Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Snacks and Self Discipline: Cherry Tomatoes and Peanut Butter Stuffed Pretzels

It's a lot. When all is said and done, I will have lost 150 pounds. I'm tall. I'm not sure it will look like 150 pounds. How it got on my body is another post. How I have been removing it is this post. Everybody wants to know about losing weight. If I wrote a weight loss book, I could be a millionaire. People are always buying diet/slimming books.

I love this painting. It's all about food issues. I was so happy to find one that had the numbers '150' on it. The content is easy to understand if you are a  woman who has dieted. She's saying 'I can't eat cabbage soup again!!" Her husband is saying "Honey, it's OK". The child is saying, "I'll just curl up here until Mommy makes mac and cheese."

 I didn't want it to be like the first dozen diets. I started the journey by going to a nurse practitioner and we evaluated my eating patterns and goals together.

Originally, the first 13 pounds, were about healthy eating and recapturing some physical acumen I had when I was younger. I also wanted to know what it felt like to be thin. When I was a size ten 148 pounds, I didn't know I was thin. I was put on my first diet when I was in fifth grade. Eight hundred calories a day was my limit. Repeatedly I was told I was fat and needed to be dieting.

I was maybe fifteen pounds 'overweight' -one stone three or so.  My senior year in high school I lived and worked and studied in Cambridge, England. In the last six weeks of my stay, I ate half a sandwich a day instead of a whole one, and ate an orange every night. Other than that, I didn't change much. I dropped the weight easily. When I came home, I was told I was too thin. That first night back, I obligingly ate a bowl of ice cream. I put the fifteen pounds back on easily.

At almost 5'11" - one quarter inch shy- 160 was not huge, or fat. In my brain, in my mind, I was enormous. I'd been taught that. So I dieted my way up to 150 pounds overweight.

 Out of the blue, kinda, I had the opportunity to have hip surgery and fix bones that had been malformed and working poorly since I was nine. I was excited about the possibility. The physical medicine doctor hedged my caution of disbelief in the ability to lose any weight because of my inability to move.'It's all about portion control" she said. I remembered Cambridge and knew what she said was true. I'd done it once before. I could do it again.

A year later, I had dropped another 24 pounds and because I do not carry my weight around my legs, the surgery was approved.

Standing tall once again, and moving more, post surgery, eating was essential to healing. So for the first eight weeks, with my new hip,  I ate no sugar - except for that one night:)- and lots and lots of protein; as much as I wanted. Within the first month, I'd lost three more pounds. I healed really, really well.

Week nine, it's time to get back to it, portion control. I am determined to lose all of it, 110 more pounds, for three different reasons- health, beauty and a desire to feel what it's like to be thin. Since I missed that the first time around, living that experience is essential to my core self knowledge. And I want to look beautiful. Vapid as that may be, politically incorrect as that sounds, I want to be as beautiful as I can be, by MY standards of beauty.

There are things I know about my body, that will make this goal an accomplishment.
 *I have to consume most of my calories before two or three in the afternoon.
 *It needs some limits on carbs like breads and stuff. It craves sugar a lot. That craving will be satisfied with fruit.
 *It also loves chocolate and vegetables and , most of all, protein and dairy.

I feed it what it wants, when it wants in amounts that are just slightly less than what it wants , and the extra fat burns off. Slowly, steadily, reliably, it burns off.

Mentally, the challenge is to never feel deprived. Eating can't ever feel like dieting. So I balance snacks. That's where the blogpost title comes in. Cherry tomatoes and peanut butter stuffed pretzel nuggets are both fair game. So are cranberry with white chocolate drizzle dunkers. Sundays are feast days. I monitor how much digestion feels, but there is a lot of mouth happiness going on.

The element of self disciplined is included only in that I do things, nutritionally, that help my body be healthy and energized. I commit my brain to learning all it can about nutrition and me. I love my physique sometimes, but most of the time I think to myself 'What I look like does not match my personality. I want my body and temperament to match. That is an empowering motivation.

If you want to lose weight, you're going to have to get to know your body. And you're going to have to eat what's healthy for it. Each person is different. And you're going to have to do it one hour at a time, slowly. If you feast one day a week, you will have to learn how to not feast the rest of the days.

