Sunday, December 19, 2010

Narcissism and the nursing mom, part II

Is the consolation prize for dieting without results a hearty mental pat on the back--"nice try, Self"? Are there little diet angels watching over me, lobbying to their king to cut me a break--pleading, "just two pounds, your Godliness, then we will go back to watching over the sick and needy"? What happened to "no pain, no gain"? When did it become "a definite excess of pain, with a slight chance of minimal gain"?
No wonder people fall off the diet wagon. I have found myself uttering un-pleasantries out of hunger--such as "I'm so hungry I could eat Joshy's poopy diaper" and "Just because that taco's innards spilled on the floor, there's no reason to waste it." These are the words of a desperate individual. I am starting to wonder if people have been institutionalized because of mental illness induced by Jenny Craig. If so, that woman should probably have been sued a million times over.
On a daily basis, one encounters many potentially annoying situations--a stubbed toe, a toilet clog, an aggressive driver cut-off. On the irritation-o-meter, consider where you would rate these things on a day when you enjoyed a frappucino and a bagel for breakfast versus a day that began with a grapefruit and a carefully-measured half-cup of steel-cut oats blended with a tablespoon of brown rice-protein powder (a concoction I've dubbed "proatmeal").
The real question though comes down to something quite simple--does dieting turn me into a bitch? Of course one can be miserable and kind at the same time, but I don't think I'm evolved enough on the morality scale to pull it off. Perhaps if I continue dieting, I will lose friends, ostracize my husband, make my child resent me eternally. Anyone with a degree in Psychology or a similar field such as Entemology, would say "For goodness sake, you are ruining your life--quit dieting now, while you still have some semblance of happiness! Do you want to sit here in six years, alone, broke and (perhaps) skinny, saying 'Why didn't I give up dieting before I lost everything that mattered to me?'"
They say that more murders happen in the summer months, that people are so physically uncomfortable they would kill. I am willing to hypothesize that dieting leads people to commit crimes as well--and like the problem of interracial crime--we may be looking at a society plagued by "skinny on fat" crime and vice-versa. Many would argue that America is suffering from an obesity problem, when in actuality the demise of our once-glorious country wears the beautiful bikini bod of a Nutrisystem spokesmodel.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Narcissism and the nursing mom

I used to do what my husband and I fondly refer to as "the popcorn diet"--basically eating a whole bag of popcorn two or three times a day (in addition to meals.) Somehow, unlike most of my lofty plans, it actually worked. That was about two years ago, and I got down to near my weight in college, though I was still hoping to get down to what I weighed in high school (when I was skinny and hot, but still of course thought I was too fat.) The popcorn diet led to many a-toilet-clog, which my kind hubby would plunge out for me on a nearly daily basis.
That was two years ago and i promptly got pregnant before I got much chance to keep losing. My Joshy is nearly nine months old and I'm still a good ten pounds up from that recent low. If you have never nursed a baby before though, you need to know that a kid can suck a couple hundred calories out of you in minutes. On the surface that seems like a great fad diet itself, but in my actuality after a nursing session, I just turn into a starving post-hibernation bear ready to eat anything in my path.
So four days ago, I launched Operation Soup Diet. The idea is eat only three meals (instead of my normal six,) and just have plain vegetable broth soup when I'm still hungry. Well, that lasted two days--I'm still doing three meals, but the soup kept me up all night peeing.
I'm actually surprised that I'm sticking with any diet at all, since on the third day I got up the nerve to check the scale for the first time in the week and found I was up three pounds. I moved the scale to what I hoped would be a more level, and thus accurate position, only to find that it added an extra half pound!
Dejected, I moaned to my sweet hubby how frustrated I was. He assured me that I just needed to give it more time, which depressed me further, as I looked out onto a new calendar year filled with bagel-less mornings and cookie-less nights sandwiching sanwich-less days going on for an eternity or until I decided to just give up on skinniness altogether.
The scale incident actually called to mind my first diet failure--I was about nine or ten and just realizing I was chubby compared to other kids. As a quick-fix measure, I grabbed a bottle of chocolate-flavored calcium pills shaped like circus animals, which for some reason we called "milky bones," also the name of some doggy treats that probably tasted just as good. Blissfully ignorant of both the registered trade mark insignia and the fact that more calcium does not equal less fat, I took a milky bone and stepped on the scale. When it showed no result, I popped another, giving up anticlimactically at seven.
My life has been full of half- and whole-hearted attempts at weight loss since then, so there's no reason the current one should be much different. Except that now I'm a mommy, albeit a very hungry mommy--and a mommy who, like the Very Hungry Caterpillar, needs a whole lot of olfactory encouragement and old-fashioned moralizing before I can get my act together.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Making something out of stuff

On Chanakah, my stepson Shay was less interested in his new fluff-lined sweatshirt than in his empty cardboard box. He folded it in half horizontally and began to look for "a face", then quickly snapped up his brothers' abandoned boxes, declaring his intention of creating a special gift for his guinea pig.
I've always had an affinity for things with "a face"--be they smiley cookies or stuffed plush veggies--in my mind I wanted a little smile or winky eye on every object in my universe. I may have been stuck in a materialistic society, but at least all my things could smile darn it.
I am enamored by people who build stuff, make stuff, see something in junk and make it into something useful--an old lone sock reborn as a cute stuffed toy, a ragged sweater resurrected as leg warmers.
My time as a stay-at-home mama finds me with my baby and my stuff all day. I am constantly searching for ways to be useful, probably to alleviate in equal parts boredom and guilt over not bringing home any bacon (tofu bacon in our vegetarian case).
My husband can fix, make or build just about anything. He dismantled and rebuilt a projector once that they were throwing away at work, then proceeded to cut a whole in the living room wall and screwed hooks into the tiled ceiling. I was none to pleased to see him happily hacking away at my living room one day to my surprise. By the end of the day though he had set up a movie theater in our living room.
Over the years I've come to realize that sometimes the shittiest feelings and experiences lead to the best art and the most meaningful growth. After all, the best compost is made of the smelliest poops around.