Visualizing Success November 3, 2011
Retreating October 7, 2011
There’s a bunch to say about my tri training but I’ll leave that for another post. Today I want to write about my “Stories of the Body” retreat that was held at Santa Sabina Center last weekend.
Wow. Just wow. It surpassed my wildest expectations and hopes for what it could mean for 20 women to come together to write, share, contemplate, make art and dance, cry and laugh about their bodies. It was just awesome and made my heart break with happiness.
It made me realize that really, all I want to do is interact with the world like this. In an honest, vulnerable, thoughtful and calm way. It was a turning point. It was good.
That’s really all I want to say about it. Here’s some pictures.
Calling All Zumba-Phobes!! May 24, 2011
(this is not the Official Fitbloggin’ recap, but a special outtake!)
So it turns out that Zumba had a MAJOR presence at Fitbloggin 2011. There was Zumba booty-shaking class, there were Zumba virtual video machines, there were Zumba instructors and there was Zumba swag.
I just came home with the Zumba swag.
I’ve been to exactly one Zumba class in my life. It gave my already injured ankle an owie, and i was also intimidated by my extreme klutziness. Even though the music was fun, and watching the extremely hyperkinetic teacher was fun, it was not fun for me to DO.
So I slunk around in the hallway with the anit-Zumba club while everyone else jumped around and shrieked and burned on the average of 750-850 calories during Zumba hour.
I’ve been eyeing my little Zumba DVD since getting home though. I have to confess that I snagged a small pile of them from the huge Room of Swag on the final day.
So I have a proposal for y’all out there. If anyone else out there has had a small fascination/big phobia regarding Zumba, this is your chance. To try it out in the privacy and comfort of your own home, knowing that I will be stumbling around and perhaps repeatedly hitting the PAUSE button and going, “Whaa…??”
I’ve got six DVDs to give away!!
And there’s something else going on. Some of you may know that I have this lovely retreat, Stories of the Body, coming up in September. (click here for details) It is my deep desire to fill this space with amazing and wonderful individuals and to build a kind of awesome mini-community like we had at Fitbloggin (only there will be no 5k and no talk of SEO or monetizing).
So, in order to be eligible for the Zumba DVDs, I am asking you to (if you are on Facebook) – RSVP to the event here (yes, no or maybe), and then SHARE it with anybody you think would resonate with such an event.
If you are NOT on Facebook, I am asking you to email people and send them the following link. http://foodfoodbodybody.wordpress.com/events/
Then come back here and leave a comment telling me how many people you’ve shared with. (I mean don’t share with your whole email list, only with people whom it would FIT WITH – this might only mean 3, or 5, or…???) Each “share” is worth a Zumba point.
Top six Zumba-point getters will get a Zumba DVD.
Oh and P.S.! If any of your friends register for the retreat with the code “ZUMBAPHOBIA” they will get $25 off! (same goes for anybody reading this blog post)
Deadline: Wednesday, June 1st! GO!
And the winners are:
- June! (from Facebook)
- Stan! (from Facebook)
Yoga KICKED MY BUTT. But I might go back… April 2, 2011
I haven’t done yoga in many, many years. In fact you might say I have had a yoga phobia. I’m not even sure why.
When I was in college (like a million years ago!) my boyfriend and I took up a home course in Bikram yoga after seeing the extremely sexy and appealing yoga-in-a-Turkish-prison scene in Midnight Express. It looked pretty irresistable. So we bought this book, and I bought a Danskin leotard (LOL) and we commenced to learn the poses along with Bikram and his cast of inflexible movie stars. (he had these hilarious pose photos – you can do it perfectly like Bikram here, but if you are a normal person with hamstrings of concrete, you may do it like … Debbie Reynolds!) But seeing the imperfect movie stars was kind of reassuring.
