It’s all about the food.

I love to eat. Unfortunately for me, the things I love to eat are crap. I do not crave large plates of raw veggies. I want chips by the bag full. I want donuts by the dozen. I don’t have the attraction for bread that some folks struggle with but give me a gently toasted Asiago cheese bagel drowning in melted butter … mm hmm I’m a very happy girl.

I can also be stubborn. I have successfully lost weight simply by limiting my calories. Recently I came across a thin-spo meme that said something like a bad meal can destroy a good day at the gym. I scoffed because it’s what I do. I scoff. I argued with said meme. I lose weight without caring about the content of the food I eat. I do just fine. Then I got to thinking, Well, sure, I can do it that way but do I have to? Do I really need to be hungry all the time to maintain my weight?

So, I started paying attention to my food journal in conjunction with my weight log. I watched them side-by-side – not just the number of calories but the content of what I was eating. I desperately wanted that meme to be wrong. Food makes me happy. Healthy food does not. This is my weight graph:

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You can see at the beginning of July where I resumed working out every day. Rain or shine, pain or no pain. Forty-five minutes of aerobics every day. There is very little variety in what I eat on a daily basis, for breakfast and lunch. Though the content varies, dinner is nearly always home-cooked and of decent quality. The exception to that is take-out night once a week.

Given that information, I wanted to play with the base line a bit. I found that Chinese take out is an instant 2.5 pound weight gain over night. I expect that’s due to the horrific sodium levels because I did not eat a massive portion or any of the fried options on the menu. I switched to the scrumptious yumminess of bagels for breakfast for one week. They were fabulous and a very bad idea. Boy howdy, do they pack on the pounds. Quickly. A couple of days of being back on my daily Raisin Bran and *poof* I’m magically losing weight again.

This is a bummer. What this means for me is that I don’t get to eat fun foods with any regularity anymore. Even before this experimentation, I would experience what I call food stress, frequently. (I define food stress as the overwhelming desire to eat huge amounts of happiness-inducing, very-bad-for-you food. I’m an addict. Because food is my drug of choice, food stress makes me horribly bitchy.)

I’m trying to make peace with this whole “eating good food” thing by telling myself I won’t have to be hungry all the time. This is true. I’m making better choices. Better choices = larger portions = weight loss – near constant hunger. I should be happy about that. I should be, but I’m not. I can’t eat tasty foods anymore. I’m experiencing food stress nearly all the time. It pisses me off and that’s no fun at all.

Back in the saddle. Again.

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I hate my ass. There. I said it. It was a picture of my fat ass me riding a bike, taken by a friend who was riding behind, combined with my reentry into the lifestyle, that forced me to recognize the truth about my weight and act on it.

I lost more than 60 pounds over the course of a year and adapted as much of a healthy lifestyle as someone who despises vegetables and hates exercise possibly can. Then, 2015 happened. I had multiple, back-to-back health issues that prevented me from sticking to my workout schedule. I watched a few pounds creep back on.

This year, in January, one month after my renewed resolve to get back on the workout train, I exacerbated an injury and found myself in bed for three days, laying there crying. It was the first time I couldn’t get any relief from this particular ailment just by being still. It was horrific. I haven’t worked out since. I’m terrified. I can’t do that pain again.

Not long after I got back on my feet, my world exploded. The dust has cleared. The rubble mostly swept up, though watch out for those missed pieces because they will cut you when you least expect it. Reconstruction has not yet begun. I don’t believe the world will ever look the same as it was in the before. I am hopeful that maybe, maybe, the future won’t be as bleak as it first appeared, while still unable to assess the wreckage through the tears. A few more pounds were added to the scale.

Then, this past week, again, BOOM. Different people. Very similar themes. Again, I blame myself, because that’s what I do. This time, most of the blame truly is likely mine to own. It’s heavy. Crushing really. I feel like Atlas about to be demolished under the weight of it.

What does this have to do with my ass? Also this week, I reverted to old patterns. I could no longer resist the medicinal call of junk food. I did not buy my gateway drug: Donuts. I did buy the largest bag of potato chips I could find. And a breakfast danish thing. And a theater size box of Whoppers. I unpacked the groceries when I got home and realized I hadn’t bought any real food. I hadn’t given a thought to menu planning. I provided for the needs of the boy but it looked like the adults in the house were shit out of luck. Worse, I had not one fuck to give. If I’m being honest, I still don’t.

This morning, while catching up on my blog list, there was Drew, talking about his body image issues and the things he has found don’t work for him in his quest for fitness. I sighed and thought “Yep. Right there with ya buddy.”

