September 23, 2010

The lunk alarm

I had a really awful dream the other night. My dad and I were in a parking lot that I recognized as being in my hometown, and my dad was mad at me for some reason, we were fighting, and I called him a fat a**. And he looked at me in that weird way that he does sometimes when he's mad but speechless, and he's like "Really? Fat a**? Look at you!" mom, dad, and me at my MA graduation, may 2010And I don't even get sad, I just reply "Oh, okay, how about a race then? One mile. No, forget that, I'll race you to the end of the damn parking lot. You can't do it!" And he looked really sad.

And when I woke up, I was really, really, really sad. Like, devastated. Because I love my dad more than anything, and even though dealing with his physical handicaps is a challenge for our entire family, I would never want to say anything to hurt him like that. And I feel so guilty for thinking it, even just subconsciously.

My dad's handicaps are a direct result of being obese and not taking proper care of his diabetes. It absolutely breaks my heart when I call home to check in on my family and they talk about what they've been eating. My dad can't do much in the way of exercise, but he could do some things, yet he chooses not to. The one thing he could really improve on would be his diet, but every time I call, I hear about the rich meals they've overindulged on lately. It upsets me, and even now, in the end of September, I'm worried about heading home for Christmas. I know that even though there is a lot of love and emotional support from my family, the real support that I need is to have considerably less temptation than they will offer by means of food and activity levels.

Which brings me back to my dream, I guess. I'm very worried that I'm going to turn into That Jerk who has a bad attitude towards my family because I'm trying so hard to get healthy and they're all seemingly content with contributing to the obesity epidemic. I don't want to be judgemental, but it's already tough when I'm on the phone with my mother and I'm having lentils and cauliflower with tomato sauce for dinner before doing my usual hour or so on the Wii Fit, thanksgiving 2008 - family game night and chinese foodand she's making chicken carbonara with cupcakes for dessert. I get so angry.

At the gym a few of my friends went to in college, there was a word for people like that: lunks. The lunks are people who, while at the gym, throw the weights around trying to act like they're superior to others, or they grunt extra loud so everyone will pay attention to how hard they're working, or, worst of all, they're judgmental. If the people at the gym suspect anyone of lunking, they sound an alarm. It's like, okay, here's the attention you wanted, now get back to what you were doing - this is a judgment-free zone.

I don't want to be a lunk. I know that everyone's revelation is personal, and that every person's battle is unique and challenging. It's just so hard for me to be surrounded by the people I love more than anything and know that they could be healthier if they just made a few simple changes in their lives. Take a walk instead of watching TV. Make turkey burgers instead of using beef. Limit high-sodium and high-fat takeout foods. I just want to have them around for a long time, and since our time with our dad is already extremely limited because of his health problems, why wouldn't you want to do everything in your capabilities to try and maximize the time that you have?

I'm already planning on bringing the Wii Fit home for the week or so when I head home in December. And since it doesn't get as cold on the Connecticut shoreline as it does here in Chicago, I will be able to go for walks around the block, or even go down to the elementary school and walk on the town track. The food, at Christmas especially, is going to be tough. The holiday itself, I will have to make sure I am focused and make the best choices I can - hopefully if I get to help out with the preparation, I can make some things that are more health conscious. why yes i am! thank you wii.Other than that, though, I have to tell them to make space in the fridge for yogurts, fruit/veg, and healthy snacks, and in the freezer for Lean Cuisine meals.

All I can hope for is to stay strong on my own journey while hopefully making at least a small impression on the rest of my family. Maybe when they see me come back so much lighter than the last time they saw me, they'll start to think more about what they eat and how little they actually move (if my dad wore a pedometer, I'm not sure he would get 100 steps a day, let alone 10,000). And maybe if I cook some healthy meals for them, they might see that healthy eating doesn't necessarily mean eating only foods that are plain and boring - I know those black bean burgers I made a few weeks ago would probably be a hit! And maybe if they see that the hard work of weight loss is completely worth it when you see (and feel) results, they'll start thinking consciously about their own situations and what little changes they can make to start feeling better themselves.


MackIam said...

I love your depth and sincerity. I hope to be able to support you on your journey. best of luck! I'm also giving you an award... stop by later. I should have it posted with the rules.

Amy said...

First of all, you're an amazing writer. You do such an amazing job of capturing your emotions within your words.

I hate dreams like that, because it doesn't necessarily mean that's what you feel, but it's feeling you're harbouring or scared of feeling. Like a cheating dream, or any dream where you're yelling at people. I've had them... a lot.

It's so tough to be on the healthy kick boat and your surroundings are the opposite. That's me at home. My parents eat fairly healthy, but something about me going home just puts me back into a home attitude, and puts me back to bad eating habits, VACATION eating habits. If you mentally prepare yourself you'll be fine. It's when you don't think about it, you suffer. When I'm on my A-game I get my mom to shop before I'm home, so the healthy food is already there.

I'm sure your parents will be very inspired by you, and likely ask you lots of questions. I don't think they'll sabotage you - or want to especially considering how good you're doing.
But remember this: if you do decide to indulge in a family meal, don't let it bring you down. Accept it as one meal, and eat healthy the rest of the time. Plan for those meals. It's life, it's reality, and it's all a part of being healthy.

Enjoy your time at home and try not to think about your fears about being home, it can spoil it. Plan it before you get there, and then once you're there, stick to the plan and don't think about it too much!

Maggie said...

I understand your fear about your family, but your choice to be healthy is your choice, alone. You cannot let your family affect that. You may also inspire them to eat healthier, too, but, if that doesn't happen, have no guilt about it.

Josh Graston said...

That is the biggest downfall when it comes to weight loss and family. As soon as you start to improve yourself you want to improve the lives of your family. The downfall comes in where you have to accept that as much as you want him to be healthier and change, it won't happen at all until HE wants to. It breaks my heart. :-(