The Origin Story

WaitLife will be about being a busy woman, a mom, an artist/DIYer. It will be about my life and my weight loss (I hope) journey. WaitLife will be about how I navigate the fact that life doesn’t wait. It will be about my “normal” life in all of it’s mundane glory with wisdom and humor and (I hope) entertainment. I hope this becomes an origin story. I would love to become a super hero, or at least someone who is quicker than a sarcastic comment, more powerful than the glass ceiling, who leaps out of bed in the morning excited to greet the day…not flipping the bird (because: patience), not looking too plain…just SuperLiz. 

 

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Some Things Just Don’t Matter

We live in an era of ego here in the US. This is evident in everything from our brash politicians, to our favorite self-involved social media past times (blog, anyone?), to our focus on making sure we have a unique name/sense of style/personalized existence including everything from our Starbucks order to our smart phone case. Everything is about the individual and our one-of-a-kind experience. It is through this lens of total self-involvement that I have decided that some things just don’t matter.

It all started with survivors guilt. A few years ago, as I was working through some death “stuff”, I came across so many articles that talked about survivors guilt and the universal nature of it. Survivors guilt can be crippling, as we beat ourselves up for everything we should have done/said/felt. But then it occurred to me how false this is. I mean, why does anyone need to feel bad about things that they didn’t do if, in fact, no matter what you did you are still going to feel bad about what you think you should’ve done better? It’s universal and inescapable. Whether you were the most dedicated friend or a total d-bag to the person, you still feel like you didn’t do enough and there was more you should’ve done. What’s true about this is that its totally false. I mean, if you were a total jerkface to someone, feel like an ass, but don’t feel like one because some trick of hormones tells you that you should! Survivors guilt is a lie, so I decided to let it go. Why hold onto something that only makes you feel bad no matter how good you have been?

And the funny thing is, this is probably the opposite of what most people would tell you. In fact, most would argue that the universality of any human experience makes it more valid, because it is shared. I mean, one of my favorite authors wrote a poem in which she says, “We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike….” It is a virtual celebration of how human beings should find solace in our commonality. And its wonderful when you talk about how we all answer a smile with a smile or understand what an open hand offered in friendship means, but when we’re talking about things that cause us to suffer, why shouldn’t we look at those commonalities as just bad programming?

So today, I was reading an “Ask Polly” column where Polly concentrated on the power of shame – both for negative and positive results. And it occurred to me that shame is pretty darned universal too! Feeling bad about yourself is pretty darned common. So common, in fact, that it totally flies in the face of our proud, individualistic nature.

You want to be basic? Put on some booties and an infinity scarf, buy a PSL and shame yourself.

There is nothing unique about guilting yourself or feeling bad about yourself. We all do it. It’s just bad programming. Not only does shaming yourself lack originality and imagination, but it also sucks up too much of your time. You get such a short amount of time, we all do. Why spend one moment of that on something that can basically be chalked up to bad programming? Save the feeling bad for when you do something that is shameful, something that hurts someone else, or is just plain mean. Feel guilty when you deserve it for being an ass, not for just being you.

As I said in the title, some things just don’t matter, but you do. You matter…unique you, not “universally programmed guilt machine” you. Embrace the ego, maybe even start a blog, but whatever you do, stop feeling bad for bad programming!

A Gal with a Plan: Last Week of August 2018

This is my last week of the August body reset plan. As of this morning I have lost a total of….drum roll please…19.7 lbs. I’m hoping by Saturday morning that total will tip over the 20 lb mark because, a) I’m that much closer to my goal, and, b) I’m a little uptight about numbers being nice round, even things.

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Being as this is my last week of my body reset, I am already formulating a plan of attack for next month. Prong one of that plan involves finally picking back up at the gym. Prong two, I believe is going to be all about trying something new with eating – intermittent fasting. Prong three is going to be not going crazy on Saturday (or anytime thereafter)… hmmmm, maybe that should be prong one.

