Monday, August 08, 2011

Birthday Present to myself

Three ago, my Mom gave me a handmade purse as a birthday present and it immediately became my favorite. Over time it's grown steadily more worn and I really should have replaced it a long time ago, but couldn't find anything I liked as much. Gary knew I'd been looking, and knew what I wasn't saying--that I wasn't going to be satisfied with anything other than another purse made by Mom. So yesterday he and the boys gave me a gift certificate for one of Mom's handmade purses (which she actually makes money on). Such an insightful bunch they are.

I've given myself a birthday present as well. I do this every year, I just don't always discuss it. My presents to myself are rarely tangible and this year is no different. Some people might think of these as a new year's resolution (in August?), but I like to think of them as gifts.

In brief, I need to lose weight. It's not just about vanity--in fact that has very little to do with it. It's about health and well-being. My blood pressure is up (my dad is suffering from heart failure as a result of this, as his mother did before him) and diabetes runs in the family (my mom, my sister, a grandfather, etc)--this I don't have a problem with--yet. But more than that, it's getting in my way, slowing me down, and this alone is annoying enough to make me seek out a change.

I'm a visual sort--I keep a written household budget in part to track expenses and keep records of which bills I've paid. And while record keeping is always a good thing, I do also do it as a stress management technique. When (note I did not say "if") I wake up late at night worrying about how we're going to pay this bill or that, I can refer to this budget page, bump numbers around if I need to, or see where I can trim spending, etc. I've been doing this on paper intermittently throughout our marriage, but just started doing it on the computer in 08. It is a major help.

In the beginning of July I began keeping a food diary using the same format as I do for budgeting (this is a psychological thing). It didn't take more than 48 hours to see where the pitfalls were. It is not anyone's fault but mine that I'd fallen into eating like this, but it didn't help that my husband, who likes to cook and probably prepares a third of our meals, refused to compromise and skimp on ingredients (meaning he wouldn't cut fats or sugars no matter how much I pleaded). It also doesn't help that he (like an Italian mother) stands over those he serves and presses them to eat more. The boys and I affectionately referred to him as the devil with respect to diets. He thought it was funny--until I showed him the food diary (without accusation--again, this is my fault). It had a sobering effect. Suddenly he was all about cooperating.

 It didn't take more than a day or two to make the necessary changes and it's taken a month to teach myself to not mind the distinctly smaller portions and ferret out the extras--like mayonnaise on sandwiches, salad dressing, glasses of wine, margarine . . . and so on. I've lost a little weight already (only noticeable to me and the who loves me most, but it's a start) and I already feel better. Gary is a big help--mostly by serving me the portions I asked for, not adding extra fat to my diet, and by not pressing more food on me when I state that I'm done.   Oh--and for anyone who's wondering--yes, there is more exercise involved as well.

In case you haven't already guessed, my birthday present to myself this year is a change in lifestyle and weight loss. And, no, I won't be reporting on this very often, if at all. When I succeed, I'll say so. That's all the reporting I feel is necessary for me. Believe it or not, I don't blog about everything and, as strange as it may sound, weight loss is kind of a private issue for me and it actually bothers me when people make statements like "Oh! You look so much better!" I feel like telling them, "Nothing important has changed. I'm no better or worse, just healthier."  

Tomorrow and the next three days will be all about posting the ending of "The Way of Things: The Dog Story".


Cooking with Karma said...

Mary I love your approach to this. Once we get to be adult aged people, we are expected to stop expecting other adult aged people to give us birthday presents, so gifting yourself (especially something with long term benefits) is brilliant!! I love the mental image of Gary with horns and a tail, wearing an apron, standing over you and speaking with a strong Italian accent, "Eat, eat my little bambina! Thatsa good bowla pasta, no?"

Ray Veen said...

Good for you, Mary. You didn't say how much you've lost so far but I'll bet you already feel better and have more energy.

I've lost a bit myself. Actually a significant amount. I tend to do more on the exercise side because I basically subscribe to the 'calorie in, calories out' mentality. That way I can eat more if I walk or ride my bike farther.

(my word verification is 'materate', which makes me think of 'masticate', which is kind of making me hungry now)

Anita said...

Sending you good, healthy thoughts!

Mary O. Paddock said...

Ray--Numbers are bad, but looser clothing isn't. :) Congrats on your own weight loss. I love the word verification boxes.

Greetings Anita, and thank you for stopping by. I can use all the good, healthy thoughts you can send. :)