Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Slouching toward fitness

A few things have happened. No, I didn't wake up a size 6. But... I'm okay with that. No, I went to Pennsylvania this weekend, to teach a craft. I stayed with one of my oldest friends, a woman I've known since we were both 20 and studying abroad. We were not small then and we're not small now. In fact, one of my favorite pictures of us (taken, I might add, by my skinny boyfriend) is one where we're at the playground by the park near the Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen, and we are on a teeter-totter. (I hear they've been outlawed from playgrounds now, for being too dangerous. Probably just as well, they did contribute to a lot of fat-shaming and I'm only being a little tongue in cheek here). But there we are, balanced on it, looking pretty damned pleased with ourselves. You see, in our lives, as bigger (though not BIG, I might add, not the way kids are big now) girls, we could never find anyone to join us on the see-saw. So we had each other, at the ripe old age of 20. So this friend and I, as you might have guessed, have shared many years of eating. Not frenzied gluttony, because we're not that kind of big girl (and are there any, really? Well, right now, to hear them all talk, you'd think that every single plus-sized woman ate 1200 calories a day and worked out and still stayed a size 20) but we never held back, either. She skews toward sweet and I skew toward salt, which might have contributed, as well. So we ate. We ate at increasingly good restaurants, and we ate brownies and fudge and ice cream. But we also, until I stopped being able to, walked. And walked and walked and walked, at a pace that would put many people to shame. We walked all over Germany, we walked in Scandinavia, we walked later in New York and Philadelphia and probably other places that I can't remember. And then, once I stopped being able to walk well, we just kept on eating. I go visit this friend every year the weekend before Thanksgiving, and along with many other things, that weekend has become, for me, the kick-off to the overeating. It does not let up till New Years. Ho hum, it's the truth. I was wondering what would happen this weekend. Six hours there, six back, and a day spent is not conducive to good nutrition, plus the fact that overeating, or at least indulging, is seriously connected with those trips, in my mind. A funny thing happened. I was not a saint, but I was not a sinner. I didn't stop at Burger King on the way down. I didn't nosh my way down the Garden State, the Jersey Turnpike, the Pennsylvania Turnpike. We did go to Friendly's and I did get a melt...but I got the one with the grilled chicken, not the breaded, and I certainly didn't eat all the fries. We had a Happy Ending Sundae, though. But there were no brownies, no fudge, none of that, at night. The next day, I had an okay breakfast and my usual Dunkin Donuts sandwich for lunch (the ham and cheese, because it doesn't have any mayo or stuff like that. Just....ham...and cheese. I did buy a bag of Doritos on the way home. However, this time, there were enough to give to my daughter when I finally arrived home. I ate far less of them than I normally do. Dinner was at Bertucci's, and my portion was quite reasonable. We had dessert, but again, the mini size that they now have. Not the mega-dessert. It was nice. It was just enough. Once home I had a killer workout with a different trainer and....okay, I confess that due to some other uproar in my life, I've given myself permission (I guess that's it) to go to McDonald's and NOT get the southwest salad, and I've been a bit indulgent here at home--but nothing like I would have been! So the point here is that I met a trigger and while I was sort of triggered, I didn't go on a shooting spree. Or an eating spree, for that matter. I have less taste for the other stuff now. I did not consciously set about to wean myself off it, and I still crave a good piece of toast, or a roll, or, even, a Dorito!, but it's not the way it would have been. I will not say that I've been reformed, but I will say that the reformation might be taking hold. Slouching toward fitness, that's me....

Thursday, July 25, 2013


I like their clothes. I like that they have all their clothes in all sizes, from petite to women's and that there's even a women's petite. HOWEVER: I find their straight-size models terrifyingly thin. Scary skinny. If they do anything, they keep me FROM losing weight, for fear that I might look that emaciated.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

