Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Does Your Family Comment on Your Weight?

My family is full of overweight people, on both sides.  (Of the family I mean, not like they are overweight on both sides of their bodies.  Because that would be weird.  If they weren't I mean.  Oh, never mind.)

And my step-monster never hesitates to comment about my weight.  Or anybody else's for that matter.  Sometimes she'll just blatantly say, "Wow, you've put on some weight!"  Which is not helpful.

I mean really?!  When has anyone ever said this to anyone and gotten the response of, "Have I?  Oh my goodness, I had no idea!  Thank you so much for pointing this out to me.  Now I can take steps to remedy the situation.  You are so helpful!"

It's not helpful.  It's hurtful.  And it makes me want to eat another cookie.

Sometimes it's more subtle.  Like she'll slowly look me up and down and then ask, "So are you still walking every day?"  Or like the last time I saw her, when she gave me the once over then said, "Your DAD has lost a lot of weight!"

Which, really?  If he had, I couldn't tell.  But whatever.

Anyway, so I've been aware that this woman has been putting me, and others, in our places for years based on weight.  I've determined in the last year or so that the reason she must do this is that she has a lot of faults, but she's always been thin.  She's not the smartest person, or the richest, or most beautiful, or the most well liked.  But she's thin.  So she must feel a confidence boost by bringing up the issue of weight whenever she gets the chance.

What I hadn't been conscious of, until our Thanksgiving celebration the other day, is that my mom's side of the family does this too.  I swear, we hadn't been with my grandparents two minutes before Grandpa brought up the fact that a particularly heavy member of the family has lost 30 pounds.  And then he immediately launched into a story about my obese uncle sitting in a chair and breaking it.

Now, okay, that's kind of a remarkable story.  But honestly, it hit me then that this side of the family too is obsessed with weight.  Yet the majority of the people in the family are overweight.  So whatever Grandpa is trying to accomplish with pointing all this out, it's not working.  Well, I mean, unless his goal is to make all his progeny overweight.

Which proves my point that really, it's not helpful, and it's not appropriate, ever to talk about anyone else's weight.  It doesn't accomplish anything.  The person already knows he or she is overweight.  And telling them about it (or telling everyone else about it) only serves to make the person feel worse.  Which probably will make them eat more.

It's given me a lot to think about.  Like do I talk about people's weight?  If I do, what is my motivation?  Is it even okay to talk about people losing weight?  Because doesn't that imply that they needed to?  Doesn't it imply that they were somehow less than before they got their act together and lost the weight?

I mean, it seems like a compliment on the surface.  "Wow you've lost a lot of weight!  You look great!"  But does it mean they looked bad before?

Either way, I've been pondering the implications of 39 years spent in a family which is largely overweight (no pun intended) yet contains several members hell bent on putting everyone else down for their obesity.  I haven't quite figured out what to do about any of it, but I figure just being aware of it is progress.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Nutrition Lessons from a 2001 VW Bug

I had some car trouble this past week.  You can read the full story about what happened here if you'd like.  But I came here to post about the crazy old mechanic's obsession with Premium Fuel.  One of the first things he said to me when the tow truck dropped us off was, "You DO put Premium Fuel in it, don't you?"  I don't.  That stuff is expensive, yo.

So I got a lecture about it.  How my car is a turbo, and it "just flat won't run" if you're not putting premium fuel in it.  And I was a bit concerned, because I've had this car for like 8 years.  And nobody has ever told me that.  The dealer I purchased her from didn't tell me.  The dealers I've had her at for various mechanical issues over the years never told me.  I mentioned this to the crazy old mechanic, and his response was, "The car tells you every time you fill up.  It says inside the gas door 91 octane fuel only."

Yes, because that's what I do when I go fill up with gas.  I open the gas door and stand there and read that tiny print inside the door.

The guy asked me this again when I came to pick up the car.  And then again when I stopped by two days later because my "check engine" light had come back on.  "You DO put premium fuel in it, don't you?" 

