Wednesday, June 19, 2013


and sometimes I need to
accept the pursuit is done.
Okay, really this isn't about Fat, this is about what I got from reading Fantaspirations and Fallen Arches, an article by Dr David Katz on the Huffington Post this week.

Honestly, I clicked on the article when I got the email containing the title because I thought it read Fataspirations. It didn't. I am glad I clicked anyway.

The article is about meeting ambitions and finding satisfaction. It is about surpassing the ambitions yet not knowing where to stop, relax, let go, be happy, be at peace. (Do not confuse with  being 'at' complacency).

Dr Katz writes re: ambition -
How does one turn it off so that a certain bar, cleared, results in contentment?
the Alleluia Chorus sings when I
imagine seeing a final number on
my scale.  
After being over 300 pounds for more than a decade, finally coming to a high of 385 pounds, I remember thinking 'when I get under 200 pounds I will be satisfied to stay there' all the while thinking that the real satisfying number would be closer to 125 pounds. At 170 pounds I thought 'when I get to 145 pounds I will be happy, complete, done, satisfied - contented.' - Then I looked at my hanging skin, my crazy attitudes and my thirst for supremacy over the ache that called me back to overeating every now and then and I realized I knew I had no idea what contentment and 'done' really looked like. Would I finally have realized an ambition and be able to enjoy it or would I become an obsessed woman who spent all her time and effort just trying to maintain the feeling I would expect to have at that brief moment of 'arrival.'

Dr Katz writes:
Contentment really is the prize. Even though my career is devoted to health, I don't mistake that for the prize. The true value of good health is that it enhances the quality of life. Good health only really matters if it results in good living. Living well is what health is "for" -- contentment is the prize.
If he were mine, I would make it
my life's ambition that this would
be the only watermelon 'flavored'
thingy to ever touch his lips. 
Recovery from obesity is a battle with a prize to the victor; a prize that is more than better health, stamina, a lithe body and peace of mind around brownies. The one real prize is contentment. Good health and all the other things I get enhance the quality of my life but if I am not happy in my life because I am still seeking a loftier prize or if I feel the prize has somehow eluded me, I am not living well today.

The other day I was out and a young woman walked past me. She was my height and coloring and she was my body shape - but 50 pounds lighter and half my age. She wore an outfit suitable to her body and age and I felt a desire to wear that outfit. I've seen it before, I love the cut and style. It is a simple 2 piece summer shorts set sold on many of the cruise ports in the Caribbean.  I have wanted it and thought to myself that someday I would buy it for myself when suddenly I saw another woman  walk by in that same outfit. This woman was fit about perhaps 10 pounds more than what may have been her daughter, but on her the outfit looked out of place.

Even if I drop the weight, even if I have plastic surgery to remove the deformities in my thighs and extra skin from my arms - even then, I am too old to wear that outfit. If fifty something year old woman - even one who took care of her body from the age of three, does not look good in that youthful design then neither will I. If I thought it would still make me happy to wear it in the privacy of my home, I would do so - but it wouldn't. I wanted it for cruises and traveling and parties in summer.

 I have to outgrow the things I think I want because some of them are never going to make me happy.

Dr Katz writes more about the hazard of reconciling ambition and satisfaction but that is all I am commenting on right now.

My question is this: Do you want to live well in the future - one one that may never come? Or do you choose to live well today?*


FYI: Living well is not defined by finding a way to overeat . . .so close the fridge and choose wisely.


Norma said...

Your last line is true wisdom, Jane.

That said, I do pretty much all my shopping in the juniors' department -- the cut of the pants fits my body much better. In fact, on a recent visit, my just-turned-12-year-old daughter and I showed up at the register with the same exact pair of jeans from the juniors' rack: hers a size 1, mine a size 7. I asked her if she minded if I got them and she said no, it's cool if we match! :)

RedPanda said...

A very wise and thought-provoking post...

I felt your regret over the shorts outfit. I regret the fact that, it's only now, in my 50s, that I can rock jeans and a T-shirt.

Unknown said...

I sure know what that's like. I dithered away my 30's in chubbiness, when I had good skin and lots of hair, with few white strands. Now, I'm 45 and my hair is thinning, and I have wrinkles, and I have persistent back fat. Nothing looks the same as when I was was much younger. However, I am still a much happier person. Ironically, I did not appreciate my looks much when I was young. Now I realize that I looked quite good when I was young. So much of who cares--until those certain days when this whole feeling you describe niggles out again.

:-) Marion