What Would Happen if Fat People Stopped Hating Themselves?

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Daniel Oines https://www.flickr.com/photos/dno1967b/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Daniel Oines https://www.flickr.com/photos/dno1967b/

There’s no end to the weight-loss, get-in-shape advice/programs/support groups rolling around the internet.

Most of them are useless, but harmless. A few of them are useless and harmful. Some of them cost $$. Others are free.

All of them work short term.

None of them work long term.

The most extreme and destructive of these is weight loss surgery. As usual for “reality” tv, (which I’m pretty sure ain’t all that “real”) there are cable tv shows dedicated to putting people who suffer from extreme weight problems on the air and letting us watch them go through extreme “solutions.”

These “solutions” range from shows that put fat people through punishing exercise routines that would, if most of us fatties tried them cold turkey, put us in the hospital. These exercise routines are punishing to the point of being downright dangerous.

The exercise punishment is coupled with extreme food makeovers that are just as harsh and punishing as the workout routines. Basically, the person is supposed to stop eating everything they like and begin eating everything they hate, and they aren’t supposed to eat much of that.

Then, we meet the sadistic “trainer” who yells at, belittles, demands and bullies the overweight person every step of the way. The cherry on top is the televised weigh-in, complete with the fear of public humiliation. I don’t know how much these cable networks pay their victims who participate in these shows, but whatever it is, it’s not enough.

Does anyone think that this is a sustainable lifestyle for a real person? Would anyone want to live their life like this? Living like this would be like living in an eternal Navy Seals training camp. Nobody is going to do that, including Navy Seals.

Another popular form of weight loss reality show is the televised miseries of people who undergo weight loss surgery. I am assuming that these people at least get their surgery/counseling/medical care paid for. If they don’t, they need to get a lawyer. These shows are exercises in public humiliation. The poor “star” of the show has to reveal their deepest emotional scars, including things such as sexual abuse, to the whole wide uncaring world.

They are forced to exhibit their folds of fat, and then, after the weight loss, their folds of hanging skin, all for our edutainment. We get to see their family fights, their messy houses and their break-downs of despair. It’s soooo much fun.

Does anybody realize how sick this stuff is? The underlying message in all these shows is that overweight people are freaks who deserve to be punished.

That underlying message is out there everywhere you go in our world. There are only three groups of people you can really pile on to today: Child molesters (If they are Catholic priests. If they are powerful movie directors, not so much.) any outspoken, traditional Christian, and fat people.

Why do we pick on fat people? What’s wrong with being Rubenesque?

I have a theory, which is backed up by nothing but my own thinking and a bit of historical fact. Here it is.

Historical fact: Not so long ago, it was skinny people who got the social boos. My own grandmother, who was born in 1886, suffered from being labeled “unatractively thin,” while her more rotund sister was “pleasingly plump.”

Somewhere early in the 20th Century this began to flip. Before too many decades, we had the Duchess of Windsor, aka, Wallace Simpson, aka the seductress who led a king to abdicate his throne, telling the world that “you can never be too rich or too thin.”

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by The Coincidental Dandy https://www.flickr.com/photos/69017136@N04/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by The Coincidental Dandy https://www.flickr.com/photos/69017136@N04/

In the years since Wallace Simpson was all the news, things have gotten much worse. Marilyn Monroe, the sex kitten of the 50s, would be considered fat by today’s standards. Twiggy, the model who became famous for being uber skinny would look like just another twig beside today’s celebrities.

Twiggy. Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by RV1864 https://www.flickr.com/photos/summer1978/

Twiggy. Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by RV1864 https://www.flickr.com/photos/summer1978/

Fashion models have literally starved themselves to death, trying to flatten the womanly curves off their bodies.

It’s a standard thing in some circles for women to starve themselves so completely that they begin to resemble boys instead of women. Then, they go to a surgeon and have fake breasts implanted under the skin of their chests to recreate the illusion of part of what they have starved away.

