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Filtering by Tag: weight

108 THINGS

Cindy Maddera

It has happened three times in the last two weeks. I have gotten to work only to realize that I have forgotten to put any of my jewelry onto my body. My hand goes first to my throat to feel for my necklaces. A microsecond of panic sets in when I feel that they are missing. Then I check my ears for my tiny little elephant earrings and my wrist for bracelets. The panic subsides when I discover that all of the rest of the stuff is missing as well. That most likely means that I have not lost the necklaces. The whole point of wearing my necklaces, at least one of them any way, is to not lose some precious items. Chris’s wedding ring. My wedding ring set. My scooter charm from Tiffany’s. The heaviness of those rings disappeared a while ago. It was only after I added the scooter charm that I felt the weight of what that silver chain was carrying again. I was laughing with a yoga student not too long ago. She had taken off her big clunky necklace before class and was struggling to get it back on. She said she took it off because she feared an injury. I told her about my wedding rings and how one time as I was coming into down dog, Chris’s ring hit me in the mouth. I laughed and said something about how I could have chipped a tooth. I take them off now when I’m doing yoga. Usually. But the whole thing has become light as feathers around my neck and half the time I don’t notice them… until it hits me in the face in a forward fold.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I walk into the gym and grab a pair of hand weights. Then I get on one of the stationary bikes. While I’m watching something on Netflix or Amazon, I do various arm exercises and peddle on the bike. I started out with the tiny three pound weights. Now I have worked up to a whopping eight pounds. My goal is to just tone up my arms a bit, not build giant Hulk muscles. I am good with the eight pound weights. I can do enough repetitions of curls and tricep extensions to still feel the burn of my muscles working. I might move up to ten pounds weight soon, but I am content with the eight. I do not know how long it took me to recognize the moment when the three pound weight was just too easy or how long I stayed with the five pound weight before moving on to the eight. I did not keep track of time. I have noticed that about myself, lately. I struggle with keeping track of time. Or, at least, it is not something I pay attention to. Michael said something recently about it being June and how we needed to go to Bella Napoli’s. It took me a few minutes to understand what he was talking about. Anniversary thing. It is not that I forgot. It is that I just wasn’t paying attention.

Paying attention.

It is a choice, albeit a subconscious one, to pay attention to some things and not others. When I am doing my morning walk, I am paying attention to my surroundings. I hear the birds chirping and the roar of the water feature and the rush of the cars zipping by. I pay attention to how the sunlight filters down through the trees and hits the water droplets on the grass so that they look like they’re tipped with diamonds. I pay attention to chips in sidewalks because some times they are interesting. I do not pay attention to the passing of time and I no longer pay attention to the weight I carry around with me. Both of those things are just stuff that I have gotten used to. They happen whether I am paying attention or not. I suppose the other stuff does too, but again…choices. The thing is, I do not feel any lighter when that necklace does not end up resting on my collar bone. I feel nothing. That is the thing I notice. The nothingness. Not the heaviness of the chain or how light I feel without it. It is the bare nothingness that I feel. A moment of exposure.

Thursday night, I attended Kelly’s Yoga Mala class where she guided us through 108 rounds of sun salutations. I went into that class doubting my abilities to do 108 rounds of anything. I have refined my practice over the years and every movement I make is deliberate. I step back to plank without making a sound. I move from plank to chatturanga slowely and with control. It has taken me years to be able to do this, but it is one thing to do this ten or twenty times during my usual practice and quite another to do this 108 times. I did not believe I had it in me to maintain that kind of control. Kelly broke the class up into four groups with breaks in between. For each group we faced a different direction with a different intention starting with the East and new beginnings. By the time we were facing West, we were half way through. The intention for that direction was letting go and saying goodbye. I am so practiced at saying goodbye. It is the letting go part that is difficult. Mostly it is the letting go of this idea I have about myself that I am not strong enough for this. I can’t. I do not even know where this idea came from or how that seed ever got planted in my brain, but it is there, sprouting, growing. Telling me that I am weak, worthless. When did this start? From the beginning? I can not remember a time when I did not feel this way about myself. Or I did not pay attention to that time when I did not feel this way about myself.

I faced West, lifted my hands, my face, my heart to the sky before folding forward. I ripped that sprouted seed out of my brain. I let it go. I smashed and crumpled it up. I know my strength. I know the weight I carry. The weight is immeasurable, yet I carry it without even noticing the heaviness of it. That’s how fucking strong I am. I could hear something screaming in my head as we turned to face North for the final 27 rounds. It took me a minute to recognize the roar coming from a voice inside me that has been quiet for far too long, but there it was yelling and cheering. I was sweaty, but I was not exhausted. I moved with my breath, on my time frame and I took the time to carefully set up each pose. I completed all 108 rounds of sun salutation without once sacrificing my form. I did them all with the same deliberate control as I do in my own personal practice.

