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Fantasizing, Romanticizing, Giganticizing

I originally wrote this last June (for Gastric Bypass Barbie). Fortunately, I am not in “possession” of the extra 8-10 pounds I was lamenting about back then (at least not for now), but the message is still vital. I hope you enjoy this little Walk Down Memory Lane:

Fantasizing, Romanticizing & Giganticizing

Last night, I climbed into bed and my brain immediately switched into “overdrive.” Now, I realize that this is not a good place to be when I should be sleeping, but, next to the shower, it is where I do some of my very best thinking.

So, here’s where this posting all began: The word “romanticizing” popped into my head, because this is what I have been guilty of doing lately. You see, I have been wrestling with a few extra pounds (a reality which does not make me happy, but does give me something to work on!) Anyway, the more I thought about those pounds, the more i realized that there are a host of “IZING” words that could quickly consume and overwhelm my successful Bariatric After Life™– if I let them.

Let me explain:

As a pre- and early post-op, I would spend my days FANTASIZING about what I would look like when I lost the weight. I spent a bunch of time pouring over “Befores and Afters,” marveling at the monumental differences people experienced; wondering if I would ever reach that same goal, and if I did, what I would look like. Essentially, I was living in fantasyland every free moment I had.

Don’t get me wrong, fantasizing is not a bad thing, as long as it is based in some sort of reality, and involves a solid plan for achieving it. I think i was pretty realistic in my planning, because my original goal was very generous and, ultimately, more-than achievable.

Well, as a post-op, I blew past my original goal, to the tune of about 40 pounds, and found myself in a scrawny, skinny, meatless body with jutting bones, sunken eyes and cheeks. At the time, I KNEW that I was too thin and KNEW that my body would rebound to a healthier weight. But, somewhere inside, I was having this battle between what I KNEW was healthy, and what I actually LOOKED like.

As I remove my rose-tinted glasses and look back at myself with honest eyes, I can assure you that MexiKen did not love the way my little body looked — I had lost all of my curves, had no butt, and couldn’t fit grown-up people clothes. I looked silly in my baggy things and was constantly lamenting that I couldn’t wear some of the pretty clothes I was finding on the racks. Size 4′s weren’t just too big – they LITERALLY slid down to my ankles. It really was not pretty.

But, over time, I regained a little weight, those size 4′s began to fit properly, and I started “filling out.” Eventually, I settled in at a comfortable size 6 — a good place for my 5’8″ frame. I had a little butt and a few curves and no one complained that I was too skinny (or too fat). I looked healthy and felt great. Except that I kept going and overshot my “ideal” by about 8-10 pounds. Now, this is unacceptable, because I find myself outside of my new comfort zone, where things don’t quite fit as comfortably anymore.

It occurs to me, that what I have been doing is ROMANTICIZING my previous underweight status. I have been whispering sweet nothings into my brain, convincing myself that being a size 2 was wonderful, because nothing was ever tight or binding, and whatever I tried on always fit. Of course, I know this is NOT true, but this is how romanticizing works. You forget the realities, hardships, disappointments and struggles, and recast them as happy, glowing, glorious times.

Fortunately, I have not allowed myself to marinate in that kind of stinking thinking, because it is not only counterproductive — it is a LIE.

But, where do I go if I can’t romanticize or fantasize? Well, if you’re unhealthy, and fighting a few extra pounds, you can quickly begin to GIGANTICIZE. This is what happens when you start to tell yourself that you are a “big, fat loser.” You begin to exaggerate the reality of your body and what the scale is reporting, and start obsessing over weight regain. When giganticizing happens, you panic and your fat head runs the show. After all, you gained 5 or 10 pounds and now you are GIGANTIC.

Clearly, you can see the downside of this thinking, because it is neither productive nor empowering.

But, if you aren’t careful, giganticizing quickly turns to MINIMIZING. As in, “I *only* have 5 or 10 extra pounds. I’ve lost 150 or 160, and I’m fine with this weight regain. It’s not a big deal, and I’m sure I can lose it, if I want to.” In other words, you can quickly MINIMIZE the scope of the problem by using old criteria as your gage. “I used to weigh 316 pounds; I’m nowhere NEAR that now, so why is this a problem?”

