Tag Archives: Weight Loss

Self-Esteem is an Issue

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I just spent a good 30 minutes reading all about Karen Carpenter. What did I come away with? That her issues were caused by a strong desire to get the attention of her dismissive mother. How sad, the mother had ample physical evidence and yet chose to be blind as her daughter lost pound after pound. It is heartbreaking and even more disturbing is the fact that even today, despite all we know, there are many many mothers (and fathers) making mistakes that could easily be corrected. Sometimes I wonder what gets into people’s minds when they decide to have children. Then I stop myself and remember that everyone has their own path to follow and it is not my place to be a judge.

Karen Carpenter was beautiful, talented and had no idea of her value. Self-esteem is nurtured in childhood. By her brother’s own account, no one was paying too much attention as Karen dwindled into a waif and then disappeared. I wonder at her perseverance. Having always had a weight problem (but not a body image one, since I accept what I look like!), I know how difficult it is to lose weight. Although I learned early on (from WW) all about sound nutrition for safe and slow weight loss, I can admit to crash dieting, starving and a very minute foray into bulimia. I was too scared to make a habit out of laxatives or vomiting because my desire to live (fat or thin) trumped everything. I thank my lucky stars that this is my way because fat and thin – well, normal weight – I have lived a very good life. It seems like it would be an easy thing to do, boost one’s child self-esteem by just telling the child he/she is loved for just breathing, but it would appear that many people who have children just repeat the same patterns they were brought up in even though in their deepest recesses they can accept these were not healthy. I sincerely hope that all the literature that abounds will one day reach the ears, eyes, and minds of all the people who find it imperative to continue to bring infants into the world.

I am not by nature a fan of dystopia but I can see the downward spiral we are succumbing to. I hope we can stop before it is too late.

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Fit for Life?

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Except for the ugly platter that this fruit is on, this is a mouth-watering variety of fruit, ready-made for a good start to the day.

In my clearing up of bookcases to prepare for painting my bedroom, I came across a copy of Harvey and Marilyn Diamond’s Fit for Life “program” that I had participated in almost 20 years ago. It is amazing how good advice never goes out of style. I also came across a Weight Watchers program guide that dates to 1976 when my mom and my sister were participating in the program. I was at a good weight at the time, they were getting ready for my upcoming wedding! It seems like a lifetime ago, and actually I have experienced many changes and have updated my body for many years. Right now, I am back on WW (they too have had many iterations!) and hoping that this final time will see me going into the final chapters of my life with a manageable weight and good health. So far, it has been slow going but that has its own rewards as my skin is not as wrinkled as it would be if the weight loss were too quick.

But going back to the Diamond’s plan. It makes sense. It’s kind of the advice one would give a friend one cares about: start the day with fruit, move, have good thoughts, keep yourself hydrated, etc. The problem is that we are all distracted by work, family obligations, the need for relaxation which usually involves fattening and delicious food…

I did the plan when I was just 10 lbs. over my goal. It was not something I wanted to do, trying my best to lose the weight naturally by eating healthily when hungry and avoiding binging and eating high calorie junk food. However, I had a friend who was about 25 lbs. overweight at the time and wanted to do something drastic about it. She had heard of a homeopath who was implementing meditation, inserting a tiny device in one’s ear (like acupuncture) and following the Diamond’s plan. The homeopath gave a group discount for three participants so my friend enlisted one other person and off we went. I don’t think I lost a single ounce but I did get to keep the meditation tape, and the book. The acupuncture thing came out of the ear after the three or four sessions, I can’t remember. Doing the program turned into one of my big mistakes, it seems to me that is when my modest but steady weight gain trend began. 20 years later, I had added almost 40 lbs. to my small frame! The instigator of the idea eventually went on to another commercial diet plan where her food intake was monitored (I think she wore a patch for a few months) daily but she did successfully take off the weight and has kept it off for more than 5 years. Our other friend remains the same weight more or less but has been trying to lose also as I have.