You know, I am looking forward to feeling freer to make choices and eat things outside of my current pretty strict clean eating regimen. What I’m finding though is that I am enjoying the anticipation more than I think I will actually enjoy the food. Weirdly, going off of my current plan kind of scares me. I am afraid of the freedom because I am feeling so good for the first time in a while. I don’t want to mess that up. If anything, I want to add working out in so that I feel even better. At the same time, I don’t want to stick to this strict eating if it is not livable long-term. Those things don’t work. You end up feeling deprived and bored. And we all know that boredom leads to acting out…well, at least it does for me. So I am trying to imagine a happy medium – a middle ground that I can live in. What does that life look like?

Is it a life free of tracking my food? I mean, I know that works for weight loss, but I am not sure that I am ready to go there yet. I can get a little obsessed and be slightly extreme in case you hadn’t noticed.

Is it a life without the scale? Whoa! That one made my heart drop a little. I mean, can I do that? I have gone for years at a time without the scale when I was in full “obeast” mode, but every time I am trying to lose weight the scale has been an important (if not the most important) part of that. It’s my control.

Is it a life where I mostly eat clean and allow some treats sometimes? Does that mean I can pick back up my daily English muffin for breakfast? Does that mean I once again enjoy coffee, but just not every morning? (Strangely, since I have been doing this I haven’t missed coffee that much as a pick-me-up in the morning. I haven’t needed it for energy.) Do I allow drinks, but only on special occasions? What about cheese and other dairy?

So. Many. Questions.

questions

This week will be all about me trying to answer those questions in a way that works for me. I mean, I read about what works for other folks all the time.  I think you will find that most people with a weight problem have read their weight in weight loss success stories and articles. We are educated about what works for people (and still want a fairy godmother to fix it with a wave of her wand). But knowing what works for other people and applying that fix to your own situation is the real key to finding a permanent solution, I am convinced. You have to do what works for you. You need a program that works around your lifestyle, tolerance, motivation, and habits. That is what I am trying to design for myself. A fully customized plan for getting fit so what works, sticks. I have lost weight so many times over the years and then bounced back. I am tired of the yo-yo so the “no no yo-yo” plan has to be livable. There are questions I have to ask myself and things I have to determine based on my knowledge of who I am and what I am willing to do. Once I have that assessed then I can plan accordingly, and plan for success, and plan for when my plan slips. And overall, I can reach an understanding so that addressing this problem and making this journey, feels natural. If it feels natural then the next steps, while maybe not easy, will at least be obvious. Obvious is the best kind of easy when tackling a problem so large. I can’t argue with the logic of the obviously right answer. Then I just have to argue with the desire not to make that choice. Easy peasy, right? RIGHT?!?!??

Well, I will let you all know soon enough.

 

 

Weighing Week Two

Ok y’all…time for an update on how my August Whole Food Body Reset is going.

Well, first, I feel a lot better. I am sleeping better at night, feeling more energetic. Generally finding that I have more UMPH!, joie de vivre, skip in my step and twinkle in my eye. I don’t drag myself out of bed on Mondays anymore. I spring up, ready to go…until I realize I’m only going to work and then I throw the covers back over my head. BUT, the point is, that I am not dragging around because I’m nursing a food hangover. I am energized.

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These two fruits are my jam (yes, I went there).

Second, I am not struggling as much as I thought I would. I’m not going to claim it has always been easy. I went with the G-ma (my mom, Grandmother extraordinaire) & the Bug (my six-year-old) to Target where they swung by Starbucks. As I sucked on my splendid venti water, I mostly contained my seething jealousy watching everyone else slurp down lattes and feast on pastries. Mostly.

Still, most of the time I have felt good doing this and the keys to the whole thing have been that:

  1. I am not letting myself get to the point of homicidal hunger and
  2. I have found things to eat and snack on that I really like and would eat anyway (hello pistachios & watermelon). These things feel like treats, but they don’t feel like cheating.

