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Do I Have to Let Go? December 31, 2009

Filed under: emotions,meditation — Susan @ 1:21 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I’m reading a lot of Tweets and blogs today about people saying “Good riddance!” to 2009. 2009 sucked very much for very many people. There were big personal tragedies and losses, and the economy was terrible, and I KNOW I KNOW I KNOW.

But I have to admit that I am feeling kind of… attached to 2009. This is the year that I finally found health. I finally got fit, and finally lost the weight that has plagued me for most of my adult life.

I am just the teeniest bit afraid of 2010, and part of me is not READY to move on. What if 2010 is the year of my downfall? I know, I know, I’m not supposed to think like that. But for me, 2009 was kind of a miracle and part of me would not be surprised if 2010 was sort of back to business as usual.

I feel like I’m the only person out there who isn’t completely ready to step into a new year.

I hope that my New Years’ Eve will help me make this transition gracefully. First I’m going to lead the Very Last WW meeting of the year (filling for another leader) at my center. Then, in the evening I’m going to a lovely, cozy soup party hosted by a dear friend. Then I’m going to meditate in the New Year at the meditation center where I haven’t been in way too long. Hopefully, by the time the clock strikes, I’ll be ready for a new year.

 

Goals for 2010 December 30, 2009

Are these resolutions? I don’t know. They’re more like a list of things I want to accomplish in the coming year. Many of them are kind of ambitious. I have to say, that having the success I did here in 2009 has boosted my confidence for ANY goals. So I am ready to take these on.

Here goes. In 2010, I hereby declare, I intend to:

  1. Complete a half marathon on February 7th. Given the state of my ankle, any sort of locomotion (walk/jog/run) is fine with me, as long as I complete in the allotted time, which I believe is at a 14min/mile pace.
  2. RUN one-quarter of the first Oakland Marathon on March 28th. YAY Team Penguin!!
  3. Qualify to join the National Weight Control Registry. If I maintain at least a 30 lb weight loss by June 23,  2010, I will qualify.
  4. Pitch, write and publish an article (hopefully about the benefits of blogging for health and weight loss) in Weight Watchers magazine. It would make me no less than ecstatic if I could somehow merge my health and writer selves.
  5. Fit into my 1988 wedding dress.
  6. Become a WW Diamond Leader by the end of 2010. This means being in the top 20% of leaders in the country – in terms of members losing weight and being successful, and a few other parameters. This would be so awesome!
  7. I might keep adding to this list as the year goes on.
 

BodyBugg: It’s All Information December 28, 2009

I’ve been doodling around with my new BodyBugg for the past couple of days. Some people might think a device like this is the ultimate in obsession, but for me, it’s just more Information. Just like the number on the scale is just that: information (or as we say in WW, “Feedback not failure.”) I have been really curious about my REAL calorie burning in relation to what I’m taking in. So it’s been interesting.

The things I’ve learned should not come as a complete shock, but it has been illuminating.

1. I actually do burn calories while I sleep!! Of course I “knew” this on some intellectual level, but to wake up and see “486 calories burned” between 11pm and 7am, was… pleasing. :-) I think I had this naive belief that I only “burned” calories while I was exercising. Like if I went to the gym, it was so many hundred calories, but if I didn’t, it was… zero. Again, I KNEW that wasn’t true, but still, to see it confirmed was interesting.

2. All exercise is not created equal. Of course, I “knew” this one too, but really it has been kind of surprising. Also, the number of “calories burned” on the cardio machines at the gym bear little resemblance to what I am hoping is a more accurate count from the BodyBugg.  Of course, the machines say you burn way more. :-(

3. Comparatively speaking, an hour of Nia class burns a lot less (215!!!!) then an hour on the elliptical (420) which in turn is less than an hour of running on the treadmill. (550) Which is also sort of obvious, but another way I used to trick myself. It doesn’t mean I’m going to stop doing Nia. It means that on Nia days, if I want to keep me In-and-Out ratio about the same, I need to eat a lot less. OR do a lot of other activity to balance it out.

The BB is pretty cool. It tells me the # of steps per given period (the only day I broke 10K this week was today, when I was running on the treadmill), a very elaborate breakdown of food and food types (I do eat way more carbs than I think I do!!!), number of minutes of “physical activity” or I guess what IT considers exercise, and then overall calories burned which can be broken down by period.

