Weighty Matters

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Misplaced Guilt

I got up at 6 a.m. today but it was raining so I didn’t go out for a walk or bike ride. I also didn’t put in one of my home exercise DVDs. Instead, I prepared and packed lunch for work, turned on my DVR recording of last night’s Scandal (OMG!), and ate breakfast. By the way, that whole mixing of some vanilla extract and honey into plain non-fat yogurt turned out great!

I feel really guilty that I didn’t exercise. I know this is misplaced guilt and just another great example of how diseased thinking can strike. I exercise for at least an hour a day, usually seven days a week. That’s even more than the usually recommended amount. Even when the number on the scale is slow, the inches coming off and the reshaping of my body are evident because of the exercise. Bottom line: I have no reason to feel guilty because I skipped a day of exercise.

Particularly when I haven’t skipped an entire day. I could make it up tonight after work — or not. It’s okay. The only person who disagrees isn’t even a person — it’s my subconscious or some part of my brain that likes to make me feel bad or feel like I’m letting myself down or doing something wrong to screw up my recovery.

Right now, I’m going to declare that I will not listen to that part of my psyche. I will not spend another minute feeling this misplaced guilt. I will not compound it by also eating off of my food plan. I will remain in recovery today.

I needed to get that out. Thanks.

By the way, have I mentioned that tomorrow I’m doing a 5K walk race? I’m not in it for competition. The whole event benefits a local service organization that runs a food bank and homeless shelter. I wanted to support the organization. Not only will tomorrow give me a chance to do that, but it will put me squarely back on the exercise wagon.

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Being Here Now

I’m thinking a lot about the importance of being present in each moment. This is often quite difficult to remember, or easy to remember but difficult to practice. It’s even harder to be present in the moment and only experience that moment for what it is. Cause whatever the moment is, that’s what it is — and it ain’t what it ain’t.

Deep, huh?

We tend to bring a lot of stuff with us into every situation, interaction, conversation and experience. Sometimes we are the sum total of everything that’s gone on before so we don’t look at present moments with a clear, unaffected view. Instead, we filter them through all the other stuff.

While I think that it’s good to build on good foundations, we need to discern when we’re standing on solid ground and when we’re letting poor past experiences or apprehension about the future “what could happen” adulterate the moment.

So how does all this “be here, be present” musing connect to my eating disorder or my recovery? I’m trying to be mindful of my triggers and my habits. Just because I might have eaten inappropriately as a result of a situation before doesn’t mean that I have to repeat the behavior when I run into that situation again. I need to stay in the moment and deal from the strength of the recovery that I’ve built to date. When I’m anticipating a situation or a circumstance, I don’t need to react in old patterns of behavior if those patterns don’t serve a positive purpose.

Just because I’ve eaten compulsively, or overeaten before, for whatever reason, doesn’t mean I’m a slave to continuing in disease. I have new, healthier methods of dealing with whatever issue occurs.

Right now, this moment, is not what happened yesterday or last week, or when I was a kid. A bad experience in the past does not mean that the same will happen for sure in the future so I don’t need to fear that it will. I only need to take care of whatever is going on right now. It deserves the best of my attention with an open mind and open heart. Staying present means that the situation or person gets quality interaction from me, which is what they deserve. It’s what I deserve, too.

I have a favorite William Blake poem that intertwines with tonight’s musings. I love it so much that I did a counted cross stitch representation of it many years ago and it still hangs on one of my walls. It reminds me that everything comes down to the simple, the present moment, the being here now.

BlakeCrossstitch

This helps me to remember that no matter how enormous, intimidating, or overwhelming something might be, it really is no more than that grain of sand, the single wildflower, the palm of my hand, or a single hour.

It certainly doesn’t have to warrant diseased eating. That’s for sure.

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Here’s to Taking Care of Ourselves

Okay, I’m going to wave a banner, lead a cheer and completely urge everybody reading this to find one great thing that you can do for yourself this week. Pick something that you completely enjoy and that falls in the category of Good Self Care. Then go and do it.

I did some of that tonight by going for a massage. The massage therapist I use is A-Ma-Zing! She pays attention to energy in my body, where it’s blocked, what’s tightened, what needs to release, etc. A session with her is so much more than a head-to-toe rub down. She can tell if an issue is rooted in muscle, tendons or nerves.

