Wednesday, July 23, 2008

You Should(n't) Be Ashamed of Yourself!

Wow! Thank you all you kind people who made comments on my last post. I realized as I read it that I wrote "incisive" instead of "insightful". Thank you (Isabelle) for not pointing out my mistake. I know you noticed, even if no one else did!

Anyway, I will try to give people the benefit of the doubt and simply say "thank you" to their comments. Cilly's comment made me realize that I too fear falling back into the trap of wanting those compliments so much that I start undereating again. I think more than that however, I (the recovering people pleaser supreme) don't want people to notice my weight loss because I will then disappoint them when I regain all of the weight plus 20 pounds (so goes my thinking anyway). I'll never forget my grad school roommate's mom saying, "You look so good now that you lost weight. Don't gain it back now". Of course I did. Though she never mentioned it, I hid whenever she came to visit.

Four years ago when I lost weight on the "separation from dh diet", the coworker mentioned in the previous post lost weight on the South Beach Diet. We bonded over our weight loss, especially when I went on to lose more on the "got back together with dh diet". We gleefully discussed fat grams and sugar free desserts and the delights of size 6 pants for over a year. I still vividly remember going in to work to confess to her that I'd gained 6 pounds (because I was SURE it showed and she was eyeing me speculatively). She confessed to gaining 3 and we both vowed to redouble our weight loss efforts. When I came back to work after my leg healed, the first thing she said to me was, "Oh, I'm so glad you didn't gain the weight back! I just knew you'd be so worried about that!" These days I still feel a jolt of shame whenever I talk to her, wondering what she thinks now that I did gain back all of the weight, plus some.

In my heart of hearts, I KNOW being ashamed for gaining weight is absolutely ridiculous. It doesn't make me dumber, a worse mother or wife or librarian, or anything. It just makes me larger. I'm really trying to tell myself that people don't care, but that #!^% roommate's mom's comment pops into my head at the most inconvenient times. I try to picture myself making sarcastic comments to her.

Golfing was quite........long. It took the five of us (dh, me, R, C, and my SIL E) FOUR HOURS to play 9 holes of golf! The golf tournament on Sunday may not take quite as long since dh will golf in a foursome with people who can get the ball into the cup in fewer than 15 strokes. Oh my word, was I sore yesterday. My back, shoulders, arms, hand -- all hurt. Though part of the soreness may be from R and my push-up attempts. We are up to 17 "girl" push-ups now. We attempted one "real" push-up when we got to 10 and failed miserably. So we will try again once we get to 20.

I have come to the conclusion that I have been slacking on my exercise for months -- or maybe years. Oh, I exercise daily, but when comparing the way I feel while riding my stationary bike or elliptical to the way I felt when I did step aerobics before my biking accident, the difference is vast. During aerobics I could barely catch my breath and ended up drenched in sweat by the end. After exercise these days I have a smallish patch of sweat on my t-shirt, and during exercise there is no time I am in danger of becoming breathless. Yesterday and today I pushed harder -- and felt better when I finished.

Monday, July 21, 2008

A couple of people have made comments to me lately that have REALLY annoyed me. I'm trying to figure out why, but I'm having difficulty coming up with anything insightful. A woman who brings her grandson to storytime gushed in a loud voice, "Susan! How much have you lost?!?" When I looked at her blankly, she said, "How much weight have you lost? I LOT since last summer!" I said awkwardly, "Well, I don't weigh myself much but no, I'm pretty sure I haven't lost any." She proceeded to argue with me, finally ending with, "Well, you look great anyway." Then last week a coworker was passing me and made sort of an up and down motion with her hands, saying "You're losing weight again. I can tell." I answered, "No, I'm pretty sure I haven't". She also argued with me.

After both of these encounters, I felt vaguely squirmy and dirty. Do I not like attention drawn to the fact that I had gained weight, needed to lose weight, or am overweight? I do definitely feel that it is intrusive to comment on someone else's body, but I also realize that society is obsessed with weight and weight loss or gain. All you have to do is stand in line at the grocery store to realize that people delight in reading "I lost 100 pounds!" stories -- myself included. Judging by the trashier magazines, people also delight in reading about famous people who are caught looking fat, wrinkly, or dimpled by cellulite. I guess I wish I had the guts to say to people, "I know you mean well, but I find your comment very inappropriate". I can just imagine the look I'd get.