It may be another two years before I reach the weight my body wants. That's ok. There are enough cherry tomatoes and pretzel nuggets to get me there. I'll be eating most of my vegetables at breakfast and lunch for the rest of my life. I'll be eating a two ounce portion of 70% dark chocolate for the rest of my life. I'll be eating twice as much dairy and protein as the rest of the first world for the rest of my life. Eventually, my body will have lost the extra fat and just be maintaining what it needs to stay alive.

Not dieting has been wonderful. The only necesarry self discpline was, is, a commitment to do what's healthy for my body. Eating as a pleasurable experience, being in my body as a pleasurable experience, is just remarkable. I take note all the time. I'll keep you posted!

Monday, March 28, 2016

Stepping Onto Air

                                              So this is what actually just happened...and what I'm talking about. 
I was at the end of telling you what it was like to step out into the unknown as a writer after twelve years of writing a bi weekly column. All the words were there. I had chosen my graphics carefully to augment my text.

I had spoken of the comfort of a small known audience. I explained in wonderful words how I might have goodness rather than resiliency upon which to build. I was going to experience
And in doing so, I might find I could land on a ledge right underneath the one I could not see, or fall and get caught by a tree branch sticking out like those old cartoons. But whatever I was facing, Yesterday was both the ending and beginning for me and today, well...
And then it happened. I looked at the screen and poof! It was all gone. The whole entry was lost. A half hour of work after several hours of thought about which words to choose. As I stared at the blank screen in shock, I thought how completely apropos.

So I add a new dimension to the consideration of stepping onto air. 
What if it's unnerving and you have to think in new ways about situations which are unfamiliar. Do you go to the light spot in your emotional bank or your dark spot?

I have found this to be a good practice, but indeed I have had many years of perfecting the response. I acknowledge the dark and move forward from my light. In other words, I take a breath and say 'WTH or that sucks, or crumbunnies, or something truly stronger and then accept, ACCEPT what has happened and sit for a minute to discern what will be the most helpful action to rectify or return  to, or renew the effort.

If you want to have a better life, stay in touch more closely with your emotions and move to acceptance, genuine acceptance, as quickly as you can.

There, I did it! That will not appear in a column anywhere. And for the first time I will transfer my signature to these pages , these blogs helping to encourage people to Rise to the Challenge of their lives. Maybe I will find I can fly with my wings open.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Stopping and Starting

Not again! That ought to have been my response. During these last few years, in a story way too complicated to layout here, I've been facing a move a year. Every time you move, it takes a month to pack up and three to six months to get reoriented. The more you move, the more psychically exhausting the disruption is. If you are a freelance writer, it becomes difficult to maintain the thread of creativity. Too much brainspace is spent in finding things, developing new routines and the complications that come from reestablishing oneself in a new environment. No moving truck was going to do me and my goals and dreams and calling in!
Image result for moving trucks images

For whatever reason, I have developed an untenable agreement with myself to keep making small strides of progress no matter what.

How did I do it? What are the benchmarks of success in moving life forward when faced with obstacles?
First of all, acknowledge the impediments.

Maybe you are being forced to slow down a bit. Divide your goals into smaller pieces so your rate of success is the same. There might be a gatekeeper in your life, someone who is determined to sabotage your best efforts. Make your work more invisible, keep your projects private. While doing that, move yourself out of the line of fire.

It might be there's someone who needs your help. Set your special dream up in such a way that it gives you refueling after caregiving or assisting whoever it is that needs it.

Perhaps the project itself has thrown a rock in the gears. Revamp, redesign, reframe.

In all of these practices, I found if I kept the energy and passion I had for my endgame, I could devise ways to adapt the steps of moving forward in any way I needed. Eventually, I was able to put together the small successes in a larger package.

Life rarely moves smoothly. By spending my focus on keeping what I could going ahead, I experienced success that encouraged more achievement.

Each determined move brought more opportunities for larger success.

Secondly, go through things the way it's healthy for you to do it. If you need extra sleep, work smarter during the times you are awake. If you need to lower the bar or adjust your timeline, stay calm. Adjusting is not failing. Create healthy diversions from the stress of having to recreate your plan. Stay present in your own experience of life. Avoid auto pilot. Do something for someone else. It keeps your heart soft and gives you perspective on your own challenges.