Well, that brings me to the 4th “izing” word: RATIONALIZING. If you allow yourself to move into rationalizing, you are on a slippery slope to inevitable weight regain. Why? Because rationalizing goes hand-in-hand with apathy and denial. When you rationalize, you are actually telling yourself RATIONAL LIES.

So, what is the solution to this destructive “izing“?

Here are 5 little steps to replace BAD “izing” words with GOOD “izing” words!

Step 1: RECOGNIZE
Realize that you have a problem; that things aren’t going the way you want them to go, and you need to DO something before it is too late.

Step 2: VISUALIZE
Make some decisions about your recovery. What do you WANT the rest of your life to look like? What do you feel is a good and realistic weight for you to maintain? How will your body look and feel? Formulate that vision, then make that your goal.

STEP 3: LEGITIMIZE
Is your vision reasonable, achievable, and maintainable? Is it LEGITIMATE? If it is, then cement that vision in your mind; make it tangible, real and worthy and don’t let ANYONE or anything distract you from accomplishing it. Make it your driving force.

STEP 4: EMPHASIZE
Opposite of minimizing, in this step, you begin EMPHASIZING the legitimate vision you have created for yourself. You must make it a priority. Here, you are saying, “This is my goal and I will accept no less. All of my thoughts and actions must reinforce this vision to ensure it becomes and remains my reality.”

STEP 5: EXERCISE
No, I don’t just mean going to the gym or taking regular walks (although that is a part of it.) There’s more to this step than that. Here, you must EXERCISE good choices, healthy lifestyle habits, and positive thinking, in order to achieve and maintain your vision. This step is the most important of ALL of the steps, because it involves both mental AND physical exercise. It is a DOING word that involves meaningful and positive ACTIONS.

Do you find yourself “izing“? Perhaps you are guilty of Catastrophizing (a word I didn’t use above, but might be true?) — Perhaps you are blowing your situation so far out of proportion, you feel that you have no hope.

Well, there is ALWAYS HOPE — I know this, because I am a living, breathing, walking miracle, and people who are given the gift of a second chance at life have no right to be HOPELESS.

Here’s the bottom line: You can choose to FANTASIZE, ROMANTICIZE, GIGANTICIZE, MINIMIZE and RATIONALIZE until you find yourself regaining weight and losing control, OR, you can follow the 5 easy steps, and REGAIN CONTROL of your Bariatric After Life™.

Start MAXIMIZING your potential. Don’t MARGINALIZE your healthy life. Get started, get focused, and take charge of what matters most.

I know I DID.

June 1, 2011   2 Comments

Inflatable Life Raft (What if I Explode?)

Inflatable Life Raft


boat-blue-water-liferaft-96702

The term life raft is used for vessels carried by ships and planes to allow passengers and crew to escape in an emergency. Inflatable life rafts, also called life boats are always equipped with auto-inflation carbon dioxide canisters or mechanical pumps. The pressure release mechanism is fitted on board ships so that the canister or pump automatically inflates the lifeboat, and the lifeboat breaks free of the sinking vessel. Inflatable life rafts are made from flexible material, usually rubber, canvas, or neoprene, and hold air at high volume but low pressure. However, if there isn’t enough air inside, inflatable boats are apt to fold in the middle. Thus, they need to be pumped up to the proper pressure using bellows.

I’ve gotta be honest with you — I’m doing all that I can not to crack under the holiday pressure. Last week, I promised myself that I would not get plugged into the stress of the season by obsessing over things I can’t control or shouldn’t worry about.

Right at the top of that mental list are the words, ‘HOLIDAY FOOD,’ followed by the phrase, “it’s not about the food, it’s about the people.” For as long as I can remember (pre-surgery, of course), the holidays meant things like fudge, brownies, chocolate chip cookies, magic cookie bars, homemade cranberry sauce, apple pie, See’s candy, stuffing and leftovers. The holidays were when clients sent me wonderful (edible) gifts and neighbors dropped off baskets of baked goods. Heck, the holidays were when I broke out the cubes of real butter and colossal bags of chocolate chips and got down to the business of “celebrating through baked goods.” But, all of that changed when I had gastric bypass surgery. That first Christmas, I sat in the recliner at my brother’s house and tried to nurse a pumpkin shake while everyone else gathered around the table to overindulge. Last year, I was just trying to survive a gall bladder attack, which again meant that food was way down the list of things to do.

