Most of my life I was medically classified as “morbidly obese”. In plain english, I was seriously fat. My weight truly controlled my life, and not in a positive way. Everything I wanted to do would always be prefaced with “when I lose weight, I will”…and the “wills” were many. Maybe I should have risen above that mindset, but I just couldn’t. I remember at one point thinking if I passed away my children would have few photos to remember me by. Why? Because I would not let photo’s be taken unless I was at a weight I felt comfortable with. The exception is the photo that appears here. This photo was taken on September 30, 2004. I always carry it with me so I never forget where I was, and who I was. The fact is, I was not the same person I am today. You see, for me my weight was my handicap. Defining handicap as my disability. My weight was my barrier. I was not able to rise above that barrier. When my daughter was a little girl, I wanted so to take her to the seashore and sit on the beach. I was too embarrassed to do it. We took many wonderful trips to Disney World, where I felt comfortable with my appearance, but we never went to the seashore. Did my life improve eight years ago when I made the decision to never be obese again? Yes, totally. Do I fear becoming obese again? Yes. One night I had a nightmare that I have never forgotten. I dreamt I died and went to heaven. In front of me was a huge buffet of all of my favorite foods. I was told the good news, and the bad news. The good news was – I could eat everything I wanted and I would never again have to worry about gaining any weight! The bad news was – the weight I was when I died, would forever be my weight. Think about that for a moment. Are you where you want to be? Are you who you want to be? Be all you want to be. You have the power to make that choice.
Please let me explain. My mother never cooked. She didn’t want to, and she never did anything she didn’t want to do. My dad wanted to cook, but my mother thought the kitchen should be seen, and not used…and so dad was not permitted to cook. We didn’t even have a set of dishes. Paper plates were the serving platters of choice. I was a fat kid, and I hated being fat. I was the last one to be chosen when it came to play sports – because the fat kid without sports ability is never a first string draft pick. I remember going shopping for my Brownie uniform, and I had to buy a “chubby” size. Yes, “chubby” was the real name given to clothes for people of “size”. For a six year old girl – it was a very sad time. Besides being fat, I had frizzy hair – and eye glasses. What a combination! I would look at the other girls in school – with shinny straight hair, and beautiful clothes…and I so wanted to be like them. Ironically, my mother was thin. She lived on cigarettes and instant coffee. I thought all vegetables came from a can. We’d have corn niblets, peas and carrots – and sometimes baked beans. The Green Giant was a familiar face on our kitchen table. Mom would open the can, and place the can on the table. The vegetables were never heated. Sandwiches were bologna with ketchup on white bread. Swanson “TV” dinners were a main stay in our home. The TV dinner would consist of powdered mashed potatoes, peas with carrots and “fried” chicken – it was horrible. A real treat was frozen Macaroni and Cheese. It was much better than the TV dinners. Because we lived close to the elementary school – I was not allowed to eat at school. I remember sitting in class in the morning and the school dietician would come in and take the lunch order – it all sounded so good! I would have killed for Sheppard’s pie! Boy did I want to eat at school!
It wasn’t until I started eating at friends houses, did I realize people ate differently. To this day I can remember one friend whose mom would pan fry salami and serve it on toasted rye bread with lettuce – I loved eating at her house! Of course I never had friends sleep over – how could I? My mom didn’t cook for us – she certainly wouldn’t cook for my friends. In seventh grade girls (not boys) were required to take home economics. Home ec (as it was called) was half a term of food prep, and half a term of sewing. The boys took wood shop and metal class. The food prep class required students to go home and prepare meals. My mom wouldn’t allow it. Friday was the day my Mom would go to the beauty salon for her weekly “wash and set”. I would get home from school at 3pm, and she wouldn’t be home until 5pm. Truth be told – I would cook up a storm in those two hours! I hid pots and pans in my bedroom, and would cook whatever I could, only to throw everything out before my mom came home. She never knew. Well as I said in the title, sometimes we learn what to do, by learning what not to do….My house has always had an open door policy. I take great joy in cooking for others. My daughter, son and husband are all wonderful cooks. I wish things had been different growing up…but all in all, it made me who I am today.
Tonight I am having dinner with a cousin I totally adore. She gave me a choice of restaurants to select, and I was happy to make the choice. I went online and looked at each place she suggested. I decided on the Jarrettown Hotel. If you review the menu of the Jarrettown Hotel – it’s a combination of the good, the great and the fattening. The cousin likes it, and I LOVE the cousin and so the Jarrettown Hotel it is! So….let’s think about this a minute. I want to please the cousin and so I could order off the menu, and not make a fuss…or maybe I will make a fuss. I’ve been to this restaurant before, and I found them to be very happy to tailor a dish. I think I am feeling ciopinno. The menu says it is served over pasta. I do love pasta. I assure you – if pasta is in front of me, I will devour it! Oh…pasta…garlic bread…butter…the foods of my dreams! and of my nightmares. So for a moment let me think about tomorrow. That great pasta and that unbelivable garlic bread will be a moment on my lips, and a lifetime on my hips. That is not a good thing. What really matters? Most important…dining with my amazing cousin. Happy to be in a restaurant, and not cooking. But…I really want to leave the table having eaten foods that will not make the scale change. When the wait staff asks for my order I will politely say…ciopinno…over spinach, no pasta please. I may be told no exceptions, but I really doubt that will be the case. If the wait staff doesn’t get it, certainly the owner will understand. Please don’t bully me….I’m in your restaurant to spend $$$. So, stay tuned. Facebook “Thincin” will show you what I ate at my 7pm reservation this evening. Either the Jarrettown Hotel get’s it, and deserves your business or they don’t. I am betting they do.
We all know a “Sylvia”. She’s the one who will always greet you with a comment about your weight. “You look like you took off a little”, or “I see you’ve gained your weight back.” Her comments were so predictable! And SO annoying!!! I remember one time my weight had hit a new all time high. I was supposed to go to a party that Sylvia would be at. I stayed home. I just didn’t want to deal with her. Then one day it happened – I couldn’t avoid her. A mutual friend of ours had died, and we would both be at the funeral. Well lucky me, Sylvia told me I looked thinner! There was also the time that I had lost (and later found) fifty pounds because I wanted to look good at a reunion. I ran into Sylvia and she told me how wonderful I looked! Then she said “Well, are you going to keep it off this time?” I shared with her about the upcoming reunion, which was still a few months away. Sylvia then said, “Oh sweetheart, why did you lose it now? You should have waited until you got closer to the reunion date! You know you are only going to gain it back!” I tell you, I absolutely could not stand that woman! Did she really think I didn’t know what I weighed! Of course I knew! Eight years ago I did lose weight. For eight years I have kept that weight off! My scale tells me what I need to know, without the added negative commentary. Sylvia was a bully! My advice – KICK those Sylvia’s out of your life. Surround yourself with people who are encouraging. Less on the opinion….move on the love.