I think my head is going to explode

Maybe literally. It's my own fault, of course, as most things in this life are (that is, we can blame ourselves, not someone else). I track my food and exercise on I stupidly also liked the page on Facebook. Also, on Facebook, I like: Voluptuous Vixens, Body Love Wellness, and I think something called Big Fat Deal. Need I say that these things are more or less in diametric opposition to each other? MFP congratulates you--sort of--for being under your calorie goal for the day. Though to be fair, if you're too far under, it tells you all the dreadful things that will happen to you if you don't eat enough. I've purposely stayed away from the message boards, because I really feel as though they would make me completely crazy. If I'm doing this crazy thing where I'm pretending I'm not really trying to lose weight, reading about people congratulating themselves and each other on losing weight would only mess me up worse. So then I go and read every post the other pages post. And, need I say, I have no idea how I feel about them, either. I honestly feel as though 300 pounds is just way too much weight, if you're 5'6". It just IS. But then, is it any of my business? It sort of is, if someone is announcing that she weighs that, and I need to respect that, dammit! And I look at the women, the ones who call themselves BBWs, or "curvy" (which to me is Marilyn Monroe, not Kate Smith), or just plain fat, and especially the ones who have fashion blogs--because I love fashion--and my head spins worse. Because here's the thing...even though I think they're dressed nice, I'm not sure I think they look good. Just to be clear, I don't think you need to hide in a sack, or be a size 2, to wear nice clothes, to do yourself up, or even to be seductive! I plain don't believe that. But....oh, forgive me....I also think that if your belly actually sticks OUT, maybe you should wear some style that doesn't exactly showcase that fact. Or if your belly--your whole belly, not just your muffin top--hangs over your pants, maybe you should buy a bigger pair of pants. Because fit is key, yes it is. Having said that, for me, it took being pregnant to stop worrying about looking fat. When I was pregnant with my first child, I worked in an office in New York. The year was 1984, not a fabulous year for fashion in any event, I feel, and in particular not for pregnant women. Society was squarely between Peter Pan collars and smocks and what they wear now, which honestly, also tells me a bit more than I want to know. So you had some decent maternity clothes, but not that much. So I sewed. Sometimes I cut out and sewed something at night and wore it the next day. I didn't spend a huge amount of time worrying about looking fat, I wore what I pleased, within the strictures of can I sew it in a couple of nights without it costing a fortune. And then one day, one of the other secretaries, a Haitian woman of the world and one of the most beautiful women I have ever known (though she would always say, no, my sister is the pretty one) said, "You are more chic now than you have ever been." And with that, I gave myself permission to wear clothes that made me happy, rather than, do I look fat in this. Because, as I said before, everyone knows what you look like anyway. So dress well, not to hide.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Back to Health

There is a greater and greater fat acceptance movement, which I think is probably also the same, to an extent, as a diversity acceptance movement. And I agree in large part with the fat acceptance movement, in that it is possible to be healthy at a higher weight. I'm living proof of that, or I was. Twenty years ago, or maybe a bit less, we bought life insurance for me. In those quaint days, they sent a nurse to the house to take your blood pressure and a vial of your blood. So the nurse arrived, a very large blonde woman, and I mean large in all senses of the word. The woman was a Valkyrie, minus the brass bra. She was tall, she was broad...she was fat. She was also very matter of fact. I gave my weight as 200, which I think was a little low, but she took me at my word, and we had a moment of talking about liking to eat, and then she left. A few days later, my husband informed me that it was going to cost more for my life insurance than quoted, because of my weight. I was hurt, I was angry. And then something remarkable happened...the company came back and said that because there was nothing at all wrong with any of my other numbers (those were the days) that in fact, it wasn't going to cost any more. I was slightly appeased. Now, of course, as I've written before, my numbers suck and God knows what my costs would be. But I wonder now if that would even be a possibility, that they would look at the whole picture instead of just my weight. Or if I would be subjected to more tests, because they would think the first ones were wrong. Or, and this is an interesting if, they would even employ the Wagnerian nurse. So I was fat and healthy then. Now I am fat and if you go by my other numbers, not so healthy...though striving for improving those numbers. I got weighed at the gym yesterday, by my teeny little trainer. God bless her, she never blinks at the number on the scale, just tells me how well I'm doing--and I have improved greatly since January, when we first met--and that she knows it's hard and to keep going. So I do, as I said, sort of in spite of myself. But there's so much nonsense, so much contradictory information! We're all obese! We're all diabetics! But I also have hands-on experience with the whole diabetic/not diabetic thing. My father, for many many years, was not diabetic. HIS BLOOD SUGAR NEVER CHANGED, but one day he was a diabetic, because they changed where they drew the line. Interestingly, I think that he instinctively ate in a way that was healthiest for him--fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, a snack before bed (which then kept his blood sugar from plummeting in the night). His last two years of life were full of hospitals and nursing homes and when I was asked if he was a diabetic, I would answer, "Sort of," and then get told, there is no sort of...and then I would say, well, he wasn't until they changed where they drew the line, so yeah, sort of. No one liked that answer, but interestingly, no one ever argued with me, either. And then, of course, the fat acceptance people like to say that diet and exercise make no lasting impact on your weight...which, for myself, I don't believe! I will concede that there are people who can eat 1200 calories a day and work out and never lose weight, but I truly know that while for me, it's not like it is for men (I stopped eating a Milky Way a week and lost 20 lbs, which is only a slight exaggeration) if I eat a salad a day and no junk, yeah, I lose weight! If I fudge and finagle and what-not (I'm trying really hard not to say "cheat") then, no, I don't. But yeah. I do. So are they all lying? Is there a vast reservoir of people out there who can survive famines and forced marches and never lose a pound? And why do none of them live in Ethiopia, the Sudan, or the famine-locale de jour? I'm not being mean. I'm truly just asking. I talked to my daughter about this, and we agreed that we have thrifty metabolisms, to be polite and posited it's because our ancestors survived the Potato Famine, so we have thrifty genes built in to us. So maybe that's it? I don't know. But I'll be the first to say, too, that life has to be enjoyable and good food is a help in that.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Treadmill

