Friday, March 28, 2014

Weighty Issues

Friday morning and gray here again. Rusty blackbird song, wisteria gone purple, falling in cascades of bloom from the oak trees. I'll get a picture when the light is better.
Azaleas still blooming, a few camellias too.

I go to let the chicks out and Nicey pokes her head out first, scrambles to me, I lift her up, put her on my shoulder, she is happy there and I wish I could carry her about all day, perched up there, her softness next to my cheek.

She has some pretty big feet and she may turn out to be a rooster and if so- how wonderful! A sweet rooster is a joy in the yard. 

I made the very best dinner last night. Venison tacos with refried black beans and guacamole and tomatoes and arugula and jalapenos and corn tortillas and we wanted to eat and eat and eat but we stopped well before we hurt ourselves. 
I wonder how much weight I've lost but not enough to get on the scale. The way my clothes are fitting is a good enough indication for me. I have a scale neurosis which is odd in that I used to work for Weight Watchers and not only weighed myself weekly but also all the other folks who came in and I hated that part of it. 
It was nice for the folks when they'd lost weight but there was also so much shame involved when someone stepped up to the scale and started making excuses before she even stepped on. Bad week, went out for Margaritas with co-workers, grandkids were over and so had to make cookies, etc. and etc. and things that I really did not need to hear, TMI in the worst sort of way, usually involving bowel habits.
I tried so hard as a leader to stress the fact that the numbers on the scale did not mean that much- they were merely a tool- but let's face it- we lived and died by those numbers. 
I also tried to emphasize the point that losing weight was an extremely multi-layered thing. That food is not just nutrition or fuel for us in our culture but pleasure, reward, love. That balance must be struck between reality and how we view what we eat, that we must adopt eating habits that are healthy, yes, but pleasurable and flexible enough for us to continue with for the long term.
It was so hard. 
And no one who has never struggled with his or her weight has any idea of how hard it is. 

I still struggle. I can no longer count points or calories. That is just not going to happen in this lifetime. And I'm not going to give up entire food groups. If I did give one up voluntarily, it would be vegetables and no, one can't give up vegetables. But I have found a fairly decent balance of eating that seems to work for me when I do it which is to try and eat from the ground up and I guess they're calling that "clean-eating" and so yeah, maybe that. I don't know. 
More vegetables, more fruit, less juice and far less white stuff. Sugar, flour. Less bread in general although bread will always be my staff of life and so I make my own mostly with enough whole grains in it to at least not feel horrible about it. Less cheese. Oh, how I love cheese and I still use a little but not great amounts. I do not fool myself about what we so often fool ourselves about which is that the salad choice is always the best choice. We get so creative with our salads these days with nuts and fruits and cheeses and dressings and that's fine but the calories add up fast and sitting down to a gargantuan portion of one of these salads is no more apt to help us in our weight loss efforts than grabbing a Big Mac. 
Trust me. 

I guess being mindful about it all is what I'm trying to do and I have, for many, many years, tried to do that. Some things, one learns, are just not worth it. Fast food comes to mind. Great slices of pizza with gooey cheese and sliced processed meats. Doughnuts. Any beverage with calories which isn't going to give me a buzz.
Oh wait. That's a personal thing. 

And yet, I still cherish the memory of sitting in my car, eating a huge Publix pre-made Cuban sandwich with pork and ham and cheese and white bread, reading a New Yorker magazine and I'm glad I did that sort of thing. Will probably do it again some day but not today. Not this week. 

I find that once I've started eating this way- far less processed food, more grain and vegetable based, it becomes easy. I eat lots of small meals during the day. Or maybe they're just snacks. Why define them? A small handful of raw nuts, a banana, some hummus on a piece of my bread, a bowl of cottage cheese or plain yogurt with fresh pineapple, a bowl of beans with rice- these are good foods. They are real foods with plenty of fiber in them. And no one is really tempted to overeat any of them because they are not loaded with the sugars and the fats that tell our bodies we want more, more, more. I try not to allow myself to get really hungry because when that happens and the blood sugar drops, we can't make good decisions and we grab shit and eat it because it's easy and even the "healthy" protein bars and bottles of juices and endless numbers of prepared and processed foods we find in the "natural" food stores are neither natural nor that healthy but are as processed as a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup and frankly, if I'm going to go there, I'd rather have the Reese's. 

Ah, it's a journey. 

