Monday, November 23, 2009

Weight Watchers

I have spent the last 13 years coming to terms with being a "large" woman. I don't mind saying "fat," but other people seem to have a problem with that word. But it is what it is. After I had my lovely son, Peter, I felt so strong and capable (he weighed 10 lbs, 10 oz. at birth!--that is NOT a typo)that I wanted to keep feeling that way. I didn't want to put myself down for my size. I wanted to just love myself the way I was.

That's all nice and well, but then I got really sick and my health took a nose dive for several years. I was diagnosed with kidney stones, adrenal fatigue, clinical depression, hypothyroidism, and toxic heavy metals overload. I have spent years alternately working on and ignoring these conditions. All the while, my weight has crept higher and higher.

Recently, lab results on some tests were alarming. I showed signs of what they call pre-diabetes. I am severely anemic--gee no wonder I'm tired all the time. And my own observations include things like plantar fasciatis and back problems. In short, I'm a mess.

So I decided to start by getting more active. I challenged David to see which of us could/would exercise the most. (He could stand to drop a few pounds.) I have walked, done yoga, and used lots of garden work and housework to bolster my activity level.

Then a couple of months ago, I noticed an announcement in the church bulletin that they are having Weight Watchers meetings at church. I have been on Weight Watchers twice before, maybe even three times. It is the only program that has worked for me in terms of long-term, sustainable weight loss. Seeing this notice put a bug in my ear, and I finally decided there is no time like the present and it couldn't get any more convenient for me (unless they would hold the meeting at my house), so I went to my first meeting last week.

This is a huge step for me. And a scary one. While I want to acknowledge my own strengths and perseverance, I also have to admit that I bear the responsibility for this body. I want to feel good about myself, and to do that, I want to be a healthy weight where I won't have chronic health problems and have to ask for seat belt extenders on airplanes. I am pleased so far that it is not so hard to remember some of the habits and rules. I am wondering how Thanksgiving will go, but don't we all?

There is a long road ahead of me. I have to lose a LOT of weight to reach what was once my "goal" weight in WW. I may decide I don't have to get that far. I may decide a lesser goal is better. I don't know. Because I have so far to go, it will be a long, long while before I even get within 50 pounds of my weight goal. All I know is, like everything else in life, this will be a journey and one that I will take day by day.

I don't want to harp on WW in particular, but I like the way their plan has modified since I last attended meetings. So far, it is easy to follow. If anyone one wants to be a weight loss buddy with me, welcome. We can all use all the support we can get.

I know from my life experience that I am strong stubborn person who does not easily give up once I've made a choice. And since I still don't have a full-time job, now is the perfect time to spend this "free" time on myself, getting myself more fit and healthy so that when I do get a job my stamina to handle the daily grind will be super and I'll have energy to devote to all the things I love.

Hope you have a great Thanksgiving.


Monday, November 9, 2009

Cell Phones, Blackberries to be Precise

My dear husband recently joined the ranks of the Blackberry toting professional class. I was dreading this moment. I have a brother--you know who you are--whose obnoxiousness (and I say that in the most loving, sisterly way)is compounded by his Blackberry use. He can google anything at the speed of light, and while that is convenient, it plays in to his need to always be right. (Really, I do love him. Like a brother.) I have a friend/former boss who uses his Blackberry to be everywhere at once, and while it does make him easy to contact when you need to, it also makes talking to him in person most annoying.

Now, dear husband has been known to be annoying in many ways. But I still love him, luckily for him. Yet, up until now, cell phone mania has not been included in the list of things that he does to bother me. The list includes squirming around in bed before falling asleep, snoring on occasion, never being on time for anything, procrastinating, watching way to much televised sports, and so on. (Don't get me wrong. Dear husband is one heck of a guy. See my FB post today for evidence.) But I had remained blissfully free from annoyance of the Blackberry variety in my own home.

Until a few weeks ago. While he's had it for a couple of months, his obsession became most apparent to me when we were traveling together. The damn thing vibrates every time he receives an email message--on average, about once every three seconds. Why he feels compelled to take it off its cute little hip holster at every vibration is a mystery to me: he claims it's because it might be important. I suppose that might be true. After all, in one day, he was notified by REI that the sleeping pad he wanted was now on sale as well as a personal message from the President asking for support of the day's cause.

Okay, you say, why is it so annoying? Everyone does it. Exactly. Two things. First, I hate doing anything because everyone else is doing it. I will go to great lengths to avoid doing something the way everyone else does. I got married on a Wednesday, for crying out loud. Second, I know you have been in this position: you're trying to have a nice, real person-to-person conversation with someone while he/she continually checks his/her Blackberry for baseball scores, market trends, emails, and the like. The "It might be important" excuse wears very thin when I am the one on the receiving end. Am I NOT important? That seems to be what these actions imply. Or at least that I'm not AS important as today's You Tube joke. And when it's my spouse, the love of my life, the person who always has my undivided attention--unless of course he's talking sports, or mechanics, or law, or topographical maps--then it gets downright offensive. Bad enough when your brother or friend is doing it to you, but dear husband?