This is sick stuff folks. Really sick stuff.

How on earth did we get here?

My theory is based on the historical fact that this change in attitude about food occurred at the same time that our attitudes about sex began to change. There was a time not so long ago when our attitudes about sex were as punishing — especially for women — as our attitudes about food are now.

The hypocritical, cruel and destructive double standard reigned supreme. Women paid the whole price for human sexuality.

We could enjoy food back in those days, but not sex.

Now, we’ve gotten to the point that sex has become a kind of tyrannical monster that is forced on people. Force-feeding sex on a culture is not all that much better than punishing them for being sexual people in the first place. In fact, it’s beginning to look like it’s even more destructive.

At the same time that we’ve gone pagan about sex, we’ve turned hyper Victorian about food.

It’s as if we must be at war with our bodies on some level and we must make this war a form of societal condemnation and punishment for those hapless few who can’t fight the war and win. We need somebody to hate, because if we didn’t have somebody to hate, we’d have to look in the mirror, and face ourselves.

I think that this food sickness we’ve got going in our society is a symptom of widespread and endemic self hatred.

The first step out of cultural weight sickness is to stop pretending that it’s about a lack of self-discipline, addiction, laziness or any other defect.

Food, like sex, is good. Both of them are a gift from God. Both food and sex give great personal pleasure. They have the power to bring people together and create connections between them.

Sex, no matter what the sickos in our world tell you, makes a difference. Having sex with someone is, unless you are both really messed up people, a deeply bonding experience. It is the drive that brings men and women together to create family and civilization.

When it is abused, by turning it into a weapon, or degrading it into an animalistic function, it becomes harmful to the point of personal destruction. The antidote to this is the simple Christian teaching that sex is self-giving between two people. Viewed and lived through that prism, it’s a straight path to the joyous and fulfilling goodness of human sexuality.

It is the same with food. Sharing meals creates community, binds people together, makes it easier for them to talk and relate. There is a reason why meetings between heads of state always culminate in a banquet. That reason is part of who and what we are as social people. This drive for food is bound up in our relationships with others and with ourselves.

But when we turn food into a solitary and shameful act, a drive through the drive through, then gobble it down without being fully aware of what we are doing, we stuff down food’s immense power for good along with the hamburger and fries. The compelling impulse for food becomes a desolate act of self destruction that we repeat over and over again.

Photo  Source: Flickr Creative Commons by tracy ducasse https://www.flickr.com/photos/teagrrl/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by tracy ducasse https://www.flickr.com/photos/teagrrl/

We live such overworked, fractured lives that the simple pleasures of conversation, family meals with long, lingering discussions, laughter and just being together are lost to us. At the same time, we are burdened to the breaking point with the cultural guilt about and obsession with food.

The truth is that the celebrities we see with their emaciated bodies are only attractive when they are properly lit, expensively clothed, groomed, and Photoshopped. When you meet them in person, they look like walking x-rays. Many of them end up taking drugs to assuage the constant hunger they endure.

The first step out of our culture of weight sickness is to realize that it is a sickness. There is nothing normal about thinking about food all the time. It doesn’t matter if you are a binge eater stuffing down every candy bar in sight, or you are one of those walking x-rays taking drugs so the hunger pangs don’t overpower you; you are in the grip of a culturally induced obsession.

I think the first thing the fatties of the world, including me, need to do is stop hating ourselves for being fat. We need to stop punishing ourselves with food and over food. That’s a tough boogie I’m talking about. It means going in the face of a tsunami of cultural messages. It means taking the self-hate we’ve been taught and drop kicking it off the front porches of our emotional lives.

It takes real guts to go against the world around you. But Christians should be well-equipped for the task since we face the choice of the world or Jesus just about every single day of our lives.

I think I’m going to go to the grocery store and buy the makings of a really good meal. I’m going to buy my favorites. Then, I’m going to cook it and invite a few folks over for supper. I intend to enjoy the food and enjoy my guests.

