My Resentment of Oprah / 5 Minutes

When Oprah Winfrey published her book “Making the Connection – Ten Steps to a Better Body and a Better Life” (1996) I had to read it. Oprah was, after all, was the most famous of weight loss success stories. She showed the world her weight loss success in 1988 and made that impactful moment by wheeling out a wagon loaded with the equivalency of her weight loss with cow fat. Of course, she gained back the weight prompting future attempts. I must admit I was glad that first attempt was not the solution. It was a liquid diet and I remember her speaking on her show to Gayle King’s husband (who turned her on to the program), that she would call him and justify why it was okay to eat one hardboiled egg. The thought of that torture was not something I wanted to embrace.

Then, “Making the Connection” was published and again Oprah showed us her great success. I started reading the new book with the new solution. It was a rough start listening to Oprah’s struggles, her self-talk, her body image issues. I could relate to every single one of them and relived my own. I physically felt sharp pain from the hurt and sobbed through many paragraphs. I too had gone into the freezer and taken out frozen hot dog rolls and slathered jelly on them (still frozen) in desperation to satisfy a sweet tooth (or maybe that was just me – it was a very long time ago).

However, Oprah lost me when she described waking up and motivating herself to meet her trainer for her early morning workouts. At that time, I had a toddler and new born and commuted an hour to work every day at a demanding job. I didn’t have an in-home gym. I didn’t have a personal trainer that could meet with me and motivate me. I didn’t have the disposable income to invest in anything that would assist me to get to a healthy weight. I expected to read about how Diana McLean could succeed. I resented Oprah and I can remember yelling out loud “For God’s sake woman you’re a millionaire pay someone to take food out of your mouth”!!!!

How would anything Oprah say motivate me? Her lifestyle is so far removed from mine. But I did buy the book, read the book and shared her hurt so there had to be some take away for me. I did experience a moment of enthusiasm and determination and went for a long walk up and down hills and was proud of myself. That lasted a day because I was sore for several days later and that wiped out the desire to continue.

Shortly thereafter my husband took a job change and I was able to stay home with the children. Being a stay-at-home Mom doesn’t mean you acquire a vacation pass. When being a Mom there is still a schedule to follow but your activities switch from reading reports to reading “Brown Bear” and strategic planning to strategic ways to show how to share toys. I got to the point where I needed to get some type of organized physical activity into my life, for just me. I started with five (5) minutes. Everyone has 5 minutes in their day to put aside for exercise and that’s what I did.

So, I began my morning exercise routine that I have consistently continued until present day. I did a 5-minute exercise video that I considered fun. I knew I could do more, but I wanted to look forward to it every day. I didn’t want it to be so stressful and painful that I would be too sore the next day or dread doing it. When I mastered the 5, I kept increasing. I eventually got to an hour and continue to exercise for an hour every morning. It’s part of my day as if it were brushing my teeth. Throughout the years the routine has changed from walking, running, workout videos, and the elliptical. But I continue to move.

Exercise for 5 minutes when you are most likely to have time to increase that time. For me, I can never fit an hour into a lunch time and evenings are unpredictable for me. My routine is in the morning. Nonetheless, my advice to everyone – start with 5 minutes! You have 5 minutes during your day to do something and that something should be an investment in YOU!

P.S. Regardless of my once resentment, I do love Oprah and I needed her story to make me feel that others, regardless of wealth or stature, share my struggles.

101 Things to Do Instead of Eating

101 THINGS TO DO INSTEAD OF EATING

 

The entire premise of “It’s Not About the Food” is to live your life and occupy your thoughts on living and not your next meal.  Below I am sharing with you some suggestions to keep your mind off of eating.  Do not pull out this list, put it on the fridge and start checking things off the list.  This list is to demonstrate the infinite possibilities and options rather than eating.  They are opportunities to enjoy the moments in your life and sustain your existence.

When I first drafted this list is was when I was writing the book version of the blog.   It was so long ago that Facebook and many social media sites were not as popular as they are today.  There are also many incredible books that I have read since I started writing.  I have added a couple to the list, but I really could share so many!!  One thought to share with you about the book list – never feel overwhelmed that you have to read any book cover-to-cover.   Many times, I’ll start reading and something profound will grab me and can be life changing.  Then I’ll find the rest of the book doesn’t keep my interest and I’m content with stopping and moving on.  If you’ve ever read “The Art of War” you’ll know what I mean.

Not all things on this list are in the entertainment or leisure categories.  There are basic housekeeping and grooming items as well.   It’s good to be organized in your life as it gives you control and empowers you.  When you gain control of one aspect of your life it spills over the other areas.  There will always be unexpected turns or glitches in life but when in control you will be poised to handle them.

