Do the Stuff You Want to Do (Stop punishing yourself)

If you follow this blog, you may have noticed that I went 'dark' for a week or so. My husband and I went on a planned road trip to visit my daughter and her boyfriend (they cohabitate, and yes, I'm fine with it). She had recently been made a partner at her law firm and announced that she wanted to take us out for a fabulous meal to celebrate and thank us for all the trials and tribulations we endured through her university days, law school education and early law career. Food? Wine? And I don't have to pay for it? Yeah, let me get in the car and drive 21 hours for that! Absolutely!


I also had a plan to get back to something that I have never felt comfortable pursuing as an overweight person. Skiing.  I've been watching skiing reels on Facebook for a long time, and I finally decided that I was now fit and mobile enough, so I wanted to see if I could do it again. I asked my daughter if we could go skiing while we were there, because she is a beginner, and she and her snowboarding boyfriend were as enthusiastic as me about us going skiing together. I was happy our week was going to be highlighted with the celebration dinner and us going skiing (without my husband as he hates the cold).


In my high school and college days, I caught the skiing bug, but didn't get a chance to do a lot of it. I learned how to ski in the freezing rain on Cannon Mountain in New Hampshire. It was a high school trip with all my buddies. Most of us were first-timers and sucked at it, but we endured. One friend refused to get off a chair lift, so she wound up at the top of the mountain and had to be brought down in a snowcat. Another skied right down off the bunny hill and down into the parking lot. Another had her hiking boots stolen from the locker room. I learned that corduroys were not snow-friendly and shouldn't be worn to ski. No one took lessons. There was a tow rope up the 'bunny hill', which was a glorified meadow with a barely-there incline. That's where I learned. It was a miserable, wet, day, but I loved it. To me, it was like flying. I didn't appreciate how much I loved it until my last year of college, on a perfect mid-week day, temperatures warm enough to ski in a sweatshirt. I was proficient enough to attempt an easy run at that point. I remember standing there at the top of the run, feeling such peace looking out over the snow-covered mountains and hearing absolutely nothing. It really was, and is, a holy and reverent experience for me. As I never took lessons, I have very bad ski habits.  Because of that, I watched videos.... and talked to my brother, who still skis regularly at 72.


I had great plans of posting insightful blogs, filled with the meaning of life, etc.. Several blog-worthy things occurred to me during the week but alas, I wrote down not one of them. And my computer stayed in its bag, powered off, all week long. 


I didn't step on the scale, weigh or measure any food, or log any food. I ate things I shouldn't have and didn't get much exercise, except for the skiing. I was prepared to stay on my diet, exercise, and lose weight. That didn't happen. Do I regret it? A little bit. I was proud that I did NOT go back to old eating habits where I piled my plate to overflowing with piles of food. I also ate food I would normally eat on my diet. If I did anything I shouldn't have, I probably snacked too much but not on uber high caloric snacks. I cuddled with my grandkitty, a 17-pound androgenous tuxedo cat named Riku (he had to have surgery for a urinary blockage), watched reruns of Star Trek Voyager at night with my daughter, and read trashy romance novels.  It was a very relaxing week with little pressure or stress. I had an interesting Japanese hamburger one night, and thought I was ordering macaroni and cheese with it which turned out to be macaroni salad. Better choice than fries but I wanted the cheesy goodness. 


One thing I did do was eat when I was BORED. I did this in the car during our four 10-hour rides (two there and two back home). Boredom is a bad thing for me. Endless miles of interstate highway listening to talk radio while my husband is deep diving on his phone, reading God only knows what, is not my happy place.  I also snacked a few times when I was at my daughter's house. I truly felt hungry, so I'm wondering if my mind's solution to boredom is to tell me I'm hungry, so I get stimulated in some way by eating. Interesting thought to consider going forward. I'm going to have to work on that. 


Our big skiing day was a Saturday in western Virginia. It was a long ride but worth it. The snow was predictably man-made. I don't know if you know much about that type of snow, but it isn't like the stuff Mother Nature sends us. It's more like dumping a frozen Slushie on the ground. It was well above freezing, too so the snow was melting. We got our lift ticket cards from the kiosk and walked out onto the snow to put on skis. It was then I realized I was going to have an "oh shit" moment.


First of all, we were not at the bottom of the slopes, we were halfway up and the chair lift entrances were all waaaaayyyyy down the hill. And there was no gentle slope of bunny hill that I could slowly swish back and forth down on to get my bearings. It was like.... steep. I asked my daughter "Where is the bunny hill?" She said "This is the bunny hill." I said "This can't be the bunny hill. It's too steep." She said "Well, Mom, this is what passes for a bunny hill here."


