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Category Archives: Weight Watching

Here I am again with nothing to say

I’ve been staring at the screen for five full minutes, zoning out to such an extent I may have actually fallen asleep. But my new goal is to write something once a week until it clicks and starts to come naturally again. Unfortunately, that’s not happening yet, so right now I just need to sit here and suffer through this exercise and take all ten of you poor readers with me.

My thoughts are random and jumping from one topic to another… should I write about the end of school year crazy, my revelation that no matter how much I pretend it won’t happen, I will probably be having a party for my son on his bar mitzvah, or the fact that my son’s kitten has now matured to a teen cat with a rebellious streak, and even though I bought the jumbo litter box and the expensive litter, enjoys nothing more than taking a good poop behind the printer in my office.  After successfully potty training three boys, I take this failing personally.

Maybe I should just shower. None of these topics seem remotely interesting and I am rank from the exercise class I powered through on zero energy this morning. I barely slept last night but forced myself to go because I was feeling pretty good about my body in the morning and made the mistake of getting on the scale. Immediately, I realized that I had no right to feel good about myself, which is amazing since if the number would have registered 3 pounds lower I would have been strutting around. I hate the freaking scale.

So there would be no riding on coattails today. Thankfully, the class was a good one and I occupied my brain by looking around at a room full of the women I see on a regular basis. They are varying sizes but all fit and committed. No matter what the scales say, or our brains say or how we slept (or didn’t sleep) the night before, we all keep on showing up. I am proud to be among them. Happier to be done and leave them, of course, but tomorrow we will sweat each other again. Same bat time. Same bat channel. Welcome to the hamster wheel. Come sit with me and fold some laundry.

Now food is on my mind. Why not, since nothing else seems to be. I’m trying to be good but that always works against me. Trying to be good almost automatically results in being bad. Evidence A – a cleaned out jar of peanut butter in the trash. Evidence B –  a ripped open bag of semi-sweet Ghiradelli chocolate chips. Don’t judge me. It will only send me straight to the freezer.

I might as well shower. This is clearly just rambling down to nowhere. Still, I sat here again and pretended to write something. Hopefully soon I’ll get into it. Creative productivity is just a click click click away! Until then I’ll just keep stinking up the page. And the room.

But I’ll check behind the printer just in case.

 

IMG_5897

Nope. It’s me.

All Bout That Bass…

At least half the days I wake up in the morning I feel as though I probably gained five pounds overnight. It could be because it was a Monday and I had just come off a weekend of baseball field snacking, movie munching and Saturday night dinner out, or it could just be a random Thursday feeling bloated, or maybe that my nightly sundae had gone off the deep end of the bowl.

Whatever the case, it genuinely amazes me when I do get on that scale and it informs me I am basically the same weight, which these days is a solid five pounds under my skinny weight.

Under!

It’s a weight I haven’t maintained for any period of time since my crazy mid-twenties when I ate zero fat and skipped happy hours and dinners with friends for gym class. Even then I could barely pull it off, which is why I’m so amazed that after some months on Weight Watchers and some months after, I am still living the skinny jean dream.

I really thought that losing this amount of weight would liberate me. “That’s great,” my friend said, “Now you’ve got a nice cushion.” I totally agreed, thinking I could loosen the restraints a bit. I was already imagining the enormous ice cream I could eat later.

But it’s a lie!

There is no relaxing when it comes to weight management. Now at my thinnest point in decades, I still feel the weight anxiety almost every day. Who am I kidding? It’s every day. Am I eating too much? Can I maintain this? The funny thing is that I was happy with my weight being five pounds heavier. I was actually still okay, 10 pounds heavier. But now that I’m low, I have a hard time seeing myself – or that number on the scale – going up. So while my pants size is down, my general anxiety over my weight has not decreased at all. I feel no cushion. And I’m still having fat days.

I was talking with a friend the other day about the craziness of it. She is trim and exceedingly fit, but still tells me, she can’t relax. She feels she must exercise every chance she gets and she’s got to work it hard. She knows her body needs days off; that it’s literally aching for them, but her brain won’t let her. ‘If you do, you’ll get fat,’ it says.  Trust me, she’s far from the only friend caught up in this cycle.

It’s ridiculous.

So when does this madness end? At 120 pounds? 110? What is the magic number?

The answer is… There is no magic number. It ends when we decide it ends.