As I mentioned these are suggestions and I’m sure you could write your own list of not just 101 but 1001 and then some.   Keep adding to the list and keep living a joyful life!

Categories:

Hobbies – Housekeeping – Organize – Books – Web – Dream – Goals – Pamper – Play – Move – Explore – Socialize – Learn – Inspire – Seasonal

  1. Meditate
  2. Write your thoughts and start a journal
  3. Make a Vision Board
  4. Garden, weed, water plants
  5. Go for a walk
  6. Call a friend or someone you haven’t heard from in a while
  7. Write a hand-written note to a friend
  8. Read a magazine
  9. Read Outliers
  10. Read Five Love Languages
  11. Read Spiritual Solution to Every Problem
  12. Read Eat Mangoes Naked
  13. Read The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F&ck
  14. Read Make Your Bed
  15. Read To Our Children’s Children
  16. Read The Last Lecture
  17. Read The Universe Has Your Back

 

  1. Clean out a junk drawer
  2. Set the timer to 15 minutes and fill a trash bag (From “The Fly Lady”)
  3. Organize a closet
  4. Vacuum
  5. Paint your finger nails
  6. Give yourself a pedicure, soak your feet, etc.
  7. Experiment with make-up
  8. Try a new hair style
  9. Draw or create something w/ watercolors
  10. Color (many new coloring books for adults)
  11. Pull out pages of a magazine with decorating ideas or any kind of ideas
  12. Watch exercise machine or weight loss infomercials
  13. Organize your jewelry into color categories
  14. Start a Christmas list
  15. Make a to-do list for the next day
  16. Make a major house project list
  17. Play solitaire (either with cards or an app)
  18. Face mask (either homemade or store bought)
  19. Brush teeth (always keeps you from wanting to eat)
  20. Work on a 1000-piece puzzle
  21. Crossword puzzle (either in the newspaper or an app)
  22. Sudoku
  23. Search the web for old friends
  24. Clean-out your emails
  25. Organize your emails and make sub-folders
  26. Spring/Fall cleaning
  27. Organize greeting cards so you’ll be ready for birthdays, etc.
  28. Plan a vacation
  29. Practice taking a selfie – be confident
  30. Go for a drive
  31. Put in teeth whiteners
  32. Draw/doodle
  33. Clean the keyboard on your computer
  34. Shoot hoops
  35. Garden
  36. Water house plants
  37. Organize linens
  38. Shoot pool
  39. Hit golf balls
  40. Bird watch
  41. Take a nap
  42. Watch an old movie
  43. Watch home movies
  44. Clean out the car
  45. Organize the sock drawer
  46. Dance
  47. Yoga or stretch
  48. Write an affirmation (20 times – I am in control)
  49. Create a Linked In page
  50. Move around the furniture
  51. Change pictures on the walls
  52. Dust the pictures on the wall
  53. Ride a bike
  54. Learn a new computer program (You Tube videos are great)
  55. Make a daily / weekly goal list
  56. Make a monthly / yearly goal list
  57. Make a 5-year and 10-year plan
  58. Search on Pinterest chalk art
  59. Start a Snapchat page
  60. Look for best new apps that are free
  61. Look at old photos and Scrapbook
  62. Listen to a Podcast or Ted Talk
  63. Count your blessings and write them down
  64. Learn how to arrange flowers
  65. Organize holiday decorations
  66. Go to a tag sale
  67. Imagine the perfect job
  68. Clean the tops of doors
  69. Organize a closet
  70. Check the couches for change
  71. Check and change batteries in smoke detectors
  72. Clean microwave
  73. Put together a box of items for a tag sale
  74. Put together a box of items for the Salvation Army or Big Brothers/Big Sisters
  75. Clean behind your washer/dryer
  76. Iron clothes for the week
  77. Check on the wackiest item listed on eBay
  78. Find your dream item on eBay
  79. Find the most expensive item on eBay
  80. Google your name
  81. Volunteer (anything from join a board, stuff envelopes, face paint, etc.)
  82. Look for your house on Google Satellite
  83. Check out MapQuest and plot out different trips
  84. Go to Amazon.com and create a Wishlist
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Garden
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Wish List
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Volunteer

 

 

The First Time

Eastern Orthodox Lent started this past Monday and reminded me of the first time I had success with weight loss.  I won’t call it a “diet” because I don’t think that was the intention.  I was twelve and decided to give “everything” up for lent.  This included sweets, pizza, sugar, butter, and gravy, etc.

