Saturday, October 1, 2011

Vegetarian Progress Report

It’s roughly half a week since I last ate meat, and so far so extremely good.  The very best part is that I feel I’m returning to my authentic self.  Whether this sense of peace and clear-headedness is owed to a clear conscience regarding food, or to the cold, rainy weather we’ve been having, I don’t know.  All I know is that I feel really, really peaceful.
A couple of food highlights: I spent a few minutes this morning turning loads of locally grown basil & garlic and other good things into pesto to be used in the beautiful grey months ahead.  Earlier this week, I enjoyed a dish of lovely black bean soup with a tomato/mozzarella Panini.  And there was the joy of preparing an apple/cranberry crisp.
I think part of the sense of well-being comes from enjoying the ingredients I’m working with.  When peeling apples or pulling the leaves from basil plants, I feel an inner, timeless connection with those who have stood in kitchens and performed the same tasks.  I’m not distracted by revulsion and mourning for a chicken I’ve never met.
In my house this very moment are the same foods which tripped me up last week: Oreos, chips, and so on.  But they don’t hold the allure which herbs and grains, fruits and veggies do.
I'm also happy to report that a) since my most recent bike repair and despite roadwork, I've logged a few miles on my bike (especially handy to bike home after leaving the minivan with the mechanic); and b) I've found a counselor who, I'm hoping, will help me continue to learn to balance my needs with those of my family, friends, and society at-large.
And in the background of all this I occasionally set my sights on those two triathlons next summer.
Like I said, so far so good.

Thursday, September 29, 2011


Wow.  You know the saying about when a door closes, a window opens?  Well, I told the universe I was ready for a change, and doors and windows were all blown to kingdom come.  I recognize that if I try to follow all the possibilities I’ll be as shattered as said doors and windows, so I’m going to take deep breaths and force myself to slow down.  I’m going for whelmed here, not overwhelmed.
One of the ideas I’m exploring is vegetarianism.  As long as I’m developing healthy eating habits, why not explore something that’s been deep within me for years?  The seeds were planted way back in my childhood when I’d chew (and chew and chew) overcooked pot roasts and start thinking of what exactly I was chewing.  The first and last time I tried ribs, the smoky/fleshy smell zipped my memory straight back into the oral surgeon’s chair while he burned away the roof of my mouth in order to expose impacted teeth.  When I come across veins and rubbery things when preparing chicken, I feel ill.  And fish just isn’t an option.  The only meat I’ve been comfortable with has been meat in disguise: so processed into a hot dog or deli meat that I can fool myself into thinking they’re made from grains and water.  And what’s the point of eating fatty, salty, processed materials?
Another idea I’m exploring is yoga.  When I look at yoga books or DVDs and see poses my body is not designed for, I cringe and question.  But when I dig deeper and learn about the mind/body balance aspect, I feel more confident that yoga may be a useful tool for me.  And happily I know of at least three yoga instructors in my area.
I toyed with the idea of vegetarianism in the past, but wasn’t mature enough to handle the commitment.  I still may not be ready, but at least I’m mature enough to realize that.  For the most part, I’m excited about eating according to my inner voice.  I’m hoping that yoga, along with prayer and counseling, will help me clarify that inner voice in regards to not just food and fitness, but self.
And I’m excited for more bike rides and hikes, learning tennis from a Friend, and kayaking next summer.  And two triathlons next year.  J

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Diary of a Fat Girl

Dear Diary,
I got on the scale this morning for the first time since before surgery.  My heart must be in excellent health, for it didn’t suffer an attack when I saw that I’ve gained 6 pounds(!).  I’m not going to kid myself and say that the scale doesn’t matter, that my body is healing, and or any of those other cozy excuses.  The fact is that my banishment from exercise is not a license to eat whatever rubbish my taste buds happen to desire.  And yet, that’s just what’s happened.  Frosting a birthday cake?  Eat a few spoonfuls!  Cookie-like granola bars?  Eat ‘em and blame the kids!  Want some salt?  Don’t bat an eye while consuming a single serve bag of Doritos!
What is wrong with me?  Why can’t I beat this salt-sugar-fat kick?
I love exercise and I want to be an athlete again.  Sure I broke my jaw playing softball, flew over the handlebars of my bike, get cramps in my side when I run, and was made fun of whenever I tried activities at school.  That hasn't stopped the athletic desire within.
When exercise is in my life, at least I can prevent this food addiction from adding pounds to my body.  But as this year of minimal weight loss proves, food addiction is preventing me from achieving a healthy body.  My mind isn’t healthy, therefore neither is my body.  My fat thighs are not a symbol of my weakness or stupidity, but of something broken deep within.
The herd mentality of Weight Watchers wasn’t the answer.  Solitary prayer and willpower haven’t been the answer.  I am thinking of finding a counselor to work one-on-one with me, exploring my addiction and helping me to overcome it.  While I watched The Biggest Loser last night, I felt myself responding to conversations relating to healing.  Those scenes struck me so deeply that I dreamed about the trainers cum counselors, and even dreamed about borrowing a friend’s camcorder to make an audition tape so that I could work with them.
But awake, I know that I can’t be away from my family for that length of time.  Once again, I acknowledge the need to find a way to get healthy in, not away from, my life.
I don’t want to be like those contestants who think they’re healthy and are surprised with the news that they’re diabetic.  I don’t want to think I’m healthy and be shocked with heart disease.  I don’t want to contribute to my early death.
I forgive myself for my mistakes; I accept my imperfections; I pray for help; and I will take action.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Kim & Kate Are Great!

It's about time I let them know: Kim and Kate, you are motivating me to do my best until I can hit the gym and really do my best. 
Kim is a friend from high school days.  I haven’t seen her since the early 90s and beyond her online photo, I have no idea what she looks like.  But I know she’s feeling and looking great because every now and then, she changes her profile picture to a new decade.  She was in the 60s for a while; I don’t remember the 70s; then the 80s; and now, seemingly in the blink of an eye, the 90s!  That’s incredible!  These decades represent how many pounds she’s lost.
Kim doesn’t whine about the gym or what she can’t eat.  She rarely mentions what she’s doing, unless she’s had a really good something or made a good choice.
Kate is my 21st century friend.  She’s a beautiful young woman, and mom to a houseful of children.  Some time ago she complimented me on a dress I was wearing and said she wanted to drop some pounds.  Over the past couple of weeks, Kate’s weight loss has been plain to see.  She looks amazing!
As far as I know, Kate doesn’t spend her time thinking about what she can or can’t eat.  But she’s clearly doing something right.
Kim & Kate: Thanks for showing me by example that I need to quit thinking about it and just do it.  You are both excellent role models for me, and you remind me that weight loss is possible.  I’m so happy for you in your success and can’t wait to achieve what you’ve achieved.