I'm not sure how I feel about the treadmill. (I know, what a surprise). On the one hand, yes, it's good exercise, and you can simulate, to a degree, outside conditions, but on the other...I feel like the hamster. Or that I should be generating electricity. In German, there are two different words for a treadmill that's a punishment, and the one at the gym. The first one is a Tretmuehle, literally treadmill, and with mill being in there, implies that maybe this is how grain was milled, when there was no wind or water power. The other one, the one at the gym, is a Laufband, which is a running band, or belt. Also quite literal, but without the overtones of the workhouse. A rare moment where German is more humane than English. Anyway, I decided to start concentrating on the treadmill. In about a year, I hope to go to Paris with my daughter, for her 30th birthday. I want to be able to walk everywhere I want to, once I'm there. The elliptical is lovely, and the recumbent bike will get you what you want, as well, but there's only one where you walk, and that's the treadmill. My trainer had set up a lovely program, with my hitting this heartrate for this long and that heartate for that long, and there wasn't a chance in hell I was going to do any of that. I still have trouble walking any distance without beginning to list, so that wasn't happening. But we had a discussion on Monday, when I was there and I realized that I needed to be doing something, really. So, even though I was sort of destroyed from the other workout, the one with the 10-second planks on the hard bosu, etc, I went and did 35 minutes on the treadmill. And, surprise, surprise, I actually felt good and thought about it during the week. I didn't get back until today and maybe because I wasn't all hyped up from the other workout, or maybe because it's 95 degrees most of the time right now, I didn't have the oomph to get up to 2.5, the way I did before. So I did 2.2 for 40 minutes. And I was impressed! I kept my hands on the sensors, so I could see my heartrate (and it never got above 96, which I think is actually a decent indicator that I probably won't drop dead in Paris) but I wasn't using them for support, either. It always annoys me when I see people running or walking and they're holding themselves up with their arms. Unless someone told them to do that, they're not doing any good. But anyway. So I did that. I managed a whole 40 minutes, without a break. without sitting down on a park bench, without anything. I will say that once I got outside and in my car (where I was very happy to have the iced tea I had bought before) I kept saying, "Fuck me!" but that was partly because it was so hot. And I was so hot. I have great hopes for more walking on the treadmill. I'm not killing myself and I'm actually pretty good about putting up the speed, and my goal, no matter what my trainer says, is endurance. I want to be able to walk a long distance at a measured pace, not do sprints or dashes or any of that, though I'll try those too. I want to be able to walk from Hoyt Street in Brooklyn to 44th and 6th without stopping, including climbing the steps on the Brooklyn Bridge. I want to be able to climb up to the castle in Marburg. I hear Montparnasse has a pretty good hill. While I'm at it, I'd like to climb Mount Royal once more, though probably not in a pair of 3" heels, which is what I more or less accidentally did the first and last time I climbed it. I got a lot of funny looks, too, but come on! It's PAVED! I'll do that, or maybe a half hour, tomorrow, and again on Saturday. Keep at it. Slow and steady wins the race, or so they tell me.

