Thursday, April 3, 2014

Who Ordered this Spinach Salad?

Before I moved to North Carolina I had been a Weight Watchers devotee. I joined right after a college friend had died from cancer, in April 2010.  It motivated me to get my act together. I lost 30 pounds in 8 months.  I saw my collarbone for the first time in a long time and I went from a size 26 to a size 22. 

Then 2011 hit. My grandmother died in February, Milt lost his job in July, and my dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in August.  Our finances were stretched to the limit and knowing there was no way we could survive on my non-profit salary in New York, and we moved to Raleigh in September of 2011 with high hopes and real excitement for a new life. We felt great for the first time in 3 years.

Then I gained the 30 pounds back, mostly from living a very, very sedentary NC life. I went from walking to the bus every morning and then walking to work, to walking 20 feet to my car and then walking 20 feet to my office in NC.  No matter what the season in New York I’d walk around the block or find my way to Grand Central Station or do something that got me off of Madison Avenue and into some serenity. Even walking the elevators at Macys was a stress reliever.  In NC, I was in a corporate park with no view and no landmarks to keep my attention starved persona happy.  I hated walking around the building and only seeing cars and more corporate parks as my scenery. And because we only had one car, I was stuck at my desk for almost 7 hours a day.

In our house the transition of responsibilities became problematic. I assumed Milt would know that I needed him to do what I used to do the exact way I did it. He in turn assumed that I knew he wouldn’t do it that way and I should get over it. Cooking became a major problem.  Milt is an assembler, and I’m the cook. The problem was I had worked 8 hours and was exhausted. So dinners were quickly afterthoughts. Nutrition was not a priority, though I thought about it EVERY day, and sleep became the only thing I was really interested in. No wonder those 30 pounds came back easily.

Now there’s been a shift. Not a huge earth plate shift, but a little one.

I have time now.

I can now think about good tasting good for me food. It’s a window that’s been shuttered for the last three years. But having a moment to think about what I’ll be putting in my body is wonderful, overwhelming at times, but wonderful. Two days ago I minced garlic and put it in some olive oil and then sautéed spinach in it. I ate it like it was candy. I picked peppers, tomatoes, asparagus, and carrots for an amazing salad. I’ve made sure that there’s at least a tomato on my sandwich and some carrots in my smoothie. For a girl who doesn’t like vegetables, this is a huge deal.

Also I’ve decided to ask for help.  This is HUGE. If you have any dealings with the women in my family (ON BOTH SIDES) we don’t ask for help. We do what we have to do and that’s it. But I’ve been asking, and taking people’s offers of help.  When Lauryn’s bestie’s mom said Lauryn could stay over for two days I said “Bye!” When Milt offered to take the kids for ice cream so I could think I said, “Bye”.  When I needed time to study, I asked if I could get lost for a few hours and it happened. Normally I’d reject all of it and be a martyr and give up my space to be me. But now I just said, “Bye!”  It was a weird experience, but I liked it. ( God knows I love my diva, but two days of quiet is a blessing!)

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m still into the not so great stuff.  I’ll eat a cupcake in a minute and feel no guilt. But I think eating spinach like candy and walking around my neighborhood, and asking for help, and creating a vision wall for myself is progress. So I’m tooting my own horn on this one, and seeing the benefits of putting 100 % of my energy into myself.  It’s scary, and ominous to ignore my friends and family in order to get a glimpse of who I can be, but its also so very, very necessary.

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