Fighting the Fat Monster and Loving the Whole You
Thin Is In
(Or, you can never be too rich or too thin.)
Normal chubbiness associated with puberty is treated as gross overweight and the cause of a lot of social anxiety. Those who end up hiding from the pressures of dating, sex and social pressures in front of the TV with big bag of comfort food (like Cheetos or Bacon Rinds) will have to deal with the Monster sooner or later. Attractive, newly slimmed down individuals may still feel like secret frauds and fatties who will be mysteriously restored to their formerly fat selves. Baggy, sagging skin and silvery stretch lines may be sources of embarrassment and anxiety even long after the weight has ceased to be an issue. It's the feelings of shame and anxiety that need to be resolved.
Tall and Tan and Young and Lovely
Remember the famous lyrics to the song "Girl from Ipanema?" she has been my role model for years.
Tall and tan and young and lovely
The girl from ipanema goes walking
And when she passes, each one she passes goes - ah
When she walks, she’s like a samba
That swings so cool and sways so gentle
That when she passes, each one she passes goes - ooh
(ooh) but I watch her so sadly
How can I tell her I love her
Yes I would give my heart gladly
But each day, when she walks to the sea
She looks straight ahead, not at me
Tall, (and) tan, (and) young, (and) lovely
The girl from ipanema goes walking
And when she passes, I smile - but she doesn’t see (doesn’t see)
(she just doesn’t see, she never sees me,...)
Who can resist her?
- YouTube - Astrud Gilberto and Stan Getz: THE GIRL FROM IPANEMA - 1964
Chill baby, chill... now chill some more...
Imagining the Fat Monster
A green, ugly being that whispers sweet lovelies in my ear.
"one more scoop of ice cream won't hurt"
"why don't you eat dinner (again) now that your husband is now here? It will be good for your relationship!" Yeah - right!
First of all, it would never please anyone to have two dinners. So please, don't even go there. I have also noticed when I am inappropriately eating too much there is something bugging me on a deeper level - and so I try to find out what it is without covering it up with food. Ugh!
What does it mean to be slim and trim?
- It means - empowerment.
- It means self-esteem
- It means flexibility of movement
- It means not embarrassed if someone sees your stomach or legs or when a neighbor or coworker runs into you unexpectedly at the beach!
- It means feeling healthy, not like a Baywatch Babe but just a healthy human being.
- For me it also means being more likely to try something new, like skiing or climbing, not afraid to make a fool of myself. That the physical part of me is really "OK".
It means being in community with your inner self. There is no big obstacle between your muscles, skin, blood cells etc. and your soul. Because of this feeling of connectedness, I also think a slim person - someone who feels good in their body - has a great joy in living,.
Clothes are necessary, of course. But they mean much more than garments. They represent a creative way to express who we are. So - express yourself. I know for myself that wearing a normal size - normal, here, is subjective - means that it is not impossible to find suitable clothes in your size at the store.
It's only fair to say, fashion and weather notwithstanding, that each of us has his or her own style. A natural fibers look, tailored, dress-up style, patten leather shoes and hair pulled up in a chignon - there are a million and one variations. Hippie look - oxford schoolgirl look - sports type - wearer of big hats - fake fur and leopard prints - the Peggy Bundy look - let your imagination go wild! A little bit like being in control of one's finances, having a handle on what you eat and how you look feels like financial solvency. You get to decide what you wear. It's no fun to feel like the victim of the garment industry. Who wants to wear whatever they can fit into and be satisfied with that. No, thanks.
Try to find out what colors you feel and look good in, what fabrics are best. You don't have to spend a bundle to look like a million. It's not a bad idea to try and change hand me down's to fit your size, change the length of a skirt, but be sure and practice on an old piece of clothing until you feel confident. Garage sales, bargain basement and other less expensive options, when combined can be really hip. Generally speaking, fashion lies in details. Not just fashion magazines - literally everything shows fashion possibilities. Follow your intuition and find your own stylish self.
A loose but realistic Eating Budget
Just like money, food is a resource.
Cows eat grass all day long - bless their little hearts - but we humans don't live to graze, as they do. We have to take care of our financial, physical, emotional needs, look to our families - do they need our assistance? If we are lucky, we are furthering our education or have jobs which enable us to finance our needs and some of our wants. This is all good stuff.
Food is not meant to make us feel good - though it does - it is meant to nourish us, give us a chance to socialize with family members or coworkers at the same table - and give us a break from our responsibilities.
