TBT: Would You Talk To A Friend Like That?

47f5c4827e3c5ab95de6bb1f9f287719I’m trying a new feature: Throwback Thursdays. As I search to find my way again, I’m going to re-read old blog posts and revisit the themes. I’ll give you the link to the original article, and then some commentary on how my thinking has evolved or gotten tangled up.

I’m picking Would You Talk To A Friend Like That?  from September 2014 as my first TBT article. Two weeks ago was my daughter’s 22 birthday party. At the party someone commented on her body transformation. My daughter is autistic, a struggling reader, and a person who needs support to function in the community. But when asked about her weight loss she spoke about nutrition and exercise as if she were majoring in it at college.

For the past several years she has struggled with various diets and exercise regimes, as I did when I was her age. She’s tried “magic pills,” food replacement shakes, starvation, kick-boxing, etc.

how-to-have-a-beach-bodyMost recently she has been following the “Beachbody” food and exercise plan. I don’t know a lot about it, just what I observe. It is fairly expensive, but she pays for everything herself and I only give her advice if she specifically asks for it. She measures her food using plastic colored containers. And she makes these chocolate shakes which she says helps with food cravings. From my point of view it  seems like she is eating healthy foods and enough calories to not be starving herself (a vast improvement on some of the crazy plans she was following). She wakes up early every morning to get in an exercise routine (DVD).

Physically she is getting the results she wants. She is losing pounds and gaining confidence. She posts before and after pics on Facebook. She is proud of the hard work she is doing an loves getting a chance to share her success with others. In the middle of the conversation she made a statement that made me want to cry:

I used to love going to the beach when I was little, but when I got fat I was ashamed to wear a bathing suit.. Now, I won’t go swimming until I can wear a bikini– not a fatkini or plus-sized bikini, but a real bikini. I won’t feel comfortable until I feel good about how I look.

My immediate reaction is “I’ve failed her.” It didn’t help that everyone else at the party was oooh-ing and ahh-ing over her weight loss. She has told me that body-acceptance is fine for me (since I’m old so it doesn’t matter how I look, I guess) but that she can’t love herself unless she has the type of body that society deems acceptable.

rupaulWhen I started to think about it, though, I realize that I let a lot of that slip into my own thoughts far too often. I continue to have internal thoughts that are negative. I can’t until… I won’t because… I’m too old, too fat, too plain…

Self-love and body acceptance isn’t a thing you achieve. It is something you have to work for all the time. Sooo, I’m re-committing to my relationship with myself. I promise to be a better partner to my body and start treating my body as a cherished friend, not the enemy.

Here is my updated list to help me woo myself:

  • More massages, mani-pedis, and haircuts. (Boy do I need a haircut)
  • Looking at myself in the mirror every day, and looking for what I like best in the reflection. (I’m pretty good with this one most of the time)
  • Letting people take pics of me, taking selfies (it’s not a bad word) with my loved ones, and posting pics on my social networks.  I don’t Photoshop out fat, wrinkles or birthmarks. (I have to do this more. I’m better than I was, but not there yet)
  • Buy myself beautiful clothes that I love, rather than waiting until I’m a specific size, because damn it, I’m worth it. (Do running clothes count? Cause I buy a SL of them)
  • Taking some time for myself every day, even when work is super busy, and my personal life is super crazy. (This. I need to do this more!)

 

The First Person Who Called Me Fat

I'm the peacekeeper in my family. I try to never take sides and always get along. It doesn't always work.

I’m the peacekeeper in my family. I try to never take sides and always get along. It doesn’t always work.

I’ve thought about writing this post for a while, but I’ve been hesitant because I know my mother reads my blog and I would never want to hurt her. I also need to say some potentially hurtful things about myself as a mother. But I’ve finally decided that I need to say them regardless.

The first person that called me fat was my mother. I remember it vividly enough, but if I didn’t remember it, she has retold the story enough times that I could never forget. (Every time I hear it I wince.) It was when I got back from visiting my grandparents in Florida for the first time. I think I was about 12 years old (it was either the summer before or the summer after sixth grade). I’m not sure how long I was away. It felt like the whole summer to me, but it was probably just two weeks.

I went with my two cousins. We all had matching green and white sundresses which we wore on the plane down. I felt beautiful when I left.  When I came home, my parents picked us up from the airport and the first thing my mother said was, “What happened to you? It looks like you got filled with air?” I had no idea what she meant, but I felt like I got hit in the face. Eventually I figured it out. I had obviously gained weight while I was away. Enough to make a noticeable difference in my appearance. Enough to make my mother comment on it. Enough for me to realize that I was fat. And I have been fat ever since.

