Weighty Matters

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Taking Off My Fat Suit

From time to time a news reporter or a talk show host dons a fat suit and makeup to experience life as an obese person. I think Dr. Oz recently did it but I can’t remember which news reporter(s) I’ve seen. I remember in most of the stories I’ve seen they shared that they felt awkward, stared at, scorned by others and, in general, made to feel “less” than other people. They also discovered to a smaller extent than reality, the physical discomfort of being obese.

Right now, I’m in a physical state where I’m still overweight but have achieved significant weight loss and really improved my overall body and shape. I don’t suffer with “fat eyes” to the extent that I used to. I can look in the mirror and see my real body and be happy with my appearance. The only self-love allowance I need to make is over my sagging skin and the drooping flabby belly that I still have. Some of that will go away as I lose the remaining weight and the rest will go with surgery. I’m not happy with the wrinkly skin, but I accept it as a temporary state.

This alone is a huge, healthy step forward. “Fat Eyes” is a horrid, destructive, self-esteem crushing syndrome. I don’t know if it’s akin to what people with anorexia experience, but anytime we don’t see our physical selves the way that we really are, I think we mess with our minds and how we feel about ourselves. I’m grateful that I’ve recovered in this area, too.

At least I have when I’m looking in the mirror and when I’m in situations or places or with people I’m familiar with and comfortable around. When I go into the unfamiliar, I sometimes still struggle with the mental picture of myself as an obese person. Then I start to anticipate how others see me, react to my presence, all that kind of junky stuff. It doesn’t take over, but I’ve learned that I need to be aware that I do this and proactively guard my thought process and feelings against the junk. I’m going to think of it as taking off my fat suit.

Like the reporters who only had to be fat during the time they wore the prosthetic suit that packed on the pounds, I don’t have to think or act like an obese person any more. I have the power to choose to what extent I let the old thinking and reactions affect me. And that, my friends, truly is a powerful, liberating thought.

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Homestretch

Knowing that I “only” need to lose another 25-30 pounds has energized me. It’s like I’d gotten weary of the journey or bored with the food plan but now I’ve perked up and am excited about hitting the homestretch. The happy feeling has stayed with me all day.

For some reason, I had trouble sleeping completely through the night but kept waking up every couple of hours. I’m not sure why since I wasn’t stressing anything in particular. Whatever the case, I finally gave up around 6:30 a.m. The wind wasn’t too bad this morning, so after feeding the dogs I went out for a seven mile ride. Came home, ate breakfast, walked the dogs and then hopping on the bike again to pedal to my Tai Chi class — slightly less than two miles each way. This was an introductory class session where we invite newcomers that might be interested in taking the class. At the tea break we share a little about the society that developed and runs this particular form and some of us shared about our personal experiences with the health benefits.

I shared my story, explaining that other than simple walking, Tai Chi was the first form of exercise that I started after weight loss surgery. Some of my classmates didn’t know the story. There were audible gasps when I said that I used to weight 386 pounds and have lost 182.

The whole class as we worked on the first four moves of the set, and then at the end of class when we did the entire 108 move set, I really enjoyed the grace and ease of my body in motion. I felt balanced, strong and flexible. After that 90 minutes of class, I hopped on the bike for my ride home, still soaring on that strong, ease of movement feeling.

All day long I’ve thought about the weight still to lose. I don’t want to get ahead of myself and start estimating how long it will take me. Sure, I’d rather lose it sooner than later, but I also don’t want to drive myself crazier than I am when it comes to obsessing about the scale number. That obsession leads to me doing dumb stuff like I did the other night.

I just need to focus on eating right and exercising. There’s a difference between staying focused and obsessing. Focusing on the healthy behavior keeps me in recovery. If I do that consistently, I don’t need to obsess. The weight will come off as it’s meant to do.

It’s also important for me to balance my emotions. Right now I’m on a high because it only recently hit me that I’m in the homestretch. I can’t maintain at this level of excitement. That also leads to obsession.

So, everything in moderation, including my emotions and my eating. I’ll get there. The end goal is no longer a far, far off impossible mark. For the first time in my life, it’s within my reach.

