Friday, January 28, 2011

The Commitment of a Lifetime

I’m still fighting a bit of Seasonal Affective Disorder (namely, I’m unmotivated to exercise and thinking eating chocolate might make the sun come out), so this morning I went looking for a kick in the butt.


I found “The Commitment of a Lifetime,” which I wrote in January 2007, a few months before I got to goal. Reading it helped me see how in recent months I’ve slipped into the “motivation mindset,” thinking I need motivation to be successful. Motivation, shmotivation! Commitment is the cure for what’s ailing me. I need to recommit to being healthy and keeping my weight off. If I’m not “motivated” to move or I’m not “motivated” to eat the right thing, commitment says, “Lynn, just do it anyway!”


So today I am recommitting to maintenance, something I knew four years ago would be the most challenging part of my journey. First order of business? Put on my workout clothes (I don’t want to) and go into my workout room (I don’t want to) and pop in a Jackie or Leslie tape (I don’t want to) and get my sweat on. So what if I don’t “want” to? I’m doing it anyway because that’s what commitment is: doing.

The Commitment of a Lifetime (from Jan. 2007)

Goal. Maintenance. Lifetime. The three-word process Weight Watchers uses for the next phase of my weight-loss journey. Losing weight was the easy part. Keeping it off? Well, that’s a whole different beast.

As of this week I’ve lost 153 pounds, more than half myself, and instead of a size 32, I am an 8. I still have a few pounds to go, but I’m not sure how many since my goal is based on my waist size, not a number on the scale. I’ll explain in a minute.

It's taken me two years to reach this point. Two years of forgiving, accepting, not accepting, and learning. A lot of learning. I could earn a Ph.D. from everything I’ve learned these last eight months. Yet the education of Lynn continues.

The physical transformation of anyone who has lost a significant amount of weight pales in comparison to the psychological transformation that must take place in order to maintain weight loss. Committing to losing weight was easy, and as I marched down the scale, I embraced new eating habits and new foods, and I learned all I could about nutrition. Then I met some people from Weight Watchers who had recommitted to losing weight after gaining back most or all of the weight they’d previously lost. I asked them what happened and they all said they didn’t commit to maintenance. They went back to their old ways of eating more and moving less. Successful weight loss, they realized, is a lifestyle change, not a temporary diet. It’s more than food. It’s how our bodies move and feel. It’s about strength and metabolism. So I started to think of the program beyond food, and my goal morphed from the scale to the body.

Just because someone is thin does not mean they are healthy and fit, the same way that being overweight doesn’t mean you can’t have excellent cholesterol levels and strong muscles. The scale is not the best gauge of fitness. Waist size and body fat levels are much better indicators. I’ve met my body fat goal of less than 25 percent, but I’ll officially be at goal when I lose one more inch off my waist.

I’m not a joiner of anything. I even do the Weight Watchers program online because I’m more comfortable doing things alone. But I knew if I didn’t want to be a statistic I’d need to commit to an even greater level of fitness than my walking routine. This meant I needed access to gym equipment. I don’t have the room or the cash to have it in my house, so with some trepidation I joined a gym.

The feeling most engrained in my head from my days at 300 pounds is embarrassment. That didn’t disappear just because the weight was gone. At the gym, I wanted to be an invisible entity – slap on my headphones, hop on a treadmill, maybe lift a few weights. I would slip in unnoticed and leave unnoticed. Within a few weeks, however, a new feeling emerged. Confidence. I became comfortable in the physical space of machines and bodies and equipment. People were kind, and the staff gently encouraged me to reach beyond my original fitness goals. When I started developing muscles I didn’t know I had and finding hip bones and rib bones I’d thought were hidden away forever, I tried to thank one of the staff for his help. He simply smiled and said, “It was all you.”

I began to protest, but then it hit me: I’m the only one who gets me up in the morning, throws my bed hair back in a bun, and schleps off to the gym. I’m the only one who makes my legs pump the elliptical or the bike. I’m the only one who lifts my body into a chin-up and muscles my way through butterflies and pullovers and triceps pulls. And finally I realized that I was the only one who lost my weight and I’m the only one who can keep it off. I needed confidence to see that, and with confidence comes trust. The next step is for me to trust that I can keep this journey going for a lifetime.

