Downward What?

I mentioned a while back that I’ve been learning to do a little bit of yoga, and I wanted to follow up here with a little more about that.

For those of you who don’t know me, I should start by explaining a few things. Set the scene, so to speak. First, as should be obvious from my profile picture, I am not a slim person. What is a little less obvious is the fact that I have in my fifty year-old body not one single ounce of either grace or coordination. It’s like living in a machine with mismatched parts that don’t quit fit together.

Something as simple as walking down the street can be a real challenge, what with my right foot often pausing to say to my left: “Why, hello! Fancy meeting you here. Have we met?” To which my left usually throws in a hearty, “No, we haven’t! Let’s shake on it!”

Now just to add to the general mayhem, toss in the facts that I rarely exercise voluntarily and that a big chunk of my Franken-spine is fused with metal.

All of which boils down to the realization that I am not a Yoga person. I am, in fact, the anti-Yogi.

My sister is in the process of becoming certified to teach Yoga, and she’s been willing to drive out to my middle-of-nowhere town to teach me. Since my apartment is tiny and hotter than the surface of the sun, she chose the the pretty little gazebo in the park in the center of town for our lessons.



First thing I did was remove my glasses so I couldn’t see how many people could see me. Sort of like an ostrich burying its head in the sand. If I don’t see the horrified expressions on the faces of people staring at my giant butt in the air as I “Downward Dog,” then I can pretend that it never happened. Just please don’t ever mention it to me. I am sure there are support groups forming even now for all who have had the misfortune of glancing in my direction at the wrong moment.

She started by throwing out some yoga terms. Drishti. Tadasana. Mula Bandha.

“Now you’re just making stuff up,” I accused after that last one.

“I’m not!” Mula bandha, she explained, is similar to the Kegel exercises I lied about doing during all of my pregnancies. Apparently, it’s all about someday being able to sneeze without crossing my legs.

I’ll admit, I was pretty resistant to the whole Yoga thing at first. When I think of Yoga, I picture a lean young woman in a jogging bra and shorts, stretching and posing slowly on a beach in front of a peaceful sunset. I just can’t wrap my brain around a fat middle-aged woman flailing about on a colorful mat in the middle of the park.

My sister adds a wonderful touch of humor to her lessons. “I brought some bug spray,” she told me one week in her soothing Yoga-teacher voice. “It’s all natural and environmentally friendly and doesn’t work for shit, but you feel really good about yourself while the bugs eat you alive.”

She gives me homework every week between our classes. “How did it go this week?” she’ll ask me.

“I’m getting better at Mazeltov,” I’ll tell her.

“You mean Mula bandha?”

“Right. Mitsubishi.”

In just a few short months, I’ve learned that I love Yoga. More precisely, I love the way Yoga makes me feel. My old, fat, stiff body is feeling so much . . . well, I can’t really describe it. Warmer, stronger, more open. I am standing straighter, sleeping better. Maybe even breathing better. I am, however, still struggling with the Manischewitz.

Yoga’s not about fitness. It’s completely non-competitive and it seems really odd to go to an exercise class in which I barely break a sweat. There’s no cardio, no goal-setting, no pressure. I’m probably not going to shed a single pound by doing Yoga, but I am gaining so much more.

Even if I never master the Manicotti.

So, if you’ve never tried Yoga, I highly recommend taking a class or two. Give it a shot. What have you got to lose — other than perhaps a bit of your dignity? And if you have tried it, I’d love to hear from you. Love it or hate it? And how long did it take you to master the Molybdenum?


State of the Year

Today’s Daily Prompt was to write up a mid-year “State of My Year” post, and I have to say that I really liked this one.  I’m not very good at patting myelf on the back for my accomlishments, and I absolutely stink at setting realistic, concrete goals.  So it was nice to have a chance to do both today.

