Tuesday, January 7, 2014

100 Days of Kindness: the weight issue!

I had a meeting this week that required I wear a suit. I very seldom have to do this but some occasions call for showing up wearing all the signs that "I Mean Business".

I dipped into my closet and discovered all my dress shirts were in the dry cleaning basket. I pulled the suit slacks out and put them on. They fit perfectly. And then I noticed that these weren't the slacks that went with the suit but the slacks I bought for when I gained weight in the past. Crap! I dug through the dry cleaning and found the suit slacks and pulled them on. I could barely button them and they were a mass of wrinkles.

Keri and I hopped in the car and drove to the local mall--it was an hour til closing. I was pretty grumpy and about to wander around searching for a dress shirt but Keri intervened, asked the clerks where my favorite maker was and quickly discovered that the shop no longer carried them.

I became even grumpier. We went to the shop next door where I've had good luck with finding things I like and started searching. I looked at a rack of shirts and started going "no, no, not this one, no" and was about to walk out when Miss Keri motioned me over and said "how about this?". A fitted navy dress shirt. I found my usual size and strode to the dressing room with Keri on my heels.

I put it on. I thought it fit fine. Keri looked at me with an even, calm expression.

"Can I get you a size up?"

"No, this fits fine besides its just this one meeting"

"I'm getting you the next size up."

I was muttering under my breath and feeling pretty impatient but I know better than to argue when Keri is already in motion.

When she handed me the shirt I looked at the tag and cringed. I put it on anyway. Of course it fit--draped nicely, no gaps either. I could take a deep breath and swing my arms around my chest. Once again I had a properly fitting outfit. Also, the shirt was 75% off! Win!

I tried everything on together when I got home. I couldn't argue with the mirror. I looked great--exactly the way I wanted to look for my meeting. Composed, put together--solidly professional.

I'm abashed that I was nearly victim to my own "smaller size" gremlin. I hate owning that I have one of these. So much of what I teach is about self acceptance. Why then, am I so bothered by this?

It's not the clothes--like I said, I looked great in my suit. I'm grateful to have things in my closet that flatter my appearance and especially grateful that I had a pair of suit slacks that were perfect for the occasion. That's not the issue at all.

It's not the size of my clothes. It's the fact that they are reminding me of an uncomfortable fact. My body isn't in the shape I want it to be in. There are lots of contributing factors--even though I workout daily, I'm very sedentary most of the time. There are many studies that show a work out won't remedy an otherwise stationary life style. Also, I eat very fast which results in me eating more than I need to eat--it's a life long habit that used to be counter balanced by a highly active lifestyle. I was never perfectly thin but hours on my bike plus the gym made vacuuming up my food a more or less non issue.

Last summer I worked on becoming more sensitive to my appetite and experimented with using a hunger scale. On a belief level however I never unwound my personal beliefs about how much I needed to eat to feel satisfied (that belief coming from years of eating huge to match extreme activity). Also, when the weather got colder and my outside activity came to a near standstill I regained the weight I lost plus some more.

When I stand in front of the mirror I see a body I love--despite the weight I see strength and durability. A body meant to go the distance. And a body that loves motion and loves the pleasures of the table. There is nothing wrong with this body. Still, I think I can do better for myself and my body.

This good servant that my soul inhabits needs better--not back breaking workouts in the gym but a variety of motion and activity. Also, I'm an opportunity eater (hey look, donuts!) and these opportunities to eat come into vision when I'm not deeply engaged. Idle hands may be the Devil's workshop but boredom is an appetizer for unconscious eating like no other.

So part of my strategy is get out more. I sent my bike to the shop so I can run errands on it. Also, when I find myself getting ready to sit down to browse the net or other sitting activity I just get out of the house to move around and gain fresh perspective.

Another strategy I'm employing is to use the hunger scale again. Also I learned a couple of other tricks to help with that. I know I hit my ideal satiety at around 2 cups of food--about the size of both my fists together. So when I look at my plate I make a mental note of what two cups looks like and arrange that amount out and enjoy that--additionally I look at my watch to see how long it takes to eat that amount. I try to make it take at least 10 minutes (people, I can clean a plate in under 5 so this is radical for me). By then if I'm still not quite sated, I allow myself single bites of the yummiest things on the place taking note of how I feel--and then stopping!

I have one other small ritual that I do before I even have my first meal of the day. I enlist my senses to provide me perfect feedback on my hunger and my state of mind so I can wisely act on my own behalf. I write out my commitment to support my body and I then go about my day.

I did set an actual weight goal but I won't be using the bathroom scale very much to monitor it. I have a pair of suit pants that will be my first guide post. When those look as sleek and flattering as my current pair I will then check the scale and reassess. Also, if those pants aren't fitting in a couple months I will see what other adjustments need to be made.

With the new year I know so many people have goals around weight and fitness--it's practically a national passtime! Is losing weight on your list of things to do? Drop a line and let me know how that's going.


  1. Sasha, I love this blog post more than you can imagine. Thank you.

  2. Sasha, you are so smaht! I love the two fistfuls measure - so concrete and visual. Truly helpful. I'm going to test drive that one.

    Your partner in slowing down,