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Good Doctor’s Appointment

I just got home from Miami and my doctor’s appointment, with a little retail fun thrown in for good measure. I’m really pleased with my day in general. I had a scale number in mind for this morning and I met that goal. That was for my “morning naked weight”. I automatically add four pounds to that number to estimate what I’ll weigh on my doctor’s scale in the afternoon. So, I felt pretty good, all things considered. I knew I’d lost seven pounds since he last saw me. That’s not a huge weight loss in three months but I get to factor in that those three months included the holidays and the ongoing plateau. I think that plateau is finally over.

You might remember that the last time I saw the doctor I posted my lowest number of pounds lost between appointments since starting the whole journey. His suggestion at that time was that I cut my calorie intake by 25% — a suggestion I rejected because it meant I would be eating only between 600 and 750 calories a day.

I chose instead to strengthen my commitment to exercise and make sure that I worked out at least six days a week and hit my 10,000 step goal the majority of days. That’s when I began getting up an hour early every day and I’ve maintained that through the weeks. I also got more vigilant about hidden sugars in products, started eating more vegetables, and did my best to be less likely to snag a junk carb.

As of today, I feel like I’m really in the home stretch with fewer than 30 pounds to go before I reach goal weight. That sounds so amazing to me as if I’m “only” 30 pounds overweight. To many people, that number would not be any kind of “only”, but remember, I’ve lost more than 180 pounds! To me, it’s not only an “only”, it’s a freaking miracle. I am just a few pounds away from One-derland — that magical, marvelous state of weighing less than 200 pounds. Folks, I passed 200 pounds when I was 13 or 14. I can scarcely believe that I’m soon to weigh less than I did when I was a teenager.

Doctor and I talked at length today about how much more weight I need to lose. Remember, he’s all about the Body Mass Index (BMI). He wants my number to be lower than a 30. I suggested the number in my head of 176. He said 170, then he did his BMI calculations and said that I needed to be down to 180 pounds to be lower than 30. That would mean I was out of the obese category and into the overweight section. He still thought I should aim for 170. I finally suggested that, instead of picking one number, we agree to evaluate it all when I’m somewhere in the range between 175-180. He was good with that idea. I will say that he gave me one other good nugget of information. He told me that I’d have less discomfort after I have skin removal surgery because people with BMI’s lower than 30 have less occurrence of adhesion during the healing time. Something to think about.

He didn’t urge me to drop my calories again, but he also offered up the suggestion that if I really restricted all carbs for two weeks, I could kick start my weight loss. Since I’m already not eating much in the way of bread, potatoes, rice, pasta or other starchy/flour based carbs, he means fruit, beans or other carby veggies. He feels that if I focus mostly on protein from meats, fish, poultry, eggs, Greek yogurt, nuts and, occasionally cheese, plus non-carby vegetables, for even two to three weeks, I could knock off a good chunk of my remaining weight.

I’m a baby. I immediately wanted to whine, “Nooo fruit? No hummus or or other bean protein for variety? Nooooo!”, but I refrained. I told him I’d evaluate my food plans and do my best.

It takes me about two and a half hours to get home, depending on the traffic, so I had a lot of time to think about it. Here’s what I know. I am not willing to completely give up fruit. I am, however, willing to look for ways to cut down. I will switch out my morning fruit/protein smoothie and go back to the straight protein powder and water drink for breakfast. I’ll choose vegetables or nuts for my mid-morning snack. If I have Greek yogurt for lunch, I’ll either mix up some with vanilla extract or use only strawberries or blueberries in it. (The doctor suggested those as better fruit choices than, say, grapes, watermelon or bananas.) There are plenty of lunches when I don’t do Greek yogurt, so that’s only a “sometimes” fruit anyway.

I’ve become a big fan of a small apple for my mid-afternoon snack. I’m not willing to give that up. If you compare a cup of apple to a cup of banana, you find that it has less than half the calories, less than half the carbs, and half the sugar. So I’m comfortable with keeping it in my food plan.

I won’t pile on the bean intake. Doesn’t that sound like a goofy sentence? I’m just not willing to give them up completely for two weeks because I need the variety in my food choices, particularly since I don’t eat any seafood.