After that one stint of doing yoga in- what – 1978? I stopped and actually have not been back since. I’ve had a weird chip on my shoulder and I don’t even know why. At some point I came to associate yoga with sanctimonious Cafe Gratitude- type vegans AND with women who put on makeup and $150 Lululemon clothes to exercise. I mean, if you’re going to do yoga, I kind of think you ought to be doing it while wearing rags on a concrete floor. LOL. It’s supposed to be a spiritual practice, not a practice in consumerism and looking stylish.
Also, I can’t sit upright with my legs extended and since you have to do that ALL THE TIME in yoga, it makes me feel cranky and inadequate. Maybe that’s the REAL reason.
BUT… my friend who moved to New York was back in town for just a few days, and she invited me to her favorite yoga class, and said the instructor is AMAZING, and then we were going to go to the Bakesale for Japan together, and it’s really the only opportunity we had to get together, so… what the heck. I went.
First of all. This was a Level 2-3 class. Hahahaha. Second of all, it was PACKED. (popular teacher/ Saturday morning) Thirdly, I thought it was an hour class but it turned out to be 90 minutes more like 100 because he went overtime. YOW.
It started out innocuously enough. Some “getting in touch with your breath/body” stuff which segued into some very gentle neck stretches, and it had been going on forever, and I thought, not so bad.
Then it got bad.
There was a lot of downward dog and plank activity, and warrior pose stuff and even flying on one leg, but the thing that got to me was the Rabbit. (picture above) Except we not only did it like the picture, we also did it while our back quarters were still downward dogging, and one leg up in the air. We were to put all the weight of our bodies on our HAIRLINE. I mean, ow.
This yoga is no joke, people. I have had a few forays into “gentle” yoga or “restorative” yoga and this was a total kickass workout. I was shaking and trembling and sweating and really FEELING IT. It felt like it went on and on forever, but in fact it was around 95 minutes. Give or take.
When it was over, I was trembling like a scared Chihuaha for about an hour. I felt really… shaky. But then after that I felt good. Really good.
That’s my takeaway message. I’m probably going to do more yoga because it’s like good medicine. I think it’s good for me and does things that my other workouts don’t do. I’m going to start investigating different classes and see which ones might be a good fit for me. This one was pretty hardcore. At one point people were actually doing HEADSTANDS and I was like… whaaaaattttt? No way I was even going to go there. But it was good, and I do think another barrier was broken in Foodie McBody-land.
After the class we went over to the main Bakesale for Japan location. In my mind I was thinking this might be a day when I’d break my chip vow and try some sugar. Everything looked freaking AMAZING. But in the end, I decided it wasn’t worth it to me. I took a tiny nibble of something called a “sesame stick” and it was on the sweet side so I didn’t eat any more. But I also got some miso pork (made from Sendai miso, how perfect could that be?) and some farm eggs and little cheddar crisps made from cheese and black rice – wow, right? Yum.
It was a good day. And I definitely stayed on track, both exercise and sugarwise. Yay!
Double Book Review: Battle of the Spiritual-Eating Stars August 17, 2010
Disclosure: This is going to be an EXTREMELY personal and subjective (and loooong!) response to two recently-published books in the “spirituality/food genre.” Bear in mine that this is just my own opinion, which is, as I said, highly personal. Your mileage and experience may (and probably most certainly will!) vary.
I read Geneen Roth’s first book, When Food Is Love, when it was first published in the early 80s. I was pretty much blown away by it. But I have to say that every single book of hers that I’ve read since then has been a reiteration of that first book. And Women, Food and God is no exception. But I was excited to read it because people, including Oprah, seemed to think it was the greatest thing since sliced bread. Many people said it made them cry. They felt that the book was written FOR them and about them. I think this is great (for them). However, this was not my experience at all.
I read through it quickly on my first read, and found myself feeling pretty underwhelmed as well as fairly irritated. But I couldn’t quite put my finger on why.