I’m still surprised sometimes when I look in the mirror. It’s not easy wrapping my brain or eyes around 153 pounds gone, but it’s not so hard that I will forget the me of two years ago who was embarrassed and lacked confidence. She’s a part of my past now.

Goal. Maintenance. Lifetime. Bring it on.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Great ‘Shroom Experiment

As most of you know, I am hyper vigilant about everything I eat, and going out to eat is second only to a party that is the most challenging to my resolve. You can make an educated guess about what ingredients are in certain dishes, ask the server to ask the chef to prepare something without oil, and order sauces and dressings on the side, but unless the recipe and prep is laid out in black and white, a restaurant food’s calorie/fat/carb/fiber count is usually a crap shoot. That’s why when I find something I know is in my food comfort zone, I stick with it, time after time after time.

On Friday, New Guy and I had lunch at one of our favorite restaurants, North Country Brewing Co. in Slippery Rock. I’ve been going there for a couple of years and I always get the hummus and a salad. Hummus and salad, hummus and salad, hummus and salad until two weeks ago I stepped out of my comfort zone and tried the bean burger without the bun. The verdict? Eh…it was OK. Next time I’ll order it without the chili sauce on top. It was a little too spicy for this Norwegian palate.

Normally I have gone back to my comfort zone, but there was one other thing I’ve been hankerin’ to try: the Portabello ‘Shrooben. “Grilled portabellos topped with sauerkraut, Swiss cheese & our homemade Russian dressing. Served on grilled rye.”

I love Reuben sandwiches. Light rye, dark rye, pumpernickel…I don’t care. I love that sandwich. I remember the first one I ever ate. I was 6 or 7 years old. Dad had taken us to a Blue Angels show in Minneapolis and when we got home, he made Reuben sandwiches. The only thing I ever saw my dad make were cheese omelets (which are divine…I still can’t make them as good as he does), so it was fun to watch him make sandwiches for all of us that night. It was also the first time I’d ever eaten sauerkraut, one of the best tasting foods in the world, IMHO.

I haven’t eaten a Reuben in years, convinced it wouldn’t be the same without a cured meat, which I no longer eat. But every time I go to North Country, I look at (and drool over) that dang sandwich. So Friday I tried the Portabello ‘Shrooben, and it seriously was the best thing I’ve eaten in a long time. It was as satisfying as the risotto George’s girlfriend ate on “Seinfeld,” if you know what I mean.

The only thing “heavy” about the sandwich was the bread. However, they grilled it on a dry grill. No butter, just as I’d requested. I also ordered the dressing on the side. Granted, it didn’t have the saltiness that comes with a cured meat, but it was as close to a fabulous Reuben that my vegetarian heart could hope for.


I loved it so much that today I decided to make one at home.

I grilled the portabellos in a little Pam and veggie broth.


Made the 1000 Island dressing (a Joy Bauer recipe): 3T low-fat mayo, 3T ketchup, ½ t Worcestershire sauce, 1T pickle relish and ½ t horseradish.


I put light Jarlsburg cheese, sauerkraut, and the mushrooms on the bread and grilled it with just Pam on the pan.


Except for the fact that I used light bread rather than rye (which next time, I’m “splurging” on rye), it was a very good sandwich. I will probably put the 1000 Island directly on the sandwich, too, while grilling and serve it with a side of mustard. (Mmmmm…mustard. I love condiments.)

That's not my thumb in the way. That's me giving it a thumbs up, but wow, it makes my sandwich look really tiny!
I ate my sandwich with a side of roasted broccoli. My quickie recipe: Cut up a few crowns into bit-sized pieces or strips, Pam a casserole, arrange the broccoli, sprinkle garlic powder and pepper on top, spray a little with Pam and throw in a 375-degree oven and roast for 30-40 minutes. Today I topped it with some Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.


Food can be tough to navigate, god knows. But often, food takes us back to certain points in time, reminds us where we came from, makes us all warm and fuzzy. Is there anything you ate prior to losing weight that you’ve modified to make more “healthy” now? Anything you’d like to eat again, but aren’t sure how to make that would fit your new eating plan? Are there things you aren’t willing to modify and eat sparingly just because it’s worth it when you do? Hit me up with your comments or send an email to lynn.haraldson@yahoo.com.

