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Now for something completely different: body size thoughts

Friday, July 23, 2010

I lied, it's not different... I've written about this before, just today's pondering on it.

The past week or so I've been pondering about body size and identity. Again. Still. Off and on. When I was a child, I was generally considered small. When I was seven, I was under the mistaken impression that I hadn't changed size since I was two. Silly things like that.

My adult life has been rife with changes in body size, varying from what used to be 12's (probably 8's these days... in fact, I'm in 8's now... which I never was as a teenager!) up to 24's that were getting tight. Nowadays they put "X" on things: 1X, 2X, 3X, etc. but we all know what those X's mean.

Size goes far beyond what shows up on a clothing label. It's in your head. As when you drive a compact versus a full sized vehicle: what kind of parking space do you look for? You pull in with pride to the one that won't fit the bigger car and grin, like you won some kind of contest! emoticon

At the ER last Friday I became conscious of the beds, the wheel chairs, the various things that had to be "bigger" for patients of size. They came and took my bed away! Because someone else needed one with its features, and swapped me out with another that was softer and more comfy, actually, but not as heavy-duty.

Then I started pondering: I used to be "this big" and now I'm "this small"... where DID that volume go? So that got me thinking about how amazing the human body is, that it can change the shape and size it takes up on the planet! How many other things in nature do that? Trees? No. Animals, OK, yes, but you don't see them deliberately attempting to change their size and shape!

That leads to this question: why do we identify ourselves so much with our body size and shape? Does it feel uncomfortable to become thinner? Have we been classifying those around us by THEIR body size, or just judging ourselves?

No answers, mind you, just questions rattling around in the head. And a resolution: to adjust to the size I have become, and not be startled quite so often by the "parking space" I now fit into.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

REJ7777 7/25/2010 12:18PM

    "Now for something completely different" emoticon emoticon

I really appreciate this blog. Most of us reading it are also dealing with "changing body size" issues. Reading your reflections helped me to think things through for myself too. Our comfort or discomfort with our body size influences how we feel about ourselves and the choices we make, so it's very important!

When I had dropped down to 179 lbs. about 3 years ago, I felt so good. I felt light and energetic. But when the scale hadn't moved any more 8 months later and I was still at 179 lbs, I felt fat. I got discouraged and careless and put a lot of the weight back on. But the problem was all in my head! emoticon

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WATERMELLEN 7/24/2010 9:02PM

    Very very interesting blog -- that whole concept of surprise at our own size (and trying not to be judgmental of others' sizes . . . ). Hmmmm. Lots to think about here: these ideas will be rattling around in MY head too. Thank you!

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THIAGRAM 7/24/2010 9:52AM

  I haven't really thought of this much. But now that I have I could probably write a whole blog on the matter. But I think what you have said is "well enough said"
Thanks for sharing!

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WALKINGANNIE 7/23/2010 5:21PM

    Another really interesting blog. I love the way that you think about things.

I still get a bit confused about my own size. I was really surprised in hospital least week when the nurses said that my legs were so slim (they actually said 'tiny') that they didn't have compression stockings small enough for me. It wasn't long ago that I couldn't find leather knee boots that would zip up.

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    I refuse to believe that size matters.

But sadly it does.

Great blog!

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MSLZZY 7/23/2010 2:20PM

    Like they say, size does matter. But it should not be a prerequisite to who we are and how we
are treated. Take heart in your "smaller size" and put the past behind you. It is the here
and now that counts. emoticon

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JWADDELL2 7/23/2010 10:29AM

    Gee, I have been in the same boat as most everyone here...the mind and mind-over-body reflections are amazing things! I know what you mean about feeling compassion towards those who are the size I was when I judging, just compassion. I am my own worst critic, but I know that when we went to Alaska in May, my eyes teared up when I put my seatbelt on, with several inches of excess belt....the last time we had flown, I remember praying, "please, God, let it buckle!"