Also, see the graph where it says Cal/Min? That is interesting to me bc when I am on a cardio machine, I always try to aim for 10-11 cal/min. But according to the BB, I never achieve that. Even when I was running today, it only reached 9 cal/min at the max, and I was pumping it out. So that’s interesting.

Here’s a report from yesterday. That big spike in the middle is from when I was at Nia class. But it didn’t last very long, and I think most of the class was pretty mellow. But I did do a lot of walking around and shopping before and after, so you can see the little peaks around it. I think that is what saved it. Also,  I didn’t have QUITE that much of a deficit because I did not log every single thing last night. Apparently, it thinks I should be eating AND exercising more.

It’s all interesting. But then I’m a huge gadget geek, so I love this stuff.

 

Amazing Grace December 27, 2009

Today was a wonderful day. Started with a WW meeting which just felt… good. Not packed with people, but great energy. Then I went to a Nia class, something I haven’t done in what feels like a long time. (weeks?) It was one of those transcendental, beautiful Nia classes. It felt so energizing/calming all at once, and very moving. It ended with everyone sitting in a circle while we listened to a beautiful rendition of “Amazing Grace” by the Soweto Gospel Choir. It was so emotional for me, sitting there and listening to that music.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

I really felt those words. A year ago I truly was wretched. I was unhappy, unhealthy, and sad. I can’t believe the  journey I have been on this year. A few people were crying as we sat there. I got a big lump in my throat.  Then she played a chant of Om Namo Bhagavate, as a send off for her upcoming trip to India. As we sat, the instructor walked around and I heard a little “plink” on the floor. She put a little Buddha charm in front of each of us.  Another beautiful anchor for this year. The back of it has an inscription that translates to “Buddha bring me safety and comfort” or something like that. I felt so so happy when I left that class.

It’s truly been a year of grace.

 

A Very Foodie McBody Christmas December 26, 2009

I had a great Christmas. It was one of the nicest Christmases I can actually ever remember. Even though I was out shopping late Christmas Eve, something I swore I would not do, I was still in good spirits throughout.

Foodwise, I had a pretty decadent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I am certainly up a few pounds. But that’s really the end of it. (I am so relieved!) I don’t have any big plans for New Years’ Eve, and I don’t celebrate Boxing Day. I don’t even know what Boxing Day is. I guess I could look it up. Okay, so they say it’s a day of “cold buffet” (ie., leftovers?!) and parlour games.  That just seems… um, obvious?

On Christmas Eve, we went to our neighbors’ house for their traditional jumbo breaded fried shrimp and cookie and champagne fest. Ah, it was so good. I had two champagne cocktails, about 4-5 giant shrimp and about five cookies. Which I can tell you is a fraction of what I ate last year, and previous years. I enjoyed every bite of those things, and I felt full but not painful when I left.

Yesterday we had ham, turkey, some incredibly decadent scalloped potatoes, creamed spinach.  All of it (except the scalloped potatoes) we got from the Honeybaked Ham store. Now I know that HB ham is probably not the most nutritious thing on earth. I know it’s all injected with glucose and salt and chemicals and stuff. Do I care? Hmm. Last year and before, I’d say probably not. But for me, Christmas dinner has to be all about EASE. I can’t cope with shopping, cleaning, wrapping etc AND cooking some multi-day meal. Maybe if I lived near a bunch of relatives where everyone makes a dish. But it’s pretty much all on me so it has to be easy.

Our easy Christmas morning breakfast is traditionally those giant Pillsbury cinnamon rolls, yeah the Cinnabon kind. We wake up, make the giant rolls, then open presents. It’s that typical Christmas morning smell. It’s also.. yeah, easy. But I felt kinda sick after my roll yesterday and felt like, I wish I’d made a nice caramelized onion frittata or something else proteinish for breakfast. Again, no time. Next year I might consider tweaking this particular tradition. Or maybe not. Hey, it’s just ONE DAY. I don’t need to eat another Cinnabon for another year.

I got some fabulous presents this year. Some of the best ever. One was a BodyBugg, which I have been desiring ever since I started watching Biggest Loser. I am very excited about really knowing the calories I’m burning. I have not quite figured it all out yet. I was hoping to get it rolling this morning but I’m still having some technical difficulties. So I’m gonna have to wait until tech support is on hand, probably Monday.