Friday, July 12, 2013

More Big Brother

I just read a blog about fat people being forced by their employer to wear pedometers that prove they walk 5,000 steps a day, or face higher insurance costs. ( I find this very interesting, and not a little appalling, because when I was compelled to take the fitness screening, I said the same thing to my husband. I kept saying that I wondered if our insurance premiums were going to go up because of my numbers. He kept saying, they can't, not this year. Which is probably true...but it sure seems to me as though they're gearing up for that. I have been exercising, and eating better. Just tonight, I made quinoa. I'm not quite sure if that qualifies as better, but it does dovetail with what we're all being told is eating better. This week. This month. Right now. Of course...for years we were told that margarine was far better for us than butter, to which I generally responded, anything that makes me want to throw up probably isn't good for me. Turns out I was right. So I made salmon--I made salmon because I like it--and I made cucumber salad--because I like it--and I made quinoa, because carbs are bad! White carbs are bad, anyway. No one was keeping track of me, I just did it. Because I like praise, and I'm all about the praise I hope to be getting in October, when my numbers are more in line with what medicine tells me they should be. I also like praise at the gym. And speaking of the gym, and carbs, something interesting happened to me today. Yesterday was a "bad" food day. I put it in quotes, because I hate assigning good or bad to food, but according to how I've been told I'm supposed to be eating now, yesterday was bad. I was called in to work unexpectedly. I ate a Dunkin Donuts ham and cheese sandwich for a meal for the third day in a row, which is about one day too many. I came home tired, stressed--you'd be amazed how much stress a bead shop can generate--and with no plan for dinner and no desire at all to cook it. So what did I have? (And let me add, I'm not really proud of this). I took out a bag of frozen spaghetti, thawed some of it, and had it with butter, salt, pepper, garlic and cheese. Yeah. That was it. No broccoli florets, no this, no that, just the spaghetti. And the fat, of course. And then I feel like I ate some more carbs, in some form and maybe some more. I forget, to be honest. Amazingly, I didn't go over my day's allotment of calories, because I did log it, but I went to bed feeling full and satisfied, but like a failure. I ate carbs! I'm a bad girl! Then today I went to the gym. We started a new set of exercises last week, I think. Monday was a so-so day, I didn't have a lot of wherewithal to do anything, mostly because of the dog. Today? I killed it! I did three sets of 10 10-second planks on the hard bosu, I did this, I did that. I was great. It wasn't until much later that I thought, um, maybe I did that because I gave my muscles some readily convertible fuel? Maybe not, too. I didn't change anything else, though. We'll see what my numbers say. I've lost weight, because the scale says so, and my clothes say so. I don't know what my blood will say, and I'm not going for an interim test. But maybe, just maybe, all this carb avoidance will turn out to be this decade's margarine.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Great Diets I Have Known