I’m finally realizing that my body issues are not necessarily with my body but with my brain. Okay, stop laughing people who know me. Physically, I eat healthy and exercise regularly. It’s obviously the mental aspect that needs work because it’s become pretty apparent that self-image really is in your head.

So I’m making a point to appreciate what I’ve got; to lighten up a bit mentally and indulge a bit more.   I work hard to keep myself thin, so I’m also going to give myself the pleasure of enjoying my body.

And my ice cream.

photo (5)

Yeah, yeah. I know. The hat…

 

I Dream of Bikini  

I’m going to share an embarrassing superficial secret.

For years, decades really, I have wanted to wear a bikini. In my mind I saw the perfect one. It was always bubblegum pink with those 70’s strings hanging from the sides of the bottoms. I also imaged smooth, thin tanned legs that those sexy ties would be resting against, as well as the long lean torso showcased in the middle.

This would explain why besides the three times in my distant memory, I have never worn a bikini.  The fantasy is not the reality and for a long time I was the kind of girl who thought if you can’t do something right, don’t do it. I’m still sort of that kind of girl.

Thus, years of swim dresses and cover-ups ensued. I even successfully managed to go without wearing a bathing suit for an entire summer – twice.  Of course, all of this is unnecessary. I could certainly comfortably wear a swim suit, but that doesn’t mean that I am comfortable doing it. Also, since I dislike the water – both pool and ocean – turns out bathing suits are easier to avoid than you’d imagine.

I worked within these confines for basically my entire life, but the other day I was flipping through a bathing suit catalogue that somehow mistakenly wound up in my mailbox, and I came across a suit that almost fit my fantasy… as did the model wearing it. I lingered on the page; silently coveting and felt a shift within me.

I wanted that suit.

I couldn’t believe it. Now that I was over 40, had three children come out my pooched, overstretched stomach, I was going to cave? Was this some trick of middle age? I knew I couldn’t see distance well anymore, but could I no longer see myself clearly either? Did I really think I could get away with this?

Logically the answer was no, at least not in the way I’d like to, yet still I felt gripped by urgency. This was probably my last chance to wear something like this before middle age really set in around the middle.

I’m already done with having children. I’m done with going out late nights and dancing till dawn – okay, I don’t think I ever danced till dawn, but you know what I’m saying. I’ve got wrinkles and pains. I’m happy to be in bed by 10pm. I like hot water and lemon. I carry hard mints in a Ziplock bag. I’m – Aaaaccck – getting older.

I’ve noticed other emotional changes in myself as well, now that I’m further up the maturity chain. I’m a little more ready to take chances, a little less judgmental, more appreciative, less giving a shit. I’ve also gotten simultaneously more and less vain; which means, I notice many more things that bother me but I also don’t care as much.

Which brings me back to the bikini I’ve coveted but never owned much less worn; it was now or never. Without thinking any more, I added it to my cart and clicked purchase.

I don’t know if I’ll ever wear it, but lately I’m full of surprises.

bikini pic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Accidents and the drive to feel pretty

The windows are rolled down, the day is gorgeous and the wind is dancing in my hair, which just so happens to be fabulously clean. I’m working the stylish shades, flashing the Colgate smile and pretending to all I pass that I am just another young sexy thing in my young sexy car. Good thing I’m going at least 30mph. I couldn’t pull this off without the blur factor.

I’m not bold enough to roll back the soft top to drive at optimal coolness. Well, actually I’d have to take off the doors if we’re really talking optimal. But no matter, I am satisfied just being in this midlife crisis mobile and feeling like a rock star.

I shied away from driving it for the last couple of weeks because, I don’t know, it was so high off the ground and I had gotten used to the feel of a car, even if that car is a minivan. Plus it was all new and shiny, and I’m one of those old and dull people who kind of fall in love with comfortable.

It certainly would explain my closet where the only time I get new things is when my mother brings them over. I’m content in my well-worn wear. It’s so easy just picking up yesterday’s outfit off the floor or grabbing a new set of old gym clothes. Don’t judge.

But today I felt a little pressure to step it for the new car, so I was wearing my better old clothes with my newly washed hair and got a string of compliments. Really, have I set the bar so low that all it takes is washing my hair for people to notice? Well, there’s something to be said for that.

Still… Soft, creamy fabric, the clip clap of strappy shoes, the hot new car – it all makes me want to twirl and dance and smile for the cameras. It’s true that feeling pretty feels pretty fabulous. I guess I forget that sometimes since I’m usually feeling pretty tired or pretty lazy or pretty who gives a shit.