I don’t know how much I had actually gained that summer. I know my grandparents let me eat whatever I wanted to. We went to fast food restaurants and had dessert every night (things I never got at home).  But really, how much could it have been? But there I was. Fat. Because my mother said so. Regardless of how much I weigh or what size I am, I know inside that I’m a fat girl.

I bring this up because I really, really didn’t want to do that to my own daughter. I knew before she was born that she would have two strikes against her in the weight department: She would have my genetics and me as a role model.

Of course, she takes after me. She has a smile that lights up the room, never wants to hurt someone’s feelings, and is so creative. She also eats portions that are a bit too big, enjoys food more than exercise, and uses food to deal with emotions. Where could she have learned all that from? I always tell her how beautiful she is (she is, too!) and how she doesn’t need to diet. Other people may have called her fat, but I never did.  When my mother or other relatives tried to get her to go on diets or watch what she ate, I always intervened. I didn’t want her to feel the way I had as a kid.  My philosophy was she would be healthier just being who she is.

Avatar of me and my daughter, created by @nuchtchas.

Avatar of me and my daughter, created by @nuchtchas.

And then one day I blew it. I don’t remember clearly how we got into the conversation (I’m sure she remembers it very clearly), but she was upset that some guys had blown her off. Many, many people dismiss, bully, or blow her off. A lot of the times it is related to her autism. She doesn’t know how to connect to people. But somehow, in the conversation, amidst the tears, I said something equivalent to “not all guys are attracted to big girls.” And because she can never leave anything alone we had to pick that statement apart until it was clear that when I said “big girls” I meant she was overweight. I had called her fat.

In that very moment she completely crumpled. And she hasn’t really fully recovered. Because while many people had called her fat before, when her very own mother did it, it actually meant something. We’ve had lots and lots of discussions since that time. We’ve talked about how you can be both fat and beautiful. How fat isn’t a bad thing. How healthy is more important than weight. And things have gotten better, mostly, but it doesn’t change the fact that she now, and probably forever, will see herself as fat. And that I’m the one who did that to her.

Yuck!

A Strong Woman  looks beautiful as she is acts as her heart tells her to plays true to herself isn’t afraid to speak her mind respects herself  is passionate on her own terms treats her body like it belongs to her, not to someone else is the lover of anyone she wants chooses who to love  when to love how to show that love and when to stop loving protects herself when she needs to stands up for herself when she has to and doesn’t put up with this misogynist crap.

 

So, the poem or saying or whatever it is on the left was posted on Facebook by someone I only marginally know. My first instinct was to write a long comment about how icky I think the whole thing is and all the reasons why I think it is icky, but I deleted the comment without posting and clicked away. I do this quite a lot. Many people love to get in long, drawn-out Facebook arguments but that isn’t why I go to Facebook. Basically I like to see pics of my family and friends. Please post more kids, cats, dogs, and vacations. Also tell me how much you need coffee, how little you clean your house, and how funny things happen to you. I live for that stuff. And arguing about politics or feminism or religion just isn’t what I like to do there. So I tend to write these scathing comebacks or long thought out précis and then delete them without ever posting them. Usually that is enough. The process calms me and I can move on and enjoy Facebook.

But this one kind of stuck to me for a few days. It is just so icky on so many levels and the idea that someone posted it as an empowering meme just stuck in my mental craw.  So I dug it up and created the above comeback. I wanted to make the “international no symbol” more pronounced, but then you wouldn’t be able to read the original and see how much it actually sucks. There isn’t one line in the original that doesn’t offend me in some way. Even things that sound good, like “unconditional love” is really just a way of saying put up with my crap because you love me.

I thought about my own daughter as I wrote my response, thinking, what kind of person do I want her to be. I may have said “Be a Good Girl” to her a few times in her life, but what I really want is for her to be a strong, capable woman who can decide who she is and what that means. I don’t want other people’s ideas of what a woman should be, think, or feel influence how she acts, thinks, or feels. I also tried to think of all the different types of women I know (cis, tran, gay, straight, etc.) and tried to include all of them in my response. I hope I was successful. If you can say it better than I, please share!

 

On The Go

My view from the patio

My view from the patio

In my business we always talk about solutions that are scalable and sustainable. Those are important words for discussing life habits as well. If the changes you make only work when your life follows a predictable path, than it’s not going to work because, you know, life happens!