Thanks to the work she did on me this evening, I have immeasurably better range of motion in my left shoulder than I’ve enjoyed in weeks. I can’t tell you how much time she spent on the nerves and muscles in my right leg but the flexibility is incredible. That’s my weaker, more arthritic knee and it feels ten years younger tonight. I also am not experiencing the phantom ache I’ve felt in that leg every evening for the last week or so.

Yes, caring for self is a wonderful, positive thing.

Now, some might argue that everything I do is caring for myself. Eating healthier, exercising, working on my eating disorder and food issues — the whole kit and caboodle. That’s a valid argument. However, I will argue that it is incredibly important to also add extras. The additional things we do for ourselves might be physically, emotionally or mentally good for us, but they’re also treats which boosts the emotional benefits. These acts of self-care are great positive reinforcement.

Bi-weekly manicures and a monthly pedicure are self-care for me, but I’ve come to think of them as essential and routine. I guess coloring the gray in my hair falls into this category, too. I’ve always considered massages and facials as “extras”. I’m starting to think that I should schedule them more on a regular, routine basis, too. Ooh, now here’s a slightly indulgent dilemma. If the extra self-care treats are turned in regular occurrences, do I then need to find myself new extras with which to treat myself? Hmmm. I’m sure I can figure out a few ways. 😉

What are a few ways that you can practice self-care this week? Take a bath, find some alone time to read, get a massage, a facial, your nails done? What can you do to reward yourself for just being you?

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Better to Light a Candle

It’s better to light a candle than curse the darkness. I first heard a variation of that proverb when I was in grade school. A great book came out in 1970 called Light a Single Candle about a teenage girl who goes blind.

I’ve always interpreted the saying as a way to cope when life, or a situation, attempts to overwhelm me. Rather than sit and complain or fret about how huge the problem appears, I try to break it down into smaller areas. It might be too big for me to fix or change all at once, but I can find those smaller areas where I can accomplish single changes and begin my progress on a solution.

Yes, having weight loss surgery was one huge change to one humongous problem. Preparing for it was almost overwhelming with the myriad of different doctors I had to see, the tests that needed to be scheduled and experienced, the follow ups, the evaluations, the planning, etc. It could easily have overwhelmed me but I approached it all one appointment at a time.

When I get super busier-than-usual-busy at work and I wonder how in the hell I’ll get everything done, I make a list. Every project on the list can be successfully accomplished, one at a time. Sometimes each project needs to be broken into a series and schedule of tasks — all single candles in their own right.

I find that the “light a candle” proverb meshes well with the Serenity Prayer. If I’m having a stressful day, I think about what I can change or do and what I can’t. Which candle can I ignite to burn brightly and make the darkness — or the stress, or the workload, or whatever — less oppressive?

Right now, I evaluating my food plan. Things are going pretty well and I want to stay on this roll. Sometimes, my mind gets a little overwhelmed with all of the elements that create my successful recovery. So, I’m breaking them down into smaller pieces to keep going with what works. These little candles become more manageable goals.

This week, there are two actions that I want to make sure I continue with in terms of my food. They contribute positive success to the overall goal of not eating compulsively and staying within my calorie and nutrition plan. One is to continue incorporating more vegetables than I have been eating. (I realized that most of my daily fruit and vegetable servings tended to be fruit and not veggies. More sugar was creeping in than I needed. Now I feel like I have it in better balance.) The other thing is to continue preparing my work meals (mid-morning snack, lunch, mid-afternoon snack) the night before. I started doing so last week and it really helped! I plan better when I’m not rushed as I tend to be in the morning.

These are my two candles for the week. More veggies/less fruit; Advance preparation. These actions are clearly not overwhelming. They are easy to manage and the results are great.

So, anybody else have a lot going on that might be less overwhelming if broken down into single candles? Feel free to share!

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Processing Alternatives

A younger co-worker/friend of mine doesn’t have a car at the moment. Since she more or less lives on my way to or from work, I try to give her a ride as often as possible. We have great conversations during the drive. She follows a vegan food plan, often eats raw and seeks out foods that undergo the least amount of processing. I’m learning a lot from her.

No, I’m not giving up meat. I am way too much of a carnivore. My love of prime rib and lamb chops aside, as you know I am trying to eat healthy and make better choices as much as possible.