I wonder what would happen if we stopped all this craziness and just started using food in the way God intended it to be used. What if we enjoyed it without guilt, shared it with pleasure, savored it, licked every last morsel off the spoon and then leaned back in our chairs and grinned?

One thing I’m pretty sure of is that I wouldn’t be any fatter. And I certainly would be a lot happier.

I think I’m going to try this. Enjoying food and not feeling guilty about it is my new diet. I wonder what will happen.

Now, let’s talk.

 

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The Junk Food Fix is More Than One Person’s Bad Choice. It’s an American Problem.

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Maurice Svay https://www.flickr.com/photos/mauriz/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Maurice Svay https://www.flickr.com/photos/mauriz/

My brave, witty and beautiful colleague, Katrina Fernandez, writes with the uninhibited gusto of a natural born wordsmith.

She has her finger on the pulse of the American condition. Her struggles with making ends meet as a single Mom in our current “jobless recovery” echo those of a lot of people I know, including my own family members. Her passion for Christ and His Church, her love of art and her fearless honesty make her one of the best reads on the internet.

Katrina has lately taken on the bugaboo of a whole raft of us working class Americans:  the demoralizing and doomed-to-defeat battle against overweight. Every word she writes, I can affirm from my own overweight life. Every defeat she encounters, every frustration and every small victory are experiences that millions of us have shared.

This topic of discussion fascinates a lot of us for the simple reason that Katrina is not alone in her predicament. Most of us live our lives in what Thoreau once described as “quiet desperation.” The difference is, in today’s world there is nothing quiet about our desperation.

We shout our frustrations for all the world to hear, but, despite our shouting, we do not comprehend them. How much of our food obsession and chronic widespread obesity is a reaction to the larger desperation of people who are pushed as far as they can be every single day of their lives?

All you have to do is leave this country and spend a few days in a place like Spain to come back and see and feel for yourself the driven, nerved-up atmosphere of our America. We are living through an implosion of our national wealth which is being siphoned off from the many and redeposited in the bank accounts of the very, very few.

We are, in fact and in truth, being systematically stolen blind by our government, which is the operative force in this theft.

What I’m saying is that we are getting poorer every single day. It is becoming harder and harder for ordinary Americans to make enough money to keep a roof over their heads, food on the table and a running car in the garage.

We have splintered our families to the point that vast numbers of Americans are trying to row their boat with one hand. Single parents try to be two people. But they can’t. Not really.

We work long hours for low pay and fewer benefits every year. We send our children to substandard schools that throw them into contact with drugs, gangs and that teach them moral nihilism. Our tax dollars are used to manipulate our children into a valueless worldview that is anathema to us and to their futures.

We are forced to leave our children alone in our homes for many hours a week while we try to make a living. We face a future in which any chance of getting off the treadmill to retire is being challenged by politicians who work for corporatists who want this last big pool of money, which is the retirement savings of generations, for their own use.

We are tired to the point of exhaustion almost every day of our lives. We do not have the energy and leisure for reflection and thought. At the same time, the media bombards us constantly with one pounding crisis after another. We are propagandized, lied to and manipulated in a deliberate fashion on a constant basis by this same media.

At the end of our long day, we do not feel like cooking a meal. We are too tired to wheel a shopping cart through a grocery store. It is simpler and in fact less expensive to go through the drive-through at the local fast food joint and pick up a sack of something. We can be sure that this something will be heavily seasoned with fat, sugar and salt. We can be equally sure that it will not contain anything resembling a balance of food types and nutrients.

But we have learned to find satisfaction in the sledge-hammer hit of fats, sugar and salt. The carbs and fats hit our systems like a drug fix. They energize us for the moment and the powerful tastes assuage our longing for pleasure. Eating this stuff passes for a momentary time-out. It feels like comfort.

