Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Day 95: Reflections (Cuervo-Scented)

You may recall that my plan had been a morning of yardwork and margaritas. Instead, my morning comprised a lot of birthday thank-you note-and-letter-writing, as my mom pointed out that next Tuesday is the one-month anniversary of my birthday, and those notes continue to languish, unwritten.

Eek! I was brought up more genteelly than this!

So I got up early, made breakfast, got everyone off to school, and wrote feverishly. When the last envelope was sealed, I pulled on my crappy clothes and headed out to clip my front hedges, which grow like Topsy.

And saw . . . that the phone company was parked in front of my house, here to deal with our illegal double pole situation, and neatly blocking my entire row of hedges.

I mean, there's always other yardwork I can do . . . but I was all psyched to clip hedges.


So, Plan B. I grabbed the largish package of stuff for my folks (thank-you notes plus 90 articles I've clipped on why my mom should be lifting weights) and walked down the hill the long easy way to my post office, then stopped at Walgreens, and then ascended Cardiac Crest, puffing, puffing all the way.

(Dude. I can dance hard for a 60-minute zumba class without panting. Why does this one hill kill me, every single time? I climbed it with Good Neighbor Anne last week; we ran some Walgreens errands, then sat outside and drank coffee at Starbucks, then ascended Heart Attack Hill, and she, a slender slip of a thing, merely glided in an upward direction, as I plodded next to her, panting like a St. Bernard with a keg around its neck. What the heck??)

And now I must give a shout-out to Inspirational Kathy, who wrote me the following:
Walked over the bridges downtown with a friend yesterday and did NOT stop going up the way too many steps up the one bridge. Normally I go the other direction so I go DOWN those steps, but she led. She is 13 years younger and thin. I am ridiculously proud of the fact that I did not stop to pant. 
I'm proud of you too, girlfriend! And now we all are.

(I might not have stopped, but I definitely would have panted.)

In any event, after climbing the hill I did a mini muscle workout, lifting weights (60 bicep and tricep curls! 30 arm extensions! 20 of another thing that's like an arm extension!) and doing throw-downs (21, my biggest number yet, I think! And I learned that I can easily do them while holding on to the treadmill, I don't need my children's feet!). And then I showered, and then, one minute shy of 1 p.m., I had a margarita.

And it was good.

Inspirational Kathy and I have been talking a lot lately, and she has given me much food for thought. With her permission, I'm sharing some of our recent correspondence.

First, let me back up and say that I met I. K. almost 20 years ago — we became friends on the Betsy-Tacy e-list (because we are both awesome), then we found ourselves on the same flight from Minneapolis to Sacramento (that was our first in-person meeting), and since then we've seen each other multiple dozens of times. She's met my entire extended family, I've met her adorable late mother (I hosted her for dinner!) and her husband and niece. She is one of my favorite people in the world and a truly adored friend — when we're together, we talk nonstop and never run out of conversation. She is a tireless cheerleader for anyone lucky enough to call her a friend, and I love love love her.

This is what she wrote to me recently:
I am stunned at how great you look in your photos. MUCH thinner, less puffy, almost thin. Really. You are so beautiful and you carry yourself with such elan that who notices that weight?
It boggles my mind to think of myself this way. If you asked me to describe how I looked, without hesitation I would reply, "Fat, frumpy, and middle-aged." But Kathy really made me stop and think for a minute — in other words, to hesitate rather than reply without hesitation. I wrote back to her:
You really made me reflect: I have never, not once, looked at you and thought, "There's a fat woman." That is not the look you convey. I think "stylish," I think "confident," I think "happy," I think "lovely, glowing, engaging woman." And when I first met [Kathy's niece, who also struggles with weight, though she is quite lovely], all I saw was how pretty she was. Such a beautiful face, such gorgeous skin! And reflecting on this, I finally heard what you and others have said to me: I don't present myself as a fat person. If it's true of you and [niece], then it can be true of me too.
I'm still wrestling with this, but I'm closer to absorbing it.