The first part of my year has definitely been productive, both in my personal life and with my writing.  I have accomplished the following:

  • Finished first rough draft of “Her House Divided”
  • Had my blog chosen for Freshly Pressed
  • Faced some fears (swimming, driving the Expedition)
  • Entered Writer’s Digest Contest
  • Joined Twitter
  • Joined RWA
  • Completed three RWA classes
  • Started writing poetry again
  • Lost 16 pounds
  • Acknowledged Depression and sought treatment

Goals for the second half of the year

  • Finish revisions on “Her House Divided”
  • Lose another 20 pounds
  • Complete three or  more RWA classes
  • Blog on a schedule
  • Reach 400 followers on  my blog
  • Get Freshly Pressed again
  • Sell a short story or poem
  • Have more fun


The Land of Painful Reality

Now that I’ve gone public with my new weight loss goals, I decided to try to find a few weight loss blogs to follow for inspiration.  I want to find recipes, success stories, helpful hints, etc.  I keep looking for someone like me, someone facing similar struggles.  But instead, I keep finding daily food diaries and exercise logs.

I don’t care.

I can’t imagine anything more boring than a blog that lists what I ate, how many calories I burned, or how many Weight Watchers “activity points” I can count for scratching my ass.    And I strongly doubt whether or not anyone really gives a damn that I counted eight points for a Wendy’s Frosty last night.

Worth every tasty point!
Worth every tasty point!

I have lost count of how many times I have tried Weight Watchers before.  I once lost nearly one hundred pounds while following the program, but I was also in the midst of my obsession with running at that time; my weight-loss was due more to frenetic exercise than to my haphazard attention to what I was eating.   I think I can say in all honesty that I have never actually done Weight Watchers correctly.

So I’m not sure what is so different this time.  I just finished one full week on the program and actually did it right all week long.

Of course, I don’t know if it worked or not because my fancy electronic scale doesn’t work and I’ve been in denial for so long that I didn’t realize it was broken until I hopped on it to take note of my starting weight.  Fortunately, the lovely people at Salter have agreed to replace it and will be sending me a new one in 4-6 weeks.  Love those warranties!

There’s an entire blog post in there somewhere about how it felt to realize that I had broken my scale, but quite frankly my ego just isn’t up to that.  If not for my skinny-mini daughter telling me that it’s been broken for months I might have been suicidal when I looked down and saw “Err . . . Err . . .Err” in bright red letters on the readout.

Slim people like my sister don’t stay home and survive on specialty foods created just for weight control.  I’ve watched her, and she eats real food.  My tall, slender daughter eats the same foods that I eat – foods that I have prepared in my own kitchen.  We don’t use fat-free, artificially-sweetened frankenfoods in this house, and yet she maintains her weight just fine.

Granted, both of them are much more physically active than I am. But the point I am trying to make here is that I think the easiest way to lose weight is to eat real foods in more practical portions.  If I had to lose weight by eating pre-packaged, preservative-riddled, mail-order meals, I think I might last a week.  Or if I had to always be set apart from the people around me, eating something different and “special”, I’d be good for about two days.

If I had to accept the fact that I would never again eat another slice of pizza or –God forbid!—a Toblerone, I’d last exactly 4.7 seconds.

The fact is, I am going to eat real food.  Pizza, lasagna, cheesecake, Toblerone, Wendy’s Frosties.   If I’m going to move out of the Land of Bigass Denial and take up residence in the Land of Painful Reality, I’m going to have to do it with the occasional dish of tater-tot casserole and chocolate cake.

The difference is that I am going to have to limit my portions.

Part of my denial was telling myself that I really wasn’t eating that much.  I blamed my weight gain on slow metabolism, a sedentary lifestyle due to my disability, too much snacking, heredity, and so on.  I think I even blamed E.L.  James, not because she had anything to do with it but because I just like blaming her for everything unpleasant in life.

I was appalled this week to discover that I have been eating easily as much as my husband (sometimes more).  The problem with that is that the Big Guy is a six-foot, one-inch man who rarely stops moving.  The man has got the appetite and metabolism of a seventeen year-old marathon runner.

I, on the other hand, am a five-foot, four-inch sedentary woman with the metabolism and activity level of a three-toed sloth.