Life is rarely a smooth adventure. Change can challenge your comfort zones in ways that keep you fresh and creative.  Mostly, you will find a bend in the road, not a dead end.
Creatively engaging with diversity brings new adventures that will add to your life, your character, integrity and your opinion of yourself. You're stronger than you think, if you keep starting after stopping!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Why Less is More When Snacking

Wednesday. Hmpf day. Middle of the afternoon. Two skillion issues that are really probably only about five.
I think about all the people all over the world. What they have in common. In what ways they are dissimilar.
I ponder the things I can do well, and the things I'm not so good at doing. How to respond to being bulled takes up a lot of my bandwidth. Memories of me being teased at the dining room table and flying off to my room for solace haunt me. The world is a bullying kind of place.

I think about the people who voted Hitler into power. The people who say they didn't see something happen when they did. In business, in schools, in healthcare institutions.

Before me stretches a list of 'to do's' involving everything from personal care through volunteer responsibilities, new skills to acquire to talents to invest.

Then I think about what not eating has been like. I am pretty present in my own life and feelings. And yet, removing certain snacks from my life has given me an even deeper connection with what I  experience in my interior life.

I'm not used to it yet, so I can't say I like it, this going without.  But I like the feeling of connection. I like being more aware.

Quite frankly I am attempting about eight different impossible things. There was this poem that was popular in my late twenties and thirties written by a woman who wrote all in lower case. It was considered very trendy to do that. It was called "I love the word Impossible". It was actually the title of a whole book. Came out about the same time as this book that was all about a caterpillar becoming a butterfly that was also all the rage.

I'm am becoming a butterfly. Isn't that just so trite, but ohmygoodness, it is so true.  In the place of thoughts about the challenges, I see myself at a piano for the first time in my life playing what is within me without written music before me, not what was within someone else. I see myself on a surgical table getting a new hip, and then doing rehab and then dancing. I see my children all together at a dining room table with their partners, spouses and children laughing and enjoying each other, healed from every bruise and wound they ever experienced because their dad made a promise he could not keep, to be married forever to me.

I see a butterfly garden in a home I own in a place I love. I see people listening to me read and asking me how to feel encouraged and have hope when there is obviously no reason. I see myself singing, alone. I see my plays on stage and my stories on TV and my books in stores.

I see someone beside me, smiling at me, taking me only unto himself and feeling like I am a gift he never thought he would get or give himself. I see myself healed and free to be so loved.

I see more, when I eat less.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The Challenge of Choices

This morning I read a post about the French Women's Diet. It's all about balance and portion control with the exception of the Vichyssoise two week fast that's  supposed to start the whole thing. Image result for vichyssoise

Our family's favourite holiday soup is Vichyssoise and believe me eating potato leek soup for two weeks is an odd fast. I could do it much more easily than the juice diet, but that is one boatload of potatoes and cream and leeks.

When I was being examined by my physical medicine doctor and we were mapping out the road to a new hip to replace the one long ago injured in the car accident, she made a pointed statement that all the studies affirm the way to weight loss is first of all portion control.

Well that may be. Easier said than done. Years of unconscious eating while raising children with occasional stabs at dieting which yo-yo-ed me up to enormous, kept me from even connecting with portion control let alone practicing it. Image result for fat waist

Yet, back when I was seventeen and thought I was as big as a house ( to be blogged about later), I lost thirty pounds in six weeks by simply eating less. Mind you I only needed to lose about fifteen of those pounds, if that. But nonetheless, I remember the simplicity of eating a half sandwich for lunch and having a snack of one orange each evening. Other than that I ate what I regularly ate. Not a big deal and the weight melted off.

Recently, I've found myself eating less again in a most natural way. I knew that with such a big goal to prepare for my new hip, I couldn't diet again because it only meant fifteen or twenty new pounds. Once again the weight is coming off. This time apparently for good, meaning longlasting loss as well.

Mindfulness is the big term now. Mindful eating, mindful parenting, and for me mindful portion control.Image result for mindfulness I'm never one to be particularly trendy, but it does seem to be working. It also means I have to keep it up, one bite at a time, for the rest of my life.
Image result for woman eating
The irony? I know, soon it will be habit, unconscious habit. Ah me....conundrum to be dealt with later.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Returning to my skinny self...

It is significant that I have rewritten the title to this post four times already. If you look at the pictures of myself as a child and a teen, -- and as soon as I can figure out how to upload those here, I will-- you will wonder why on earth I ever thought I was fat and how I got fat. So here's the story....

My mom suffered from, among other things, anxiety disorder. For some reason she thought I was fat. So, when I was put on my first diet when I was in the fifth grade, 800 calories a day, I took on her anxiety about my weight.  Every day since then I have worried about my weight and yo-yo'd right up to twenty five pounds more than my current weight. I am living proof that diets make you fat.

