Projections and Perceptions: Ignoring the Naysayers

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Rather dramatic, isn’t it?

This week I’d like to address other people’s attitudes towards those of us who are trying to make a positive change in our lives. My reason for doing so is – even though I’ve stuck with the healthy eating and exercise – I’ve been going through a weird phase where all the naysayers in my past are rising up in my dreams and memories. Emotions can definitely affect how well we do in terms of taking care of ourselves – physically, mentally and even spiritually. Whether they’re related to guilt, depression, fear or anger – how we’re feeling can be either a positive or negative influence when we’re trying to affect change in our lives.

This Monday is the three month mark for me, and I’ve surprised myself with how well I’ve gone – keeping on track (at least 98% of the time!) with exercising regularly and eating well. I have my doctor’s appointment on Monday – where I will learn how much weight I’ve lost and where my sugar levels are. I’m excited and a little apprehensive. On the one hand – I know that I’ve lost weight – even though I know that I have a long way to go, but on the other hand – I’m worried that I’m not doing enough and could do more.

I average a total of about 2.5 – 3 hours per week exercising, but I discovered (at least – on one healthy eating website) that I should be doing at least 4 hours per week. I discover this now – just as I am about to get a check up – after I spent the last few months thinking that I was doing a good job! I was also a little concerned about my diet, even though we have hardly had any junk food and we’ve stuck to a healthy diet, eating whole foods and avoiding processed food. I’ve been careful about carbs, sugar, fat and salt – but feel like I could have done so much better.

I know that it seems preemptive to assume the worst before I’ve even seen the doctor, but I haven’t been too happy of late – in terms of the slow pace. I deliberately planned to do this slowly so that it would become a part of my life rather than a quick diet – and it has worked, in that sense. I know that I will stay on this track – eating healthy foods and exercising – so I don’t know why I have to punish myself with negative thoughts.

To give you an idea of how I’ve been thinking lately – it’s all jumbled up with memories of other people’s opinions of me and my body throughout my life. Without going on like a sob story (can you hear the violins in the background?!) – I’ve been barraging myself with events such as family, ex-boyfriends, friends and strangers passing judgement on me.

For example: one boyfriend (who wasn’t a studly man anyway!) – told me, when I was thirty years old, that I would be “so hot” if I lost some weight. I’ve heard the usual, passive-aggressive statements such as, “You’re so pretty for a big girl”, or “You couldn’t wear that” when I pointed out clothing I liked. Some people (family, mind you) told me straight out that I needed to lose weight – when they themselves were chunky, or shall we say – bulbous or rotund!

I remember one “friend” telling me a long time ago that I would never lose weight, as I was supposed to be a big woman. She was as skinny as a rake – thanks to the drugs she was snorting – but hey – who am I to judge, right? The two most important men in my life – who happen to be my son and my husband – are the only ones who’ve ever been supportive and sincere in their acceptance of me and my appearance. I have a few close female friends who have also been very supportive of me – even though they too are “rubenesque”.

Peter Paul Rubens - The Judgement of Paris, c.1606
Peter Paul Rubens – The Judgement of Paris, c.1606

I’m making myself sound like a grotesque pig – which I know I’m not – but I also accept that I am not a raving beauty. I know that I’m attractive and have often been told so, but getting older and heavier makes it more difficult to believe that you have any redeeming qualities – physically, anyway. I hate getting older. I just turned forty-nine and I loathe the fact that I’m fast approaching fifty. I’m a child of the 60’s – having grown up in the 70’s and coming of age in the 80’s – then solidifying my place in the world during the 90’s, raising a son and developing my writing as well as other talents.

I’ve always loved music – especially heavy metal – and have been to many concerts, including: Metallica, Kyuss, Slayer, Celtic Frost, Machinehead, Marilyn Manson, the Rollins Band (several times – as well as Henry’s spoken word gigs), Danzig and Pantera. I’ve seen Tool twice (my favorite band), Devil Driver and other acts such as Morphine, Michelle Shocked and Russell Crowe’s band – 30 odd foot of grunts.

I say all this to illustrate that I used to be cool! Now I’m old and fat. Ha ha! I made myself laugh. Well, at least I’m losing weight and on my way – but the last two weeks have wreaked havoc on my self-esteem – such as it is. What I hate about getting older is not so much due to vanity – it’s because I keep thinking of all I still want to do and feel that time is zooming by. Before I know it, I’ll be on my death bed – moaning about everything I didn’t get to do.