This year, I’m healthy (but for the annoying stress fracture), which means that I get to enjoy the holidays as a normal person living a full and wildly successful bariatric after life. But, what exactly IS normal? Do normal people get stressed out during this time of year? (Yes). Do normal people worry about exercising during this time of year? (Yes). Do normal people worry about what they are going to eat? (Yes).

Gosh, normal doesn’t sound all that different from what I did for 40 years, it’s just that NOW, I’m doing “normal” in a 150-lb body.

Which brings me to the title of this posting:  INFLATABLE LIFE RAFT (What if I Explode?)

When I think of an inflatable life raft, I visualize one of those boats that pops open when it’s not supposed to. In the movies, life rafts always inflate inside a tight space, like a compact car, a closet, or somewhere there isn’t enough room for expansion.

Sort of like my size 6 pants.

This morning, I had this horrible visual — that I was one of those inflatable life rafts (contents under massive pressure) just waiting to explode — figuratively and literally! I’ve got all of this mental stress just percolating beneath the surface, which by extension, is translating to physical stress (mascarading as pounds). I am not doing anything especially different with my eating — EXCEPT that I fear I’m NOT getting enough protein in, I’ve run out of some of my critical vitamin supplements, and I can’t afford to replenish my usual “go-to” goodies, e.g., Revival Soy Chips and Whey Up! protein drinks. I’m mudding through and doing my best to make good choices, but the stress of it all is bearing down on me, manifesting itself as the “blahs.” As I wrote on another forum, I’ve got a terrible case of the “I don’t wannas.”

Not to say that this past weekend wasn’t amazingly productive, because it was! I finalized my Thanksgiving menu, prepared my extensive shopping list (in Excel, naturally), broke it out by store (and category, e.g., “Bakery,” “Deli,” “Dairy,” “Produce,” etc.), transcribed some recipes and posted on the fridge, organized my earrings (I know that sounds weird, but they were on top of my bureau in neat little piles and I just wanted to put them away so they wouldn’t be cluttering my room for Thanksgiving), did the laundry, cleaned out my car (just another niggling thing that had been clouding my mind and keeping me from doing other things), visited a friend in the hospital, worked out, went to church, AND, did my grocery shopping at FOUR STORES (Von’s, Trader Joe’s, Big Lots and WalMart). So, it was a big weekend and I felt pretty accomplished — ready to take on the short work week and prepare for “The Big Day.”

And then I woke up yesterday morning and here’s how I felt: I’m on a rollercoaster and just roared down that first big drop. Unfortunately, I am now stuck at the bottom and there’s no chain to drag me up to the top of the hill. So, there I am in my car (with my restraints securely fastened) and I’m not panicking. I can see the stairs which will lead me to safety, but I don’t wanna take ’em. I just want to sit in my seat and wait for the ride to continue.

Well, when I woke up today, that whole inflatable raft thing happened. What if my inflatable life raft springs open while I’m sitting in my rollercoaster car at the bottom of the hill??? There will be no way out. (At least that’s what my brain is telling me.)

What exactly does that raft represent? Oh, that’s easy: My “before” life, obesity, fat. I’m wresting with the irrational fear that I will wake up one morning and be a size 28-30 again, all because of the holidays. The part of me that wants to move as fast as she can is paralyzed by an overwhelming lack of “oomph.” The “I don’t wannas” have moved in and there is no sign of “clearing” until tomorrow afternoon sometime (when I will leave work, return to my “civilian” life, and start chopping onions and celery for the stuffing.)

