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I’ve got a confession.

For the last three weeks, I’ve been taking a Zumba class.

You don’t understand. I am not Zumba. I am not Latiny dance, I am not pop music, and I am not cute aerobics outfits.

But I needed something to help me get back on track and put myself at the top of the to-do list. A friend and I agreed to give it a shot after another friend who mainlines Zumba said, Oh you gotta come. It’s so fun. I looked at her ass and legs that she had whittled down to tiny, muscular rocks over the last year with Zumba.

A week before I went to Australia, my friend and I took the pinky swear. Well, it was actually a “cheers” during a glass of wine, but I’m pretty sure that is more binding.

I returned from Australia and dragged my uncoordinated self to class. So far, so good, I told myself. No 20-something perky bitches who look my way and say to themselves, I will NEVER let myself get like that.

Mostly, it was just a bunch of people in varying sizes and shapes and ages walking around in sweat pants or yoga tights before class. You can do this, Melissa.

The first three weeks, I moved and I watched. The old lady, two rows in front of me, gyrated through the hour of the peppy, Latin-inspired music. If she can do it, I can do it.

Move. Move. Move.

I could follow the warm up and the cool down just fine, but those 55 minutes in between were filled with grand mal seizures, sans the loss of consciousness.

But last night, for the first time, I followed the music (okay, some of it). I still feel like Elaine from Seinfeld in the dance scene, and I’m confident that won’t go away, but for now Zumba offers an hour of activity that goes by pretty fast. So, unlike Elaine, I give it two thumbs up knowing full well there is someone definitely laughing at my antics, but I don’t care.

 

 

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Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow?

Swallowtails shared garden with the bees.

Swallowtails shared garden with the bees.

Since I decided to return to this place, I started dicking with the back end of the blog. Erasing, adding, sighing.

When the blog sat dormant, occasionally, I would meet someone new who would say something like, hey, I found your blog and I really liked it. Hmmm, yeah. I would say. I haven’t logged on in so long.

I don’t think these comments were meant as sucker punches, but they still doubled me over. I wondered if the person sitting across from me saw the embarrassment rise in my cheeks.

I came up with a lot of excuses of why I let this virtual place slip off my to-do list. Most of the reasons had to do with time. But when I poked around the blog this week, I made myself look at About Me and Move It. Was I afraid of what I would find, or was I just too embarrassed and pissed off and disappointed at myself to confront what was there?

I’ve spent the last few months beating the shit out of myself. Why did you let yourself go? You know better. You had this licked. You’re stupid, fat, ugly.

Then I looked at the before photos, really looked at them. I’m not that girl. That girl might have been an extrovert (there are still some things we can’t change), but she was afraid and shy, she hid behind a lot of shit, she refused to take risks, and she blamed others for things that went wrong. And excuses? She had plenty. The invisibility cloak she created with all that extra weight kept her hidden from…well, life.

I may not be my “after” in the physical sense, but I’m closer to that woman than I will ever be to the other one. Could I return to that other strange girl? Maybe, but it occurred to me that a little slippage (okay a lot) doesn’t need to shoot me off on backward trajectory in which I might never return.

So, for today, I’m going to do what I know will help me…the basics. Good food, exercise and a little meditation. I’ll worry about tomorrow… well, tomorrow.

And The Award Goes To…

Me. I’m proud of me today. I wanted to eat a house, multiple times actually. Had it been covered in chocolate I might have surrendered, but as of 8:30 p.m., my house is still standing as are my neighbors’.

It’s been tough, but I keep circling back to my goals of 2012 that I posted earlier in the week. I do believe that it is worth the effort to take care of my body and soul, and I am convinced that sugar will be my life-long enemy. I’m not always sure about the beauty or the strength things I jotted down, but I think those goals are at least worth working toward.