That is how fucking strong I am.

THANKFUL FRIDAY

Cindy Maddera

I took up a 365 day photo project this year where I take a picture of myself everyday for 365 days. Many of you know I’ve done this before. I’ve completed two years. Almost completed another year. Skipped a year. Tried again for another year and failed. When I decided to do the project this year, I was thinking about how I felt after finishing the first year, how taking all of those pictures of myself made me actually like my face and body. By the end of it, I didn’t mind being in front of the camera. I thought about how I have lost that confidence. When I looked in the mirror now, my face looked bloated and saggy and sad. Forget looking at my whole reflection in a floor length mirror. So I’ve been slugging my way through this year’s 365 day project hoping to see something of me that made me feel less bloaty and saggy.

It took me two hundred and twelve days to get to a place where I thought “okay….okay. you’re not so bloaty and saggy.”

A few months ago, I travelled to Oklahoma to visit with friends. I stopped at the Oklahoma Welcome Center just outside of Kansas to take a bathroom break. When I stepped out of the stall, I came face to face with a woman wearing the exact same clothes as I was. Except she was thinner and pulling off the outfit way better than I. It took a second glance for me to realize that the woman I was looking at was actually me. There was a full length mirror right outside my bathroom stall. It was obviously a carnival mirror and two women walked in on me while I was taking a picture. Later that weekend when I was at the Jens’, I was getting ready in their bathroom and noticed that my reflection in their mirror was also very flattering. Again, I chalked this up to some weird quirk of Oklahoma. Like maybe all the mirrors in Oklahoma are carnival mirrors. Even when my doctor told me at my recent check-up that I had lost ten pounds since the last time I was in, I was not all that impressed. Maybe a little surprised. I’d stopped stepping onto the scale ages ago. It just never seemed to change and I stopped caring. I stopped trying to like myself.

Maybe it has something to do with getting rid of so much stuff, but I finally feel the loss of those ten pounds. I don’t only feel it, but I can see it. I see it in the mirror. I can see it when I look down at my body, when I’m moving through my vinyasa. I can see it in the pictures I take.

Finding lost confidence. That’s something to be grateful for.

FLUBBER

Cindy Maddera

Recently, I found myself clicking on a link for an add selling weight loss to millennials. I am not a millennial, more like the teenager who babysat your millennial child, but here I was clicking on the link that promised a weight loss program better than Weight Watchers and specifically geared to the tech savvy, glued into their phones, young millennials. The program itself was basically Weight Watchers. You just take all the personal one-on-one support and the meetings and put them on your phone. That is what "weight loss for millennials" looks like. I was tempted to click on the add partly out of curiosity, but mostly out the need to torture myself. My Google searches of late have been the weight loss version of "is this spot on my arm cancer or a corn flake?". 

It started with the second skirt debacle (that may or may not be the fault of the manufacturer). I've been silently stewing about my weight that seems to be increasing despite my usual activities. I'm the only one who notices it right now or at least that is what Michael tells me, but I stepped on the scale with my boots on a few weeks ago and the number was 185. Taking the boots off dropped that number to 180. I find it really hard to believe that the combination of my leggings, long sleeve T-shirt, tank top, socks and underwear weigh five pounds, which would put me down to my so-called normal weight, which I suppose I could live with. So I have taken to asking Google if my weight gain has anything to do with the following: eating too many calories, not eating enough calories, perimenopause, being forty one, my love of cheese. Of course, Google tells me that "yes; all of those things are true. Also, that spot is totally cancer." 

The internet searching has been my only action taken to combat the whole weight loss thing until last week. Last week, I had to use a different treadmill than the one I usually use at the gym. I entered my usual settings into the new treadmill and started walking. My hands instinctively rested on the heart rate monitor and I soon discovered that my usual pace does not get my heart pumping fast enough to lose weight. So, I picked up the pace and even moved over to the elliptical machine for a couple of days. Then I decided that we eat too many starchy carbs. We tend to rely on potatoes for a lot of side dishes and pasta dishes when we're too lazy to think up another option. Spaghetti is easy and the Cabbage will eat it. I designed this week's meal plan to contain as few of those starchy carbs as possible. We had roasted cauliflower steaks and green beans with roasted tempeh or chicken for dinner last night. This meal was a hit, which is encouraging because I think Michael was worried that we'd be eating weird foods this week. We are not completely eliminating carbs from our diet, but we are restricting them.

