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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Too Many Clothes!

I am tired of this ritual, making room for summer wear by packing away sweaters, replacing jeans with shorts in my drawers, and ousting the sweatpants so the bathing suits have a place of their own. I long for a basic wardrobe that will carry me through the year with just a few adjustments for the seasons. This is California after all, it's not like I have snow gear for winter and flowing robes for summer. I'm a jeans and tank top sort of girl, clothes shouldn't be such a chore.

Let me digress a bit. I've been doing lots of inside work - no, not dusting - the kind where you look inside to your darkest corners and flip the light on to see what you actually have hiding in there. Doubts, fears, hopes, dreams, shame, blame and all the little cracks and imperfections that make us individuals. My biggest dilema right now is figuring out how to forgive myself for all the small ways that I contributed to my son's death. For all the times I felt I failed him. For the perceived evils that lurk around his demise. I was listening to Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert this week. I had read the book while house sitting for my sister last year and fallen in love with her words and her story. And in listening to her read those words so beautifully some of them sank in a little bit, and I started thinking about the things I carry inside and what I was going to do about them.

So what on earth does this have to do with clothes? Good question, and here is my little story connecting the two. It's spring, and I would like to put on some shorts to wear while mowing the lawn. I really don't want today to be the day I lug out the cartons of summer clothes from the bottom of my closet and pack away the winter items. My Sis is coming this evening and I would rather spend my time working around the house to make it neat and cozy and welcoming. So I've just finished listening to Gilbert's book before I go to change my clothes, and all of a sudden I see this mass of material as a dead weight in my life. And it clicks - here is something I can work on. Here is a part of my life I can examine that is a whole lot easier to start with than my son's death. If I can look at this problem and solve it, then I will be ready to look at something else, and eventually I can get around to the really hard stuff.

So what do all these clothes mean? Why do I have so many things that I either don't or can't wear? The obvious answer to me is that I am constantly looking for something to make me feel smaller than a whale. Like if I can find something that fits perfectly it will make me look 50 pounds lighter. That's one thing, the other is that I save everything knowing that one day I will fit into it again and won't have to spend money shopping for clothes once I have lost weight. I think I finally threw away the 12's last year when we cleaned the garage out realizing how very outdated everything was (and falling apart) but I still have 14's, 16's & 18's in both stretch and regular sizes; my wardrobe grew as I did. Each time there was somewhere to go I would have to go find that one thing that would help me feel better about myself. Did it ever? I guess once in a while, but Another factor is not passing up a sale on something that I was absolutely positive was going to fit next year. I have a whole section in my closet devoted to this delusion; I'll bet I could go in there and count two dozen pretty tops that I have bought over the last several years and have never worn because they are still too small.

Time to rant for a second - if thoughts are things and I keep thinking I will fit in these things then why don't I?

Okay, so back to mucking about in my brain and heart and soul to do some dusting (ok, I lied, there is dusting involved) and figure out what to do about the clothes from the perspective of what is going to make me happy. Because that's what it's all about, isn't it? I think I need to visualize what it means for me to be happy, and what will I be wearing while I feel this way. Do I need the pretty gold tank top that would be perfect for giving a presentation or wearing under a snappy black jacket for a formal meeting? Do I see myself actually being happy doing those things? Is that me? Trust me, it's a real top and those have been the reasons for hanging on to it for about five or so years. Originally I wore it to a Christmas party with black velor pants, but I didn't really feel like me wearing it even then. So just because it's 'like new' and yes, eventually I might wear it once more, it deserves to be taking up space? I think not. And this is just one example, there are probably a thousand more stories much like it hiding in my storage bins, drawers and closet. So to get rid of these things, I need to accept why I have saved them, admit they are things I don't love, that don't represent who I am, and let them go to someone who can better use them before any more crumble from neglect in my care. And lets keep in mind the clothes are just the physical manifestation of me not feeling good about myself; ah, the real knitty gritty of the problem so to say. I've sort of lost me in all this mess. It's not so much about not really knowing who I really am, it's more about accepting who I am and embracing that instead of hiding from it. Because I do see that glimmer of me in there, it's not all doom and gloom; I use to be strong and confident and creative and helpful and athletic - I'm still all those things, I know that, I see that spark. I just need to get some kindling going (don't worry, not in the closet.)

