A Magic Wand

While on the way to work this morning, the local radio station I listen to posed this question to its listeners…”If you had a magic wand and could change one thing about your significant other, what would it be?”

Rather than listen to the calls, I (being the glutton for punishment that I am) turned down the radio, turned to the hubs and asked him, “So…what would you change about me?”

Every man reading this is now saying, “NOOOOOOO do not answer!!!!  It’s a trick!  Go back!”

But my hubs has been on the planet and lived with me long enough to know exactly how to respond.  Begin with clarification.

“Is this what I would want to change about you or what you would want changed about you?”

But I am not so easy.

“Either.”

To which he wisely responded, “Well, there’s absolutely nothing I would change about you because I think you are perfect.  But if I could change something about you to make you happy, I would remove the excess weight you worry about because I know how much it bothers you.”

Dude’s good.

Then he said, “Isn’t that what you’d do if you had that magic wand for yourself?”

I started to reply, “Hell yeah!” but instead I paused because when given all that power and only one wish for myself I want it to be the right one.  So I looked at him for a moment and said that no…that’s not what I’d wish for.

I would wish for peace of mind.  I would wish for the ability to accept myself the way I am and for who I am inside.  I would wish for the ability to see myself the way he, and everyone else who loves me, sees me. 

Because it’s really not about the weight.  Sure, it’s about health but it’s more about just feeling good about who I am and how I’m perceived by the outside world.  For some reason it still matters to me and that is more troublesome than this excess weight will ever be.  And do you know how I know that?  Because when I WAS thin I didn’t know I was.  I was always obsessing and worrying and talking about my fucking weight.  It was always on my mind.  So waving a magic wand is not going to get to the root of why this weight bothers me so much.  It’s not going to give the the peace I so desperately seek.

I grew up with a mother who taught me that we are how we appear and that smoke and mirrors were better than substance any day.  She taught me to judge people based on their appearance and that if they were overweight (which she was every day of her life) then they were lazy and sloppy and not as good as us.  Wait…what?

Danger Will Robinson…that does not compute!  (Most of you won’t get that TV reference.  It’s an old thing I assure you.)

So even though I’ve grown past that kind of thinking when it comes to others, I still think it about myself AND I believe that others see me that way as well.  So I’m embarrassed that I look this way.  Humiliated to be seen in the “plus” size section of the stores.  Reluctant to invest any time or energy into my wardrobe because really…what’s the point?  I’ll wait until I’m “skinny” again and then all will be right with the world.  Like the tag in the back of my jeans tells the world what kind of person I am.

Bull-fucking-shit.

I am well aware that society has a predjudice against those of us carrying some extra pounds (check out airline seats if you don’t believe me) and that there are people in the world who do judge other by what’s on the outside but they aren’t the kind of people I would hang around with ANYWAY.  So why do I give a flying rat’s ass what they think? 

Because it’s how I was programmed.  I’m not hard-wired that way but I’ve been loaded with faulty software that now has to be uninstalled.  A complete reimaging (pun intended) is in order.

One thing recovery has taught me is to question everything that is instinctual to me.  That most of what I was conditioned to believe as a child is crap and that it fucked with my head royally.  That issues I uncover can seldom be fixed from the outside and that I must dig deep, turn over rocks and pick at some old scabs to get to the root of the problem and start the healing process.  This is no different.  This issue is not going to be fixed with my April challenge, a new diet, a new hairdo, more exercise, a better mirror or a magic wand.  The only thing that’s going to change this is hard work on the inside.

It may be time to seek some outside help.  I think I’m coming to a real turning point in my recovery.  It feels like I’m ready to make some real strides in my mental health and well being.  I’m not sure how that’s going to happen but this feels like the right path.  Making this decision feels like…an exhale.  Like a “Finally…I can move forward.”

Namaste

Some Days

Some days can turn on a dime.  One minute you’re going along your happy way singing Zip-A-Dee-Do-Da and the next your afraid that one wrong move will make you cry and you’re pissed at the world (but really you’re pissed at yourself).  Yep…some days.

Yesterday was a bit of a shitstorm for me.  It started out fine.  I was up, awake, happy and ready to face the day.  Then, at 9:55 am I went to my appointment to get my finger stuck and have my “health assessment” for work.  We have this deal where we can earn $800 in our health accounts (for co-pays, prescriptions, etc.) if we take a few online classes and let them get our “numbers”.

So I cheerfully stuck out my finger and watched my blood ooze into a tiny little straw and then onto a slide and then into the machine.  While waiting for my results, the nurse took my blood pressure, wrote some notes on my paper and told me to go wait in the chairs facing the window until I was called for height and weight measurements.

