Tag Archives: family

Weight-Loss Draft

18 Aug
You see me struggling, but the woman reflected in the mirror is part of my O-line. That's Willa.

You see me struggling, but the woman reflected in the mirror is part of my O-line. That’s Willa.

Skinny People, my favorite time of year is fast approaching. In 17 days, the Packers will face the Seahawks in the first game of the NFL season.

I. Can’t. WAIT!

I’ve made my love of football abundantly clear on this blog. It’s a fun game to watch. Over the years I’ve been able to garner an understanding of the rules (even if they do change season to season).

What I haven’t been able to do is get into pre-season football. I understand it’s necessity. Teams need to weed out the players that aren’t going to work throughout the season. It’s a good way to get fans excited about the upcoming season. And it’s a good way to get superfans started on their fantasy drafts.

Fantasy drafts are where people, from superfans to the indifferent gambler, draft players from various teams. Trades can be made throughout the season and some leagues offer winners bragging rights or even money. But to be a good general manager, you have to know what skills are key to a great team. You can pick a marquee player because you like him and he’ll get more minutes. You also have to keep in mind what kind of injuries this player has had, and what kind of team he plays with.

Cicely, how the hell does this relate to weight loss? you’re asking.

Well, many times on this blog, I’ve said that your weight-loss journey is an individual sport, and it is. You will lose the weight on your own. You will do the work and you will monitor your eating habits as an individual. But somewhere along the way, you’re going to need support. You’re going to need someone to put a bug in your ear (or up your butt) to encourage you to do better.

Getting yourself ready to take the journey is like drafting for your fantasy team. You’ll need to have a good defense ready, but also have a squad of support that will help you get a win. Just remember, you’re the quarterback on this team, so you call the plays.

If you’re totally on your own (without any groups or classes to attend), then your running back may very well be your trainer. A good trainer is hard to find. So when you find him/her, grab hold with both hands. Like the relationship between a quarterback and running back, you want someone who understands your rhythms and goals and works with you to help you achieve them. Your trainer cannot and will not do the work for you. But he will be the first to notice when you’re doing better and when you’re slacking off. A good trainer is not only someone who prepares you physically for the challenges ahead, but is also like a therapist who will listen. The beginning of your weight-loss journey is a shock to the system, and a trainer knows when you’re body is trying to psych your mind out. He will listen to you complain, and then show you that you can do more.

After you’ve picked your running back you’ve got to have your O-line (offensive line). These people are close family and friends. I don’t always advise letting people in on your journey, because it’s personal. But close family and friends whom you know will be nothing but supportive  should be clued in on what’s going on with you. They will be the ones who will compliment you when you’re doing well. They’ll join you on morning walks or runs for you to have some company. For me, the best person on my O-line was my grandmother. When I began my journey while living in Atlanta, I had to let her know that all of her Sunday dinner usuals weren’t going to work for me. So she would make sure to have some sliced cucumbers (my favorite) set aside for me. Or ff she was frying chicken that day, she’d bake a couple pieces for me to have with my meal.

The defensive end really relies on you. If you have a lot of junk food in your house, and you’re committed to starting your journey, then that stuff has to go. If you’re planning to start running, you’re going to need good shoes. Head to the store now and get sized for the right shoes that will work with the surface you’re running on. You know whether you’re an early riser. Don’t schedule training sessions or classes at times you know you’re not going to be up for. Don’ t set yourself up to fail.


How to Stave off the Jigggle on Turkey Day

28 Nov


Vacation is a time to take a break from the norm. You need to decompress from all of the work you’ve done. But how can you do it without backsliding into really bad habits?

Welcome to holiday season, where backsliding into all of your gluttonous desires is not only expected, but sometimes encouraged.

Who hasn’t heard from a cousin, “Oh, you look so good! You can eat that giant piece of cake. I can’t.” Or heard your uncle say, “Here, eat some of these yams drenched in butter and brown sugar. You’ve lost too much weight.”

I’ve fallen victim to holiday peer pressure just like everyone else. I’m visiting my family in Atlanta for Thanksgiving where this year’s head count is topping 30 people (a lot, but not unexpected for this brood). Majority of these people can cook, including yours truly, who is in charge of a coconut cake, pumpkin marble cheesecake, banana pudding and a roasted chicken. I understand this isn’t part of my usual low-fat, low-cal regimen, but it’s the holidays, dammit.

