Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Does Family History Always Repeat Itself?

I never made it home to Indianapolis. Even though Boston barely got an inch of snow, the blizzard-like conditions in New York, DC, Philadelphia and Chicago basically crippled the entire airline system. Planes and crews were stuck in snowy areas, so no one could get where they needed to go. I investigated buses and trains, and even considered driving from Boston to Indianapolis overnight. But I’d have been heading straight into the eye of the storm, and the more I thought about it, the last thing my grandma would ever have wanted is for Jeff and me to risk our life trying to get home for her funeral. She didn’t even like when I drove at night.

So I took a couple bereavement days and stayed around our apartment resting and trying to process everything. I’m starting to worry I’m not getting sufficient closure. I needed to see her body to really believe it was true. I needed to be with my family. But I couldn’t. So I moped around the house watching TV, napping and snacking.

I haven’t cared to know what the scale has to say, which is never good. I suspect I’m likely back up to 200. Oh, dreaded 200.

This isn’t working. My whole half-assed approach to weight loss isn’t working. Here’s the bottom line: I desperately want to be in the 170s by June. We’re going back to Indiana the first week of June, and I would love to be wearing a smaller size by then. To be noticeably thinner.

My grandma’s death has me thinking about my own health. My grandma was always very active and fit from doing lots of housework. Then about 15 years ago she started getting sicker. At that time, I really believe she should have taken up walking or another form of physical activity. But she became increasingly sedentary, and her health worsened over the years. She’s been basically immobile for several years now. She spent most of her days in front of the TV, legs hanging off the side of the bed because she couldn’t lift them up. Food became one of the only things she could still enjoy, so she indulged in cakes, pies, fried food and milkshakes. Soon she was 180 pounds, which is a lot for someone who’s 4’11”.

How different would things have been for her if she’d committed to exercise and better eating? For years she stayed healthy through vigorous housework and smaller portions of fattening Southern food, but that wasn’t enough to keep her healthy into old age. My other grandmother is ten years older, but she’s always followed a low-fat diet and still walks two miles a day. She’s in fantastic shape and still leads an incredibly vibrant life at 89.

My mom is quickly sliding into poor health, just like her mother. She’s at least 60 pounds overweight, has high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and can’t walk more than a few blocks at a time. I’m in far better health, but I’m also 50 pounds overweight. When my mom was my age (25), she weighed 135.

I have to make this transformation a priority. This isn’t working, and I’m tired of letting myself down. I keep imagining how amazing it would feel to be 20 pounds lighter by Spring. To go buy cute new summer clothes in a smaller size. To feel better about tank tops, shorts and swim suits.

I MUST resume religiously tracking Weight Watchers Points. Here’s the pattern I’ve been following: Track all day at work, go home with 8-13 available Points for the rest of the day, then pretty eat whatever and not track it. And then it’s just anything goes on the weekend—no tracking whatsoever, usually at least five drinks between Friday and Sunday.

Okay, so religious tracking will help get the weight off. But I am stuck in a SERIOUS plateau. My body is extremely comfortable at this weight. It will be extremely hard to get it off, so I need to go a step further.

Hence, my new theory: The Rule of Four

Four workouts a week
Four 16-oz cups of water a day
Four or less alcoholic beverages a week
Four times eating out a month (I may be more flexible with this one, but it’s my goal.)

To quote Tobias from Arrested Development, “Let the great experiment begin!!”


  1. Lauren I'm so sorry you didn't get to go home! I wasn't able to go to my grandpa's funeral, for different reasons, and it's bothered me for years.

    Don't let not being there get you *too* down. You did everything humanly possible to go there. It was a terrible storm and there was literally nothing you could have done to change events. Doesn't make it any easier, though. I hope you can forgive yourself eventually.

    Things will get easier with regards to the weight loss. I know they will. Don't give up on yourself. Every stumble can make you more determined or it can crush you. Don't let the small shit (gaining a few pounds) hurt you.

    Please Cry. Hurt. Grieve. If you don't grieve now you'll grieve for a lifetime. But just trust yourself that you will get back up, ok?

  2. You won me over with the Arrested Development quote. I like the rule of four, the motivation your grandmother unknowingly passed on to you, and your renewed/revised commitment to health.... BUT...

    You need to grieve. Perhaps you can have a memorial service at a time when you can go back. Perhaps you could set up a little shrine to grandma with your favorite picture of her and a candle or a small personal trinket of hers that connects you to her spirit.