Again, this is recycled from a previous blog. Not sure quite how much it has to do with the topic at hand, other than to emphasize that....oh, I don't know, maybe diets don't work? Because here I am again, trying to lose weight. But then again, if I had stuck with the changes, they would have worked. Strangely enough, for someone who's been occupied with her weight (I'm not going to say struggled, because I don't always struggle with it) almost all of her life, I haven't been on that many diets. I think that may be because for the most part, I think they're nonsense. I started gaining weight, or not looking like society's norm, in about 2nd grade. Not a clue why, really, I was as active as the other kids, rode my bike, lived with my skate key around my neck, all of it. My daughter began to gain at about the same time, so I'm going with genetic predisposition. Whatever, that's when it started. My mother was slender. Not skinny, but slender. I don't look like her, not one little bit. I'm my father all over. This drove her crazy, and either because of her own inner demons, or society's pressures or something I don't know about, she equated slenderness of body with purity of character. This isn't true, of course, but she thought so, and so that made it so. So I heard quite a bit about it over the years. Some nice, some not so...let's just say that a lot of the time my self-esteem took a beating, but I didn't lose any weight because of it. I began to lose weight the last two marking periods of my senior year. I think the gym teacher was getting bored with us--she had been our gym teacher since we were in 7th grade, and we had done just about everything possible to do in a gym. (This was in the days when you had gym--I want to say every single day, unfailingly). So, for the last part of our senior year, she let us do gym projects. They could be nearly anything, as I recall, and losing weight was one of them. For whatever reason, I chose that one. I weighted 150 pounds, and I lost 15 pounds, to weigh 135. I looked good. My classmates said things like "No one could call you chubby any more." I didn't lose it very healthily--I skipped lunch, and other things teenage girls do. I didn't go to the prom, in spite of it, but I enjoyed short skirts and platform shoes, and all that stuff. It was good. I kept the weight off through the summer, too, but fall arrived and with it college, and maybe the freshman 15, maybe more--I have never been very big on weighing myself, so I didn't. The next time I lost weight was in the spring of my junior year, as I was in the second semester of my junior year abroad. I had a schedule of classes that dragged me all over the city I studied in. The layout of the town made bus service nearly impossible, so I walked. I figured out at one point, that I was walking nearly 5 miles a day, what with one thing and another, and this is a town with big steep hills (imagine a steep hill. Now imagine one twice as steep as that, and you've probably got it. I lived at the top of one, so every trip out ended with a trudge up the hill. I do know how to conserve my energy when climbing steep hills, though--!) so the workouts were twice what they would have been. I didn't have a scale there, but I dropped about a clothing size. I bought a white denim skirt in size 42, (German) which is about a 12. Not bad for me. Various things happened to me when I came home, including a pregnancy....I gained weight. The pregnancy never came to fruition, but the weight stayed. The next time was when I moved to New York. This was absolutely not a diet, but I think New York is the world's greatest free gym. I walked everywhere in Manhattan, being way too cheap to pay $0.50 to go 10 blocks, and then the subways elevators, no escalators, long, long platforms--I lost weight. I don't know how much. I had a bunch of size 13 skirts, I remember, and I looked pretty delectable. I was 22. Of course I looked delectable. My weight bounced around during my time in New York, but another great diet arrived in the spring (do we sense a trend here?) of 1980. I decided to lose weight. I didn't own a scale, and didn't buy one. I went exclusively on how my clothes fit me. I probably dropped twenty pounds, at a guess, because I went down two sizes. It helped that the New York City Transit Authority went on strike, and I began walking to and from work--two hours each way. It was quite nice, actually; my route took me over the Brooklyn Bridge. That ended when I got a separated tendon in my foot from all that walking, but the strike ended not long after that. I know what I weighed at the end, though, because I went to the doctor for my foot. He weighed me and the result was 165. He couldn't believe it--I didn't look like whatever his conception of 165 was. He told me I needed to lose 30 pounds. I shrugged. I was pretty damned happy with my home-made diet and my undefined weight loss. I lost weight after my first daughter was born. I was nursing; it was fairly easy. Also, I walked every night. Huh, funny how that works. I gained and lost, gained and lost, but not a lot. Then we moved to Germany, where the tyranny of thinness is truly alarming. It's different than here. Men openly say that they won't date a woman who weighs more than 50 kilos. (110 pounds). Men follow their women into dressing rooms and tell them what to buy. Fat people are sometimes openly mocked on the street. One of the biggest women's magazines has a diet that they run every January--they give you a total of four weeks of menus, shopping lists, before and after stories, the whole nine yards. I did the Brigitte Diet one year. I lost weight, quite a bit of it--I want to say about 16 kilos--better than 35 pounds. It was a restrictive diet, though, and very much, "If this is a chicory salad, it must be Tuesday." To this day, there are some vegetables I only know the names of in German, because I only bought them for the diet. The best thing was that someone else had made up the menus, so there were no leftovers. The worst things were the boredom, the brownness of the food (LOTS of whole grains) and the gas. The diet ended one Saturday morning, in town, when I ate an apricot Danish. I had followed it to the letter for more than two months, but there was no margin for error--and with the Danish, it was done. I held on to that weight loss for a while, I forget how long. Then, nearly 10 years ago, I guess, I went to Weight Watchers. It was pretty good. I lost a bunch of weight, but due to the fact that, honest, I don't obsess over my weight, I don't remember where I started, where I ended, or how much I lost. I think just shy of 40 pounds, though, because I remember buying a 40 pound bag of grass seed and thinking I used to weigh that much more. I'm not sure why I stopped, other than that I hit a plateau, got bored and very tired of counting points. Time has passed and while I've retained a lot of what I learned at WW (eat lots of fruits and vegetables, the world won't end if you eat food you like a couple of days a week) I've found that all it really inspires me to do is try to cheat the system. And that's really counter-productive, so I stopped doing WW.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

What's Thin Enough?