I regularly eat Greek yogurt. Usually, I buy the single serving containers of 0% fat yogurt with fruit. These are a good portion size for me at lunch and they’re easier to transport. However, I read a few articles recently that pointed out again that those fruited yogurts have more sugar. The articles recommended buying 0% yogurt and mixing in fresh fruit. I told B that I was doing that and she applauded, then she told me something really interesting that I hadn’t considered. She said that if I’m buying the fat free vanilla flavored yogurt, I’m still getting a more processed version with more sugar than I need. “You know, Mary, you can always buy the plain yogurt and add your own vanilla extract.”

Color me with my jaw dropped. I never considered that alternative. Doesn’t it sound sensible, easy and obvious? I still have some vanilla yogurt to finish up, but when it’s gone, I’m going to try her suggestion. Plain, 0% yogurt with vanilla extract and fresh fruit added should equal a perfect snack or light meal. If I find I need a little extra touch of sweetness, I am also trying some natural sweeteners that aren’t a colorful packet of chemicals.

Last weekend did I mention how I experimented with making a lower fat but still tasty bleu cheese salad dressing? Greek non-fat yogurt mixed with reduced-fat mayo, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper and, of course, bleu cheese. I even used reduced fat cheese. I was delighted with the delicious results.

I’ve long heard the suggestion that when cutting calories, read the labels on products and don’t use anything where sugar is higher than 6th place on the list of ingredients. I’ve noticed that sugar ranks near the top on a lot of products that say they’re “light” or fat free.

Next week I’m invited to dinner with a group of friends. One couple is cooking the main dish and dessert. I offered to bring salad. I’m planning a little mobile salad bar so that people can mix in whatever ingredients they’d like to add. I thought I’d start with a base of mixed greens and then offer the bleu cheese dressing. Since not everyone likes bleu cheese, I also have a delicious creamy Caesar recipe. I can also pack regular olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

The creamy Caesar has a mayonnaise base. Now, I could go with the reduced fat mayo again, but there’s more of it in this recipe than in the bleu. I’ve decided that I’m going to try to take this one step further. I’m going to attempt to make my own mayo. It will be a garlic aioli, to be exact. I’ve read several recipes and, frankly, this doesn’t look like a big challenge. I even found one that uses mostly olive oil which is a “better fat” oil. If I can produce an aioli that tastes good enough, then I can easily incorporate it into the Caesar dressing.

I’ve been trying to eat more vegetables each day, including a salad at either lunch or breakfast. I brought a salad for lunch every day this past week and I was very careful to measure out the amount of dressing that I brought with me, specifically so I wouldn’t negate the positive effort with an overload of dressing calories.

Peanut butter is one of my favorite foods. I like it as a snack and it’s a good protein source for me, particularly when I just need a snack to get me going before a bike ride, etc. The thing with peanut butter is that most of it is loaded with sugar and many brands also have big amounts of palm oil included.

Palm oil and palm kernel oil are present in countless upon countless products — from foodstuffs to cosmetics. It is increasingly more difficult to find products that don’t contain it in their list of ingredients. What is my objection to this oil? It’s so popular that it is a huge cash crop. The establishing of palm plantations to produce this oil is the major cause of deforestation of rainforest habitat in Indonesia and Malaysia. In turn, this impacts endangered species including the Asian elephant, tiger, Sumatran rhino and the Sumatran orangutan. I’m not going to turn this post into a giant soap box. However, even thought I’m only one person, if I can reduce my consumption of palm oil then I help reduce demand and maybe that, in some tiny way, helps those species. (Particularly if a lot of individual people do the same thing.)

Anyway, I’m delighted that I can easily find a reasonably priced organic peanut butter that not only doesn’t contain palm oil, but it doesn’t have any added sugar either. In fact, its only ingredient is peanuts! I shared that with B and she again applauded. Smart young woman that she is she also pointed out that, since I own a food processor, I could actually grind up peanuts and make my own peanut butter if I want. I don’t know if I’m ready to try that yet, but it could be on my horizon. In the meantime, I’m pleased with the alternative I’m buying.

In my quest to cut back on sugars contained in pre-mixed products and finding alternatives to some of the processed foods I would normally consume, I know that bottled salad dressings are one category of foodstuffs that I can replace with homemade concoctions. It is within my reach to make things that are big on flavor but lower in sugar and non-healthy oils/fats.

Since I know it’s possible, it only makes sense to try, don’t you think?

Are there any more natural, healthier, less-processed foods that you’ve tried and like?

