Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Non-Scale Victories

Turning a little problem into a big problem.

I use this phrase at least a dozen times a week, most recently this morning as I debated whether to carry a screaming 5-year old out of the gymnasium or to let him just run out of steam on his tantrum. Kids really get this phrase--more so than any of the other behavioral jargon we throw at them in the course of the day--I think they like the symmetry of the phrase...little problem on one end, big problem on the other, and only them in the middle holding it together. It usually deescalates the situation nicely, and since the states passed those silly laws forbidding us from brutally beating your children, it's pretty much one of the best options we have left.

I realized today that over the past week I've been turning little problems into much bigger problems than they deserve. I took little tiny bits of loneliness and ennui and irritation that the scales weren't moving fast enough and I turned them into an all out celebration of sturm und drang filled with no exercise and a little overeating.

The good news is, I realized after updating my little weigh-in counter that my body calendar is ready for another periods, which means I've been busy turning into a hormonal wildebeest who cries at American Idol episodes and stares, wild-eyed at the sugar cookies in the Wal-Mart bakery because she believes her cats told her to go eat all the yellow ones with confetti sprinkles.

Anyway, since I'm in the process of trying to turn dark, twisty Erin back into bright, shiny Erin, I thought I'd list some things that have made me happy today and excited for my focus regaining in the morning.

1)No more muffin top

I pulled a pair of jeans out of the dryer today that usually require me to engage in strange, East German calisthenics to loosen around the thighs and middle. Even so, I still had stomach fat splooging over the waistband of my jeans and had to spend most of my days with strategically placed legal pads or coast in front of my midsection. I sort of looked like Debra Messing when they tried to hide her pregnancy on Will and Grace, except I couldn't have pulled off those muu-muus. Now, though, the jeans just slide right on and button and I can breathe and walk and they actually feel like JEANS and not strange, PVC bondage leggings I bought from some S&M store in downtown KC. Not that I've ever been to those stores. I thought a leather store meant handbags, I swear.

2) I'm riiiiiiich!

Okay, not rich, but I have money. Some money. More money than I had, say, in October. The Husband left me with a ginormous financial debt that I managed to pay off very quickly over the course of the summer, but when the dust finally settled I realized I was still going to live paycheck to paycheck on my current salary. When I started thinking more about my food choices in January, I realized a whole lot of my money was being sucked away by fast food, or restaurant meals, or impulse shopping at the grocery store. Making a food budget and cooking at home has been the best thing I could've done for my pocketbook, and now it leaves a little cash free for those weight loss rewards on the left of my page, or for whatever I want. I like that feeling very much.

3) I've regained perspective.

I snuck out of my lunchtime to watch a fourth grade spelling bee today, and I left after ten minutes because I couldn't stop giggling at the gravitas imposed on the situation. Three members of our school adminstration volunteered to judge for the bee, and as each kid spelled a word they flashed little green or red cards on popsicle sticks based on their answer. When there was a disagreement, hushed and spirited debates would break out at their table as the kid stood trembling at the microphone, awaiting his or her fate. I was so proud of the kids, but as I stood there observing, all I could think was "This is a frigging spelling bee. In a school gym. With the smell of fish sticks and ketchup wafting in through the air ducts." Then I realized I had been doing the same thing all week long. The week or so since my last weigh-in the scale's been a little high, and I've let that get to me. Intellectually, I know there's no way that I've gained those pounds and that it's just a result of PMS and salty foods and not moving around so much, but still the stupid numbers on the scale really bothered me. As I leaned there against the gym wall, though, I started thinking about all the other crap in the world that could be happening to me right now. Rape...violence...horrible poverty...war...death. None of those has visited my life recently, and I've forgotten that my personal struggle with weight loss doesn't define me or my life. It's just a major priority right now, and even if it's not going perfectly, it doesn't mean my life is over. I'll just have to keep trying again. And again. And again.

Someday it'll all be worth it.


lisa jane said...

She's baaaackkkkk!!!! ;)

Glad you are feeling better,perspective is a champion.

Galen said...


So glad you are feeling better.

BigAssBelle said...

oh perspective is a wonderful thing! i love it. got some to spare?

and this is perfect, darling: turning into a hormonal wildebeest who cries at American Idol episodes and stares, wild-eyed at the sugar cookies in the Wal-Mart bakery because she believes her cats told her to go eat all the yellow ones with confetti sprinkles.