Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Standing on the Corner of What Now? and Why Stop?

Here’s how I see it: I put my life out here on this blog and talk openly about issues with control and weight and past bad habits all that. So making a comment about weight loss is fair game. I appreciate honestly, even if it is not what I want to hear!

A couple things have happened recently that has made me think more about the whole weight issue. First, Nicole hugged me and said she could feels bones in my back. I also noticed that lately my collarbone seems more pronounced, my skin just sort of sucks around it instead of encasing it and cushioning it and hiding its knobby-ness. And finally, and this was recent, I made Nicole retake a picture of me and Madeline because my neck and chest area looked bony, as it does when you are talking or clenching your neck and face muscles like you do sometimes when you laugh or speak. But the second picture produced similar bony, Skeletor results.

My body responds very well (and usually very quickly) to exercise. It always has, and it is a trait that runs in our family, on both sides. I come from a line of strong, muscle-y capable ox I mean people. We are the people you call to help you move. We are not very fast, but we can carry your couch or help you move a refrigerator and we can laden ourselves down with 10 grocery bags in one trip, running them up and down our arms like tree branches. My grandmother built a house with my grandfather, lifting cinder blocks herself to create the foundation and holding and hammering up her fair share of walls. I have given my brother piggy back rides as an adult (and he is tall and solid). And my brother, I am pretty certain, could lift a car if it fell on me. I am beginning to see this power and strength in Avery, who has unbelievable muscle tone for a one-year-old. You can feel it in her thighs, her mini brute strength. (Madeline, with her height and litheness, is going to be damn fast!)

I am the Oprah of my little world: I gain weight a lose weight easily. A little exercise and my muscles wake up and pop out. But given bouts of inactivity, and they soften up and blend in with the landscape of my body just as quickly as they popped. I have worn a (tight-ish) size 6 and (a loose-ish) size 14. I have gained and lost weight enough to realize that I should never get rid of my 6-to-14 span in my closet. And while I’d like to say “Oh, this is IT. I am going to stay at this weight forever,” I am realistic enough to realize that this may not be the case.

When I was younger, I know that I pursued weight loss with a dangerous zeal, and my reasons were purely vain. I needed to be a certain size and a certain number had to be on the scale and I would do anything to get there. I went on dangerous, unhealthy diets. I trudged to the gym because I had to. But that was a long time ago. My ultimate goal is no longer weight loss. It isn’t vanity. Well, it isn’t entirely vanity, if I am going to be honest, because it is impossible to pluck all threads of vanity from any weight loss goal, I think.

And now I am in this position where I think I need to start thinking about stopping weight loss and pursuing a maintenance program of sorts and I am befuddled. I have always chased an ideal, one which was very much dictated by Hollywood and media when I was younger, and now that I have stopped chasing this mythical ideal, I don’t know what to do. I’ll admit that there are vestiges of the old me, and I still feel the hint of a need to see at a certain number in my weight before I cease weight loss. But I am very close to that number and the thing is, what difference really will a few pounds make?

My body has jiggle and shake and you can grab fistfuls of fleshy bits. So while there are parts of me that look thin, there are parts of me that don’t. There are parts that look bony and there are parts really aren’t. My goal is not to be a rail, my goal is to be strong. And to have the strength to keep up with two one-year-olds, who are perpetual motion machines.

And so, what to do now? This isn’t a cut-and-dry situation. And while I am pretty certain this is of no interest to anyone really, I remind myself that this is my record of thoughts and these are my thoughts about what to do next. Cutting back on the amount of time I spend at the gym seems pointless. If I am up, and at the gym, then I am going to stay there for 45 minutes. Waking up early for a 30 minute workout just seems so…why bother? Besides, 45 minutes already feels like a compromise: After all, I used to go every day for at least an hour, and usually an hour and a half. Now, going six days at 45 minutes, no more or no less, seems sane. And, as I have said, I truly enjoy it.

Eating more, I suppose, is an avenue, but I feel like I eat enough. I have three meals. I have multiple snacks. I avoid things like, say, garlic bread, because I am not sure how to limit myself to a normal portion. Half a loaf seems normal to me. One piece? Ha. I can put food away like I am storing energy for a winter’s hibernation.

Last week I made Nicole an ice cream cake, made out of ice cream sandwiches and peanut butter cups and chocolate chips. All for her, because she has a special place in her heart for ice cream cakes, like those from Carvel. There is stil a piece left and I made it over a week ago. See, that is normal. Me, I would have eaten the entire thing in two days! But, to give myself credit, this is not how I am with everything I eat. There are just certain foods that are on the Endangered Species List in my world.