Food, used like this, is not about nourishment. It is not the pleasurable and relaxing experience of partaking of a well-balanced, home-cooked meal with family and friends. There is no lingering over the last morsel and laughing about the day’s problems.

This kind of eating is a buy-it-quick, stuff-it-down fix. We need the outlandish calorie counts supplied by all that fat and sugar to satisfy our hunger because the food itself is so low in so many essential nutrients. The sugar-fat-salt fix soothes our taste buds and raises our blood sugar so that we feel a short-lived high.

Of course, this doesn’t last. Unlike a real meal composed of good food, the high from this something we’ve bought at the drive through goes away in a relatively short time. Unlike a meal at the kitchen table with friends and family, it does nothing to relieve the day’s pressures and assuage the anxieties that keep us up at night, even when we ache from tiredness.

Before we have begun to burn the high number of calories we’ve consumed, the gnawing hungers, both physical and emotional, are back. Our bodies push us to eat again because they haven’t been properly nourished. Our minds beg us to binge because we need surcease from being, as Alcoholics Anonymous says, too hungry, angry, lonely and tired.

We have nobody to talk to. We have no other outlets in our time-starved lives where we can vent. We are pushed around, abandoned, scared and alone with our miseries. We really are too hungry, angry, lonely and tired to fend off that call for a junk food fix.

Our national problem with obesity is not so much a problem with food as it is that we don’t have healthy options for dealing with the many desperations of our existence. We live in a nation that has been at war for almost 15 years. Our country has been economically at war since around 1939.

Our government has been hijacked by corporatists who are draining the national purse as well as our private purses and taking the money for themselves. The government tells us that inflation is flat, yet every time we go to the grocery store or fill a prescription or guy a gallon of gas, we know that this is not true. Inflation is, in fact, running pretty high. The government has just cooked the books so it does not have to admit it.

The stock market has been going up and up, yet the people of this country can’t find jobs and when they do find jobs, they can’t live on what they are paid. They do not have retirements, the roads and bridges aren’t being repaired, tuition keeps going up and scads of people can not afford the health insurance being offered by the Affordable Health Care Act.

There isn’t time in most people’s lives to drop in at a gym and work out every day. Besides, people who never get enough sleep at night don’t feel like working out. The only pleasure a lot of people in this country get on a reliable basis is stuffing down that junk food they got from the drive through.

I’ve come to the conclusion that we will not solve the problem of widespread obesity in this country until and unless we solve the problems of lost community, no free time and fear of the future that haunts the American people. I’ve also come to the conclusion that it’s up to us to do this for ourselves.

Widespread obesity is a symptom of many huge problems facing the American people. If you find your community on the internet, instead of the flesh and blood people around you, if you are chronically exhausted from lack of sleep, if you ache all over from lack of exercise, if you can’t find a job or if you have a job, it doesn’t pay your bills, if you have no idea whatsoever where you would go or who would take care of you if you got cancer or when you grow old, then you are not living the American dream. You are living the American nightmare.

Is it any wonder that you find it so hard to give up the one pleasure you have? When a Big Mac becomes the best thing in your life, you won’t be able to stay away from it, no matter how hard you try.

We the People tamed this continent. We built railroads across the wilderness, created an industrial empire like nothing the world had ever seen. We won world wars and put men on the moon. We created a standard of living, not just for the few, but for a whole nation of Americans, that, again, the world had never seen before.

Now it is being taken from us. The only thing our government seems capable of doing is waging constant war. It will not spend our money on us. It does not build roads, does not provide decent education. It goes in your face against our values and needs.

The government has steadily siphoned off the wealth of this great nation for decades now. It has transferred monies that once enriched all the citizens of this nation into the hands of a few. It has exported our industrial base and the jobs that go with it. It has ignored the people on a consistent, bi-partisan basis.

Meanwhile, We the People tear our lives apart with senseless divorces, too much debt, increasingly splintered communities, zoning out in front of the computer or the television, and of course, those trips through the junk food drive throughs.

