Saturday, October 10, 2009

Fat & Happy

One morning, recently, I caught sight of myself in the mirror as I was getting dressed. “Whoa! Where’d that pooch come from?!” I turned in a 360˚circle, all the time keeping my eyes on the mirror as I inspected my unrecognizable body. It appeared to me that I had morphed into a fat woman.

And, then I smiled. I thought to myself, “I am Fat & Happy!”

“Whatever has happened to me?” I wondered. I’d spent my life concerned, to a degree, about my weight, trying to eat healthy, but more importantly, exercising daily so that I would avoid an encounter like this with my critical mirror. How did I get here? (And, whose flabby arms are those?!)

In my early 40s, I had been a runner, jogging about 3 miles per day. In addition, I did various exercises each day, such as leg lifts and stomach crunches. I was fit and trim, and best of all, I could still eat all my chocolate and sweets, with no negative consequences.

In my mid-40s, I was diagnosed with moderate arthritis in my hips and was told not to run anymore. I joined a gym and substituted 30 minutes on the elliptical trainer for my morning jog. That seemed to work, and I could still eat whatever I wanted.

The last three years, though, my dedication to daily exercise decreased dramatically – partly due to depression, partly due to the car accident I had last year, and mostly due to sheer laziness. And, now at age 49, with 50 closing in on me next month, I have far exceeded all the waistlines of my favorite clothes. Although this change in my physical life does not seem to be working well for my body, I am still eating whatever I want…only now it shows.

Yes, here I am, Fat & Happy.

I think much of my happiness is on the inside, not the outside. Thinking back to times of my svelte self, I was happy with my body, but not very happy with my life. I am now at a very good place on my Journey. I traversed a difficult couple of years on a detour that resulted in depression and deep sadness, yet through it all, my loving Heavenly Father was near. As I drew closer to Him for strength, I found the peace and comfort I needed. My mother and father transformed into His angels, wrapping me up in their blanket of love and support. My friends expressed their concern and love. My mind and spirit healed, and I began to feel joy again.

Reconnecting with Gene and then marrying, has brought me another level of happiness I had not previously known. Total acceptance and love from another human being for just being me, no matter what that looks like, is a new experience. Perhaps it was an unconscious test. Would he still love me if I got fat? My love-blind husband frequently addresses me with “Hey, Gorgeous!” and tells me all the time how pretty he thinks I am.

I think, too, that much of my weight gain can be attributed to stress – a new marriage, a new job, a new home. When I’m stressed, I eat M&Ms. And, I’ve eaten LOTS of M&Ms since June. But then again, I eat M&Ms when I’m not stressed, too. I really should buy stock in The Mars Company.

“Stressed spelled backwards is desserts. Coincidence? I think not! “ ~ Author Unknown

I may be Fat & Happy now, but I think if I continue at this rate of expansion, I might soon be a bit too Fat and a lot less Happy. As I sit here and ponder about all of this over a bowl of delicious, multi-colored M&Ms, those bite-sized bits of Heaven, I have resolved to incorporate more daily exercise back into my life. That way, I can return to a body I recognize and still enjoy my little chocolate friends.

“Inside some of us is a thin person struggling to get out, but they can usually be sedated with a few pieces of chocolate cake.” ~ Author Unknown

“The older you get, the tougher it is to lose weight because by then, your body and your fat are really good friends” ~ Author Unknown

If You’re Happy & You Know It, Show It, Y’all!!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Tea For Two

It’s difficult sitting on the sidelines, watching my son advance into adulthood. This past summer, there were so many times I wanted to tell him what to do or fix his problems, but I refrained, only offering my parental advice. He’ll be 20 years old next month. I love my son, Eric, so much and want him to achieve happiness and joy in his life. As part of his Life journey, he made the decision to move back to Matthews, North Carolina with his father. While we all agreed it was most likely the best choice for Eric, it is still difficult to live so far away from him. But, I’ve been here before, and I know that one day, Eric will move back to Austin. Austin is where Eric wants to live and work eventually.

I asked Eric to set aside a Mom & Son Night for the two of us, and to select a restaurant and movie for us. So, the night before Eric left town, Eric drove me to his current favorite Austin restaurant – Jade Leaves Teahouse.

“Tea for two
And two for tea
Just me for you
And you for me…”

--From the film "Tea For Two" (1950), starring Doris Day, Gordon MacRae, Gene Nelson & Patrice Wymore

This quiet, oriental teahouse and restaurant is situated right next door to a yoga studio. The atmosphere is very peaceful and quite lovely. Great attention has been paid to details, such as the entry way flooring, which gave me the sensation of walking down a smooth rock path and the seating areas, which are situated in sections of two tables enclosed with divider panels of ornately carved, dark wood. The feeling was one of intimacy and privacy.

Eric had been to a number of their tea tastings, meeting the Tea “Barista”, and he learned a great deal about the various types of tea that Jade Leaves serves. Eric ordered a pot of Imperial Guanyin, an organic Chinese Oolong tea. The description of the tea stated that Imperial Guanyin was an extra special variety of the Guanyin oolongs literally fit for royalty. It is a premium high grade, handcrafted Green Oolong from Fujian Province. The description also stated that oolongs were known to aid digestion and cure headaches.
I don’t drink tea, but I did taste the Imperial Guanyin, which had an interesting floral and earthy flavor.

For our dinner, Eric ordered the Thai Noodle Soup and I had the Yellow Thai Curry with Chicken. The curry also came with a serving of rice that was shaped like a yin yang symbol.

Both meals were wonderfully fresh, delightfully seasoned and delicious to the taste! And, the service was great! I give Jade Leaves Teahouse 4 out of 5 happy faces! ☻☻☻☻☺

Afterward, we saw the movie, “Surrogates”, with Bruce Willis. Although somewhat typical of a Bruce Willis flick, the movie was full of action-packed scenes, great special effects and futuristic intrigue. My assessment of “Surrogates” is 3 out of 5 happy faces. ☻☻☻☺☺

All-in-all, my son and I had a great time together eating, talking and being entertained. I guess no matter how old he gets, I’ll always miss Eric when he’s away. I pray for him every day and look forward to seeing how the chapters of his life unfold. I wonder what Eric will be when he grows up? I hope he will grow up to be wise.

“Mothers all want their sons to grow up to be President, but they don't want them to become politicians in the process.” – John F. Kennedy

“The day the child realizes that all adults are imperfect, he becomes an adolescent; the day he forgives them, he becomes an adult; the day he forgives himself, he becomes wise” – Alden Nowlan

The Road to Adulthood Ain’t For Sissies, Y’all!