My list of reasons I want to be healthy is very short. I suppose that's okay, as long as it's sincere. I'll post it later, but right now I have to go put some clothes on. I took the day off work to spend with my family. We were headed to a local water park, but R fell off her bike last night and skinned her knee, elbow, and hand. So we are all going to play a round of golf together. The annual family golf tournament (I think it might be number 84!) is next Sunday and we need some practice.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Glass IS Half Full....isn't it?

I am really trying to improve my outlook on life. I always thought of myself as an optimist, but somehow along the way my Pollyanna attitude has turned rather Grinchy. This was brought home to me by a rather embarrassing comment made by R: "Mom! Why do you always have to be so crabby about everything?!? I say, "Isn't that water a beautiful shade of green?" and you answer, "It's probably full of algae." I was really taken aback until I realized over the next few days that she was 100% correct. I have become one of those people who has something negative to say about everyone and everything! I am mortified and have resolved to change my attitude. Wowsa -- it's hard! Last evening when I looked at my zinnias growing so nicely, the first thing I thought was, "Hmmm...I thought the colors would be brighter."

I saw my therapist today and told her that my eating behavior over my vacation really disappointed me. I didn't binge, and I ate mindfully at many meals. However, I used the time as an excuse to eat ice cream a lot (okay, I know many people do that on vacation) and I ate with the group mentality quite a few times (you know...everyone else is eating chips/cookies/crackers so I'll join in too). I can't even say that it was due to any particular feeling -- I just used being on vacation as an excuse to eat. I told her that I'd been thinking about why I did it, and thought perhaps part of my psyche still believes that any day now my "willpower" will kick in and I will start starving myself for months. That has been the pattern of my life since I was 15, after all. She said, "But you're working on changing that pattern." I agreed, but confessed that part of me HOPED it would kick in because I'm unhappy with my weight. She suggested that maybe I was purposely trying to force my weight up so that I reach a tipping point and trigger my past behavior. Whoa. Ouch. I think she may be right.

I moaned about how I eat dessert whenever it's offered and just feel deprived if I turn it down. She told me I really need to find some more satisfaction in my life -- if not at work (where I am sooo bored at the moment), then at home or in other areas of my life. Deprivation and work combined with deprivation in other areas of life = food as my only reward. I know she's right. I have been doing better at treating myself well, but I'm still not really quite "there" yet. Part of the problem is my perfectionistic tendencies. I think that I can't possibly scrapbook or work on a craft project if my craft room isn't totally neat and organized. That never happens, so I never work on anything. As for work, she says that passion in all things has to be rekindled from time to time. It doesn't remain high by itself. Huh. I never thought about it that way. I guess it's another example of my Grinchy thinking!

She also suggested that I refocus my thinking. Rather than feeling deprived about not having dessert, I need to think about the reason I'm turning it down. I need to have a clear idea of why I don't want to eat the dessert. So, she wants me to make a list of the reasons I want to be healthy. She suggested that I focus on what I want my life to be like when I'm 50, 60, or 70. Do I want to be able to ride my bike? Stay off blood pressure medication? Walk without knee pain? Etc. I am having trouble coming up with much that isn't superficial (I want to fit into a smaller size!). I shall work on it, along with my attitude.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Scenes From a Vacation

The "cottage" in Wisconsin owned by T's cousin and her husband. It is a work in progress, but is lovely. I think it had five bedrooms and bathrooms (or maybe six!), and a HUGE kitchen, complete with restaurant sized fridge and stove/oven. This isn't even their "real" home -- just their vacation home. They were very gracious about having 60+ relatives invade. I don't know how many of us stayed in the house, but there were 2 or 3 RVs outside, as well as several tents.

We shared the cooking. Our branch of the family was responsible for one dinner and one lunch. Here we are making a Tex-Mex feast. It took 2+ hours too cook all of it, and we spent $555 on groceries for the two meals. In this picture are two of my BILs and SILs and T and me (we're on the right). You can't really see any faces in this picture of the entire group, but I thought it looked pretty impressive to see everyone together. Well, almost everyone. Some of us are snapping photos.
R found the ferry ride from Mackinac Island back to Mackinaw City quite exhiliarating. We took the speedy boat and she loved standing up to feel the wind in her hair.

The vacation was quite fun, though far from relaxing. I took a few strenuous bike rides, but still found myself eating for entertainment. I ate mindfully at most of the restaurant meals we had, but at the cottage, I ate more than my share of smores and birthday cake. Since we got back home I've felt far more normal, though I haven't been exercising much except walking the dog. R and I took a few short bike rides, but tomorrow morning I go back to work and hopefully back to my regular routine.