I’ll figure it out. Somehow. Soon.

And any and all advice is (always) appreciated.

Pictured above, on Tuesday, Mina and I took the kids to the mini amusement park in Central Park. Go during the week and there are no lines! We didn’t have to wait for a single ride! I went on most of the rides with the kids, and felt sick to my stomach. They all go up and down and in circles and after a while it just makes me queasy. The first picture is Leif, who every time I see him seems to be getting taller and taller. And below that, my fearless Skye. That child knows no fear! She is such a strong little girl. She reminds me of Avery. Or Avery reminds me of her. This isn’t the clearest of pictures but I love it because look at the look on her face. I want to remember that look forever! I wish I could help her feel that all the time. I think that is what love is all about. That last picture is me and Skye going down the slide. It was scarier than I thought it would be! The two of us, on a slippery potato sack, cruising down a seemingly greased surface. How did we stop? At the end is one of those thick rubbery mats, kind of like the ones you see in restaurant kitchen by the sinks, for those of you who have worked in the food service industry like me. I screamed on the way down when I realized that me (and my dress) and my precious Skye cargo would come to an abrupt stop in four seconds. I think I have rubber burns on the backs of my thighs. The woman in the big hat told me I was very brave.


Anonymous said...

You know what? I attributed your weight loss to your exercise, your daily routine of being a Mum, and your recent bout of not feeling well.

I didn't comment on it because I don't know you and because it is none of my business. :)

Anonymous said...

Your last photo did strike me as looking too thin, but I didn't comment because photos can play tricks sometimes.

I think about my own issues and hang-ups, and what I will do to change them. The guide I am currently using to decide is this: which of my issues/tendencies are acceptable for my sons to see/be influenced by, and which are really not? For example, I have a poor body-image that was passed down from my mom to me, and I really want to authentically change that so that my sons have good body-images and/or they respect and love women of any shape or size. Another one is my tendency toward fear, like fear of loss, sickness, and death, another thing that my parents passed on to me. I want to go to therapy so that those can fade into the background and so that *living* and hopefulness come to the front.

In other words, I want to break these cycles for my boys' sake just as much as mine. I do believe that we lead by what we do/how we act and much less by what we say to our kids. That said, there are things about me that aren't the best but that I'm not going to make it a priority to change, understanding that I will never be perfect and should not be required to be perfect just because I'm a mom. But the things that have been a burden to me the most? My concern for passing those tendencies on to my children is my guide for changing.

K J and the kids said...

Well who would I be if I wasn't sarcastic and slightly too honest :)
my comment came to you with humor, concern and a bit of jealousy. I'm certain that like the pretzels and icecream cakes, you have control over this as well :)

calliope said...

I also didn't comment on the photo in your last post because I didn't know if it was just a trick of the light.

I also trust in you and your awareness. I know you have grappled with weight issues and have admired your strength to face issues beyond weight.

loves you

rebecca said...

well, i did comment because i am sort of an asshole like that...

but seriously, i tend to agree with the "if i put it out there in public for god and everyone to see, then i accept feedback". (this does not include nastiness. no call for that.) that is certainly the way i feel about my blog. i figured if it was me, i would want the comment.

anyway it sounds like you have a pretty sane attitude toward the whole weight issue. as a former pretty seriously eating-disordered person, i tend to react pretty strongly to anything suggestive. like i said, there is no reason to exercise less. maybe an increase in portion size, or whatever feels right to you.

your family is just beautiful, by the way.

suz said...

Lighten up on the cardio and add in some strength training and pilates/yoga. A combo of cardio, strength training, and flexibility should help you maintain the weight loss and firm up your loose bits.

Anonymous said...

I was just under the impression that when someone blogs they don't want to hear 'oh yes, i agree with everything you say and do.' I agree with Rebecca, no need for nastiness, but why not accept some realness. This is the reason I love your blog, you are real. I commented that you look thin, but you also look beautiful. At any weight that you have showed a picture, you've looked beautiful.

Jess said...

Ok...well, I thought you looked pretty skinny too but I wasen't going to comment on it. You seem to be so honest and out there w/ your "issues," which is why I love your blog. You are aware of your "struggle" and I think that makes you healthy. It's no different than people like me who struggle w/ being overweight...but noone would ever comment about that on a blog (or at least they better not on mine:))). 45 minutes a day of excercise is AWESOME, I would pay big money to have the same "addiction" to excercise. Let's see, you don't smoke, don't drink, and don't do drugs, I think your good. BTW, I was always wanting to ask if you carried the girls. Obviously, this last post answered my question. It is unbelievable how much they look like Nicole...divine genetics rocks.