Friday, January 21, 2011

It’s Friday? Seriously?

What a week! Lots of exciting stuff going on and it’s kept me from writing. This trend will continue for awhile, but I’ll still check in here a few days a week. Promise!

First of all, a big hello to new Lynn’s Weigh readers! Thank you for all your comments and emails since the article “8 Amazing Blogger Weight-Loss Transformations” showed up on Yahoo on Monday. Many of you had similar questions, so I’ve added a Frequently Asked Questions page link at the top. On the FAQ page you’ll find links to blogs I’ve written about how I started, what others say about the journey, loose skin, and food.

Second, grandbaby #3 is due in three weeks! I think it’s a boy, but Cassie, Matt and especially Claire thinks it’s a girl. Claire really wants a sister.

Claire is 3 and she kind of gets the “new baby” concept. Luca (20 months) has no clue, just as Claire had no clue what was about to rock her world when her parents came home from the hospital with Luca.


Me and Luca the Cheeseball

I was bouncing Claire and Luca on my lap last week and I said to Claire, “Oh no! Grammy only has two legs! Where will I bounce the third baby?”

She looked at me with her big eyes and I could see she was trying to figure out a solution.

“I know,” I said. “I’ll grow a third leg.”

“You can grow a third leg?” she said.

“I’m gonna try,” I said.

I, of course, completely forgot I’d told her that, but Claire didn’t. She doesn’t forget anything. When I saw her Tuesday, she lifted up my pant leg and asked, “Have you grown that third leg yet?”

I’m not sure how I’m going to get out of this one. 
Cassie at Christmas. She's popped exponentially since then :)

Cassie went into labor both times a few days before the babies’ due dates and so I’m hoping g-baby #3 got that memo, too. I’m Grammy-On-Call to watch Claire and Luca when Cassie’s water breaks and you know my family means everything to me and I’d do anything for them, but Grammy has tickets to Bon Jovi on Feb. 12...LOL

Third, my new fitness schedule was pushed back a week and will begin next week when I join the Y. Since my knee surgery in June, my workouts have been spotty at best. I’ve developed an “I can’t” mentality which has pervaded even the things I know I can do.

I’ve been working on a mental strategy to get motivated again. I know working out among people at the Y will help immensely. It was always a major motivator to push myself as hard as the woman next to me on the elliptical or the guy lifting weights in the weight room. Yes, I have my limitations and I have to be creative, especially when it comes to cardio, but I’m tired of feeling like a slug and I’m especially tired of this tire developing around my middle. My weight hasn’t changed much, but I definitely have lost muscle mass in the last seven months. I WILL, however, be tank-top ready by May!

Fourth, there’s this guy… *grin* That’s all I’ll say on that right now

Until next week, have a great weekend, be good to yourselves, eat well and move!

Monday, January 17, 2011

One Thing

Most people who lose weight – whether it’s the first or 100th time – have “One Thing” in common: a comment, an incident, a photograph or some one thing that gets them on or back on the road to weight loss.

While I journaled and thought long and hard about why I wanted to lose weight this last time, my “One Thing” that put me on this journey was a photograph on the night of my daughter’s 20th birthday.

It was December 12, 2004. I’d offered to cook Cassie one of her favorite meals, but she insisted we go out.

“It’s snowing,” I said.

“Mom…,” she said, like a finger snap.

“Fine,” I sighed.

There was no use arguing with her. It was only flurries, and she’d just trump me with the guilt card and make me feel even worse. I pulled my hair back in a ponytail like I always did. My haircut was uneven and the color was a combination of store-bought dye, dark roots, and strands of gray. I’d stopped going to the salon because the chair was as uncomfortable as staring at my reflection in the mirror. I trimmed my bangs when the hair grew past my eyes, and I lopped off the ends when they looked frayed. I bought a bottle of color every few months when the gray made me as depressed as my weight.

I pulled a stretchy red sweater over my stretchy black pants with the small hole and a permanent stain on the leg. Not much fit anymore and I didn’t have the money to upgrade my wardrobe another size. I had garbage bags full of clothes in every size from 16 to 28, but what fit now was 30/32 and I only had a few shirts and pants that size. I threw on some socks and boots but no jewelry. My goal was always to remain as unnoticed as possible.

