Sunday, April 19, 2009

"First Sun" Reflections, A Reminder, and A Survey Request

I got my “first sun” of the year yesterday. Not that there haven’t been sunny days, but yesterday was the first time my pasty white skin soaked in some direct rays for longer than five minutes. Until now I’ve been covered in long sleeves and long pants, but yesterday was finally a t-shirt and capris day. Hallelujah!

When I opened the deep storage and woke up the capris from hibernation, for a split second I thought, “Oh no, what if they don’t fit?” Even though everything about my body is pretty much the same since I stored my summer clothes in October, I felt that same old dread: How much did I gain this winter?

Although I started losing weight this final time on a New Year’s Day, normally my weight-loss resolutions were made in spring, on the day of my “first sun.” The first really warm day of spring would arrive and I’d dig through my summer clothes to find something that would fit. During the many years leading up to me tipping the scale at 300 pounds, what I’d find in storage every spring was a pair of stretchy shorts and a t-shirt that fit alright in the waning days of the previous summer, but not so much after a winter of get up/eat/work/eat/watch TV/eat. I’d pull on the shorts and t-shirt, go out in the sun and vow, “I’m gonna lose weight.”

What happened instead was I’d buy a few clothes to get by and beat myself up the rest of the summer for not having the willpower or motivation or whatever magic philosophy I thought I had to adopt to lose weight. It wasn’t a constant thrashing. I mean, I still enjoyed my summers for the most part, albeit self-consciously. But when I think of all the emotional energy I spent beating myself up instead of loving who I was, it makes me sad.

Yesterday, as I sat outside on the deck with my husband and BFF Shari and her husband Kevin, drinking some of Kevin’s homemade cranberry wine in the full sun, I thought for a moment about those other first days in the sun. Was I really all that different now? Other than my pants size, how much had I changed since those weight-gaining times?

I STILL beat myself up needlessly, BUT…I catch myself and stop it more readily.

I STILL strategize how to hide underneath my clothes, BUT…I fight the urge to cover up and wear sleeveless shirts in public once in awhile.

I STILL think about weight, BUT…I’m on the other side of the debate now.

I STILL make resolutions and quickly forget many of them, BUT…the important ones I write down and work on.

I STILL enjoy drinking wine on the deck in the company of good friends, BUT…well, no buts. That’s not something I want to change except to add cabana boys armed with fans and grapes to the deck scene.

I STILL burn easily, BUT…well, again, no buts. I still burn easily, despite sunscreen. I guess to my credit I wear more sunscreen now. Only I didn’t yesterday, except for whatever SPF formula is in my Mary Kay face lotion and even that didn’t stop the red. My cheeks and nose are a little burned. My arm freckles are popping out. And before you say anything about skin cancer, I rarely do more than 15 minutes in the full sun without protection. Promise. I only do the unprotected sun thing for the vitamin D, per doctor’s orders.

This first sun day was a good time to take emotional inventory. Reflecting on life in the dead of winter and making resolutions right after the emotional highs and/or lows of the holidays doesn’t make much sense to me. The best time is in the spring, when everything is coming to life.

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Book CoverREMINDER: To win a copy of Charlie Hill’s book “Why Your Last Diet Failed You (And How This Book Won’t Help You On Your Next One),” leave a comment on my interview with Charlie by Friday, April 24, at the conclusion of his book tour.

Can’t wait or don’t feel lucky? You can buy Charlie’s book on Amazon. Visit his blog, Back to the Fridge, for more dieting/life humor and wisdom. I promise you’ll like what you find there.

Catch Charlie on the rest of his book tour:

Monday, April 20: Biggest Diabetic Loser (Book Review)
Tuesday, April 21: Ecstatic Days (Guest Post)
Wednesday, April 22: The Alcoholian (Guest Post)
Thursday, April 23: The Wonderful World of Wieners (Review & Interview)
Friday, April 24: Cranky Fitness (Guest Post)

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ONE MORE THING: Graduate student Rachel Voss has asked me to ask my readers if they would participate in an anonymous survey she’s developed regarding how the work environment affects women’s eating habits. Rachel is working on an MA in Public Health at Brown.

I’ve checked out the survey and I found it very interesting. Questions include:

- During a normal social conversation with people at work, how often do you talk about what, when, or how much to eat?

- How often do you think that the kinds of food you eat at work are different than the kinds you eat at home?

- On a normal day, is there food available in a common area at work?

As Rachel said in her email, it's not a test. There are no judgements attached to any of the questions. She just wants to feel out the blogging community since blogs tend to create a great community for sharing motivation.

If you’d like to take her survey, please click on this link: https://pph-illume.chcr.brown.edu/Collector/Survey.ashx?Name=foodbehav

And she says to tell thank you in advance!

7 comments:

  1. HAPPY TO HELP WITH THE SURVEY...

    and I adore all of your I STILL thoughts. So powerfully laid out and such a great reminder that we change, are still at the core (in a good way) the same, yet can move beyond sabotaging habits.

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  2. Great post, Lynn! Your "first warm day" stories really reminded me of the first warm day once I started gaining weight. It was my junior year of college, and for the first time, I was truly overweight. I'd always been a little curvier, but that was the year things really slid out of control. I remember trying to get dressed to go for lunch and shopping with my friends and finding absolutely NONE of my pants fit. I tried on a pair of capris that wouldn't even go over my thighs. It was horrible. I'm still working on losing all that weight, but with 40 pounds of it gone, I know for sure that when I try on last year's capri pants, if anything they'll be too big!

    Thanks for the reminder that spring is always a fresh start!

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  3. I also got my first taste of sun this weekend. I walked for around 10 miles and for whatever reason never thought about sunscreen. My neck, arms at elbows and the backs of my legs at my capri pant line are slightly sunburnt. Time to invest in more sunblock. I also freckle. My dad used to kid me that if my freckles would grow together I would have a permanent tan. I swear I think I got several hundred more this weekend. LOL.

    Have a great week.
    Karen

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  4. Great insight about spring being a great (the best?) time for an emotional inventory. Love yours.

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  5. I have just found your blogs. Fantastic! congratulations on all your acheivements.I wil be coming back to your blogs for inspiration and information on how to return to "My Wild Child". Thank you for spending precious time in sharing your journey with everyone, so those of us who are less confident(Anonymous!)at the moment can possiably- no CAN acheive our own goals.

    Thank you.
    P.S yesterday (Sunday was a fantastic day for me too)

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  6. Great post! You always make me think of the things I'm grateful for, thanks.

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  7. I am so glad to see spring arrive. I have been taking it slow getting back into my routine and so enjoyed a walk last night and the spring air made it worth it.

    Mara
    http://24stepstogo.blogspot.com/

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