So now I set myself this task - to set aside some time after my sister leaves to go through the clothes thinking about who I am, and what makes me happy. No pretending, no begrudging the dollars already spent, no unrealistic 'maybe if' scenarios. I saw in the mail today that there is a city-wide garage sale on June 20th, what better way to welcome in Summer! I plan on having more clothes than anyone else out in my driveway that day. And probably the biggest mental barrier to doing that - the weight thing of course. BUT...I have a sewing machine, I can alter my clothes as I lose weight. I'm eating for nutrition, and I'm back under 200 pounds, and as the weight keeps coming off I will be glad I saved a few things in smaller sizes. But the jeans I'm wearing now, my size 16 stretch, two pairs in this size would have been just fine, but I have six pairs - no more of that. I will only keep the things I really want, that I will really wear. And I will purge with a vengeance the clothes that were never really mine despite the fact I paid for them and brought them home.

Thinning out my wardrobe will be therapeutic, a winnowing of who I am, each decision in some small way bringing me closer to me. I can forgive myself for wasting so much money on these things that didn't make me happy because I know I'm not going to be like that anymore. I feel like I am on the road to being comfortable in my clothes, and that someday soon I will be able to wear the pretty tops hanging in my closet - the few I just have to keep because they sing my name. I feel like today I have made progress.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Eating for Nutrition

Well, I kept my food log update throughout the week, and it was looking pretty awesome until day 5. I've been fighting a cold (1st time in four years, I should not complain) and the only way to keep the phlegm at bay was to eat. I was tired of crunching on carrots (they work best) and yearned for comfort food. So days 5 & 6 I had too many calories, which brought my average daily calories to about 1400 - right where I should be to lose weight slow and steady. Interestingly enough, my well days, where I ate for nutrition and followed the Eat to Live guidelines, I was only consuming between 1000 & 1200 calories a day; I wasn't hungry, there were no cravings, no compulsive thoughts about eating bad things. Keeping in mind my activity level is super low I was mostly okay with this, but can't help but wonder if the low calories helped instigate the Cheetos attack. Going forward I will add more beans to increase the calories. I worry about upping the protein, but the Dr. says lots of beans and legumes and I've only been eating between 1/2 & 1C each day. I can hardly wait until I can eat for nutrition combined with getting in exercise. I imagine the pounds sluicing off my frame revealing the trim athlete hiding inside.

Monday, March 16, 2009


Food log, Monday 3/16/09

Admittedly February was hard and I give myself kudos for not eating myself to death. Speaking of which, compared to death all the rest of the stress I can take in stride; I will stay positive and take care of myself. To that end today starts six weeks of eating for health. Well, yes, I have been doing that for over a year now...almost two? But I'm not making progress as fast as I would like. It averages out to ten pounds a year lost over each of the last three, but that counts the ten I gained eating after Joey crossed over. So now that I have changed a few basics I am interested in using my old tracking sheet to plan each day to see where I am calorie and percentage wise. I have guidelines I think I pretty much stick to, but obviously I am splurging more than I should. The idea is to lose more often, not just maintain! And while I say six weeks, the reality is that I will be happy if this manic mode lasts even one.

Basic changes made:
1. No more oil or store bought salad dressings. I'm making my own using nuts.
2. I'm adding in 1T of flax meal each day, and 1oz of nuts to get enough Omega 3's.
3. I have a goal of 1# of raw veggies each day, and 3-4 fruits.

I won't make myself crazy by trying to post my log everyday, but often, and at least weekly updates since my sheet tracks for weekly summaries. Yes, a little crazy...I'm tired of the dark, I'm ready for spring in more ways than one.