“You look nice,” said Larry as he put on his winter coat.

“Whatever,” I said.

We met Cassie and my other daughter Carlene at the restaurant, and despite the weather, the place was filled with pre-holiday parties. Most of the diners didn’t notice I was there, but I imagined everyone thought as I walked in, Oh my, she’s big. And probably a few did. We were seated next to a window with a view of the snow falling into the Allegheny River and I eased into a chair, red-faced from the short walk from the parking lot.

The girls were animated, as usual, talking over each other and carrying on two conversations at once. My girls loved me at any weight, so I knew it was futile to say no to a photo when Cassie handed her camera to Larry and said, “Take a picture of me and Mom!”

“Smile,” he said, and I did.

“That’s a nice photo of us, Mom,” said Cassie as she scrolled through the photos.

“Yes, honey, it is,” I lied.

At first glance I did the usual, “How could you let yourself get that big?” self-flagellating ritual. Then something caught my eye. Something bigger than my third chin. Cassie had placed her cheek next to mine and she was beaming. She was happy because she was with her mother on her birthday. Not her morbidly obese mother, her ill-dressed mother, her isolated, guarded, self-loathing mother – those were my descriptors. Cassie loved me just the way I was.

“Losing weight, really losing it,” my friend Frankie once told me, “demands that you cut the pounds away from your sense of self, not yourself away from your essence.”

I’d allowed weight to become my essence. That photo of Cassie and me – my final “One Thing” – challenged me to really see and feel the nearly 300-pound body in which I lived and to decide once and for all if I was going to allow my weight to be my personal judge and jury.

A few weeks later, I started my last descent down the scale. It had to be the last time because I knew if I didn’t figure out a way to lose weight and keep it off that I would die. Maybe not the next day or the next year, but young. It wasn’t just my daughter in that photo. It was Larry, Carlene, my stepsons, parents, siblings, and all the other people who loved me.

That photograph took me outside the world of my 300-pound body and showed me the real reason to lose weight.

Most of us have One Thing in common. What is yours?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

My Book Overview: Need Your Feedback

As many of you know, I’m writing a book (what blogger isn’t, right? LOL). The proposal is done and in my agent’s hands. Now all we need is a publisher.


And readers.


I can write until I’m blue in the face, but a book isn’t much of a book without readers. So I thought I’d share my book overview with you and ask, Does this sound like a book you’d read or recommend to someone ? As always, I appreciate your feedback.

I’ve been up and down the scale more than a stripper on a pole. There isn’t a weight between 128 and 296 that I haven’t seen once, twice or five times.

Weight evokes memories, same as the smell of apple pie or the ocean or an old boyfriend’s aftershave. Pick a weight, any weight, and I can tell you who I was dating or married to, how old my kids were, where I worked (or didn’t work), who my friends were, what kind of car I drove, where I went grocery shopping, how I wore my hair, where I went on vacation, who died, who hurt me, and what church I attended.

At 249 pounds, I checked into a mental health facility for a week in 1987; attended my oldest daughter’s high school graduation in 2001; and launched a weight-loss blog in 2005.

At 200 pounds, I tucked a blouse into a skirt after losing 49 pounds in 1987, but hid in a too-large, draping black dress when I married my fourth husband in 1998.

At 170 pounds, I started college in 1989; graduated from college in 1996; and walked my youngest daughter down the aisle in 2006.

At 150 pounds in 1977, a doctor called me fat; in 2007, a doctor called me thin.

The scale began chronicling my personal history the moment I was publically called “fat” by a group of boys in junior high. Until then, I thought I was the only one who noticed my awkward pre-adolescent body. Other people noticed too, because not long after being outed as fat, I was inducted into the “Pretty Face Club” by my grandmother, a few aunts, and the guy who said he’d date me if I dropped a few pounds.

My scale number lingered in the back of my mind like a gnat. Weight was intricately woven into my life, embedded in the everyday layers of doing and being. Weight was usually a subtle discomfort wrapped in reminders as simple as seeing my reflection in a storefront window or the facial reactions of friends and strangers when they saw me. Weight became a scapegoat and dieting a deflection from what was really wrong.

