posted by Amy on Jan 12
I got back to Boston from Denver early Tuesday morning. I had an appointment to get my Herceptin infusion that afternoon, and the rest of the day was taken up with two family crises, a trip to the grocery store, and cooking. Yesterday I worked out and cooked. I cooked steel cut oats, brown rice and red beans, made some “Better Butter” from the Laurel’s Kitchen recipe, and made yogurt. I ordered the books I need for the new semester. I also spent a lot of time on facebook. Today I plan to finish a PhD application, the third of three.
Classes start next Tuesday. It will be my last semester as a masters student at BU. The last class will be on my birthday, and graduation will be in mid-May. It feels strange to have a second day in a row with no deadlines or appointments. I could go to The Crossing tonight, and I’d like to do that, but at the moment the weather is wet, windy and cold, so I might not go. These “in between” times are good for self assessment and reflection.
I lost four pounds in the three weeks I was in Denver. I’m pleased, of course, but it’s a little puzzling. I ate sweets and treats. I had a lot of restaurant meals. I walked a lot, but I usually walk a lot. If I could figure it out I’d do more of the same.
The last time I lost a lot of weight it was involuntary. I had a broken heart, and I simply could not eat. I lost about 25 pounds in a short time, and when my appetite came back I quickly gained that back and more. It proved conclusively that crash diets backfire.
Losing weight really is a simple matter of “eat less, exercise more,” but it is not so simple in practice. I have no obvious bad habits, but I’m overweight, so there’s an energy balance issue. I have some ideas about what’s causing the imbalance and how to rectify it. The changes have to be realistic, healthy, and feasible, and I have to keep it up. I didn’t put on all these extra pounds overnight. Over time, my habits changed so that my “new normal” weight was higher than before. (Getting older and having different hormones also happened–but I don’t think that’s the whole story.) I need to make permanent lifestyle changes that will help me keep the weight off once I lose it.
Two years ago I was trying to lower my cholesterol with diet. I set daily targets for calories, protein, carbohydrates, cholesterol, total fat, saturated fat, fiber and soluble fiber. I tracked everything I ate, and tabulated it. That took too long to be sustainable.
To avoid the pitfalls of excess complexity I’m going to use an exchange system. The Mayo Clinic has an online guide to weight management based on exchanges. (Click here if you want to see it.) I can learn to tabulate exchanges in my head, and get in the habit of tracking them. I’ve also ordered a set of scales and a hot air popcorn popper.
I need a full-length mirror. I had that where I was staying in Denver, and it was quite revelatory. I simply can’t kid myself about how I look when I see it all at once–my tiny head, my Michelin-Man middle, my thighs. I don’t hate myself, but I can do better.
When I was in Denver I had a two-hour psychological evaluation. It’s required of everyone seeking ordination in the United Methodist Church. I’m happy they screen people. It would be irresponsible not to do that. But it was not fun. I had taken three written tests in May (MMPI-2, Cattell’s 16 Factor Personality Test, and a sentence completion test). The psychologist had those results, plus three letters of reference from people I had asked to write about me. She asked some follow-up questions from those tests and letters, but she didn’t ask them until I first talked about myself for over an hour. She took notes, and asked clarifying questions about my narrative. Then she gave me feedback.
I wish I could remember exactly how she phrased this, but here’s what I inferred from one of the comments she made: my answers about my level of anxiety and fear seem dishonest because I report abnormally low levels of those feelings. She also said I’m “too naive and trusting.” I found both of those assessments puzzling. I used to be quite anxious, fearful and resentful, and my current relatively calm state is the result of diligent effort, over many years, to heal and become more whole. Also I agree that I am open-minded and willing to give people the benefit of the doubt, but I am actually quite vigilant. I assess people all the time, and I have learned to avoid people who are not trustworthy. She also said I’m “defensive,” which made it difficult to respond to things that seemed incorrect, at the risk of seeming defensive.
I know I’m not perfect. But I also know I’m honest, empathetic and emotionally stable. Let’s hope the church thinks so too.