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KASEYCOFF 7/23/2010 10:03AM

    I don't think (I hope I don't) classify people by their body size; I tend not to judge people according to exterior criteria, and if I find myself doing it, I consciously stop it. But I am my own harshest critic, and judge myself CONSTANTLY. Usually the internal dialogue covers everything from body size to 'Why'd I say THAT?' to questioning my abilities - and I generally find fault, but only with myself. It's a mindspeak of continual judging and self-assessment. I'm really glad I don't have to use a seatbelt extender on flights anymore... that I can sit fairly comfortably in just about any public seating... that I don't have to wonder if I can 'squeeze thru' a turnstile. And like you, I would be aware of (and pleased I didn't have need of) the larger wheelchairs or the extra-strength bed. I've been relatively thin in my adult life, a couple of times, but that didn't shush the I'm-not-good-enough voices or eliminate the whole perfectionism thing. Instead of identifying body shape as being what's wrong with me, I'd still always find something. But I don't find those things in other people. Eh. You've really got me thinking here, Barb. Guess I better go meditate on some of this stuff... good blog, hon. Keep 'em coming! :-)

Comment edited on: 7/23/2010 10:08:52 AM

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ANDI571 7/23/2010 9:38AM

    I agree. You know if I am talking to someone that is the size I used to be, I will identify with them, instead of what I am now. I see the menopause stomach, instead of a stomach that is shrinking.

Good question. Do you think it is one that can be answered? emoticon

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THERAPIST2 7/23/2010 9:30AM

    Great thoughts. I especially like the part where the "vanity sizing" has fooled us. I wear 3 sizes smaller now than when I was in high school and I'm back at that weight now.

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    Great blog! I wouldn't say that I'm uncomfortable with becoming thinner, but my brain hasn't quite caught up yet because I still think I'm the same size I was when I started. It's only when certain things happen (like for you, the hospital bed, or for me putting on a pair of capris yesterday that were enormous on me) that I realize I'm not the same size.

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PEGGYJEAN13 7/23/2010 9:09AM

    It is a little like when I looked down at my legs one day and said to myself, "those are my mother's legs, when did I get those." I go through the motions of showering, dressing, and going through daily activities without really seeing myself. I am always surprised at pictures of myself but I have to see myself in the mirror when I put makeup on everyday!

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CHRISTURTLE 7/23/2010 8:58AM

    Food for thought...

Just an observation I made today regarding the way I see myself now compared to before I got back to Sparking - I was walking towards the glass doors at Dad's nursing home and caught sight of my reflection in them. "Hmmm... This bulky jacket makes my hips look big.." was what I thought that first moment I saw myself. Then I thought back to the size I was when I walked through those doors the day Dad was first transferred there from the hospital... I finally saw a reflection of the 'me' I'd become in the time since Dad had first moved in with me - I'd gone from a size 14 to a size 20 in only 12 months and my knees had suffered so much I'd had to give up work. When I realised that I had to have a quiet giggle at the way I was seeing myself today, still not seeing the improvements, focusing instead on the faults.

I spent some time while Dad was napping in his chair thinking about how I saw myself, and I came to the conclusion I definitely notice the areas needing improvement rather than the improvements I've already made with healthy eating and exercise. Don't know whether or not its the same for everyone when they see themselves unexpectedly. I know if I stand in front of my bedroom mirror I can see improvements, just not when its an unexpected glimpse of myself...wonder why?

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KALIGIRL 7/23/2010 8:46AM

    It's an interesting question considering we're all just energy. I wonder if it isn't advertising (particularly the 'small models') that makes us concentrate on size?

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And the verdict is...

Thursday, July 22, 2010

not yet in. BUT... the big scary potential diagnoses have been ruled out:

I do not have MS - the MRI showed that.
I do not have diabetes - the blood tests show that.
I did not have a stroke that they can detect, not even one of the little ones, but "just in case" I did and it's not showing up, they put me on that low dose aspirin.
The carotid arteries look fine.
Calcium levels in the blood look good... which makes me smile... means that parathyroid surgery last autumn did what it was supposed to do.