The only reason I’m driving the car today is because of an unfortunate altercation between me, my minivan and a stupid tree, that apparently showed up unexpectedly while I was backing up. And of course on this one day, my car’s rear sensors which always beep when things unexpectedly show up behind me weren’t on. But I’m not here to make excuses, well, except those already noted.

The aftermath was a broken rear taillight and a few minor dents and scratches. Nothing compared to some of the driving malfunctions I have inflicted on my poor mom machine. Like when I drove over the divider and got stuck. That was hysterical. Or when I crashed into a boulder right after it was fixed. Good times. So, really this was nothing.  Except that without my passenger side brake light and blinker working, it was no longer drivable.

For the time being, I will have to drive the new car.  Which means, until further notice, I’ll be sporting clean hair and might need to go shopping. I’ll also need to be extremely conscious of surprise agriculture and such.

I already miss the minivan.

Stupid tree

Stupid tree

 

 

I run because I can’t hide

I don’t want to go.

My coffee is hot and dark and I’m sipping it slowly, leisurely; enjoying both the relaxation and the morning lift it offers. I’m in no rush to do what I have to do. No rush at all. In fact, there’s some laundry piled in a messy but clean mountain on my couch just waiting to be folded. If I leave it too long, it threatens to become pillows under children’s butts or tissues to wipe snotty noses. The longer I leave it, the more danger it is in. So you see it’s somewhat urgent that I attend to it immediately.

It’s been months since I’ve traveled down the path I’m about to go; the extended winter has sidelined me, kept me shivering even while indoors. All of a sudden, the yearly migration of the Florida snow birds; something never before considered, and in fact lightly mocked, has taken on a nice warm glow.

But I am ahead of myself by a few decades, and right now I am milking my last bit of coffee, even considering refilling my cup. But of course, that’s not a good idea. You can’t run on Dunkin, even though their ads say you can.

Running is my fair weather friend. The moment the temp dips to a certain degree, I tie up those shoes and store them away, choosing instead to split my time between the elliptical in my room, watching reruns of the Good Wife, and classes or machines at the gym where I could climb to the top of Mt. Everest, all while reading my book.

I’ve always exercised, generally five days a week, sometimes six. It’s as part of me as eating ice cream, but for a while now, I’ve just been going through the motions. I’m showing up, but I’m not putting up. Which might explain the heaviness in my body and in in my head. I don’t know which came first. Maybe chicken.

I started thinking about giving up on the whole business. I mean, I’ve managed to maintain myself for my entire adult life. I’m over 40. It would be nice not to worry so much about jamming exercise into my daily schedule or not eating that brownie. It would be nice to lay on the couch, ice cream spoon in hand, zonked to Housewives. It would be nice to just accept being me, instead of all this exhausting trying to be better nonsense.

I could just sit here, flip through the paper and enjoy another cup of coffee. I could… but probably won’t. Because no matter what I tell myself, what I’d like to do – or not do – I know what needs to be done.

Even at 9am, the thermometer reads 59 degrees. The sun is playing peek-a-boo with the clouds and the birds have started singing. My first run of the season has waited for Spring, and now it’s waited for me to tie my shoes, make sure that my in-laws are good with the kids, pee once more and do another last check on Facebook.

I’ve run out of excuses.

Sometimes my kids will cling to me and beg me not to leave them, but no such luck this morning. So now there’s only one thing left to do. Put one foot in front of the other and go.

 

Here I come...

Ready or not…

 

 

Good Enough! vs Good Enough?

When I’m in one of my gym classes, I can’t help but assess the assets in front of me. I size them up. Not to judge them in any way. It’s not about them at all. It’s about me. It’s about how I stack up.

Almost always I’m on the losing end of my self-assessment. No matter if I’m at my heaviest or at my most fit, I’m never good enough.

I’ve done this for as long I can remember. As a teen, I remember myself as the cute girl’s side kick; my best friend was really the one to want. I was always smart but never remarkably so, if you ask me.

20 years later and I haven’t changed. When I make cupcakes for my kids, I’ll always nod semi-approvingly and say, “They may not be so pretty, but they work.” When I put on a pair of favorite jeans, the best I can manage is, “They don’t look terrible.” When I size up those behinds in front me, I’m always shaking my head and accepting that while I could look worse, I don’t look all that good either.