As I sat in my office today at 1:30 p.m. with absolutely fucking nothing crossed off my to-do list, I tried to convince myself that a sweet treat from down the street would alleviate stress and increase my productivity. Hell, the walk to buy this bit of yummiliciousness would actually be good for me, and if I got something with nuts or dark chocolate, those ingredients have been proven to contain things like omega 3s and flavonoids.

Stop.

I chewed some gum, munched on raw veggies and gave myself permission to go in an hour if I still wanted the sugar that in my world resembles crack. Tick. Tick. Tick.

I still wanted the fix, but I asked myself what I really needed? No stress. Was a brownie or biscotti or cookie going to rid me of stress? Damn. I stuck a fresh piece of gum in my mouth and later snacked on a boiled egg when I knew I was really hungry.

I revisited another a brief moment when I walked through the door this evening. The house was quiet and would be for hours since my guys went skiing. I’ve accomplished some of my best binge eating when I was alone. Woo hoo, let the party in my mouth begin. I passed the calendar on my way to the snack cabinet. I saw the stars lining each day of the New Year; little awards recognized my effort at taking better care of myself. I wanted another star…so, here I sit writing about my feelings instead of eating them.

May I have two stars, please?

Agree for Change

I’ve been wrestling with 2012 goals. I hate to call them resolutions, which are meant to be broken like diets and bad habits.

Instead I choose to think what I want to improve upon. This year I want to focus on the positive and re-write negative self-talk and behavior that have been weighing me down in more ways than one.

For at least six months a copy of The Four Agreements has laid atop the end table next to where I scribble in my journal. I’ve read the book multiple times, even writing about it here, but lately it seems to call me. So, every morning, I pull out the book and read a few pages trying to absorb some of the message: be impeccable with your word; don’t take things personally; don’t make assumptions and always do your best.

Recently, I picked up The Fifth Agreement. Be skeptical, but learn to listen. It’s taking me a while to finish the book because it seems appropriate to savor the words like a hot cup of tea with just the right amount of honey and lemon. What is beginning to crystalize is the need to really shift my paradigm of me. I’m tired of being my biggest critic.

As I thought about this and what I hoped to achieve in 2012, invariably my thoughts meandered to the time I wasted in 2011 with my yo-yo diet mentality. Instead of trying to push the negative thoughts into the shadows, I shone a light brightly, feverishly writing every nasty thought about my weight escapades I could muster. It was quite a list – embarrassing and maddening and disappointing.

Then for every negative thought, I created a positive statement to be rewritten repeatedly until it lodges into my brain. Whether rudimentary or revolutionary, the idea is not mine. The exercise came from The Artist’s Way. I’ll spare you the ranting portion, but here are the resulting positive statements:

I am beautiful inside and out.
I will limit exposure to sugar.
Taking care of my being is worth the effort.
I am strong and will achieve weight loss goals of one pound per week.

The first one really makes me squirm. I even hesitated a moment before I typed it here, but the exercise made me realize how negative I’ve become toward myself, illuminating how I’ve struggled over the last year.

In The Fifth Agreement, I’m discovering how to question the “truth” I’ve told myself, and I think I might be ready to rewrite these destructive messages in change for something more affirmative. I’m sure there will be detours, life is full of them, but acknowledging the negative and making a choice to focus on the positive has to impact the journey. Doesn’t it?

Treats Gone Bad


I detoxed yesterday. Ate a healthy breakfast; packed healthy lunch; munched on healthy snacks.

I left work early because I had gone in early originally planning to take Russell to a doctor’s appointment, but Lyle called to tell me he had it covered. I felt pretty good until I walked into the house and kicked off my shoes in the quiet space. Cue the music.

There on the counter was a Christmas tin of yummilicous.

I can’t even use the excuse that I wasn’t expecting it when I arrived home because it had been taunting me for two days with only minimal collateral damage. But now there were no witnesses, and I would actually be doing everyone a favor by eating the items with nuts. (Lyle and Russell like nuts, but not in their cookies). I told myself I would eat just one. Poof. Gone were the two small brownies, some kind of cracker cookie, a chocolate rolled thingy, a chocolate version of a wedding cake and a macaroon (no nuts, but I really like coconut macaroons).

