Archives for posts with tag: weight

This year, I’m trying something new. Rather than making a list of short-lived resolutions, I’m resisting the ubiquitous urge to become a “Happy New You” and declaring the current me to be satisfactory, and maybe even better than that.

That doesn’t mean I am getting as much exercise as I should; let’s face it, it doesn’t even mean that all of my clothes are fitting properly at the moment. Nor does it mean that I am reading enough for enjoyment, or that my house is organized, or…you get the idea. So what am I going to do about it? Nothing. Sort of.

I’ve been reading a lot lately about the negative effects of always striving for “better.” In our race to improve, the argument goes, we never get a chance to appreciate what we already are and have. Satisfaction is always around the corner, over the next hill. We’ll be happy when we are thinner, or better dressed, or when we get those hardwood floors installed. (Ok, the hardwood floors may just be my thing.)

Chasing better suggests that we are not good enough as we are, and leads to negative, self-punishing thoughts and behavior. We shame ourselves and deprive ourselves, and feel so dissatisfied.

I am not the first to point out that we would never treat someone we love like that. We would encourage them, point out what they’ve accomplished already, and actively support them in a positive manner. They aren’t perfect either, but we love them anyway.

So this year, I’m going to treat myself the way I hope I’d treat anyone I cared about. I will make sure that I am getting enough sleep, eating plenty of produce, and getting outside often enough. I’m going to take care of what I already have, and appreciate it. I’m going to nurture my curiosity and creativity. I’m going to gently nudge myself to take more risks, and accept attention. I’m going to hug my family more, and laugh loud and often.

And if I have to, I’ll buy bigger pants.

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When my husband headed back east in 2008, I almost instantly dropped 10 pounds. Even though I certainly missed him, I was not wasting away from that. Rather, I was occupying myself at the gym, and eating what I call “girl food.” I also took the liberty of eating my main meal, which was frequently meatless, at lunch, and snacking at our traditional dinner time. I dropped a pants size without noticing.

The lease on our place expired, and I moved The Kid and myself into a smaller, less expensive apartment within walking distance of the train I took to work, the library, a park, two grocery stores and a lively little downtown with restaurants and a movie theater. I walked virtually everywhere. (Not only was it painless exercise, I never had to worry about parking, which has to be a health benefit.) The weight stayed off. I never really “dieted,” just ate what I wanted when I wanted it. I am fortunate to prefer lots of fresh produce, low-fat dairy and whole grains and beans. (And salmon and spinach, which TMIM has very little use for.)

Even though I reverted to our joint habits when Dr. T and I  were together, the  weight stayed off. Restaurant meals, bacon, even Satan’s Crisps (you may know them as Utz potato chips) don’t have much effect if you only indulge a few days a month. No, the trouble began when I came home for good.

It wasn’t just one thing, but a “perfect storm” of factors: my husband is an excellent cook, and doles out generous, man-sized portions. He favors heavier foods than I would make myself, including fried chicken that would turn a vegan into a raging carnivore. But it’s not all his fault. As I have mentioned, it was stinkin’ hot this summer, and I did not move much. I did not have to get dressed for work, so never had a chance to notice that my  pants were getting snug. Before I knew it, my ten pounds had returned, and stay with me to this day.

It’s a funny thing about weight: I weigh exactly the same as I did when I was six months pregnant, but I assure you it is not distributed the same way. Over the course of the last 10 years, I have spent enough time at the gym (off and on as it was) to actually develop some muscle, so even though I have weighed slightly more than I did in my 30s, my overall size did not change much. I am trying to shape up, but I will not be too concerned about what the scale says. Any pound that wants to stay is welcome, provided it shifts to a place that allows me to zip my pants and sit in them without fear. I am also resigned to the idea that I may never have the waistline of my youth, but I will fight for it anyway- at least to keep the jungle from encroaching further.

This may be my last post focusing on weight loss; I have a smart and funny friend (one among many) who deals with it better and in more detail here. I will probably touch on it from time to time, since  it does relate to the health portion of my five priorities, and affects what I can wear and how I feel about myself. In the meantime, I have reminded myself that I know what I need to do. The challenge, as always, is doing it.

George Lakoff

George Lakoff has retired as Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley. He is now Director of the Center for the Neural Mind & Society (cnms.berkeley.edu).

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