I also received a panini press, which I have been wanting for eons. I am so excited about this. I love warm sandwiches. I love grilled cheese. The great thing about this is that it makes warm sandwiches without having butter all over the bread, which is a huge calorie saver. And I can also use the great thin low-point bread. So it’s all good! We had some leftover ham-and-cheese paninis just now and they were amazing. I’m excited that you can also grill meats (like chicken breasts!) and veggies (like eggplant!) on this machine. I am jazzed, baby.

Santa also brought our family an ice cream machine. I admit this is not exactly a WW endorsed product (HA) but I am feeling happy and confident. Just because we have an ice cream machine does not mean we are going to be eating ice cream for breakfast, lunch and dinner. But right now there is some homemade vanilla churning away and I am excited.

One of the gifts I gave myself yesterday is that I registered for the Kaiser Permanent Half Marathon in Golden Gate Park on February 7th. A friend of mine is having a Big Birthday that day and she asked for friends to join her in this event.  What a great way to celebrate, right? I am not at all sure my ankle will be able to put up with much running but I’ve decided to racewalk most of it and jog a little if I can.

Last night we watched Julie and Julia on DVD. I love that movie so much. A feature film about a blogger! A food blogger! That alone made me so happy. As did all the food. And best of all the beautiful relationships between the women and their supportive husbands. It made me laugh and cry.

So it was a great Christmas, one of the best ever. It’s the day after, and I am not awash in regret and self-loathing. I’m quite happy. And now I’m going to the gym!! Hope you all had a great holiday. oxoxo

 

Christmas Eve Talent, Unleashed! December 25, 2009

So the awesome MizFit Online has requested that the blogging community participate in the first-ever Christmas Eve Day Virtual Talent Show. How could I resist? I could not.

I laughed my face off at some of the other amazing talent that showed up today!

Josie over at YumYucky takes the cake, by inventing the first-ever cheesecake flavored water! Don’t try this at home! (I sure won’t)

Pubsgal at Opposite Life plays a darn good kazoo.

Fab Fattie Shannon-Knievel performs some absolutely death-defying stunts in the snow. WOW. LOL!

Mary at A Merry Life is a world-class, Olympic level eye roller.

Karla rocks at Healthy Scrabble. Woot!

MizFit has had some sadness in her life recently. She needed some cheering up. I really hope this helped do it for her!! And to all of you in this awesome healthy-blogging community out there, you ROCK. I hope you have a beautiful holiday time.

 

Verklempt. December 24, 2009

I got to my evening WW meeting tonight and was surprised to see my BOSS standing there! He had a present for me: THIS, poster sized, in a big frame. I was… overcome. Really.

(no, it’s not a REAL WW magazine cover, he did it in Photoshop! – what talent, right?) But truly I can’t even express what this means to me, on so many freaking levels. And if you don’t know the significance of this image, read this post.

This week I talked a few times about how on Facebook, there’s that “Year in Facebook” collage app, and it sort of summarizes your 2009 FB status updates. One of the very first updates I wrote in 2009 was: Need to lose weight for medical reasons. I’m scared. I need company. I remember what a frightened, sorry state I was in. But I put it out there. I started this blog. And, as they say, the rest is history.

Boy, see what happens when you put it out there? Did I ever get company. I’m truly overwhelmed with gratitude for this year.

Anyway, speaking of The Big Cheese, his blog post for this week is really funny and yet REAL and true, and what makes WW work at its essence. Having a good time. Planning. Making choices. Being intentional about all of it. And not feeling remorse for indulging, when that indulgence is intentional. He really, truly walks the walk as well as talks the talk. I printed out and read this post at several of my meetings this week and not only did members laugh, I think they really GOT IT.

 

Mallomars and the Big Cheese December 19, 2009

Today was QUITE a day. Started off with a great workout with my trainer, along with a good buddy of mine, L. She is on a path to health and strength and he welcomed her in to the den of torture good times. No, really, it was all good. I was thrilled to bits to introduce them to each other.  And I had an excellent workout, a little surprising since I almost cancelled last night when I thought I was going to absolutely DIE from lady problems. My body is seriously going through some major, er, transition, and it really put me through the wringer last night. Anyway, I recovered in time to get out to the gym and get a nice sweat on.

After that I ran home, showered, fretted over my wardrobe, threw something on and then ran down to our local WW center for a big Town Hall meeting with none other than the Big Cheese, El Queso Grande, the national CEO of WW, David Kirchhoff! I am normally not all gaga over CEO types but THIS one also happens to be a fantastic blogger. A food and weight loss/health blogger! I love his blog. He’s a great writer and I love the way he explores all these issues. Plus, he Tweets every now and then which is also fun. So I was very excited to meet the guy in person.

