Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Weight Watchers to the rescue ..... again

You may have picked up on some of my weight-gain angst in this post.  And if you are one of the three regular readers of this blog, you might recall that I am a Weight Watchers veteran and former employee.  I lost a decent chunk of fat back then and kept it off for six years.


Seven years later.... along came a series of unfortunate events excuses: ..... two foot surgeries, my 60th birthday, my lifelong love affair with food, and a pathetic drum beat of soothing talks-to-self about how it's okay to be a little pudgy at this age.  My pre-2008 weight wasn't so bad .....  I had six years of wonderful size-8-thinness, but now I'm allowed to wear big earrings and brightly colored scarves and dance into old age with a graceful flair while I eat as I please.  After all, grandmas are supposed to bake cookies, darn it! . . . . . . . . .

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This innocent scenario turned sour as I hit my old weight and flew right past it.   Life descended into a frantic grab at any form of dieting as I fell head first into scale numbers never before produced by Yours Truly.   Mediterranean diet, yes!  I can do it!  Or Paleo, maybe?  No, I'll just eat all natural and organic.  I mean, it's all about being healthy, isn't it?  Count calories ..... it worked before, didn't it?    And the pep talks about all that aging gracefully crap had lost their charm as the pants size ballooned well into the double digits....  

Finally at the dawn of summer, probably the worst time for me to attempt any semblance of self-control, I crawled back to WW.

I stood on that familiar scale calm and composed .... while mentally I was on the ground in the fetal position, clutching the leg of the WW receptionist, and whimpering for help.

I had become one of the hundreds of poor souls that I, as a WW employee, used to weigh in every week.  They had previously lost weight on the program and then dropped out because they had convinced themselves that they had been reborn and over-eating was a thing of the past.   Fact: (At least in my experience) Most new WW enrollees are former WW members, returning for help.

The lesson here is ..... life will never be "under control" on my own.  I'm just not that person.

In all honesty, the magic of WW is not their diet because any diet will work if you do it.   It's paying the money each month, committing myself to attend every meeting possible, and facing that scale each Thursday evening at 5:30.  Somehow that locks me in.  I cannot stray off into the weeds of random peanut butter cups and Dairy Queen blizzards.  Now and then, yes, but in small portions.   Accountability rules.  Yeah, the meetings are a little rah-rah hokey-like with cheesy awards and gold stars, but if I can sit among my little group of fellow losers knowing I just lost another 1.8 lbs, I'm happy.  I can rah-rah along with the best of 'em.

Six weeks later I am proud to report a loss of 13 lbs.  I'm not there yet, but it's the best (and only) progress I have seen in a year.  I feel safe again.  I feel on track.    My pants are still in the double digits and probably always will be, but hope has returned ..... and it feels good.  So the big earrings and colorful scarves will be packed away until ......maybe my eighties, when I'll get them out, throw them on, and dance into the kitchen to bake those cookies.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Queen of Cheap

My sister once said (something like) if you're raised without money, frugality sinks into your bones .... to which I would add .... and becomes a permanent part of your DNA.  Although I grew up in a mostly stable, nurturing environment, money was not part of the experience.  Hence, I learned from the get-go to pinch pennies and/or do without.

Since then, life has improved in that department, but the DNA is still ever-present.  I am cheap and always will be.

Combine that with a love for both shopping and new things, and a dilemma obviously arises.  Shopping ranks highly on my list of hobbies.  There's something about feeling somewhat deprived of material goods as a child and teenager, that spurred an inner sense of gotta-make-up-for-it as an adult.  High-end malls (which once in a while fill a rare need) exist, I think, for reasons other than actual shopping.  I mean, who pays those prices??  My sister, whose car automatically brakes for Dillard's, has the monthly and annual sale dates of the various big name stores carved into her calendar and sweeps through their clearance racks like a woman on a mission.

Years ago, I was introduced to several lesser-priced stores that happily fed my shopping habit, primarily TJMaxx, Marshalls, and my then-favorite, Ross.  Top that off with an occasional outlet mall, and I managed to keep severe shopping-withdrawal symptoms at bay without threatening the budget too badly.  (I remember one night waiting alone in the car, in the parking lot of a new strip mall not too far from home, as Husband ran in to buy a newspaper at the grocery store.  When I saw the new and unexpected TJMaxx sign on one of the adjoining stores, I literally squealed out loud.)  I used to think they would probably send out a posse, or a search and rescue team, if I failed to show up regularly.

That all abruptly ended less than two years ago when I rediscovered resale shopping.  And THAT happened when Goodwill built a brand new store a couple of miles from my house.  (Walking distance!)  Life has not been the same since.  (My sincere apologies to Ross and the others, as their profit margin surely has suffered without me.)

There are many different resale stores, but Goodwill is my personal favorite.  I know and am comfortable with its system.  The stuff there is cheap and the clothes are well organized, without being, for the most part, grungy.  Yes, it's best to wash anything you bring home but hey ..... no worries about shrinkage as it has likely been washed before.   I have purchased name brand shoes like Nike, Tevas, and Columbia hiking shoes (I love sport-type clothing) for a fraction of the cost of new ..... and much of the time they show no wear.   I bought some like-new Ecco sandals, for $8.00, then came home and looked up the exact shoe online where they sold for over $120.00.
Plus Goodwill has their color tag deal, which is..... the price tag on every item is one of five different colors, and each week a different color is priced half off.  They change the color each Sunday, so I am there bright and early on most Mondays, since Sunday-shopping violates personal standards by making others work unnecessarily on the Lord's day.

Now, whenever I need anything ..... be it a new toaster (my old one just died), sleeping bags for visiting grand kids (remember everything is washed when I get home), a suitcase with which to carry a heavy piece of Husband's telescope, a new makeup bag, a new swimsuit top, and/or the myriad of items needed to outfit our new trailer (cutting board, silverware, clock, mirror, cooking pans, etc.)..... I head to Goodwill.  And I have every Goodwill scoped out within 20 miles in any direction from where I live.

Resale shopping is like a treasure hunt, and the treasures abound.  Whenever I am complimented on something I am wearing, I chirp, "Goodwill!  Three bucks!"  That's right, I have no shame.  But who doesn't love a good deal?  And even though I seldom NEED anything, I'm sure, as I head over there each week, that there's something I just hadn't thought of .... that I really need.  And there usually is.