I’ve realized that the points value of one meal at Pizza Hut was an entire days worth of points.  Holy crap.  I can still eat there; I just can’t continue to match the Big Guy slice for slice.  Seriously, what the hell was I thinking?  I am not a stupid person.  How did I not get that I can’t eat that much?

The past week has been a real eye-opener in terms of my own idiocy and bad habits.  It’s also been a relatively hungry week as I have drastically reduced the amount of food I’m taking in.  I haven’t even started to worry about “activity points” and exercise just yet because I don’t want to overwhelm myself with too many changes, too soon.  That’s something for another week and another blog post.

If you have a weight loss blog and want to share some inspiration or some of your secrets, please leave a link for me in the comments!  I’d love to check it out.

The Land of Bigass Denial

I’ve had a bit of a rude awakening over the past few days.   Rather unpleasant, really.

I saw a picture of myself.

I’ve been “heavy” for most of my life.  An overweight, pleasantly plump, zaftig, full-figured, big-boned, plus-sized, larger than life, big girl.

There have been some times when I was slimmer.  Weight Watchers, Atkins Diet, Richard Simmons, Dexatrim, Adderral, running, Pilates, Jazzercise.  Tried them all, and they all worked.  For a while, anyway.

But my perception of the way I looked was always skewed.  I thought I was the most rotund and disgusting thing on Earth when I was in high school, but that’s not what I see when I look at pictures from back then.  I was actually kind of hot.  I had a great ass.  A small waist.  An hourglass figure.

Okay, a large hourglass, but an hourglass nonetheless.

Not that anyone knew it.  I always hid in oversized clothes because I didn’t see myself as curvy or sexy.  I just saw myself as fat, no matter how many people tried to tell me otherwise.

Now, all of these years later, my twisted perception of my appearance has somehow twisted in the opposite direction.  I no longer see myself as larger than I am; instead, I have moved directly into the land of Bigass Denial.

I thought I was still just “heavy”.  I didn’t realize I had crossed that line.  When I looked in the mirror, I saw that everything was still proportional, just bigger.  I congratulated myself on being a BBW with a curvy, plus-sized, womanly shape.

Then I saw the picture this week of my son’s pre-school graduation party.  There I was, in my favorite lavender top – the one I always feel pretty in — standing in the back of the room.


It wasn’t a bad picture or an unflattering angle.  Forget that the camera adds 10 pounds; there is no blaming the camera for that picture.  Or the photographer.  Or the outfit.


So, breaking my neck two years ago has slowed me down.  It’s not like I was super active before that point, but at least it was my choice back then.  Now my exercise options are limited.  But that’s still not an excuse for sitting on my ass for the last two years and gaining so much weight.

Of course I covered the numbers!  I'm fat, not stupid!
Of course I covered the numbers! I’m fat, not stupid!


Just this morning, I read Fatty gonna lose some weight . . .  by don of all trades.   Great.  Just when I’m feeling really low about how fat I have become, along comes Don to make me feel even worse.   Here he’s got all of these plans to drop fifty pounds and have fun doing it.  And since he’s a guy, you just know he’ll succeed.  Quickly.

Damn it.

Then again, I’ve always had a competitive streak.  And I loved reading all of his plans because he’s looking at his situation with a sense of humor and a whole lot of honesty.  Maybe . . . maybe the secret of weight control is to have fun with it instead of beating myself up about it.

So Don . . . it’s on.  Fifty pounds?  Child’s play.  I can lose fifty pounds, too.

Who else is up for a challenge?

New Year’s Resolution? Hah!

Have you ever made a New Year’s Resolution that you kept?

Well, that could be the shortest blog ever.

It does raise an interesting question for me: If I never keep my resolutions, why do I keep making them? To answer that, I had to sit down and take a painfully honest look at the three big resolutions that keep popping up every year.

Lose weight. Yeah, that’s always on my list. So why don’t I do it? I like food. I hate exercise. Pretty simple equation. Every year, I have stronger incentive: it’s harder to lose as I get older, I have kids who need me to play with them, my sister had two heart attacks in her early forties, etc.

