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Month

May 2010

Other People Saying Awesome Things

photo by Christine Zilka

It’s a crazy week. I’m so so so excited that Superwoman Spirit Shannon is coming to visit me TOMORRRRRRRRROOOOOWWWWWW! and will be here through my show on Sunday night. Life is a whirl. I don’t have time to blog a fraction of the things going through my head, but I’ve been reading some awesomeness out there this week.

I’d like to bring your attention to two particularly great blogs I read recently.

Dave Kirchhoff, the incredibly amazing CEO of Weight Watchers International, wrote a blog post this week that just knocked me out of the water. Last week he wrote about his “Guilt-o-meter,” and I was like, What Dave? WHAT? WE ain’t peddling guilt at WW! and he just addressed it all in the most honest and thoughtful way. Read it and wow.

Old Me:  “I completely screwed up this week, and I’m up five pounds.  I am a lowly person.  I deserve to be pelted with rocks and garbage.  I shall flog myself furiously with a Cat o’ nine tails in the form of a spartan healthy meal regimen.  That will show me.”  New Me might say:  “Well, that wasn’t the smartest way to spend last week.  I know I feel better when I’m eating healthily/moderately and exercising lots.  Therefore if I will start making those better choices, and I can look forward to feeling great.”

Then, my friend Christine wrote an equally mindblowing post about her relationship with her body. Wow. Just wow. Think about it. What is the relationship with YOUR body? How has it evolved and changed over the years? Think about it. Then maybe write your own.

My body was the cause of psychic pain: in grade school, a very ungifted child at any form of athletics (except hula-hooping, and I’ll get to that later), I was always picked last. When you get picked last time after time, you learn to divorce yourself from the source of that pain, and that pain was my body. There are students who fail in school, and after awhile, they remove any self esteem from academic success.

This is the kind of deep thoughtful work that makes life changes.

A Year Ago… (aka Living Maintenance)

Mother's Day dinner, 2009

I’m at my daughter’s annual big crew race this weekend. I think about last year. I went running along the lake during down time at the races. Many people were beginning to remark about my lost weight, and I was wearing new shorts and tank tops for the first time. I was moving close towards my goal weight and really feeling like it was going to happen. (and it did: in June? July?) It was all so new then. I had completed my first 5k race and was feeling pretty giddy about the whole thing.

But also I had no belief it would last.

I feel like when I’ve said “a year ago…” it was a way of demonstrating how far I’d come. But now “a year ago” does not look dramatically different than where I’m at right now. So this must be maintenance! and in a way it’s even more stunning to realize that I’ve been in this place for almost a year, than the fact that I made the change(s) in the first place.

Recently in WW we had a meeting topic about habits.  There was a chart about the “Stages of Change” with a series of nested circles. On the outside was “Environment” which is the most superficial thing to change, and the first way we make a change. We clear out our cupboards, we start purchasing better foods. We join a gym. The next circle in is “behavior.” Because it’s one thing to change the food in our kitchen, and another thing to actually behave differently in relationship to it. In and in and in and in, and the innermost circle is “Identity.”

A year ago, I felt like my identity was A Person Who Had Lost Some Weight, for like a minute. I had NO experience or belief that it would endure. In fact I used to have feelings of deep sadness and grief/loss for that person, whom I was sure was going to vanish at any moment. Well, I’m amazed that I’m still here. But my identity is gelling, and I’m beginning to believe that it’s not as transient as I’d feared.

May I have another year like this. And another.

(photo above from last year’s Mother’s Day dinner – that’s my cute Mr. McBody!)

Spanxed!!

I received a package in the mail this week that had me feeling even more guilty than the donut I ate. It was a box of Spanx. I opened it with a combination of hope, anticipation, fear, embarrassment and self-loathing. Strains of Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain” floated through my head.

How did I get here? Recently I received a DVD of my solo performance show, which I’ve been studying in order to improve it. I remember choosing my outfit for that show so carefully. A bright colored Tshirt and black workout pants. I remember feeling good! and looking in the mirror backstage before heading on. Yeah! I looked good!

From the front.

Underneath the shirt, I was wearing a sports bra. What I didn’t realize until I looked at the video is that the sports bra created all sorts of (ack!!!!!!!!) bumps and bulges and hills and lumps in my… BACK FAT. What?!?! Who knew?? I didn’t know!! And the first thought I had was, OMG I have to throw away that shirt! I have to never wear that sports bra again! I have to… BUY SOME SPANX!

Now, I already own one pair of panty-spanx that I have worn on a couple of occasions (weddings). But it never occurred to me, until I saw myself From The Back, that I would need to get the TOP kind of Spanx.