So the past few days I’ve been on the road. It was great. I was able to combine a work trip and personal time.  Thursday and Friday I was in (very, very) upstate NY for work, and then I was able to scoot over to Vermont to stay with a childhood friend I haven’t seen in forever. I took the train so I could bring my daughter along. We had a blast. Traveling together was fun because we had plenty of time to talk about everything. My time with my friend out in the rural-ist of Vermont was so good.

But traveling, while on any kind of food plan is a challenge.  What to eat on the Road? Will there be time to exercise? While on the road you are at the mercy of restaurants and fast-food joints. While staying with friends you have to accommodate to how they eat.

On top of all this, my daughter has been trying to eat healthier. Her goals are not my goals, and she isn’t following my plan per se, but I’m learning that that is her journey and not mine. Either way, I want to be a good role model and help her meet her goals. Unlike me, she doesn’t have my 40+ years of reading labels, learning about nutrition, etc. to help her make the best decisions.

Healthy food on the go!

Healthy food on the go!

I decided that rather be at the mercy of the road and the fates, I would prepare for my trip as best I can. We took two suitcases for our journey. The large one was filled with clothes, shoes, and essential personal hygiene products.  The other, smaller, one was a food trunk. It included:

  • Tupperware filled with portions of brown rice & beans.
  • Apples (both whole and sliced)
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Carrots
  • Kale
  • Individual servings of peanut butter (not for me, of course)
  • Mini-bags of almonds
  • Canned soup (chicken & wild rice)
  • Slim Fast drinks (also not for me)
  • Individual servings Hummus
  • Plastic-ware and napkins

Our goal was to eat out when it made sense, but to have backups when we needed them. Yogurt wouldn’t travel well, I figured, but I thought we would be able to pick up yogurt along the way. I was partially right. In Vermont we had access to Stonyfield Organic Yogurt, which I liked, even though it was very watery compared to the Fage Greek Yogurt I’ve been eating. However, at the hotel in NY I grabbed one of the regular yogurts at the breakfast bar and couldn’t eat more than two bites. When you are used to unflavored yogurt, that stuff with syrup in it tastes horrific. I thought it would be a sweet treat, but it really made me gag.

We did have some luck in the eating out department. Penn station, for example, has a quinoa bar at Chickpea and they created some really nice, hot lunches for us on the way up. We stopped at a no-name country diner for dinner the first night and I had this seared fish that was great. Also, the waitress figured out to keep away rolls, potatoes, and deserts, and gave us extra veggies. While staying with my friend, I was pleased that there wasn’t a lot I couldn’t eat. Her daughter is gluten-free, and they mostly eat organic, so it was pretty easy-going. My daughter didn’t like everything she made, but there were no complaints, because she always had the food trunk if she didn’t like what was being served. On the ride down, we found a place that made homemade chili. We split a serving of it and mixed it into our cold rice and beans. Soooooo good.

As for exercise, it was kind of a mixed bag.  There was a lot of time on the road, so no running there. Also, when we got to Vermont, it was seriously covered in snow. Instead of running, I got to go snowshoeing for the first time. It was definitely a workout, and so much fun.

So, I have two more business trips coming up in the near future. One on my birthday even. I’m looking at what worked and what didn’t, what traveled well, etc. and incorporating that into my plans.

 

I’m in love with the “FU” Fairy!

I’m in love with the “FU” Fairy!
Note: I have no problem saying (or writing) the “cuss” words, but I want to keep this a clean blog, so please forgive my abreviation.

This article was in my FB feed. I love this article. Not just about saying “FU” (sometimes politely) to people who fat-shame, but to remember that we have the right to say “FU” (firmly, but without cussing) to anybody who has the temerity to overstep:

  • Is that all your eating? or Are you eating all that? –  FU
  • You’ll meet someone when you stop looking – FU
  • When are you going to have kids? –  FU (for my sister)
  • You look really tired. –  FU
  • Pretty much any sentence that starts with “You should…” and ends with unsolicited advice. –  FU
  • You should/shouldn’t give your child that medication. (usually related to behavior) –  FU
  • If that were my kid…. –  FU

I had a long conversation with my daughter last night. I don’t want her to wait until she’s thirty (or forty-something) to find her “FU” Fairy. She came up with a few of her own:

  • Anything talking about her genetalia. –  FU
  • How do you know you are gay? Aren’t you really bi? –  FU
  • “You would be beautiful if you lost a few pounds/changed your clothes, dressed more like a girl, etc. –  FU

I’m so proud!
When do you need your FU Fairy?

