So, we spent the next 10 years raising the kids, paying our bills, and making it with little to spare. In 2001, Little Helen graduated from Duke University and it was one of the proudest days of our lives for sure. It just felt so good to know that though we had little we had figured out how to help her in every way possible to be successful. (Not to cut her short - she had many, many scholarships and grants.)
After we got her packed and a small U-Haul packed up we started the drive home, leaving her behind to take a traditional Senior trip to Myrtle Beach. On the drive home Mr. Helen stated that now that we had finished that off, we should finally do something for ourselves. Once home we talked it out and decided we would take our honeymoon/10th Anniversary trip to St. Martin. We had about one year to save for it. And so it began.
I immediately started researching and of course, we talked at length with his best friend who is from the Island. We decided on staying at the Grand Case Beach Club. We were saving as fast as we could but began to worry that we wouldn't be able to afford the trip we really wanted, so we started looking at alternates. Then, as fate would have it, on September 11th the World Trade Center was taken down by terrorists and the travel industry ground to a halt.
In January, we were hearing that the travel industry was offering some spectacular deals to get people back into airplanes, so I looked again and found us an 8 day/7 night trip with airfare, airport transfers and an ocean front room at the Grand Case Beach Club for $1499.00. Not each, that price was for both of us! Needless to say, we booked it and our delayed honeymoon was a few short months away.
Because our dream vacation was now a reality, I started thinking about being on a Caribbean island, in a bathing suit for a lot of the time, and knew I wanted to lose a few pounds to feel better about that situation. I hadn't done any real "dieting" for about 8 years but decided I would try to follow the Weight Watchers program I had used to lose my quit smoking weight, just doing it on my own. Within a week, I was feeling so evil and cranky that I decided I had to change something. The thought came to me that in order to avoid dieting but also maybe lose some weight, I could simply cut my meals in half. So, eat whatever I wanted, but just eat less. Basically a form of portion control, right? So that's what I did. I started eating about 1/3-1/2 less each meal, except for green vegetables. But I ate anything and everything, including pizza and dessert. If I wanted two scoops of ice cream, I would have one. I tracked nothing and I did not weigh myself.
The other thing I did was set my sights on a size, rather than a number on the scale. I think I was wearing about a 14 that January and I decided I wanted to be a size 10 for the trip. The first thing I did was order two pairs of shorts in a size 10 (from a department store in Florida). I had about 5 months and decided I would try those shorts on once a month.
As for exercise, this was pre-runner Helen but I had always been a walker and though I can't remember specifically what I did, I'll assume I was either doing my Reebok step aerobics tape or taking a walk each day. No hard core drastic workouts.
Long story short, it worked. Five months later, in May, we went on our trip and I was a solid size 10. I felt amazing, and I think I looked pretty good too. I was able to maintain that until my thyroid malfunctioned in 2005 and ever since then, it's been up down and all around and even strict dieting has not mattered much - or given me permanent results.
Every once in a while I start to feeling not so good - it's not any one thing, just a bunch of miscellaneous aches and pains, nights of no sleep, struggling with exercise, etc. and I start wishing I could figure out what to do to feel, and if I'm honest, to look better.
This weekend I had a lot of thinky time as we waited out the snow storm. It just so happened I was doing some organizing in the office are and started looking at our St. Martin photos and was reminded of the whole story I just wrote up there. As I sat and thought, I realized I've had a long time aversion to any sort of dieting. I really just don't like it and every time I start, I feel resentful and soon quit. These feelings have been very exasperated by the whole thyroid situation.
Still, as I pondered it all, by Sunday night I had made up my mind that even if nothing changed for me size wise, I need to feel better and so, I have decided to once again cut back, without weighing or tracking myself or food. No hardcore dieting, just simply eat less. I'm two days in and I'm hungry. Yet, last night for dinner I had two pieces of homemade pizza and a salad. I know I'm getting plenty of food and my body is just used to having less food.
Here's hoping that my new old way of doing things will perhaps get me back to a new old way of feeling and looking better. Now, to see if I still have those size 10 shorts somewhere!