I guess the best thing I can do between now and then is:

  1. Give a voice to the things that are concerning me. Make a list of all the things I believe I have to do, then prioritize, determine what will get done and what won’t, then LET GO of whatever doesn’t make the cut. I’ve been doing this mentally, but now I must do it physically. (Time for another Excel spreadsheet!)
  2. Stop worrying about money. (LOL – as if!) This has been a constant source of stress since May, but we have survived to this point and will continue to do so — as long as I am mindful of the budget and don’t get caught up in what I believe I “should” be able to buy.
  3. Workout daily to the best of my ability. Okay, my leg hurts and my feet feel like they have 10 pound bricks tied to each foot as I pedal the Life Cycle — so I’ll just do the best I can and stay active!
  4. Realize that everything will work out just the way it is supposed to, and no one will be any the wiser. My 25 guests will not care that my bedroom carpet did not get steam-cleaned, or that I don’t have fancy centerpieces on each table. They will care that we took the time to cook and bring everyone together for a beautiful day. They will not be looking at the number on my scale!
  5. Eat slowly, with purpose, and include sufficient protein. I will continue to say “No” to those stupid Boston Market “corn bread” muffins at the office (that are really nothing more than cakes, disguised as something sorta healthy, but laden with 35 grams of carbs and 25 grams of sugar!)
  6. Live in the moment. If I do not have a ton of energy right now, that’s okay. I will work with what I have and know that I have an amazing husband upon whom I can rely. Together, we will pull this off (as we always do).
  7. Realize that I get this stressed out every year, but just never had a blog to discuss it!
  8. Exhale.
  9. Acknowledge that I miss my dad and am a little uncertain about our first Thanksgiving without him.

At the end of the day, Thanksgiving will be here on Friday (that’s when we celebrate), the turkey will get cooked, the stuffing will be ready, the table will be laden with food, there will be lots of healthy food choices and sugar free desserts that I can eat, but more importantly, I will be surrounded by people I love, and great joy will abound — regardless of the plastic utensils and paper plates! And that inflatable life raft? I think I’m going to store that with my Earthquake Preparedness Kit in the motorhome.

OOOPS! One more thing I’ll need to work on. Someday.

November 24, 2009   No Comments

Unpopular Opinion


Get ready to file this under: UNPOPULAR OPINION


In the Bariatric After Life, a lot of time is devoted to “why” we do or don’t do certain things. I’d argue that fighting the weight loss (and maintenance) battle is 5% physical and 95% mental.

How many times have you asked yourself:

“Why am I always hungry?”
“What can’t I stop eating that thing?”
“Why don’t I want to work out?”

The “whys” inevitably lead to the “hows…”

How do I make myself do this thing?”
“How do I stop myself from eating that thing?”
“How do I get back to the gym?”

For me, there are two answers:

Why Ask Why?
Just Do It.

I know that might sound glib (and unpopular), but that’s what I keep coming back to as I strive to live a fulfilling ‘after life’. When I wake up in the morning, and say, “How am I going to get myself out of bed and stagger down to the Life Cycle?” (remember, I’m nursing a stress fracture…), the answer is always the same: “I’m just going to DO it.” And, for the past 4 days, I HAVE just done it.

When I find myself overwhelmed with the desire to buy air popped “light” popcorn at Trader Joe’s, and ask, “How am I going to get past this craving???” — Here’s what I do; I don’t buy it. Then, I can’t eat it. (I just DON’T do it.)

When I find myself wanting to graze at night, and I’m wringing my hands, asking, “How do I control this insatiable urge? Why does this always happen at night?” I just tell myself that I don’t need whatever it is I’m itching for and then, if I still want to graze, I go to bed. Of course, if there is a real reason for the hunger (e.g., hormones (LOL) or the fact that I didn’t eat enough protein in the day)…then I can satisfy the need.

Look, I’m not perfect, and it’s not simple, but really, why do we always try to make more of it than it is? It’s like asking why a criminal commits a heinous crime, and then explaining that he had a rotten childhood. It doesn’t change the fact that a crime has occurred. Now, I’m not juxtaposing crime with eating or not exercising — let’s not go there — I’m saying that, just because you know why a behavior or thought is motivated, doesn’t mean the behavior or thought has to be put into action.

In other words, I was restricted to what I could eat as a child because my brother is diabetic. Or, at least, that’s why I THOUGHT I was restricted; in reality, my mom was feeding us healthy food because it was the RIGHT thing do do. But I walked away with the WRONG message, so the seed was planted and I fertilized it for about 40 years until it became a big, fat overgrown morass. Some might argue that I over ate as an adult to compensate for for my perceived sleight as a child. But, in the end, who cares WHY I over ate? I just needed to STOP the behavior.