Anyhow, I pondered this guy's words, and then I started to actually feel bad that I'd been putting sub-par fuel into my poor little Buggie.  I love her.  I want her to run well.  And I wasn't giving her what she needed to run.  But I didn't know!

So I vowed this week to only put the premium fuel in her.  "When you know better, you do better!"  To quote Oprah.

But then it hit me.  How many times have I been told what my body needs to run well?  And I still don't give her what she needs.  I give her the cheap fuel, and then get upset with her when she won't do what I want her to do or doesn't look like I want her to look.

Why am I so willing to immediately change what I put into my car, the moment I learn what that should be?  And I'm so unwilling to change what I put into my own body?  Even though I know.  I know very well the ramifications of poor nutrition and unhealthy food choices.  I know my "machine" will run better on premium fuel.  But apparently I'm not quite ready to make that investment.

What is up with that?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Some Things Stick

I'm not sure how it has come to be over a year since we got started on this adventure - but here we are. Is my weight at a new magical perfect number? No. Is my battle over? No, not even close.

As I think over the past year (and yes, I do realize I have been MIA for several months---loss of job and then finding a temporary job with the word "Crisis" in the title apparently will do that to a person).... I think I've been working very Part Time at my weight loss. I've had a few moments where I've given it my 100%. But mostly, I've been sidetracked by life.

However, let us review the successes.

Success #1

A year ago I was only beginning ending my addiction to soda. I remember a year ago - nearly to the day - I was salivating over a Diet Coke and trying to avoid the temptation. Now I am happy to say I mostly complete week after week without having a single soda.

This habit has also rubbed off onto my husband - who used to be a soda-addict in the denial stage. Now, 99% of the time you will find Club Soda in our fridge and no real soda in the house.

There are times that I indulge in a beverage. Sometimes more than once in a week. But I generally find that shortly after that I am craving some water and feeling dehydrated. When I can trade my soda dependency for water dependency? Well, I call this success!

Success #2

Somewhere, I managed to fall in love with the idea of doing push-ups at my desk. I did fall off the wagon (when you don't have a desk....well, you get the picture). But I've recently returned to my habit and I really like the burn. I also like that I can do several of these push-ups, I can alter the difficulty (bring hands closer together) and unlike floor push-ups - they don't make me feel like a wimpy loser.

Prior to this experience - it had been years since I'd done push-ups. Much less doing them multiple times a week. Increased physical activity - record this as success.

Success #3

I really do think that I am eating healthier overall. This is no claim at perfection - just that I've tried to eat more "good" and less "bad". I do believe that any steps in a healthier direction are worth celebrating...and so, we'll call moderation a success.

Okay - so it's a short success list. But you know, I think I've lost the same 5 pounds about 20, maybe I've lost a total of 100 pounds?

Never underestimate the power of lying to yourself. :)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Taking More Than I Need

I haven't posted much here lately, because I have done much lately in terms of healthy living, eating better, or exercising.  My work has been crazy, and I've been travelling a lot, which unfortunately, leads to less physical activity and more eating.

I actually just forgot to go to yoga this week.

And then there's the Halloween candy.

Anyway, I just started reading Women, Food, and God  so I hope to soon gain lots of helpful insights into my weight struggles, which I hope to share with all of you.

I've had this book for months.  I bought it to read during my vacation this summer.  Then, instead of getting a vacation, I got fired.  And reading a book about why I'm overweight was the least of my concerns.

I've barely begun reading, but I think I'm going to get a lot out of it.  I read this part last night, and it really made me think:
To discover what you really believe, pay attention to the way you act--and to what you do when things don't go the way you think they should...You will quickly discover if you believe the world is a hostile place and that you need to be in control of the immediate universe for things to go smoothly.  You will discover if you believe that there is not enough to go around and that taking more than you need is necessary for survival.

I don't know yet what to do about it.  But I'll let you know when I figure it out.
I know I always take more than I need.  I take more food than I need.  I  buy more shoes than I need.  I have a bigger house than I need, filled with more stuff than I need.