weight loss

Mini Memoir Monday: 20 More Pounds

At the beginning of my freshman year of high school, I decided to join Weight Watchers with my mom and sister. We were a family of vegetarians who hated vegetables, so we had all gotten considerably chunky on a diet of pizza and french fries. On my first day at WW, I tipped the scales at a whopping 178 pounds. Based on my height and bone structure, they suggested my goal weight should be 145 pounds, a number which seemed so unreasonable and so unattainable I nearly coughed up the ice cream I had just consumed.

After three months of consistently counting my points, eating a carefully measured cup of Wheaties with skim milk for breakfast, a vegetable stir fry for lunch and a WW frozen meal for dinner, I was down to 145 pounds.

At my new weight, I was finally excited to go shopping with my friends. I remember standing in the dressing room, amazed as I zipped up a size six pair of jeans. Just as I was about to draw back the curtain to appreciate the skinny version of myself, I heard one of my friends cry out, “oh my god, the size two barely fits! I’m going to kill myself it I have to get a size four.” I looked in the mirror, and what had seemed skinny only moments ago was now gargantuan. I rushed to get out of the jeans, crumpled them into a ball, threw them in the corner of the dressing room and swore that I would lose more weight.

My friends were all skinny, and blessed with metabolisms that somehow could turn 2,000 calories of chicken wings into lean muscles. They talked about how fat Brittney Spears was, and how certain girls in our grade didn’t deserve to have boyfriends because they had muffin-top. They would pinch the extra skin around their rock hard abs and complain about how much weight they had to lose. They said all this while eating Doritos and brownies.

I went against the advice of my weight watchers couch and continued to lower my point goal. I cut out breakfast, and switched my lunch to two pretzel sticks and a some red pepper slices. I saved all my points for when I was around my friends so that I could eat what they were having. The only thing that made me feel like less of a fat freak around them was being able to pretend that I could eat just like them and lose weight.

I was hungry and exhausted. I could barely concentrate during class because my stomach growled so loudly. But no matter how little I ate, the scale would not go below 140. I didn’t know what else I could do to lose more weight except never eat again. I was thinner than I had ever been, but I hated my body more than ever.

That’s when my mom’s friend casually said to me, “You could be a model if you lost another 20 pounds. No really, I know some agents, but first you’d have to lose the rest of that baby fat.”

We were at lunch and I had spent the last thirty minutes staring at the bread basket. As soon as I heard her comment I reached for the basket and took the biggest piece of bread I could find. As I chewed that sweet, starchy goodness, I thanked my mom’s friend. I wasn’t thanking her for thinking I could be a model, but thanking her for showing me how ridiculous I had become.

Her comment made me stop and think about who I was losing weight for. For my friends who hated their own size two bodies? For a modeling industry that thought women should resemble hangers? Or for a girl who would always think she was chubby no matter how skinny she got? I realized that I would never be the right weight for anyone else, so it was my job to determine the right weight for my health.

I gained back fifteen pounds by the end of the school year, and I’ve managed to stay around that weight for the last fifteen years. I don’t want to be a model, I don’t want to be a size two, and I don’t want to starve myself. Sure I’d like to lose a couple of pounds every now and then, but I have more important things to care about, and one of them is being careful about the things I say to young, impressionable kids.

2012 Review

This is a great survey to fill out each year.

1. What did you do in 2012 that you’d never done before?

Bought a wedding dress. I thought it would be overwhelming, but it was surprisingly easy.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

My failed New Year's resolution

My failed New Year’s resolution

No 😦 My resolution was to organize my desk every night, and as you can see, I did not keep that up.

My new new year’s resolution is to write at least 750 words a day. I think the key to a good resolution is to start it before New Years to make sure it’s something you can maintain.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

One of Mike’s best friends, Vanessa, gave birth to a beautiful little girl!

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Fortunately no.

Mike and me at the first entrance for the Forbidden City

Mike and me at the first entrance for the Forbidden City

5. What countries did you visit? 

China.

6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?

A finished manuscript

7. What dates from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

April 27th when Mike proposed to me and March (I can’t remember the exact date) when my Artist’s Way group first started.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Getting into a writing routine, and starting a story that I really enjoy writing.