When I got there, he was already talking and I kinda snuck in and sat in a back corner. He had a lot of interesting things to say, about health care and obesity, about the Company, about the direction it’s going in, etc etc. He’s also a very compelling, relaxed but energetic speaker. He told a great story about the beginnings of WW, which began with this Queens housewife named Jean Niditch back in the 1960s. I had heard a little bit about her during my training, but I’d never heard…. the Mallomar story!

As he told it, apparently Jean had been overweight her whole life and tried every desperate thing under the sun, none of which worked. And finally she found some medical weight loss clinic which recommended pretty much what WW does today: healthy food, in reasonable amounts. And it sorta worked for her but not really. Because she was eating what they told her, but as it turned out, she was also eating from a stash of Mallomars she kept in her laundry hamper. Heh.

(Warning, detour ahead) I really perked up when he mentioned the word “Mallomars.” These cookies have very sentimental and historical significance in our family. We LOVE Mallomars. In fact I once wrote a poem about my grandmother and Mallomars:

Mallomars

When I grew sophisticated enough

at age seven

to distinguish between

fresh Mallomar cookies and stale,

I decided

that stale was better.

The chocolate cover,

a deep brown waxy dome,

cracked softly between my teeth,

and the marshmallow inside

was chewy and resilient.

The cookie bottom would have

long lost its crunch

and would dissolve

like sweet crumbled dust

in my mouth.

My grandmother paid attention to

these details:

she would age the Mallomars

like fine wine in the cellar

carrying the yellow boxes downstairs

and laying them deep

into a shelf in my father’s cool dusty workroom.

She would mark the date

on the slick plastic package,

her katakana characters wavering

under a ball point pen.

Six months, ten months later,

my grandmother

would emerge like a

triumphant diver

at the top of the cellar stairs,

waving the treasure,

wiping the sawdust away

cultured chocolate pearls

brought up from

the depths.

Well, I’ve learned that you can’t GET Mallomars in most of California. And in fact you can only get them for a few select months out of the year. They’re very seasonal, like Dungeness crab. OK, I digress. Back to Jean. Apparently it was not until she confessed her Mallomar stash to the other “fat ladies” (Jean’s words, not David’s or mine) that she was able to make progress with her weight loss. Ta-daa! Isn’t this just what I wrote about the other day? He mentioned more about the toxic nature (or was it the burden?) of shame, and how the act of coming together and speaking truthfully with these other women was what became the very first WW meeting, and what helped her to lose her weight for good.

Now, I have not known a lot of WW meetings to be super deep and confessional places, although SOME of them are, particularly ones that are led by people who show that example and open it up for members. I would hope that eventually my members will feel comfortable enough to share some of the things that hold them back. I can see how the training materials we get are designed to support people in that way.

Anyway, more stuff was said, including some rather extensive commentary about Valerie Bertinelli (LOL), which I found amusing. Also the great quote that we do not necessarily make bikini models, but we make healthier people. Hooray for that.

And he said that great leaders need to be leading More Meetings, at which point, my boss gave me this Look, and we both cracked up because of all my angsting over balance and more and more and more meetings. But at that moment if Big Cheese had asked me to lead fifty-three meetings a week, I probably would’ve said yes.

OK. This post is getting way long. Here’s the punch line. I had been mulling over, SHOULD I mention anything about blogging? Or my blog? Or the fact that we seem to be Twitterquaintances? And before I could decide, the meeting was over, and he was about to rush off to the airport, and I thought, I better go say something! and lo and behold, HE WALKED up to ME and said, straight off, something to the effect of: “I know you from your blog! It’s a great blog!” I can’t actually remember if he said, “Your blog is great,” or “I like your blog,” or WHAT, but it was something like that.

Um. I was… FLOORED.

David Kirchhoff actually reads my blog?!?!?

:-)

Let me just say, it made my day. I spluttered and stuttered and who knows what else. And then he said, “You’re a lot more prolific than I am,” to which I said, “Well jeez, you are traveling all the time, it’s incredible you manage to do as much as you do.” And it’s true. His blog posts are so thoughtful, and he includes pictures and links and they’re not just these little throwaways. He thinks about this stuff.

