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Plump and Circumstance

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Saturday, February 23, 2019


Wednesday, I did something I should have put on my bucket list: hitching a ride in a giant snow plow. Why? Because when we headed out to get the kiddo to work at 7 a.m., it took us a good 20 minutes to get about a quarter-mile. Too much snow with a nice frosting of ice was not nice to my Impala. "Ice possible. Drive with care," my dash warned me, but maybe it should have told me not to drive at all! Just after we made the heart-stopping trip across a county bridge, basically fishtailing and sliding all the way, Mother Nature took the wheel, and I veered off into the parking lot of our little town farm market. The buffalo who lives there just looked on in disbelief as two female humans took a deep breath and tried to calm down, said a few urgent prayers about not dying on the way to Kroger, then tried to get back on the buried asphalt to make the rest of the journey, a usually 15-minute trip that I was sure was going to take us at least an hour. No luck there, because the Impala would not move. Not forward. Not backward. Not even with all those handy DIY get-yourself-unstuck tricks we've learned over the years. Nope. We were grounded and facing a half-mile trek home in a mini-blizzard. Fortunately, Cissy's boss was understanding about her not coming in, since no customers in their right minds would be making a dawn voyage for eggs and milk in that weather. As happenstance would have it, while we were struggling to free my car from the stubborn slush, a huge plow rolled by. The driver took pity on us (I'm all about Girl Power, ladies, but sometimes, looking like a couple of two helpless girls is beneficial!) "Hop in," he said. "I'm heading toward your street anyway. I'll give you a ride." So, fearing that my ancient knees would snap in two when I climbed up those high steps into his enormous truck, and fearing my old hip might break as Cissy sat on my lap, we went ahead with it. Having been on a recent binge of CSI and Law and Order, I did have some reservations about getting in a giant truck with a stranger in a tiny, sleepy town at a deserted hour of the morning, but on the other hand, there were two of us, and we were armed with cellphones, and we live in a tiny little village where there are almost more police than civilians. I was sure we were okay, and we were. After a fun ride that felt like we were part of a Monster Truck Rally, we were safely delivered to our front door by that heroic driver. Yes, we had to walk down to the car later in the day, after a bit of melt, but after about 20 more minutes of backing and forthing, we rocked my Chevy out of its rut and got it up our hill and to my driveway, which required another 20 minutes of frantic unstucking to get it all the way into its parking spot.

Why am I telling you this? Well, besides the fact that I like to share the trivial tidbits of our existence, I also have a point: We kept trying. We did not give up. We tried to get her to work. We tried to get the car out. We tried until something worked out. And in all that trying, we found results, even if they did not come as easily and quickly as we expected.


I am a lover of etymology, "the study of the history of words, their origins, and how their form and meaning have changed over time." I believe it is because I love words and all that they can convey, especially when we take a closer look at their parts. Circumstance is one such word. It derives from circum ("around") and stance ("stand"), but it has also held a bit of a stronger meaning, like encircle, encompass, or surround. It has to do with the things that happen in our environment, but I like to think of it another way: as getting "around" the things that try to "stand" in our way - things like that silly snowstorm that put us through that wacky Wednesday. The trouble is that circumstances also have a way of impacting us adversely, if we allow it. Circumstances can either strengthen or weaken us and our resolve, even in weight loss. Some of the most common issues that make weight management even harder include a lot of things we cannot control:
-- living with others who are not counting calories and do not cooperate with better food choices
-- choppy schedules that don't allow for consistent or regular meal times
-- economic situations that inhibit the ability to buy certain foods
-- health complications or medications that impact weight and weight loss/gain
-- sleep interruptions due to a variety of causes
-- location and proximity, such as living in an area where there is little room for physical activity
-- age, metabolism, and genetics
-- eating disorders
-- stress or anxiety disorders

When Cissy and I initially began our Spark journey back in 2014-15, we didn't have too much trouble keeping our calorie-counting on the front burner. We were at home all the time, as I was full-time freelancing, and her last years of schooling were through K12 cyber-school. This allowed us to eat very consistently, on a very consistent schedule, and keep a very close eye on each other. As a result, our weight loss then was pretty steady and very successful. Then, she started working, and so did I. Now, we can only eat dinner together a few evenings a week, often later than the recommended before 6 p.m., and she has to eat her other meals and snacks at odd hours, often rushed into 15-minute breaks. I, myself, face another current circumstance: I am currently unemployed, which places me home alone all the time, battling the temptation to nibble and munch without anyone to see me commit the tasty transgressions. This is only exacerbated by my very high anxiety that the job I thought I had is not going to work out, due to several factors and confusions in the job offer and background screenings (no, I'm not a felon, but there are some technicalities that are causing a longer delay than I wish to contend with). My sister has done a remarkable job losing weight, even though she lives in a home with a husband and three sons who do not watch their diets the way she does. She, my daughter, and I also have a bit of a genetic battle on the paternal side; of all my siblings, I'm the most prone to being Daddy's not-so-little girl, but we all have some of the same DNA. Oh, and did I mention that I'm 48, the world's worst cook, and not exactly wealthy enough to sign up for those organic foods by mail clubs? But these are circumstances, and we must continue in spite of them. When we failed to do so over the last couple of years, our weight came back. Now, we know better. Now, we do our best to keep doing our best, because we have a goal we want to get to, even if it takes longer than it might have before This week, we both lost 3.3 pounds, my sister lost 4, and while we faltered last week here and there, that encourages us that we can succeed, rising above our circumstances.


Plump and circumstance do not have to go hand in hand! Some wise soul said this about difficult circumstances: "The same boiling water that softens the potato hardens the egg." Don't let the boiling water weaken you! When things are hard, especially when they are things you cannot change, do not give up. Rather than decreasing your goal and giving up, increase the effort. You may have to make changes and adjustments. You may find yourself backtracking a little before you regain the traction you had before. You may get stuck in a rut for a while, but don't give up. Keep going. Keep counting. Keep doing what you need to do as you navigate through the circumstances, and you'll eventually get where you want to get, no matter what's going on around you.

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