But I'm still not going to get on the scale right now. And I'm still going to look back on my years of working for Weight Watchers (which is a remarkably sensible and healthy program and flexible as hell for any sort of dietary needs) and feel some guilt because no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't entirely eliminate the shame which our culture puts on people (mostly women but not always) for being overweight, for not being able to control what goes into our mouths, for not being able to simply eat less, to be more active. 
I tried to be real and understanding and above all- fairly light-hearted and humorous about the struggles because why not? There were the leaders whom I silently labeled as the Weight Watcher Nazis because they DID shame their folks. They did lay down strict laws and seemed to expect complete compliance and you know what? Some people respond well to that. They want to be told what to do in no uncertain terms and shame works for them.
But I couldn't do it. 
I've lived with too much shame my entire life to want to add to anyone else's. 
And now I don't tell anyone how to eat or what to do. I just know what works for me and it doesn't mean that it would work for one other person on this planet. 
We are all so different in our appetites, our needs, our physical make-ups, our backgrounds, our cultures, our beliefs, our abilities in the kitchen, our time, our access to decent food. 

Time to take a walk on this gray day. My walking shorts, which were getting snug, can now be pulled off without even unbuttoning them. So no matter what the scale might or might not say, should I even get on it, I am happy with how things are going. And that is good enough for me. I am almost sixty years old. I am not going to be wearing mini skirts and belly-baring shirts. I am not going to define myself by the numbers on a scale. I just want to feel comfortable in my own skin, in this aging body which has served me well for so many years. 

Happy Friday, y'all. 

Love...Ms. Moon


  1. Yes, yes, yes. I went to work yesterday with a woman from work who is counting calories to lose weight and she asked what I usually get at the Thai restaurant and I listed things with vegetables. "Are you vegetarian?" "Oh heavens no. But I like to eat vegetables when I can, and they cook them well so I like them with protein there." And I remembered how it is to count calories, where you can lose sight that green beans are better than white sandwich bread. I'm not counting again, either.

  2. I HATE weighing myself. Once I start, I'm obsessed. Then I start obsessing over what to eat. Then I start feeling deprived and want things I don't normally want. Weird.
    Now I just eat. If someone asks what I weigh, I say I haven't stepped on the scale since 1989 after my last child was born. Not true. But I wish it was. Vegetables are so good. I'm joining another CSA because carting around all the veggies from the farmer's market is too hard. I'll still go, but just for tomatoes and strawberries and lighter things.
    Amazing how wise we are now.
    And I LOVE that photo of you and your bird.

  3. Food addiction is probably the hardest addiction because it's not like heroin where once you kick it, you can just avoid it to stay clean. You NEED food to live!

    If I'd have known how much I'd miss my flat tummy, I'd have bared it more in my youth. HA!

    I don't have a weight problem at all, unless you count being unhappy with the lumpiness of my body a problem. I gotta get some sun on these lumpy thighs.

    This comment reads like a series of bumper stickers.

  4. I've never had problem with my weight. well, that's not exactly true, I was skinny skinny skinny but mostly because I didn't eat enough. Just didn't get all that hungry. Until I was diagnosed with osteoporosis. Then I purposely put on 20 lbs which I have been able to maintain. I don't say that to brag to people who have trouble with weight gain.

  5. You're an inspiration. I'll hear this post, your voice in my head as I go onward --

    And I'm proud of you for losing weight because I know you have and I know you wanted to.

  6. Nola- Ah but if they make them so delicious by cooking them in oils, then yes, they are better for us than white bread but not necessarily a light choice. If you know what I mean. I know you do.

    Denise- I have gone through periods in my life where I was obsessed with the scale. I can't do that any more. I just can't. And let me assure you that I make the most wonderful salads. And of course I grow vegetables and I eat them too. It works out.

    heartinhand- And we all love bumper stickers. I know I do.

    Ellen Abbott- I have had friends with the same problem. And I don't hate those friends. I understand that we are two sides of the coin.

    Elizabeth- I don't feel like I'm sacrificing much. I promise you.

  7. "Eating All Healthy and Shit"!!

    The calorie-counting becomes an obsession for some people, and I'm not sure it's productive, honestly. I think it's more a matter of cutting out the junk and the processed food, as you said, and eating whole foods. Not the numbers, but the eating habits, you know?

    Dave loves cheese and I eat way more cheese than I would like. I'm not overweight but I hate to think what I'm doing to the inside of my blood vessels.

  8. Steve Reed- When they "process" food, it seems like what they're doing is just pumping a whole lot more calories into it. Fats AND sugars and who the hell needs that? Okay. Maybe someone. Not me.
    Your blood vessels are probably fine.

  9. You amaze me (in a good way). The topics you cover on here are so varied. And you talk about in a way that is just comfortable. And you don't judge. You just share your thoughts and we get something out of it. Thank you.

  10. Jill- I think about a lot of stuff. And then I usually write about them. This is better than doing, oh you know- research and shit.

  11. Good for you on the loss of inches. And so if you are adding muscle that is really good. We are conscientious about what we eat--no dairy, eggs, soy, wheat, peanuts, refined sugar. Good to not eat any processed food. And exercise really helps.


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