We also talked about wearing clothes that actually fit, rather than loose clothes that we believe camouflage our weight (but really don't). Kathy wrote:
You dress as though you were thin, which terrifies most of us. And works wonderfully well on you.  

I am really thinking that the loose tops I fancy add to my bulk. I have one close-fitting top, and everyone asks if I have lost weight. I think it shows all my bulges!!!! Man, we human beings are complex things. I am, however, wearing that top a lot . . .
I remember the first time I wore the tight-fitting outfit to zumba and how completely naked I felt. I now wear that outfit, and similar ones, all the time — it is in fact my preferred way to dress at zumba. (Good Neighbor Anne once remarked, on the topic of exercise apparel, "Compression is your friend." And she is right!)

Clothes that fit are key. I'm actually thinking of giving up my skirtsuits for a pretty tank-style swimsuit. Who do I think I'm fooling? And since I'm more likely to sit in a hot tub than swim in a pool, not having a whole bathing dress fill up with air bubbles and billow around me like my own personal life-raft will be a nice change indeed.
I. K. also gave me an inspirational pep talk:
You seem to have permanently lowered your set point. And, that, IMHO, is a fantastic achievement. How much more do you have to give up to get to the next set point? Are you willing to do that?  
The answer is, Eat a lot less. And I'm trying! We shall see just how much more I have to give up. I'm losing again, which is wonderful, but it is slow slow slow.

Yes, I've had my margaritas today, but the kids are having deli sandwiches tonight, and I'm just having water and salad. I picked up my CSA share today and my house is bursting with fresh veg, including a basket of ripe tomatoes. I've also got ripe, sweet nectarines in the fruit basket, and their perfume is blanketing my kitchen. Yummy!

I do love a liverwurst deli sandwich, though. And it would be lovely to eat foot prepared by someone other than myself. But I will stand tall! I will be strong! I will reject the siren song of the wurst!!

(Wouldn't it be wonderful if you lost a pound every time you resisted a treat?? It seems so unfair that you don't.)

—Lady C, tall, strong, wurst-free


  1. Frumpy? Never once since I met you have you looked FRUMPY! I loved hearing Inspirational Kathy's voice in this post -- you describe her well, and I love her, too. Also, how does she do that? I've coincidentally met her in unlikely locations twice!!! I think it must be because she Goes Places.

    I got home late last night from my trip and found your sweet, sweet thank you card. It was so comforting and dear. Thank you so much for the warm hug by mail to greet me after travail.

    I was cheering and applauding (OK, and saying I told you so!) to see that you finally said above that you are thinking of yourself as as beautiful as the rest of us think you are. I.K. put it perfectly -- you dress like a knockout (I refuse to say a thin person because I truly believe that you are gorgeous on the outside because you are on the inside) and that is -- not brave, but dazzling, full stop. But it's true that you do look thinner and healthier, too!

    1. Well, you generally see me at "occasions," when I'm a little more polished and groomed! I promise you, I have frumpy days. Remember, most of my hours are spent as a suburban PTO-and-churchy mom -- not quite a soccer mom, because my kids are mostly inert, but close -- and I do dress the part. But thank you for your loving words, and welcome back home! Get some sleep!

  2. Oops, that was SDF, above! Sleepy after flight home!

  3. Unfair, indeed. I wish I lost pounds simply for being allergic to wheat. That would refresh my believe in justice in the universe.

    1. It's crazy unfair that you don't!!!! I feel your pain.

  4. This hit home with me. I remember meeting Kathy's niece last summer and thinking: pretty, great hair, friendly and open, dresses really well. Not once did I think about her weight. Yet I am *convinced* that the first thing everyone who sees me thinks is "what a fatty." We truly are our own worst enemies. Sister Hart the elder.

    1. Oh, man, for sure. YOU are the icon of good grooming, gorgeous hair, fabby accessories. That is what I see when I look at you. In fact, the very first thing I noticed about you, back in the day, was the super-cute glasses you were wearing.

      Kathy and her niece should come hang out with us!! And we can all sit around and admire each other. :)