During the summer, it was all smoothies and salads. The food was cool and refreshing. This time of year, the food is warm and comforting. That word “comforting” brings to mind big fluffy blankets and hot chocolate. But getting too comfortable can be dangerous. Just ask your thighs.

It’s not like I eat like this all year, so I allow myself a few little indulgences. A little slice of pumpkin marble cheesecake here, some of Gram’s peach pie made especially for me there.

The key to balancing all of this is not forgetting what you’ve learned so far. I will eat my turkey and fixin’s (it’s the South), but I’ll also go for a walk afterward. I’ll do as my grandmother does and have a little taste of all the pastries, but I remembered to pack my gym clothes, as well.

If you’ve got the chance, offer a low-fat contribution to the meal. Those greens can be made with smoked turkey and taste just as good. Sweet potatoes are by definition sweet on their own. They don’t need a a pound of brown sugar and butter. Roast some Brussels sprouts or sauté some string beans. And, for God’s sake, don’t drown your food in gravy!

Remember that weight loss takes discipline and hard work. Vacation and the holidays are what we need to give ourselves respite from all of that. Incorporating your new life into your holiday life is the best way to keep it balanced without resorting to your fat-girl pants at the dinner table.

How are you balancing your turkey day?

Perception vs. Reality

22 Nov
What they see...

What they see…

One of my favorite movies from the ’90s is “Clueless.” There’s a scene where Cher is trying to calm Tai down after she spies the object of her affection dancing with another girl.

Tai:  Do you think she’s pretty?
Cher: No, she’s a full-on Monet.
Tai: What’s a Monet?
Cher: It’s like a painting, see? From far away, it’s OK, but up close, it’s a big old mess.

While going from one weight class to another isn’t exactly like this, there are similarities. People see you the way they want to. You can offer different perspectives, but the onus is on the observer to take that into account.

I don’t live near much of my family. The family that does live nearby, I only see every few months. (New York keeps people busy.) I also work out a lot. Like…a lot. When I began my journey toward a smaller me, I knew the outcome would surprise some people. My five-two frame held more than 170 pounds for most of my adult life. You don’t really notice the change yourself for a while. But when someone who hasn’t seen you in months tells you you’ve lost so much weight, you start to reassess your appearance.

Then comes the time when you’re literally inches from your goal weight and again see people you haven’t seen in forever. That was a bit difficult for me. I knew I’d lost a lot of weight and was nearing my goal. I knew that I wore a smaller dress size and that my face was thinner. But it was another thing to have people tell me that I need to start eating.

What they remember...

What they remember…

One family member actually asked me if I was starving myself. That hurt the most. I pride myself on having been able to do this the healthy way. I work out about four to five hours a week. I eat several small meals a day. But I don’t deny myself a good craving if the mood hits me. I love cookies and cake. My favorite snack is Pepperidge Farm Goldfish crackers. (Seriously…I do not share these things. They’re amazing.)

It’s a slap in the face (though unintended) for people to perceive me as doing something harmful to myself because the image they have in their heads is one that doesn’t exist anymore. I’ve lost a lot of weight and managed to keep most of it off for going on five years now. That’s the reality.

Always remember that, because friends and family will always view you as the rotund person you were, no mater how many pounds you drop. I’m still coming to grips with that. I haven’t lost a great deal of weight recently—three to five pounds here and there. But after not seeing someone for a year, people seem to remember the big girl from six years ago, not her smaller version from last summer.

There are a couple ways to remedy this. Visit your friends and family more often. Keep your Facebook and Instagram pages updated on your progress so there won’t be so much sticker shock when they see you in person. Or just do what I do, and remind them that you haven’t lost that much weight since the last time they saw you.

It’s somewhat like a child growing up. You remember your nieces and nephews as babies and toddlers. Then one day you’re home for Thanksgiving and they’re asking for the keys to your car. There’s an adjustment period—for both you and your loved ones—to come to terms with the new person standing there. Just try not to bite their heads off for making off-putting comments in the guise of compliments.