The past year and a half have given me more reasons to gain and even stronger reasons to lose. My new limited mobility makes it harder to exercise and easier to sit on my ever-increasing butt. But the heavier I get, the more difficulty I will have in continuing to recover. If I ever want to walk normally and live without constant pain, I absolutely must lose weight.

I refuse to be one of those fat ladies using the scooter at Wal-Mart.

Finish writing my novel. Another repeat offender. I haven’t followed through on this one because I’m a champion procrastinator. I’ve got a house to run, kids to raise, meals to cook, etc. I can always find something that has to be done, something that I give higher priority than my writing.

It probably has something to do with fear that I’m not as good as I like to think I am. If I never finish the novel, it can never be rejected by a publisher. If I never finish the first one, I never have to worry about following up with a second one. If I never finish, I can’t fail.

Wow, that’s really stupid.

I have to set this one again. Now that I am physically unable to go back to work, writing seems to be the only job I am qualified to do. And since our government says I am not disabled, I have to find a way to earn a paycheck before my lost-wages checks run out. This is my only employable skill.

My car accident took away so much, but it also gave me an incredible opportunity to focus on writing. I can’t waste a chance like this. It’s life’s way of forcing me to put a positive spin on a terrible event so I can haul my ass out of self-pity.

Be a better Mom. Don’t all parents make this resolution? We all should. In a way, I do keep this one, simply because I keep trying to improve. There is no perfect mother in this world (although the Big Guy will argue that his mother is perfect), but sometimes doing my best is just the best it’s going to get. My kids are clean and well-fed, and they know their mommy loves them. They may not get the best help with homework or the most consistent discipline; they eat far too many meals on TV trays instead of at the table and sometimes they wear the same pair of jeans two days in a row because I’m behind on the laundry.

But at the end of the day, the last thing any one of my kids hears from me is “I love you.” They look out for each other, and they treat others with respect. They know they are loved and they know that they matter, and there are days when that just has to be enough.

And that’s my resolution list for this year. I’m going to leave off most of the others that just aren’t going to happen: Keep a cleaner house. Read Anna Karenina. Learn Spanish.

No, I Haven’t

What question do I hate to be asked, and why?

Have you lost weight?

Come on, now. We all know I haven’t. My butt is still as massive as it ever was; I still have more chins than any one of us really cares to count. I’m still wearing denim-colored stretch pants because real jeans hurt when they pinch at the fat folds.

No, I haven’t lost weight. But now you can go on with your life, content with yourself for having been nice to the little fat girl. You can congratulate yourself for throwing me a bone of condescension. You can tell yourself you’ve contributed to my delusion that I’m really a bikini model with a water retention problem.

Maybe I’m more defensive about it than I realized
It reminds me of that episode of the show Friends, when there’s a flashback to Monica’s fat days. Rachel sees her, does a double-take and then does a slow up and down look at the other girl’s size. She pauses for a moment, smiles a big fake smile, and asks, “Have you lost weight?” when she very clearly means “wow, you have gained so much weight!”

Poor, dumb Monica beams back at her and agrees that yes, she’s lost three pounds.

I may have been the only person in the world who didn’t laugh at that scene. I was so sad for the character, but also for people everywhere who are supposed to be so grateful for that question. It’s like asking the shortest boy in school if he’s had a growth spurt. Or telling the kid with acne that it looks like her skin has cleared up when everyone knows darn well it hasn’t.

I realize that most people don’t mean any harm when they ask such questions. They are just trying to be nice. But asking me about my weight is a way of saying that it is the first thing you notice about me. You don’t greet a slim friend with “Hi, how’s it going, have you maintained your size 6?”

I don’t want to be Monica, lapping up approval over a few measly pounds. I hate myself when I answer, “No, this is just a flattering outfit” or “No, but thank you for asking.”

Notice my hair. Notice my earrings. Ask me where I got such a nice shade of lipstick. Treat me the same way you would treat a slim and fit friend. Don’t ask me about my weight just to be nice.