The longer I drove and thought about it, the more I became willing to try the doctor’s suggestion for two weeks and see how it goes. I’m not starting right away, however. For much of next week, I’ll be involved in a business conference which means that I’ll have less control over when I eat and what’s available. My goal whenever I’m involved in these kinds of meetings is to do the best that I can and make good choices whenever possible. Once the meeting days and events are concluded, I have a solid several weeks with nothing to make my efforts more challenging.

It’s been a long journey to wellness. I’m on a roll. I’d love to see my progress go more quickly from now until I get to that goal weight range! In the meantime, I can do anything as long as I tackle it one day at a time.

Have I mentioned before that my doctor’s office is in the same large building as a Whole Foods Market? I always stop at Whole Foods before heading home. I could have bought lots of fresh, organic fruit. Instead I grabbed some roasted, unsalted pistachio nuts in their shells. I finally found celery root which several people have suggested to me is great steamed and mashed. I also bought a container of “cole slaw” mix — shredded cabbages and carrots. I’m going to experiment with some sort of Greek yogurt dressing for it. I think that will be a flavorful, fun way to get in some veggies and protein.

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The Dumb Thing I Did

I did a totally dumbass thing earlier this evening. I can’t even claim that I thought it was a good idea at the time. I knew at the time that diseased thinking motivated the action and did it anyway because the desire to show the lowest number possible on the doctor’s scale tomorrow took over.

I’ve been really good on my food plan. Up until a couple of days ago when I got sick, I was consistently great with my physical fitness plan and exercise. I’ve been losing weight and have felt great about it. This should have been more than enough for me to maintain a solid recovery mindset. I decided that it wasn’t enough. I got so hung up on the doctor’s appointment tomorrow and the damned number on the scale, that I opted to push things further. Yesterday I put myself on a “full liquids” plan. This meant fruit and veggie smoothies, protein drinks, greek yogurt and low cal/low sodium/low carb creamy soup. It’s the same plan I followed for two weeks prior to surgery and then, after the first ten days of clear liquids, followed for another four weeks post-surgery. I stayed hydrated, drank a lot of green tea and felt terrific.

A little more weight dropped off as of this morning and I figured that I’d really be in good shape by tomorrow.

It still wasn’t enough. So, when I got home from work tonight and made another smoothie to drink for dinner on my way to my manicure/pedicure appointment, I got the bright idea to use a laxative. From time to time my system slows down and needs a little help. As long as I don’t overdo and use only when necessary, it’s okay. It would have been okay in this case, too, but I took more than the recommended dose — just to be sure.

An hour and a half later, my system protested. I won’t go into all the details except to say that I cramped, broke out into a cold sweat, and was miserable to the point that I needed to excuse myself several times from the appointment to use the restroom. Finally, I couldn’t sit still and cut my appointment short. Thankfully, my nail tech is also a friend. My toes/feet were done, the manicure was half done, and she’ll squeeze me in on Saturday afternoon to put the polish on my fingernails.

I rushed home and alternated between curling up in my recliner and waiting in the bathroom for a good half an hour before the reactions settled down. The whole time, I scolded myself for bringing this on by taking laxatives for the wrong reason. Right now, I’m trying to get over the negative thoughts and stop beating up on myself. I made a poor choice. I experienced the consequences. It’s over. I need to let it go. However, I also need to remember tonight’s episode and what I learned.

The next time I fixate so much on my weight that I’m tempted to do something harmful, I need to make a different choice. On a daily basis, this is not about how much I weigh to the number. It’s not about whether I please my surgeon. It’s about making good eating choices, exercising, and being healthy in body and mind.

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Food Isn’t the Problem

I have a cold. I felt like crap all day, bad enough to stay home from work. I stayed home from work but didn’t refrain from working. Considering the sneezing, stuffy head, fuzzy brain and general tiredness, I was actually very productive and got a lot done. I was not, however, physically active. For the first time in months I have gone two days without reaching my minimum commitment of 10,000 steps. I feel sluggish. Even though I have more than enough reason to have not fulfilled my physical fitness goals the last two days, mentally I’m struggling with it. I’m sure that I’ll improve as soon as I get back on the step count, but it does me good to share this stuff. Thanks for listening.