The moral of the story for me is this: everyone who is or has been overweight has an individual story to tell. Some people are fat because they love to eat. Some people are fat because they eat in response to emotional triggers. Some people focus so much attention on dieting, their body rebels and hangs on to the weight just in case it ever finds itself stranded on some desert island with nothing to eat…it is protection. In my case, I was a fat kid because bad habits begun when I was a baby (my mom adding sugar to the milk to make up for her absence) continued to my teenage years and I never learned to eat properly and healthily until I was an adult and decided to lose weight for me. I am a veteran dieter. I know any plan will work if you stick with it long enough and although I am a very big fan of WW, I can accept that everyone has the ability to make choices. My choice for today is to stay away from the scale this week until Friday which is my weekly weigh in. I will mindfully plan, prepare and eat my way into health and a good weight for me. I am grateful that my internal panic button did not allow me to add hundreds of pounds to my body. People who have that much weight to lose inspire me and have my heartfelt solidarity and compassion during their journey.

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Such a conundrum…

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Recently, The New York Times posted an article about that controversial topic: eggs! (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/15/well/eat/eggs-cholesterol-heart-health.html)

I have been following the Weight Watchers (WW) program for a little over a year and of course, Zero point foods are an incredibly popular part of success. In the last year, I have consumed more eggs that ever before in my life because they are easy, tasty and zero points.

I “slipped” for a few months from the WW program and gained back 6 lbs. of a modest weight loss. I decided to give the Whole-30 another try since it requires the elimination of high point items like rice and bread, both my pitfalls.  I know that the Whole-30 is really geared towards pinpointing foods that make us break out or give us allergies, etc. but I tried it a couple of years ago, not only did I feel great, I lost 10 lbs. I discovered that I do have a slight allergy to almonds if I eat them in large quantities or in combination with chocolate but I otherwise can tolerate most foods, which is wonderful.

After being on the Whole-30 and only being able to eat eggs as zero point foods (well, veggies and fruits too but no more plain yogurt), I have only lost a couple of pounds which is very frustrating because I was hoping it would move quickly. Then I remembered that Whole-30 is not for weight loss (although that can happen). I am in a spot that I put myself in. At my age, no one is telling me (or frankly caring about) what goes in my mouth. My personal goal is to lose (once and for all this year) the 30 pounds that continue to haunt me.

Although I have never thought of myself as a veteran dieter, the truth is that I had a normal weight for a very long time because I followed a very strict routine. I ate breakfast consisting of a slice of toast, one slice of cheese, a small fruit juice and a cup of black coffee. Lunch was either soup with saltines, or yogurt, an apple and a diet soda. Dinner was a salad. I drank lots of water, did not snack between meals and cannot really ever say I was hungry. I suppose my stomach shrunk. On Fridays, I did indulge in a dinner which consisted of two slices of sicilian pizza (New York style), a large serving of steamed broccoli and a huge shortbread cookie triangle that had pecans and chocolate in one corner. It was a wonderful treat and something I looked forward to for years. I didn’t lose or gain weight with this method and I always had energy, good moods, etc.

My pregnancies were great, I followed the guidelines so that I gained a nice amount of weight to ensure healthy babies (one was 7 lbs. one was 7 1/2 lbs.) and then I joined WW for a few months to safely return to my “normal” weight. A medical emergency almost 20 years ago landed me in a hospital with antibiotics. The doctor ordered a high-calorie diet to ensure no damage to my organs. I left the hospital weighing 6 lbs. more than when I went in. I was unable or maybe just not motivated to lose the 6 lbs. and every year added just one or two more. In the course of 20 years, it adds up. I am now the carrier of an excess of 30 lbs. (at least it’s not the 50 lbs. it was last year!). I don’t like the way I look in pictures and frankly, I want to live for a long time.

So, the article has made it difficult for me to continue to eat my zero point eggs with abandon because now I have to worry that my health will suffer! I am laughing at myself because I might need to go back and just count calories, the only thing that really works. I will be spending my time this afternoon researching the diets (or to be more “correct” – the nutrition plans) of long ago that used simple caloric counts and common sense. I just want to lose the weight, safely and permanently. Wish me luck!

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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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A new approach to losing weight

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I consider myself an expert on matters of weight. When I was born, I weight more than 8 lbs. I was overweight. All during my childhood, I was overweight. This was in the 1960’s when frankly being overweight was not the norm it is today.

