Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

In January of 2012 my soul mate of 42 years passed away after nearly 12 of living with severe disabilities due to a stroke. I survived the first year after Don’s death doing what most widows do---trying to make sense of my world turned upside down. The pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties are well documented in this blog.

Now that I’m a "seasoned widow" the focus of my writing has changed. I’m still a widow looking through that lens but I’m also a woman searching for contentment, friends and a voice in my restless world. Some people say I have a quirky sense of humor that shows up from time to time in this blog. Others say I make some keen observations about life and growing older. I say I just write about whatever passes through my days---the good, bad and the double-ass ugly. Comments welcome! Jean

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Why Am I Eating my Way Out of my Pants?


I didn’t make a New Year’s Resolution about diet and exercise this year, which is something I usually do. Why? Because in the back of my mind I knew I couldn’t keep it for more than a minute and a half. I’m out of control. I've been out of control the whole month of December. I knew this for sure yesterday at the grocery store when I was thinking about the second anniversary of Don’s passing that is coming up next week and I found myself grabbing a bag of Brachs Mandarin Orange Slices. Can we all say comfort food with a capital ‘C’? I haven’t bought them since the first time I went to the grocery store after Don’s funeral but I have a long history with those candy orange slices. I can still remember sitting in my mother’s lap and her reaching into her side table drawer and giving me one of her orange slices. We kids were not allowed to touch her bag of Brachs and the only time I got a piece is when I needed to be rocked in her lap. I can know all this stuff about why certain foods become our comfort food of choice, but yesterday I was still powerless to control the longing for the feelings that go along with eating sugary orange candy. By the way, did you notice how easily I blamed my mother for what she did in the first twelve years of my life and I failed to take any responsibility for my poor food choices during the rest of my life? The mothers of the world are always at fault. It’s a fast and firm rule of life and who am I to challenge that?

I worked so hard at controlling my weight last year. I even took cooking classes for crying out loud and I walked two miles faithfully two or three times a week from spring to late fall and rode my exercise bike in the cold weather months. And now I’m right back where I started. Already I’m fearful of my biannual check-up in April if I don’t get myself back in check. I could take on my wimpy little undernourished doctor with one arm tied behind my back but he still scares the crap out of me with his soft-spoken concern. If he’d just yell at me instead I could go home and nurse my resentment with a half of pint of mint chocolate ice cream and feel like I showed him who is boss of my life. (People who arrogantly tell you not to eat this or that just drive some of us into closet eating.) Healthy-eating-for-one cooking classes are starting up again at the senior hall in February. Big sigh here. Maybe I need to sign up again since the first round of classes I took last year didn’t stick. I’m a failure. I’m sorry but sugar still tasted better than pinto beans, cabbage soup and broccoli---well, maybe not broccoli. I eat that twice a week.

In the meantime, I will work on a teeny, tiny goal of making this bag of Brachs Mandarin Orange Slices be my last bag until this time next year. I’m starting a new tradition in my life and allowing myself to fall off the Brachs' candy wagon once a year---barring catastrophic events like invaders from outer-space taking over Miami and halting production of one of my favorite TV show, Burn Notice. If the cemetery wasn’t closed for the winter I could be the widow who stands at her husband’s grave site each anniversary of his passing with a bag of candy in hand and people would wonder why I didn’t bring flowers instead. Why can’t they see that little girl inside me who needs to be rocked in her mother’s lap? Why do I still see her after all these years? ©

P.S. The photo above---one of my favorites---is of my mom and my niece, but it could have just as easily have been a photo of my mom and me. There were a whole string of rag-tag kids who got rocked in her lap and when we were too big to be rocked, we still managed to snuggle up tight in her chair. And I'll bet we all have a fondness for Brachs Mandarin Orange Slices.

12 comments:

  1. OMG. Yep. I am on this path WITH you. I'm learning some quick and healthy meals from my sister.

    I think my problem is a screwed up metabolism from yo yo eating. My goal this month is to eat breakfast every day. I do not move around nearly as much as you do but that is my focus for February. Itty bitty baby steps. I'm considering buying, chopping and bagging for 3-4 days at a time. Or paying a bit more for already chopped things so cooking is quick.

    Or maybe we should have a private chef provide portion controlled, healthy, tasty dinners for five evenings a week. All we need is $$$$. Actually, I had a friend who did NOT like cooking and did hire it out. She said it saved her marriage!

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  2. What gets me is I have shoveled so much snow and ice this December that it isn't funny. That's hard work, but I don't seem to be getting any benefit from all the exercise. Two months ago the doctor also increased my thyroid medication and you'd think that would help my metabolism, too, but it hasn't.

    I don't know if you get Fresh Express cut salads in Maui but here they sell it in individual serving sizes. That really works well for me. If I get the bigger bags too much goes bad before I use it up and the makes me feel guilty for wasting food so I don't mind paying more. Eating breakfast is a great goal because it does make a difference later in the day on how hungry you get.

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    1. I totally agree how bad I feel when wasting food. And everything spoils much more quickly in Maui. Starbucks here do not sell salads or sandwiches .. only the stuff they can warm up. Janet is also getting us to eat a couple of small snacks ... sharing an apple, for example. And half an apple a day has got to be a good start! Also a tiny handful of healthy nuts for another snack...so I am never overly hungry.

      Yesterday for lunch she sauteed some shredded kale, cooked up a bit of quinoa and we had leftover poke for the protein. Warm and comforting. As well as delicious. Almost as fast as making half a sandwich and a bag of chips!

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  3. I was introduced to kale in last year's cooking class. It's surprisingly good! I do the handful of healthy nuts every day, but recently I've been throwing them on ice cream, another one of my all-time favorite comfort foods. LOL I think I'm getting sick enough of my out of control eating that I'll bet back in the program after next week has passed. Darn sadiversary!!!!

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  4. I've started this comment over so many times... I'm farther along the road, of course, so this last anniversary I hardly noticed. I recall my second one felt a little less surreal than the first, though it required a lot of anesthesia in the form of Margaritas. Please, if Brach's Mandarin Orange Slices and nuts on ice cream do the trick, you're a saint!

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  5. Oh, no, you just planted the Margaritas seed in my head! On my sadiversary good friends are taking me out for dinner so I don't have to be alone. I can't remember the last time I had alcohol, I'd probably be asleep at the table before desert. LOL

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  6. The orange slices bring back such a warm and comforting memory for you and that is why they help you now--so--hug the bag and enjoy each slice.

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  7. Thanks Judy, I set a limit of three a day and so far I'm sticking to it. I'll bet we all have a special memory from a comfort food.

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  8. Pretend I'm saying this as a character from The Sopranos or The Godfather, "Eat the orange slices!" Eat them, enjoy them, and--yes--give yourself an out once a year. That is a very sweet memory, and I hope the slices give you some of that comfort.

    The cooking class, round two, looks like good timing. Deep in February, it will be nice to get out of the house (if you can get out of the house, of course).

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  9. Since I don't want to wake up with a horse's head in my bed, I WILL eat and enjoy every piece of candy in the bag. LOL They taste so much better when they aren't stall.

    I'm officially no longer snowed in!

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  10. After my colonoscopy, I asked my husband to pick up some Brach's maple nut goodies from CVS. I loved them when I was a kid. Campbell's Soup was the only stock that went up after 9/11. Sometimes we take our comfort where we can find it. Enjoy your orange slices. Bella

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  11. Gosh, I remember those Brachs maple nut candies! They are good. That's interesting about the Campbell's Soup stock but it makes sense. Didn't we all grow up getting soup from a can when we didn't feel well?

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