Weight gain was a mostly subconscious and passive activity that happened in the background during good times and bad. But there was always a scale number that triggered an increased sensitivity to the public’s (and subsequently my own) opinion of my body, and I altered my behavior as a result. When that trigger was pulled, whether I was slightly overweight or morbidly obese, I lived life afraid of being hurt and was more inclined to forgive people their transgressions in order to avoid confrontations about my weight.

When I weighed 230 pounds the first time, my kids and I left our home for a few days because my second husband had put his fist through a bedroom wall and a living room window, and threatened to stab my brother with a butcher knife. As I drove away, he screamed out the front door, “You fucking bitch!” and I remember thinking, Thank God he didn’t call me fat.

When being sensitive and forgiving wasn’t enough, when I sensed my approval rating slipping because of my weight, I consulted the scale like a Magic 8 Ball.

“Will I and other people like me better if I lose weight?” I’d ask. The answer was always “Yes.”

Unlike weight gain, which happened without much thought, I was an active, almost vicious participant in weight loss.

I always dieted alone. Whether it was the Tic Tac and Tab diet or Weight Watchers, I didn’t seek peer support, nor did I have a clear weight goal. In diet mode, my weight was like a centipede crawling up my leg. I couldn’t get it off fast enough. I raced through a diet and claimed “goal” when enough people said I looked OK. With everyone happy, I relaxed my original determination and returned to my old way of eating more and moving less. My dance up the scale started anew, and as I danced, I completely ignored the emotional issues that instigated the weight gain and loss in the first place.

It never occurred to me that in order to stay at a goal weight, I had to eat like a person at goal, exercise like a person at goal, and most of all think like a person at goal. I chose not to acknowledge that “dieting” got me nowhere, being thin didn’t solve my self-esteem issues, and that life – whether I was big or small – kept going whether I ate a donut or a carrot. Until I did the inside work, it didn’t matter what I looked like on the outside, but the outside was always easier to manipulate.

It was during my recent (and final) dance down the scale that I finally “got it.” I could no longer deny the emotional and physical weight of 300 pounds as I confronted the potential for an onslaught of weight-related diseases, namely diabetes and arteriosclerosis. I’d also isolated myself from friends and family, hiding in a job that kept me out of the spotlight and living in a house outside of town.

Having kept a diary on and off for 30 years, I turned to journaling as a way to untangle the knots that got me to 300 pounds and its fallout. After losing 50 pounds, I launched a blog and wrote about my weight loss. More importantly, I posted progress photos and made my scale number public. It was like telling those boys from junior high to shut up, or letting my grandmother, my aunts, the boy who wouldn’t date me, and everyone else who launched an opinion about my weight know that I quit the Pretty Face Club. From then on I would not allow my weight to measure my worth. The scale was no longer my biographer.

When I was on Oprah in November 2007 after losing 167 pounds, Oprah asked me a question that was not on the script, but my answer flowed like I’d rehearsed it a thousand times.

“Can you even now look in the mirror and recognize yourself?” she asked.

“I feel like the person I am on the inside is the person I am on the outside. I feel like I match now,” I replied.

I didn’t mean that because I was standing on Oprah’s stage wearing designer “7” jeans and a Betsy Johnson belt that I had all the answers or reached enlightenment. I meant I finally figured out how to be a person who screws up, cries for no reason, gets angry at silly things, and has moments of doubt and moments of shame while at the same time be a person who pays attention to her body’s needs and who treats it with respect. I could finally acknowledge that I was kind-hearted and friendly, a good mother, sister and daughter, and my own best friend even with a body that, underneath the designer clothes, was far from perfect. I do everything I can to care for both my outside self and inside self, with both parts getting equal attention.

This final trip down the scale was a long, emotional road, but worth every second for all that I’ve learned and forgiven. In writing this book, I got to know the woman I was at every weight. I examined her intentions and compromises, her weaknesses and strengths, and in doing so, came to appreciate who she was. I no longer pity her or feel sorry for her or judge her harshly because the path she walked and the decisions she made helped me become the woman I love today.

