Gratitude * Sunday
Sunday’s heartfelt tradition.
A time to slow down, to reflect, to be grateful.
A list of gratitudes, our gratefulness feeds one another.
Quoted from Taryn Wilson
Joining the Gratitude Sunday Tradition at Wooly Moss Roots.
Sun colors body,
Wind cools, solar warms, skin browns,
summer fades away.
For the last 22 years and more I have sought better health. I became pregnant at the age of 38 and did not want to gain more weight than I had to as I have a tendency to keep it on. I worked with a nutrition counselor provided by the state, and was able to obtain food stamps in addition to working for a living. Because of my small income I also had access to a federal program called WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) who gave grocery store vouchers for extra food in the form of lots of protein like canned tuna and cheese. I gained only the recommended 30 pounds. It took me five years to lose that weight after baby. Then 15 years ago I had six new placements of silver mercury amalgams in my teeth and the weight came pouring on again. Weight gain and mercury fillings in your mouth is not a part of our modern medical paradigm but it is a true reality nonetheless whether they admit it or not.
A few years back I got the diabetes diagnosis and, determined to keep my numbers under control, I began to concentrate more on what foods went into my mouth and the quality of those foods. My primary health consultant had recommended the American Heart Association or the American Diabetes Association diets, very much the same diets. For me the problem with these diets was they are high in carbohydrates and, still having a face full of mercury, I kept gaining weight.
I developed my own eating plan with the approval of my primary and within 6 months was off medication. I had been in the habit of about 30 minutes of exercise every day which I continued. I had lost more than 30 pounds. And while doing so I had read every study I could get my hands on about weight loss none of which painted a pretty picture. In every study a mere minor percentage (3-5%) of people kept more than five pounds off (5 pounds being considered a “significant” weight loss), most returning to their original weight and more within 2 years. The more upsetting news was how hard it is on your heart, blood vessels, and interior workings of the body such as the flow of hormones, to lose and gain the weight repeatedly.
When my mom died 2 years ago, every pound I had worked the last two years to lose came right back on though not much else had changed, the result of grief and distress. I stopped caring about the number on the scale. I didn’t stop caring about the numbers keeping me out of that diabetes zone. I continued to eat well: fresh organic foods, eggs from pastured chickens, light on the meats because the commercial meats I have access too are full of antibiotics (fed to animals for fattening rather than to treat illness), lots of veggies and a few fruits, extremely limited sugars and processed foods. When I am ill I crave ice cream, and so I do indulge now and then.
I refuse, however, to pay one penny to the 6 billion dollar industry around body size which is a not so subtle form of female body terrorism, the least of which is stigmatization and bullying if you don’t have the “acceptable” appearance. I won’t invest in Weight Watchers, or buy a video to exercise with, or purchase artificial or processed “foods”. If I can get information for free on the internet, or borrow a video from the library, that’s a different story. And I have no problem giving my money to farmers and gardeners who grow local foods. I will never buy anything with the brand name “Skinny Cow” because a skinny cow is not a healthy cow.
When did women become so concerned about body size and shape anyway? My grandmothers did not give one whit about what their bodies looked like or what other people’s bodies looked like. That’s not to say they didn’t care about their appearance; they took care of their hair and their clothing, always being clean and fresh smelling, coiffed and well pressed. Follow the money. The 6 billion dollar diet industry makes money for Big Agriculture, selling all oddments of fake foods, for Big Medicine, prescribing failed diets and then blaming the victims creating patients from stigma, for Big Diet industries who prey on poor women who are already stressed to the max, and for Big Media, for creating an “acceptable” model size and perpetuating the myth that every woman can and must look like an air-brushed picture in a magazine.
I love eating good healthful foods. I am at that stage in my life where it is becoming hard to eat. I have little appetite and nothing much tastes good. If hunger and blood sugar issues did not force me to eat, I swear I’d just skip it. After working all day I am not inclined to cook a supper and put it on the table. With my exercise schedule I have to have a small portion of something quick and easy after I am done. How I would love to have a cook to take care of me and my kitchen.
Good health is important, body shape and size, not so much. Yes, I’d love to have the body I had when I was 22, doing yoga twice a day, eating what I pleased with impunity, even though at 5’5” and a firm tight 130 pounds I was still told I was fat. Yoga, much as I love it doesn’t do the same for me now at 61 as it did then. My body chemistry has been ruined by silver mercury amalgams in my head, by too many years of stress, by a few years of processed foods before I understood the difference. My body rebels now with back pain, liver pain, fluctuating blood sugars, migraines, and gastrointestinal distress. Once the damage is done there is usually no going back. I won’t have that body again, but I will pursue good health with every ounce of knowledge I have and can obtain.
My grandmothers hardly ever sat down. They had so much to do taking care of farms, gardens, children, homes. They did not work outside the home, but that is the new standard for women, to do it all: work outside the home, run the home, raise the children, and be stunningly slender as the definition of beautiful. We must care for the body as this body is what gets me through the day. One of the keys is movement as I continue to walk, swim, and do yoga. Next I want to learn tai chi. It’s fun to have something to look forward to.
Each of us must find health for ourselves. Or not. In the end is it the body that matters or the person you are? What can be better than being full of kindness, caring, compassion, and love?
Color Watch – colorful attractions in my neighborhoods this week – a view from my labyrinth toward the re-purposed nearly 100 year old telephone exchange building; salmon orange pink trumpet flowers; many hued chrysanthemums; creamy white hibiscus; starry eyed shades of purple cosmos.
Currently Reading – The Well (2015, fiction) by Catherine Chanter; Shakespeare’s Wife (2009, history) by Germaine Greer. Yes, concurrently.
This week I have been grateful for:
- Friday’s thunderstorm bringing a half hour of rain like the release of a good cry.
- Hearing the university campus clock chime a mile from my home when the wind is just right.
- Realizing the evening frog song I think I’ve been hearing all this time is cricket song.
- The hubster rescuing a very green winged grasshopper/cricket who had found the ceiling above my TV and his return to his native space outdoors.
- The glorious starting smell of a fresh new morning.
- The lovely fresh cool wind in the evenings carrying the smell of ripening blackberries.
- The last of the season’s honeysuckle’s sweet fragrance permeating the parking lot of one of the stores where I shop.
- Not having to take the medicine I am currently taking very often, as it causes horrible vivid nightmares and other discomforting physical side effects.
- The privilege of having a job with paid sick leave to use when I really need it.
- Woodstock 46 years ago.
- Lemons, limes, cucumbers, and basil mixed with water for a refreshing summer drink.
Hoping you have a lovely week.
Namaste. Peace. Blessings.
Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch