54 at 54 Friday Update – Week 1

This week has been…slow.  I’m still struggling with the sugar but I’ve worked out every evening which is a very big deal.  When I hurt my foot before Christmas, I stopped working out so I didn’t aggravate it.  I never picked it back up.  BUT I’m pushing through even when, like last night, every bone in my tired body said “NO!!!!  Just go home and sit in your chair and relax…you deserve it.”

I told those lying-ass thoughts that they had been evicted and would have to leave…and then I did a 40 minute workout instead of a 30 minute workout.  See what happens when you piss me off.

My diet has been good too (except for the sugar…oh…and some potato chips…ugh).  I’m keeping it clean, low carb with lots of vegetables.  Still too many diet Pepsi’s but progress not perfection.

I mentioned I’d been reading the book Down Size by Ted Spiker.  It’s really given me a new perspective on my weight and, more importantly, confirmed what I have always believed…diets don’t work and anything you do to lose weight you must be able to maintain for a lifetime (with the exception of jump starts and cleaning up your diet…more on that later).  If you can’t do it forever, you’re just making yourself crazy.

From the introduction:

“It comes down to figuring out not the rules, but the truths – the principles that can guide your actions, that can steer you in the right direction, that can bail you out when things go wrong, that your brain (and not your belly) is the lead character in the dramatic performance that is weight loss.”

This is the hook that made me keep reading.  That it’s a holistic approach.  That I can’t undo a lifetime of truths and what’s more, I shouldn’t.  Rather, I should work with my own truths to uncover the healthiest version of me.  He outlines 12 truths that worked for him and that he hopes will help us find our own way to healthy.

In part one of the book, Ted talks about figuring out the reasons we are overweight in the first place.  Genetics?  Lifestyle?  Clean your plate club?  Or how fat acts as a coping mechanism against some kind of trauma, either in childhood or in adulthood.  The bells and whistles started going off in my head as soon as I read that sentence.  I remember that I was a sickly skinny child until about third grade when I began to put on weight…exactly when the abuse began.  Believe it or not, I had never put that together with my sexual abuse…NEVER.

So I started thinking, could my weight gain as a child be related to my sexual abuse?  Later, as a middle age woman, could my weight gain have been as a result of a feeling that I was failing my mother as she was dying?  The time in between 22 and 40 I maintained a healthy weight and was physical fit.  But before and after…

Rocked my world people.  I spent a good 2-3 days just flipping that one over and over in my head until I realized, thinking about it wasn’t going to do a damn thing.  I had to actually do something…so I kept reading.

Ted moves on to discuss motivation and determination and strategies but never strays from the premise that one size does not fit all and that we each must do the work to figure out what works for us AND what our bodies want to be.  We’re not all a size 6 (or 00?  What the what?) and, for me, I know my body will fight me every step of the way if I try to make it something it’s not nor will ever be.  It’s been doing it my whole adult life.

And then, after my post the other day where I said it felt like a I had reached some kind of quiet determination this time I read this…

“It’s quieter than what we typically think of as determination.”

I mean…HELLLLLLO!

This book isn’t a diet book and there are no hard and fast rules about how you’re going to get skinny.  But I promise you that if it doesn’t do anything else, it will definitely make you think.

It has made me think.  In fact, I’m toying with the idea of another Whole30.  Just to jumpstart me and detox from sugar and potato chips.  I felt so great when I did the first one and I think enough time has passed for me to feel the newness again.  I’ll think about it some more and let you know.  I know that when I was at my best, my fittest, sugar and chips were a treat…not a way of life.  I know I can maintain that lifestyle.  I know I feel great in that lifestyle.  I just have to find that lifestyle again.

And the treadmill should be coming about the middle of next week.  Scandal here I come!

Thanks for listening.

Namaste

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Geezer Alert

I’m about to rant about something which makes me sound (and feel) really old.  I’m not going to rag on the most recent music (I love ALL music), I don’t particularly care what the younger generation wears, and I don’t really care if they spend all day with their noses in their phones on their personal time, but a lack of manners and decorum really pisses me off.

I know that times have changed and blah blah blahdy blah blah, but good manners never go out of style.  Look, I was raised in the projects.  My parents had no social skills and certainly didn’t pass them on to us.  My grandparents were immigrants.  But I knew better than to show my ass in public from a very, very young age.  I knew the difference between my inside persona and my outside persona. (Forget voices.  I’m Italian…I have no inside voice.)

When my kids were at that “magic” age when they began to flex their potty mouth muscles, I made sure to have a conversation with them about their different personas.  I explained that I knew they would be trying on expletives to see how easily they rolled off their tongue and while that was perfectly normal, there was a specific time and place for that behavior, i.e. only with their friends and only out of earshot of adults.  Who could be lurking around any corner.  So be careful.  Very careful.

I made sure they understood that they were a reflection of me and that no matter how “good” they were, a foul mouth and rude behavior would have people thinking poorly of them and that good manners, kindness and a polite demeanor would cast the impression that they were trustworthy, mature and well behaved…even if they were the heathens I knew them to be.  I also made it clear that a poor first impression was very hard to overcome and a good first impression would pave the way for forgiveness of future sins.

In other words…don’t fuck up and make me look bad.

No…of course I didn’t actually say that.  My foul potty mouth is reserved only for this blog and my husband’s ears (and a few close friends).  Otherwise I have daisies and rainbows flowing from my mouth on a regular basis.