Pick a weight, any weight, and I can tell you who I loved and how I lived. My former self, at any number, survived the best way she knew how. She endured loss, left an abusive relationship, went to college and worked full time, and raised two strong daughters. Most of all, that 300-pound woman initiated the final dance down the scale. She’s the one who finally “got it.” She lives inside me, stronger and wiser than I gave her credit for. She has my full respect.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Another Carlene Review and DVD Giveaway!

My daughter, Carlene, is back with another exercise DVD review! And can I just say how terribly proud I am of this girl (even if she can't dance...LOL). *tear* She's a good kid. And gettin' buff, too! Go Carlene!


OK, I'll shut up now and let her take over.

Happy January, everyone!

Like many of you, I’m enthusiastically starting 2011 with weight loss and fitness goals. During the past few years, my eating has been very lax. It’s not that I indulged in high calorie foods all the time, but it was enough to gain about 20 pounds since 2006. And honestly, I just don’t feel the way I use to. Friends and family tell me that I wear it well and that the weight gain is hard to notice, but the scale doesn’t lie, and I can’t continue to ignore this “sluggish” feeling I have. So, beginning on January 1st, I joined Weight Watchers online. I am only nine days into the program, and already I feel so much better. I’m still enjoying the foods I loved before, but this time I understand portion control. When I see the numbers in front of me, it is much easier to make healthier choices. My goal is to lose about 30 pounds this year, and with the right tools, I know I can do it.

So today I’m reviewing Julianne Hough’s workout DVD, “Dance with Julianne, Just Dance!” In my other reviews, I’ve openly admitted that I lack the dancing gene. It’s funny, I can read and play music and keep a beat, but when that beat translates into moving my body, I’m a fumbling, comical mess. Sadly, this DVD, while fun and energetic, left me with two left feet. But I don’t want anyone to feel that this DVD is impossible. If you like to dance, then this would be a great workout for you.

Julianne divides her workout into three sections: Work it!, Flaunt it!, and Pump It! All are equal in intensity, and all focus on working the whole body, particularly the core. Even if you can’t dance (like me!), Julianne has a separate section devoted to slowly learning the moves. If I had more time with this DVD to learn the moves, it might still look funny, but I could definitely get a great cardio workout.

So don’t be afraid. Put your name into the hat and have some fun with this workout! Leave a comment or send an email to my mom at lynn.haraldson@yahoo.com. She'll draw a winner on Thursday. Good luck!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

You Are The Boss Of You

I worked out yesterday and overdid it a little. I totally forgot I had some of those back muscles. I suspect I'm not the only who has hit the gym or the diet super hard this time of year because we feel we have some making up to do

I’ve spent the last month haphazardly trying to lose weight (I want to drop five pounds). Every day I was making excuses for why I ate what I did or didn’t move the way I said I would. But I’m done with excuses. I’ve pulled my head from my nether regions and I thank the maintenance gods that I only gained .7 this holiday season. (Geez-oh-man. White flour anyone? Sugar? Don’t even ask me how many hours I spent sitting around. Granted, I’ve been through a lot of changes the last three months. But seriously? That is NOT an excuse for me to become sedentary.)

Anyway, in reality, my eating wasn’t that bad, but I was not as careful as I usually am about monitoring my carb intake. Thankfully I came to my senses last week, and now when I see white, I run the other direction. Case in point, my daughter and I went out to lunch yesterday and the server brought two very pretty white rolls, one of which had a sugar coating on top. I relied on my tried and true question: “How will I feel five minutes from now if I ate that?” Foods I really love are ones I make allowances for, and while the white flour/sugary buns called my name, I wasn’t feeling their love. I knew I’d feel yuck physically and emotionally if I ate them.

I stuck to my spinach salad and broccoli and the very yummy house dressing that, while not calorie-friendly, was very satisfying in small amounts. The dressing is what I wanted, not the rolls, and so I planned for it.

The longer I travel on this road, the more I refrain from labeling some of my favorite foods as “bad,” because the only thing that makes them “bad” is that I let them tell me how much I should eat instead of me telling them how much I should eat. It’s all about who’s boss.