We are sitting by while we are being stolen blind by our own government, while our young people turn feral from no family life, bad schools and sicko social values and while we commit slow suicide from overeating, under exercising and constant sleep deprivation.

I am not speaking of these thing from the outside. I am one with most of these problems. I eat out too much, don’t exercise enough and so seldom get enough sleep that when I do I am astonished by how good I feel. Over-eating, under-exercising exhaustion is my normal.

I’ve decided I’m going to join brave Katrina Fernandez and blog about my own battle of the bulge. I’ve done this before when I published a series of posts under the title, Less of Me. I’m going to resurrect that title and post under it again.

I see overweight/under-exercise/lack of sleep as a widespread societal problem and a deeply humiliating and utterly defeating personal problem.

If there is a way out of this cycle, I have never found it.

If you want to read something like Ten Quick Fixes for Weight Loss, you need to skip my discussion and go somewhere else. However, I can guarantee you before you go there that it will not help you one bit to read those ten quick fixes. Because there aren’t any quick fixes. Because the problem itself is bigger than the individual. Because when an entire nation of people experience such a devastating malady as this, there is much more afoot than simple lack of will power and bad personal decisions.

The junk food fix and everything that goes with it is a societal problem. It is a maladjustment and a source of illness for tens of millions of Americans.

I am one of those Americans.

Let’s talk.

 

 

 

 

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Less of Me: Week Four

Gimpy the Foot.

Less of Me is going to be a little unusual for a while.

There may be a blessing in this unusualness, since I’m being forced to search for ways to live healthy in a wheelchair. I know I’m not the only person who needs this information and if I figure out anything useful, I’m going to share. 

If you’ve followed this series, you know that I resolved to do more exercise and get healthy and promptly fell down and broke my foot and cracked my hip.

The first week was kind of lousy. But this week the pain backed off and I began to feel golden. I hefted myself up, kicked the wheelchair aside with my good foot and reached for the walker.

Now there are probably those among you who associate walkers with feeble, slow-pokey type locomoting. But you’ve got it all wrong. If you doubt that, I challenge you to spend a week or so trapped in the bottom floor of a two-story house in a wheelchair. Kicking that wheelchair aside was powerful.

I clomped around the house with the walker. I even went into the kitchen, whose entry is too narrow for the wheel chair. I was like a step-clomp-step-clomp bird let out of her cage. When my husband came home from work, I persuaded him to take me for a drive and I step-clomped my way to the car.

There is no Olympic Gold Medalist who is any happier with their athletic achievements than I was with that step-clomp walk to the car. I came home and started planning my new life of freedom.

The next day, I got up and noticed that the hardware in Gimpy the Foot was sticking up. It made an ugly bulge through the bandages. Didn’t hurt. Or at least not much. (I quit taking pain meds so I would know if I was hurting Gimpy when I used the walker.) But it wasn’t where it had been.

I called the doc and he said go to the er. Said they had my old x-rays, could take new ones and see what I’d done to myself. I didn’t do that. I just didn’t want to spend another half-day in the er. I think I also didn’t want to hear any bad news. I’ve got Gimpy propped up and am waiting for my doc’s appointment Tuesday. And I’m back in the wheelchair.

If I moved that hardware and they have to do anything over, I’m …. well, I’m gonna do it over. But, boy, I don’t want to.

The question remains: How does anybody get healthy in a wheelchair? Frankly, if I was going to do this permanently, the first thing I would do is get rid of this house. No more two-story. No more narrow doorways. No more high cabinets and steps up the front porch. (You haven’t lived until you’ve had your son and husband lift your overweight self, in your wheel chair, up the front steps just a few hours after surgery. It’s the scariest ride in town.)

I can tell you that the men I live with don’t cook. They also don’t like healthy take-out. They like junk food. I am scared to think how much weight I’m gaining, sitting here with Gimpy propped up and swilling down the junk.

