This year I have a very specific goal. Yes, it is to lose weight. Yeah, yeah, join the crowd! Entering my thirties has not helped my body get any slimmer, even though I’ve picked up running this past year. Throughout 2011, I’ve watched certain parts of my body tone up, and that has been amazing, but I am having so much trouble losing the fat! Part of this is lack of self-control, part of it is genetics, and part of it is trying to shake off the customs of my pesky upbringing.
I was raised with a “You will NOT leave the table until you finish everything on your plate!” mentality that was so typically shoved upon Generation X youth. These were the years of “There are children starving in Africa (or China)!!” “Don’t you want to join the Clean Plate Club with your sister??” It was the Cold War era. We were lucky to have food on our plates! Think late eighties, early nineties.
Tell me if you remember a scenario like this: My sister, my mother, and I sit down to dinner. It’s spaghetti night. Spaghetti with broccoli mixed in, if you can believe that. My mother didn’t try to hide it, either, by chopping it up really small. Nope, she threw thumb sized pieces of broccoli in the sauce without a second thought.
Then my mother does the unthinkable: adds a serving of green beans alongside the spaghetti. Excuuuse me? “Mom. I am not going to eat this. There is broccoli in this spaghetti. Can’t we have something else with this? Garlic bread? Like normal people??”
“You will eat what I give you! And you will sit there until you do! (There are children starving…)” This was also a time to mention the Clean Plate Club, but in our house, there was no reward like dessert. Your reward was getting up from the table. That’s it. My mom was a hard ass. She would call the bluff of any child in her house, whether she birthed them or not. If a friend dared not finish their meal, they too would feel the wrath of Ginger.
Add to that both of my parents’ penchants for eating enormous (albeit healthy) quantities of food, plus the disadvantage of being raised in the Midwest, where food availability was high, but healthy food availability was not.
Did I mention I am a twin? Everything naughty that managed to pass through mom’s Health Food Filter into the house would be fought over to the death. By the time Sarah and I were old enough to go buy our own junk food, it was ON. We went nuts. Chocolate covered ones. Plus Pringles, Swedish Red Fish, Nutter Butters, Kit Kats, Cheese Balls…you get the picture. Mom would leave us for hours to our own devices while she volunteered at the library bookstore. We could walk to Pick ‘N Save and buy crap to our heart’s content. Then we’d walk to the underpass, climb all the way up to right under the highway, and eat. We ballooned in our adolescence, which followed both of us through high school and college.
To sum up: I am a food hoarder and sometimes I still eat like I weigh 200 pounds, when in reality I am much smaller and don’t need that much food. When I moved to Portland I started working at a weight loss center and lost 60 pounds in six months. I learned how to eat correctly, but as is the case for many, slowly over the next seven years, my weight crept up again.
It has been interesting (Really!) seeing the changes in my body and how it carries the weight. Since I started running regularly, I can tell which body parts are most affected positively: my rib cage has shrunk enough that I have had to go a bra size smaller. My legs are much stronger now, and the fat around my knees has visibly diminished. What hasn’t changed is the fat that my mama gave me: the belly. Now, I know that belly dancers need a belly, but it doesn’t need to be this big!! So my goal, specifically, is to get rid of the fat that has no beneficial purpose.
So, suggestions and advice needed. Food no-no’s or good recipes, what to eat before the big race, what kind of workouts I should be doing…I’ll take it all. I love positive reinforcement so any shout-outs are welcome!