So come on, already. When you are talking to me, with me, or even in the same room with me and your Blackberry buzzes, think very carefully about unholstering it in my presence. I may not be able to maintain the calmness necessary to be held accountable for my actions. 'Nuf said.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

i don't know why i do these things

so today i had to get up early. on a saturday. me. not fun at all. mom had to practically force me out of bed. and of course my alarm didn't work. And why did i have to get up early you ask? to go take the sat subject tests, for absolutely no reason at all. NONE! none of the colleges i'm applying to require them or even mention them in their applications. But there i was at 8 in the morning being told to make sure to erase completely.

this wouldn't have been so bad, but the test was at Borah. no one likes Borah. i mean no one. And to boot, no, you can't go sit in the classroom before the test, you have to go sit in the cafeteria on the other side of the school until we tell you it's okay. Oh and in case you haven't been told enough times by now, don't bring your cell phone!

so after half an hour after the time we were supposed to start, we finally are all in the classroom. and what do you know, we get obnoxious kid. You. aren't. funny. get over it.

then the grueling test begins. math for starters. easy, but not when you can't remember how to do something and go about it the long way. And after that. oh! you get a five minute break! hope you don't have to go to the bathroom because if you're not back when my special little timer goes off your scores will be cancelled. Then comes...physics. ah, right at home. I was ready to dive into some simple kinematics problems and be done with time to spare. well, it wasn't all kinematics. it was also light, and electricity, and thermo. i learned thermo a year ago. i remember none of it. and as for the other stuff, i'm not entirely convinced i learned it in the first place.

so now it's over. i can go home and sleep. or other such nonsense. Oh, but wait! guy from physics you've never even spoken to before needs a ride! I'm always so surprised when people from school actually know who i am.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Christmas Mania

I opened my newspaper Monday morning to see an article about how to survive the holiday crush and stress. Eeek. This makes me really mad. We've been enjoying our holidays for years without stress and angst. Let me tell you a secret. You don't have to act like a typical American, buying everything in sight. Your children will still love you if you don't give them the latest electronic device, toy, or trip to Hawaii. Your friends will still be your friends even if you don't send out Christmas cards.

Here's our strategy for really loving our holidays.

First, we celebrate the holiday that is here now. We don't worry about Christmas when Halloween just ended. We think about Thanksgiving in November. It's one of our favorite family holidays. I suspect this has something to do with the fact that it is relatively non-commercialized. We make a big dinner and sit around with our loved ones chatting and playing games. Wow. Profound, huh? We have a great time.

Second, we don't go to every Christmas party we're invited to. Maybe one or two. Low key. Show up, eat, drink, be merry. Go home before midnight. Having fun, but not overindulging.

Third, I stopped sending out Christmas cards years ago. I do send out an annual update about our family and our lives. I do this when the mood strikes. Sometimes it's my birthday, sometimes Easter, sometimes Groundhogs Day. It depends. I like it this way. I do it when I want, and my friends get mail in the middle of the year. Radical.

Fourth, we decided years ago to put up our Christmas tree on Christmas Eve, not before. I never realized how much stress it created for me having a tree inside the house all month. We live in a pretty small house, and a tree takes up a lot of room. Now, part of our lovely Christmas Eve is putting up our tree and decorating it. It makes for a very festive Christmas Eve. And we take it down at Epiphany. Perfect. 12 days.

Fifth, we try not to be extravagant about gifts. If one person gets something really big and special, that doesn't mean everyone does. We try to give things we know that person will just love. I hate receiving gifts that are obviously something the person just bought the day before because they were desperate and needed something. I'd rather get nothing. Yes, you heard me. Nothing. I like homemade gifts. Books. Etc.

I truly think why we enjoy our holidays so much and so simply is that we observe them in due time. We don't ignore the joy of after-Thanksgiving glow by shopping our brains out on Black Friday. We are still thanks-giving. We don't spend all of December in a frantic rush of purchasing an entire city block of stuff. We like music, and movies, and simple things, and that's what we do.

I could go on and on about America's obsession with buy, buy, buy. It's sickening. So take the first step. DO NOT SHOP on Black Friday. Don't. Do. It. See how freeing it is to snub the corporate retail establishment. What fun. If you want, come over to my house for some hot cider and pumpkin pie instead. We'll probably have a rousing game of Apples to Apples going.