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    Pistachios should quake in their shells when they hear me approach…

So, first I am feeling better. Second, it hasn’t been too bad. I know you’re probably thinking, “Blah, Blah, Blah, let’s get to the good stuff…does it work?????”

It’s WORKING!!!

Week one I dropped 12.5 lbs.

Week two I dropped 5.6 lbs.

For those parents still struggling with the rules of common core, lemme’ break it down: that’s a total of 18.1 lbs.

Yes, you read that right – 18.1 lbs. I know, I know, it’s a lot and you are not supposed to lose a lot so fast. The truth is, I have a lot to lose and my body was obviously primed and ready for me to start feeding it what it could burn. And I am feeding it. I do not want to be starving or feel deprived and for the most part I don’t. I mean it’s a little hard to watch the Hubs down chips and salsa without a slight chip on my shoulder (yes, I went there too), but for the most part I enjoy what I am eating now and only rarely have wistful moments when I long for those days of wild abandon when wine and pizza sauce made up the bulk of my fruit and vegetable servings.

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This is a “paleo pancake” which is similar to a regular pancake in that you cook it in a pan, but in almost no other way. Still – it’s not bad. Basically it is made of mashed bananas and eggs. My brilliant Hubs suggested adding the fruit. The Nugget (my 1 yr old) loved them!

Besides, it is not as much about the scale for me right now. It is about the challenge – making it through. The scale is hard at this point because I am so far from where I am going that even big losses feel like a drop in the bucket. Still, I am closer now than I was a few weeks ago, or even a week ago. I am seriously thinking of continuing these habits even once the month is done. I mean, I do want to add some food back in, but I may abandon some stuff altogether or only save it for “special occasions.” It’s hard, when you’re feeling pretty great again, to imagine doing a lot to sabotage that. Still, I get that things will happen. Life happens and doesn’t stop and sometimes requires comfort food and/or drink. The key for me is finding what is livable. And I’m finding my way with that.

So far, this challenge is off to a rollicking success.

Liz SMASH!

You know, by nature I am a pretty chill gal. I don’t believe in violence towards my fellow man. That includes actions or even words. I think the world would be a better place if we were all a little kinder to each other. Then there are those days….lizsmash

Today is one of those days. Probably because I didn’t sleep well last night, possibly because I am a bit hormonal, definitely because I am just tired. This is tired beyond sleep, beyond anything even a week off from work can cure. This is the kind of tired that has set into my soul because I feel like I am always being pushed, by everything and everyone all the time. Choices, right?

I try to keep it together. I think this is partially a result of growing up fat. When you’re the fat kid the one thing you can’t do is let other people see you struggle. If you struggle or need help then you fulfill every fat stereotype out there. You’re not capable. You’re lazy. You’re a “can’t” and a “don’t” all rolled up into one rolly-polly package. Fat people can’t do things, so don’t become a fat person. Being fat isn’t a physical failing. It is a moral one.

So, I try to keep it together. But some days, when I take a moment to look up from having my nose on the grindstone, I wonder what it’s all for.

It’s like folding underwear. What’s the point?

And sometimes that makes me angry.

I’m not generally resentful of my life, because: Choices. There are times, however, when I want to scream and throw things like a 2-year-old. I’m normally, happy, fun, loving Liz. But in those moments, I want to become LIZ SMASH!

Of course, then who is gonna’ have to pick up the broken pieces though?

I mean, I don’t really want there to be broken pieces, not of my life. I just want to pressure to stop. Stop asking for things, or asking me to fix things, and put on your own dang socks, kid! Let me have a minute when I am not being pushed or pulled by anything, by asks and expectations. And, really, when I think of it, I want other people and things to stop putting expectations on me.

Really, though, are they? Probably not. There is one person in my life who is responsible for every dang bit of pressure put on me. Surprise, it’s me!