I’ve started doing some upper body workouts that a reader (Thank you Theresa!) linked for me. They work great in a wheelchair. I’m also going to peruse Amazon for a wheelchair workout cd.

I’m going to send one of my girlfriends out with a list of things that I can eat that aren’t junk food. I’m sending a girlfriend because, if I sent my husband, I wouldn’t get any food. It wouldn’t matter how meticulously I wrote the list. It wouldn’t matter if I sat down and went over it with him before he left. He’d still come back with ice cream, chocolate bars, dip, chips, four liters of soda, and a fire starter for the charcoaler.

After thirty years of marriage, I know these things.

Whatever I ask my friend to buy for me, it’s got to be something I can prepare without going into the kitchen. That’s where you come in.

I’m not much of a domestic goddess, even when I have both my feet. How do I do this with a microwave and a refrigerator?

I’m calling on all you cooks out there for ideas. Send me good ones. If the doc says I’m stuck in this wheelchair for the duration, I’ve got to figure out how to do the wheelchair thing in health.

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Less of Me: The Diet, Week Three

Gimpy the Foot

I skipped posting about The Diet last week. The only thing I could’ve said was “Ouch!”

I took a fall about a week ago. Broke my foot. Had surgery. Now, I’m wheelchair-bound for 8 or 9 weeks and then back to surgery. After that, it’s rehab for me and my gimpy foot. The doc says it will be about 5 months before my battered foot and I are healed and fully well again.

Nothing I had planned in terms of bettering my health — except, possibly, getting 8 hours sleep — seems do-able right now.

I never knew how much I liked my feet until I lost the use of one of them. They were just sort of there, at the end of my legs, doing their job. I didn’t think they were beautiful, but now I know that two uncomplaining feet are among the most beautiful things in the world.  I am a newly minted feet fan. Two of them. In working order. That’s better than chocolate.

I honestly think that if I wasn’t so overweight I might not have injured myself so badly. That’s my theory at least. My husband said, “How did you smash it like that?” and I told him, “I guess I dropped my whole weight on it.”

The nurse at the hospital told me to stop doing that to myself, that things just happen. Said it as they were wheeling me into surgery, “Honey you stop doin’ that to yourself. Things just happen. Don’t tell yourself stuff like that.”

That was nice of her, but I still think that the amount of weight your bring down on your bones is bound to affect how much torque you put them through. Just guessing. But it does seem logical.

I’m not talking about beating myself up here. If my love affair with junk food and the resulting heft I brought to the fall made the injury worse, then I’m the one who’s paying the price. My overeating. My injury. My payment.

But I have come to the conclusion that this is a price I don’t want to pay again. There’s no doubt that my weight has made things tougher on my husband and kids as they’ve had to shove my wheelchair around. I also know that it makes it harder for me to paddle along with the wheelchair myself.

All this gives seeing Less of Me a whole other level of incentive.

There are real limits to what I can do now. My first job is to take care of my sore baby and get well enough to be more active. But I’m already thinking ahead to the days when I’m quasi mobile and can at least do some things.

We have a women’s health spa/workout place not far from our house called Mademoiselle Ladies Fitness. They have the full set up of weight machines, ellipticals, bikes and pool. But what I’m aiming for at first are the passive work-out tables. I have a friend who used these a few years ago because her condition wouldn’t allow her to do the more strenuous things and she says they actually do work.

The set up looks like this:

The exercises you can do with them look like this:

 

Whaddaya think? Would this work with Gimpy the Foot?

I also cracked my hip bone. Even though it is going to heal on its own with no intervention, it’s still sore. Maybe I should say, Gimpy the Leg. I dunno. All I know is that this little event has made me realize what a wonderful thing a healthy, pain-free body is. It’s also brought home how very fortunate I am that I don’t have diabetes to complicate all this, and how much I don’t want to spend any more days at the hospital being a patient.