I have shared that my mother suffered due to my weight, though I am willing to say that the excess pounds never amounted to more than 10 during my childhood and around 30 during adolescence. It never bothered me much, the excess weight. What bothered me and made me feel really guilty was my mother’s constant criticism, suffering, remedy-seeking and other ways in which I was made to feel inadequate.

My mother was a wonderful and successful social worker and family therapist. Her success, however, did not extend to her family and although I considered myself a good daughter, my weight was a constant reminder to her that she had somehow failed as a mother and that others were judging her for my “problem”.

She tried everything from scolding, to being supportive, to joining Weight Watchers with a view to not only losing weight herself but also to having me join her so I could lose weight. I concentrated on other aspects of my personality, developing the ability to entertain others (a gift inherited from my always-slim father) while taking care of the many household chores that would guarantee me an honored place in the family. I don’t think I have ever really put it in quite these words but I think I was looking to become indispensable so that my weight would not be a factor in my being loved and accepted by Mom.

The many and varied weight loss methods always worked: for a while. Soon after losing and getting to goal weight, the pounds magically reappeared. When I was around 19, an offhand and nasty comment from a coworker spurred me to lose 30 lbs. quickly. That was the extent of my overweight, a number I don’t consider as extreme as I was always made to feel. Perhaps it is because I am very short. I always felt I carried it well, though, wearing nice (I made my own clothes) outfits that complemented my coloring and personality. I do have to admit, though, that after losing the weight, I was happy to go shopping and purchase outfits right from the racks to wear (after hemming of course!). My rapid weight loss was instrumental in forcing me to assess my situation. I decided to apply the good eating habits I learned at Weight Watchers in 1971 and stayed within 5 lbs. for the next 25 years. I gained weight during my two pregnancies but then went right back on a sensible diet and always went back to my new normal weight.

But let’s move on. I am now in my 60’s. In the last couple of years, I have gained weight and although I have lost 20 lbs. in 2018, I still have another 30 or 40 to lose! I am once again following the Weight Watchers method on line because I live overseas. WW has always been my friend, I feel. This new plan, however, is a bit too lax or maybe what I mean is that it has us be completely in control of our eating and I guess I need someone to more or less tell me exactly what to eat. I am a Virgo, after all. Anyway, I stopped tracking for a few weeks and although I did some tracking mentally, I managed to gain back at least 6 lbs.

2018 was a difficult year. I lost my mother in the beginning of it. Later in the year, my older sister died which I have still not fully grasped. We had an odd relationship. I believe she thought we were friends…I could never be myself around her narcissistic person so I never let her see the real me because I sensed that she wanted to take my happiness and get rid of it. It is a terribly lonely feeling which I have yet to address, this lack of sibling solidarity, yet there it is.

2019 is the year I promised myself I will get my office in order and devote myself to writing, which has always been my passion. I owe my mother (who I adored and admired despite her shortcomings) a biography of whatever I have available on her life which is plenty. I also have two novels that I am currently working on.

Yesterday I was tackling the filing system in my office. I am a secretary by profession (well one profession) so I devoted a lot of time to taking a piece of paper at a time, reading it, assessing its place and filing or discarding. I feel that although it is not apparent to the observer, I know that the drawers are in better shape, that alphabetizing has taken place and that much more needs to be done.

While in the office, I saw several weight-loss books that I have purchased over the years. I handled them lovingly, dusting off their jackets and deciding to assign them their own space on my bookshelves. I have realized that I hide my weight loss guides because I am ashamed of being fat. I cannot believe I allowed this to happen to me at a time in my life when weight and its issues should not be important. But here we are. I am determined to giving Marianne Williamson’s A Course in Weight Loss a proper try. The first time around, I was half-hearted. This time I am committed to it. I am not sure whether I am a food addict (I believe I am not) or just an overeater (I am often). I am eager to get back to the place I was in my late 20’s when I needed no scale and ate what I wanted but remained a normal weight for my age, size and current life situation. I am embracing getting back to that place.

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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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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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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Remembering my childhood!

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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.