Not only am I responsible for the pressure to please, but I am also responsible for taking on so much that I feel like I have to juggle frantically to keep up. Does everyone feel this way?

I don’t know how to take on less or to put aside my need to try and live up to what other folks expect. I am the go-to person. I am the one with the answers. And most of the time I like that role. I like being in charge and in the know. The thing they never tell you, when they put on that supreme ruler of the world crown, is that there are downsides. Once the crown is on, it ain’t coming off. Not to sleep, not to eat, not to have five minutes in the restroom where a kid isn’t asking you to brush their hair or look at what they just drew. Heavy is the crown, right?

Really, I don’t resent my life. I LOVE it.

Then, what do I do now? Well, with anything in life, if you want it to grow, you feed it. When I’m feeling negative, when I’m feeling resentful, or angry, I’m not going to feed that. Instead I feed the things I want to grow. I look at pictures or videos of my kids and my husband. I make a list of things that I want to accomplish – positive goals. I watch a little stupid reality TV, or listen to music and flip through a magazine mindlessly. I am both distracting myself and finding things that make me feel good so I can feed that, not the negative. I look at what I have and I look at the situation I could be in – people certainly have it a lot worse off than me. I focus on gratitude and attitude. And sometimes, I even fake it.

Today, my coping mechanism is writing. Today, I started out with some angry words pointed at someone I love, and now I am typing these words and realizing that there is someone I need to apologize to.

So, I will. I will put on my big girl panties (the ones I don’t bother to fold) and I will apologize. And I will post this blog. And I will get on with it, answering the questions, fixing the problems, brushing the hair, being the pretty chill gal that I am. Because when the anger passes, I don’t want there to be any broken pieces that I have to pick up. I don’t want to be broken and I don’t want to break anyone else.

I would, however, occasionally like a break…but that’s another blog for another day.

Happy Thursday, people!

Simple, Not Easy, Answers

I was talking to a friend a couple of weeks ago about the latest fad in weight loss she had read about. Now, this particular friend has tried everything from low carb to low temp (Cool Sculpting) in an attempt to knock off the pounds all with limited success. She is under 40-years-old and over her ideal weight by around 80lbs.

She’s always trying though, which I admire.

I’ve been on that same roller coaster too. Always trying , always hopeful, always thinking you finally found the right answer, the next big thing, the freakin’ easy button…so that weight loss and being in shape will suddenly transform into something that feels as natural as drinking wine while indulging in salty carbs.

As I was talking to my friend about all of the things she is doing/has done/would like to do it occurred to me that maybe she should just stop. Stop looking for an easy answer and start looking at a simple one.

I suggested to her that she spend some time, maybe a month, retuning herself. My idea was instead of trying to hit the easy button, hit the reset button. Give your body a chance to regulate itself by treating it as nature intended as much as possible.

She simply grimaced, nodded, and wandered back to her office muttering something about googling intermittent fasting, while I sat there amazed by my brilliant insight. I LOVED my idea…and it took me a whole 16 hours to figure out I wasn’t really talking to her as much as I was talking to myself.

You see, I am a person who is energized by competition, even (or probably mainly) by competition with myself, not others necessarily. I like to set goals that are in that sweet spot between “I can totally do that” and “I’m an idiot.” I want any goal I set to be hard enough that it feels like a stretch, but is still attainable. I want my win to feel like I can’t believe I did it…but I do want it to be a win.

So this goal, this idea, finally excited me! My premise is to try eating whole foods as close to their natural state as I can, to spend time exercising, to drink water or green smoothies only, and get away from anything that acts as a stimulant or suppressant – even if they are natural (like coffee which I am giving up for at least the first week).

I went home that night and promptly told my husband whose immediate reply was, “Well, don’t be to hard on yourself.” Translation: If you give up carbs, caffeine and wine, I’m afraid someone might die. So I told him I would start with a week, but I honestly intend for it to be a month – the whole month of August.

