Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

In January of 2012 my soul mate of 42 years passed away after nearly 12 years 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 ugly. Comments welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Diet Shakes and Clothing Optional



I have struggled with controlling my weight my entire adult life and then some.  I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have three sizes of clothing hanging in the closet. (Remember the bowls in Goldilocks and the Three Bears?) One size is always just right while the other two batches of clothing hang there either taunting me or making me feel proud. If I didn’t see my doctor for biannual check-ups I’d probably have four or five sets of clothing and I’d have to grow a wart of a closet off the side of house, advertising to any passerby that a fatty-fatty two-by-four lives within. I’m not quite that bad about holding on to clothes I can’t wear, but it always amuses me how I can put on an outfit from Lot C (the big ones) when I should have grabbed something from Lot A and people will tell me I look like I’ve lost weight. I don’t like clothing that is skin tight, they give me hives. Literally. I’m one of those people who has to be careful about laundry soaps, fabrics and elastics that go next to my skin. If something even starts to tingle when I put it on, off it comes and I move up the line of porridge bowls trying to find the one that’s just right.

I used to know a couple who ran a nudist ranch in the nice weather months and while the idea of going without clothing would have some practical applications for me, I’d take one look at that fully dressed, robust figured couple and I couldn’t for one minute picture them or me walking around in public with all the assets hanging out there. I don’t mind looking at pudgy, naked people in a live figure drawing class and I’ve have done it many times, but seeing body parts and "muffin tops" all in motion on volleyball court would probably scar my sensibilities beyond repair.

I could, however, spend my in-the house time happily clad in a bathrobe. That was great when I was younger and I did it whenever I could but now that I’m elderly---and know too much about how the system works---I need to stop that before it gets me in trouble. It’s one of the signs Social Services marks down as an indication that an older person is losing it and can’t be trusted to live alone anymore. “Does your father get dressed every morning?” “Does he take a shower every day?” Those tricky social workers have even been known to poll the neighbors for “signs” of senility. I’m screwed! If I have nowhere to go I can usually be found happily typing in my robe until noon, I need a sign printed up that reads: I’m not senile! I’m a would-be writer and this robe is my work uniform. Do you think that would fool a social services worker checking out a report if a neighbor called in, worried that he spied me hugging my chenille bathrobe to my body as I’d wait at the door for the dog to come from the cold? And---gasp---it was after noon!

Yesterday I walked into a place my niece-in-law was telling me about. She’s lost 30 pounds drinking a supplement shake mix this place sells along with hosting a weekly support group. Oh, boy! For a mere $3.00 a week I can get a nutritious shake to drink while engaging in conversations about food and get the opportunity to buy goodies to fill up my blender so I, too, can make delicious shakes. For years I’ve been having a Slim-Fast shake for a meal replacement on a daily basis so this isn’t much of life style change for me. EXCEPT I feel the same way about using my blender as I do all the other appliances in the kitchen. I’ve tried, truly I’ve tried liking the activities that go on in that room. I’ve taken cooking lessons and I really do enjoy watching the Food Network but I just can’t work up a lasting interest in spending so much time making things that disappear so quickly afterward. When I plate up a meal that looks especially nice I want to grab a can of shellac and preserve like it's a piece of art.

Anyway, this nutrition wellness place has no long term commitment to sign and the niece-in-law that I’ll be attending meetings with and I go way back when it comes to trying to keep our weight in check---Weight Watchers, diet clubs, walking clubs and now this. My trusty, mostly unused blender will be heard twice a day until I find an excuse to revert back to my default, food grazing habits. The goal: Get rid of the Lot C of clothing from the closet. Actually take them out this time, bury them in a back yard vault and have the door welded shut.  As much as I know you should give away clothing when you lose weight, I can’t bear the thought of doing it. The fear of being a bag lady someday and not be able to buy big again, if needed, is deeply entrenched. I blame my depression era parents for that mindset, then came along my husband (whose own parents had the same mindset) to reinforce the notion that poverty can come knocking at any time. Doctor, doctor do you have a pill for irrational fears like that? And don’t even get me started on my rational fear of living in clothing washed in strong detergents and bleaches at a nursing home. I will die scratching myself to death and no one will know why this old lady keeps taking off her clothes and roaming the halls naked. ©

17 comments:

  1. I have two sizes of clothes. Size 10 that I can't wear right now and size 12 that I can. I was in 16 when I retired and have not gone back there. I don't intend to either. The change hit me HARD. Anyway, I'm just going with the flow now. I can so relate to your three sizes. Yes indeed.

    Have a fabulous day and I'm off to think about old, out of shape, naked people playing volleyball (CRINGE). ☺

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    1. Between you and Empress Bee over at Muffin 53, I am inspired! Congratulations on your road back to 10s and 12s!

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  2. Oh! So funny! You'll at least get a little play time with your niece-in-law. This little no holds barred weight rampage might even scare your Lot C pants off their cozy little hangers. Please, just drop them in a bag and send them off! You can always buy them back from Salvation Army, in newer, cuter versions. Maybe put some money aside in a pretty glass jar, marked 'Lot C' just in case, to appease the taunting indigent gods.