Even with my latest manuscript, I have a very difficult time just admitting I think it’s good. If you ask me about it, I’ll first need to go through a bunch of hedging… “It’s not the same kind of writing as my essays… It’s just an easy beach read… It’s not going to win any awards or anything…”

Why do I undersell myself every chance I get? How can I expect anyone to take me seriously when I can’t even take myself seriously?

I’m always in awe of the people around me who possess the confidence to sell themselves. I remember at work watching guys march in and strut their stuff. Generally I never thought their ideas were any better than mine – often I didn’t think much of them at all; but they walked the walk, while I slouched and stumbled.  They believed in themselves, while I always felt a bit like a fake.

Yet, day in and day out, I sit here and type away my thoughts, my stories, my life. And almost every day, I’m at that gym working my tail off, although mostly it stays on. I must think it’s worth something; I must think I’m worth something to keep at it.

And I guess I do. I mean, I do.

But admitting that puts all sorts of expectations out there. If I told people my book was great would they agree or be disappointed? I couldn’t stand the disappointment.

I read posts on Facebook by bloggers who confidently say things like, “I’ve written this really important piece that we need to be talking about.” And I’m fascinated. How do they say that about their own work? How do they put themselves on such a high level? Not only is their work ‘important’, but we, as a general population, should be discussing it?

Sometimes it makes me roll my eyes, embarrassed by their self-serving assertions, and other times I’m beyond impressed. Go them, I think. Kind of like when I first watched Lena doing her naked all over TV thing.

Like my grandmother would say, “No one’s gonna toot your horn but you.”

I think I need to start trusting myself and my talents. I need to start thinking that I am really good and worthy and deserve success. I mean, I’m smart, I’m funny and gosh darn it, people like me.

It’s true.

Now I’ve just got to believe it.

toot toot

Toot

 

 

 

Among dancing queens, I am the jester

I snuck in the back, hoping no one would notice me. Not that they would. They reeked of confidence in their best Lululemons, while I probably reeked of something far less appealing in my sweaty maternity clothes circa 2007.

But I was here none the less; finally finding the courage to try the class I spent months peering at longingly through the glass partition, somehow always managing to catch the eye of this one girl who definitely thinks I’m a stalker.

Zumba.

It was even more intimidating on the inside. I watched crowds of ladies trying to muscle for prime position in front of the mirror.  They were lionesses, and standing center stage, prowling back and forth in purple stretch pants was the pride of the pack.

The music began and the class automatically started moving. I searched frantically for Purple pants for guidance, but she just paced the front line of her domain, relying on her pack who knew every move. Except of course me, a girl in front of me, and one girl two rows up who seemed always to be going left when everyone else was going right. I loved that girl.

There were no prompts or instruction. It was survival of the fittest and it soon became clear that I wouldn’t survive. Still, I huffed along, semi-following, jerking my body this way and that.

Arm up. Hip swivel. Step step. Swivel. Arm down. I mean, Arm down. Hip swivel. Step step step. Arm up.

No! It’s arm up then down. Hip pivot left. Pivot right. Step step. Arm. Kick? How’d I miss the kick? Okay, again. I think I almost got it. Wait. No! Not a new move! I was 10 seconds away from getting the last one!

Just keep moving. Puff. Huff. Man! I can’t even huff and puff in the right order! Pretend to follow along. Turn left. Turn right… into the flowing hair dancing queen next to me. Oops. She doesn’t miss a beat or acknowledge. Wow. Ain’t nothin gonna breaka her stride. Oh no.

The whole class is a bunch of gyrating hips, swinging like wild. Even Purple pants. I can’t stop staring at one girl near me whose butt just naturally rotates on spin cycle while I feel like I am trying out for a bad porn movie that I definitely won’t get cast in. Her butt swivel is beautiful and hypnotic. All of a sudden I’m craving a milkshake.

The move suddenly changes and she and everyone else flip around. I’m now face to face with the girl who thinks I stalk her. Greaaaaat. Brief awkward smile and the dance flips again. I watch her conspicuously drift right and a lot further up front. Really?

I continue pretending to follow along feeling bursts of affection every time the uncoordinated girl obviously does the wrong move. Poor girl, I think happily, watching her do her moves without out the slightest inhibition.

By the time the class is over, I had redefined the word spastic, bumped into the woman next to me twice, peed my pants just a little, and realized that while I thought I could dance, I actually could not.

So now, while I still have a shred of dignity and anonymity, I’m going to sneak back out the way I snuck in, unnoticed – except of course the girl who’s probably calling the police right now .

A monkey has no business hanging with a pack of lions.

Yeah, right.

Yeah, right.