Man, I am a little scared because, although I have not before waxed poetic about it before here, I truly/madly/deeply love my normal breakfast which involves eggs, a perfectly toasted english muffin and a coffee chaser. Like this is epic romance level love here, but I think I can do it.

I think it will be tough and I need tough right now. I have not been in a good place. I’m ready to be in a good place again. I am willing to work for it.

(….Aaaaaaand I’m willing to update my blog on it. Wish me luck! Technically it starts Wednesday, but I have already started informally because it’s Monday. I will update soon, unless I do go carb crazy and end up eating a billboard advertising Funyuns or something.)

The Ugly Truth

Can we just talk for a moment about the ugly truths in life? For instance, it is an ugly truth exercise and food are not equal on the weight loss equation. Now I consider myself a hard worker, and I am always the one who will choose to “get the butt-whoopin’ over with” as we like to say here in the South, meaning, get the hard work out of the way. So, by that standard, if I want to have a single nice dinner with wine or eat half (whole) of a pizza in one sitting, then me working out a full five days ahead of time should totally cancel that out, right? I mean FIVE days compared to ONE meal. In fact, by my reckoning I should have more calories to eat. Yes, garçon, I will have dessert with that.

But, no…

That is not the way the equation works. Weight, like your reputation, requires a delicate balance. Sure, everything can be great one moment and you can be at the top of the world and everyone’s darling, but one small slip up, one questionable decision, one tiny little killing spree and all of a sudden everyone looks at you differently. It’s like your years of volunteer work and paying your taxes on time are totally negated by murdering a few people…even if they had it coming (slow drivers in the fast lane I’m looking at you).

The same holds true if you murder a whole cake in one sitting. You can workout until you are sweating buckets for days. You can work at watching and tracking your calories/macros/points diligently at every meal all week. You can practice techniques that make you healthier: relaxation, de-stressing, getting more sleep, deep breathing, hydrating, meditating, etc. In the end though, one wrong move, one wrong meal, has a bigger impact on the scale than all of your many Zumba moves ever did. It’s just not fair!

Ok, speaking of truths, one not so ugly truth: Exercise makes you feel good.

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My daughter “working out” at gym class. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

I KNOW, I KNOW! Exercise can feel awful. I’ve been there. Exercising makes you feel all sort of unpleasant sensations: out of breath, sweaty, muscles screaming, homicidal thoughts towards your trainer and/or the folks who look cute with their gym “glow.” Me, I don’t glisten. I poor buckets of perspiration as if my body is sobbing from my efforts. While you are doing it, exercise can feel like a cross between punishment and torture, but when you’re done…even beyond the endorphins…you feel good.

It’s true. There is something to be said for knowing you really pushed your body. There is a certain reward in feeling your muscles, even when what you feel is pain. And there is a whole lot of mileage you can get from complaining about it on social media and/or in person. People get it. People can hate the gym with you. As humans, beyond all of our differences in political affiliations, religious practices, gender/race/economic/age/etc. disparities, beyond everything that makes us different, the one thing nearly everyone can agree on is that going to the gym sucks! So use that as fuel, as fodder, as whatever it takes, but exercise, because really…secretly…it kinda’ doesn’t suck (but we don’t have to talk about that awful truth anymore today).

So, yes, the truth is exercise – putting in the work(out) – is not going to cancel out to the one meal you eat with gusto (and with a side of fries). Sorry, the math just does not work that way. But that’s OK. Weight loss will not be your reward for eating a whole pizza (do you all sense a trend here in what my weakness is?) no matter how many crunches you do. Unfortunately, it’s what you crunch on in the kitchen that really make a difference for weight loss. Nevertheless though, exercise rewards you with feeling great and overall health in the long run. It allows you to feel stronger, faster and less stressed. You may not lose weight just by exercising, but you may curb some of those homicidal tendencies you have when faced with gym glisteners, slow drivers, or people mispronounce the word “espresso” as “eXpresso.” If not, at least you will have plenty of time to workout in jail…

Ugh!

