Every night at dinner time my Mom would fill our plates then pull out her little white scale. Then she would carefully weigh each portion of her dinner before sitting with us.

“I’m fat,” she’d say in explanation. “I need to lose weight.”

Every Friday we would go to the local mall. My Dad would take us for an ice cream cone while my Mom wandered around the mall until we were done.

“Why won’t you have an ice cream cone?” I asked.

“Because I’m trying to lose weight,” she replied. “Besides, I have a treat waiting for me at home.”

The treat was frozen green grapes, which didn’t sound like much of a treat to me but adults could be weird sometimes.

I had losing weight pegged as an adult thing, right up until one summer when my neighbour complimented me on my looks. I felt a little uncomfortable because he was the parent of one of my classmates and I wondered why he’d commented now.

“You’ve lost a bit of weight,” my Mom pointed out. I’d been homesick and barely ate anything that vacation. “If you lost just 10 more pounds you’d be perfect”.

I’m not digging out any pictures but I weighed 125lbs at the time and was nowhere near fat. But teenage me knew what to do, at least I thought I did. I knew counting calories was a part of losing weight so I started looking at boxes and containers. A packet of Bovril soup stock was 13 calories. Was that normal? Too much? I had no idea. I made it anyway and drank it down with some water. Then I went to the garage and got my bike. Exercise was important too. And so I biked farther than I’d gone in a while; uphill and down, all the way to the local conservation area. I loved going there  but I was much too weak and dizzy to go in. Luckily I managed to get back home. Where my Mom lovingly berated me for eating too little and made me eat a real bowl of soup and a sandwich.

And that was how my weight loss journey began, later than my Mom’s journey which started in primary school.

Even now I know I have a bad relationship with diets. The moment I start one I become terrified of food and their calories. Is it too much? Not enough? What if I screw up? Then I snap and eat half a carton of ice cream or a row of homemade cookies.

Back in September I decided to start walking at least 10,000 steps a day and I’ve been sticking to it. So far I’ve lost 31lbs. My pants are pooling around my heels and my shirts are looser. I am not dieting though, that’s just not a good choice for me.

One thing I did when the kids were growing up is tell them they were pretty, strong, and brave… never thin. And I never talked about being fat, I was trying to get healthier. So far it seems to have worked. Hopefully the dieting cycle has been broken in our family.

We need to stop criticizing ourselves in front of our children. They are little sponges, absorbing everything. And we need to stop criticizing them. It’s normal for preteen girls to put on a little weight, they’re growing rapidly and need that weight as fuel. Yet I had other parents tell me I should put Kait on a diet and take away her baby carrots (one of her favourite treats) because they were full of sugar. She was perfectly normal and thinned out the farther she got into puberty. She’s perfectly normal now too.

And we need to stop linking weight with health. There are plenty of thin unhealthy people and fat healthy people. As soon as you correlate fat with unhealthy you start seeing fat as the problem and stop looking for the real issue. You can’t diet yourself out of Crohns or stomach cancer. As the saying goes, if you see every problem as a nail, soon you’ll see every solution as a hammer.

I wish I could go back in time and tell my Mom not to worry so much about losing weight, she looked fine the way she was. That one ice cream cone a week was okay. To pick out an activity she liked and get moving (the bonus being a child free evening).

You only get one life to live, make life count instead of counting calories.


Weighty matters…

When I first started gaining weight, I treated it like a fluke. Nothing had changed diet or exercise wise and soon the gain would stop and I’d go back to normal. Except it didn’t stop. One day my pants fit like usual then I couldn’t pull them up at all. The gain was rapid and relentless. By the time it stopped I’d gained 47lbs, all in half a year.

Emma took a video of me singing “Stay” at karaoke last night and I didn’t even recognize myself. Even my face has changed dramatically. I hate the way I look now. I miss my old self.

If I followed societies narrative, I’d be doing anything I could to lose weight. Restrictive diets, extreme exercise. Even medicine fueled weight gain must come off eventually. That’s how success happens, right?

I see the videos and before and after pictures of smiling, happy people… finally proud in their new skin. I also know the failure rate and the struggle and this is when I say “fuck it”.

Our society teaches us to shrink ourselves in so many ways. Physically is just one of them and from now on I’m refusing to shrink.

