Archive for August, 2010

On self-deprication.

August 16, 2010

There’s a common mistake that overweight people sometimes make, and it drives me absolutely crazy. That mistake is being consistently self-deprecating about their weight in front of other people.

In my opinion, there are few things that are more cringe-inducing. It makes me terribly uncomfortable every time I hear it, mainly because I KNOW it makes other people just as uncomfortable.

I bring this up because there is a woman I supervise at work who does this often; in fact, I pretty much expect it to happen any time we’re out an a work-related event. For the purpose of this story, I’ll call her Tanya. Now, Tanya is a fairly large woman – in both her height (she’s about 5’11”) and her weight. I am only saying that to provide background, not because I am judging or looking down on her (because clearly, I am a large woman myself).

Anyway, a exchange will go something like this:

Random person: Tanya, I love your shirt!

Tanya: Thanks! It has been hard to find cute clothes since I gained so much weight/got so fat/etc.

Random person: Oh, stop, you look great!

Tanya: I used to be a size six, and now look at me. I finally gave away all my skinny clothes because I know I’ll never be able to fit into them again! <laughter>

Random person: <awkward smile/laughter>

I swear that this is not an exaggeration. I think Tanya thinks it’s funny to be so self-deprecating. I think she does this when she’s at a loss of what else to say.

As I said, I know it makes other people just as uncomfortable as it makes me. I can see it in their faces and hear it in their awkward laughter and strained smiles.

When you’re overweight, the fact that you overeat is out there for the world to see. Some people can hide the fact that they drink excessively, or smoke. But when you’re fat, you can’t hide it. Regardless of the reason is for why you overeat, it is written all over your body.

Please understand – I know that there are people out there who are overweight NOT because they overeat, but because they take medication that can cause weight gain. But at first glance, that doesn’t matter. People just see that you’re fat, and unfortunately, many people see it as a character flaw.

And because most people who are overweight are somewhat self-conscious about the way they look, they have several ways of dealing with it. They can choose to accept it; to love their body no matter what the size. They can ignore it completely, never mentioning it to anyone, not even a significant other – OR they can be like Tanya, talking about it to anyone who will listen, using it as everything from an ice breaker to “comic relief”.

The issue I’m facing with Tanya is that I believe this kind of behavior is unprofessional. It makes people feel weird. It makes people unsure about an appropriate response. I think that she believes that speaking in this manner makes her “approachable.” In my opinion, it makes you lose credibility because you clearly don’t understand what is appropriate to say and what isn’t. In my opinion, weight is a personal and private issue. It’s not something that should be brought up, seemingly out of nowhere, during a meeting of the Chamber of Commerce, just to garner an awkward laugh.

I guess it’s just that I don’t understand self-deprecating behavior, PERIOD. It’s used by fat people and thin people alike, for a variety of reasons. I know that there are people who use it simply so people will disagree with them. People who say “Oh God, I am so ugly” just because they know someone will say “No you aren’t!” which provides that tiny boost of positive reinforcement although it is most likely insincere.

I’m not saying that every overweight person should be ashamed of their body. In fact, I wish desperately that I was one of those people who were completely comfortable with their body at any size. But I’m not that person. And maybe I’m just ultra-sensitive to the way Tanya speaks because it’s something I would NEVER even consider doing.

The fact is, though, that I don’t think Tanya is comfortable with her body. I don’t know why she does this. But I am increasingly feeling like I need to say something about it, because it makes her seem tremendously unprofessional. And in the business world, you don’t want to give anyone ammunition against you.

People don’t like to be made to feel uncomfortable, and Tanya is doing just that.

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Flaky friends.

August 13, 2010

I really try not to rant or bitch too much on this blog. I try to use it as a way for me to write down my thoughts, work through my issues, and get feedback from anyone who reads it and might have something useful to add.

But today, I’m going to bitch. Because I feel like my head might explode if I don’t.

Over the last few weeks, I have had four instances where friends of mine have canceled plans with me at the last minute. I’m talking only HOURS before we were supposed to get together. All four instances have happened with the same two friends (two times per friend).

Now, admittedly, these plans weren’t that big of a deal. Twice it was lunch with a friend, twice it was dinner with a friend. In all the instances, however, we had discussed getting together several times, decided on a time and a date that worked for both of us, and made the committment.

I really should know better by now that both of these girls are flakes. My friend S is always super enthusiastic about plans at first, but will cancel at the last minute 9 times out of 10. Something will always come up. Car trouble/maintenance is her main excuse, or a random family event that she “didn’t know about.” It’s gotten to the point where she isn’t getting invited any more when our friends get together because we know she ultimately won’t show up.

My friend M is a bit of a different story. There is ALWAYS some major issue going on in her life. She is a huge drama queen, and that drama is what causes her to cancel plans at the last minute. She & I have been trying to plan for MONTHS about when she could come see my house and have dinner (she lives about 45 minutes away). Twice now she’s canceled. The last time this happened, she called me at noon on the day we were supposed to get together and left me a message saying (and I quote) “My life is basically in shambles right now.” Her grandma was in the hospital (but not seriously ill) and her lunatic dog had eaten some kind of body lotion and she had to take her to the vet. I wanted so badly to say “Honey, you don’t know what ‘shambles’ is. You have this totally inconsequential shit happen to you and you lose your mind. I hope nothing serious ever happens to you, because you won’t be able to deal with it.”

I think the situation with M bothers me more because I was just in her wedding and dropped like $600 between the dress, the (nightmare) bridal shower, the bachelorette party in Atlantic City, hair, shoes, etc. And the other afternoon she called me at work and asked me fix a file for her as a favor, which she just so happened to need that same night. (Side note: This girl is the biggest procrastinator IN THE WORLD. Seriously.) So I stayed for an extra hour and a half, trying to help her with this project so she could send it to the printer, only to be told the next morning that she couldn’t use what I’d given her (which was exactly what she’d asked for).

I think I KNOW I’m too nice. I’ve spent years trying hard to make sure that people like me, and I really have nothing to show for it. Yes, I have a lot of friends, which makes me feel good. But it has become exhausting, and I find myself caring less and less about going out of my way to make plans with people or help people out who I know will either cancel at the last minute or never return the favor.

I’m not saying I’ve never been flaky in my life, because I have. I have been the person who canceled plans at the last minute. But I guess I found myself at a point where that kind of behavior is no longer acceptable. I just wish these people would get to that point as well.

Adventurous eating.

August 10, 2010

I am trying to find my way back to a healthy lifestyle after months of gluttony. Some days I manage better than others. Am I counting points? No. I’m not there quite yet. But am I making better choices? Definitely.

Lately I’ve been trying some new recipes and foods that I haven’t tried before. I’ve also been trying to cut meat out of my diet as much as possible. I’m not trying to be a vegetarian (I like the occasional cheeseburger too much for that) but I am currently trying to make eating meat more the exception than the rule.

That got me looking for vegetarian recipes to try. The one item that kept popping up was quinoa. I’ve been thinking about trying quinoa for a long time, but was a bit intimidated by it and thought that they wouldn’t carry it at my local grocery store. What do you know – they do! It was a bit pricey (I think it was around $4.50 for the box) but I decided it was would be worth it just to say I tried it.

The first recipe I decided to try was a chickpea curry. The recipe itself doesn’t call for quinoa, but I thought it might be good to put the chickpea curry ON TOP of the quinoa to make it last a little longer. Lately, I’ve been trying to cook a big meal on Sunday, then divide it into containers to take for lunches all week. Sure – by the time Friday rolls around, I am super tired of whatever it is I’ve been eating all week, but it is saving me a ton of money (and a ton of calories) since I’m not taking daily trips to the drive through or restaurant to grab lunch.

I ended up really liking the chickpea curry AND the quinoa. I will admit that the chickpea curry didn’t have a strong curry flavor (that is to say it had virtually NO curry flavor) but it was healthy and tasty and paired well with the quinoa. I’d definitely make it again.

The next quinoa recipe I tried was one that I’d seen Fat Bridesmaid write about awhile ago. She was also new to trying quinoa and this recipe for quinoa and black beans was recommended to her. I thought it looked tasty and decided I’d try it as well. The thing I liked most about the recipe was that I had basically everything it called for in my pantry already, which is always a plus.

I really, really liked the quinoa and black bean recipe – more so than the chickpea curry. It made enough for 5 servings, 3 of which I ate for lunches last week. I ate container #4 for lunch today and will bring #5 with me tomorrow. It’s been 9 days since I made it and it still tastes great. I have been adding some shredded rotisserie chicken breast (which, I know, totally contradicts what I just wrote above) for a little extra protein and I think I like it even more with the chicken. The recipe as-is would be great as a side dish but leaves a little bit to be desired as a main dish in my opinion.

I’ve also recently begun eating something that I never thought I could eat. Behold:

Yes, friends…those are raw tomatoes. I know — this probably does not seem remarkable to most people, but it was not long ago that I picked raw tomatoes out of everything. I would request my salads and sandwiches without them. I ate salsa and cooked tomatoes, but couldn’t bring myself to eat them raw. It was mainly an issue I have with food textures…I can’t stand anything slimy or with seeds.

But then, one day, I was at my parent’s house for dinner. My mom had cut up some cherry tomatoes and mixed them with some feta cheese and Greek dressing. She urged me to try it, even though she knew I am not a tomato fan. I resisted. Then she mentioned that she had scooped out all of the slimy, seedy bits from the tomato, leaving just the flesh. That was less scary, so with some trepidation I grabbed a fork and picked up half of a tomato.

I loved it! So much so that I decided to make it myself, which is the picture you see above.

I love that I am still able to surprise myself.