So then I had my boss take a picture of us (!!!!!!!!!!!! can you see that I’m just like, squeeeing with joy?!) and then he went on his way and I’ve just sorta been on cloud nine all day.

It was a great, great day! Mallomars and the Big Cheese all in one place. And suddenly I got all re-energized.

 

Tradition? Tradition! December 18, 2009

I had been a little worried about various traditions during the holiday period. One thing I always do is make mega-batches of sugared pecans to give away to friends, teachers, coaches, etc. They are so easy and yet so festive and delicious. But a little voice inside me was saying, “You’re not going to do THAT, are you?”

Well, I’m not going to make them and then eat a whole bag of them myself. Or keep them in a giant open bowl on the counter and grab a handful every time I go by. I’m not going to do that. But I am going to make them, and give a lot of them away, and keep some and eat them in a slow and mindful fashion. That I’ll do.

Another tradition Mr. McBody and I have is to purchase one bottle of Bailey’s Irish Cream during the holiday time. Usually we drink one glass (each) while trimming the tree, and then we drink a little more when wrapping presents on Christmas eve. It’s not like this huge alcoholic blowout thing, it’s a little indulgence. But I thought, oh oh, we won’t be drinking our Bailey’s. But why the heck not?? So I bought a bottle, and we enjoyed it very much during the tree trimming, and the rest of the bottle is there. Realizing that we could still do these things Even Though I’m On this Healthy Path was like this huge lightbulb moment. Wow, I’m not dieting! I’m LIVING.

This lightbulb moment reminds me of a blog post I just read by Man Meets Scale, who, incidentally, I am going to meet tomorrow at an official WW  event!! I am very excited about this. I’m going to tell him what a huge fan I am of his blog. And maybe bring him a piece of fancy chocolate for his stocking. :-)

I also happen to be at the lowest weight I have been all 2009. It’s a funny number. As soon as I get into this number, something always goes Boing! in my head and I immediately start bouncing up. I’ve been trying to talk myself down this time though. I don’t know if it’s nervousness at going into this Very Unfamiliar Territory, or it’s a weird relaxation of focus because I think I’m “there” (whatever “there” is) —  but this time I am wondering if I can actually STAY at this particular number and maybe even edge beyond it once we are in 2010. It’s a very curious little mind game I play with myself. Because to go beyond THIS number means…. I don’t even know what it means. It means something, though.

 

Shining A Light into the Darkness

I got an email recently from one of my blog readers, who was responding to my jacket post. She said,

You (maybe because you are now thin?) are able to speak about things that I (and many) have also experienced, with such shame. It is so awful to be too big to fit into any jacket in the store and I’ve been there!  It’s always moving and fascinating to me that you can put this stuff out into the blogosphere, where I’ve just been mortified.

It really struck me, these words. And I thought, well maybe it is easier to write about these painful experiences because I’m not exactly in that place now (I wouldn’t exactly say “thin” but that’s another point). BUT I also think it is writing exactly about these things that has allowed them to change and heal. I really believe this.

For so long I felt such terrible shame and hatred (for myself) for being overweight, and out of shape, and for using food compulsively, and just ALL of it. I thought I was dealing with it: I went to numerous therapists, but that was very private. I went to a few “groups” and talked about it there, but that somehow didn’t do it either. I really felt resigned to having to live that way forever. It was very painful.

Finally when I decided that I NEEDED TO DO SOMETHING, I was casting about in the dark. I just knew I had to somehow throw myself out there, and be honest about it, or it was never going to change. I had to describe all the angst of it. I somehow knew that this was the only way out.

And it turned out to be true.

Sometimes I think about this blog and it makes me so emotional. I really believe it saved me (along with other things). This blog saved me. And so did the blogging community. And my friends. And my trainer. And eventually my family when I felt safe enough to share with them. And the Twitterers. (Tweeters) Y’all know who you are. But it was all about SHARING stuff that felt massively secretive before.

Now, I have another part of my life that could use a little light. Something that has plagued me as long or longer than the weight stuff: my unending clutter. I know somehow these things are related.

SO since it worked so well here, I’ve decided to start yet another blog to focus on THAT issue. And I am hoping that, like with this blog, I will find a community of both inspiring mentors and also struggling companions who are in the same boat as me. I have a RL (real life) friend who is helping me in a real, physical way. I am very very excited about this. I feel hopeful.  It’s another area that has brought me a lot of shame and upset and mortification. But I’m ready to shine the light.

 

 
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