While I was working from home today I had on the television. I sort of half listened during the Dr. Oz show, but in that hour I heard something that struck home. I’m sure I’ve heard it before, but it was excellent timing for me to hear it again today. The doctors were talking about the growing number of heroin addicts and the different prescription drugs that are hydrocodone related in different strengths, the addiction problems, etc. One doctor said that in the lives of addicts, the drugs are not the problem. The drugs are the solution. What a strong, important point. From my perspective, food and my way of previous diseased eating are not the problems. They are what I used to cope or bury the real issues. They’re the ways that I tried to solve my issues.

Sometimes it’s difficult to separate out these things. Even though a drug addict might know that he/she turned to drugs for an emotional reason doesn’t mean their bodies don’t physically become hooked. Same thing with me. I can get hooked on the behavior of stuffing my feelings with food or bingeing on certain foods because of their carb, fat or sugar content. So, I can’t ignore that, while food isn’t the root problem, it became a secondary problem at some point. So, until I “got clean”, I couldn’t clear my head and emotions enough to work on the motivating issues.

Some might think that getting clean is the hard part, but the real work begins after. That’s why it was so important for me to understand that the vertical sleeve gastrectomy — the bariatric surgery — would only be a tool to help me control my overeating behavior, which I’d not been able to sustain control over in the past for any significant amount of time. The hardest work is picking through the emotional and psychological issues that make me run to food. All of the time I need to remember that I cannot rely on food to be anything more than food. It needs to not be a problem or a solution.

The work is hard, but it’s important. It’s also possible as long as I keep at it.

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A Really Big Shew (Shoe)

When people imitated the late, great Ed Sullivan, they always emphasized the way that he said “Show” as if he pronounced it “Shew”, as in shoe.

Me, I know about really big shoes. I needz them. I wear a 10 EE. I think I have since I was quite young. Let me tell you, that was pure torture when I was younger because nobody made cute wide-width shoes for kids or teens back then. Other than sneakers or flip flops or absolute basics, shoe styles were hideous — or at least designed for much, much, much older people with foot problems. I so hated back-to-school shoe shopping in late summer. Not only were my feet long, but I spent most of the summer months running around barefoot, going to the beach, etc. I’m sure that this contributed to the growing width of my feet.

This is probably why I never developed that feminine fixation on great, sexy, high design shoes. I vaguely remember circa 1980 owning a cute pair of Candy slides in a light plum suede, but that’s it for me in the cute shoe department

Thankfully, designers caught on over the years and began to create more stylish footwear for the wide-width market, but that didn’t make them easy to find in small town, NJ. In the 80s, I wrote radio copy for a wide-width shoe specialty store. The owner was an obnoxious man and I hated shopping there when he was in the store. His wife was much nicer. I could occasionally find shoes that didn’t make me feel humiliated when I wore them there at the rare other establishment, thank goodness, but it’s always been an uncomfortable area for me.

The Internet and some catalog really opened up the opportunities, but that’s really when my weight interfered. In addition to my feet flattening over the years from my obesity, I have a higher instep. Plus, let’s face it, one can gain weight in one’s feet which only adds to the size challenge. (It’s also possible to wear a 10 EE and not be fat.) So, by the time that I could more easily find stylish shoes, I wasn’t physically comfortable wearing most of them. If something didn’t cut across the top, then the angle of heels hurt my knees or my feet looked like they were hanging over the sides.

It always killed me that drag queens always managed to find and wear hot shoes — even if they had a football player-type body packed inside their outfits. Oprah wears a size 10 and she has great shoes.

*indulging in a temporary, suffering, whine-sigh*

Moving to Florida and working for a marine mammal facility was a boon. Flip flops are normal. Crocs rubber flip flops are particularly popular with their range of colors and styles. Yes, yes, you fashionistas, I can hear you decrying Crocs as style and design disasters. A friend who is a fashion and style maven recently declared in her newspaper column that friends shouldn’t let friends wear them. She calls it Croc-blocking. We serve together on a Board. The day of the last meeting I warned her in the afternoon not to look at my feet later on, lest she be horrified. My sister-in-law loathes Crocs, too, but I think her antipathy might focus more on the closed toe-clogs with the holes in them.

I listen not to the naysayers. I believe I currently have six pairs of Crocs flip flops in white, bright blue, black with pink footbeds, charcoal gray, navy, black.

