Friday, August 06, 2010
We talk a lot about comfort foods, the ones that make us feel good, take us back to childhood memories… but do we also have “comfort clothes”? Maybe it’s a particular style or fit, rather than a specific piece of clothing, but I'm thinking I do!
As a “large” person, I often had to buy things that did not fit me through the shoulders, simply to get the length and girth to cover my torso. Once I lost the weight, I still love several of these shirts and sweaters, but let’s be honest, they don’t really fit me.
While it’s wonderful to see my thinner self in clothes that fit, I have to admit that it is comforting to wrap myself up in an article of clothing that is “too big” for my new frame. It was cold at work earlier this week. I put on a sweater that I have hanging there because of the unpredictable nature of office air conditioning and heating. The sweater is now too big for me… even the smaller sweater that I bought a few years ago wraps amply around my tinier self.
I wrapped in around me like a blanket and felt… comforted. It made me feel protected, somehow. Like a little kid wrapped up in mom or dad’s shirt. Then when I took it off, and found myself in clothes that fit, I was OK with that, too.
I want to wear things that fit. I really don’t need to buy the bigger size any more. I want to trust myself to stay this smaller size. I find myself a little more willing to get rid of things that are bigger, too.
But I will keep a few “comfort clothes” around, despite the advice to discard it all. Because sometimes I need to feel like a child again.
Thursday, August 05, 2010
Yes, slumps: where do they come from?
I don't know. They just show up sometimes. Those times when I just say, "Why am I DOING this? I'm tired of all this effort! Can I just stop?"
I've never been particularly good at monitoring my feelings, but I currently believe that a slump starts in the emotional part of me. They start with a feeling. If I don't pay attention to that feeling and "do something" about it, it can escalate into a slump.
Yesterday was such a day. Out of the blue, it seemed. But if I think back, it's part of a bigger picture. Hot weather. Fatigue. Irritation... yeah, I was feeling irritated at work. A few physical discomforts... I won't call them "pain"... didn't really rise to that level, but nagging little things like a not-quite headache and those silly tingles that I've been dealing with of late.
I came home bushed. I went through the motions of my exercise. I didn't overeat. But I was conscious of this "why try" attitude. This could easily become a slump if I let it!
So: how do they end?
Ever notice that sports stars go through slumps? How do theirs end? Well, they keep on playing, game after game. They might get some extra coaching, or take some extra practice. And eventually, their slump ends and they are back!
How do Sparkers get extra coaching? We come here! I did... I was reading the blogs of a few of my spark friends... and they resonated. Reminders of why we're on this journey in the first place. Reminders that we only live one day at a time. Reminders that each of us is worth taking care of. And that the only one who is going to take care of me is me! THANK YOU, fellow Sparkers!
So, in the interest of self-care... figure out what is really bugging me... what do I need? I needed a good night's sleep for one thing. Let's address the fatigue. Went to bed early. Got up on time. As I'm fond of saying, there's not much in life that isn't helped by a good night's sleep.
And I'm contemplating rewards, too... often the feelings that lead to a slump are the result of feeling unrewarded! I foresee a browse in the office supplies, looking at gel pens might be in my near future. It's one of my favorite inexpensive non-food rewards. I buy my own pens and take them to the office where I can take my notes in colors that please me! It's kind of the office joke.
But to get out of an attitude slump... it's the little things that count! Here's to a very short slump... a smiley in color... and keeping on keeping on!
Wednesday, August 04, 2010
I posted some of my downtown work-break walk photos a couple of weeks ago... now I'm going to walk the other direction and find a few treasures. Heading the other way, I walk by a public venue that even today has the temporary sculpture out front from the Special Olympics National Games that were held here in town in July. I expect the sand sculpture will come down before too long, but it was still there yesterday.
Go down the block and you can peek into a garden, tucked in the middle of downtown, where they play live concerts every Wednesday noon during the Summer.
As I keep walking, I am in the midst of the old and new architecture... notice we are a bicycle friendly city!
Turn a corner and you can see the "new" Cornhusker Hotel. It became the "new" hotel in 1981 or 82... when they imploded the old one and built from the ground up. They televised the old one coming down, and from our tiny first house in the outlying neighborhood my husband and I watched it on TV and had the door open to listen to the boom through the air, lagged by a few seconds... the difference between the speed of light and the speed of sound. Maybe that's a metaphor... the speed with which your body adapts, followed by the mind adapting to your healthy lifestyle changes?
Out front of the hotel, part of a community art project from a few years back. Told you we like bicycles in this town:
Speaking of art, if you stroll a few more blocks, you can find the next community art project, celebrating our being a "Star City":
This concludes the second half of my little break-walk tours. Being aware of the beauty around us is a good and healthy thing! Here's to your awareness, and to your health!