Food needs to be consumed in peace, with relaxed breathing. Watching an action movie while eating or listening to modern impressionistic music with loud clangs and clashes can really disturb the digestion process. Some people say a prayer before eating, and many times the words "eat in peace" are spoken at the table. Sometimes a family meeting is held with a meal, but in most cases it's best to let the participants at the table really enjoy the taste, smells, textures and combination of foods being consumed. This adds to a feeling of fullness, satisfaction and contentedness. No need to go scrounging in the refrigerator later for goodies.
The actual meal can look something like this, at least once a day: (it can be lunch or dinner):
A light appetizer - veggies, bread roll, tortilla chips (like at a Mexican restaurant). A bowl of meat or chicken soup before the main course is also in this category. The whole idea is to "wake up" your stomach since it has been "slumbering" for a four to six hour period and a piece of meat thrown down the hatch would be kind of a rude awakening, right? :)
The main meal. This is the meat, potato, vegetable portion. Along with the main meal should be served a slice or two of fresh bread and perhaps a small salad. The whole idea is to have meat, but meat is kind of a special thing. At our home we try to encourage our kids to have a little bit of everything so that at the end of the meal there is only a little bit of each item remaining on the plate. If some meat juices or sauce is left on the plate, instead of throwing it into the garbage, we use a little bread to clean the plate. After all , it's just good food.
Dessert can be whatever you like it to be! Even people watching their weight can eat everything they desire but try to eat about half of their normal portion. The stomach will get used to it after a day or two. Before you know it you will be happy to feel a hunger pang. That means you managed to eat a little less - and your body will be taking from your "food supply". YAHOO!
Most of the time I make a cake or other dessert on the weekends. Other than that there is a bowl of ice cream with two or three "dry" cookies - sweet but not creamy or overly sugared - or pudding. No need to go crazy over sweets. Sometimes we have a little bitter chocolate - it's delicious and just a few pieces are an excellent dessert, especially with coffee.
No matter what type of movement you choose - PLEASE - take the pressure off of you. It is a self discovery process you're going through. If you walk, check out the plants in your neighborhood that you might have not noticed before. Go to the library. Go to the mall and walk around a bit. It's all good stuff. Forget about fat burning - forget about heartbeat - forget about "how many days I should exercise". Just - move a little. If you get tired, sit down. Then get up and move a little bit more!
The same thing goes for biking. Swimming. Whatever. Easy does it - and enjoy! ! !
The voices in your head
There will always be a voice that says "we'll, you're not 25 anymore.." or "at this age, it's NORMAL to weigh 20 pounds more than before" or "What do you expect from a grandmother!" or "I have been heavy all my life, and now it will only get worse". Another "menopause means another 15 pounds, for sure". Or "after one (two, three, five, eight) babies it's normal to be out of shape".
The only thing that really matters - HOW DO YOU FEEL? Get out of your head and into your soul. Are you comfortable in your body? Maybe you like most but not all your body. This is OK. Is there something you would like to change, and can? Well, that is all you need to know. In other words, I look great in dresses but my arms are still a little too flabby and I have kind of a big butt for some jeans and shorts. But in general I look good and tend to get compliments. So - there you have it. I am satisfied, but I could be better. So I have a goal to lose another 10 pounds and then I think I will be where I want to be. But my heart - not my head - will let me know. So far I have lost about 50 lbs (little by little) and at each major step down people have told me their opinions. "You look great! But don't lose any more - your face will be too thin". "It's not healthy for you to go down after you've been up for so long" and so on. Last year I felt good at this weight but this year - maybe I am flabbier - I just want to go "all the way" to my physical equilibrium. "Amen!"
From War to Truce to Partnership
You can tell your body, "I like you! You are not bad. I will give you what you need (nutrition, exercise, rest, fresh water and air, a little less stress) and listen to you when you are trying to tell me something".
This may mean you need to do some stretches to avoid muscle pain, may need to take supplementary vitamins like calcium, iron or whatnot, and listen to signs that are commonplace to ignore. For example, when your body is tired, try to see if you can give it a short nap if possible. A cup of coffee is not always the answer. Try to avoid illness at any cost - wash hands frequently, especially before eating, try to notice small changes in the weather. Carry a very light cover with you to avoid getting chilled, especially in hot humid weather or in aggressively air conditioned buildings. Taking care of you is a whole package deal and can actually be interesting and fun. There is only one you. So take care - you deserve it!