So What I’m Fat? Deal With It.

Do you suppose,

Adipose

that since I eat so little,

You might kindly remove yourself from my middle?


My sincere apologies to all the fine poets of this word – I composed this little number  in my head on the way to work one morning during a moment of self-loathing.

I’m part of the not-so-exclusive club of women who struggle with weight issues. As a young person, I tended to be heavier than other girls my age. I also “blossomed” sooner.  Naturally, I was teased.  It didn’t help that I wore glasses,  had curly hair and a nickname that rhymed with “fatty.”

While I don’t believe I suffer from body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), the way I view my body was certainly shaped by the opinions of my peers and popular culture. As I grew in age and confidence, my focus on weight management was less about the way I looked and more about the way I felt. Nonetheless, old habits die-hard. And now that I’ve entered menopause, those “old habits” are starting to feel like familiar friends.

Almost like clockwork, the scale started creeping up around age 48. Now, at age 50, I’m the owner of a full-blown “adipose belly.”  Lovely.  Ironically, I’ve been trying to follow Weight Watchers for the past two years because it has always been the one program that has worked for me.  No matter what I do, nothing seems to “click.” Ironically, I feel as though I’m in pretty good shape. I do Pilates once a week, typically log more than 10,000 steps a day, and focus on eating a balanced diet filled with fruits, vegetables and whole grains.  Bla bla bla...

Last year, I set myself a goal to get in shape and return to downhill skiing. While I didn’t reach that goal, I have come to accept that I may just have a “broken” metabolism caused by years of yo-yo dieting (sometimes extreme), and a genetic tendency toward overweight.  I also recently accepted the possibility that I’ve been victimized by media, culture and the processed food industry.  For a really thoughtful look at this topic, I recommend the book, Body of Truth: How Science, History, and Culture Drive our Obsession with Weight — and What We Can Do About It by Harriett Brown.

So what’s a girl to do?  I don’t really know.  I suppose blogging helps, but it’s not a solution. If I find one, I’ll be sure to let you know. 

Advertisements

Why I Hate Mother’s Day

Motherhood was not something thrust upon me – I welcomed it willingly, joyfully. And, while I view motherhood as a blessing, I know it’s a job.  In fact, it’s the only job that comes with the guarantee of lifetime employment.

I detest the idea that there is one specific day set aside to “honor” mothers. If we do our jobs well, the rewards are frequent and easily apparent. Our children become what we dream them to be. And in those rare cases when they don’t, it just means we should adjust our expectations a little and hold on to hope a little harder.

I don’t want to be thanked, offered flowers or taken out to some special meal.  Instead, I want my children to do well in school, be kind to others especially those who are less fortunate, to seek knowledge always and be respectful of those who are different. I want them to be open-minded, to choose good and to continue to hold their Catholic faith in their hearts – even if they become seekers or stray from the “institution” of the Church. Above all else, I want them to believe in the person of Jesus and His message of peace and love.

To date, I would like to think I’ve done a pretty good job.  My sons are honorable young men, respectful and wonderfully talented. They are intelligent, artistic and kind-hearted. They have an amazing sense of justice. They are certainly not perfect, but they give me reason to celebrate Mother’s Day every day. My husband does too.  Because, without his love and support, my job would be twice as hard and far less fulfilling.

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

Not unlike most working moms I have a nightly routine that puts Michelin Star Chefs to shame. My task – create a wholesome and tasty meal in less than one hour. Sometimes, I fail miserably, but more often than not I’m proud to say I rock my kitchen.

A favorite go to? Chicken cutlets. Warning – before you read any further, I don’t often give recipe specifics.  I’m the kind of cook that does by doing, touching, tasting and smelling. For me – it’s always a “little bit of this and a little bit of that.”   This recipe is no exception. However, it’s not too hard to follow and if you go “light” on the spices,  I’m certain you will be successful.

This particular recipe is inspired by my amazing husband and his wonderful Mexican family.


INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Package thin sliced chicken cutlets (I prefer Purdue or Nature’s Promise)
  • Flour to coat chicken (I prefer Wondra brand but any flour will do)
  • About 1/2 teaspoon of cumin
  • About 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Salted butter (a generous amount | used to saute chicken)
  • Two fresh limes
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • About a 1/2 cup chopped scallions
  • About a 1/2 cup of white cooking wine (I typically use Holland House)
  • About a 1/2 cup of chicken broth (I prefer Swanson)
  • Queso Fresco (I typically buy Tropical)

DIRECTIONS

  • Place flour in a large bowl, add spices, salt and pepper and toss with a fork
  • Dredge chicken cutlets in flour and set aside
  • Add butter to large saute pan and melt on medium-high heat
  • Once butter is completely melted, add cutlets and brown on both sides (add more butter if needed)
  • Remove cutlets from pan
  • Add chicken broth, wine and juice from 1 1/2  limes and stir to mix well
  • Add cilantro and scallions, cook for about one minute on a medium heat adding more broth if needed — don’t let the liquid evaporate
  • Place chicken cutlets back in pan. Turn to a very low heat. cover and simmer for about 20-25 minutes.
  • About five minutes before serving, grate the queso fresco directly into the pan and put the cover back on. Feel free to add as much or as little cheese as you prefer. I recommend using at least a 1/2 cup to give the sauce a creamy taste and texture.

Serve the chicken with a side of rice and vegetable of your choice!

Challenges

I find it very hard to recall a time in my life at which I was completely satisfied with myself. I struggled with weight issues from an early age.  I was diagnosed as near-sighted and prescribed glasses in third grade and had wildly curly hair (think “Brave”). Lack of self-confidence, an alcoholic parent and early puberty contributed to my rounded shoulders. I was smart, but no genius. I was creative, but by no means a prodigy.  It’s no wonder I struggled with exercise bulimia as a teen.

In college, and throughout my 20s, I did seem to strike a balance. These were perhaps the most “fit” years of my life. Yet, despite being in good physical condition, I could always find other issues on which to dwell – my hair, my pale Irish skin, my eyesight etc.

Once I married and began having children, the physical well-being I enjoyed started to fade. I gave up alpine skiing and ice skating for lack of time and financial resources and struggled to find time to balance work, family and exercise.

Now, on the cusp of 50, I long to set things right – to reset my clock – because as I reflect on more than half a lifetime spent worrying about “appearances” I realize I missed the time I could have spent appreciating what it means to be alive. And, for me, alive is a pretty good state of being considering I’ve “cheated” death not once – but three times.

My first experience struggling for survival occurred at my birth when, due to medical error, my lung was collapsed. My most recent “misadventure” occurred in 2013. You can read about it here.

I’ve spent the past three years besieged by PTSD. This, coupled with a significant degree of stress, has contributed to a decline in my overall health. Chronic and degenerative muscular / skeletal issues have made it difficult and painful to walk or enjoy full use of my arms, neck and shoulder.  Sever inflammation of my thyroid gland has slowed my metabolism to a near stand-still (but not enough to require medication), and my ongoing use of blood-thinners comes with its own unique trials.

Am I ready to grab for the brass ring, to set these ailments aside, to channel my inner Jennifer Briker? I sure hope so. If God loved me enough to give me three shots at life then the least I can do is love myself enough to live the best life that I can.

I have set myself a goal of becoming physically fit enough to return to alpine skiing by winter 2017. This goal is in large measure the result of seeing my oldest son on skis for the first time in his life and knowing that my youngest wants to take up snowboarding.  While I know that I’ll have to stick to the bunny slopes and avoid high elevations due to my health issues – I’m okay with that.  After all, I’ve already conquered some of the biggest mountains imaginable.

Faith

On the rare occasion I’m actually focused on the things that matter during Mass, God talks to me.

Seriously.

While it’s a difficult sensation to explain, I know it’s happening because I become emotionally overcome and usually start to cry. Of course, I try very hard to conceal the tears because I feel completely foolish. Sometimes it’s a song or a prayer. More often it’s a reading, the Gospel or the homily that get me.

This past Sunday was one of those occasions.  During the homily, our pastor began to speak about attending a wake.  He made mention of sign that he happened to notice when he walked into the funeral home that read: Faith: you may not know what the future holds, but you know who holds the future. Boom.  It hit me like a ton of bricks.

Earlier that morning I had tried to bribe, threaten and cajole my tween son to attend the 10 a.m. Mass. He refused.  He insisted on going to the Noon Mass.

I had to attend the earlier Mass so that I could complete an errand for my husband (which required my Sister’s help), and have sufficient time that day to visit my mom in the hospital and do other remaining household chores.  The line in the sand was drawn.

My son has ADHD and some other learning disabilities. He is quite naive and often seems “tuned out” from the world around him.  My motherly instincts have always focused on protecting him and, as such, I always stop short at giving him the type of independence his brother enjoyed at the same age. Today was different – I had to let him be completely on his own and trust that he made it safely back and forth from home to Church.

As I sat in the pew at the earlier Mass and reflected on the words that the pastor spoke, I felt as though God was telling me – “It’s okay Patty, no matter what happens, it’s all a part of my plan for you and for him.  I’ve got your back.”

Good to know.