BulgingButtons

Not bad for a fat girl


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What a Check Up

It’s been a long time since I actually looked forward to going to the doctor to discuss my lab work, but today that changed. You see I’ve been working on improving my nutrition and increasing my activity level, and it’s paying off.

The whole reason I started this blog way back when was to hold myself accountable for improving my health, but it didn’t really pan out that way. Over the years I’ve had ups and downs, and ups again when it came to the numbers on my bathroom scale. I’ve always known that I need to lose weight, mostly for my health, but also for my looks and my state of mind. I don’t want to be lugging around a body that struggles to do the simplest tasks. I want good health, energy, and a cute wardrobe that I feel good wearing. I’m on my way to achieving all three of those goals.

You see, a few months back I started noticing a few new issues with my body, issues that concerned me. I started to imagine a quick decline leading to all sorts of unpleasant consequences, and for what? Pizza? Chocolate? Cheeseburgers?

I know, I’ve been down this health kick path before, but for some reason I’ve been able to keep on keeping on for almost six months, with the most noticeable result that I’ve lost nearly 50 pounds. Yes, I’ve lost weight before, and it felt good, but it didn’t last. I’ve been thinking about that a lot recently.

In the back of my mind I’m a little nervous that soon I’ll hit a point where the subconscious voice in my head says, “Ok hotshot, you’ve gone far enough, now it’s time to stop this nonsense and scarf down some donuts with a milkshake chaser.” Do I want that? No. But I am a little worried that old patterns will manage to reestablish themselves. HOWEVER… I have some tools this time around that I didn’t have previously.

First, I have the extreme motivation of being truly concerned for my own well-being. Hip pain, nerve damage, pain in my feet, and an increased risk of developing any number of illnesses is a pretty strong driving force. The little phrase, “Is it worth it?” has been doing an excellent job of helping me keep any cravings I might have in check.

Speaking of cravings, I haven’t really had too much of an issue with them. I’m eating wholesome food, and I’m rarely hungry. When I do crave something, I can usually find a snack that doesn’t damage my efforts. Applesauce, carrots with hummus, and grapes are a few favorites. I also enjoy a cup of coffee with flavored creamer. Yes, it’s a little splurge, but I’m striving for improvement and balance, not instant results and perfection. Learning what works for me and how to fuel my body without depriving myself has been a game changer.

In the past I’ve done Weight Watchers (a few times) and Jenny Craig. I’ve tried the Pritikin Plan and given the South Beach Diet a go. I even briefly attempted to “eat right for my blood type.” The issues I had with all of these approaches are A) I never really completely bought into any of them (they all seem too lockstep and sort of cult-like to me), and B) I was always thinking about food. Seriously. Always. What could I eat? When could I eat? How much could I eat? It was constant, and the more time I spent thinking about food, the more I wanted to chuck whatever plan I was attempting and just EAT, which made losing weight an extremely frustrating exercise in self deprivation and self pity (poor me, I’ve been working so hard so I deserve this ice cream), leading to self sabotage.

For the first time I can remember, I’m enjoying eating healthy foods, and I’m not constantly thinking about my next meal. I eat real food, but I track it all. I don’t count calories, but my little app does, and it provides me with a visual snapshot of where I am with my daily intake. Again, I don’t obsess over it. I do get on the scale every morning, which is new for me. I’m okay with it wiggling up and down a little, because I can see that the overall trend is downward, even if there are a few days when my weight increases. Of course the graph tracking my daily weigh-ins is motivating too.

Besides losing weight some of my non-scale victories include:

  • smaller (and cuter) clothes
  • no extender on the airplane (seriously, this is a huge victory)
  • excellent lab results and a happy doctor (whom I really like and respect)
  • increased energy
  • a mom who is delighted that I’m taking control of my health
  • a son who has also decided to make healthier food and movement choices
  • a more positive outlook on my health and future

I can’t guarantee this change is permanent, but I hope it is. I know several people who have made significant improvements to their health that have stuck, and many of them have been my age or older. I know it can be done, and I’m confident that I can get through the upcoming eating season without too much damage. Every day is a new opportunity to begin again, so slip ups aren’t forever. I’m just going to keep at it one day at a time.


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What Do You Say At a Time Like This?

I’ve felt tongue-tied recently. At least online. I want to write, but I’m not exactly sure what to write about. Naturally there are the BIG things. Things like justice, equity, access to healthcare, governmental responsibility, constituent responsibility, the role of media, the role of the courts, the issue of personal responsibility, the issue of public health.

I’ve stayed away from the BIG topics because I feel like a blog isn’t the right place for me to share my thoughts about them. It’s too one-sided. There are my words, then your interpretation of what I mean, then maybe a comment from you and a reply from me and that’s about it. There’s so much room for ambiguity and misunderstanding. There’s so much margin for error. I prefer to discuss these topics in a more two-sided way, with give and take from both parties. We don’t learn from one another by making proclamations, then closing our eyes, ears, and hearts.

So if not the BIG things, then what? There are plenty of things rattling around in my brain, but they seem so trivial at a time like this. In light of the pandemic raging and the U.S. Capitol being overrun, does anyone really want to read about my seemingly never-ending quest for just the right hand cream? Maybe. After all, I’m not the only one washing my hands excessively this winter.