I guess what I’m feebly trying to say is, sometimes, we put all of our energy into trying to understand WHY we want to do something, and there’s nothing left to actually change the behavior. That is why I have channeled my focus into living by the two mantras that opened this post:

Why Ask Why?
Just DO It.


I don’t always succeed, but I can guarantee you: By following this sage advice, I succeed way more often, than when I agonize over the “whys” and ‘hows”…

What do you think?

November 20, 2009   6 Comments

Why Me?

Why Me?

 

why
I originally wrote this post in 2009, but I think it is still pretty relevant, so I’m sharing it for the a whole new year — Enjoy!

Many years ago, while I was working on my masters degree, a fellow student lent me an audio book on tape that she said had changed her life. It turned out to be Dr. Phil — whom I’d not heard about at that time, since he didn’t have his own program yet. I still remember the shock of hearing his voice for the first time. And that accent! I wasn’t sure I’d be able to tolerate his voice through an entire 4 CDs!

Fortunately, I stuck with it, and learned a powerful lesson that has become the very core of my successful weight loss journey.

Background
In 1996, The Texas Cattlemen Association (US Beef Producers) sued Oprah Winfrey claiming “fear mongering” over her comment that she wouldn’t eat hamburgers again because she was afraid of contracting Mad Cow disease. Her statement carried so much weight, that in one day, sales of hamburgers plummeted, severely impacting beef industry futures. The cattlemen sued Oprah for her comments and for one year, she and her staff were hounded and threatened by Beef Industry thugs. Now, this posting is NOT about the rightness or wrongness of Oprah’s statements or the behavior of the Texas Beef Producers — I have no, uh…cow in this fight. Stick with me here.

As Oprah’s court date approached, she rented a house (well, “compound”, really) in Texas to be nearer to the proceedings. She asked Dr. Phil to stay with her for the month leading up to the big event. As Dr. Phil tells it, Oprah was devastated at what she felt was undeserved harassment for her comments. She felt that she was entitled to her opinion and didn’t understand why she was being sued for something that should be protected under the First Amendment. More importantly, she was disconsolate over the fact that her PEOPLE were being threatened and harassed — something she could not abide. As she put it, the Cattlemen’s “Beef” was with HER — not her people — and she was beside herself with worry and grief over their unfair and unwarranted treatment.

As her day in court drew nearer, she had many sleepless nights. One particular morning (around 3AM), she padded down the hall in her robe and slippers and knocked on Dr. Phil’s door. She said, “Phil, I just can’t take this anymore. Why are they DOING this to me? Why are they scaring my people? They have nothing to do with it — I’m the one who said what I said — not them! They don’t deserve to be harassed. Why won’t they just leave everyone else alone? This is so unfair.”

And here’s the crux of the lesson. Dr. Phil responded quite simply that it didn’t matter WHY they were doing what they were doing, and it didn’t matter if she DESERVED it or not. What mattered most was what she was going to DO about it.

In other words, was she going to continue wringing her hands over the “WHY” of the situation, or was she going to put her energy into the “HOW” — as in “HOW was she going to WIN the battle?”

Let me tell you. that was a Helen Keller moment for me. I distinctly remember saying, “I get it. I totally get it.”

I’d essentially spent my entire life being Oprah and wondering WHY people did or said hurtful things to me, or why I was always a victim of unfair circumstances. What I DIDN’T do was figure out how to move beyond the situation and succeed DESPITE it.

Let me explain how this crippling behavior used to manifest itself in me:

Why can’t I eat what everybody else eats?
Why do I always have to be on a diet?
Why aren’t I more athletic?
Why do I have these fat genes?
Why does my metabolism suck so much?
Why do I have a thyroid problem?
Why do I hurt all the time?
Why do I have to count calories?

Here’s what I SHOULD have been telling myself:

“Why can’t I eat what everybody else eats?”
First of all, *everybody* doesn’t eat *everything* — everyone has to make their own choices, and *everyone* doesn’t eat an entire sleeve of Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies in one sitting. Even if they did, they are not ME. I only have control over MY situation, so I need to decide whether eating 25 Thin Mint cookies at one time is going to help me get thin or not.