Wait…what?

No one said anything about weight…

Damn.

I did as I was told, knowing full well that my day had just gone to hell in a handbasket.  The next nurse came to get me and told me to take off my shoes and get on the scale.  I didn’t even look at the numbers.  I also couldn’t convince her to let me get naked right there in the middle of the atrium…but she did let me take off my earrings and watch.

Then I had to take all my paperwork and see a “counselor” before I could leave.  I sat down with this perfectly nice gentlemen and could tell immediately that I have forgotten more about health and fitness then he’ll ever know.  However, I sat quietly and listened as he went over my results.

  • Blood Pressure: 124/84 – Prehypertensive
  • Cholesterol:  TC – 220 – Slightly high; HDL (good cholesterol) – 45 – should be 60+
  • BMI:  In the “O” (there’s that fucking O word again) range
  • Glucose: 87 (my one shining moment) – should be less than 150

I left that meeting feeling like I had been run over by a truck.  Long time readers of mine KNOW what a struggle it’s been for me to get my health back since I quit drinking.  (Note to anyone out there trying to quit…QUIT BEFORE YOU ARE OLD.  Once you start into your 40’s it’s harder and harder to get back to healthy.)  I’ve done Whole 30’s (love); I’ve done Jenny Craig (hated); I’ve done Weight Watchers (meh); and any other scheme you can imagine.  I gave up looking at the scale; I started looking again.  I counted calories using my app; I stopped counting calories.  I wore my fitbit everyday and tried to get to 7,000+ steps a day with an ultimate goal of 10,000 (still doing).  I ordered videos.  I promised myself I’d do more yoga and meditation.

Start stop start stop start stop – it’s like I’m in traffic on 495 in D.C.  My engine is running but I’m not getting anywhere. 

I’m trying things but when they aren’t working in my timeframe (you know…NOW) I get frustrated and quit.  OR (more likely), something happens that sends me looking for comfort and, since I don’t have any cigarettes or wine, I reach for other things.  Food, my comfy chair and iPad, my bed, my beloved reality TV.  When I should be dealing with things and not seeking comfort.  OR (more likely) I should be looking for healthier ways to provide comfort to myself.  Meditation, exercise, healthy food options, yoga.

Here’s the thing, I don’t want to be some skinny little thing.  It’s not in my DNA.  I’m short but sturdy.  I just don’t want to die like my mom which is where I’m headed if I don’t get my ample ass in gear and soon (I’ll be 53 in a little over a month.).  I want to move more which will then adjust all of those numbers whether I stay in the “O” range or not.  The problem is that I want to get there fast and the fact is that my poor body is aging and being broken down by excess weight and bad numbers (all that shit going on inside of you ages you dramatically – just because you can’t see what’s going on doesn’t mean it isn’t happening).

So I’ve formulated yet another plan to get back to healthy before those fucking numbers get out of control and I’m taking more pills than the average octogenarian.  I’m going to pick one thing from each of these categories to implement each month, do them for a month and then add something else the next month.  ADD not SUBTRACT. 

  • What I feed my body.
  • How I move my body.
  • How I care for my spirit.

For example, for the month of April (so convenient that it starts next week don’t you think…thanks for making that happen God), I will make the following changes.

  • What I feed my body:  Eliminate refined sugar (yes…I’m aware that Easter is in April) and drink more water.
  • How I move my body:  15-30 minutes of additional movement each day no matter what. Even if it’s running in place or doing 100 situps or 50 pushups or whatever.  Just so it’s something.
  • How I care for my spirit:  5-10 minutes of sun salutations and/or meditation every day no matter what.

That’s it.  No pressure.  No eating the elephant whole.  Just small nibbles for a month…enough time to form a habit.  And then we’ll see where I am.  At least it will be forward progress.

Ugh!  I am so tired of talking about this shit.  (I’m sure you’re sick of reading about it too.)  In fact, I am sick and tired of being sick and tired…again.  But come to think of it, the last time I was like that – miracles began to happen.

Namaste

Lenten Observations

Let’s look again at my attempt at giving up dieting, self incrimination and just generally worrying about shit that should come naturally and with a grateful heart, for Lent.  Our society gets so hung up on body image that we’ve created a multi billion dollar industry all aimed at giving us that “magic bullet” that will take us to our ideal body weight.  Only to be disappointed because genetics dealt us different cards and we don’t look like the model in the magazine or the personal trainer on TV or the movie star on the screen. 