And who decides? I have a friend who is merciless with herself. I bought her a skirt for Christmas from a flash sale site and got a European 34, which anyone can tell you is itsy, and she not only fit into it, but she said it was a little big. I believe her, because she wouldn't lie about that. But to herself, she's fat. She's a blob, she shouldn't be able to go out and enjoy the things she does, because she looks so awful. She literally feels, at a European size 34, that she should not be permitted to enjoy life. That she should keep herself behind closed doors for the good of the general population. Okay, she only thinks that sometimes, but the fact that she ever thinks it is not a reflection on her, but on us. She freely admits she has an eating disorder. She tells me what she eats and, frankly, I'd be cranky and light-headed and probably unable to drive, forced to subsist on her diet. I'm reasonably certain that the only things keeping her alive are avocados, cheese and her great love of ice cream. Other than that--I feel as though her diet is woefully low in protein. She is of Eastern European descent, with small bones, but in spite of that, a solid build. She makes me sad. She makes me sad because when she was 12 and taking dance lessons (and loving them) the teacher told her she was a "fatty little ballerina". She believed him and stayed away from dancing for oh, the next 30 years. One man's casual words caused her to deprive herself of joy for three decades. She makes me sad because she falls in love with emotionally unavailable men and then thinks that if she were thinner, they would love her. (I tell her that if only thin people deserved love, there would be no plus-size wedding dresses, but that seems not to make much of an impression). She makes me sad, because sometimes when it's hectic and I don't get a chance to eat, I see how my outlook darkens and my nature worsens and I think that if she just gave herself permission to feed herself adequately, things would look so much better to her. Not to be fat, not to be overweight....but to eat three meals a day. One day while she was lamenting about not being able to find a man, she listed as one of her virtues, "I don't eat much." That's SAD! It's sad not just that she thinks it, but that she learned to think it. No one comes up with that on their own, as a virtue. No child will tell you, I don't eat a lot and that's a good thing. And food is good. Now, clearly, I have a somewhat distorted relationship with it myself, but one problem I don't have, and that's not believing that I deserve to eat. So here we have someone who is thin. Trust me, she's thin. In fact, because she now goes ballroom dancing several nights a week, she nearly has what is considered the ideal body--flat stomach, strong, slender legs and a nice, rounded ass. (Which she hates. HATES.) And the ironic thing is, she adores ME. In an okay way, we both like boys. But me, in my 250-lb glory, she loves me and my confidence and the fashion risks I take. I wonder sometimes why she's willing to be seen with me, but it's clearly not the case. She would probably like me to be thinner for my health...but she loves me just as I am. I would like her to love herself as much. So then we get back to fat acceptance, and body acceptance and body confidence and all that stuff. AGAIN. Because it goes around and around and around. used to be that men weren't that way, they looked in the mirror and said, "Damn, I look good!" no matter what, but they're doing it now too! My daughter (27) personally knows 2 manorexics. So instead of women leaning from men, and learning to love themselves and be more secure, men are learning from women and learning to hate themselves, and be more insecure. Cool.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Early Body (or something) Confidence