Why do I always have to be on a diet?
I wouldn’t have to be on a diet if I just watched what and how much I ate. This isn’t just happening to me, I’m a willing participant in this poor eating plan. However, even if no one else on the planet had to be on a diet, I do, so why fight it?

Why aren’t I more athletic?
I can’t waste time and energy wishing I were someone else. I am who I am, and that means I’ll probably never be the fastest or strongest athlete out there — unless that’s what I truly want to be. I have to learn to work within my physical limitations and just do the best I can. The goal is not to be THE best; it’s to be MY best.

Why do I have these fat genes?
We don’t choose our parents. We get what we get in the genetic lottery. It’s what we do with what we’re given that matters most. How can I use my genetics to my advantage?

Why does my metabolism suck so much?
I wasn’t born with a hyper-fast metabolism like some people. As a matter of fact, not EVERYONE has a metabolism like that. Most people have a “normal” metabolism, and it’s up them to know how to make it work for their bodies. Given my chemical make-up, what can I do to ensure my metabolism is working at its optimal efficiency?

Why do I have a thyroid problem?
Why is the grass green or the sky blue? Why do I have brown eyes instead of blue ones? Why do I have to dye my hair auburn to be a redhead? Who cares “why” something is a certain way — questioning its existence doesn’t treat the condition. I should be asking what I can do to bring the thyroid problem under control. Do I need medication, or is it controllable with food?

Why do I hurt all the time?
Am I working out, eating right, and taking my vitamins each day? Is my pain due to fibromyalgia? If so, have I eliminated yeast and sugar from my diet, or am I continuing to make poor food choices, which exacerbate my pain?

Why do I have to count calories?
Asking why I have to be accountable makes about as much sense as asking why I have to drive the speed limit or follow laws. Again, arguing the “why” of a situation doesn’t get me to the “how” — as in, “how can I win this battle?”

Which brings us back to Oprah: The moment she shifted her thinking from WHY and moved into HOW, was the moment she won the battle. She stopped asking why the suit was being brought against her, or why her people were being attacked, and sought about finding a winning strategy.

Ultimately, she did prevail in court, as I prevailed in my own battle with weight. (Actually, my weight battle is never “over” and I have to continue to wage war against it everyday, but you get the idea…)

The foundation for my success came from Dr. Phil and Oprah: I don’t question WHY I have to eat a certain way, or WHY I can’t eat and drink at the same time. I don’t ask WHY I had to have bariatric surgery to lose my weight, or WHY I have to workout every day. I don’t ask WHY I have loose skin, or WHY I will have to fight this battle everyday for the rest of my life.

“WHY” doesn’t solve the problem and it certainly doesn’t make the problem disappear.

“HOW” gives you power.
“HOW” helps you win the war.

“WHY” is not an action word.
“HOW” gets things done.

Are you are “WHYner” or a “HOW-TO-er”?

My new therapist, Jim, says I’m a “doer” — I guess that means I’m successfully ensconced in the “HOW-TO” camp.

Believe me when I say this: It doesn’t matter WHY I was born with the chemical make-up I have; It matters what I DO with it, and I’m DOING great things.

How about you?

November 5, 2009   2 Comments

The Bucket on the Top Shelf

Originally published October 2009 on GastricBypassBarbie.com

The Bucket on the Top Shelf

stackojeans

Today was a really big day for me.

  • No, it isn’t my surgiversary.
  • No, I didn’t hit a new number on the scale.
  • No, it isn’t my birthday.
  • No, I haven’t won the lottery.

Today is a really big day for me, because for the first time in my entire life, I still fit the clothes I stored away in my Rubbermaid bucket on the top closet shelf.

This might not seem earth-shattering, but in the past, the very same bucket I sought today held 10 layers of jeans (smallest on the bottom; biggest on the top.  They were in the bucket because none of them fit. They were ALL TOO SMALL. In the past, every time I’d start a new diet, I’d head straight for that bucket.

“Hey, look! The size 26 jeans fit! Remember when these were really tight?”
“Whoo-hoo! The size 24’s fit me now!”
“Oh my goodness! I can’t remember the last time these 18’s fit! I must have been…what? 30?”

And then….just like every other time in my life, the jeans would go back in to the bucket….smallest on the bottom…biggest on the top. Until there were none that fit.