How do I work toward the goal of a healthier me from this wheelchair? 

Ideas? Thoughts? And a little encouragement, please. Tell me what you think. 

 

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Less of Me: The Diet, Week Two

So much for great plans and good intentions. 

One of the good people who offered advice about my impending diet last Saturday told me to be gentle with myself when I failed to do what I had planned. That was excellent advice, especially since I didn’t succeed consistently on anything  I planned.

First the good news. When I weighed this morning, I found to my surprise that I had actually lost 2.3 pounds. Why? I dunno. I made no effort to eat less or even to eat differently. I was more aware of what I ate just because I had weighed and then written about it here.

Now, to the long list of failures. My objectives and the results were:

1. Start getting 8 hours sleep every night. It turns out that the only easy thing about this was writing the sentence. I managed to make myself go to bed by 1 am almost every night. I did not pull an all-nighter all week. But I couldn’t sleep once I got there. I tossed. Turned. Tossed some more. To top it off, my elderly mother got me up at 4 a couple of mornings; not because she was sick, but just … well … because. So the first objective gets 14 for effort and zero for success. I will keep trying and would appreciate any and all ideas as to how to succeed. I. Am. So. Tired. I need the sleep!

2. Exercise every day. I managed to do this 3 times rather than the 7 I hoped for. I rode my recumbent bike for 30 minutes instead of the planned 15 simply because it was easy to peddle and read. The challenge here is making myself go do it. I’m going to run at it again this week. I think that three times is a big improvement over none, btw. My score for this is 7 for effort and 7 for success. Halfway there.

3. Don’t do so much. I was a TOTAL flop at this! In fact, instead of clearing the decks, I took on two additional projects; one for a volunteer position I hold and another for my family. The score here is zip and zip; the big zero.

4. Drink more water. I drank more water, but not what I had planned. I’ll work on it. I would score this 10 for effort and 7 for success.

5. Weigh. Every Saturday. I am 14 for 14 on this! I finally have something where I accomplished what I planned, even if it is just stepping on a scale and looking down. Yeah!

6. Blog about it here every Saturday. I am doing that now. So again, 14 for effort and 14 for success.

7. Pray about it. I (blush) didn’t do this at all. It is so hard for me to pray about this. I have no idea why.

So there you have it. The bottom line is that I need a lot of work just to get to the beginning of living a healthy life. The odd thing is the weight loss. I think it is most likely a result of the self-awareness I gained from talking about all this here. I think that may actually be the most helpful thing I’ve tried.

I hope you guys have some ideas about sleep. I think that’s the single most important thing I need to do for myself right now. Please feel free to chime in with any ideas, thoughts, prayers you have for me. I need all of it.

Thank you again for all the help you’ve given me so far. As I said, it seems to be doing me good, almost without my knowing it.

Now, I’m off to put a roast in the oven and then go to mass.

 

 

 

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Less of Me: The Diet, Week One

 

Well, I did it. 

I drug the scale from under the counter, stood on the thing and looked down. It was bad. I weigh more than I ever have. No wonder I feel so lousy.

After reading all the helpful (And I do mean helpful. Thank you!) comments on my first post about this, Picking My Prison: Which Diet Program for Me?  I’ve come to the conclusion that this is a health habits problem as much as it is an over-eating problem.

Not, mind you, that I don’t over eat. Nobody sees what I saw on the scale this morning without over-eating a lot and overeating often. However, there’s a lot more to this than over-eating. I am also exhausted. And totally out of shape. Not to mention stressed.