So, doctor, what's making me numb-y, tingly? Nerve pinched, maybe? He play the physical therapist range of motion "does this hurt" kind of assessment... nothing hurts. OK. Went through my list of things, including the numb finger thing from last winter.

One thing they did NOT test at the ER was my TSH, T3 and T4 levels... and since I've lost a rather significant amount of weight in the last year, he had them tested yesterday. Results to come. Apparently, if the dosage on my thyroid meds is "off" it could show up as tingling.

Beyond that, monitor, record, and come see him next month. Keep taking the baby aspirin. That's ALMOST "go live your life", right?

This morning, I'm all tingly again. Yesterday it seemed to lessen as the day wore on. My sister is volunteering a referral to her chiropractor for evaluation. I'll see how those blood tests come back and maybe consider that... because a pinched nerve in the back (even one I don't feel as pain) can do all kinds of weird stuff to the nervous system!

In the meantime... one foot in front of the other!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WATERMELLEN 7/24/2010 9:03PM

    Excellent news on the "it's not that" front: big sigh of relief. Now, to figure out how to make you more comfortable all round!

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PENNYAN45 7/23/2010 10:44AM

    This is GOOD NEWS! The really bad diagnoses have been eliminated. I am happy for you.


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REJ7777 7/23/2010 7:36AM

    I'm really glad so many serious diseases were ruled out! I do hope they find the cause soon though, so that it can be eliminated (if possible). Sure would be great if it was only a change in the dosage of a med!

"Go live your life" - Sounds like good advice! emoticon

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KASEYCOFF 7/23/2010 5:39AM

    Wow, Barb, never would've occurred to me that a kind of 'neuropathy' could be related to needing meds dosage changed! (Obviously why they still haven't awarded me that medical degree, lol.) I had a bad experience once with BP medication and losing weight: I had lost sufficient body weight to render my prescribed dosage as essentially an 'overdose' and it caused me to faint. But I never related that to '--change of body weight can also affect amounts of prescription medicines for other problems.' Live and learn, kiddo. Let us know what happens, but it sounds as tho it could just be a matter of re-adjusting the dosage. Fingers crossed! :-)

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WALKINGANNIE 7/22/2010 4:23PM

    emoticon Great news that the scaries have been ruled out. What a relief.

Hope you find an answer though to put your mind at rest.


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ANONALEE 7/22/2010 12:36PM

    Yay for the Bad Things being ruled out! And here's to a minor cause and a simple solution while we're at it!


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PEGGYJEAN13 7/22/2010 12:32PM

    It is nice when they can find a definite cause so you don't wonder. It sounds like they have done about every test they can. Our bodies are still a mystery in some ways!

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LJCANNON 7/22/2010 11:19AM

    emoticonI am HAPPY that the "Bad" things have been ruled out, and I am glad that you are still looking for answers.
Keep putting one foot in front of the other, and know that we are keeping you in our prayers.

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SROUS1340 7/22/2010 11:16AM

    Good to get all those scary diagnosis out of the way.
I've had tingling before I had the shoulder replacement, it was the nerves that had pressure on them. Chiro is a good idea. I like accupunture too.

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PATRISNA 7/22/2010 10:46AM

    Hope you can find out what is causing the tingling and numbness. Glad you are getting results.

I can empathize with you. DH recently went through some of those same tests. He has a pinched nerve that does cause pain in his back and neck. I am glad yours is not causing you pain.

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KALIGIRL 7/22/2010 8:21AM

    Glad to hear the scary stuff ruled out, but am sorry there's no answer yet.
I have a great chiro and get Zero Balance massages as preventative medicine. Let me know if you need a referral.
Sending good thoughts and prayers your way!

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MSLZZY 7/22/2010 7:56AM

    Rule out the major stuff and deal with the minor. Until all the results come back, just try not to
worry. Have a great day. emoticon

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SRFRGRL7163 7/22/2010 7:31AM

    It's hard not to worry about these things, but if your doctor has ruled out the "bad" then it's probably something simple. Don't worry, do as your doctor says and move along. Good luck!