However, even I know that there are many occasions where these flip flops are not appropriate foot attire. I own some nicer leather sandals. I also have nice black leather slingbacks with closed toes, some pumps, and a cute pair of black peau de soie evening sandals with bling on them and kitten heels. Very comfortable.

Remember when I bought the dresses last week? I could wear the nice sandals with either one of them, but when I was at checkout, the woman next to me looked at the fun, flirty, gray-pink-black dress and proclaimed that I needed pink shoes.

The thought kindled a new, alien feeling of shoe lust. I knew from a year ago that I’d lost weight in my feet. Maybe, just maybe, I would now be able to find truly stylish shoes that I could also comfortably wear. I might even be able to try, dare I hope, something more than the shortest heel. Was it possible? I had to look.

I hit my favorite go-to online store that very night — Zappos.com. Not only does Zappos have a gazillion shoe styles in a huge range of sizes but they also offer free shipping both ways! I first searched for pink shoes in my size. I found a couple, but didn’t like any of them enough to add to my shopping cart. I plan to wear that flirty dress one night in New Orleans when we’re doing a walking party evening. I needed cute, stylish and also comfortable. Not wanting to fall back on black, I began searching out silver and gray. Before long, I found some pewter, peep toe slingbacks in sort of a mock-woven leather pattern with a wedge heel. Click! I added them to my Shopping Cart.

Next up, I searched through navy dress shoes and soon found an elegant pair in either peau de soie or brushed satin — also peep toe slingbacks, but with three lovely bedazzle jewels on the top of each. Click! I bought those as well.

The shoes arrived today. I couldn’t wait to try them on. The pewter shoes slid on like butter. I walked around on the carpet in them for awhile and imagined being on my feet for an hour or more, strolling Bourbon Street. They’re perfect! I was more concerned about the navy, although my heart sort of smiled when I took them out of the box because they’re elegant and pretty. The heel on this pair is definitely higher than I’ve worn in many, many years. Not stiletto, skyscraper high, but an extra inch of height is an adjustment for me.

My left foot is a little bigger than my right, so I always try that shoe on first. The leather that crosses over the top of my foot was definitely a little tighter than on my right foot. I walked around in the pair for a while longer to see if it would start to hurt. It didn’t. I know that our feet swell during the day, but I didn’t try these on until after 5 p.m. I believe I’m going to be okay!

Trust me, I would not risk wearing them the first time out on a walking tour. These are heels that I still need to get used to, after all. The event where they’ll make their debut on my feet is a cocktail hour/dinner event which means I’ll have ample opportunity to sit if I need to. I predict that need won’t happen often. I know I’ll want to mix and mingle with my friends and colleagues. After all, not only will it give me a chance to socialize, but I’ll also get to show off my awesome new shoes!

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Not Skinny

Every once in a while someone tells me how skinny I’m getting, how skinny I look, or they call me “Skinny Minny”.

For the record, even when I get to goal weight, I will not be skinny. I could go 15 pounds below my goal weight and I still wouldn’t be skinny. It’s not my shape. I’m curvy and big boned. Understanding that I will never be skinny does not upset me in the least. The word, the description, does not call up a lovely image in my mind’s eye. It doesn’t sound flattering to me.

It makes me wonder why people have to assign a label to body descriptions?

The problem is that I can’t go up and ask people I know to stop using the term. Okay, I could but I’ve learned that co-workers and acquaintances don’t get it. My good friends understand. They offer encouragement. They reinforce that I’m looking great or tell me that they’re proud of me for my effort and exercise, but the people closest to me don’t hang a label on me. I appreciate that always, but even more so when I’ve heard the skinny thing.

The people who use it mean well. They are happy for me and want to be supportive. If I say anything to them, some of them get very offended, as if I don’t appreciate their support. I find that I need to not flinch and just smile and say thank you. So, that’s what I do, then I come here and bitch about it process what I’m feeling.

Thanks for listening. 🙂

Before I end, I wanted to share something. This morning I woke up and decided that I would decree today would be the great start to a terrific week. I invite everyone to join me in this attitude choice. Who’s in? Let’s put that energy out into the universe and see what we can manifest!