My Facebook flashback today showed a past me who bragged about only eating one crepe at work and I brought my own diet syrup so I could save 20 extra calories. This was a once only experience where our store owners came in and made crepes and pancakes, complete with whipped cream and strawberries… and I refused an extra crepe so I could lose weight. I didn’t by the way.

We only have one life to live and I refuse to live it in an endless cycle of trying to lose weight so society likes me more. And endless cycle of saying no and praising myself for punishing my body.

I will eat healthy food, exercise to keep myself limber, and treat myself when I need some kindness. And I will accept that I am no longer a size medium, average woman.

Maybe someday I’ll be that size medium woman again but I doubt it. I’m on too many psychiatric medications (including Abilify and Lithium, which are known for weight gain). I have a feeling the only way to lose this weight, other than starvation, is stopping the meds… which are keeping me alive. That’s not an option.

My life was not meant to be scenery. I was always more than a pretty face and now I’ll show it.

New Years…

I found myself at Wal-Mart on Boxing Day with my Christmas money and a complete lack of exercise clothes. Gaining fifty pounds in half a year will do that. Thanks Abilify. Finding a top turned out to be the easy part. I also needed pants in size “I ate Christmas dinner and all the baking”. What I found were pencil thin exercise pants (even in XL) and shorts shorter than my underwear. The latter would probably look amazing on someone who’s fit but on me it would look like my crotch was eating them. Which is never a look I’m aiming for. Luckily I found some comfy yoga pants at Penningtons, a Canadian chain for fat people. They have great clothes.

Fifty pounds is a scary amount of weight to gain all at once, especially when it happened so fast. Literally, one week I could wear my favourite jeans and the next I couldn’t pull them past my hips. I was out of breath yesterday on a walk I did with ease this fall. So, naturally, my resolutions this year are health centred.

Our local gym offers a discount for people on disability so I signed up to start in January. They have all the usually equipment but what I’m really happy about is their indoor track. My iridescent rhinestone headphones and I can listen to music and walk without banging my knees around on a treadmill.


So sparkly!

I told Jeremy that I’m going on an apple diet, which is kind of true. I’ve decided that every time I’m having an absolutely irresistible craving for junk food, I’m going to eat an apple. Plus I’m centering my diet around beans, legumes, and vegetables. Hopefully this will make a difference.

Jeremy and I are on wait lists for our own separate apartments and, while that’s not happening this year, we can downsize while we’re waiting. Not only will it be cleaner but it’ll make the eventual packing that much easier.

Both of us can’t wait until we have places of our own. Me because it’ll be so much cleaner and Jeremy because he won’t have to hear me complain about cleaning up. I’m not sure how he’s going to end up once he’s on his own. He’s either going to be the sort that cleans dust before it falls on his furniture or I’m going to show up one day to hear a muffled “I’m over here” from under a pile of junk. There’ll be no in between.

One big resolution is getting out of my comfort zone. My comfortable New Year’s Eve would be sitting at home with Jeremy. We’d watch a video together and end up in our own rooms on separate computers… in quiet… only getting together for the count down. Instead, I’m going to my parents’ house for dinner and to my sister’s house for a big New Year’s Eve party. It’s going to be loud, crowded and definitely out of my comfort zone.

And, how about you? What are you doing for New Year’s Eve? Do you have any resolutions?


A new year… a fresh start…

Jeremy and I had a great New Year’s Eve. Karen came over with her boys and we had a vegan fondue and homemade pizza. I got the recipe for the fondue from the Vegetarian Times…

Blonde Bliss vegan fondue

Blonde Bliss vegan fondue

This recipe made tonnes of fondue dip, which would be helpful at a huge party but was overkill for the five of us. I see it being transformed into soup in the near future.

Karen made a chocolate fondue for the kids, which was a success for two of them. Jeremy, in particular, pretty much cleaned it up but zie’s always been a chocoholic (zie comes by it naturally).

chocolate fondue

You can see Jeremy’s favourite cup in the corner. It’s a mason jar on a wine stem and Jeremy thinks it’s the fanciest cup ever.

And then Jeremy and I played Doctor Who Yahtzee. Jeremy quickly decided zie’d gain an advantage if zie surrounded zirself with Doctor Who paraphernalia. Every roll of the dice was accompanied by the TARDIS noise and zir handful of Doctor Who characters joined us.

