Feeling Happy and Productive

Me at Christmas 1962Yesterday I threw out years worth of WW weekly program booklets.  They’ve been collecting in a little basket since I joined in 2002 and I realized that I never went back to actually look at them.  While there is valuable info in the material, it’s not valuable if I don’t look at it.  Now it’s inside a dumpster and I have an empty little basket to use for other gizmos.

I haven’t been recording my food, eating many fruits or veggies, or carefully counting anything.  But I managed to lose a few pounds as of the day after Thanksgiving, which tells me that I’m doing something right.  I guess what I’m doing is a loose version of intuitive eating.  Having counted points diligently for years and being a reader of food labels, I have a pretty accurate idea of what options I am choosing. What I want is food that tastes good and is satisfying, even if it has more fat or whatevers in it.  I can eat some and be satisfied instead of feeling that I have to eat bunches of something with less taste.  Even if it’s “better for me” in the defined portion, I’d rather eat a portion of something that tastes better and then find I can stop.

It’s a change, I admit.  And I’m already anticipating with some dread the looks I’m going to get from people as I eat stuff that “fat people shouldn’t eat”.  But if this method keeps me from snacking all afternoon, or eating big ice cream servings in the evening, then so be it.  It’s obviously working.

This has been a very quiet low-key holiday, really more of a 4-day weekend.  Not spending the whole time at a family event that has a giant meal as the centerpiece of activity, and not having to worry about travel delays or whether the cat threw up on the carpet to pay me back for being gone, meant that I’ve had a restful time.

It’s been productive, too — I cleaned up (tidied, not deep cleaning) in advance of my friends’ visit on Friday.  Yesterday I roasted a chicken in the crockpot, made sweet potato/apple casserole, and a batch of chocolate chip cookies from one of those little plastic tubs in the grocery store.  I’ve had a few of them but mostly they’re in their plastic box to go along with lunches this week.  I also did a website conversion for a professional group.  The old one was done in FrontPage, which I don’t have, don’t like, and don’t plan to get, so everything had to be downloaded and converted to a different style.  Nothing exotic but it’s working.

Today I spent some time uploading and annotating Powerpoint slides to Flickr, to be viewed as a slideshow that can be an embedded link in a blog or web post.  Also because we’re doing a presentation on this exact thing, sometime this week I’m afraid (exactly day/time are a mystery), I needed to get it done.  I also played around with my iTunes and made a bunch of playlists.  When I uploaded my music to the new computer, the music stayed but the playlists did a disappearing act.  Oh well, a fresh start is a good idea.

The kitty is curled up in a little ball in the middle of the blanket on my bed.  Dishes are washed, clothes are clean and folded, and I’m warm inside while cold rain falls outside.  I’m glad to be home.

Reconnecting with Friends

While many of you were running around traveling or hosting family, I’ve been connecting with friends.  I spent Thanksgiving afternoon with a friend and work colleague I’ve known for over 20 years, who opened her home and her family to include me.  Today I caught up with another dear friend who lives in VT and was down in Connecticut visiting family for the holiday.  They’re splitting the visit between two sets of family and stopped here for a long lunch visit.

It’s been at least two years since we’ve seen each other and we just picked up where we left off.  Really, it’s remarkable how easy it is these days to stay connected using email and Facebook for contact, but there’s nothing like giving each other big hugs and having eye contact while talking and talking.  We went to a local Irish pub for lunch – a place I’ve driven past every day but never actually tried before.  Food was great and we had a nice relaxing time.

We are born into families, marry into other families, and build families of our own from our circle of friends. Sometimes those different groups overlap and other times, for other people, they are separate entities.  My family of friends means the world to me.  They are people I’ve forged a history with through the years and through shared experiences and adventures.  Reconnecting with them matters as much as reconnecting with my family of origin.

Cold and Blessed

Shivering in the coldIt’s hard to type with a bandaid on my thumb. Why do I have one?  Because my cold-induced frozen brain didn’t remember that knives have a sharp side and that I shouldn’t grab the pointy parts when doing dishes.   Oops.

Last weekend I was wearing sandals and a light jacket when I went about my Saturday errands.  Yesterday I had on the puffy coat, scarf, fleece hat, and insulated gloves.  Warm weather is gone until late spring and the kitty and I are having problems adjusting.  She wants me to have the door open so she can pretend she is outside freezing.  I want to close everything and crank up the heat.  I have the opposable thumbs (even if one is in a bandaid) so I’m winning this one.

I went out in the cold yesterday to run some errands, including a stop at Avenue to return something purchased online that I didn’t like in person (yayy for saving money and not keeping it just because it was already there).  At TJ Maxx/Home Goods, the store was full of people who were doing more looking than buying; clothes were the most popular thing found in carts, not the aisles of fancy schmancy Christmas decorations.

The grocery store was a nut-house with people shopping like crazy for Thanksgiving dinner and extended entertaining.  I managed to stick to my list except for lima beans which were inexplicably missing from the frozen food section.  Why would a store sell out of LIMA BEANS?  I only use them for one recipe and would never want a little serving of just limas.  Oh well, I’m substituting edamame in today’s Brunswick Stew recipe instead, because it was already in the freezer.  Plus it will add some additional protein.

The local fire department was outside the grocery, soliciting donations for the food bank.  Much as I want to donate food to the pantry, I’ve had a hard time finding actual physical locations to take stuff so this was perfect.  In addition to my own stuff, I added in pasta and meat sauce, a big can of ravioli, a bunch of jars of baby food, and canned fruit, which I added to their boxes as I left the store.  Plus $20 to help buy turkeys for families.