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Pre-Stressing the Scale

This Friday is my next appointment with my surgeon. I almost called this blog post Day of Reckoning, then I thought it should be Getting Called on the Carpet. Both of those seemed negative. I don’t know why I get stressed over these appointments. Scratch that, yes I do. In my twisted lil psyche, regardless of the fact that I’m a grown woman of 56, I sometimes feel like I did when I was a little kid and had to speak to an authority figure. I also have a long, long, long history of doctors’ appointments when getting on the scale to get weighed was anything but a joyful experience.

Most of the time they were more like harbingers of shame. Get on the scale; get scolded for my weight. Get told to lose weight. Get scolded some more. It just sucked. The only times I didn’t suffer heavy duty stress and emotional trauma prior to a doctor’s appointment and weight check were those when I was in the middle of a semi-successful weight loss. Then I could celebrate how well I was doing, until such time as I was no longer doing well.

For the year, year and a half after my bariatric surgery, I loved going each month, then every three months, to the surgeon’s for my check up. Who wouldn’t when weight melted off of me like ice cream off a cone on a hot summer day? When my rate slowed to more like one, one and a half pounds a week, it didn’t matter how much I told you that this was to be expected, I still felt like I was wrong. The old shame began to well up again. That’s how locked in my emotional well-being can be to my scale successes.

Last December’s appointment was the worst of this whole journey because I’d lost the least amount of weight in the three month period and I reacted poorly to the doctor’s suggestion that I cut my calorie intake by 25%.

I’m concerned about my emotions this week as I countdown to the check in on Friday. I’ve been doing really well. My head and emotions are in a great place without lots of conflicts or issues about my food plan. I’ve lost weight and stepped up my exercise. I’m in a good place, damn it, and yet I feel myself beginning to fret about what I’ll weigh when I step on my doctor’s scale on Friday afternoon.

Tonight, I’m so glad that I was inspired to write about this topic. Facing the issue, and my unreasonable fears, will help me stay strong and on track. The last thing I want to do is go into a tail spin and start eating over the scale stress. This is not the time to attempt to use carbohydrates to smother the stress. That would jeopardize the good progress I’ve made. I need to stick to the food and fitness plan, taking each day as it comes, one day at a time. As long as I don’t go off the rails, I will feel emotionally and mentally strong and in recovery which will bolster the physical effort.

I’m psyching myself up for another good week. Each morning when I wake up and then throughout my days, I will choose serenity over stress. When I walk into the doctor’s office on Friday it will be with a light step and a happy smile. The number on the scale is not the only indication of how well I’m doing, how far I’ve come, and how committed I am to continuing with my progress and my recovery.

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Clothing Coolness – an NSV

I have a special event coming up in a couple of weeks and needed a new dress. The beautiful dress I bought for last fall’s wedding will be too warm to wear in the Florida Keys in mid-April. Besides, I’ve worn it for a family wedding, an evening event for work, and formal night on the cruise. Double besides, I don’t really need to justify getting a new dress. 😉

I’ve already discussed the wonderful non-scale victory (NSV) of being able to go into a local women’s clothing store and find sizes that I can wear. I used to have to scour the catalogs from plus-sized clothing companies, go online, or hope that I’d have a trip somewhere where plus sized clothing stores were located. Not just any plus-sized clothing store, but ones that had plus-plus-plus sizes and, even then, I’d have to pray that I would find something that not only fit but that also had some snap and style. Something that didn’t better suit someone 30 years older than me. Something that didn’t feel made of plastic.

Anyway, I went into a nice local store today. When I shopped there before my cruise, I’d seen a really snappy black and white dress but hadn’t tried it on. They still had the dress, but in a size smaller than I thought I could wear — a straight 16, not a 16 W. I figured I’d try it anyway, but also picked out a couple of other pretty ones too. I fell instantly in adoration with a really cute, fun, playful dress with tiered light ruffles in modern splashes of pink, gray and black. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever owned before and, while I wouldn’t wear it to the event in a couple of weeks, I thought it would be perfect for my trip to New Orleans in May.