There are a lot of reasons for this, some of which I can change and others which I can not. I’ll talk about them in more detail in later posts. For now, I want to focus on what I’ve decided to try to do about this in the next seven days. The changes I want to try to make this week are:

1. Start getting eight hours sleep every night. This is my number one priority. I decided on this because I think it is the one thing that will give me the most immediate help in lowering my blood pressure and just generally feeling better. I go to bed at 3 or 4 (or later) in the morning then get back up at 7 or 8. I do that every day. Changing my sleep habits isn’t as simple as just crawling between the sheets at a more reasonable hour. I’ve become so habituated to my hamster-in-a-cage lifestyle that I can’t sleep, even if I do go to bed. I’m just too jazzed. So, my second goal for this week is

2. Exercise every day. I’m not talking marathon here. Fifteen minutes on the recumbent bike is a good start. I’m hoping it will help me sleep. I’m not sure what time of the day I should do it to get the most relaxation/sleep inducing benefits. I’m just hoping it works.

3. Don’t do so much. I can’t get everything done if I sleep 8 hours. I just can’t. So, I’m going to have to clean out my life the way I would an over-stuffed closet. This one may take a while, and it will almost certainly involve saying “no” to some things. But it’s gotta be done.

4. Drink more water. I’m going to fill a 26 oz thermos I have with ice and water and drink it every day. This one’s easy.

5. Weigh. Every Saturday.

6. Blog about it here every Saturday. I’m hoping you can be my support group with this. You’ve been so much help so far it’s unbelievable.

7. Pray about it. For some reason, I have a reluctance to pray about my own health. It’s as if I think it’s something I should handle without God. So, I’ll add this my my daily prayers.

That’s my plan for this week. How does it sound to you?

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Picking My Prison: Which Diet Program for Me?

I’ve got to lose weight. 

I will not tell you how much I weigh. I will admit that my blood pressure is edging up and my energy level is dropping down. It’s time to stop buying bigger clothes. Time to stop hiding from mirrors. Time to quit avoiding the scale and “forgetting” to go get those blood tests the doctor ordered.

It’s time for me to drop a pound or 50. 

The trouble is, I don’t want to. Eat less, I mean.

If you could wave that proverbial wand and painlessly shave off this bulk, I’d be all for that. But watching every single bite I eat and not eating anything I like and never feeling full sounds like a punishment we should give to the worst criminals.

I’ve considered ways to do this. I hear Weight Watchers is having a join-for-free special right now. SparkPeople costs nothing and seems to work for a lot of folks.

All these programs work. If you do them. They even work for me. If I do them. Truth told, I have no trouble losing weight. I can lose on any “program.” What I can’t do is keep it up.

These “programs” feel like whole-life straight jackets to me.  I can lose weight. All I have to do is watch every bite I eat with an obsessive exactness that often involves weighing my food and measuring it out at every meal as if I was building a bomb instead of sitting down to eat. No spontaneous bite may cross my lips.

I become both my own jailer and my own prisoner, locked in my own gastronomic maximum security prison; caught in a war I can not win because it’s between me … and me. Keeping weight off is sentencing myself to this prison for life without parole. If I relax for a day, I stop losing. If I relax for several days, I gain.

So. I have to keep tabs of every bite I eat. Every. Single. Bite. Every nibble. Every sniff and whiff of food cooking in the kitchen as I walk by. I have to write it down, tally it up and “track it.”

I also have to monitor myself keeping tabs on myself to make sure that I don’t forget to keep tabs on myself and start gaining weight again.

If that isn’t a self-made hell, what is?

I’d forget about it. Again. And buy bigger clothes. Again.

But there’s that blood pressure, creeping up, and that constant tiredness that’s become my new normal. I’m willing to be ugly for food. But am I willing to die for it?  I don’t want to stand before God and have Him thump me on the head and say, “You threw away 20 great years I gave you because of chicken fried steak?”

I need to give up avoiding mirrors and bathroom scales and pick a program. I’ve been going to “do that tomorrow” for a couple of weeks now. I’m “going to do that tomorrow” again. I’ll let you know this weekend if I do any better this week than I have in the ones before. Maybe talking to you about it will help me go ahead and take the plunge. I’m hoping it will.

Now let’s see … Weight Watchers or SparkPeople … or maybe something else … Which prison will I pick?

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