Weighty Matters

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Taking Care of Me

on October 25, 2013

Before I get into the topic, I have to share about something sort of strange that happened yesterday. There’s a nice older gentleman who spends a few weeks in the Keys each fall and volunteers where I work. He just got back into town and yesterday was the first that I’ve seen him. I hugged him and welcomed him back, asked how he and his wife have been and so on. He then looked at me and rather hesitantly asked how I am doing, with this expressive hand motion that indicated my changed body. He said that he wasn’t sure how to ask but hoped that all was well.

I realized then that he didn’t know whether I’d lost so much weight on purpose or because I had some sort of illness or bad condition. Friends, this has never happened to me before. I’ve never considered that someone might wonder if I’d been horrible sick. Thankfully, I was able to quickly reassure him and he was, naturally, relieved and happy for me.

So on to the rest of the post. I’m doing well with my food plan which does wonders to stabilize my mind and emotions while getting some pounds off. It isn’t the full liquids so much as getting back into the “don’t compulsively or impulsively grab for food” routine that’s making the whole plan work. Weekends are sometimes more challenging, but I’m psyching myself up to continue on track.

I’m focused on taking care of me. One of my roles in my life has been that of caregiver/caretaker. Funny how they sound like they should be opposite things but mean pretty much the same. I give care to others. I take care of others, but often don’t take care of or for myself. Being a caregiver or fixer is pretty common among children of alcoholics or addicts. I think I fell into the role even before Mom’s drinking tipped (tippled?) over into a disease. Natural course of events, actually, since both of my parents were caregivers by profession – Dad a doctor and Mom a nurse. Add in that one of my grandparents was frequently ill which meant that both would move in with us for awhile, and I helped out with their care.

I’ve almost always been calm, steady and effective in times of crisis too. This is not bad. None of it is, actually. There are worst traits to have than to be someone who can provide care and help to others, particularly loved ones. The down side though is that, when you’re young, you shouldn’t always have to be the caregiver. Someone should be helping to take care of you.

Providing care for myself is something that I’ve had to work on. I’ve learned a great deal gradually over the years and then really gained a chunk of experience with it over the last two years as I began all the steps and actions necessary for the weight loss surgery. Then, of course, I’ve had to continue the strong self-care in the many months since.

One of the challenges is recognizing when I need to lavish a little extra care and then doing it. Sometime mid-week I realized that I was feeling pulled in many directions, stressed, and overtired. It came to me that I really needed to step back from the demands of a busy life and schedule some me time. Originally, I was supposed to go to a Zumba event tomorrow, held about an hour away. I changed that plan in favor of staying closer to home. I even went to a Zumba master class here in town for a while tonight. I’ll do my Tai Chi class in the morning and made an appointment for a facial and a treatment called manual lymph drainage. Never had one before but it’s supposed to be beneficial, so I’ll give it a try.

The wind is supposed to stay high and gusty all weekend which means no boating. Windy or not, I will make time for a couple of long bike rides because the exercise makes me feel terrific physically and mentally. On Sunday I’m going in for another dolphin swim. There has never been a time that swimming with some of our dolphin family hasn’t brought me joy. I’m going to make the most of the opportunity.

The next work week will come soon enough. I’m going to make the most of my days off. In keeping with that attitude, I think I’ll go enjoy a nice soak in a hot, scented bath. After all, there’s no harm in the rest of the evening being all about me!

What’s on your weekend agenda? How are you taking care of you?

2 responses to “Taking Care of Me

  1. Hope says:

    Your weekend sounds heavenly! Sometimes, I get jealous of all the neat things you do for yourself. :p I think I need to make some time to go to yoga and maybe even Zumba.

  2. Skye says:

    I relate to your difficulties in taking care of yourself. In times of loss (my father, my brother), I have had to be a caregiver to everyone else, rather than other people caring for me (even when I was the youngest person there!). It affects you and does make you diminish the importance of caring for yourself, as if you aren’t worthy of it.

    I’m very glad you have realized the value of taking care of you, which shows that you have come to value yourself and discovered that you are worth a lot. Please do continue taking care of yourself, including staying on your meal plan, because you are important and what you do and who you are make the world a better place. Plus, you serve as an inspiration to those of us struggling on the same or similar paths.

    Have a restful, restorative weekend full of self-care!

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