Then I read Savor, the latest book by Thich Nhat Hanh. And I felt the same way that others did when they described WFG. Now, I have been an admirer but not an active practitioner of Buddhism for many years. So the principles are extremely familiar to me. They are thousands of years old. And to have them applied to food and eating just felt very familiar and comforting to me. Many of the same ideas are also mentioned in Tomato Blessings and Radish Teachings by Zen priest Edward Espe Brown, and in the Zen of Eating by Ronna Kabatznik.
This weekend I took a long slow look at both books again. And I came to understand why I was so irritated by Women, Food and God.
1. It’s like a party that I didn’t go to. Eighty percent of this book is an extended description of Geneen Roth’s retreats. She describes the women who attend them and how they are dramatically transformed, some within the space of minutes. It felt like, “Look at me! I am such a guru! All these people love and follow me! And by the way, sign up for my next retreat!!” It was also like watching someone else’s interminable vacation slideshow. You had to be there.
I found myself being strangely unmoved by stories of women weeping and having tantrums and growling over their food bowls and such. It just didn’t do anything for me.
2. Her message has basically unchanged since her first book in the 1980s. And neither has her approach. Why write a new book NOW then?
I had read earlier this year that Geneen Roth had been tragically fleeced by Bernie Madoff. This is really sad and unfortunate, but it also tinges the book with desperation. She NEEDS PEOPLE to sign up for these retreats, and to buy this book as if it is a brand new thing. Which it is not. So the book is basically a 200 page ad for her retreats.
3. She takes several unnecessary and incredibly inaccurate swipes at Weight Watchers. Now it’s no secret that I work for WW. But these little vignettes just PISSED ME OFF.
I received a letter from someone who enclosed a WW ribbon that was embossed: I LOST TEN POUNDS. Underneath the gold writing, the writer added, “And I Still Feel Like Crap.”
Now, everyone knows that it is certainly possible to lose 10 or 100 pounds and still feel like crap inside (or outside). But to LINK this in such a blatant way with Weight Watchers implies, even subliminally, that if you lose weight with Weight Watchers, you will feel like crap. To which I say, bullshit.
When I was on WW in the early 70s, I made dinner out of the remaining allowable foods for the day: two servings of cold tomato sauce (REALLY? They had to be COLD?) and a serving of ricotta cheese. I was scooping my dinner into a bowl when my friend said, “Is that really what you want to eat?” “Yes,” I said. But the truth was that “No” was not an option. Eating what I wanted was not allowed. Wanting what I wanted was not allowed. I needed to sacrifice, atone, make up for being myself. For being fat.
Now this made me want to SCREAM out loud. Again, she is linking ridiculous degrees of deprivation and “not eating what I wanted” with Weight Watchers. She does say this was in the “early 70s.” Does she take the responsible route and say, “Weight Watchers has changed and evolved radically since then.” No. She doesn’t. So again she is linking this conspicuous brand name with sacrifice, atonement, punishment. SO IRRESPONSIBLE.
She receives a letter from a reader who says, “Each time I start trying to follow what you say, I get afraid and then go running back to the security of the Weight Watchers points system. And every time I try points, I inevitably fail a week later and spiral into a new rash of binges and beating myself up.”
Message here? Of course! Weight Watchers causes bingeing and beating oneself up! GREEEEEEATTTTTT!
But the biggest bullshit moment came when I came to the golden Secret, the grand finale, Geneen’s sacred Eating Guidelines, the reason people pay hundreds of dollars to attend her talks and retreats:
1. Eat when you are hungry. (Weight Watchers Book #1)
2. Eating sitting down in a calm environment. This does not include the car.
3. Eat without distractions.
4. Eat what your body wants.
5. Eat until you are satisfied. (WW Book #1)
6. Eat in full view of others. (foodblogging! ☺)
7. Eat with enjoyment, gusto and pleasure.
When I read this I was incredulous. Like, THIS is the big secret? Who hasn’t been saying all of these things, like forever??