No Guilt – No Temptation – No Aftermath

PICT0231

Me and my mom, circa 1966 (you do the math)

This past weekend my siblings and I threw a party for my Mom’s birthday. It was a “milestone” birthday, so we had it at a place. It was a brunch (I love brunch food) complete with mimosas and birthday cake (ice cream cake, no less).

Now I’ve been doing this new food program since early November. I took a mini break for Thanksgiving, and gave myself several passes for the extended Christmas to New Year, with OK results. I remember feeling not great about going “off,” not because I felt guilty, but because it seemed to mess up my digestion. I blamed some of it on gluten (I consider myself accidentally gluten-free) and some of it on added fat (my diet is almost fat-free, except for natural fats in nuts and meats.

I’ve gone out to dinner a few times, but ordered very carefully, just eating mostly fish (broiled) and veggies (steamed). But this was my first big event since the holidays and I figured I had two choices on how I was going to handle it:

  1. I could give myself permission to vary my diet
  2. I could stay 100% on target.

I finally decided to stick to my plan. The decision was made by weighing pros and cons. For me, the deciding factor was “What constitutes a reason to go off?” If I can go off for this party, then would I go off for every party? It’s that slippery slope. You could find reason why every family function, dinner out with friends, etc. is reason enough to “treat yourself.” So I took the hard-line.

In preparation, I made sure I ate my yogurt, apple, and almonds for breakfast. I brought with me the now-ever-present rice-and-beans. At the party I stuck strictly to decaf coffee and water. The only food I took from the buffet table was the cut fresh fruit. While others piled plates of bagels, eggs, french toast, bacon, and sausage, I ate my own food. I expected to feel terribly deprived, but I really didn’t Looking at the plates of others at my table, the food didn’t even look real. I can’t tell you why that was, only that I wasn’t even a little tempted.

When the cake came out, I had a moment. It was mint-chocolate-chip ice cream cake! And it was just that right amount of melty that I always loved. I refused a piece of my own, but I did have a small bite of someone else’s cake. (Just to see what I was missing.) I was a little concerned that the sweetness would be a strong temptation, but I was surprised. The cake was good, but not compelling. I had my one bite, mentally shrugged, and thought, “not bad.” And that was it. I didn’t need more. I didn’t really even want more.

PICT0290

My mom was always dieting and always told me she was fat. Look at her! She is beautiful. (This is a topic for another day, I guess)

Now, I’ve made it through many a party or event before with equal self-control, but here is where the story gets a little crazy: There was no aftermath. In the past, moments of true self-control in public have led to uncontrolled binging, once in private. For example, I’m “good” at the party, and then go home and eat 3 servings of ice cream and 2 candy bars. Sometimes I justify with, “Well I was so good….” and sometimes I don’t even bother justifying.

This time was different. I had chili for dinner. A reasonable serving, even. Just meat, tomatoes, and beans (more beans than meat, even). No bread. No carbs. No sweets after dinner. Just a regular serving and that’s it. I thought maybe the next day would be bad, but it wasn’t. I actually feel kind of good about the whole thing.

I can’t explain why this is working or what is happening. It just seems that the further I get from “regular food” the less control it has on me. You know when it is the hardest? When people want to talk to me about it. They grill me on what I eat, and that makes me think of how long it has been since I ate anything else. So stop talking about it, please. Just let me do my thing in peace. I don’t know if this is something I can do long-term, or if I’m just doing a fad, or what. I just like how I feel right now.

I Am Fat. Hear Me Roar…

First, there’s a story to this post. (There’s always a story) Yesterday, my daughter and I were having one of our endless discussions. If you don’t know, she is autistic, so an endless discussion is one in which I try to explain to her how so-called neuro-typical people think, and she endlessly argues how stupid our approach to life and the world is until I want to bash my head into a wall. You can tell it is an endless discussion when you hear her say, multiple times, “That doesn’t make sense….”

So I was trying to explain how her penchant for jumping into relationships (romantic or otherwise) can often scare people away, to which she responded, “I’m just a Speedy Gonzalez. It’s just who I am.” And I knew we were about to start another endless discussion.

Since she likes analogies, I tried to come up with one that would help her make sense of this.  Here is what I came up with:

“I am fat. That’s what I am. I can work at changing the shape of my body, through diet and exercise, but if I stop working at it, even for a while, my body will automatically revert to fat. Because that is what I am.”