I have so much, am so blessed with a home, food, and money to buy what I need.  Watching stories of the newly homeless, the folks without medical care or making choices between food and electricity, food banks with empty shelves, and so much more, has made me feel helpless and sad.  But I’ve decided that I can do something with the money I have — it’s not a cop out to donate to organizations that actively help people.  The Food Pantry and the Salvation Army are two that I’m choosing to support this winter, not just once, but often.  Since we’re scaling back Christmas shopping, I’m going to just channel the “extra” money into donations.   It feels good to know that I can help.

Food Police, Give Me a Break

Police signMany of Us know all too well the long-term problems we’ve had dealing with our weight and food issues.  We don’t deal with those in isolation:  we have families, friends, work colleagues, doctors, WW leaders, casual acquaintenances, and strangers on the street who all feel it’s their right and responsibility to show us the error of our ways.  Sometimes it’s done with love; other times with harsh words of judgment and failure to live up to expectations – often of things we set for ourselves.  The same comments mean different things depending on whether we’re in the zone of sticking to food plans and eating “good” food.

My experience has really only been as the fat person being criticized, er, supported by the healthy perfect person reminding me that chocolate is bad, that my portions are too big, that I didn’t have enough fruits or vegetables, that eggnog is full of fat, that candy canes are pure sugar, that I should drink water instead of soda, that a cookie will destroy my food balance for the rest of my life.  Okay, they don’t say that part, and usually the statements are made one at a time.

But honestly, do the people saying things to the fatties not realize that we’re not stupid and that we already know that stuff?  We’ve heard it most of our lives and it’s as though we put hands over our ears and sing “la la la la la la” while they say the same thing over and over. It’s not that they’re wrong.  It’s that it’s a judgment and a reminder that once again we have failed.

Which, in my case, usually means I reach for another cookie, tho I’m trying not to.

I do understand that people who are in a healthier place than I am do not want to enable me or those like me to continue eating to our destruction.  I get it, really I do.  At some point, though, your words to prevent enabling simply become thorns in the side or ignored completely.  The epiphany to change happens inside and rarely in response to a same-old same-old “you screwed up again” comment.

I love you heartsSo if I may make a suggestion going into the holidays — try just loving the person as they are right now, warts and all.  Just for a little while.  Without constant criticism or judgment, without reminders of failure, without suggestions that now would be a good time to go on a diet.  Have healthy options available, from small yummy clementines to lean proteins and fresh veggies.  Note that low-fat ice cream is a healthier option than the full-fat kind.

But also remember that, for most people, a Christmas cookie or two won’t kill us.  And often being able to eat something tasty in public, without evil eyes being cast, means there’s less of a craving to sneak into the kitchen when everyone is occupied to stuff the face with half the cookie jar just to prove that we can eat what we want.

Of course we could overdo things.  Trust us, we’ll know it when we do.  Love us anyway – and tell us so.

Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?

Baby Chick(these aren’t original but are too funny not to share)

BARACK OBAMA: The chicken crossed the road because it was time for a change! The chicken wanted change!

JOHN MCCAIN: My friends that chicken crossed the road because he recognized the need to engage in cooperation and dialogue with all the chickens on the other side of the road.

SARAH PALIN: You betcha he crossed the road, but let’s not talk about that, let’s talk about energy policy, and how gosh darn hard it is for a middle-class hockey mom to manage the budget of the only state in America with a massive surplus, especially while surrounded by countless Russian and Canadian chickens we have to keep an eye on.

HILLARY CLINTON: When I was First Lady, I personally helped that little chicken to cross the road. This experience makes me uniquely qualified to ensure – right from Day One – that every chicken in this country gets the chance it deserves to cross the road. But then, this really isn’t about me.

GEORGE W. BUSH: We don’t really care why the chicken crossed the road. We just want to know if the chicken is on our side of the road, or not. The chicken is either against us, or for us. There is no middle ground here.

DICK CHENEY: Where’s my gun?

COLIN POWELL: Now to the left of the screen, you can clearly see the satellite image of the chicken crossing the road.

BILL CLINTON: I did not cross the road with that chicken. Wait. What is your definition of crossing?

AL GORE: I invented the chicken.

JOHN KERRY: Although I voted to let the chicken cross the road, I am now against it! It was the wrong road to cross, and I was misled about the chicken’s intentions. I am not for it now, and will remain against it.

AL SHARPTON: Why are all the chickens white? We need some black chickens.

OPRAH: Well, I understand that the chicken is having problems, which is why he wants to cross this road so bad.  So instead of having the chicken learn from his mistakes and take falls, which is a part of life, I’m going to give this chicken a car so that he can just drive across the road and not live his life like the rest of
the chickens.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN: We have reason to believe there is a chicken, but we have not yet been allowed to have access to the other side of the road.

NANCY GRACE: That chicken crossed the road because he’s guilty! You can see it in his eyes and the way he walks.

PAT BUCHANAN: To steal the job of a decent, hardworking American.

DR SEUSS: Did the chicken cross the road? Did he cross it with a toad? Yes, the chicken crossed the road, but why it crossed I’ve not been told.

ERNEST HEMINGWAY: To die in the rain… alone.

JERRY FALWELL: Because the chicken was gay! Can’t you people see the plain truth? That’s why they call it the ‘other side.’ Yes, my friends, that chicken is gay.  And if you eat that chicken, you will become gay, too. I say we boycott all chickens until we sort out this abomination that the liberal media whitewashes with seemingly harmless phrases like ‘the other side.’ That chicken should not be crossing the road. It’s as plain and as simple as that.

GRANDPA: In my day, we didn’t ask why the chicken crossed the road. Somebody told us the chicken crossed the road, and that was good enough.

COLONEL SANDERS: Did I miss one?