I think the only way I am going to find self acceptance will be to eat healthy, whole, non processed food, (when hungry) in moderate amounts and move more.  Then, and this is the important part, when my body finds it’s natural weight based on my metabolism, accept it.

I’ll pause now while you spit out your coffee, laugh or otherwise discuss the “yeah right”ness of that last paragraph.

As improbable as this may seem, this is exactly what I am working toward this Lenten season. Thus far, it’s going pretty dang good.  I’m paying close attention to when and if I’m hungry and I’m trying to eat well and be thankful and present when I eat.  I’m moving as much as possible, walking the dogs 3.5 miles this weekend (if the weather would cooperate I’d be walking even more) and practicing yoga every day. Overall I feel good.

I’m still struggling with the crap my inner bitch tries to tell me every morning when I’m looking for something to wear, but I’ve gotten pretty good at telling her to shut the fuck up.  Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.  I will say this, when it works…I feel powerful.  I feel blessed.  I feel centered.  These are very good things.

I also have to stop myself from obsessing about every morsel that passes my lips.  It’s so ingrained in my psyche to scrutinize everything I eat and then feel either deprived because I’m not satisfied or guilty because I am, that eating is not really a joyful thing for me.  And I believe it should be!  I think that we should celebrate our blessings and be grateful and present when we eat.  There are so many who are hungry that to be blessed with the abundance of too much food is a miracle.  I’m committed to retraining my thoughts and approaching food from a different place.  One of gratitude and love.   

Like everything, it’s a process.  Also like everything it’s progress…not perfection.

Bless your food today and be present and grateful while it is consumed – in that way you will nourish your soul as well as your body.  What better way to give glory to God?  And isn’t that what Lent is about?

Namaste

Whatever you do, make it an offering to me — the food you eat, the sacrifices you make, the help you give, even your suffering.
Bhagavad Gita

Giving Up Giving Up

You know…worrying about my weight has become kind of my new obsession.  The constant chatter that went on inside my head, coupled with the dialogue and beat downs from my old friend the Boxing Bitch about my drinking, has been replaced with the same old shit…but now it’s about my weight.  That sucks in the worst way.

Not that the chatter wasn’t always there.  Chatter and beat downs about my weight have been going on inside of me since I hit puberty.  I was a chubby kid and after puberty I was a fat teenager.  I was always bigger than everyone else so that now I have no real concept for how I look to other people.  If I did that exercise where you draw your body on a big piece of paper and then lay down and let someone trace your actual body, I would draw the equivalent of a 5’4 1/4″ orange.  It’s hard to undo what is learned in childhood.

I can’t change the fact that my particular body type will always give me angst.  After all…there is only one Heidi Klum (bitch).  I also cannot change the fact that I am through menopause and my metabolism has slowed to a crawl and that every carb I put in my face goes directly to my ass. 

What I can change is me.

So this is what I’m doing for Lent – I’m giving up dieting.  I’m giving up giving up things.  I’m giving up deprivation and beating myself up about how much I eat, what I eat and when.  I’m not going to weigh anything, or label anything bad, or forbid myself from eating anything.  For the remainder of Lent I am just not going to worry about it.

Okay, even I’m going to call bullshit on that one.  Let’s try this again.  I’m going to make a Lenten commitment not to worry about it.

So, coming from the positive side of that equation, what I am going to do is be kind to myself.  I am going to practice saying nice things to myself every day.  I am going to force myself to look in the mirror every morning and find something that I like about how I look that day (I actually do a really good job of this now – it’s a good thing to do…try it).  I am going to eat good, whole and healthy foods, and not deny myself a treat if it’s what I want.  I am going to meditate daily on the fact that I’ve come a hell of a long way in the last three years and I’m a pretty damn good human being because of it.

In other words, I’m going to give myself a fucking break.

To be honest, I never really understood the whole Lenten observance anyway.  Why in the world would a God who loves me enough to send his one and only Son to die for my sins, want me to suffer because of it?  Sorry, doesn’t add up in my pea brain.  But I do believe that my God does want me to take this one and only earthly life He has given me and be good to myself while I’m here.  I believe he wants me to treat everyone with loving kindness and that includes me.  I believe He’s not too pleased with the way I’ve been treating myself all these years and that He’ll be happy that I’m making even more changes.

Just writing this down makes me feel better.  For one I get to say I’m participating in Lent for the first time in…well…a long ass time.  Plus, I just think that being good to yourself should be mandatory before you get your Human Card.

Be good to yourself today people.

Namaste