There was a lot of follow-up discussion to this revelation. We found that, regardless if you were talking about weight, social awkwardness, or even left-handedness, the big issues were the same. Here are some highlights:

  • You can’t just decide to change, make that decision, and then it is over. When you are changing something fundamental about yourself, you have to constantly work on it and pay it attention. Over time you might develop some new habits, that help you, and some coping strategies, but if you stop paying attention and stop working, you will eventually revert to your primary state.
  • You have to decide if it is worth it. Sometimes it is, and sometimes it isn’t. If the psychic and physical energy expended to overcome your natural state is more effort than the rewards, then don’t bother changing. Just stay how you are.
  • You can make different decisions about how much energy you are willing to expend on changing yourself at different times in your life. When life is good, you have a job, people that love you, a strong support system, and good mental health, you have more energy to work on change. When your world is collapsing around you, you have less energy. It doesn’t mean you can’t change. It just means you need to be aware that there is more effort required.
  • One of the most important elements to personal change is having people to support you. People to cheer you when you do well and commiserate when you struggle; people who understand why you are doing what you are doing and how hard it is for you; people who can give advice when you need it, but don’t try to boss or bully you into changing.

There was more, but these are the things I took from the conversation. I felt that, as New Year’s Day (with its requisite resolution-making) approaches, the discussion was well-timed. I’m resolved this year to keep working on my personal change. I’m eating healthy, and toying with the idea of adding some exercise this year. It will take me at least a year to get to my personal goal, which isn’t a skinny-skinny, but livable goal.

But there was one more thing I’m taking away from this conversation.
I am fat. That’s what I am.

No matter what shape my body is, I am a fat person. The last time I lost a lot of weight (over 100 lbs) I thought that this had changed me somehow. That I transformed from being a fat person to a thin person, but now I don’t think so. Now I think that it is something I am inside. I might change the shape of my body from time to time, sometimes even resembling a thin (or at least normal) person, but it doesn’t change me, who I am inside, and it doesn’t change my life. I still have to live with me.

Putting on a diamond tiara doesn’t make you a princess anymore than going into a garage makes you a car. You are who you are. You can change what you do, you can change what you say, and you can even change what you look like, but you can’t change who you are. Does this sound depressing? I don’t mean it to be depressing, but rather I hope this understanding helps me deal with the long-term component of my journey. An alcoholic who hasn’t had a drop of liquor in 30 years, still identifies herself as an “alcoholic;” it is who she is.

I am fat. I hope I never forget or pretend to deny that. If I do, please remind me to read this post. Thank you.

Who am I today…

Dear Internet.

I’m so sorry. It’s been about 6 months since I’ve written. I haven’t forgotten you. I just got busy.

This isn’t going to be my usual post. I only have a few things to say.

ONE:

I think everybody with body issues should read 10 Rules for Fat Girls. It is smart, insightful, funny, and sad. Here are some of my favorite lines:

– Every time a fat girl eats cake God kills a kitten
– My fat is a great insulator.  It helps keep idiots out of my life.

I don’t have to explain or summarize. It is so good you will want to read the whole thing.

TWO:

This coming Wednesday, my daughter is starting a new program at Stony Brook Hospital called Fit Kids for Life. It was her idea. She wanted to do it. But it has made me face up to a few things:

  • I feel responsible for her fat, even more than I feel responsible for my own.
  • She can’t be successful unless I support her.
  • I don’t need to be thin to be happy, but I’m not happy at this size.

The last bullet is key to me. I don’t want to be on a diet. I feel like I need to be thin, but currently my weight is keeping me from being who I want to be.  There are things I can’t do physically because of my size. I don’t care about my looks and I don’t specifically think I’m unhealthy, but being out of shape is what really bothers me the most.

I’ve learned to accept and be okay about the way I look (mostly). I say “mostly” because sure there I times I wish I were prettier, but I really feel that I can accept the way I look. What bothers me is what I can (and can’t) do. I can’t run up (or down) the stairs. I get out of breath easily. I’m always hot. I feel off-balance. I feel old. I want to be in better shape more than I want to be thin. So I’m trying that out for a while. We’ll see.

Setting Goals

Where has the time gone? My last post was about coming up with a New Years’ Resolution. Well, New Years has come and gone and what have I been doing? Well, not blogging, I’ll tell you that.