Being a God-fearing young girl, I was very disciplined.  I can remember sitting in front of people who were eating pizza and I was very matter of fact about not eating anything.   It was as if there was an invisible barrier keeping me from eating anything I had given up.  Easter had arrived and I was still reluctant to eating anything on the “bad” list.  People had noticed I had lost weight and were very complimentary.

At this time, I had also started exercising.  I really didn’t know what I was doing, it was deep-knee bends and sit-ups, the basic calisthenics.  More weight came off and more compliments were received.  I was obsessed with making sure I never gained weight again!

My obsession led to exercising two hours each day and eating as little food as possible.  I would measure out every ounce of found and lived with my calorie counting book.  I was so proud when I could get down to eating only 250 calories a day.   People would tell me I was getting too thin, but I thought they were jealous and trying to sabotage me.  Eventually I had no energy and would just lie in bed crying wondering what was wrong.  My hair started thinning and my nails were brittle.

Somehow, I snapped out of the obsession of not eating and started bingeing on the weekends.   I remember eating a bunch of donuts one Saturday that kicked off the cycle.  I can see still see the box in front of me and not being able to control myself.   The once a week bingeing started to be more than once a week.   I eventually put all my weight back on and then some (and some more…).

I have tried other years to be disciplined during Lent but never really had the success of that time in my life.  I start off strong and then gradually fall off each week.  Usually by the last week my commitment is “I won’t eat chocolate chip cookies on Thursday”.

As Lent has arrived this year, I have decided to make the commitment to give up sweets.  This time it’s not about losing weight.  I am at peace for the most part of where I am.   This time it’s about reflecting that God has been with me the entire journey.  When so much around us in the world is out of our control, my faith in God has been my constant.  May God Bless you on your journey!

 

 

Be Inspired

Many times, I would run into someone who I had not seen in a while and they had managed to lose weight and look fabulous.  My first reaction is sadness, disappointment, and ultimately jealousy.  I would think how could they have done it and I not?  They are the better person than I because they were strong, and I am a loser that I could not control my eating.

Then I got to a place where I thought they were in my life for a reason.  Perhaps they will inspire me – maybe out of jealously or shame or just to surround myself with others who knew what to do.  I came to a point where I stopped looking at those people who were successful as the “enemy” and instead welcomed them into my world as a source of inspiration.  Having lost weight, they obviously knew where I have been or am.  They know about the challenges of overeating and were able to overcome the behavior and learn to lose the weight.

My feelings were not all negative.  I think it was mostly towards people who lost weight who I believed didn’t need to lose weight in the first place.  If I knew of someone who truly struggled as I did, I could be genuinely happy for them.  They found the strength within themselves to break through the “wall” and lose weight.

You can find inspiration to get you motivated in many different places.  Watching infomercials about exercise equipment or weight loss to feel healthy and get into a healthy mindset.   Surround yourself with people who have a healthy mindset and like to be active.  You can draw strength from people around you that have lost weight or have always been healthy.

You can be inspired by others who have faced challenges in their lives other than battling weight.  Inspiration can come from people who have overcome obstacles in their life other than losing weight.  You can adopt the same principles that people use to overcome any kind of challenge whether it be physical, emotional, mental, or even financial.  What was the common thread that helped them to succeed?  Read their stories to find the answer.  I would be willing to speculate that they started with a goal, had a plan and worked to stay positive and focused on that plan.  Again, read their stories and talk to these people, be uplifted from them and be inspired.

Going Over the Edge

Something unexpected has happened to me by sharing my stories from my past.   The hurt and pain has bubbled up to the surface.  I didn’t think much of it until something recently happened to me that put me over the edge emotionally.  Something seemingly insignificant was magnified in my emotional psyche and I lost it (didn’t want to say “lost my cookies” because that would never happen!).

I’m not going to go into detail, but I found myself back in fourth grade feeling embarrassed of myself.   That said, I recognized what was going on in my mind and compartmentalized fourth grade and now.  What I understand now is that I can only control my self-talk and my actions and own only that.   I have no idea what others are thinking and what is going on in their life and it would be silly to assume otherwise.   People are good.  I am good, and I will continue to share.

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The Diets

My mother took me to the doctor to see if my weight issues could be a thyroid problem. After the exam I was at the check-out counter and glanced down at my report. I saw the word “Endomorph” and had a moment of elation that my problem wasn’t my fault. I was relieved to see that I did have a medical condition. I asked the nurse what the word meant. She said it was “obesity”. My ears rung and my body felt as if it had been hit by a truck. I knew I struggled with my weight but did not consider myself obese. I felt ashamed.