Long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away....that would be New York in the summer of 1980, specifically at Maxwell's Plum. For those of you who did not have the good fortune to live in New York in the late '70's and early '80's, Maxwell's Plum was an upscale pickup joint on the upper East Side of Manhattan. It was decorated in a hyper-thyroid Victorian theme, it served over-priced drinks and it probably kept the antibiotic companies in business. In those days...there wasn't anything that couldn't be cured with a couple of doses of penicillin. Anyway, on a hot summer night, I was there with a girlfriend. We probably were just doing a pub crawl...I don't even remember. I do remember that I had just lost a fairly significant amount of weight. I don't know how much, because I embarked on a weight loss program (my own, by the way--it was eat less, walk a lot) without owning a scale. I figure I lost 20 pounds, but who knows? So, it was crowded at Maxwell's Plum, which it nearly always was. My girlfriend and I were at the bar, and it was so crowded that we were sharing a bar stool. Is that strange? I feel like that was fairly normal in those days. After a while, the guy next to me finished his beer and got up and left. I looked one was lunging for it, so I sat in his place. A short while later he came back. He said, to the woman who had been next to him, but was now next to me, "You have to be fast around here. Oh, well, she had enough to put there, anyway." I saw red. No, "Excuse me, that was my seat, I just went to the men's room," in which case I would have said, "Oh, sorry, I didn't realize," and gone back to squeezing onto the bar stool with my friend. had to be, passive-aggressively, "You're rude and have a big ass.' To the other woman, so he could look like a big man to her. I realized there was nothing I could say that would not come out sounding ridiculous, but I also didn't want him to get away with it. At that moment, the bartender brought him a fresh beer, in a glass mug, and I saw a fresh, unopened pack of cigarettes on the bar next to it. ( those days you could smoke in bars, too). So I said to my friend, "Drink up and get ready to go when I tell you to," and she obediently chugged her glass of wine. .....and then I picked up the pack of cigarettes, and opened them. I shook out half the cigarettes and stuffed them in the glass of beer, and then shook out the other half and stuffed them in too. They looked very pretty, with little bubbles rising up around them. No one said a word. Not the man, not the woman. The bartender poured a fresh beer and whisked that one away, and I said, "Let's go," and we walked out, granted, at speed. Was that body confidence, or just confidence, or just stupidity? I will grant that there is no one-to-one comparison between insulting the size of someone's ass and having your cigarettes stuffed in your beer, but it felt right. I was angry because he chose to insult me rather than talking to me. He chose to insult me for something that for one thing I didn't even think was true (if anything, in those days, I had a lamentably flat ass) and he chose to insult me in a stereotypical way. So I showed him he wasn't the big man he thought he was.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


I lost more weight. Yippee! Alas and alack! I don't even know what I feel. I feel better. I feel, wait for it, more comfortable. (Well, I do). I feel as though I've betrayed someone, some group, some people, I don't even know. I now weigh 250 pounds. This is the maximum weight where I feel decent. I know this from diets of the past....from other times. I feel as though my body can support (probably not easily, but it can support) that much weight, but above that, it's simply above its load limit. I find losing weight profoundly weird. I've said this before, to other people, and in other places. I don't find it empowering at least, I find it peculiar and as though I'm morphing. Sorry, but I do. This may be part of what makes me such so strange about losing weight. On the other hand, there are aspects I like. I specifically like feeling the muscles under my skin, which this time I have in plentitude, thanks to my workouts. Lying in bed at night, the contours of my body feel different. On my back, my stomach is flatter. When I cross my ankles, it feels different. It all feels different. Tell me that's not strange! So okay. So my little trainer (she really is little) is on one side of me, typing, "Good job!" on MFP, and giving me hugs for losing weight when she sees me. But is it really awesome? I don't know. The Nobel prize is awesome. Losing weight? Is putting less (or even just a normal) amount of food in your mouth really "awesome", in that people should be in awe of it. Awe, like standing around with their mouths open. But then, on the other side, are the body acceptance people. You were fine before, they're saying, so why change? Why not eat that hot fudge sundae? And the Big Mac, except for me it's a Quarter Pounder, which, by the way, I haven't had since I've started journaling. Enjoy life! Enjoy food! Except...except, except, except....oh God....if you enjoy too much food, then that's all of life you can enjoy because other enjoyable things become impossible. I understand that I'm not breaking new ground here. I understand that this is old news. I do feel as though it's new, though, that there's such a vocal contingent saying that losing weight is unnecessary. (Like i haven't got troubles enough). So my solution, stupid though it may be, is sort of to lose weight blindly. To do the things I'm supposed to be doing, but not think about them as having a cumulative effect. Sort of doing the stuff, but pretending it will have no result on my outer being. Every once in a while, when I feel particularly thinner, I climb on the scale. But I don't obsess about that, either, remarkably enough. I didn't even calculate how much weight I have to lose, when I joined MFP. So it came as a surprise to me that it is 118 pounds, which shows up on the little picture on your profile. It even has the halfway point marked. So I may just turn out to be the woman who accidentally lost 118 lbs. You never know. And, even at 145 (and no, I don't know what my BMI would be there) I will still be conflicted about it.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Oh, and by the way?