The thing that alarms me, too, is that #3 and #4 are where a lot of people, depending on where they are in their process, are going to take that as a major green flag for EAT WHATEVER YOU WANT! NO MATTER WHAT IT IS!
Geneen Roth herself talks about people reading her books and then getting pissed off because they then eat with abandon (“whatever they want”) and gain weight, some as much as 100 lbs. (Yikes)
SO the other problem with this book is that it is extremely new-Agey and Vague and abstract. There is nothing specific in it.
Okay, enough about that one. Now, on to Savor.
I loved this book. I loved loved loved it. Perhaps because it echoes everything that I myself believe and strive to do, and when I do these things, I am more the better for it. Geneen Roth also talks about meditation and how good it is, but Savor is very very specific about HOW to meditate, what to meditate over, what one might say or think while washing dishes or picking a piece of fruit from the market or… eating.
I loved it because it is not afraid to “go there” and say, yeah, part of being mindful is knowing EXACTLY what you are eating, which is why food journaling (tracking or blogging) is an important and useful part of mindfulness. Yay. Which is exactly the feeling I have had since I began foodblogging. It IS a form of meditation for me. It’s that pause before the eating, that momentary mindfulness that can make all the difference in the world.
It is not afraid to say that weighing yourself, too, is a part of being mindful: of knowing what you weigh. It’s just a number. If the number freaks you out, then it’s a thing to meditate on and understand why.
It’s not afraid to say that moving/exercise is important and a VERY important part of taking care of one’s body and being mindful. It describes the many barriers and obstacles to mindfulness in our culture and why this is so very challenging (quotes from The End to Overeating, which I also really liked).
Mostly what I love about this book is the tone of it. It’s gentle, compassionate, yet firm and honest. It’s real. It’s not mushy or New Agey. Often as I was reading I would find my eyes filling up with tears.
The Buddha teaches that … insight cannot begin until we stop and focus our attention on what is happening right in front of us. This stopping, or shamatha, allows us to rest the body and the mind. When we have calmed ourselves, we can then go on to look deeply into our current situation. We need to step off our frantic life treadmills, to stop unconsciously doing the same things over and over again that have allowed our weight to creep up. We need to stop, rest, and reflect on a constructive way forward… We need to be fully aware of what is going on in our daily living. Only then can we begin to change.
Every time I read the word “rest” I would stop and sigh. Because that is so much what I have been needing. To rest. So I feel a deep comfort and a soothing tone to this book that just makes me feel… grateful, and rested. I think that this feeling is what helped me off my comfort-food train the other day.
This book is very, very specific about what to do regarding emotions, food, exercise, meditation. There are lists and there are recommendations. They are nonjudgmental and gentle. And honest. I appreciated that.
The grounding in Buddhism that shapes this book was very familiar, comforting and relaxing to me. It made me feel very receptive. Others may not feel this way and that’s cool.
The bottom line is, that I think BOTH of these books actually have the same exact approach to food and eating. It’s about mindfulness and looking inward. It’s all good.
If people out there really resonate with WFG and feel as if Geneen Roth is the answer, then I say that is wonderful and go for it. Especially if you’ve never read any of her work before, I think it could resonate very powerfully. If you’re a hater of Weight Watchers, it will certainly validate those feelings.
If people like Savor, and it helps you slow down and find some rest among the mindfulness, then hooray.
That was just my two cents. I’m glad that I read both of these and I am glad that people in general are going in this direction. I think it’s good for all of us.
Do I Have to Let Go? December 31, 2009
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.
Be Mindful, and Don’t Suffer June 25, 2009
At least once a week I go someplace where I run into someone I haven’t seen in a few months or more. Since Before. And very often they will say, “HOW did you do this?!?” It’s hard to sum it up in a few words, because it truly is a long story, but I think my “elevator pitch” (code for how to pitch a book, or business proposal to an agent or funder in the time it takes to ride an elevator) would be “By being mindful, and not suffering.”
