Ten commandments

Things I need to accept:

1. All weight “lost” will be found as soon as I think I can eat like a normal-weight person. I dropped to 186 pounds before my high school reunion in August and, magically, I’m back up to 203 after yesterday’s first of two Thanksgiving dinners this week. Beef producers should study my body chemistry for secrets of efficient and speedy weight gain.

2. I need to list everything I eat every day. I cannot decide I’m tired of logging into livestrong.com and just keep the list “in my head.”  I pride myself on my memory, but, amazingly, I can forget an entire sandwich when calculating calories eaten!

3. Sugar’s my gateway drug. That’s how three “tastes” of cranberry turtle bars wind up being three entire shortbread-cranberry-caramel-dark chocolate cookies. And a search for something to go with them because, after all, it’s late and eating supper at this hour should allow extra calories.

4. I am the Queen of Rationalization.

5. Sugar makes me feel lousy. After my usual overdose, my skin itches, I feel tired and “hung over,” my joints ache and — I don’t know how much scientific support exists for this idea — my immunity dips. I do know that whenever I overdose for a lengthy period of time like the holiday season, I get sick.

6. I must exercise. Not so much for weight loss but for maintenance, for keeping my joints fluid. After two months of bronchitis and pneumonia this fall, I couldn’t move without hurting somewhere (which means sitting and noshing). An adjustment by the chiropractor and her advice to “walk as much as you can, as fast as you can to get lubrication into those joints,” and I realize — at last? — that this is as necessary, or maybe more so, than brushing my teeth.

7.  Fruits and vegetables. Vegetables and fruits. Three-quarters of the plate. My goal with my contributions to yesterday’s dinner was to bring some of both to the family table that I could eat for seconds, rather than ham or bread or dessert. Holy cow — it worked, pretty much.

8. “Just do it” is not mere merchandising. It’s how grownups live. They just go for their walks, just go to bed, just fix a real meal. My mini-epiphany when grocery shopping a few weeks ago and fretting about something I’d missed a few aisles back: I can get it/try it/fix it/eat it another time. I have enough (a very difficult concept, along with delayed gratification, for addicts’ damaged psyches to grasp).

9. I can take a shower. (See name of blog.)

10. When all else fails, I can at least eat something nutritious.  A perfect navel orange, a handful of nuts, diet cocoa with skim milk. I can keep less junk in the house — heaven knows, there’s nowhere I can go up here for a late-night sugar fix except to the kitchen. “No life except what (she) made” writes New Yorker profiler Larissa MacFarquhar of author Hilary Mantel’s stay in Botswana. True of  this empty stretch of  North Carolina as well: No life and no food except what I make.


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