Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Nothing New Under the Sun

Back in 2002, Mr. Helen and I began to plan our long awaited "honeymoon."  When we got married in 1992, we paid cash for our very simple wedding as we both had part time jobs that we used to finance it. We also started with 1 full time kid (Little Helen) and 1 summer kid and child support (Little Mr. Helen), each of us had some debt, and honestly we were leaning towards poor.  But love conquers all, right? Well, it conquers everything except how to pay for a honeymoon on top of that other stuff.

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!

Ecclesiastes 1:9

What has been will be again,
What has been done will be done again;
There is nothing new under the sun


  1. Are you going to St. Martin this year? Slow and steady wins the race. It just feels like you aren't getting anywhere. Still eating the same but less sure can help you from feeling frustrated and going on a bender :)

    This is the time of year where I have to skim some blogs and avoid others because they lose weight quickly for whatever reason and the comparison is hard.

    I've been thinking about this as well for me because we are going to Ireland in the fall and I would love to drop 20 pounds.

    1. Let's do it together Lori!

      No, we are not going to St. Martin this year. That trip has become increasingly very expensive and we want to go next year for our 25th anniversary. We might just have a staycation this year, who knows!

  2. You go girl!!! And for the record, I love the term "thinky time"!

  3. Loved your story - you tell a tale so nicely! Funny, I was just talking about losing weight with a friend last night and we both agreed that being able to eat "less" as opposed to "not that, nor that" felt much more relaxing. Sure, it's slower, but honestly, I'd be slow to show results anyway. I like the track you're on. :)

    1. Lord knows I'm so slow to show results they are non-existent lol. Still, one of the ways I don't feel well is in my running. It's not a pace thing, but rather a heaviness thing. If I could feel lighter there I'd be thrilled!

  4. I hate the word dieting too - and have actually eaten quite a bit of good food this past month. My second monthly WI is on Friday - I am hoping to see 169, but if not, no big deal. I feel good. I love not having my wine (turns out 21 days is enough to not only form a good habit, but to break a bad one!) and I feel myself getting stronger.

    I am LOVING the hot yoga - wowza, is that a whole body workout! Last night I was the only one who showed up, so it was like I got a 75 minute private lesson. :D

    1. Hot yoga is one of those things that people like or completely cannot stand. I am in the latter group. Can. not. stand. Glad you're enjoying it though.

  5. I think your plan sounds great! NO stress just being mindful! You've got this! Bring on the size 10's!

  6. Great story and I love this approach very much. I will not go on a diet EVER again. Like you, I hate it. But it's better for me to lose some weight and eat less is a great idea. I might just copycat you on this one.

  7. I loved your story too. You are a very good story teller! I like your ideas and approach. Especially just wanting to optimize health. Sometimes I have to remind myself of this. The problem for me is that when I allow myself to eat whatever I want, I have a hard time limiting the amount of those foods. A very hard time. That said, I am working on adding just a little more fat into some of my foods, and not going overboard. Its a never-ending work in progress, that's for sure.