    These weight loss groups have never made sense to me - thinking about food and discussing diets and sitting around talking about difficulties with FOOD - because, uh, if food is hurting us isn't this a bit masochistic? Shouldn't we be finding happiness elsewhere? Ehem...remember this is coming from someone brilliant here, who sits around getting insights galore about her loneliness, yet keeps chowing down on solitude.

    Anyway, I'm now down to two sizes of clothing and staying put here. One is my warm set and the other is my thermostat set, when 64 degrees inside sends my long underweared body up a full size.

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    1. You know, that really is a do-able and great idea about having an "indigent clothing jar" to put money in. I could put a few dollars in it for every item that I donate. That just might appease my fear of needing another Lot C again! I'm really good at pigeonholing money and only using it for the designated purpose.

      I've been in groups before where you talk about food issues and you really can get some good tips on things like what to do about people who sabotage your efforts or like with Halloween coming and all that candy is in the house tempting you, etc. It just keeps the goal in the forefront when you go to a group. I will drop out as soon as the snow flies so it's just to kick-start me for now.

      I'm adding you to my list of Sandee and Bee who inspire me---two sizes down. How great is that!

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  3. Gosh. This is a CONSTANT in our lives, it seems. I grew up as a beanpole and have horrible eating habits. HORRIBLE. I wear baggy clothes so the lumps and bumps and rolls don't show as easily. Yesterday I wore a shirt that was a bit tapered and everyone asked me how much weight I had lost.

    UGH I hate constantly feeling bad about how I look ...

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    1. When I see women in tight clothing I can't help but think they'd look better in a size up. Part of that is because I took tailoring classes in college and hate seeing the horizontal puckers and creeping up shirts that we were taught was a sign of an ill fitted garment.

      I've accepted myself and don't feel bad about how I look so much as I know I'd feel better if I loss and if my "bounce range" was two sizes instead of three. The constant battle with food issues is SO common, isn't it.

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  4. oh we are so much alike! i cannot use anything with dyes or perfumes at all and walking into a room with someone with perfume makes my gag. i have gotten rid of the "C" clothes this time though. i am down 87 pounds at this very moment, (of course that changes daily but still...) and i am trying SO HARD this time. it's been 2 1/2 years on this journey and i keep thinking how much better thin feels than that pasta tastes but of course sometimes i fail. exercise is my friend though, i burn calories and can eat more!

    hugs, bee
    xoxoxo

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    1. Perfume allergies and sensitives are such a pain, aren't they!

      I am so impressed by your progress and in no small way you've inspired me to give it a try again.

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  5. I was a tall, beanpole kid and ate anything I wanted. In fact, a doc prescribed a milkshake and egg sandwich every afternoon as soon as I got home from school to try and put some meat on my bones. My weight is determined by the happiness level in my life. I am NOT a depressive eater. When I am happy and content, my weight goes up into the 18 size range. When I am sad, or during/after a horrendous emotional happening, my weight goes down to 14. I am in 12's right now. Food has never been important to me. I eat if and when I am hungry and it matters not what it is. Just something to make my tummy quit growling. The last two years, everyone compliments me on the 30# I've lost and it isn't anything I have done. When Fred died, I lost my appetite and it's still gone.

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    1. I'm the exact opposite than you. I eat when I'm sad, depressed or unhappy and don't eat when I'm happy and contented.

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  6. I'm all-too-familiar with the three sizes of clothing in the closet. Mine are usually (1) the aspirational size that I'll probably never fit in again, but I can't yet let go of the dream, (2) the size I say I am now, and (3) the size that is actually more comfortable to wear.

    BTW, I think you should join the new passion for taking pictures of your food. When you dish up a gorgeous-looking plate of food, you take a photo of it; that way you can preserve your food and eat it too. -Jean

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    1. As I read your comment it dawns on me that the reason food blogs are so popular is because people ARE taking photos of their creations to preserve forever. I shall have to try that!

      I'm glad I'm not the only one with a closet of three sizes. I've decided, though, that I can get rid of the biggest size and add a smaller size and still have three....that is after I've lost a few pounds.

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  7. Once again, I can relate. But I am one who cannot stand NOT to get dressed in the morning. But my clothing is soft and comfy -- pajama-like, really -- that even though I look fine to leave the house, I never allow myself to be anything less than comfortable. Your thoughts on cooking are exactly mine. What a thankless chore! I agree that the fad of food photos must be so satisfying because we love the "look" of nicely prepared and presented food -- even if we hate to do the prep and presentation ourselves!

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  8. That's what I need...pajama-like lounge wear. I prefer to sleep in nightgowns so I'd still have to get 'dressed' in the mornings though.

    Glad I'm not the only anti-foodie. LOL

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  9. Ha! to that last sentence.

    This is the story of my life. I lost so much weight a few years ago, and I've gained it all back. I gave away all of my fat clothes and now what? I had to buy new. Now I'm trying to get back on track. What a mess.

    As for not getting dressed, I cannot stand to wear a bra around the house. My husband has to answer the door while I scramble to get the girls under control.

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    1. That's why I have heavy weight bathrobes. If a stranger comes to the door I just tell them I'm sick and can't stand there listening to their sales pitch.

      See, you just confirmed why I have a hard time getting rid of the "fat clothes." In theory when your medium clothes get tight we're supposed to be clued in to get back on track.

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