I know, it’s very Buddhist, right? But truly I think this is what has made All the Difference this time. I started attending a meditation class very soon after my pre-diabetes diagnosis. And the idea of being mindful- of paying attention – made a huge impact on my whole weight loss journey. I decided to really pay attention to everything – to what I truly wanted to eat, and if eating was what I wanted at all, and how much to eat, and everything. It has been absolutely invaluable.
I loved that this week, in my WW mentoring session, the leader spoke a LOT about “being mindful.” I don’t know if he’s a Buddhist or not, but he did bring it up about 20 times during the meeting, and people were nodding and really getting it. I loved that.
Another big concept in Buddhism is that of Suffering. I know that I have suffered mightily because of my weight and food issues, throughout my life. I suffered when I felt I was depriving myself of food I wanted, but I also suffered when I ate things for the Wrong Reasons (ie for comfort or distraction). I suffered from guilt and remorse, shame and self hatred. There was a LOT of suffering going on.
It’s been shocking for me to notice that this New Way has involved very little suffering, and I know that if I feel like I am suffering, it’s going to come back and bite me BIG time. So it’s important for me to never, ever sigh dramatically and say, “I guess I should eat THIS (salad?) instead of THAT.” Because if I feel deprived in ANY WAY, shape or form, I’m going to overeat. Every single time. I have to find something that makes me HAPPY and satisfied, as well as being a good choice. Salad is a good example. Sometimes I really crave and love and feel like eating salad. But often, if it’s a cold day or whatever, I want HOT FOOD. Before, it would be a choice between two kinds of suffering: I’d have a cold salad and feel all deprived, OR I’d have .. I dunno, a huge plate of lasagne or fried chicken and THEN I’d suffer because I’d feel overstuffed, guilty and remorseful. And fat.
So the key is to really be MINDFUL and say, OK, I don’t want salad. (“Then don’t eat salad!”) I want hot food. OK, what kind of hot food will satisfy and yet not make me feel remorseful? Often it is SOUP. I have come to looooooooove soup very much. Because there are so many delicious kinds of soup and EVEN soup that is a bit rich (some cream in it, or meat) a cup of soup can go a very long way. There is a wonderful French food takeout place near my work that has two kinds of amazing soup every day. Usually that will be all I want for lunch, and it probably has WAY fewer calories than a salad with blue cheese, nuts, dressing, avocadoes etc etc.
I have had to build up my repertoire of foods that I both love and feel good about eating. This has taken some time and practice but now I feel like I have wonderful choices.
I still always have half-and-half in my coffee, because I have tried many alternatives (black coffee, skim milk in coffee, nonfat half and half) and they ALL make me suffer. I want my half-and-half. But I have made other changes that allow that to be okay. (more exercise, soup for lunch, etc)
So that’s my short answer for How I Did It (and how I intend to keep Doing It): Be mindful and don’t suffer.
Over and out.
What I Did On My Silent Retreat May 18, 2009
Are y’all curious? If not, skip to another post, I won’t take it personally if you don’t want to read about the minutae of my weekend. But if so…
• Arrived; silent dinner (pasta, pesto veggies, salad)
• Group gathering. I cried. Lit individual candles and placed in chapel. I put mine at the base of a leafless tree hung with gold origami cranes.
• Slept for 10 hours, very deeply.
• Woke up. Went to yoga/meditation.
• Silent breakfast. (veggie frittata, few spoons of oatmeal, fruit, coffee)
• Made bed.
• 30 minute walk/run. Injuries bothering me. (shin splint, groin pain)
• Morning gathering
• Read poems on various walls, copied many down. Spent time in art room but didn’t do art.
• Spent one hour in straw bale hermitage. Meditated. Cried.
• Silent Lunch (turkey, tuna, salad, fruit)
• Walk/ran one hour. Injuries slightly better but not great.
• Silent dinner: chicken, Israeli couscous, salad. Wrestled with apple crisp with whipped cream. Didn’t eat it.
• Walk, 30 minutes. Slowly.