Jeremy's Doctor Who conga line

The 9th Doctor looks surprisingly relaxed

I love the New Year. For all it’s an arbitrary date, I love the chance at a fresh start, a time to try and make things better. It’s a chance to reflect over the previous year and ponder the future. And I do resolutions.

1) Exercise at least three times a week and eat healthy – in some ways I’d love to look amazing this summer but my main reason is for health. I’m watching as more and more of my friends suffer from type two diabetes, high cholesterol, back problems, knee problems, breathing problems, etc. I’m really the only parent my kids have and they need me. I want to be healthy and here for them.

2) Spend more time with my kids – this one is tricky for an introvert who works in the public. Often by the time I get home, I’m totally peopled out and need time to recharge. But it doesn’t take long to play a game of Doctor Who Yahtzee and it would do both Jeremy and I some good to go for a walk, even if zir purple car tags along. Emma’s coming over this afternoon so I can start this resolution pretty much right away. And, even though Jeremy’s not exactly awake, I started off zir day with a good morning hug.

3) Watching my finances – I’m spending too much time dipping into overdraft and we’ve been eating out a bit too much too. I need to plan more “fancy” meals at home. There are things I’d like to do with Jeremy this summer which I won’t be able to do if our money’s frittered away on take out food.

4) Reach out more – I waited too long to extend an open offer to anyone who wanted to have Christmas dinner at our house. I need to try harder to reach a hand out to others. I put it off because I’m already stretched pretty thin, forgetting that when I’m reaching out to someone, they’re reaching out to me too. It’s a help for everyone including me.

5) Organize my life better – I won’t be stretched nearly as thin if I’m not going three directions at once. Life’s too busy to spend running around in circles.

I hope 2015 is a fabulous year for all of us. *throws confetti in the air*



Jeremy’s going to starve…

Well not really, although I’m sure he feels like he is. Jeremy and I have opposing views on what constitutes a decent meal. Jeremy’s idea of a decent meal is two boxes of Kraft Dinner, or a tin of canned beef and potatoes, or canned ravioli, or those cup of soups. Preferably followed by a bag of potato chips and a handful of cookies. My idea of a decent meal consists of a home cooked dinner with plenty of fresh veggies followed by fresh fruit and some dark chocolate.

Unfortunately for Jeremy, I’m the one with the paycheque. I’ve been trying to buy him a few treats to scatter throughout the week, including a 1.13kg can of beef ravioli which I figured would last him for a couple of meals. He ate it for a snack. So I’m only buying healthy food now. If you hear moans and wails over the next few weeks, don’t worry, it’s just Jeremy.

I’m also trying to get Jeremy out of the apartment and active.  He spends far too much time parked in front of the computer, which isn’t healthy. He jokes he’s a nerd and doesn’t need exercise but I’ve seen him get winded running to the bus stop right outside our building. That’s not good. A few years ago, he was outside almost constantly but now he won’t go out anywhere without me. My original plan was to take him for a bike ride on one of our wooded trails then I looked at our forecast. Severe thunderstorm watch. We had the same forecast yesterday and ended up with near constant lightning and torrential rain. So we walked to the grocery store instead, taking a detour to go through a nearby green space.

We were walking toward a little bridge when I noticed the man walking toward us. Well, I noticed the baby stroller first and then the man and finally his expression. It wasn’t a happy look, in fact he was glaring. His eyes were aimed to the left of me at Jeremy. I took a quick glance myself and realized Jeremy was doing nothing other than fiddle with his netbook. I figured the man was staring at Jeremy’s hair, which has faded to a pinkish violet, but his gaze was lower. He was almost to us when I realized he was staring at my seventeen year old son’s chest. Granted Jeremy’s a bit busty but that’s downright creepy. Thankfully Jeremy didn’t notice, I’m having a hard enough time getting him out of the house as it is.

It’s calling for sunshine and actual summer weather tomorrow so I’m going to drag Jeremy out for a bike ride. Jeremy’s been asking when we’re going to go back to the ocean (aka Lake Ontario). We can even pack a picnic lunch. With any luck, after a long hot bike ride, Jeremy won’t even notice it’s healthy food 🙂