Spanx seems to be a controversial sort of item. Are they a godsend, or a hideous re-enactment of the days of Scarlett O’Hara and her corset?

I asked the Twitterverse what they thought about Spanx yesterday, and got these responses.

  • i only wear spanx/corset when i’m at a family wedding, wearing a slimfitting dress. otherwise, flowy waistline. it’s torture.
  • Haven’t tried Spanx yet. Can’t imagine where all my “junk” would be stuffed! LOL
  • I lose my shape when I wear spanx…i get misshappen, not to mention uncomfortable
  • Absolutely NOT. All that does for me is squash my fat UP past the waist line so I have a quad rack! Not appealing!
  • Spanx? I love mine!
  • I like spanx, but I love the Flexees long tanks even more. A good undergarment is essential…:-)
  • Spanx = ouch. If I can help it, I’ll never wear ’em again. Jiggles ‘R’ Us.
  • My thoughts aren’t deep…I heart Spanx!
  • Spill out the top. I hate them. Inspire me to exercise. Plus, they are uncomfortably hot.
  • I always feel my fat is just squeezed out the top and bottom when I wear spanx.

So. There are a lot of various opinions out there. I hated to feel like I was bowing to the vanity gods, but I tentatively tried the thing on. It was a bear to GET on, but once I did.. um…. I liked it. I really, really liked it! I put on my performance shirt and yes, it looked totally different. Better, in my opinion. So that’s it. It’s not something I care about for Everyday use, but on that stage, I’m telling you, I’m wearing the Spanx.

Is that crazy? Ironic? Hypocritical? I don’t know. Today I saw a Facebook update by Fit to the Finish. She wrote,

As I was getting my hair cut yesterday I thought about the past. When I was morbidly obese I stopped trying to look good. I stopped wearing make-up, wore my glasses instead of contacts, and never had cute clothes. I tried not to care.

So true! That just hit me like a punch in the gut. I thought of the days when all I wore was baggy stretch pants. So how far do we take this “caring”? Is it excessive to wear contacts instead of glasses? (I am personally extremely attached to my glasses) What about cosmetic surgery? Hair color? Botox? Makeup?  Personally, I find makeup MUCH more oppressive than Spanx. For some reason I find it upsetting. I will wear it on occasion, but it always makes me feel so false and unnatural. I do get my hair colored. For how long I’ll continue doing that, I don’t know.

I think that most people care how they look. And everyone has their own comfort zone of what they find acceptable, endurable, in the name of “beauty” or looking good. I do know that for many many years, like Fit to the Finish, I DID NOT CARE. (or pretended I didn’t) Now that I do care (more), it’s a tricky and interesting new territory to navigate.

Thoughts? 🙂




Gollum and the Donut

It’s hard getting off track. Or rather, it’s hard getting back ON track after being off track.

I went away last week and I felt pretty good about how things went while I was gone. I wasn’t “perfect” but I did enjoy myself. I went out to dinner quite a bit (and tried to make good choices, based on portion control and other factors). I took one good walk and had one good workout at the hotel gym (elliptical plus some weights). I didn’t feel like things were out of control… at first. But I was attending a very intense and emotional conference which definitely pushed a bunch of my buttons. I found myself eating more sugar than usual, ie picking up a few cookies from the lunch table. This is not something I’d normally do, especially since they weren’t particularly GREAT cookies. And then drinking more than I normally do (which is next to nothing). I heard myself saying in my head, “I need this.” (yeah right?!?)

I was only gone four days. Man! It’s not very long. But then when I got home I found myself continuing to procrastinate getting back on my routine. I blamed jetlag for not going to workout in the mornings. (even though I was waking up earlier!)

And then yesterday. Yesterday I ate a donut.

Now, one of the things I love about Weight Watchers is that things like donuts are not inherently evil. They CAN work on your plan in various ways – if you plan for it, if you work it into your overall plan, if you’re active, etc., a donut can be NO BIG DEAL. But yesterday it was a big deal. Because of the way I ate it.

In the car. (even that is not necessarily inherently “bad”) And I realized that as I was eating it, I felt like Gollum. You know, the EVIL Gollum that tries to murder people in their sleep. Not the wimpy-sad pathetic Gollum OR the human he once was. I was like… in that BAD PLACE.

Let me tell you, that shook me up. Just realizing that. And I realize that I’d gotten myself into an emotional state and not really done everything necessary to take care of myself in non-food, non-alcohol ways. I started using those little methods of self-soothing during the weekend, and then it kind of snowballed, and then I turned into Gollum eating a donut.

So. Today I am going to my trainer, even though it means going into work late. I need it. I need a hand up to get back on the path.

Whew.

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