In the dressing room, I first tried on the black and white dress. This was a sleek, form fitting dress with black panels down the sides and white, skinny ruchy (is that word) sort of striping in the center of the front and back. The good news first: Even in a straight 16, the dress fit. That was cool. Looking at myself in the mirror, I knew I’d need a really good Spanx undergarment (Because of the weight loss, I now have a significant sag of skin in the belly area, so compression garments in some outfits are my friend.) The not as good, but it’s my reality right now news: The dress made my ass look humongous. Seriously. I’m not being picky or regarding myself with “fat” eyes. It really wasn’t flattering.

That happens. Not every style is good on every figure, regardless on how good that figure might be. I’m okay with that. It’s real.

I tried on the second dress, which was not form fitting but has a nice cut and swing to it. There are some vertical navy panels alternating with a pretty navy and gray print pattern. It also had a short bolero-ish/shrug jacket which covered my also-sagging upper arms. I knew immediately that this dress would be perfect for the event in a couple of weeks and I am thrilled with how it looked on me and how I look in it. Score!

Finally, I slipped on the fun/flirty dress and, oh my stars, it also looks great and just made me smile. Even though I’m losing weight, it will not be too big on me in a month and a half. I already know that I’m really going to enjoy wearing it in NOLA, for sure. If I can find some sassy pink, comfortable sandals, I’ll be set.

Bonus for the shopping excursion was the terrific spring sale. 40% off the regular priced dress and an extra $25% off of the two already-on-sale garments. Woo hoo!

The clothing coolness NSV didn’t end with the shopping trip. I went off to an afternoon outdoor fundraising event for local pet rescues/shelters. When I arrived home later in the afternoon, I got my mail and flipped through it. I’d received a marketing piece from one of my favorite plus size clothing stores. We’ve never had one of the stores here in the Keys or in South Florida, but for more than 15 years I sought them out whenever I traveled. Seriously, if I knew I was going somewhere else in Florida, I went to their website’s store locator to find the nearest store. I knew where one was located in my home area in New Jersey too and always shopped there on my trips up home. This store was my mainstay for cocktail dresses, suits, sportswear — you name it and I could find it there pretty much any time. I once planned a six hour driving trip in Florida just to seek out the closest store because I needed a fancy dress for an event.

Today I pulled out the marketing flyer and suddenly realized something. A couple of weeks ago when I went to Clearwater for the spring training game, I drove right past the exit for the store that I’d gone too whenever I was up in that area. I never even gave it a thought that I should stop in and browse for clothes.

Now this is the big NSV. The store that I could not do without isn’t one that I need anymore! I’m jazzed beyond belief. Again this shows how far I’ve come and I couldn’t be happier.

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Nourishing Recovery

Feeding my recovery is as important as feeding my body. It’s sometimes more difficult. Protein, veggies, fruit, fluids, the occasional carbs, good fats — that kind of nourishment I understand and everything is readily accessible. Figuring out the nourishment for my emotional and mental recovery is challenging because what I need changes and it isn’t something I can find at the supermarket.

I’m still focusing on the “success breeds success” idea. By acknowledging each positive step, every good day on my food plan, making my daily exercise goals, I positively reinforce myself for my own effort. It’s like a self-delivered pat on the back and “atta girl” instead of a head slap. This nourishes the mental aspect of my recovery. When I do it successfully, it helps me do it successfully again the next time.

I guess it’s the emotional aspects that are the most challenging to feed and reinforce. Maybe it’s more that they can be the most uncomfortable to examine and then develop new ways of feeling and reacting which leads to improved, healthier choices. Choosing an attitude of gratitude first thing in the morning helps. Feeling grateful sets me up in a good way and opens up my spirit. Owning my awesomeness might have sounded cutesy to some, but it’s serious stuff to me. As confident as I am in many areas of my life, I can backslide into esteem issues.

Recognizing the challenges and setting up a proactive mindset usually impacts my emotions. Thinking of things for which I’m grateful, leads to voicing those things and that creates the positive emotion. If I acknowledge an awesome thing about myself — whether it’s an ability, an attitude, an — and really own it, that makes it real and keeps my esteem and the way I feel about myself at a good, steady level.

Even choosing this as a topic matters. It reinforces the importance of tending my recovery, nourishing it with everything that it needs to grow and thrive. My recovery isn’t just important. It’s important. Without it, my life and health can disintegrate. I want to always remember this and keep putting the emphasis on it that it deserves and needs. That I need.

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