Aren’t all women over the age of 45 invisible anyway? asked a friend who’s lost 80 pounds and had just read my post about disappearing as I shed 27 pounds.
Maybe in this country (think about the devastating glamor of French women “of a certain age”) and maybe if we take ourselves out of or away from this world and don’t participate in a meaningful sense in the daily life of our communities. “Do not go gentle into that good night” doesn’t mean simply put up a fuss if you’re sick and dying. It also means care about others, think about the purpose of your life, learn new things, move and laugh. I always loved the idea of Rose Kennedy asking her granddaughters to take her to some rock concerts so she could experience that part of their lives.
I do not intend to be invisible — ever — which is undoubtedly one of the reasons I larded on weight to begin with. If I couldn’t out-do my mother’s dramas of the self, I could at least be bigger than she. (And listen to her say in that wispy voice she affected when one of her husbands was about, “I don’t know why my children have so much trouble with their weight. I weigh now just what I weighed in college.”)
Having passed through, I hope!, decades of my own dramas, I’m more interested now in being visible, making an impact, in other, healthier, more productive ways: Trying to appreciate my children and their families, rather than cultivating them as audiences. Trying to make concrete contributions to my marriage and my friendships. Trying to take care of my health, which means eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep and dragging myself down to the bottom of the driveway to ride my new (garage sale) fancy bike of which I am afraid. Very afraid.
On the first night of this holiday weekend just past, I deliberately ate about 200 calories more than Livestrong.com says I can eat daily and lose 1 pound a week. I ate those 200 calories (in almonds, as almost always) and felt good about it because it was a decision I made, not a yawning pit into which I fell, not to be seen again until I’d packed back on at least 5 pounds.
New for me, the concept of a modest spree. New for me, the idea that you can eat a little extra of something you really crave and wake up the next morning without feeling sick and/or disgusted with yourself.
Years ago I read a recovering alcoholic’s talking about how when someone put a bottle of booze on the table, she could not think about anything else until it was gone. I’m like that with chocolate, potato chips, nuts — anything I don’t need to be pigging out on. I feel almost a physical wrench when I try to turn my attention back to the salad, the carrot sticks, another glass of water, talking. After all, one needn’t eat just because one is sitting at the dining table.
Another fear I’m trying to conquer is fear of grilling. With the help and advice of friend Cindy C., a grilling guru, I did marinated chicken breasts, zucchini spears and pineapple chunks sprinkled with cinnamon for Memorial Day.
Wow, it was healthful and wonderful with the near miss being my grabbing half a chicken breast, figuring, of course, it was only 4 ounces. When He Who Can Eat an Infinite Number of Donuts without Raising his Cholesterol Levels said he only wanted half that much, I decided to weigh the quarter breast. Four ounces!!
Then in the evening I made the same mistake with a different food. Entered 210 calories in My Daily Plate
for my whole-wheat spaghetti, left the computer and realized that 2 ounces uncooked pasta (the 210 calories) is one-eighth of a pound box, not the one-quarter that I was eating.
Delusion and carelessness are significant factors in obesity. Just because I think I know what I’m eating, it doesn’t hurt to check weights or calorie counts on containers. Measuring cups and spoons are good, too. It’s tedious but not as tedious as looking like Shamu in your bathing suit.
And the chicken marinade? Marinate 3 8-ounce (!) skinless, boneless breast halves in 2/3 cup vegetable oil, 2 teaspoons Cajun or Creole seasoning, 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning, 2 teaspoons lemon pepper plus as much garlic as you like. I left marinating chicken in fridge in zippered plastic bag for as long as it took to tack up our horses (forever), ride for 40 minutes and give each of the horses a nice cold shower. Grill about 6 to 8 minutes on each side. Perfection.