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Life Reboot

A brilliant friend of mine did a continuing ed course for us at work yesterday. In it she told the story of what she does if something about her computer doesn’t work. Whether it’s a software, hardware, internet connection problem or whatever, the first thing she does is reboot her system. Have you tried that? It’s amazing how often it works.

That happens with my smart phone, too. Things slow down, response crawls. An app stalls. I turn off the phone completely for a minute, turn it back on and the problem frequently resolves.

So, the thought of rebooting has been on my mind.

Also on my mind was a dream I experienced last night. Someone I know in town with whom I’ve previously had a conversation about weight loss surgery appeared in my dream as a contestant on the Biggest Loser. I ran into him at a local restaurant with two of the trainers from the show and he told them about my surgery and progress. They invited me to sit down and we chatted some more. They asked me if I could give one piece of advice for anybody losing weight, what would it be. In my dream I said, “Whether someone takes off the weight after bariatric surgery or through the extreme workouts and eating restrictions on your show, everybody has to understand that this isn’t a “sometime thing” and problem solved. Long term success requires a complete life reboot.”

See how everything tied together in my brain?

I know I’ve talked about this before but it’s coming up for me again and it feels like I have a slightly different perspective. This usually means that it requires me to focus on it and reinforce it in my brain. I have said all along that the weight loss surgery is only a tool and the rest of the work is what really matters. Today after both the course and the dream, I need to revise or refine that idea. Actually, now that I’m pondering this in the writing process, I have something to own.

The weight loss surgery is a tool and it is not the reason for my success thus far. I’m the reason for my success. The diminished stomach capacity has provided incredible help by providing physical control that I was never able to adhere to before. I could always eat and eat and eat until the vertical sleeve gastrectomy changed all that. However, I’m the one who decided to have the surgery. I’m the one that makes the good choices about food. I’m the one who has committed to exercise and physical fitness. I’m the one who hit Alt + Ctl + Del on my old ways.

As egotistical as that makes me sound, I think it’s important for me to claim it. Own it and celebrate it, too. One day at a time, often one meal at a time, I have taken back my life from the eating disorder and all of my messed up ways of using massive amounts of food. Sometimes it’s good to step back from the one day at a time lessons in the 12 Step programs and gaze at the big picture. The global perspective then helps me put the individual choices into action.

In my dream I talked about success not being about the single meal or the day’s workout. It calls for us to reshape our lives and changing our entire lifestyle. This journey is not an accelerated, high intensity boot camp. It truly is a life reboot.

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Friends That Get Me

A long time ago I read a dialogue exchange in a book between two characters who were discussing whether one of them could truly understand a situation having never experienced it. The other character said something along the lines of, “You don’t have to know how to make a soufflĂ© to appreciate eating one.”

I think of that response a lot when connecting, or at least trying to connect, with something a friend or family member is going through. My close friends are like family to me. One of the greatest gifts of these close, heart relationships is the empathy we share. That closeness and understanding that comes from truly getting each other. Even if we don’t have first hand experience with a particular situation, we can still understand what our friends experienced because we know each other and how things affect us. We don’t have to have been on the same trip to share the joy of the friend who did the traveling. We don’t need to have gone through the similar truly heartbreaking circumstance, to sincerely open up our hearts and compassion, our arms for hugs, our shoulders to cry on.

I am fortunate to have at least one dear friend who also has an eating disorder. (Not that I’m happy that someone else has to battle food issues, but since she does, I’m super glad we’re friends. *waving at her as she reads this*) We’ve been friends a long time and our relationship is not only a friendship, it’s also a support system.

I have many more friends who don’t have eating disorders, nor any other addictive disease or behavior. Like those people who love a good soufflĂ© without ever having tried to make one, they don’t need to share my disorder in order to relate to me. It’s enough that they know that I have one. They can and do still listen to what I say about it or what I share when I’m having some struggles.

Friends that get me mean the world. Having anyone in your life who truly knows you — your sterling traits and character defects alike — and accepts and loves you opens up incredible freedom of expression. When you know you’re not only going to be understood but also not judged, and that the other person is able and willing to bottom line things with you and tell you not what you want to hear, but also what you need to hear, you can safely go deep with your thoughts and feelings.

Earlier this evening, I was on the phone for more than an hour with a long time, dear, friend who is as close to being my younger sister as is possible without actually sharing DNA. We were overdue for a good catching up call and, boy, did we ever cover a lot of topics, circumstances, stories and everything else under the conversational sun. Some were deep, some were funny, some were just needing to be shared and heard. It was great. My heart smiled throughout and after.