Or maybe you want to hear about my brownie fail? I’ve made this recipe dozens of times, if not more. These brownies are the best. They ALWAYS turn out. Except the other day they didn’t. The closest I can figure is that I either set the oven for the wrong temperature (maybe 325 instead of 375?) or I set the timer for the wrong amount of time (13 minutes instead of 23?). I was distracted. I had more important things on my mind (more about that in a minute), and I rushed. Sure, they looked a little strange when I pulled them out of the oven, but they weren’t jiggly or anything. And no, I didn’t test them, because why would I? After all, I’ve made them dozens of times, if not more, and I was distracted. They’re still pretty tasty, but they are definitely underdone. Like, way underdone. They hold together, but really, they’re not exactly cooked. Oops.

And why was I distracted? Well, because if was just about kickoff time, and my football team is in the playoffs. Yes, the Buffalo Bills are showing up and it’s glorious. This football season has been a welcome distraction from the BIG things. The team has done so well, and they’ve been so much fun to watch. It’s been a long time since the Bills have gone this far, and it’s a ton of fun. Thank you, Buffalo Bills.

Then there are a bunch of “other” things. Things like the stolen credit card number (that my credit card company caught, thank goodness), the glitchy connection to my online students, and the thousands of spam messages to this blog. There’s the job hunt my son has been enduring, and not seeing much of him due to this stupid pandemic. There’s the mountain of work I need to do in order to complete the requirements to be considered for National Board Certification (for teachers), as well as the professional observation I need to schedule. There’s the concern about going out into the community that has kept me from the dentist and the hair salon, making me feel somewhat like a cave-woman. There’s the worry that I feel for my friends and loved ones, as the list of people I know who’ve been diagnosed with this horrible disease grows. There’s the anxiety of watching the news, but the feeling that I have to keep informed. There’s the wrath that my colleagues and I face from some members of the public, in our community and beyond, because our schools are functioning in an online only capacity for the time being. There’s a lot. And here we are, right back to the BIG things. They’re impossible to ignore.

It seems to me that it’s the big things that frame our lives, but it’s the small things that make them worth living. I’ll set up my observation, and continue the quest for the perfect hand cream. I’ll keep working my way through my National Board materials. I’ll keep looking for work-arounds when our Google meet goes wonky. I won’t give up on that brownie recipe, and I won’t give up on my football team. In the middle of all this crazy, you can still hear me shouting, “Go Bills!”


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Dining Out With Relatives

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I have some relatives in town. I’m so glad they’re here. I haven’t seen them in several months, and I’ve missed them. They aren’t staying with us so we’ve gotten together a few times, and we’ve gone out to eat. It’s been an adventure.

M: So, where should we go?

me: You know the area well, and what you can and can’t eat, so how about if you pick.

M: (to other relative, P) Where do you want to go?

P: It’s up to you, M.

M: Ok, we’ll go to X.

P: Oh, I don’t like that place, let’s go somewhere else.

(this goes on for a while until M and P agree on a place)

now we’re seated…

water is being poured into glasses

M: STOP! I need my water without ice.

startled water pourer: of course, I’ll be right back

M: Can we get some rolls?

M: With butter? (M does not eat butter)

P: You don’t need that. It’s just carbs.

me, in my brain (I like rolls, and butter, and no, I don’t need it either but I know this is going to take a while, so…)

M: Oh, did you see they have x? I wonder what comes on it?

P: I’m not that hungry.

server: Here are your rolls with butter. Do you have any questions?

me, in my brain (thank goodness the rolls are here, this may take a while)

P: I see you have 10 spiced fish, what are the 10 spices?

server: I’m not sure of all of them, but I can check. I know it has some a, b, and c in it. Do you want me to go check?

P: No, that’s okay. What’s in the soup? Is there bacon?

server: I’m not sure, I can check.

M: What about this fish dish? Are there bones in the fish? Is it spicy? Can I get a baked potato on the side? How much will it cost?

server: No bones, not spicy. Yes on the potato, I have to check on the price. Shall I check on the soup?

P: yes, please

more perusal of menu, more options discussed, starting to wonder what happened to server

server: Yes, there’s a little bit of bacon in the soup, and the baked potato costs X.

P: Oh.

M: asks a few more questions about fish and potatoes and butter and spices and dressing on the side

P: asks a few more questions about ingredients

server: (answers questions patiently) Shall I come back?

P: Yes.

time ticks away, server helps other diners, M is wondering why server is taking so long to come back

server: Are you ready to order?

M: I’ll have the abc, cooked well done but not burned, with the xyz on the side and instead of the c I’d like q, but not too much of it. And no butter.

me: I’ll have the number 3

P: I’ll have the lmnop salad with extra m and no o or p, but a little bit of z added. On the side.

server: very good

time ticks on and the order is prepared

food arrives

Someone makes a face at their meal.

M: well, this isn’t what I expected, but what can you do? I suppose it will be okay if I scrape off the q and add a little butter.

me, in my brain (I hope nobody spat in our food)