So, I’m getting back on the horse. I’m pretty damn sure that my old and busted body won’t tolerate my preferred method of exercise but I can no longer use that as an excuse to do nothing. I will be doing something. Every day. It’s going to suck. I’m deeply unhappy. All I want to do is crawl into my bed, binge watch Supernatural, and eat myself into oblivion. There may be, hell, there will be, days that doing a few donkey kicks is all I can manage. I will never forgive myself if I undo all the hard work that got my body to this point. God knows I don’t need another reason to be unhappy with myself.

I’m doing this. Just as soon as I’ve eaten every last crumb of the crap I bought this week … which shouldn’t take long at all.

We

Have you ever been alone in a crowded room? Have you ever been alone in a relationship? Have you ever been alone while in bed with your spouse?

Until recently, in the historic perspective of my life, I was alone. I heard the word “we” often. We better get to work. We have to do something about his behavior. We need to pick up more detergent.

In all of these cases, and many more, the We really meant you – You better get to work because the team is going to miss the due date and it’ll be blamed on you. You have to come up with and implement a strategy that will get the little man back on track. You need to remember to pick up detergent at the market.

Then my Boy came into my life. He has said we from the very beginning. I’m sure of it, though I did not hear it until very recently. He and I were talking about one of my persistently fluctuating health issues. He said, and I will never forget this, which is saying something if you know anything about my memory, he said “We still don’t know what it is.”

He meant that we. He meant it as it is defined in the OED. He meant the two of us. He meant we will do this together, no matter what it takes. He meant I am by your side. He meant we are partners, facing whatever life brings.

I still hear the echos of that we. The we that was so very different from any we before. I hear it when I lay in the dark. I hear it when I obsess about all the things in life that are beyond my control. I heard it today when the little man asked how I was and I told him honestly. He replied “Maybe you should go to the doctor.” I thought, There’s that you, again. Then I heard we and was reminded of all the promise held by those two letters.

Fitness Journal: Day 30

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Prompt: New weight/measurements! How do you feel? Are you going to continue to get healthier? What are you plans for next month?

Well, my weight is right back where it was some 30 days ago, thanks to the holidays. I did not gorge or eat a bunch of foods I should not have been eating (except for Christmas breakfast). Because everyone was home for two weeks, I ate more frequently and larger meals than I would have if home alone.

While I’m disappointed, I’m not crushed. I made the choice to begin this, prior to the holiday season, knowing it could backfire. Yes, I gained back a couple of pounds (and that really is all we’re talking about here) but I also got back into the habit of exercising every day. I missed only two days the entire time, and one of them was Christmas day, so there is that.

I will continue to do my thing, in the way I’m doing it. It’s proven to work, when I stick with it. Additionally, I’m physically well enough to resume waist training. I have my new trainer in hand and have begun seasoning it.

My final goal is 20″, which for me will be a 7″ reduction. I know this is attainable. When I had to stop for medical reasons, unrelated to training, I was already 22″. Now, I’m … well … let’s just say I’m not at 22″ anymore. I have to gain back that ground and gain those two additional inches. I know that once I’m at 22″, it’s going to take a very long time to get the last two. I’m okay with that, as long as I do get them eventually.

Fitness Journal: Day 29

Prompt: What is your definition of beauty?

(For ease of posting, I’ll stick with beautiful people, as opposed to beauty in nature or the world in general. I think that’s what’s meant by the prompt.)

My definition of beauty has nothing to do with physicality. A person who is morbidly obese, and hideous according to societal standards, can be beautiful beyond measure, based on actions. Someone whose appearance  is flat-out stunning to society, can be revoltingly ugly.

I had a conversation with a couple recently. They’ve had a very difficult year. Their daughter was extremely ill with the kind of thing not easily diagnosed. Though she is home now, the illness will require management for the rest of her life.

A couple of months ago, we happened to be in the same building. Though I don’t know them well, I wanted to check in with them. Make sure they were okay. We sat and talked casually, for an hour or so. A week later, the female half of the couple tells me she has been wanting to send me a thank you note for reaching out. She tells me I’m a beautiful person. This remains one of the best compliments I’ve ever received.

I wanted to ask what on earth I said/did that prompted her comment. I really would like to know. I sit and had a conversation. I did less talking than listening. I gave them an hour of my time. That’s it. Nothing special.

I went through what I could remember of the conversation with a fine-toothed comb, trying to figure it out. Granted, my memory sucks, but I uncovered nothing of note. I did not offer sage words of advice. I just listened. Is kindness really that rare, that remarkable?

I define beauty on conduct and conduct alone. Does a person practice kindness? Do they reach out to others with support or gratitude or empathy? Do they seek to embrace new knowledge and points of view? Are they open and honest, without using honesty as an excuse to be hurtful? (God, that dress is hideous? … What? I’m just being honest!) Do they live with an open mind? Do they refrain from gossip? Do they love freely and with abandon?

These are the things that make someone beautiful. It is what’s on the inside that creates beauty.