My first attempt at a diet was these chewy squares of yummy chocolates called “Ayds”. They came in the rectangle box similar to that of which candy is packaged. I woke up the next morning with a blood-soaked pillow. Apparently, I had a bloody nose in the night without my knowledge. Looking back now I assume I ate several of the chewy chocolates instead of the recommended dose. Regardless, that was the last of the Ayds diet.
My second attempt was Dexatrim diet pills. These were not quite the appeal of the Ayds chocolates. This diet was very short lived because they just gave me the shakes. To calm my nerves, I self-medicated with more food.

Next my mother took me to my first Weight Watchers meeting. In the basement of a church with people much older than I was. In those days it was rare for children to be overweight. This was my first of five attempts throughout my life to try Weight Watchers. It never worked for me. Too much emphasis on what to eat. It has improved throughout the years but just looking at some of the paperwork I had saved it’s no wonder it didn’t work for me. Too complicated and life is too short to focus on food intake. I kept going back because they advertise heavily and convince me it should work and I’m not a quitter.

I tried NutriSystem in the past when they had meetings and you met with a nurse. The nurse was disgusted with me when I failed to lose weight. Not a good strategy for someone with already low self-esteem. At that time, you would select your food and they gave you your grocery bag filled. Unfortunately, UPS went on strike, so the food selections suffered.

This is the last diet I will describe and the lowest point for me. I saw an advertisement in a popular women’s fashion magazine for a “mystery” diet food supplement. Of course, having the word “mystery” I was intrigued and thought it was some new cutting-edge product that would launch the world into a new healthy population. I could not wait to get my miracle product in the mail. And then it arrived. This utopia for us desperate fatties. I opened the package and much to my disgust was a jar of banana baby food. I felt like a fool. I was ashamed that this baby food company was preying upon desperate people like myself to sell their product to a new demographic – the perfect “suckers”. I pictured the market research group all laughing at me for “buying” into the ideas of this being the solution to my pain.  Naturally, being the food addict that I am, I ate it. Even as I ate it, I felt ashamed. It was such a low feeling. Feeling that I was being taken advantage of and then not even having enough respect for myself to throw it away. I can still picture myself slowly eating this goop and my whole posture broken with shame.

The rest of the diets:Setpoint
Hot Dog Diet (all I remember was you had to 6 in one day)
Deal-a-Meal
Sweatin to the Oldies
Atkins
South Beach
SlimFast
Thin Within Prayer group. I didn’t buy the premise that God cared that I was a glutton.
Affirmations

The Selfie
I had to take a break from sharing the painful memories of my past. It’s interesting because I almost feel more comfortable sharing the hurt than the success. It’s as if I celebrate the success it will go away – “it’s too good to be true”. However, today I am owning it and celebrating. I am proud of what I’ve accomplished and that I never gave up. Ladies and gentlemen, I present the selfie of which I am proud. This is me! This is Diana Chrisanthopoulos McLean who is okay with how she looks and feels.
P.S. I sobbed typing that. That’s a lot of years of pain coming out. Thank you for reading.

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Tried but Untrue

I strongly believe that if you have found something that worked for you then you should stick with it.  Please don’t look at my experiences as what will happen to you if you try some of these weight loss methods.  My point for talking about what I have tried in the past is that I learned something about myself each time I tried a different diet.  Trying a diet program and failing may be as important as succeeding because you can look at the situation and learn from it.   The fact that I tried Weight Watchers at least on five different occasions and failed doesn’t mean that Weight Watchers is a bad plan.  In fact, almost every time I have run into someone and noticed that they lost weight they have said that they were on Weight Watchers.

What I found for me is that I did not like the idea of waiting in a line to get weighed.  I was embarrassed and felt “punished” that I was in somewhat of the prison line waiting to be analyzed.  Was I being punished and analyzed – certainly not, but that was how I felt.   I also was distracted by the food products along the wall while I was in line.   I would purchase all that I could carry in my arms.  It was as if I felt that I had a license to eat/drink all these products because they were condoned by the authority on weight loss.

When I was in the meeting portion of the Weight Watchers program, I found that I would be obsessed with thinking about what they recommended for eating.  The discussion one day was about a brand of low-fat brownie mix.  They said where you could purchase this product but unfortunately it was at a location that was about 45 minutes from where I lived.   I packed up my two small children and drove to this store just to purchase this brownie mix.   I was so excited about my purchase that I immediately made the brownies and ate the entire batch.  Again, I felt that they were condoned by the weight loss authority and I took it a little too far – just a little.