I've also introduced snacks into my day. I am not a snacker. I eat three meals a day and usually this is enough, but sometimes I get hungry between meals. I ignore it and when dinner roles around, I end up eating enough tacos for two. I took some snacks to work to have on hand for those moments when my stomach feels growly. Today I ate a handful of nuts, a few pieces of cheese and a couple of strawberries before heading to the gym at 11:00. This way I was able to do my cardio and spend time on my mat without thinking about lunch and hearing my stomach remind me that it was time for lunch. Of course, it is way too early to tell if any of this is working. I expect it will be weeks before I notice a difference. It would be totally great if when I go to the doctor in a couple of weeks for my yearly (torture) check-up, and I stepped on the scale, that scale would read out a number that would make me jump for joy. 

I'll let you know how it goes for me. 

 

GRUMBLE GRUMBLE

Cindy Maddera

Remember that skirt I told you about with the elephants all over it and how I had to send it back and get a bigger size? That skirt showed up yesterday and it was even smaller than the first skirt. It was also a different material than the first skirt. I was just starting to feel pretty good about this body. My pants fit me, pants I've had for three or four years. In yoga class on Saturday, I felt positively svelte and popped up into headstand like I had made that pose my bitch. Sure, I've had a thing for melty cheese the last couple of days, but who doesn't when it is cold and snowing. When I tried that skirt on last night, I felt like a fatty fat fat. I tugged the zipper up as far as I could and then cried "what is wrong with me?!?!?" because of course my first thought was that the company had not made a mistake. My first thought was that I had gained even more weight since ordering that skirt. Then I thought "how is that even possible if my clothes still fit?" I laid awake last night thinking about foods I will stop eating and vowing to ride my bicycle to work as soon as the weather allows. 

I sent that skirt back this morning, slapping the free shipping label onto the box with disgust. Then I looked outside and it was snowing and I hated all things. Except cheese. I am a prickly pear and it took me half the morning to figure out the real reason besides hormones for the my prickly pear syndrome. It is March 14th, the day before the Ides of March, the day Chris and I got married because it was Spring Break. We would have been married nineteen years today. The prickly pear syndrome comes from not wanting to remember or acknowledge that I would have been married for nineteen years. It is symptom of trying hard not to acknowledge a past life because I have moved on to a different one. 

Last week, I caught the tail end of an interview on NPR with Patton Oswalt. At the end of the interview he said "You know, you can say you're through with grief all you want, but grief will let you know when it's done." I wanted to tell him that it will never be done. You're going to think it is done. You haven't felt any twinges or leaky eyes in a while. You actually feel happy about your present life and then out of nowhere grief steps up and taps you on the shoulder. "Hey let's dance some more. I'm not done yet!" That's when grief turns into that crazy drunk guy you can't shake at the club. He may be kind of cute, but you're not interested and you're tired and ready to go home for the night. Yet, you are too polite to say no. You follow him back out onto the dance floor and think about ways to ditch him when he's not paying attention. You are not having any fun. 

Dates, numbers. They are too significant at times. Maybe if I focus on the irritating fact that I am sending a skirt back for the second time because it is too small, I won't notice what day it is. If I complain and gripe about how it is snowing in March (it is still winter, I don't know why I am complaining) I won't think about how our original plan was to get married on the fifteenth of March until we remembered Shakespeare and moved it up a day. If I spend enough time focused on criticizing my weight, I won't feel grief tapping on my shoulder trying to drag me back to that dance floor.

It has been five years. My feet hurt and I'm tired of dancing.  

 

THE STATE OF THIS BODY

Cindy Maddera

I had my yearly women's health exam the other day and no, I still haven't made an appointment to follow up on my cholesterol. I did get the regular blood pressure/height/ weight vitals and all of those except one looked good except one. I bet you can guess which one made me cringe a whole lot. Let me tell just how dumb it is that I am slightly depressed about my weight. I now weigh what I did when I was with Chris. Exactly. When I reached a hundred and seventy five pounds after being one ninety, one eighty, I thought this was the smallest I would ever be and I was happy. I was content with that weight. I was even comfortable in that weight. I felt good about myself. Now I go to put on a pair of jeans and the either won't button at all or they are tight and uncomfortable and I get mad because those jeans were not cheap. 

I've taken to wearing pants I can do yoga in all the time. In fact, I was in Target the other day looking at pants and the first thing I asked myself was "Does it have an elastic waste band?" The second thing I asked myself was "Can I do you yoga in them?" The answer to both of those seemed like a yes, so I bought the pants without trying them on. They're wide legged pants made of a light denim. I tried them on when I got home. Then I realized I'd just bought the most unflattering pair of pants for my body. I said "fuck it!" and put on a flowing top, which just made me look like a beach ball. I don't care because I got on my mat and they were very comfortable while running though all the sun salutations. 

