Tuesday, September 18, 2012

12 Things I've Learned So Far

I've been on a diet since March 20, 2012.  I have eaten what I like, but less of it.  Some days it has been extremely difficult & other days, it's fine.  The reality is not only do I like to eat, you must eat to live.  Eating isn't like smoking... you can't just quit, so learning how to manage what I eat is my best hope for a non-obese life.

While on this dieting journey to my perfect size, I have realized a lot of things about food, diets & all the "advice" I've read about dieting... and most importantly why dieting didn't work for me in the past.  So below are the first dozen things I learned thus far...

#1- Not only do I like to eat, I HATE - got it???? H A T E to exercise!  Really, I do hate it!  And by exercise I mean "going to the gym", "running", "jazzercise"; "walking 60 minutes a day", "walking on the treadmill"; "sit ups"; "push ups" or any other thing that I was forced to do in gym class so many years ago. 

#2 - "Exercise" actually means "movement" - any kind of movement... So while I don't walk every day, I do try to go "play in the dirt" at least weekly.  Pulling weeds, transplanting flowers and shrubs, carrying bags of mulch & soil around the yard is movement, therefore counts as "exercise".  And, cleaning the bathroom, mopping the floor, vacuuming, washing windows, even cooking & going grocery shopping are considered exercise.  When I log all my activities into a tracking tool & see how many calories I burned, I feel like I've accomplished something.  It's motivating!

#3 - From a purely volume perspective, I really didn't eat all that much - but from a calorie perspective - well, it's no wonder I got so big! 

#4 - In order for the scale to move in the right direction, I MUST limit my salt intake and I MUST drink water.  The least little bit of salt winds up pushing the scale up 1 or 2 pounds in a day!  And while I know it is "water weight", if I'm honest with myself, it is still discouraging to see the scale creep up even a pound...  So--- I am trying to remove it from my diet & it isn't easy.

#5 - I must weigh myself daily - at the same time & on the same scale & the scale must be in the same exact spot on the floor.  I do this to focus on weight change - and deviating from any of these can cause the weight change to not measure accurately!  I find it so odd that if I move my scale to the left or right, that my weight will change - within seconds - so there is something to this theory - for me at least.  I'm a science focused person, so I do need to see changes in the scale and be able to correlate them to my food intake--- No once a week weigh in for me - been there, done that & failed. 

#6 - I do like vegetables.  And while I prefer pasta, potatoes and rice (in that order), I really can do without a ton of it if I have good veggies on the plate as well.  I toss them in olive oil, add some seasonings & roast them to bring out the sweetness or the intense savory flavor.  Meat - well, I can take it or leave it... 

#7- I eat candy when I want to eat candy - like today after a particularly hard day at work, I went to the store and got 1 Snickers bar.  The key is that I can't buy the pack with lots of little candy inside because if it here, I will eat it!  Same goes for muffins - so I will only be making these on Saturday when I know I will be taking them to church to share on Sunday!

#8 - While I am much bigger than I want to be -( I've got between 40 & 50) more pounds to go, I feel great that I have actually lost 30 pounds!  I don't look like I want, but my good curves are beginning to show again and that is a good motivator to choose my foods wisely.

#9 - Kitty was right.  After 12 weeks on the diet it got considerably easier to stick with it.  I've been on for almost 6 months & with the exception of when I am baking, I dono't really feel deprived. 

#10 - 10 pounds lost does not correlate to 1 pants size!  That's nuts.  I have lost 30 pounds and I have only went down a little over 1 pants size!  I have lost plenty of inches off my waist, but my hips, thighs and butt are moving at a much slower pace.  So while plenty of people say "throw the scale out & watch your clothes"... that would never work for me!  I don't loose weight in a specific spot... I loose weight all over.  so while 20 pounds lost did show up in my face and my hands (my ring started slipping off), it didn't show up that much on the lower half of my body.  Without the daily scale, I would have never been able to stick with this process so long.  I need my scale!  I'm even thinking about taking it on the cruise with me in 8 weeks!

#11 - To be successful, I have to be fanatically strict about my food when I am traveling!  Eating in airports is rarely good for me.  Too much salt and sugar... just too much of everything!  I have to make sure I eat before meetings (so I can avoid the muffins, bagels & croissants they always put out around 9:30 or so).  And I have to drink water!  For some reason when I eat junk while I'm traveling it seems to send the scale up faster than when I am home... Odd, but I've found it to be true (for me at least).

#12 - So going back to the beginning... after 6 months, I still hate exercise & won't be doing any "standard" exercises any time soon ( or ever!).  I have, started living like I did pre beseness (that might not be a word -lol)... I did not get in the car to go to a store that was a 1/2 mile away.  I did not sit for 9-10 hours a day without taking time to eat lunch - even if lunch was only a slice of pizza!;  I did not eat pasta every chance I got.  I did however, eat popcorn at the movies, I ate something every morning & I ate lunch every day.  Dinner was often skipped because I truly wasn't hungry.  I enjoyed the outside & enjoyed the neighborhood.  I went dancing, I tried new things.  In essence, I moved more.  And since I have now hit the inevitable plateau,  my plan is to move more!     

Sunday, September 16, 2012

What I saw when he picked up a puppy...

