Wednesday, November 17, 2010

This Post Is Not About Sewing

Let’s switch gears, shall we?

Lately I’ve been all about sewing, not so much about the body I’m sewing for. I have to say, I’ve observed the physical impact of sewing on me, and I don’t love it. (I know, I said this post wouldn’t be about sewing, but I have a small issue with obsessiveness. Please try to look past this little inconsistency. I promise it's going somewhere.)

Um, I just counted the number of times I said “sewing” in the last paragraph – ostensibly to tell you that this post would be on another topic – and it’s pretty scary.

Here’s the deal: While I may walk my ass off every day, I am certainly not putting in the time on fitness in any other way. My yoga practice, such as it isn’t, is inadequate to take the edge off my sewing-soreness, much less to keep me flexible and strong. There are poses I used to do with my eyes closed that I really have to psych myself up for at this point. I mean, when I can bother getting psyched.

I’m starting to think that the sewga room is not an optimal space. Every time I go to practice yoga, I end up doing a little something with the serger, or reading a bit in some book, or reviewing a pattern. Time was, I was this non-stop about the yoga. And let me tell you, then I looked utterly fine.

I’m a couple of weeks into a lifestyle tweak designed to increase tone and fitness level, and to rebalance my eating habits. That’s code for I’ve cut back on red wine to 5 oz / day, and I only have one, small treat each evening.

(OK, re-reading this I have to laugh. It’s not exactly the most restrictive eating overhaul in the world. I mean, Jennifer Aniston would probably throw up from fullness if she ate as much as I resist every day.)

But y’all know I love food. And with Christmas coming, I’ve got to make sure I leave the getting fat to the geese.

One of my well-ingrained lifestyle overhauls from years past is to eat real food. For example: Good chocolate vs. crap candy bar. If I cannot decipher the ingredients (or if there are more than 5), I just say no. That’s actually a fairly painless thing to do. Because there’s lots of good, real food of all varieties. I also do not drink anything with sugar (unless you count red wine, and I choose not to). Happily, I loathe pop and juice doesn’t do anything for me. I also like my hot drinks to be bitter. That’s a pretty good way to weed out empty calories.

(Proviso: I do have a half-sweet, non-fat, extra-extra-hot, no-whipped small hot chocolate as an afternoon treat when I cannot stand the idea of being without a post-lunch dessert. I urge you to try this - I’ve converted many people to this drink. It’s so much less gross than a full-sweet hot chocolate, which can throw you into diabetic shock with alacrity, never mind the hideous metallic under note of fake whipped cream. Of course, most of the converts force me to order it because they’re too embarrassed to do it for themselves.

Whatevs, it’s my 4 bucks.

I’m a woman of a certain age. Really, I love to say this, to be this. But a woman of a certain age – she who embarks on the train to peri-menopauseville – generally has to pay attention to the changes in her metabolism if she wants to continue to look a certain way.

There’s a female archetype I resonate with: the woman of the Forties, or Fifties or Sixties, who drank her wine and ate her cream sauce but did so with admirable moderation. Of course, that woman would never dream of tarnishing her queenly image by discussing this in a (gasp) public forum. That’s where we diverge, I guess.

This woman would not have eaten junk food – what a waste of a waist (I imagine she would say). She probably didn’t have much access to it back in the old days, before HFCS. She cooked red meat on a regular basis. It wasn’t loaded with hormones and antibiotics, even if she bought it at the grocery store. She enjoyed unpasteurized cheese and crackers with neat aperitif. She wouldn’t eat half a President’s Choice frozen tiramisu (and I’m not confessing to be the kind of modern woman who would do this sort of thing).

I’ve written about moderation – not one of my fortes – many times as it pertains to food consumption. It’s a lifestyle choice I am committed to because the alternative is unappealing to me, on me. I choose not to go "extreme" when I change my diet. It’s food. I have to live on it. I don’t want to shock my system – body or mind – and I shock easily. I also recognize that every day I live in this body is a day I am exceedingly lucky – and a day that differs from each one that preceded it and each one that will follow. How I look today is neither better nor worse than how I will look a week from now. It’s a moment in time, a dot on the continuum.

At any rate, diatribe over and out (but look at how few sewing references we encountered, in the scheme of things!). I’d love to know how you feel about self-maintenance, about your diet and lifestyle, about how sewing might impact them for better or worse. Or parenting, or looking after loved ones who may not be well. Or working long hours. Do tell.


