Thursday, September 20, 2012

Being lighter

Because my throat is still recovering from the twenty hours of singing that is Rosh Hashanah, I haven't practiced in the past day or so and therefore have no significant break-throughs or experiences of interest to recount.  So I thought I would talk about something else for a change.

My weight.

I know, you're all just thrilled that someone else is writing about this.  Just what no one wants to read about.  I don't blame you.  I change the channel when that horrible doctor on the Today show starts to talk about how morbidly obese we all are and how we eat everything wrong and how studies are showing that we're all killing ourselves.  And then I scream a few choice words at the TV that basically amount to: "I know I'm dying, everyone is dying!  God, can't I have ten minutes of fun while I'm still alive???? And that does not include lettuce!  and/or biking ten miles a day!!"

I think the negative focus on how much we all suck is actually feeding into whatever perceived problem we may have.  In other words, I think we are completely missing the point.  Because when some one gives me negative feedback and I feel bad, what do I want to do?  Make mac and cheese and get McDonald's french fries.

It all started when I decided I was going to start holding myself to a higher standard in all aspects of my life, in relationships, behavior, responses to emails, eating better food, at work, everything.  Back in February, I decided I wanted to lose ten pounds for my show.  And I did.  Well...okay, I lost nine by opening, but I made it to ten the next week.  It was really horrible at times, especially when you realize how many calories drinks are, and when you realize you can't just eat everything you want that happens to be in front of your face. But it amazed me that it soon became much easier because my stomach stopped needing so much food to feel full, and things like salad and chicken started seeming more appealing by way of habit.  It didn't take me long to realize that the self-righteous aspects of my personality really enjoyed being able to say that I had had a really healthy lunch.  I also started to be able to hear the little voice of my better self telling me that I was full, and that the additional serving of pasta would only make me feel bad, instead of satisfied.   The truth is, I didn't change what I ate at all, I just started paying attention and being honest with myself about how much I really should be eating if I want to lose weight.  I used to soothe myself by saying that I was disciplined about everything else, and I just eat what I want and let my body decide what size it is supposed to be.  But I always felt bad when my pants were tight.

And by putting myself through the unhappy moments of feeling a little hungry for the first month (though I had eaten plenty to sustain myself), I was able to start feeling good about being able to make a real positive change for myself.  When your clothes start to get too big and it is something you have put your mind to doing and it happens, you feel empowered.    Since I love clothes and fashion so much, it was absolutely the most exciting thing ever to feel like skinny jeans weren't out of the question for me, and to feel confident not only in my voice, but in my appearance when I sang an audition.  The feeling of power that it gave me carried over into so many aspects of my life.

I've been reading French Women Don't Get Fat, which appeals to me because it embraces a reasonable lifestyle, and the idea of listening more closely to our bodies and what they need, versus following a diet plan.   It is really about making a decision to enjoy instead of overdo.  Diets have always made me nervous because they are unnatural.  They work for a few months and then become impossible to keep up.  What I need is a real change in perspective, and something that I can stick to for the rest of my life, and not a regimen that makes me want to kill myself and leaves me feeling deprived.

I admit I have always hated was exercizing-- at least the kind that involves a gym.  But I do walking and yoga, primarily because they soothe my mind at the same time as I am burning a few calories.  So I walk and go to yoga when I have the time.  One thing I especially enjoy about having the chance to get a walk in is that I can indulge a bit more that day.

Why am I telling you all of this?  Because I hope that maybe it will encourage some of you to just go for it-- it will be hard, but its so worth it!

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