This quality of friendship is precious. The relationships not only need to be cherished, they must be nurtured. They can’t exist if only one person gets it. There has to be equal openness, acceptance and understanding on both sides. Not every interaction will be perfectly balanced. Sometimes one friend will need more and that’s okay. It balances out over time. I only know that in order to receive this gift, I need to be in a place to give it back.

Gotta love having friends who get me.

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Excess Pounds Perspective

Sometimes my brain goes in odd directions. A friend/co-worker and I were talking about weight loss today. I mentioned that I’ve lost around 180 pounds. It struck me that I’d lost significantly more than this co-worker’s entire body weight.

That started my train of thought down a particular track. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the average weight of adult women ages 20+ in the U.S. is 166.2 pounds. For men in the same age range in the U.S., the average weight is 195.5 pounds. So with 180 pound weight loss, I’ve lost more than an entire average sized woman and almost as much as an averaged sized man.

I’ve also lost more than an adult male English mastiff weighs. I can’t imagine trying to carry around a dog that size, yet I did.
There are dolphins where I work that weigh less than I did when I was my heaviest. I look at some of the youngsters who hit the scale at a little less than 200 pounds and think about them being the equivalent in pounds of the weight I’ve taken off.

This really gives me a different perspective about my excess pounds. I have an entirely new, deeper, more amazed respect for my body — bones, joints, muscles, organs, the whole darned thing and all of its systems. For years this body that was built for one person carried around enough weight for two large people. It’s a wonder that my heart didn’t explode from my chest or my knees collapse beneath me.

I feel like I should apologize to every cell of myself. I’m not going to beat myself up over it. That would be a waste and achieve nothing. All I can do is what I’m doing now. Keep losing weight and then maintain the loss. Continue to exercise to build strength and flexibility. Treat my body with respect, appreciation, and love.

This body deserves to be treated well. It’s earned the right!

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Love, Loss, and Hugs Remembered

My father died when I was 25. For the year or two prior to his death, I’d experienced a good weight loss. In fact, I lost about 100 pounds. It wasn’t too long after his death that I began to eat and eat and eat again. Yes, I eventually put back on all of the weight that I’d lost.

In the year before my mother was diagnosed, I’d been on another good losing effort. During the year of her illness, I began to gain back the weight. Wow, I clearly remember my sister-in-law trying to counsel me to not hurt myself that way. Obviously, I couldn’t stop myself. The pounds added up and then more piled on. The gaining trend continued for 13 years, broken occasionally by temporary diet successes, but eventually I grew to my heaviest weight ever. That’s where I was before my weight loss surgery in 2012.

Clearly, with my eating disorder food and overeating have been included in my coping mechanisms for grief. Instead of focusing on my parents as my greatest inspirations, my heroes, I only knew the great gaping wounds in my heart. I was in so much pain and used food to try to fill the holes so that I wouldn’t hurt anymore.

Mom’s been gone 15 years now and Dad 30. I still miss them every day. I cherish my memories of them and sometimes, I get very lucky and see one or both of them in my dreams. This happened last night. I don’t remember all of the details but I was back in our family home in New Jersey. I’d just woken up and Mom came into my room to talk. I can’t even remember what we talked about, but she said she needed a hug so I opened up my arms and held her.

I definitely can remember more than a few times that year she was so sick when we sat and hugged each other, drawing comfort and some serenity in the moment. Friends, this dream was so vivid that I could feel the hug again. Everything from the weight of her leaning to the wrap of her arms to the warmth. It was like an actual Mom hug, not a wispier, less-substantial dream version. So real that even after I woke up, I could still feel it.

Even though I knew it was, in reality, a dream, it strongly imprinted on me to the point that I was able to carry it with me through my day. I can’t really explain it. I’m considering it a form of muscle memory that was brought forward out of my subconscious by my dream state. I don’t want to question it too much either, but prefer instead to consider it a gift.

I have friends who believe in ghosts. Actually, I’m pretty sure that I’ve seen at least one in my life. Long story so I won’t go into it now. Some of the friends who believe in ghosts think that when a loved one appears to us in a dream it’s because their spirit is reaching out to contact us. I believe there is some sort of afterlife after our deaths, even if I can’t quite picture what it looks like in my mind. I prefer to believe that I will see my loved ones again. In the meantime, I’m so very glad that I saw and hugged Mom again in my dream.