I watched him as he tenderly picked up one of the puppies and stroked its' soft coat.  I listened as he spoke ever so softly.  And I looked at the expression on his face.  The expression was one of  kindness, one of adoration, one of compassion, one of selflessness.

At that very moment I remembered why I love him so.  

These are not the qualities that I see in the busyness of every day life - but they are the ones that are there inside him.  Sometimes they have to crack the shell to get out - but they are there...  These are the qualities of love - - - the ones that I remember whenever I am anxious about getting married again.   The ones that bring me peace... and joy. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

September 11

September 11, 2001.  A day I will never forget, nor understand.

I was sitting in my office in Westerville, OH going about my day.  All of a sudden a woman walked hurriedly by saying something about "we've been attacked".  I didn't know what she was talking about.  I went into one of the rooms with a TV and looked up & saw a plane flying into the World Trade Center.  My first thought was "Oh my God, that poor pilot"  because surely the pilot must have had a heart attack & went off course & the plane ACCIDENTALLY flew into the tower.  I assumed it was a small plane - not a jumbo jet.  I worried about the pilot, the [probably few] people on the plane and certainly for the people in the office building.  Undoubtedly some people were hurt - if not killed.  "Lord Have Mercy" , I thought.

But then, another plane went into the building & I realized that "we" were being attacked.  Now I am simply mad!  Who the hell would fly a plane into the WTC?  What the hell is wrong with people?  Are human beings just getting more ignorant and cruel by the second?  Grrrrr!  Whatever idiots were flying those planes surely didn't have a beef with all the people inside the buildings or the city that I love so much!  How dare they destroy so many lives in the blink of an eye!  I don't give a crap what happened to them that upset them!  How dare they????!!!!  Idiots!!!

Then I saw the towers begin to crumble, people screaming and running in terror.  I saw the firefighters and police officers doing their jobs & knew that each of them were in harms way. 

And I thought of Sammy--the man who I married & bore 3 sons with.  The marriage that years later collapsed and shattered my heart into a million pieces - leaving me hurt and angry at him, his family & the whole messed up situation.  At that moment - at the moment I saw the towers begin to crumble, I worried about that man.  He was a NYC police officer.  He could be down there in that mess, that rubble.  My children had already lost him once through our less than amicable divorce... my God, were they going to loose him to death?  Death at the hands of idiots, no less!  Everything in me now turned from anger for the idiots flying the planes & compassion for the people who had died... to terror

Terror not borne of fear for my life, but terror that came from the possibility that my children may loose their father!  "Dear Lord", I prayed, "PLEASE TAKE CARE OF SAMMY!"  Tears welled up in my eyes as I thought about the possibility that my boys would have to endure any more pain.  Hadn't their lives been difficult enough by the divorce, by me moving, getting sick, being poor, etc., etc., etc.  "Please God" I continued to pray, "please don't do this to my boys".  And so I tried to call him but the lines were down.  I called every relative and friend I had in the NYC area (which were all my relatives!).  Couldn't get through. 

So I went home.  To be with my boys.  To pray and pray and pray!  To ask the Blessed Mother to pray for Sammy's safety.  To ask the Holy Spirit to guide Sammy's footsteps.  To ask St. Michael to protect him from death.  To ask God to spare my children this pain. 

We sat around the TV watching the horror show over and over--- it was painful, but we could not look away.  I recalled the bombing at the WTC years earlier & the smugness I'd felt in 1993 ("of course 'they' can't take down the WTC with a bomb!  Idiots! ")  I didn't feel very smug now... quite the contrary... vulnerable!

Two days past before we would hear from our family.  No immediate family members were lost - but we all seemed to know someone who either worked in the towers, or was a fire fighter, police officer or paramedic who was hurt or killed.  No one had talked to Sammy... not even Stacey.  And as I realized that Sammy may indeed be hurt, the pain and anger of the divorce subsided and I was recalling only good memories of this man who I had once loved.  I was remembering all his good qualities... all those reasons why I had said "I do" so many years earlier.  My pain from the past dissolved.  Unconsciously, I let the past go. 

My heart grew heavy - even as I assured my boys "don't worry, your dad is fine!  He is just busy & can't get to a phone.  He is helping people."  They didn't believe me and with every hours' passing I was beginning to not believe me.  

And just as all hope was beginning to slip away, he called!  Alive, safe, unharmed.... he had been in Staten Island when this all occurred - in the station house --- the "1 - 2 - 0" as the cops called it - doing paperwork!   Thank You God!

Relief swept my entire being.  The boys relaxed.  I said a prayer of thanksgiving; and then went back to praying for the dead - for the innocent and the "guilty".  I turned the horror show off & rather than dwelling on "those horrible people", I began to dwell on all the children who would be without their parent.  And I prayed for them. 

I still pray for them today & for all children who have lost a parent. 

I have come to realize that while I have not given my children the idyllic life that I dreamed of giving them, they are still fortunate because regardless of anything else, they have always had their parents - parents who love them with every breath we breathe.

Today I continue to pray for the children who lost their parent to this senseless violence.  I continue to thank God for sparing Sammy the wrath of death.  And I thank God for allowing me to let go of the pain of the past.

I will never understand why any of this occurred - but I continue to believe that God has a plan--- for the living and dead.  He is the writer who does not need backspace, delete or spell check. 

HE'S got this...