Food and Weight: An Ongoing Journey

Perspective is a Wonderful Thing, and Support Networks Rock

Posted on: September 7, 2012

Joanne Quinones Reed’s comment to my previous entry got me thinking. And the first thing that came to mind when she said that the thing to figure out was “whether I was a thunderstorm or a volcano,” was the following line from my favorite song, Life is Large,” by The Kennedys:

“How do you want to be remembered
A raging fire or a dying ember?”

Here’s the whole song:

While I think I am sometimes a thunderstorm and other times a volcano, the question for me really is the one Maura Kennedy sings.

I was telling an online friend about how I was feeling Wednesday morning, and the physical issues behind it. The friend was very supportive and listened, then told me that the situation was terrible. The following conversation ensued, that I do NOT want to forget:

whatie: sigh 😦 poor you 😦
Me: eh, given the crap I’ve dealt with this summer, this isn’t terrible – just annoying
whatie: I think it sounds terrible
Me: No, terrible is losing control of your bodily functions, thinking you have the flu, while really almost dying because the mosquito bites on your left leg got infected and turned into cellulitis that went septic and systemic, so that when you are brought to the hospital your bp is 92/56 and falling. That’s terrible.
Me: Perspective is a wonderful thing
Me: And thank you for making me put that all down in writing.

What worked about that exchange is that my friend made me spell things out clearly, so that I could see the difference in magnitude between the situation I’m currently dealing with and something that very nearly did me in. Once it was spelled out so clearly – in my own words – it became much easier to see that the issue of having a possible gain this week is so much less dire than what I went through in June.

So, to continue my Weight Watchers exercise for the week, here are Thursday’s and today’s reasons I want to lose weight:


  • Gain Confidence
  • Walk for fun without needing cane
  • Let people see who I really am
  • Become a Weight Watchers leader
  • Get off or significantly lower blood pressure, asthma, and cholesterol meds


  • Gain confidence
  • Get off of or lower medications
  • Become a Weight Watchers leader
  • Get back into my clothing
  • Feel better about myself
  • Have more mobility
  • Be able to do the things I want to do

And I’m home from the meeting — would’ve been home an hour ago, but I had just missed the bus back to Brooklyn.  After all the frustration with my body and it’s ability to not work properly, I was very surprised to find that I had lost 4.2 lbs.  While this isn’t a huge first week loss, it’s perfectly acceptable, and 1000% better than a gain.

As I said in the title, perspective is a wonderful thing, and support networks rock! So, here’s today’s questions: How do you keep things in perspective? How do you regain your perspective once you have begun obsessing over something minor?


8 Responses to "Perspective is a Wonderful Thing, and Support Networks Rock"

Similar to you, to keep things in perspective, I write things down and talk with others. It helps.

Hi turtle! Yes it does help. You and a few others really helped me stay on track this week. Thank you so much!

I feel famous – thanks for mentioning me! But the better news is that you are on your way again – big congrats! I’ll keep shaking those virtual pompoms for you!

Sorry, I was so excited that I forgot to say how I handle frustration. I often say that I practice better living through chemistry, because the pharmaceutical industry makes beaucoup bucks from me. The truth is that I do my best to live with myself, and I gain solace from remembering that nobody is perfect but God. I try not to be my own worst enemy, but I work hard at it.

Thanks again or your insight. “I gain solace from remembering that nobody is perfect but God.” I was once at an exhibit of Arabian crafts, where I was informed that Arab rug weavers always include a mistake in their work on the grounds that “nobody is perfect except Allah.” As a knitter, that struck enough of a chord that it’s still in my brain after, lo, these many years. Thank you for bringing it to mind again!

Hey Joanne, thank you for taking the time to read and reply! And, yes, I was very relieved that I lost this week — I was sure I was going to gain. And I love the virtual pompoms (I assume that, given me, they are purple and pink)!

It’s always helpful to have another view of a situation. I try to measure the current situation against others I’ve faced in the past, and that can often help me keep in balance.

Talking things out, distracting myself (sometimes forcibly) from miserating, and reconnecting with people also help me get back on track.

for the 4.2!

Hi Joanne! Thanks for the cheers on the 4.2!

Yes, having reliable people to check situations against is one of the best things, and not just because they provide a relatively unbiased ear! After all, if I am upset enough to have to vent, I am probably upset enough that I am not able — at that moment — to be rational about whatever the situation is.

Measuring the current situation against others can be something of a two-edged sword, though. Sometimes, we accept the results we’ve had in the past as the only possible results, rather than looking at the progress we’ve made each time we’ve tried something. For example, I could look at having regained the weight each time I did as two big failures, or I could reframe it by realizing that I lost 1/3 of the weight the first time I did Weight Watchers, and 2/3 of the weight the second time I did it, so it would be a logical assumption that I will lose all the weight this time (which is how I am looking at it), and work toward having enough plans and goals for after I lose the weight (which is where a lot of people seem to actually have the most trouble) that I can keep it off this time.

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