I’m not sure if this is exactly pertinent to what I’m trying to say, but in 1982, my mother gave me the silver-plated utensils she’d received when she and Dad got married. Eight forks, knives, soup spoons, and serving spoons, two butter knives and a pickle fork. She bought me a red velvet-lined silverware box in which to store them. I kept that box in a drawer in my grandmother’s buffet that I’d inherited, and I took them out to use only on special occasions, mostly Thanksgiving and Christmas.

When I moved last year, Larry and I divvied up the kitchen stuff. When we got to the silverware, I said I’d just buy a cheap set at Wal-Mart. Then I remembered my mom’s silver-plated silverware in the box in the buffet. The loudest voice in me – the most anal retentive – said, “You can’t use those! They’re special!” But the let-your-hair-down, practical voice said, “Why not? They’re meant to be used! It’s not like they’ll break.” (I like that voice the most.)

I took all the utensils out of the red-velvet box and placed them in a Tupperware silverware rack and moved them to Pittsburgh, where I use them every day. The best part is that every time I use a spoon or fork or knife, it reminds me of all those special occasions – from the time I was a little kid up until Christmas 2009 – when my mom or I set a table. My mother’s silverware – housed in a very ordinary kitchen and used to eat very ordinary food – is meant to be enjoyed. It’s special just by virtue of its history, but it’s still utilitarian. And I get to be the boss of it.

It’s the same thing with food. Knowing what’s special and why, affording ourselves that which is special and working it into what it also precious to us – eating healthy – is the ongoing gift of eating right, of no longer assigning good and bad labels to the things we love.

Whether you eat with your hands, a plastic spoon or a 14-carat-gold fork, I hope the food you choose to eat is worthy of you, your body and your aspirations. Always remember, you are the boss of you.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year's Video

video

Welcome to all of my new readers and a big thanks to all of you who've been with me along the way. Glad to have you along. To leave your questions or comments about what you'd like more of on Lynn's Weigh, leave a comment or send an email to lynn.haraldson@yahoo.com.

Happiest 2011, everyone!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

What Is Your Destiny?

“Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your values. Your values become your destiny.” Mahatma Gandhi

On January 1, 2005, I did what millions of people are doing right now: I resolved to lose weight. I didn’t know how much or how long it would take, but I resolved to do something to take control of my body and my health.

Six years and 170 pounds later, I realize I did more than lose weight. Losing weight takes courage, yes, but changing your life to make weight loss permanent? Yeah…that takes a lot more than courage. It takes love. And I am, finally, in love…with all of me.

When I started this journey, belief was the only thing I had going. I believed I could do it. I believed I was worth it.

That belief became my thoughts, which I journaled into words and spoke aloud. I told my family and my doctor, “I’m going to lose weight!” Those words led me to Weight Watchers online. As the weeks went by, my new way of eating became a habit, and in time, I started to value what I was accomplishing and what was emerging physically and emotionally. When I learned to value both my body and my thoughts – when they matched – I knew things were different this time. My destiny was not only to be thin, but to love who I am.

In an email last week, a friend wrote how she wants her thinner body back. She’s lost a substantial amount of weight, but over the holidays has gained a bit to where she physically notices it.

“Isn’t it cool,” I wrote, “that you can physically see that you’ve gained? I mean, when I was 300 pounds, or even 200, I could never see it. I never paid close attention to any part of my body except to criticize it. That you SEE it means you care and you will break up with sugar after the holidays. You’ll never go back to where you were because as you said, you want your thinner body back. I think that’s what differentiates people who lose weight for the last time from those who yo-yo. You fall in love, so to speak, with what you’ve accomplished.”

My friend’s destiny is to be thin. It’s what she values, it’s what she works for, it’s what she talks about, and it’s what she believes.

If losing weight is your destiny, take it from a seasoned yo-yo, been-there-done-that dieter: don’t change everything right now or turn your world upside down thinking if you run away from the old, the new will emerge. Instead, try it Gandi’s way.

Start with (and feel) these two words: “I believe…” Let that belief consume your thoughts and let your thoughts become your words and your words your actions. In time – in the proper time that is right for you – your actions will become your habits. And because you are patient, you will value what you’re accomplishing so much more because you will – in this process – start loving yourself more than you ever imagined.

And that, I believe, is the greatest destiny of all.
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