IMG_E8718You know how they say if you can’t say something nice then say nothing? I’ve always tried to follow that rule of thumb even on the internet. Or maybe more of a, “If you can’t say something fun or funny, then can it!” Well, today is the day, fair readers, that I cannot say anything nice, so I figured why not start a blog? I don’t know that a negative frame of mind is the best way to start anything, but for me I think this is as much about finding a way out of this mindset as it is expressing why I’m here. I’m writing myself happy. Is that a thing?

So, this blog is called WaitLife. It is about how life doesn’t…wait, you know? I’m a mom. I’m an employee. I’m a wife (That’s probably a bit out of order). I’m a daughter. I’m a friend. I’m a volunteer. I’m an artist. I’m a writer. I’m a leader. I’m a colleague. I’m a boss. I’m a subordinate. I’m obese. I’m trying to lose weight. I workout. I watch too much Netflix. I have too much debt. I’m an online news junkie. I’m a self-improvement addict. I’m a little bit lost, but…I am hopeful.

I am too many things it feels like sometimes. Isn’t that the state of things, though, for every modern woman? Men too, I guess. We are barraged by info, and can know anything with a few clicks or a few random internet searches. Yet, at the end of the day the one thing I walk away knowing from the vast information landscape that is the internet is that I am failing – hard core. I can’t keep up.

My house is not HGTV-esque. My job is not a glamorous, “Working Girl” style success story. My kids are not from a Disney show family where everyone talks nice to each other  and learns a lesson at the end of the day. My friendships (and my fashion sense) are not Carrie Bradshaw worthy. My marriage is not a grand romance where we spend stolen moments gazing lovingly (or longingly) into each others’ eyes. And no matter how loudly I play my music I cannot seem to cue the montage where I suddenly get my shit together, start jogging and drinking green smoothies, while I simultaneously become a rock star at work, the Clorox queen/earth mother at home, and still find the time to blow my husband’s mind in bed, while making other women jealous of my perfect hair and nails.

Dude, the montage is key to this redemption story and I seem to be stuck in the pre-montage part where I haven’t had that ah-ha moment and it all clicks into place and everything becomes easy and even entertaining, set to a nice, upbeat pop song. In fact, that’s not even true! I’m not looking for easy, because if I am nothing else I am a nose-to-the-grindstone, balls-to-the-wall, hard working mama! No, I don’t need easy. I just need direction (and to understand the whole “balls to the wall” cliche because even as I wrote it, I realized I do not understand why/how that works).

I need a road map. I need a plan. Plans and lists are my jam. They make me feel like I’m in control even as things totally spin off their axis. I have no plan. I have no clue how to even come up with a plan. Everything is chaos and more keeps coming. I feel like I am juggling while playing dodge ball. THAT is the best description of my life. Wait, I’m juggling, while playing dodge ball, on hot coals. I’m multitasking, while dealing with stuff that comes flying at me, while trying to look/sound like I’m not burning my freaking feet. It’s like I’m politely drowning here. I can’t stay afloat, but I’m trying not to offend anyone with my cries for help. Do you ever feel like that?

WaitLife isn’t going top solve all of that. I just hope it gives me an outlet. I don’t have a plan, but I still do have hope. I’m still trying.

So…the P.S. part: WaitLife will be about being a busy woman, a mom, an artist/DIYer. It will be about my life and my weight loss (I hope) journey. WaitLife will be about how I navigate the fact that life doesn’t wait. It will be about my “normal” life in all of it’s mundane glory with wisdom and humor and (I hope) entertainment. I hope this becomes an origin story. I would love to become a super hero, or at least someone who is quicker than a sarcastic comment, more powerful than the glass ceiling, who leaps out of bed in the morning excited to greet the day…not flipping the bird (because: patience), not looking too plain…just SuperLiz.