Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Silencing the Sound of Sirens

The nerdiest part of me loved my title yesterday, The Sound of Sirens because it reminded me of someone who can't say their /l/ sound, saying the title of one of my favorite Simon and Garfunkel songs, "The Sound of Silence." Get it? "The Sound of Sirens." Sometimes I crack myself up. 

My goal yesterday was to try to silence the sound of the sirens that beg me to dash myself to bits on the shores of the kitchen sink while I eat a steady stream of chocolate chip cookies. So, in keeping with the siren song theme, I wrote a poem, sort of.

If you would indulge me further, I'm going to share my Ode to Cookies here, while tipping my hat to Simon and Garfunkel:

Hello, cookies, my old friend.
I hear your siren song again.
To the kitchen I was creeping,
I left my husband while he was sleeping,
and the sound that was planted in my brain
Still remains.

I must silence the song of sirens.
Life is good, my friends. It really is, even with this latest development of overindulgence in the eating department. Since moving to Illinois, I have married my best friend. Learned my way around our neighborhood, and downtown Saint Charles. Bought a car. Redecorated the living room and bedroom. And for me, the most amazing thing of all is, I have been getting seven to eight hours of sleep nearly every night. 

Anyone who knows my sleeping habits knows this is nothing short of a miracle. I thank Chuck for inviting me into this calm environment that allows me to go to bed each night feeling safe and loved, and allows my brain to shut down completely so that I can get a full night's rest.

Apparently, another thing I have managed to do, which falls so short of miraculous, is gain weight. Now, I have not subjected myself to the confirmation of the bathroom scale, as I avoid humiliation at all costs, but let's just say there have been hints that perhaps my appetite has been a little too hearty.

Just a couple weeks ago, I shared my blog post about "Ignoring the Scales." One of my readers responded that she never weighs herself, she just judges herself by how her pants fit, and knows she needs to make better choices if they start feeling tight. What a good idea, I thought.

Except. Well, since retiring several weeks ago, I've pretty much limited my wardrobe to pajamas and yoga pants, and occasionally, my favorite jeans, which happen to have a generous amount of Lycra in them, APPARENTLY. It's pretty easy for my pants to fit very well, no matter how I eat, if you know what I mean. I could probably gain a good fifty pounds, and still be able to slide those babies over my hips. So, perhaps the "see how my pants fit" idea isn't the best gauge for me. Not THOSE pants, anyway.

Just recently, Chuck and I were going for a winter morning's walk, and I wanted to wear my ski pants, knowing we would be traipsing through knee-deep snow behind our house. As I pulled my white ski pants up past my knees, they seemed to be catching on the fabric of my black tights. That must have been it; the silky smooth inner lining must have been creating friction with the sleek fabric of the tights. (I know what you're thinking; she just doesn't get it. Give me a moment. I'll catch up to you in just a sec.) I took either side of the zipper and pulled it together so I could zip my pants. The zipper seemed dull that day. It didn't zip right up like it had at the beginning of the season. And then, when I tried to fasten the waist, it hit me. UH-OH. MY PANTS ARE TOO TIGHT! 

I had to first attach the inner metal hook together before I could even get the snaps close enough to line up for closure. I could breathe once I got everything zipped and snapped, but just barely. After I donned my white ski jacket, and white slouchy hat, I was pretty sure I resembled the Michelin tire man.

I waddled to the kitchen where Chuck was putting on the last of his winter wear, and we headed out the door for some fresh air, and some much needed exercise. (My back has been killing me ever since I crammed as much as I could in my backpack when I flew from Salt Lake City to O'Hare. That heavy weight slung over my shoulder was all that was needed to irritate my old back injuries, and I've been icing and trying to stretch my back ever since.)

The two of us walked around our neighborhood, and then when my back started giving me fits, we headed home across the rotary park just behind our house, in search of cardinals. Unbeknownst to me, Chuck was taking pictures of me while I was taking pictures of the birds. 
Photo Credit, with some deep-seated humility: Chuck Bennorth
See the resemblance to the big, puffy white guy?

When I saw this picture later, I had a another "uh-oh" thought. "That backside is looking a tad wide, Missy." But I chalked it up to my bad habit of negative body image chatter, and reminded myself that Chuck told me he would love me no matter how much I weighed.

My body tends to do this, this fluctuation of weight, and I now cannot argue with the evidence that it is indeed time to get back on the wagon, and hop off of the never-ending chuck wagon. (No pun intended, Chuck. I mean the feeding frenzy has to end! I love my Chuck Wagon.)

No scale is needed for me to know that while I'm settling in to this new life, it's time to be fully present, address emotional issues, make better nutritional choices, and even though my back hurts, get back to a regular exercise routine. 

This week I've been taking time for reading, prayer, and reflection as part of my morning rituals. I've been opening up to Chuck about some of my concerns. We eat so differently, and I've been taking a "when in Rome" attitude, but honestly, how many Chicago-style pizzas and hotdogs can a girl eat, and still live to fit in her pants? 

I'm happy to report that yesterday went well. I know it's only one day, but I have to start SOMETIME. We celebrated Zack's twenty-second birthday last night, and while the guys enjoyed pizza and Portillo's famous chocolate cake, I ate my own home-cooked dinner, without dessert. Chuck was feeling bad that I wasn't eating something special, and offered to go anywhere I wanted to get something for me, if I weren't going to have what they were going to eat.

"Honey, I promise; I don't want pizza and cake. I will enjoy my meal tonight because today I have been in control of my eating, and that will feel better than any yummy food I can think of."

One day down, many more to go. I'm off for some meditation and reflection to reinforce my new approach.


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