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By Mari Erin Roth
Staff Writer 

My Turn for the week of Oct. 4, 2016


October 4, 2016  | View PDF

Health, is it the final frontier? I’m overweight. I’m getting old. Both of these things are a blessing and things for which I am truly grateful. But now it’s time to clean up my act and behave like I appreciate the gifts I have. Actually it was time long ago, but let’s just set the yesterdays aside for now.

I will never forget the words of Nicole from Quincy Coop who told me one day, “I’m too old not to eat well.” I knew what she meant. I understood and agreed, yet I was unable to make myself live out the words she spoke.

I had experienced the rejuvenation that comes with consuming optimum food and arriving at a reduced weight. I was just turning 49 and I felt like I was 36. My body, and most importantly my mind, had transformed during the year-and-a-half journey I had taken down a road of healthier choices. It was remarkable. I became a believer and an advocate for the alternative lifestyle.

But then my brother died unexpectedly and I moved to Quincy. I lasted about eight months without my large crew of cheerleaders that had joined me on the epic journey. I found healthy people in Quincy, but instead, I comforted myself by settling down at a cafe to have someone prepare me meals the way my father used to do. A short while later the Pizza Factory knew my name and my favorite selection of toppings.

So where does that leave me 10 years after following my chosen path of comfort? I weigh too much. “Too much” being defined as gets in the way of enjoying life as I have come to appreciate it.

I realize that I have held my past positive experience as a sort of secret pill that I imagined would cure any ills that poor eating habits may have created. I believed my secret weapon would at some point again turn back the clock of time and “un-age” this being and cure any harm that resulted from my lethargy.

I don’t want to doubt the magic that I believe lies in store, but I am sure there are limits. Not wishing to miss the window I hope remains open for me, I have grown impatient to see if a transformation is still possible.

I considered this as a topic for my turn on the soapbox three weeks ago when I saw my number was coming up. I shuddered at the thought of creating public awareness to help me change my own eating habits. What if I couldn’t do it? What if it didn’t work?

This open opportunity to write an opinion piece is rotated through each of the staff writers of Feather Publishing, but it is hard for me to offer an opinion on the outside world when a topic of such significance hangs in my front window.

It is definitely the most important subject on my plate today, so for me it is a little hard to avoid. And if it is not, it should be. I was thinking along the lines of, “well if I write about it, I’ll have to do it.” Scary concept.

I couldn’t stand the anticipation of whether or not this public declaration would make any difference. So hesitantly, afraid to make a commitment even to myself, I acknowledged that I would try to change the way I was eating.

I didn’t anticipate any cooperation from myself since generally when I decide I’m not going to do something anymore, the craving for that activity becomes all the more enticing. But, apparently I was ready because comply I did.

My most successful historical attempt was in 2005, which included the removal of coffee from my life. That was not a rosy proposition, since coffee is a great comfort in the morning and a wonderful social medium. But, since I love lots of cream and sugar in my coffee, it is a real hazard to any sort of cleaner plan of eating.

I had two cups of coffee the way I like it one day and just one cup the next. The following day I had half a cup of sweetened black coffee. I took a few sips of cold black unsweetened coffee the next two days and there you have it, I was off coffee. I didn’t actually experience the traditional headache, but I was really bored with morning time.

I was fortunate in that my house was not loaded up with three frozen pizzas or loaves of bread and chunks of new cheese. I had not gone shopping while hungry in a while so the cupboards were relatively bare.

I bought healthy food and began eating it. I parceled off the frozen spring rolls and potstickers over the course of a few weeks and was somehow successful at not bringing any additional hazards into the house. I was actually quite surprised at this. I felt a little out-of-body sensation as I watched myself make healthy decisions and go counter to my normal routine. Who is this well-behaved person? Not me.

But Quincy is a really great place for controlling any sort of purchasing challenge. If I can make it home with healthy choices, the likelihood of changing my mind are nullified since restaurants and stores close relatively early. Thank goodness we don’t have a 24-hour Dominos around here! Not to say I wouldn’t drive to Reno on a whim. but so far it hasn’t happened.

So here I am, it’s time to write the article and humbly state that I recognize the significance of arriving at a healthy weight. I also fully appreciate the ability to live by principles I profess to admire, as expressed by my personalized license plate that has been sadly out of date for the majority of the past 10 years.

I am already experiencing positive physical effects which in turn elevate my mood. I’m spending less money — sorry merchants whose food I love so much — and my mind seems to have extra space for thinking. Thinking about food and when to eat it next takes up a lot of space in my brain.

I’ll have to start tossing a fiver in the Plumas Arts donation box at the Town Hall Theatre since I will be abstaining from my small popcorn and box of candy each week. Am I the only one who goes to the movies to eat candy in the dark? I guess so.

One challenge, truly, has been feeling all the things that eating food covered up. I really was quite unaware at how well edibles were serving me as a buffer. I forgot and became comfortable with the cushion without noticing I was leaning on it again. That pretty much sucks, but I guess I just need to grow up; everyone else does. Or, another option is to develop thicker skin. That may be a more realistic option.

Other than that, winter is coming and it will soon be time to pile on the layers of clothing to keep warm. It is my hope that when they come off in the spring that I will be left with a smaller frame on which to drape my seasonal frocks.

So far so good, I’m down 19 lbs. since I began with just a short 75 to go. Wish me luck gang; I’m going all in. This may take awhile.


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