Continued 😀 …
Oh, The Places You’ll Go! Part III
For three years, I shopped at a corner grocery in Greenwich Village, arriving everyday after work for a bag or two of ETL foodstuffs. I took what I could carry: maybe a can of beans, a head of lettuce, a bunch each of collards and kale, two oranges, a red bell pepper, green onions, carrots. I was such a dedicated buyer of fruits and veggies that the produce guy started to have a crush on me, and the clerks looked to me for prices. But my weight continued to swing along that small arc with its big psychological shadow.
Baffling, isn’t it? I was a serious consumer of vegetables; I was a non-consumer of junk. I was also a consistent exerciser: I ran daily along the greenway edge of Manhattan, up and down beside the Hudson and East Rivers. And, yes, I was pretty slim, even at my fattest. But why did I feel like I was struggling against an inevitable tide, one that dragged me out every time I reached shore?
I remember sitting with my husband one weekend in City Hall Park after we had moved to a new apartment near Wall Street. City Hall Park is a lovely little triangular space with a big central fountain, and we were sitting on a bench near this fountain, surrounded by birdsong. And my very patient husband (sigh; I’m sorry, honey) was listening to me cry. I was again frantic over my weight. Maybe I had stepped on the scale that morning, opening the floodgates to anguish. Maybe I had passed 140. “Don’t worry,” he said. “You’ll lose the weight again.” He was right. “But that’s the problem!” I said, stifling my voice to avoid a scene, but feeling the emotion grate in my throat. “Why can’t I stay steady? Why is this such a struggle?”
There were times of calm, when the tide let me go and I fell effortlessly back to my natural weight. These were always moments away from home: when I went to Puerto Rico with my family, to Florida for work, to Massachusetts with friends, to South America with my in-laws, to the Sierras with my husband. Away from home, I discovered bad habits by noticing their absence. Digging my toes into white sand in Puerto Rico or ensconced in a couch in the overstuffed living room of a B & B in Massachusetts, I noticed I was missing some familiar companions: restlessness, anxiety. These usually crouched on my shoulders, little gremlins goading me: What’s going on? Why aren’t you hungry? Did you overeat? Ah, when are going to learn?! At home, to drown out my voluble friends, I — you guessed it — ate. But on trips, my shoulders were lighter, and it seemed perfectly obvious that the thing to do when one isn’t hungry is to . . .
go swimming in the ocean!
take a walk through mangroves!
swing in the porch rocker!
get out on deck!
go bouldering down the river!
When I traveled, I felt like a natural. To eat or not to eat: the answer was obvious — and fun. If only I could take the trick home.
To be continued . . .
Haha! Next week, the Finale! See Ya then 😉
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