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The trouble with being an analyst

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

These words actually escaped my mouth on the way out of the office yesterday: "The trouble with being an analyst is that you analyze EVERYTHING!"

In this case the "everything" was my recent health things. My co-workers laughed... all being analysts themselves, and completely getting it. See, medical "differential diagnosis" isn't that different from debugging a complex computer system. Just another level beyond.

Problem with all complex systems is that the same symptoms can mean so many different things. You have to get hold of all the environmental factors and trace your way through the internals to figure it out. And even then you can be fooled. You can end up fixing things that didn't need fixing, breaking things you didn't intend to break, and not fixing the original problem!

So this morning I'm taking my list of things I had written down BEFORE last Friday's episode, along with a few additions that I made AFTER... and letting the guy with the training have at it, along with the results of the tests they did Friday.

And hoping he tells me to go back and just live my life already and stop being such an... analyst!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PENNYAN45 7/21/2010 9:04PM

    I am not an analyst, but I have on occasion been accused of being analytical.
You THINK too much!" That's always a helpful criticism. LOL.

It sounds like a good plan. We all hope for the outcome you mentioned.

emoticon emoticon

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NELLIEC 7/21/2010 5:18PM

    It is just part of your being to analyze when that is your modus operandi!

So analyze ahead and be open to alternative explanations! emoticon

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WALKINGANNIE 7/21/2010 4:10PM

    Analysis is useful - and you're a precious person rather than a machine.

Hope that the experts can put your mind at rest.


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KASEYCOFF 7/21/2010 3:41PM

    I'm with 'Kaligirl' on this one - and be sure to keep us posted - ah, post analysis, lol...

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KALIGIRL 7/21/2010 1:47PM

    Just be sure to 'test' your expert...

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THIAGRAM 7/21/2010 12:14PM

  My dear wonderful hubby analyzes EVERYTHING! I have found it most helpful. At times it really has it's downsides, but I do believe the good outweighs the bad! We really should open our eyes, look around us and then act and undo, and redo and do the do!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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ANDI571 7/21/2010 9:50AM

    Here I just thought I was a worrier. Who knew I was an analyst? emoticon

Praying everything is ok. emoticon

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PEGGYJEAN13 7/21/2010 9:01AM

    Are you saying you have a tendency to make it a bigger problem than maybe it really is? Forgive me but I'm not good at analyzing!

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ANONALEE 7/21/2010 8:40AM

    As my training therapist told me ... "You can't not know what you know, can't not see what you see." For those of us with an analytical bent (whatever form that takes), we have to live with the complexities and the ambiguities that result. Which is both a blessing and a curse. Hoping you're right about your symptoms being "one of those things."

Cheers, Debra
emoticon emoticon

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PMFISH 7/21/2010 8:13AM

    The mind is a wonderful thing. Sometimes we use it to our determent and the same for our body. Give the body good nutrition, even if you have to use supplements, and keep it moving.

Hope you have an excellent report.


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MSLZZY 7/21/2010 8:10AM

    Good luck with that! Analysts still....analyze! emoticon

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Movies not to watch while your child is deployed

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Messenger

'nuff said.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PATRISNA 7/22/2010 10:40AM

    I didn't watch that one either. Yesterday I was watching some of those videos on youtube (iraq electric avenue) of soldiers fooling around because they are bored. Some were funny and they made me smile but I kept thinking I hope these guys are all still okay.

Even watching them patroling I realized it was probably similar to when my son was over there. May God bless your son and keep him and his unit safe. Still praying for all the troops.

Comment edited on: 7/22/2010 10:41:40 AM

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WALKINGANNIE 7/21/2010 4:14PM

    emoticon emoticon

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PEGGYJEAN13 7/21/2010 8:58AM

    I'll watch out for that one!

