Thursday, November 30, 2023

Where Are They Now?

People often ask me what my kids are up to these days. I started this blog over 16 years ago. It's hard to believe so much time has passed because it feels like it was just yesterday. Folks always told me, "The days are long, but the years are short." Now I fully understand the meaning of that phrase. 

Here's a brief run-down on what the kids are up to these days.

Austin is married, has a daughter and a son, and is a pastry chef.

Savannah is married, has two girls and a step-son, and is a stay-at-home mom.

Jackson lives with his girlfriend and manages a smoke shop.

Lexington lives with her fiance and is the manager of a pizza place.

Clayton lives with his girlfriend and works at a steel mill.

Brooklyn is a senior in high school, attends college at the same time, and works part-time at Lexi's restaurant.

They all still live in Florida within an hour of me.

But better than that little summary are the interviews I had with the kids. Here they are weighing in on life's important questions. I hope it makes you laugh as much as it does me!

And let me know what questions you'd like them to answer next time. :)

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

My Weight-Loss Journey (Otherwise Entitled: How I Haven't Lost a Single Pound)

Stupid! Stupid! Stupid! I lay awake, berating myself for eating half a Pepperidge Farm coconut cake. You know, those frozen cakes that serve 8? I hadn't even taken the time to defrost it, and it's a good bet I would've eaten the entire partially-frozen cake in one sitting had my daughter not come home when she did. 

My stomach hurt, I felt like throwing up, and I had heartburn, but greater than all the physical discomfort was the crushing disappointment in myself. Yet despite the utter disgust with myself, there was a little part of my brain that was thinking, I can't wait until I get home from work tomorrow so I can eat the rest of it.

What the hell is wrong with you? the voice in my head spit out. Seriously! You ate so well all day and then completely blew it with half a cake! You've wasted your life being fat. Your whole life! Being fat has held you back from so many things. An extraordinary number of things! You won't date. You won't buy cute clothes. You won't let anyone take a full-length picture of you. You don't want to put on a bathing suit when you go to the beach. You won't do anything that'll draw attention to you. And what do you do about it? Nothing! You do nothing.

Every morning I awake with a clean slate, thinking, Today I will control myself. I'll make good decisions about food. All day. 

And every night I go to bed, a big fat failure.

Although I'll start the day with a healthy mindset: a scrambled egg with mushrooms and spinach for breakfast, some blueberries for a snack, a kale salad with rotisserie chicken, walnuts, feta, apples and balsamic vinaigrette, I'll end the day with 14 cookies, 4 slices of pizza, cheese and crackers, a bag of Hershey's kisses, half a bag of chips, and 2 stale donuts. Then I go to bed feeling sick. Sick to my stomach. Sick of my bingeing behavior. Sick of being fat. Sick of failing.

I get to a point where I try in earnest to get it together, to make healthy choices, to drop excess pounds. And it works. For a while. Maybe a day or two, maybe a week or two, or even a month or two. And then I revert to old habits in the snap of a finger. One doughnut, cookie, muffin, pastry, just one, flips a switch in my brain that starts a frenzy that ends all my hard work. I'm certain I'd be bulimic if didn't so completely detest vomiting.

I know, as people read this, I'll have well-meaning (and probably some self-serving) folks tell me about the program, plan, exercise, diet food, magical miracle whatever that changed their lives. I believe that __insert name of magical diet miracle__ worked for them and I'm truly happy for their success. I feel like pretty much any program can work for a person if they have the right mindset, and I believe that's the key - having the right mindset. I'm quite certain my mind is broken because how else do you explain how an otherwise intelligent person with a fair amount of common sense could spend FORTY years struggling with her weight? How? It's not that I don't know what to do. Eat less, move more. It's not rocket science. Yet, here I am, after literally 40 years of hating the way I look, still fat.

And now it's not just that I'm fat, or rather - obese (I love that word as much as I love the words applicable, moist, panties, and when people who don't know what literally means, use the word literallybut thanks to the magic of menopause, my health is being affected by my weight as well. I've always had excellent cholesterol and low blood pressure, but now those numbers are starting to creep up. And although I've been overweight, I could climb stairs, walk for miles, do whatever. But now I pull have to pull myself up a flight of stairs by the handrail, and when I get to the top, I look like Fred Sanford, grabbing my chest and announcing, "It's the BIG ONE!" My joints are so painful, I can't make it from the parking lot to my office without limping. I take Tylenol like Tic Tacs to deal with the pain. I have no cartilage behind my knee caps so it sounds like corn flakes being crushed under a rolling pin when I bend my knees, as the bones rub against each other. The number one way I could combat this never-ending pain? Lose weight. Simple.

I vacillate between two mindsets: Love yourself as you are, give yourself a break, stop stressing about food or the way you look.

And: What the hell is wrong with you? Show some damn control! If you don't like the way you look, it's real simple - change!

I've lost and gained the same 10 pounds a good 300 times in my life. I'm embarrassed to admit all the things I've tried and failed. But I know I can't be alone and there are others out that who can relate to the never-ending struggle. I've tried sound and sensible programs like Weight Watchers, walking, step aerobics, Omada. I've tried more alternative solutions like hypnosis, Healthy Wage, and Sensa. And I've tried the positively absurd like drinking lemon juice, cayenne pepper, and maple syrup for every meal because Kelly Kapoor did that on The Office. Or this gem from The Devil Wears Prada - I'm on this new diet. Well, I don't eat anything and when I feel like I'm about to faint I eat a cube of cheese. I have literally (and I actually mean literally) tried those. 

And I've tried everything in between - Richard Simmons Deal a Meal, Tae bo, prescription medication that curbed my appetite but made me feel like I was having a heart attack, keto, otc meds, bee pollen, Thrive, cabbage soup, Slimfast, weight loss doctor, Healthy Wage, Biggest Loser contests at work, Atkins, vegan, stationary bike, low-fat, swimming, fiber pills, Jenny Craig, My Fitness Pal, Freedom Formula, Bikram yoga, Overeaters Anonymous, Zumba, Women's Workout World, to name a few.

And here I still am. Letting my weight hold me back from living, yet not altering my habits to affect change.

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