• Evening gathering: meditation, elm dance in courtyard garden: slow, mournful circle dance from Russia, composed to mourn death of forests after Chernobyl
• Slept, but woke from 2-4am
• Slept through yoga/meditation. Made bed.
• Silent breakfast. (hard boiled egg, chicken apple sausage, honeydew, brown rice cereal)
• Very slow walk
• Morning gathering – re connection with nature, Wendy Johnson book
• Silent gardening: planted 3 kinds of lettuce, kale. My first garden experience.
• Very short nap.
• Silent lunch: chicken broth with toppings (chicken, green onions, carrot shreds, lime), salad. No cookies 4 me.
• Another slow walk.
• Silent art: made ‘treasure boxes’ out of matchboxes, homemade paper, shells, leaves
• Massage. Melted onto table. Injuries completely gone.
• Silent dinner: poached salmon, sugar snap peas, salad. Passed up the potatoes and the wine (only night it was offered). Did not pass up poppyseed cake with whipped cream. Meant to have one bite; ate the whole piece. Delicious.
• Slow walk, 20 minutes.
• Tested blood sugar, worried about cake. Ecstatic it was 109. (yay walk!!)
• Gathering in pillow room. Gave thanks to H & S for 23 years of nurturing us. Cried more. Another elm dance, then meditation in chapel.
• Breakfast: scrambled egg, toast, peanut butter, grapefruit.
• Changed bed linens. Packed.
• Morning gathering
• Went to art room and hand-copied several pages from Tomato Blessings and Radish Teachings
• Event closing
• NONsilent lunch! Made some new friends. Beautiful cheeses, salad, lentil soup, crackers.
• Drove home. Stopped at Spirit Rock bookstore on the way to buy One Bowl and Mindful Eating.
Into the Silence May 14, 2009
Tonight, I am going on a silent retreat at one of my favorite places on earth. I have been taking retreats at this place ever since 1987 or so, when they used to host an annual retreat for the Friends of Calligraphy. I would go with my inks, my special paper and drawing board, and set up in the “scriptorium” with other calligraphers, where we would do our calligraphy in silence for a week. There were short breaks in the silence, where master artists would give seminars on how to make the perfect “B,” or brush calligraphy or some such. I felt like some sort of ecstatic monk. It was heaven.
After I had my first child in 1990, I pretty much gave up calligraphy – all those inks and pen nibs were too hazardous for grabby little fingers – and by that time I had switched to writing. I started yearning for a place to get away to just think. Thanks to the wonderful support of said child’s father, I began taking 24-hour writing retreats at the same place.
This place is the most peaceful place I know. It used to be a convent for nuns, and is now used for spiritual and other quiet retreats. There is a beautiful chapel, lovely spare little rooms, a courtyard garden, a strawbale hermitage (for when one wants to be a “hermit”), a yurt, several gardens. But the best part is the silence.
I recently received a (beautifully calligraphed) card to confirm my spot at the retreat. It almost made me cry from happiness.
Within each of us there is a silence, a silence as vast as the universe…
When we experience that silence, we remember who we are, creatures of the stars,
created from time and space, created from silence…
Silence is our deepest nature, our home, our common ground, our peace…
Silence is where God dwells. We yearn to be there.
The experience of silence is now so rare, that we must guard and treasure it. This is especially true for shared silence.”
–Gunilla Norris, Shared Silence
I have been very, very busy, and very active these past months. I am longing for some quiet and some rest. The next few months are going to be even more hectic as my day job heats up to its peak event in July. This is the biggest gift I can think of to give myself, to contemplate all that has happened this year. I plan to write, read, sleep, walk, meditate. I’m going to try and lay off the Twitter a bit, although I won’t be completely gone (twittering is silent, isn’t it?). I do believe that this is one of the biggest and most important and yet most ignored aspect of a weight loss journey – the peace of mind that is necessary for all the other pieces (food plan, exercise) to work.