Which brings me to my next point or tangent or gripe. I'm not sitting around like a lump all day. I've been wearing this Up band, tracking my steps and sleep and sometimes even my food, for over a year now. The goal is ten thousand steps and for the most part I crush that goal with over twelve thousand steps a day. I am on my yoga mat daily and I even push myself to do things like forearm plank for a whole sixty seconds at a time. I do four of those at least! I can walk up four flights of stairs without wheezing or something on my body hurting. I don't know about five because I never have a need to go up to the fifth floor. The point is, this body is fit. It's strong. It can bend itself into a pretzel. There is nothing wrong with this body. Except for the ten extra pounds of fat centered around my belly button. 

When I told Michael about my weight, he said it's because I'm no longer single. "What? You want to go back to eating like you did when you were single?" He's under the impression that all I ever ate for dinner where sleeves of crackers, which isn't true. I cooked evening meals for myself so I'd at least have a healthy lunch the next day. Really, that hasn't changed. The only difference I can see between eating when I was single and now is that I probably eat more than two meals on Saturday and Sundays. I don't understand how not being single means adding ten pounds to my body. Maybe I'm just fooling myself into thinking that I should be any smaller. Maybe it's time to let go of the things in my closet that are too small and just accept that this is the size I am. I was happy there at one point in my life. The whole "I was happy" part sort of echoes in my brain. Then, because I am my own worst critic, I call myself a loser for giving up. I fit in those clothes once! By golly, I can fit my ass into them again. And if I toss them and go up a size, what's stopping me from going up another size and another? What if I finally manage to get it all under control and I tossed all my size smaller pants? Then I have to go buy more pants. it is the dumbest slippery slope. 

I hate pants and I'm just about over this Upband tracking device. 

FAT

Cindy Maddera

I have two dresses sitting in my closet that I haven't worn in probably two years. Yes, I realize that this qualifies them for the donation pile, but they're really nice dresses and you never know when you're going to need to dress up for a wedding or a funeral or both. I tried one of these dresses on the other day because I thought maybe I'd wear it to a wedding at the end of February. I got the dress over my head, but there was no way I was going to get it zipped up the side. Then I had one of those panicky, I'm going to rip this dress, moments as I struggled to pull it back over my head. An inch. An inch and a half. That's what's gotta go from this body in order to zip that dress up. The thrill and pride of losing five pounds just flew right out the window.  

Here's what's ridiculous. I am right around the same size I was the last year I was with Chris (or Chris was with me, take your pick). At that time I was the skinniest I had ever been in my whole life. I knew that I would never be thinner and I was so happy and amazed that I was as thin as I was. I was thrilled to be the size I am now. I was happy, healthy and content with that body. Then Chris died and I lost about ten pounds. I lost ten pounds which I thought I couldn't lose. I mean if anything, I should have weighed more. Grief is so damn heavy. Grief should at least weigh twenty pounds. No, as it turns out it doesn't. Grief is light as a feather. Or at least light as pebble. 

I've been watching Awkward while I walk on the treadmill. I switch back and forth really between Awkward and Girls and the latest Downton Abby. There's a character in Awkward named Sadie. She's horrible and cruel. In season one she explains herself by crying to her mother "what do you expect? I'm surrounded by skinny petite girls while I have to write down every thing I eat and buy things from the special fat girls store." Sadie is a big girl. That's her excuse for being so mean. I hate this. When I look at Sadie, I see a perfectly normal girl. She's active, has won all kinds of horse riding awards and is on the cheerleading squad. Her character infuriates me. She really wants for nothing other than to be a size zero. This is a show that is meant for teenage girls. 

Counter this with Girls. They make no excuses for their weight. Laura Dunham's character, Hannah, admits to hating her body, but wears and doesn't wear clothes with a bold confidence that, frankly, I am jealous of. The show portrays girls with real bodies. Honestly, watching the show, I can see how their weight is the least of these girls worries. Figuring out what the Hell they're going to do to pay the bills is enough. I have mixed feelings about the show in general, but I will applaud the genuine female bodies.  In one episode you hear Hannah say that she finds her body disgusting and in the next episode she agrees that she is beautiful. That is the way. We all do it. One day we're disgusting, the next we're beautiful. 

I've wracked my brain trying to examine what it is exactly I'm doing differently now versus then. I no longer skip meals on weekends. Friday night dinners have gone from a bottle of wine and a sleeve of crackers to an actual meal. Usually pizza. I've added one and half people to my life. Turns out love weighs more than grief. I can go back to skipping meals on weekends. I can continue walking my 10,000 or more steps a day. I can continue to get on my mat and eat my kale. By the end of February, I just might be able to zip that zipper. Worse comes to worse, I buy a new dress and finally decide to put those others in the donation pile. 

I took a picture of myself once. It was during my first year into the whole 365 day project thing. It's a boudoir type photo. I'm naked, lying in bed with my legs up the wall. It's a tastefully sexy photo, taken when I was not even close to my second thinnest moment. I was just learning the art of liking myself. I remember being so proud of that photo. Where has that girl gone? I'm not sure, but I think I'm going to work real hard and bringing her back.