(That was Eat real food! I'm using as a food tracker, and I keep seeing all these ads for what has turned into a great weight loss tyrant--Special K! For God's sake, eat real food. Don't eat bars. Have an egg. Have two, if you're really hungry. I don't claim to make the best food choices on earth, but I do try to eat real stuff if I can. I've found that gelato pops (sea salt caramel, yum!) only have, in some cases, 10 or 20 more calories than our good friend, Skinny Cow and they are infinitely more satisfying. Have a real hamburger once in a while. If you've been eating well, it'll be really filling and really satisfying. But this ties back to the whole acceptance thing. I'm not sure that every single woman is meant to be a reed, in fact, I know not. Women should be allowed to eat, too, and it should be societally acceptable. On this topic, I love Miss Platnum (a Rumanian-German hip-hop singer...sort of....) and her song and video, "Give me the Food". I feel that way. Sort of! Sometimes. Sometimes not. But whatever. Eat real food. Other than gelato pops...try to avoid anything that comes out of a wrapper. And again, there's the test: would your grandmother have known what this thing was? If not, don't eat it. Which pretty much leaves out Taco Bell....

Still wondering

So where is the line? I still don't know where the line is. I mean the line between trying to improve yourself and just accepting yourself. I'm standing squarely on that line myself, by the way. I'm doing all this stuff at the gym, I'm journaling and "making good food choices" (because I stoutly--stoutly, get it? Oh, I'm a riot--maintain that every single grown woman in the western hemisphere knows how to lose weight) and yes, I'm losing weight. Because how can I not? Even after all these years of yo-yo dieting, even being 57 years old, when my metabolism is meant to have slowed to a crawl, even with a bad knee and a hip that still pulls, I can do it. A few weeks ago, I went to a family party. This party had some very large women at it. None of them, by the way, were related to me by blood. Some were from my husband's side of the family, and some were from the other side of my husband's side of the family (ie, unrelated to my husband) and some were just friends. Of all the women there, all the grown women that is, I can only think of three who were not at least overweight. Some were on the chubby side, some were, frankly, floridly obese. They were also all shapes...that is, they carried their weight differently. I'm fairly sure that if you had talked to each one of them, they would have had their own reasons as to why they were overweight. Genetics. Job. Health issues. A combo! One of them told me what was clearly (at least to me) a carefully constructed rationale and excuse at once, for being overweight: her premise was that in order to take care of yourself, to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, you have to be selfish, and those who aren't selfish, who care for others, can't be expected to care for themselves, too, to the level they need to in order to maintain a lower weight. It's slick, I'll say that, and it's got virtue and a degree of morality wound up in it, too. And I'll even say it's a little bit true, because if you're the primary caregiver for someone aging or with a disability, then, yes, it is damned hard, both practically and from an emotional standpoint, to take time for yourself. And from purely personal experience, I can say that a pint of Ben & Jerry's a night is a lot easier (and gives more immediate satisfaction) than the gym. And I know that it's considered being a concern troll (nice phrase there, by the way) to say that someone would be more comfortable at a lower weight....but there were some cases where I absolutely thought that. Does that make me a troll for just thinking it? Or do I have to say it out loud? And does it count that I said it here? But who wouldn't think that, other than a feeder, seeing a 30-year-old woman with fat to the ankles, fat on fat on her thighs.... And I'll can carry more weight when you're young. But I'm not sure anyone ever bargained on the amount of weight that Americans are now carrying. I suppose we all have to decide where the line is, for ourselves, and ideally, stop judging other people for where they are. (And the day we stop judging is the day we can burn every single religious book that there is, not out of disrespect but because we won't need them anymore because everyone will have reached a collective state of enlightenment and we'll probably all levitate, they way we used to try to at slumber parties). For myself, I seem to have committed to going to the gym and doing increasingly more difficult workouts, while keeping a food journal and trying to make food choices that are generally considered to be "good". I know, that for myself, this will result in a lower body weight and a trimmer body all over. I honestly can't say what it will do for my medical numbers because I steadfastly avoided doctors for many, many years. What I find most difficult, I have to say, is accepting myself as I change, since accepting the changed self as good seems to imply that the old one was bad. And the old one, while not perfect, was reasonably serviceable, and I hate betraying her that way. Stay tuned....