My first thought was "There is no way I can do this. I haven't skied in 35 years. I'm going to fall and break a hip." Well, either I try or go back to the car. Furthermore, there were people just reposing all over the slopes, which I don't remember from my previous skiing adventures. Now I have to figure out how to control my downhill progress enough, with zero practice, to navigate the human obstacle course of unsuccessful snowboarders (because it wasn't the skiers who were lounging in the middle of the slopes). By this time, my daughter had started her first run and I watched her and thought, well, she is doing okay, I have to try. I started and realized that all my leg training had not prepared me for how heavy the boots and skis were. I had forgotten. It took a few minutes and a couple of near overbalances to almost falling but I was able to navigate okay. I actually made it to bottom without falling but I stopped... a lot...and prayed... 


After two runs, I really wanted some powder to ski on. Trying to ski on this wet, icy snow was harder than I remembered. I could not get my ski edges to dig in enough to feel like they would hold when turning or stopping. After three runs we stopped for a beer. I had a low calorie one more for hydration than any desire to numb myself. It was warm and we were all overdressed in our heavy ski gear. I was getting a workout. 


It was on run number four that two things happened. I tried to stand up off the chairlift way too soon and I could not rise from the crouch I was in, so I fell flat on my butt. Yes, it was embarrassing and yes it happened on chairlift ride number five as well. It was like I'd forgotten what I had done the previous times on the chairlift.  Maybe my legs were tired. After that, I was making my way down run number four, MINDING MY OWN BUSINESS, only having fallen one time so far on a previous run, when I was literally launched of my feet from behind by a woman who hadn't snowboarded in 20 years. It was like being rear-ended in a car. Why she just didn't drop to her butt when she saw she was going to ram into me I will never know.


My back got a good wrench and my adrenaline spiked big time.  Scared the hell out of me, for sure.   I could not be mad as I was doing the same thing she was, getting back on the proverbial horse after a very long hiatus. She inquired several times if I was okay, and I told her I was fine, just winded and a little shaky. I got back on my skies and made it down to the bottom where my daughter was watching, but I think that was a sign that I'd had enough. We did the chairlift ride back up to the top, where I promptly fell on my butt again trying to stand up from it and decided to call it a day.  


So, I'm sort of mad at myself for not going skiing sooner, when my joints were younger, and my knee didn't bother me. I could have skied when I was heavier.  This thought got me thinking about what I told and tell myself with respect to the consequences of being overweight.  I think one of the things I've done while being obese is to quietly 'punish' myself for being overweight, telling myself that I can't do this or that because I'm overweight. Almost as if I didn't deserve to be able to do it because I was fat.  That I didn't deserve to do something I loved because I'm overweight. I'm still struggling though all my thoughts about this but the fact that I now decided that I should go skiing, when I could have been doing that at any point over the last 35 years, is very interesting.  


On Sunday we had our celebratory dinner at a very nice steak house, complete with a very nice bottle of wine, dessert and a cappuccino.  I ate well but did not go overboard. My daughter and I split a large porterhouse steak and one of our sides was steamed broccoli. Lovely night that ended with a private tour of the establishment's private wine cellar. It was a slow night, so they were very attentive.  It was a very nice thank you dinner from our daughter, who has grown into a remarkable woman.  You have to enjoy these parent moments when you can. They get more infrequent as children age. 


My hope for you all is that you embrace what you love and are passionate about. Don't put your desires on a shelf to get dusty with age. Get out there and just do it!  Spend time with your family, blood family or found family, when you can. Use fear as a healthy deterrent, but don't let it get in the way of you living your best life.  Don't beat yourself up or punish yourself because you feel you have fallen short of your and other people's expectations.


And be patient when exiting the chairlift.....


(photo courtesy of 7th Decade Redhead)















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7th Decade Redhead
7th Decade Redhead

I'm 60+ years old female retiree who is finally figuring out why she's been struggling with losing weight her whole life. I want to share the lessons I learned so others can help themselves with their own weight loss struggles earlier in their lives.

60 Pounds by 60 Years
60 Pounds by 60 Years

My final weight loss attempt after 40 years of different diet failures. No shakes, no supplements, no surgery, no crazy food, no purchased meal plans, no fasting. Creating a healthier relationship with food and facing the painful truth about my relationship surrounding food. No BS, just common sense. And it worked.

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