Thankfully, there wasn’t a huge platter of treats to mistreat.

I had to get out of the house. I remembered an errand. Good thinking except I almost stopped at the bakery for a fondant dipped cookie. Oops, close call, but it was just the thought I needed to acknowledge. Instead of turning on the internal garbage disposal and devouring everything around me, I pushed pause. Wooo Hooo.

As poor of a choice as I made, I didn’t beat myself up (or make it worse), but I also realized I didn’t want to keep mistreating myself, and that was a better treat than the one I had devoured just a few hours earlier.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

Today instead of looking at things as stupid or marvelous, I searched for beauty in simplicity.

At lunch, I trekked off to Pilates. It’s always a good workout, but also centers me in ways that a spin class can’t touch.

As I thought about stupid vs. marvelous and twisted into one of the seated moves, I caught my reflection in the mirror that stretched the length of the wall. I saw a beautiful woman – not fat, garish or any of the other negative terms I often attach to my body, but someone sitting up tall taking care of her body and soul.

I have to admit there was a moment when I wondered if the Y had placed mirrors along this wall that were meant to flatter. I glanced at the woman next to me, but her reflection looked no different than what I saw in the flesh. Instead of chastising myself for thinking the likeness was not the real me, I thought about what that woman brought to my world as if we were two separate beings.

For just a moment, I looked at her in the mirror and saw me – strong, independent and yes, beautiful. I wondered why I didn’t let myself cohabitate with this woman more often, and yet wondered what might happen if I talked to her on occasion.

It’s been a long time since I looked at my reflection and saw the real person. After first losing 100 pounds, the mirror image looked strange, foreign, unreal. From time to time reality and reflection converged, but quickly splintered leaving me squirming for answers.

When I was at my heaviest, I knew I was overweight, but I never thought I was THAT big, and when I was at my thinnest, I always compared myself with large farm animals. How can I find some peace in all of this?

As I talked to my counselor last week, she asked if I had been overweight all my life. I quickly said yes, but then realized it might not be an accurate statement. I can look at old photos, and remember thinking I was fat, really fat, but the faded Polaroids don’t reflect that either. There were certainly times when my weight fluctuated as a kid, but now I wonder how much of this mindset centered on reality.

I do need to take charge of my recent fluctuation. It scares the hell out of me, and I never want to go back to the woman hiding beneath an invisibility cloak, but today I saw something else, something worthwhile, something simply beautiful.

How closely does your reflection in the mirror match the image in your mind?

Stupid or Marvelous

I wonder at times if other people find life as challenging as I seem to make it for myself. Everything operates relatively smooth and peaceful for a while and then KABOOM. The whole thing shatters leaving me to pick up the little shards scattered across what used to be a well-defined path.

Does life need to be difficult? I know it can be hard, really hard, but I’m not talking about life-altering detours that I’ve encountered, just day-to-day stupid shit. I feel too old to be struggling with crap.

I felt particularly stressed this week, under deadlines that seemed too big with unexpected transitions that mocked me as I tried to create a new Plan B on the fly.

Well-established habits like exercise vanished, replaced with taunting brownies. I succumbed convinced that sugar, cocoa and butter would calm and help me regroup. Nope.

Thankfully, my mental mechanic intervened before the sugar took me down a swirling funnel toward a vat of chocolate quicksand. She stopped me when I tried to talk about my “stupid” actions, thoughts, fears. Instead she pointed out strength, resolve, capabilities, and told me I needed to practice positive self-talk.

I know she’s probably right, and suppose it’s worth a shot given the brownie didn’t work worth shit. This week instead of turning to the brownie, I’ve committed to tell myself how marvelous I am while I channel a little Billy Crystal.

I’ll let you know how it goes. What are some of the positive things you tell yourself?

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