When listening to diet “experts” I don’t always like to hear what they have to say.  I suppose they could be correct in their analyses, but their words do not help me.  I was watching a program about an extremely obese man who was bedridden due to his size.  The psychologist said that he needs to “feel his anxiety” instead of eating through it.   I disagree.  Who wants to feel their anxiety?  That’s not the desirable choice.  I do not think there are only two choices – eat vs. “feel” the anxiety.  Instead, feel the positives, feel good!  There is good there to enjoy.  How can anyone be successful if they are asked to feel uncomfortable and just plain bad vs. good.  I understand the point is that the man is eating to avoid the pain of anxiety.  But the man can deal with it another time – not when he is going to eat. Couldn’t there be a third choice to focus on something positive and solutions.

I also shun at the terms “lifestyle change” and “behavioral change”.  I believe that sounds so radical, so sad.  I like who I am, the core of my existence, the essence of who I am.  These terms make me feel like I have to say goodbye to that.  Is that what it means?  Certainly not but that’s what that kind of thinking – my kind of thinking prevented me from succeeding.  It’s about positive, empowering, power control, lifting yourself up being more then you can be.

Next week I will list the fourteen (at least) different diets that I tried without success.

The Lunch Lady

I remember being in sixth-grade in the cafeteria.   It was the usual boisterous lunch time with kids trying to get to their spots and excited to have the break.  I was standing next to the table getting ready to sit and the “lunch lady” apparently thought I was taking to long and yelled “sit down… if you can fit”!   I didn’t think too much of it myself but there was a gasp among my friends at the table and all eyes looking at me.   I felt a little weak and broken but as if a bubble was around me to shield the people looking at me and feeling the hurt.

When lunch was over, we lined up in the hall.  My two very skinny friends came over to me to express their shock and to let me know “don’t worry Diana the toothpicks are on your side”.  It made me laugh then burst into tears.   Well that brought even more unwanted attention.  I was pulled out of line to the principal’s office.   My teacher at the time (still my all-time favorite) was Miss Ann Dryden.  She met me in the office, put her hands on my face and said, “you are beautiful both on the inside and the outside”.  I adored her and respected her.  Anything Miss Dryden said was true, and if Miss Dryden said I was beautiful it must be true!

Miss Dryden – you are my hero!

 

 

 

Regroup to Renew

I read a great book years ago called “Raising Your Spirited Child”.  What I learned from this book I feel can apply to many things in life.  When you teach your children, you try to connect with them using different methods.  You might try to modify the technique each time.  What worked once might not work again.  The same is true for dieting.  Weight Watchers might have worked great at one time in your life but not now.  Never give up trying different techniques.

What might have worked on Monday might not work on Saturday.   Make specific action lists for days of the week or events.  Play out different scenarios.  What will your weekend strategy be for focusing on your goals?  If you miss even one day with your dieting – regroup and start again.  Arrest the behavior.

What happens when the plan doesn’t work, when you find that you cannot stick to the plan? Write down what you ate that day and when you ate it.  What else was going on that day?  When did you deviate from the schedule or why didn’t have a schedule or plan that day in the first place?  Can you modify your plan to accommodate that situation should you find that happening again?  Take out your goal reminders!  Why are you doing this in the first place.  It will help you refocus and get back on track.

Do you have feelings of giving up – that’s it’s just too overwhelming to think about?  I do all the time.  It depends on what I tell myself.  There are times that I feel physically exhausted just at the thought of trying to keep what I eat in check and keep moving.  However, after over 30 years of feeling that way I still have hope.  I do not give up.  It’s almost as if it is a habit, a part of my day to keep hanging in there.  It’s not a life that I would have chosen for myself or wish upon anyone.

I believe in myself and even though at times I think it would be easier to give up I feel that deep inside I know that would not be fair to myself.  I know that I have the strength to keep going.  I sound so dramatic but that is part of my nature and being someone addicted to food it’s my life.  It has been all consuming.  You might not have these issues and be glad that you don’t.  My point is that if someone like me who is consumed with thoughts of food can do so there is hope for you.

Keep Your Clothes On

I used to take dance class growing up.  The standard attire was the leotard and tights.  I remember standing in line for one of the warm up routines with “Black Magic Woman” playing.  A girl next in line to me, who was also in my class at school, turned to me and said, “you look better with clothes on”.   Yet another moment of mixed emotions.   I was embarrassed that standing there in my leotard I was clearly not the form of a dancer as the other girls.  However, I was also relieved that in public I must hide it well and look “normal”.    Luckily that song wasn’t an all-time classic because the very few times I’ve heard it since, I’m in my leotard feeling rather bulbus.

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