It worked.  I am consistently complimented on my kids and their behavior and they make me proud everyday.  They have an excellent vocabulary.  Wouldn’t think of cursing outside of their inner circle.  They open doors, pull out chairs, say please and thank you and blah blah blahdy blah blah.

Here’s the thing though.  Yes, my kids are well-behaved adults but I honestly think the reason I get complimented so often is that the rest of the world has lost their freaking minds!!!  Since when is it acceptable to drop the f-bomb every three minutes within earshot of perfect strangers?  Strangers with toddlers in tow?  Or at a work function?  Or directly to your boss?!

Again…I must be geezing.  I know they are just words and that, as I told my kids, they only have power if we give them power.  But the fact remains that society has given them power and we have to respect that.  Or not.

We recently took a group of our trainees to a community service function.  We were asked to leave.  Let me type that again.  This group was asked to leave a VOLUNTEER function because they didn’t know how to behave.  From the time they walked in the door they were rude, foul-mouthed and not helpful at all.  These are young adults – not high school or middle school kids.  We didn’t accompany them because we thought they were adults.  We were wrong.  And let me assure you, they knew what was expected of them.

And let me also assure you that they heard from me upon their return.  But digress.

On what planet is it EVER okay to be rude, foul-mouthed and disrespectful?  I’m no Emily Post but damn people, it doesn’t cost a dime to be kind and respectful.  But it costs a lot for my company to have their reputation drug through the potty because of a few obnoxious frat boys and girls…yes girls…even they were in on it.  I think that pissed me off the most because, in a male dominated industry like mine, I expect more out of the women.  I expect them to be better than their male counterparts because that is what they’ll have to do in order to get ahead.  Is it right?  Hell to the no!  But it’s a fact so get over it.

What I do not expect is for them to show their ass while wearing a t-shirt with the company logo on it.  Show your ass in your own clothes…not mine.  And while you’re at it, bring me a bar of soap because I’ve got a line of people who need their mouths washed out.

See…told you I was geezing.

Namaste

 

 

Why I Love My Ink

I didn’t get my first tattoo until I was 45.  As I’ve said before…it was a mid-life thing (assuming I live to be 90).  It was cheaper than a sports car or plastic surgery and way less damaging than an affair.  I got a simple Om symbol in the small of my back (yes…tramp stamp).  I chose that spot because it was the place least likely to change regardless of what my body did as I aged…when I die at 90 it would be mostly recognizable.  In addition, the symbol had, and continues to have a deep, spiritual meaning for me.  My life was in the shitter at the time and I needed something.  I expected it to help…it did…a little.

What I didn’t expect was to fall in love with all things ink.  When I grew up the only people who had or got tattoos were bikers, sailors, gang bangers or trashy women.  To have a tattoo meant that you were part of the dregs of society and any friends I had that got tattoos at 18 or so, were in the process of having theirs removed while I was going under the needles.  But the art was evolving and I was fascinated.  I wanted something that was private and just mine (at my age there wasn’t any danger of my thong and tat peeking out of my jeans at a party) and my new art filled the bill.  I was in love.

So much so that I planned and thought about my next piece almost immediately.  I had my daughter (the artist) design something around my Om symbol that would not only add color but make it more meaningful.  Around my symbol she drew six cherry blossoms (for each of my kids), five little buds (for each of the grandkids) all of which paid homage to my hometown, Washington, DC.  In my 50th year I had that one inked on my back during a business trip to Orlando.  I got lucky and the artist did a wonderful job but thinking back, I should have waited and done some research…it could have gone very, very wrong.

By then I was watching Miami Ink, LA Ink, InkMaster, Best Ink, and any other tattoo show that came on TV.  I love hearing the stories of why people want to change their bodies permanently and I love watching these amazing artists do their work.  Some are silly and irresponsible while others are joyful and celebrate life.  Then there are those that are sad and pay homage to loved ones lost.  Some are ill placed (neck and hand tattoos????? risky) while others are hidden so well only that “special” person and the owner will ever see them.  All are fairly expensive and the really good ones by the really great ones are sometimes actually cost prohibitive. 

The one I saw that truly changed my opinion of tattoos forever was a picture in a magazine of a woman who had a radical mastectomy on both breasts and was left with horrible disfiguring scars.  Instead of attempting reconstruction (always a deeply personal decision) she had the most beautiful tattoo done over her chest and under her arms to her back.  It was breathtaking and for a moment, you didn’t see the scars…only the art.  That’s when I realized the impact tattoos could have.

The most important tattoo I have is the one I got about a year into my sobriety.  I got my sober date (1/7/10) tattooed on the inside of my right wrist…my “drinking” hand.  That tattoo served many purposes.  First it served as a constant reminder of what I was fighting for.  Second it was like a talisman…guiding me through the tough times.  And finally, it was a reminder that if I picked up, having it removed was going to be expensive and hurt like a sonofabitch!  Let’s just say that simple, quick and inexpensive tattoo served its purpose.

I have a swirly hard to read tat on my right ankle that says “Let Go”.  My friend and I got them together and they match.  Whenever I’m having trouble remembering that I’m not in charge…I think of that little piece of ink.  It works.

Finally, I recently decided that my sober date had served it’s purpose and it was time to move forward and stop looking back.  I now have four cherry blossoms covering that date and the words “Be Still” in my favorite font below it.

It also reminds me that I’m not in charge..

“Be still and know that I am God…” ~ Psalm 46:10

What’s next?  Only time, money and my impulsiveness will tell.

Namaste