should back up and explain that we have been ’empty-nesters’ for almost three full years and yet many of our rooms still house the toys, the clothes, the posters, etc. that our three children have left behind…they are all over the age of 20 now and so is much of their stuff. I suppose if I were meaner, I would call myself a hoarder…but I won’t, what’s the point? Gentle is my code word these days.

So, back to the laundry. I decided I would just pick one bag, it was a really large and heavy bag which I asked our gardener to bring to the laundry room for me. In the laundry room, I carefully opened it since years of being on the garage shelf might render anything possible! Instead I was presented with dozens of jeans (circa my sons at age 10!), socks, pajamas, t-shirts, etc. I inspected everything and made two piles: one for the garbage, another to be laundered and packed up for charity.

I asked my gardener to take the discarded stuff to the garbage and he peered inside the bag and asked if he could take it to his home and see if there was anything that could be used by them…of course, I agreed and decided that as long as it was no longer cluttering my home, all was well. Today, as I finish the folding of the last load of usable clothing, I feel tremendously light and happy that I was able to concentrate on this one task (which took more than 4 hours) without giving up, getting upset, beating myself up, or eating from the stress. Two good days!

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Not just fat, obese!

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Loma_Linda_University_Vegetarian_Food_Pyramid

I weighed over 8 lbs. when I was born. That’s a big baby! All through
my childhood and adolescence I remained overweight much to my mother’s
chagrin. You see, Mom was a social worker and she was well-versed in the
ramifications of obesity. Not only was she embarrassed by my weight, she
carried the unfair burden of supposing it was all caused by her lack of
attention to me because she was a working mother who on top of all that,
went to university at night to continue her studies and obtain her Master’s
degree…in of all things: family practice!

Eventually, at age 19 as a result of some negative remark I heard from a
mean co-worker, I decide to go on a crash diet which left me hungry but I
did manage to lose weight which I kept off for the better part of 25 years.

16 years ago, I was hospitalized for a bacterial infection which required
massive doses of a antibiotic which also required me to eat a very high calorie
diet until I was released from the hospital a few days later. I gained 6 lbs.
and ever since then, have been gaining steadily until I am now not only fat
but obese. I guess seeing that word and applying it to myself is something that
has taken a bit of time to sink in.

In the last year, I have not gained any additional weight. When I look at
pictures of myself, I cannot accept that it is really me. I resemble my much
more obese sister which is hardly any consolation. I look at my body from
all angles, they equally disgust me. Then I read stories about young people
who are born with horrible diseases, or who die tragically and unexpectedly and
I chide myself for being so superficial. I just read earlier today that a
successful and beautiful actress might be suffering from anorexia and I scold
myself yet again that with all my blessings, I make the issue of weight one
that brings me such shame.

I have successfully lost weight in the past…often. I know what to do, I have
more than a passing interest in health and nutrition. Each morning, I wake up
with renewed commitment to eat only when hungry and try to eat healthily because
I actually enjoy having a plan and sticking to it. The last few months have been
horribly painful in terms of all the losses (of people near and dear to me) that I
have had. Although I have never considered myself a binge eater or even an emotional
eater, I feel today that I have grossly misled myself.

Because food is necessary for our survival, it is near impossible for people with
eating issues to successfully and permanently navigate the complex world of weight.
Today, I stood in front of my mirror. I almost cried when I beheld the folds in
my back, the dimples in my thighs and the way my stomach bulges. I felt sadness
and anger in turns. Sadness that I let myself get this big, anger that I let myself
get this big. And then I took a deep breath and remembered the words of a diet guru
who says we should be happy with the body we have now while working toward obtaining
the body we want/deserve/need. So I put aside all blame and anger and came to the
kitchen to eat a tiny bit of healthy food which has served to nourish my body and my
soul. For today, that is enough; tomorrow will be another today and will take care
of itself.

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