As my journey goes on, even though I’m determined to make my goal and then learn to maintain my new lifestyle, weight and fitness level, sometimes my spirit gets a little weary. When I hit those periods, encouragement helps. So, whether last night’s dream was a visitation, or whether it was my own need calling up my Mom memory, I felt like I received her encouragement. In my dream, Mom acknowledged my strength and this helped me to remember my strength too.

It’s been another good day. I am grateful.

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Gold, Goaled & Golden Arches

Some days I’m strong on my food plan and exercise in spite of food thoughts and compulsion assailing me. Those are good days when I can hold onto my resilience and determination even when my disease urges me to eat on impulse. Really good days are ones when I don’t even feel the compulsion of my eating disorder but just go through the day eating as I planned and what I prepared. I’ve had a few really good days lately. I never take these for granted. They are infrequent and precious. It is a lot less stressful to not have to do battle with the disease, even for a day.

My mindset’s been good. I’ve held to my determination to not belittle or denigrate my own efforts. If a negative, or even a slightly-less-than-positive thought tries to creep into my consciousness, I cancel it. I’ve even said it out loud. Cancel! Silly as it sounds, it works.

I know as I’ve lost weight I’ve talked about getting into smaller size clothing or, especially in the beginning, taking clothes to a seamstress for alterations. I soon need to get some other belongings sized down. My jewelry has all become too big. A pinkie ring that at one time had to be cut off before wrist surgery is too big for me to wear. I’ve had it slip off my finger when I reached into my handbag for something. I tried wearing a ring guard for awhile but the guard annoyed me. So, the ring is off of my hand and in my jewelry box.

My other pinkie ring has also gotten too big but I’ve been able to move it over to the next finger and wear it there instead. For the time being, anyway. I noticed yesterday that it’s close to becoming too big to wear at all. I have another valuable ring that I still love to wear but it keeps sliding all over my ring finger. For now, when I wear it I slip it onto my index finger. It’s kind of a cool look, to be honest. I might just continue to do that.

My necklaces used to be the perfect length but now I’ve lost enough inches around my neck that they hit longer than I like. Thinking of all these things, I realize that sooner or later I need to go for gold alterations! I’m not complaining. This is an excellent problem to experience! Unlike clothes, gold can earn me money, particularly at the current price per ounce. When I finally take everything into a jeweler to be shortened or sized down, I’ll be able to sell back whatever is removed. At the very least it will pay for the work. Best case scenario, it will pay for the work and I’ll get a few bucks spending money. Like I said, not a bad problem!

The Olympic Ice Dancing finals are on television tonight while I write this post. I already know the outcome so I’m not experiencing anxiety-by-proxy for the athletes. I can relax and enjoy the performances and programs without fretting that some team will fall or make other heart-wrenching errors. I don’t know about the other sports, but it seems like most of the figure skaters start when they’re kids. I marvel that this dogged determination to pursue sports excellence not only begins so young but also stays with them for so many years.

I had multiple dream jobs in mind by the time I was 11. I can’t imagine sticking with one of them for most of my life. These skaters set their goals early and committed their lives to achieving them, no matter what. Hours upon hours upon days, weeks, months and years of practice, hard work, sacrifice of other activities all to become the best that they can possibly be.

It’s inspiring. If they can commit their entire lives to their gold goal, surely I can stay committed to achieving my goal weight and then maintaining for the rest of my life.

Finally, as my day of gold and goaled thoughts comes to an end, I need to say that I groan every time a commercial for McDonald’s comes on during the Olympics broadcast. As you can imagine, this means I groan a lot. I don’t mean to be hypocritical because, Lord knows, I used to be a regular customer of the golden arches drive through. In my worst days of overeating, I’d go through the drive-thru and order two sodas, hoping the staff member would assume I was ordering food for two people. With the exception of a yogurt and fruit parfait that I had last month, I haven’t eaten from McD’s in more than a year. My stomach can’t handle it and foods that I once loved hold no appeal anymore.

That said, for some reason, I find it distasteful to see the ad that has athletes playfully biting the medals as if to judge the quality of the metal and then see people biting into chicken nuggets. They look for all the world as if they think the questionable chicken is the gold standard for edible food. Eat fast food or don’t, it’s a personal choice, but let’s not fool ourselves that the food items on the menu are healthy and good for us. The majority aren’t.

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