9. What was your biggest failure?

BeddyBye, but I don’t really look at it as a failure.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Nope!

11. What was the best thing you bought?

The tour package to China. It was a great bargain, and I got a taste of a country I’ve always been curious about.

12. Where did most of your money go?

I was unemployed for a few months out of the year so I went through a lot of my savings.

13. What did you get really excited about?

Coming up with a great story idea, and then working on it non stop. I’m spending about 5 hours a day writing! And of course, planning our wedding and honeymoon.

14. What song will always remind you of 2012?

Call me Maybe and Gangnam Style.

 15. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder?  Happier

b) thinner or fatter? Fatter

c) richer or poorer? Poorer

16. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Spent more time in out of the apartment. It’s easy to take NYC for granted when you live here.

17. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Overeat!

18. What was your favorite TV program?

Happy Endings, Breaking Bad and  Damages

19. What were your favorite books of the year?

I’m an avid reader of fiction, but this year I spent a lot more time reading articles in The New Yorker. That magazine is so dense and I’m usually just finishing the last article by the time the next issue arrives. I loved reading Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life.

20. What were your favorite films of the year?

I just saw Les Misarables and flipped over it. Argo and Looper.

21. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 28. I like a low-key birthday, so Mike took me out for dinner and then we saw Sleep No More a few days later.

22. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Having a housekeeper come once a month.

23. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012?

Whatever’s on sale at Banana Republic works for me.

24. What kept you sane?

Blogging.

25. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012.

Small actions add up.

I’d love to hear your answers to these questions. Leave a comment!

How to Write a Good Resolution

You might be thinking it’s way too early to think about New Year’s resolutions. Afterall, December is the month of gluttony not self improvement. But taking these last few days to plan your resolution before the Christmas shopping frenzy starts will prevent the last minute, careless resolutions such as:

I’m going to lose weight.

I’m going to be a better friend.

I’m going to start reading more.

What is the problem with these resolutions? Well, how would you ever know if you’re successful? One thing I’ve learned from TLC (the greatest self-improvement course EVER) is that goals need to have the following:

1. Specificity

2. A time frame

3. Objective measurements of success

4. A greater cause (This isn’t always possible, but it’s always more motivating when you can see the bigger purpose of your goal)

Even my cats prefer a well made bed.

Last year I was going to make the resolution of keeping a cleaner apartment. But what does that mean? How will I know if I’m keeping up with my resolution. The apartment can always be cleaner. If I clean the kitchen but I don’t have time to do the bathroom, did I not achieve my goal? Then I remembered the TLC tips. I changed my resolution to: Every day by 10am I’m going to make the bed.

I’ve always been admittedly against making the bed. It seems pointless to waste ten minutes pulling and folding and fluffing when I’m just going to mess it up in a few hours. However, I wanted my bedroom to be a peaceful, inviting place. And since the bed takes up the bulk of my bedroom, just putting it together makes the whole room look better. Once I’m done making the bed I end up picking up the clothes off the floor and straightening out a few things and then in less than 15 minutes the bedroom is clean. Because the goal is so specific, I know that I’m accomplishing my resolution, and because I’ve done it every day for almost a year now, I feel good about myself – and isn’t that what a resolution is all about?

Here are some suggestions to improve the generic goals at the top of the post (in relative order)

1. I’m joining Lucille Roberts on Friday and I’m going to go to the gym at least 3 times a week. My goal is to fit into my old sexy jeans.

2. Every Sunday I’m going to take an hour to call at least one friend and catch up. I will  make a girl’s night out plan once a month.

3. Tomorrow I’m going to post a message on Facebook and ask everyone what their favorite book is. I will pick out the 12 that sound the most interesting and read one each month.

These are specific goals that have a time frame, but they are also flexible and doable. It’s easy to know when you’re being successful. And it’s easier to continue your success when you feel successful.

Now, here’s your turn to share your resolutions. Leave a comment below because I love hearing people’s resolutions! My new resolution is to organize my desk every night before 10 pm. I feel stressed out whenever I look at my messy desk, so I know if I keep this goal I will be more prepared to work in the morning.

p.s. the next TLC workshop is this January 27-29. These workshops are few and far between so it’s important to sign up when they are available. If you’re in the New York area I would definitely suggest going -there’s nothing like it!