[cue the angelic harp music]
I never realized how significant that Rubbermaid bucket would become, once I had gastric bypass surgery, but you know what?

  • I still remember the day I fit the jeans on the top layer (a size 26).
  • I also remember the day I fit the jeans on the bottom layer (a size 13 from high school days.) It took everything I had not to wear those tacky, peg-legged, pleated, acid-washed jeans out of the house! Fortunately for all of us, my daughter staged an intervention with her friends, who stopped me from making a potentially image-damaging fashion faux pas.
  • ….I also remember the day I gave all of those jeans to Goodwill — which left me with an empty storage bucket.

What should I put in the bucket?
At the end of the cold season (perhaps February, here in California), I washed and folded all of my “winter” clothes, scarves, gloves, thermals) and put them in the bucket on the top shelf of the closet. My fervent prayer was that I would still fit those clothes when the weather turned cold again. I was shaky and filled with dread. What if I’d been foolish and impulsive by giving away my old layers of jeans? What would I wear when the weather turned cold again? What if I regained [cue dramatic music] ALL OF MY WEIGHT?

Well, soon enough, I had forgotten about that bucket, and focused my attention on new and wonderful summer things – Things like tank tops, spaghetti straps and cap sleeves! Things like flirty dresses and capri pants!

All was right with the world.

And then – the weather turned “chilly” in Southern California (which means we dipped below 70º). The “before” me would have been clapping for the joy at the thought of a respite from nuclear meltdowns (aka hot flashes). The new me (the “after”) was scrambling to find enough clothes to stay warm!

And then it hit me: Hey! I probably have a bunch of warm stuff in THE BUCKET ON THE TOP SHELF.

Gulp.

What would I find?
Would it fit?
Would I be too big for it?
Would I have to invest in new things?
What if I….?

“Hey! I remember that cute soft blue cable knit turtle neck!”
“Oh my gosh, I didn’t know I had two brick red sweaters!”
“Oooooooh, that muffler looks warm!”

Time to try this stuff on.

You know what? Everything fits. Some things are even a little roomier than I’d remembered. Which can only mean one thing: I have been THIN for an entire year.

Which brings me back to my original point….today was a really big day. The bucket on the top shelf of the closet became the new home for my summer things — which will DEFINITELY still fit next year, when the weather turns warm again, and I am itching to hang my skinny little arms out in the sun. Heck, I might have to donate those clothes simply because they are “out of style.”

And my jeans? I haven’t stored those in a whole year, either 😉 Why should I? They look FABULOUS and, oh yeah, they STILL FIT.

“Jeans” image copyright MarieClaire. No infringement intended.

 

October 24, 2009   No Comments

I Hate to Measure Peanut Butter

t occurred to me this morning (whilst measuring my organic, creamy, reduced fat peanut butter with flax seed nuts from Trader Joe’s) that…

I HATE TO MEASURE PEANUT BUTTER. 

It’s about as much fun as trying to get static-ridden cellophane off your hands after opening a package of Saltine crackers.

This realization was accompanied by a serious AH-HA! moment. You see….measuring peanut butter is a metaphor for my new Bariatric After Life™. The old me would have stopped measuring right then and there and begun eyeballing until 2 TBS became 1/4 cup! And then I would have stopped measuring and portioning even the easy things (like counting out 7 soy flax tortilla chips), and then I would have begun eating 2 servings of a 1 serving item. And then one day, the scale would have told me that I’d *mysteriously* gained 10 pounds, and I’d wonder *why*?

The old slippery slope.

Fortunately, the new me understands that measuring peanut butter is just one of the commitments I must honor if I’m going to live a healthy, happy life in a comfortable, slender body. It’s the price I must pay to wear cute clothes and be able to take sunset hikes with my hubby. It’s a SMALL compromise, in the face of things that really, truly matter, but I had to move the thought from my subconscious to my conscious mind in order to connect the dots.

Are you willing to measure your peanut butter for the rest of your life? What else have you learned you must do in order to be a life-long success? I’m curious to hear because maybe I haven’t thought of it yet, and it might be something that is lurking in my background, waiting to pounce when I least expect it!

Happy measuring!

July 24, 2009   No Comments