  1. Just the other day I was thinking about my waist, about how I'm not willing to lose it with aging. I too am a woman of a certain age. That said, I can't seem to find the drive to stick with any kind of program for any length of time. I work best with routine and so far my routine is right to the studio and stay there as much as possible. Working to change that.

  2. I've been doing Pilates (Reformer) twice weekly for eight years now, and I run three to four times a week (30-40km weekly) at 57. I get nervous at the hint of an injury that might disrupt this because it allows me to enjoy the food I like to, although like you, with moderation. Currently, this burn on my foot is making me aware that I probably won't always be able to run and that I'll have to adjust to some other activity (probably walking, realistically) -- and I'll feel a bit sad about that, I'll admit. Meanwhile, though, like you, I'm concentrating on how lucky I am to have this sturdy body to move around in.

    And btw, this woman of a certain age, does she have a French accent?

  3. I admire your philosophy. Especially as someone who tends to go to great extremes in EVERYTHING.

  4. I love food and wine and weight is an ongoing struggle. I used to get away with exercising to work off the extra calories, but at 52, this is no longer working. I mean to both work out and watch calories, but still manage to keep losing then gaining back 15 - 20 lbs over my goal weight. It's a discipline issue.

  5. I too am watching my waistline as I get to a "certain age" but trying to fit exercise into the day is too hard. Last year, I started getting up earlier to do an hour of kundalini yoga plus some weight training. As much as I hate getting up early, after the yoga, I feel great for the rest of the day. I use videos, so it's like a class, or a daily appointment. As for food, it helps having teenage kids; they gobble up all the goodies before I can get any.

  6. I have been on Weight Watchers for the last 8 weeks and it has been an eye opener in terms of how much I should be eating versus how much I did. I do feel like the changes I am making are lifestyle ones and not temporary ones( I hope that turns out to be true). When I first started I felt an urgency to be rigid with the program and lose the weight fast. But now that it truly feels like long-term changes I no longer feel like it all has to happen super fast. I will get there and getting there sometimes means going out to dinner and having two glasses of red wine, most days it means no red wine.

  7. Hello there!
    I found my way here because, well, you are famous now.

    Last summer we tested my son´s food allergies ( and I went along because I refuse to cook two meals ) Turns out that after I ditched gluten, sugar, black coffee and black tea, and dairy completely and instead inhale green tea by masses... I´ve now lost over 10 cm´s ( over 4 inches )from all over me ( boobs, waist and hips ) and almost 10 kilos ( almost 22 pounds??? ) ever since. And the change came swiftly. I´m talking about a little over month, and I didn´t even try. I just left the crap out. That´s it. I still have a glass or few of organic red wine every two´ish weeks and I still cook stuff that I like. My diet is very high on protein ( I lurve meat ) and as long as I remember to drink enough water, I´m set.

    Allergies and indigestion can be the worst enemies to us women of certain age.

    By the way, I do love this blog!

  8. As you know, I follow the anxiety diet. The only fruit I eat is wine and as long as I can fit in to most of my jeans I'm happy.

    If I am not; and some of my favourite skinnyish designer thrifted pairs have given me stern looks as they lie in their candida inducing glory at the bottom of my drawer - then I cut back and try and move around a bit more. Or stop opening that drawer and wear tights and a cute skirt instead.

    But I am with you on the "women of a certain age" thing. How do you find the balance of looking good, fitting in to nice clothes and having enough fat in your face to be attractive in a natural way?

    I know I look drawn and tired sometimes. But I laugh a lot and I think that burns calories and gives you a natural facelift at the same time.

    So tell me a joke a day and I will be both thin and pretty forever.


  9. Myrna: Ever since I injured my foot, routine takes on a whole new meaning!

    mater: She does! And you are a model of fitness!

    Sal: We should try to outdo each other! :-)

    Susan: It's discipline but it's life too, don't you think? All kinds of things come up which we can't predict...

    Blue: I only have one kid - hmmm, I don't think you get as much adolescent food hoarding cache with one :-)

    Rock Star: Thank you so much for your lovely comment - as you can see I'm far behind on my responses. You have a lot of discipline - and obvs it's working fantastically for you.

    Lisa: Of course you raise the question I didn't even get into - how do you keep your ass perky while your face doesn't seem gaunt. One issue at a time, honey!

  10. I'm with you on enjoying real food that satisfies, even in moderation.

    Having recently rediscovered my waist, and having accepted that I will always be more triangle-ish than hourglassy despite the 12 inch difference between my waist and my lower region, which is all firmly located in my bum not my hips. I'm all for accepting myself and finding the right path for health, and yet still enjoying life and food along the way.