I’ll be thinking of you all and how very grateful I am for the support that has surrounded me since I began this journey, not so very long ago in January. Have a peaceful weekend.
The End of Ambivalence May 2, 2009
It’s kind of amazing to go to events where I run into people I haven’t seen since… Before. They’re kind of shocked, and always ask, How did you DO this? I laugh and say, “The short answer is, I got diabetes.” Of course everyone knows that diabetes itself does not cause weight loss, unless you’re really ill. But it’s a long answer. The longer answer is, “read my blog.” It’s so complicated and yet it is so simple. It’s so many things.
I went to Weight Watchers this morning and had a 3.2 lb loss at weigh-in. They had a bunch of flyers about WW leader recruitment. I took one. Still mulling this idea over. I still really really miss teaching, and it could be an interesting opportunity. I might go to one of their info meetings next week and find out more.
Anyway. I’ve been thinking a lot about: why now? Why, after 30 years of struggle, is this finally working? I have lost weight in the past – but never this much- and never without terrible effort.
This time, it feels almost effortless – and at the same time, I am putting every ounce of focus and attention on it. It’s one of those weird paradoxes. It doesn’t feel at all like a “diet” – and yet it has taken enormous reservoirs of time and mindfulness. But it’s not “hard.” If that makes sense. Does it make sense?
I realized today that one thing that’s very different this time around (and I think may be the KEY difference) is that I am not ambivalent. For a long time, I was ambivalent about losing weight because I was always wanting to lose weight for my LOOKS, and I felt angry about that. I felt like women should be loved and accepted and appreciated and deemed beautiful no matter what their size. (I still do) So it felt on some level like a betrayal of myself and other women to want to lose weight for looks reasons.
And yet..I have to admit that I think I look better now than I did in January. I FEEL better – both “looks” wise and health wise. I have tons more energy, and I just feel strong and happy.
It was not until I got this pre-diabetes wakeup call that I really cared about losing weight for other reasons, ie health. Before, I didn’t believe that I was unhealthy, because I wasn’t overweight enough. Or so I thought. I used to bristle at the notion that being “only” 25 or 30 lbs overweight was enough to endanger my health. I was wrong about that.
So I sort of defiantly stayed overweight and did not attend to my health because I didn’t want it to be about my looks.
Another thing that is different this year has to do with my past, and my life as an adopted person. It has definitely affected me throughout my life, to think of myself as a person whose very existence was a burden to others. I was most definitely a “mistake,” and the cause of much shame for my birth mother. (I’ve known her since I was 20) She likes me as a person, but also has VERY deep ambivalence about my very existence. I am her worst, biggest and most distressing secret.
This year is the year that I made the pretty big decision to stop wishing that my birth mother would acknowledge me in the ways that I would like. I pretty much gave up. After about 30 years (hmm, is there a connection here?) of desperately hoping to openly be recognized as her relative. I wonder if this “giving up” makes it suddenly possible for me to lose weight, as well.
I was chasing after love where it couldn’t be found. I was pretty much a bottomless pit of need and sadness. Once, many years ago, in therapy, I made a little clay head with a huge open mouth. I called it “little head” and it represented my unending hunger. And why even the most giant pan of macaroni and cheese would never be enough. I understood it, but I couldn’t change it. Until I finally gave up on wanting what couldn’t be had.
Love isn’t inside food. It isn’t inside some people who just aren’t able to give. But I was certainly chasing after it, for years and years and years.
I’m finally getting where the love is. It’s in me, and it’s in people who are open to it. Food is just… something else. It’s wonderful to enjoy, it’s delicious and fun, but it isn’t love.
When I was diagnosed with diabetes, it was like I was being asked, “Well? Do you want to live? Are YOU ambivalent about your very existence?” and the answer came back a ferocious YES, and NO.
I’m not ambivalent anymore. I want to be here. I deserve to be here.
And that’s the pretty long answer about how I lost the weight.