Here are some of the things that have kept me busy since my last post:

  • Christmas Win (this year)
  • New Years Eve – went to a party with my brother.  Big Win this took a lot more nerve than you might think
  • Epiphany – major holiday in my family and soo much fun Soo Much Win
  • 5 trips to Baltimore in as many weeks Business Win, Personal Fail
  • Winning major fight with my daughter’s school Parenting Win and you know how rare those are
  • Watching the first season of Dollhouse Time Management Fail, but Fun
  • Reading Roots by Alex Haley among Intellectual Win (most of what I read is trivial fiction)
  • Meeting two writing deadlines  Business Win, Time Management Win
  • Three major winter storms Mood Swing Fail
  • Eating Gluten Free for almost ten days Stupid diet Fail
  • Lost power twice Man vs Nature Fail
  • Didn’t bounce any checks Financial Win
  • Driving my car into a snow bank, got stuck for four hours, and tore out my car’s exhaust system Ziggy Fail
  • Paying the wrong landscape company $150 Financial Fail
  • Buying a New Pocketbook Style Fail (sooooo much Fail)
  • Using a cane to walk for two weeks.  Health Fail Not using the cane anymore. Relief Win
  • Start taking guitar lessons Lost Youth Win
  • Rereading an old twitter post that says I want to run 5K before I turn 45 Setting Goals Fail
  • Realizing I’m turning 45 in less than 2 months. Chronology Fail

Gulp! I set that goal when I got the treadmill in my house. I’m happy to say the treadmill does not have any laundry on it at all. I’m sorry to say the cats use it more than I do.

I spent two weeks walking with a cane recently and I’m not sure that running 5k is a reasonable goal. Having said that, I’m feeling older than I am and I want to do something positive for myself. So, since I never set any resolutions back in January, I’ve decided to make three February resolutions:

  1. In 2011 I will walk two times per week or more. Any length walk will count because I tend to hurt myself when I overdo it.
  2. In 2011 I will enter some type of race or walkathon or public event to celebrate my new activity.
  3. In 2011 I will continue to blog about my life, paying more attention to the Wins than the Fails.

Does it seem like I’m being to easy on myself? Considering where I’m starting it feels like climbing Mt. Everest to me. The old me, the stronger me, would have come up with better resolutions, but really all I want to do is be able to walk a mile without having to stop for breath and feel my body move in a positive way.

Well, Happy Belated New Years, anyway.

My Daughter is Losing Weight

In a previous post I lamented how much my own bad eating habits are effecting my daughter. Bad enough she inherited my genes, but also my eating habits. While she has always been a bigger than average girl, she was never really fat until she hit puberty. To say she developed curves is an understatement, but mostly the curves were in the right places. At thirteen she was busty and hippy, but not really fat. I never really wanted her to diet. She looked healthy and had a good self-image.

Then, about a year and a half ago she had some serious issues which caused her to go on some serious medication. The doctors all agreed that weight gain as a side effect would be bad, since she was on the high side of normal to begin with, so they tried to find drugs that least effected her weight. They failed miserably. In less than six months she had gained over 60 lbs. At 15 years, she had stretch marks on her arms, legs, and belly. It was heart-wrenching. Worse than that, her eating behaviors were triggered. The child who always left a little something on the plate, now scraped every bite. She hid food. She snuck food. She ate portions that were outrageous. She would finish eating and say she was still hungry.

The medicines literally saved her life, but the cost was very very high. A year later she has been off the offending drugs for about 9 months. She still takes about 5 different medicines, but not the ones that triggered the eating and weight gain. It took a long time for the effects to wear off. I knew things were getting better when she started leaving food on the plate. She really wanted to diet and we tried a few times, but dieting takes commitment to long-term goals, and since my daughter is autistic, that isn’t something that she can really understand.

But I noticed lately that something is happening. She is losing weight. She is slimming down. I started paying attention. She still eats candy, cookies, and other “bad” foods, but only at appropriate times. Her portions are less, naturally.  She is losing weight by going back to her natural eating habits. It is very slow, so slow I nearly didn’t notice until her jeans started falling off her butt. She and I have talked about it and we both agree that eating healthy and watching portions makes more sense than “dieting.” She feels badly about the stretch marks, and we are trying some cremes for that, but I feel like I have a lot to learn from this girl who isn’t dieting, but, in her own words, “only eating when I’m hungry.”

Halloween came and went. We have a giant bowl of candy sitting on the counter. On Halloween  I think she ate two pieces of candy. Yesterday and today, she had one piece each day. She looks at it, selects what she wants and moves on. Now I watch her and am trying to learn from her. I have a way to go.