Tuesday, August 03, 2010
There are so many metaphors...
* A blog is like a personal journal, where you can celebrate or vent, remind yourself where you came from, or dream of your goals!
* Because it is public, a blog might be a little like a "share" in a group session! You're talking from your own experience, strength and hope. You put it out there and it blesses whoever it happens to bless... you have no idea who might be helped by it, you're just moved to write it!
In some ways a blog is the ultimate narcissistic exercise: it's all about me, me, me... how I feel, what I did, what I think or care about... what's happening around me, but mainly how that affects ME! Nobody really has to read it, not everybody may like it! If I write with the thought of getting applause, I may not write what I need to write today!
That said, is it cool to get supportive comments? You bet! But that can't be why I write, or I'll self-edit too much. I self-edit enough without that thought!
That said, yesterday's adventure was at the blood bank. For the first time EVER in my time of being a donor... I got "deferred" for not having enough iron in my blood (hemoglobin). They have fancier machines to measure now, and while not anemic, I didn't meet their standards.
My brother tells me he has to go longer between donations to get his built up. My one sister had the blood bank tell her "go see your doctor" this summer, because she was so low. But I've never had a problem. Of course, I haven't been in to donate since before my surgery last October! So, something has changed. Time to reassess what I'm doing with nutrition... again!
I read their list of iron-rich foods... I eat them, folks... my food journal will prove it! They mentioned calcium interfering with iron absorption. Hmmm.
Perhaps my change in vitamins and supplements (which was made pre-surgery) needs to be reassessed. They took me off almost everything, and I never resumed a lot it. Of course, it COULD just be that last week's one-day illness took its toll! In any case, it has me thinking, and I think I'll be re-introducing my multivitamin, and phasing out the "Anytime Bars" I have been using as a vitamin substitute.
I can do this. Give me a couple of weeks, and we'll try again.
Monday, August 02, 2010
In my decades of going up and down the scale I have discovered some of the things that naturally thin people don't think to tell their friends who struggle with weight. Oh, they may mentioned a few of them in passing, but many of us in our obsession with weight did not believe them!
The biggest one I ignored over the course of a lifetime was: "Losing weight won't make your life perfect".
Since my biggest lie to myself over the course of my first four decades of life was that all my problems were due to my weight... of course I firmly believed that if I only got rid of the excess pounds... oh, let's see some of the biggies...
1. The weight would stay off once I reached goal, no matter how I behaved.
2. My husband would be happy when I reached my goal weight and stay that way.
3. I myself would be happy all the time.
Wrong! On all three counts. What thin people don't tell you is that they have to deal with everything that those of us who eat to comfort ourselves deal with. Only they manage to do it without turning to excess food (a self-destructive behavior).
What I found out was what most of you already know:
1. Maintenance is as much work as losing, maybe more. "Be ever vigilant" is not a joke. It doesn't mean you can NEVER have food treats. But it does mean you have to be careful about how many, how often, and whether it's worth it! And you have to be extra careful to deal with Ms. Perfectionist who lives inside your head! The hardest part of all is remembering that it's worth it, that YOU are worth it. This is why I preach it so much in comments back to other blogs!
2. Husbands and wives, relationships in general are complex things. If you're losing weight to please somebody else... what happens when that relationship sours for other reasons?
Being a generally unhappy person, my being thinner did not make my husband happy. It just made him expect more of me. And when I was mad at him... there was a strong temptation to eat in retaliation, as well as to comfort me! The light bulb on that one came on about 15 years ago, and has stayed on, thank goodness.
If I'm going to do healthy things... I'm doing them for me... and I AM worth it.
3. Emotions that you dealt with by over-eating to suppress them... do go away, fade, become less intense as time passes. It's important to face, identify and acknowledge them so you can deal with them: fear, anger, resentment, sorrow, grief, sadness? Hey, it's OK to FEEL them! Yes, they hurt. But stuffing them down with food just transfers the feelings into something I considered more acceptable... it was OK to be angry with myself for eating. It was not OK to be angry at someone else for their behavior, in my old world-view.
What about angry words you stuffed down with that food? Weird things happen when you no longer eat to suppress them. Words may slip out you didn't intend to say out loud. You have to deal with not just the initial feelings but the consequences of words! I had been using eating as a coping mechanism rather than learning to deal with social situations and the anxiety they gave me.
Naturally thin people learned some lessons I skipped growing up! I've had to learn them later in life, and you all know about old dogs and new tricks.
My own secret: Old dogs CAN learn new tricks! Losing weight did not make my life perfect. Getting fit did not make my life perfect. But it has made it better. Here's to keeping that better, better!
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