Monday, January 28, 2008

The One Career All Women Have in Common

Thank you, friends, for your responses to the last post. I am particularly intrigued that this community has such intimate, firsthand knowledge of the struggle I am going through with weight issues. I invite you to share with me what worked for you. I've read that several of you have been able to have significant transformations of your physical selves... I am interested in what finally "clicked" for you. Beloved is convinced until I have a dire physical issue, like diabetes or a heart attack, I won't "do anything." I think it is very hard for those who have never experienced this particular challenge to "get" what this feels like. I think Kate says it well: I too already feel weak, ashamed, embarrassed, horrified... just because I don't go about my daily life expressing these things does not mean they are not true for me. So, tell, me, you who have gone into scary realms with your weight, and returned to a place of health. What was your turning point?

My daughter and I saw Beloved last night; we had been trying to get her to see a favorite movie of ours for a long time, and we finally did it. I cooked a lovely, healthy stew of chicken, wild rice, carrots, onions and wine, and we ate it on big pillows on the floor of Beloved's apartment while we watched "All About Eve."

It is a movie after my own heart. The lead (not title) character, Margo Channing, is a brilliant actress facing the hard realities of aging in the public eye. She is partnered with a man who is crazy about her, but she is insecure about his love (incorrectly, as it turns out... he is solid). She frets over the "things she has let go on her climb up the ladder," and her neglect of the one career all women have in common: being a woman.

The film presents a world view most of us would consider pretty outdated: that a woman's ultimate worth lies in "looking up at 6 o'clock, and there he is." Well, that's not my world, in so many ways. But I relate to her insecurities. I mind this shield of invisibility I've put around myself... a relic, I think, of a time when I feared my sexuality more than anything, feared my ability to be faithful in marriage because I kept falling in love outside it (with women). Well, that doesn't need to be my fear. I am joyfully partnered. But the insecurity is there. The remnants of that antiquated world view still pop up in my thinking now and then.

We have a long way to go.


Mary Sue said...

I went back and read some of the other comments on your previous post. It was kind of interesting to me, because I weighed 300 lbs this time last year, and no one would have guessed it from looking at me. Well, they would have known I was a big girl from looking at me, but not THAT big.

I lost 30 lbs over 12 months last year. Still heading down in weight, but I only weigh myself once a year. Scales and that weight number have been used to shame me in the past, and like I read somewhere recently, if you could shame someone into being thin I'd be a size 0 right now.

Now, how did I lose that weight? It's real easy: I eat what I want, when I want to. I want a chocolate bar? I go eat one. However, as part of that, I've also broadened the spectrum of foods I eat. For example, last night I was standing in the kitchen staring into the fridge and the pantry, and I asked myself, "What do I want to eat?" And my brain said, "BROWN RICE AND LENTILS ARE YUMMY!" (my brain tends to shout a lot). So, I ate brown rice and lentils for a snack.

Slow progress? Yeah. But so what? There's a magic number I'm supposed to reach? There's a physical template issued by the fashion magazines I need to fit into? There's a deadline?

I feel good. And I look good, too. And I like food. I'm not ashamed to eat, I'm not ashamed of what I eat. I don't have an artificial list of foods that are 'forbidden'.

It takes a lot of the stress out of dinnertime, I tell you what.

Anonymous said...

A long time ago, I said to myself, "I may be fat, but dammitall, I may as well be healthy". And then I started eating a low-processed sugar, low starch diet, without restrictions on amounts. And in 2 to 3 years, I had lost about 65 # to achieve my set-point weight.

In this case, NOT being pushed was what I needed before acting.


Jan said...

Well, the only time I got THIN was when I was clinically depressed and dropped 50 lb. in less than a year, which was due to walking 6-12 miles a day and not eating much. Since then, I've gained more than that back, but at least am "happy."

I know I need more exercise. I need to lose weight, and it's hard. I've lost 10 lb. since Christmas, but still have 50 to go.

Anonymous said...

I'm not a lightweight either; I would love to have a slim boyish body, but instead I am decidedly Rubens. How fate loves a jest. :-(

Before I turned 40, I started running! (I call it running, runners would call it jogging). I trained for a half marathon. I have never been more fit than I was then. Yet I lost no more than 10 pounds (but you should have seen the muscles in my legs)

Life changes in the years since have interfered with my fitness plans (I am so slow a runner, I haven't the time for serious running any more). And then the inertia hits, and work becomes incredibly demanding, and it seems harder and harder to take time to exercise.

But BP and I are trying to get back into it. OUr experience from before is that we have to make our starting goals realistic. Sure, we'd like to spend an hour a day in the gym, in theory. Sure, we'd like to run 6 miles a day. Ain't gonna happen.

So, start with realistic goals. Can't take an hour every day? Find 20 minutes every other day for something. Can't run or go to a gym? A brisk walk will do. When we're apart, BP and I sometimes talk to each other on the cell phone while we are each walking in separate places.

We're trying to improve our diets. We try to avoid processed foods entirely, and eat vegetarian as much as possible.

My own particular scourge is that I eat too fast (too many years of living alone), which leads me to eat too much. I have to consciously work on that.

I think the main thing that all these posts have in common is that you have to do things that make YOU feel good about yourself and your body. I'm never going to have the body I want, because I have the one I have. Realistically, I'm not going to lose much weight, so my goal is to be fit. But my beloved partner loves me however I am, and she has taught me to like myself, however I look. So it's something I want to take care of better....for her.

That's me. YMMV.

Well, you asked. :-)


anita said...

What worked and is working for me Cecilia first involved going to Overeaters Anonymous (okay, so that kind of busts the A part but there you go). Getting into recovery was the only thing that ever has worked for me after years of dieting, eating, dieting, eating, losing, gaining, losing, gaining. OA helped me realize that being overweight and struggling with the food wasn't a failure or moral issue on my part, and then being in the rooms with people who understood and had been there, done that, were there, were doing that, was a circle of support that anchored me. And the 12 steps...awesome stuff.

In terms of what that means practically with my food, for the first couple years it meant three meals a day and nothing in between. Let's just say, those were BIG meals :)

How I eat now is about six small meals a day. I avoid all sugar, have way trimmed back the fat, and eat plenty of lean meat, veggies and fruit. When I snack it's popcorn or no sugar, non-fat fruit smoothies topped with no-calorie chocolate syrup (I make them so thick we might as well just call them ice cream). And exercise, I walk alot, I go to the gym sometimes, I just add a few steps here and there where I can.

What works for one person doesn't work for another but whatever you find that helps you get healthy I'm cheering you on in the adventure!

Kate said...

I use a very low-carb food plan -- followed it faithfully since January 22nd last year. And I've needed the 12 Steps to do that.