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ANONALEE 7/21/2010 8:41AM


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MSLZZY 7/21/2010 7:37AM

    Guess I didn't miss much! emoticon

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PENNYAN45 7/21/2010 7:32AM

    I can't watch those shows even without having a loved one deployed.

emoticon to you and your son.

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ANDI571 7/20/2010 11:20PM

    Do you watch the show Army Wives? I love that show, and it really shows us what the families like you go through during this time. It makes me appreciate even more the sacrifices of our military and their families. emoticon

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Portions on the plate

Monday, July 19, 2010

All those things you hear about stocking your kitchen with smaller plates and training yourself to recognize portion sizes with your hand, fist, etc. are a good thing. Because, when you go out to eat, like all the news tells you... those portion sizes in restaurants? Bigger all the time. And those portion size rules of thumb work.

My daughter in law and I went out to dinner on Saturday, kind of in honor of my son's birthday, even though he couldn't be with us. We're following those orders he left us to check up on each other. emoticon

We chose a relatively healthy restaurant: Olive Garden. I figured I get the salad undressed and watch my portion size, I'll be fine. And I picked a nice, healthy options: capellini pomodoro (angel hair pasta in a tomato-basil sauce). I had a craving for pasta, it sounded perfect.

And it was... but when the plates arrived, I did my little "a cup is the size of your fist" comparison, I could easily see that there were about 3 cups of pasta on that plate! I immediately cut the plate in thirds, isolating what I would eat from what I would take home for later. Then I concentrated on conversing, and ate slowly, sipping water in between bites.

When I got home, I looked it up on line: and discovered that the entire portion, according to their own web site, would have been 800 calories, or nearly half of my usual daily maintenance level. As it was, I was able to be satisfied and even have a small dolcini (240 calorie splurge), and feel good about the experience.

I ate "enough", and got my take-home box for the rest. I had half of the leftovers last night... and enjoyed every bite. I fully intend to finish it tonight... another satisfying meal to look forward to. Guess you could consider it eating out like a turtle?


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

REJ7777 7/23/2010 7:30AM

    emoticon Congratulations on your smart choice! Three meals for the price of one isn't too bad either! emoticon

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THIAGRAM 7/19/2010 9:03PM

  Fantastic! You are a great example! Thanks!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LJCANNON 7/19/2010 6:16PM

    emoticon emoticon
It sounds like you have a LOT to pat yourself on the back for. You did Great!

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WALKINGANNIE 7/19/2010 2:51PM

    Fantastic Sparking Barb!


You were kind to your health and your budget - and enjoyed yourself as well. That's a triple win!

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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PENNYAN45 7/19/2010 10:36AM

    You are so right about the portion sizes served in our restaurants these days. You got three times as much food as you wanted - or needed!

I think it is terrific that you and your daughter-in-law get together to celebrate your son's birthday while he is away!


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KASEYCOFF 7/19/2010 9:43AM

    I wish more places would let people order the 'children's plate.' I understand why they don't want to: an adult diner who eats a smaller portion - and pays commensurately less - will reflect a smaller 'bottom line' for the restaurant. But I would be willing to pay a little (LITTLE) more and not have the temptation of the 'extra,' or feel as tho I was wasting food. Your solution of taking it home and reheating and so on is a good one, but of course it's not always practical. Wonder how we could convince restaurants to rethink the 'super sizing'? :-)

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ANDI571 7/19/2010 9:42AM

    Good for you. Isn't it great to eat what you want, just in the portions we should have. Then we don't feel deprived. I used to do that with coconut cream pie. I would order it and eat about 3 bites, take it home and have to enjoy for several more days.

You did awesome. emoticon

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MAMOOAUG 7/19/2010 8:59AM

    That's awesome. What a great way to put what you have learned into action.

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MSLZZY 7/19/2010 8:02AM

    The portion sizes are amazing at some restaurants! Glad you did so well. Like getting two meals free and still being satisfied. Less time in the kitchen, too! LOL! emoticon

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