It’s also about feeling “irrelevant” or “invalid”. I know that older people have so much to offer – as they have been through a lot and are wiser (for the most part!) I also know that I should count my blessings as there are a lot of people far less fortunate than me. But I’m not talking about them. The funny thing is, I don’t exactly want to be young again. Younger people shit me – especially today’s generation – with their selfies and overblown sense of entitlement and ego. Surely I wasn’t like that?! Nah – too stoned and busy contemplating my navel!

One thing I have to stop doing is treating every healthy lifestyle or “medical expert” website as gospel. I have to sort through the chaff and take what sounds reasonable and use what feels right for me. I also have to remember that I am a work in progress. It’s only been three months and I have given myself the deadline of a year. That means that I have until July next year to hit my goal. I’ve decided that I will aim for at least size 14. Still not sure what my goal weight is, but I’ll figure it out.

To finish this depressing train of thought, I know now that the only reason people have tried to nag and pick at me during my life – whether I was eating healthy or not – was due to their own issues. They either didn’t want me feeling good about myself – as they preferred me being at their level or lower – or they needed a punching bag. Some people are afraid of others doing well – however they’re doing it – as it casts a light on what they themselves are or are not doing. Mowing down the tall poppies.

So – on with my food for the week:

Tomato and Eggplant Pie
Eggplant and Tomato Pie

I should call this “Vague Pie” – as the recipe was pretty laid back – but it was tasty, although I think I’ll cram zucchini and more herbs and spices into it next time.

Eggplant Tomato Pie

Ingredients

1 eggplant
2 tomatoes
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
1 cup breadcrumbs
1 egg
3 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp pesto
shredded cheddar cheese
fresh parsley

Directions

Peel and cube eggplant, boil until soft. Drain water and mash. To eggplant mash, add diced onion, garlic, breadcrumbs, egg, melted butter, pesto, and mix well. Grease a pie pan. Slice one tomato and layer on bottom of pan. Add eggplant mixture. Slice the other tomato and layer on top of eggplant mixture. Add shredded cheddar cheese and sprinkle with fresh parsley. Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

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Crowded Veggie Soup

I call this “Crowded Veggie Soup” – as I used all the veggies that were languishing in the bottom of my fridge and spud cupboard. I actually call this type of soup “Bottom of the Fridge Soup” – but this time there were a lot more ingredients.

I didn’t even start with sauteeing the onions, garlic, carrot and celery – just threw it all in and cooked it for approx 45 minutes. The veggies included onions, garlic, carrots, celery, zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, potatoes and parsley. I used organic, free range, low sodium chicken stock, three bay leaves, Himalayan pink salt and cracked black pepper. I also added a pinch of dried thyme, a pinch of dried sage and a healthy pinch of ground nutmeg.

When it was done, I whizzed it with my immersion blender (loving it so much!) and stirred in half a cup of cream. It was heavenly. I made so much that we ate on it four times during the week and I still had enough to freeze – at least three bowls worth. I even took some to work for a friend who was feeling poorly. She told me that she could detect every veggie – even though it was whizzed!

ZFS
Zucchini and Onion Frittata with Fresh Salsa

One thing I started doing (with my immersion blender) was whizzing my breakfast each morning. Usually I eat my breakfast at work but I’m sick of doing that. I whizz and then pour it into a lovely smoothie bottle and drink it on the way to work. (I hate saying whizz cos you’re probably laughing – thinking I’m peeing into my cup – but I’m tired so I’ll keep saying whizz).

My smoothie includes one banana, six strawberries, a small handful each of blackberries and blueberries, a small tub of non-fat Greek yogurt, two tbsp raw, unfiltered honey (wildflower – local), two tablespoons of flaxseed meal and a dash of milk. (Almonds give me migraines so I didn’t use Almond milk.)

Something exciting for my husband and I is a day with our friends on Sunday – playing Dungeons and Dragons! (Yes – we’re dorks.) Actually – this time we’re doing Castles and Crusades! Malinda and I usually do a gourmand’s feast – but we’re doing a healthy feast this time. I’m bringing my Chicken Salad (I’ll share the recipe next week) and Roasted Pumpkin Seed Butter and crudites.

Well, I’ll go now but I just want to share what a wise old man told me once – when I was depressed about how others treated me or made me feel. “Ignore the pigs and fishes. Hold your head high and continue on without them.”

Here’s my menu plan for the week and until next time, stay healthy and happy!

Menu 101015

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