Day 184: Her Pilgrim Soul

I must be doing something right. The past few days when I look in the mirror, I’m seeing less fluff under my cheekbones. (AKA, I don’t look so fat-faced.) I don’t actually HAVE cheekbones per se; I just have a spot at the sides of my face where I sometimes put blusher. But what’s there is showing lately with a little more definition. It’s taking some getting used to.

I think it has something to do with four weeks sugar-free. There are days when it’s SO hard to resist Tastykakes or ice cream or whatever delicious looking thing that happens to pass by. The other day I was reading that eating sugar releases a feel-good hormone in the brain, and you crave more of that, which is why sugar can be so addicting. Sugar also suppresses the body’s indicator that it’s full, so you’ll eat more in a short period of time before your brain says, “Hey, slow down; you don’t need more.” It really is an evil thing.

But I’m now 4 weeks sugar-free, and for the most part I didn’t notice the passage of time. Had I said, “I can’t eat sugar for four weeks,” I’d be counting down the days ‘til I could binge, but with no end zone in sight, it’s kinda like…okay, fine, whatever. Just keep going.

There are ways around it. I made pretzel salad entirely sugar-free and it was delish! No pics because it didn’t last long enough once Alex figured out that he liked it. And lately I’ve been eating a lot more fruit. The other day I picked up white peaches. Where have they BEEN all my life?? And I got a little crazy on dried fruit two days ago. The dried mangoes were gone the next morning, and the dried apples were gone last night. The dried banana chips taste SO good with unsalted peanuts that I now understand why Elvis loved peanut butter and banana sandwiches. J

But the proof is in the sugar-free pudding: this week I think I ate more, but I lost weight. I know last night I should’ve gone up but I dropped 1.6 pounds after two hearty helpings of spaetzle. It makes no sense to me, but there it is. Of course, I also ran 4 miles Galloway-style. Oh, and did I mention I found my final times from the 5k’s this weekend and my 2nd race, I ran an 11:12 pace? Yep, that was my name on that line; me who stands in the 13 minute corral at every half. Bearing in mind, that was a 5k, but it’ll be interesting to see if my new heel-to-toe stride will impact my distance times.

So anyway, weight. It’s not a lot. I’m down about 4 pounds in the last week, but for the last two weeks I’ve been pretty dedicated to better eating and regular exercise. I’m taking one day off a week, usually Thursdays because scheduling-wise, they’re the hairiest, but this week I had to take Tuesday, though at the moment I forget why. Stuff just piled up and I couldn’t find the time, though I wanted to. Rest days make me nuts, but only because I let the guilt creep in and tell me what a lazy jerk I am. It’s gone as soon as I’ve had my workout again, and really, cutting the grass *does* count as exercise. At least, it does in my yard.

But this time, four pounds shows on my face. It also shows in my shoulders and collarbones, which I’m finally starting to see again. Last time I lost significant weight, they were pretty obvious and there was definition; I looked skinny (comparatively speaking), and it scared me. I wasn’t used to who I saw in the mirror. She wasn’t someone I recognized. They tell men, if you want to know what your new wife will look like in 20 years, look at her mother. Well, that wasn’t working for me at all. My mom still has weight issues she’s dealing with, but I don’t look like she did at 47. Yes, I color my hair but even when I let it go, I have a lot less gray than she did at my age. It really did frighten me, I think, and I put the weight back on, if only so I’d see someone I’m comfortable with, I think.

But this time I’m ready to see someone else. For starters, it seems in my family like our appearances skip generations. I see my grandmother in my cousin’s face, and I see some of my dad in my son’s face. That being the case, I probably look like my grandmother on my father’s side, and we’ll never know what she’d have looked like at 47 because she didn’t live to see it. It took quite a bit for me to accept that, but now I’m proud of it. I get to live the life she didn’t have. Maybe somehow she gets to see the world through my eyes.

One of my all-time favorite poems (and I have two) is Yeats’ “When You Are Old.” One line has been resonating for me lately, “One man loved the pilgrim soul in you, and loved the sorrows of your changing face.” My face is changing, thanks to so many changes I’ve made in my life. (Running, and thoughtful eating.) I’m ready to see more change, and see who I’m supposed to be, without hiding under the layers of fat or guilt or uncertainty. It scared me before, but now I think I’m ready to meet the real me.

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