About fifteen years ago, I found a picture of myself when I was in high school at my heaviest. Totally skinny. I mean skinny. Same with college. Yet my mindset was 'fat as a pig' in those days. It was what I was told everyday. I simply had no idea I was skinny.

So now...I'm going to attempt to really lose all the extra weight, which I have to do to get a new hip next year, and I can't diet. I have to only eat healthy. If I diet, I'll gain more weight.

I have to eat as if I weighed 148 pounds. It's been a looooong time coming. Losing weight without dieting is going to be one of the biggest challenges of my life. But if I'm going to live as long and as healthy a life as I desire, it's necessary.

Incentives? Not a lot. I can get pretty clothes at my size. My numbers are good, as they say. I don't like what I look like in pictures, but I'm pretty much leading the life I'll lead when I'm skinny.

I'll probably have to have that skin surgery afterwards and I'll be just as old as I am now:)

The real incentive for me is wanting to feel what being skinny is like. I've never felt that. I want a skinny mind, a skinny consciousness. I want to have the experience I didn't have the first time around.

I lost the first twenty five pounds when I went to a nurse practitioner who showed me how basically I eat really healthy, just need to adjust my mindset and do a bit of portion control. That was shocking to me. But the fat melted off. Now it's time for the rest. It takes so little focus and so little discipline but it does take SOME focus and SOME discipline...

One day at a time,  one meal at a time...I'll keep ya'  posted....

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Eating the Whole Pizza

So after much waiting and concern that lodged itself in the back of my heart, I finally got to go to the doctor and have a work up to determine what was injured during a bad fall I had a year and a half ago.

Fortunately, my back, damaged from a childhood car accident, is no worse than before. Whatever happened that made the signal drop from my brain to my right leg so I couldn't move it,has repaired itself.

But they discovered I the joke I've made since I was nine, that the doctors put my leg back in wrong when they reinserted , or whatever it is doctors do to a completely dislocated right hip, my joint. X-rays showed that the top of the ball of my right hip looks like uncarved concrete and the edge of the socket has been worn away by the constant abrasion of bone on bone.

Hip replacement time. Better living through titanium or whatever it is they are going to put into it. Surgery that will be a little bit complicated because of the extreme nature of my condition would be imminent except...

I need to lose a hundred pounds. Over the last four decades I've managed to put on about twenty five pounds a decade. More really because I've already lost twenty five pounds before the fall.'s carbs only in the morning and then veggies and fruits and proteins in the afternoon and evening. Portion control, rules like ' no eating in a moving car', no eating after 8PM, and lots of water have been established as the gold standard of behavior , by me.

Putting all those rules into play? Not so easy. Take today. So I decide I can go out to breakfast with the church ladies, and (portion control, carbs only in the morning) half a half order of a single blueberry pancake with an egg and , oh all right, a piece of bacon. Salads the rest of the day coming my way.

Mid afternoon, I head to a place with a great salad. See I'm single,and frequently I get into sentimental shopping if I go to a store. I buy like there were still people in my house, well, and like I had a house. So sometimes eating out is cheaper. There on the menu I see Tostada Salad. I like the mix and figure I can save the shell for another time. Fifteen minutes later, after paying what seemed an exorbitant price, the waitress says to me, 'Your pizza is coming" PIZZA!!?? I didn't order a pizza. "Yes you did," she says. "You ordered the tostada pizza". What?? "You ordered a small tostada pizza" she says, cheerily. "And you'll love it!" Trust me, loving it was not going to be the challenge.

OK... so too much challenge...I've been craving pizza for literally weeks. Let's just say over the course of the next three hours...well... there were no leftovers eventually. It really was salad on a pizza crust, a chewy gooey pizza crust.

Moving past our mistakes, our times we give into temptation, our failures is one the most challenging arts of life.

Tonight I will force myself to go into the pool and do water walking, maybe. I'm pretty tired right now. I may fail twice in one day. But this I promise myself. I will do something to remind myself I am still committed to my goal of doing what I need to do to make my goal of a new hip replacement in a year.

That's how you move past a slip up, a down right deliberate much regretted bad choice. You just remind yourself that you are still committed to a change in direction towards healthier living.  And you rejoice that what you did is unusual. I don't eat a whole pizza everyday. Odds are I never will again. I'll remember to triple check exactly what I've ordered. New rule to add, 'When eating out, asks more questions'.