Monday, April 19, 2010

"Mama, Don't Get F-a-t, O.K.?"

Peggy Orenstein's article in this week's New York Times Magazine hit home with me. I know that my complicated, hate-hate relationship (actually, I suppose a hate-hate relationship is pretty uncomplicated actually) with my body poses many risks for my two daughters and THEIR self-perceptions. I've already mentioned that Chickadee #1 is sensitive to my weight. She's not sensitive in the same way that I'm sensitive -- when I was upset by what she said to her friend, she hastened to tell me that "I was only talking about ME, Mommy, not YOU. I was just saying that I wouldn't be fat... I wasn't saying anything about you...," in all innocence.

So, I trudge forward, hoping against hope that I will become magically motivated and not be discouraged by the plateau I've been stuck on for months. Thing is, I don't WANT to diet. I don't WANT to become obsessed by every morsel that passes my lips - that's why I really had a difficult time with Weight Watchers -- journaling takes too many brain cells that I have to devote to other responsibilities. I want to be "normal", like other people who are not dogged by this dis-ease. A few observations on those lines:

  • Today, I had to do some grocery shopping. Because I also had to deal with a broken washing machine before I left which took a lot more time on the phone than I'd anticipated, I managed to time my shopping expedition with Chickadee #2 right at lunchtime. So, before we did our shopping, we had lunch in the little grocery store cafe. I had a cold cut sub (ham and cheese on Italian, with lettuce and tomatoes) and Chickadee #2 had a slice of cheese pizza. Seated right beside us was a young girl. I noticed as I sat down that this lovely young girl was munching down, with apparent gusto, on a salad from the salad bar. As I began my lunch, I reflected that this was the difference between her and me -- she chose a salad, and nice trim figure, and I chose a sub, which probably contained the same amount of bread that this child ate in a week. My task, the only thing that is going to make positive change in my life, is to make choosing a salad from the salad bar as automatic as choosing a ham and cheese sandwich is at the moment. I also have to ensure that I don't arrive at the grocery store starving because I've only had a quarter cup of milk and 20 goldfish pass my lips by 12:30 pm.
  • I think that my perceptions of "normal" are completely abnormal. A case in point is body image. I've managed to go for the past 7+ years without a full length mirror in my home (the full length mirror I brought to my marriage shattered during our move to our present home and I haven't replaced it). Truth be told, I don't want to replace it, because I really don't want to see myself. When I pass plate glass windows, my gaze seldom travels below my shoulders and I've already discussed the discomfiting feeling working out in the gym has caused me.
  • I've been told many times that inculcating a new habit takes twenty-one days. Three weeks of going to the gym and swimming pool. Three weeks of drinking cranberry lemon juice vinegar concoctions. Three weeks of journaling. Three weeks of meal planning. Trouble is, I have been so resistant to dedicating those three weeks. They seem insurmountable. But, as I've said, I'm a great beginner.
And, in a final, and unrelated note, can I tell you how disgusted I am that the "fitness assessment" I have been being urged to do at the gym since I joined (didn't want to do it then because my knee was still in trouble) was actually just an hour long commercial for physical training sessions? I mean, I didn't need some 30 year old guy to tell me that I'm fat, okay? I actually already know that. I didn't need him to tell me that I have pretty okay strength in my arms, but need to work on my lower back, or that my balance is crappy. I also didn't actually need to be sold on training sessions. I'd be the first to sign up if I had the money, but I nearly fainted when the price chart was revealed (always the last step). 800 dollars for the "package I'd recommend for you" -- 3 sessions per week for a year. When I explained that these prices were actually much greater than my monthly discretionary spending budget (my husband and I allocate a certain amount for our "allowances" -- discretionary money that we are not accountable to one another for and which doesn't figure into the detail of our monthly budget), the very nice young 30 year old who bragged to me that he had such low body fat that he sank to the bottom of the pool like a stone) presented much "better prices", the best of which is fully one third of my monthly discretionary spending, and that for 3 half-hour sessions per month. Sigh.

Well, onward anyway!

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