This month's article is special. It is a tribute to the memory of a very special friend, Errol Lee Roush. She passed away Sept. 30, leaving a legacy to those who loved her very much.
I am writing about her for a couple of reasons. One of those is that she was one of my many supporters of this column. She always asked for several copies to send away to friends and family. She always told me that the column "was very inspirational" and served a purpose to help the greater good. She was always super proud of my efforts and me.
The relevance of this is we all need a great support system, no matter what our endeavors come to be. We all need "cheerleaders" to encourage us. Some encouraging words of wisdom may be, "Wow! You can tell you are losing weight!" These are powerful words that energize, empower, and give strength to press forward.
On the other hand, there are pseudo-support systems. Yes, I know, it sounds like an oxymoron ... but read on. They are not exactly malicious in general but could be construed as such. Sometimes a "supporter" may "help" with a nudge to get you kick-started. At first, this little nudge may seem counter-productive or uninvited, like, "I have a friend, not as big as you are ..."
I remember this other time in particular. I recall that we went to a nice restaurant. As we finished, I asked for a "to go" box. I will admit that my dinner portion was huge and that seconds were available. If my memory serves me right, I think the food was some kind of pasta. In that case, I can eat pasta 24 hours a day/365 days a year. So as I piled on more glorious pasta into my "to go" box, I was asked, "Are you going to eat all of that?" Not only was I mortified and humiliated, I felt like it was counter-productive and made me feel bad. My thought process was such that I felt that if someone was going to say that to me, I will show them and eat the leftovers as comfort food.
Some other times when support can be counter-productive are sabotage. I think that some people think, "Food brings people together in good times and bad." When people know that I am trying to eat healthier, sometimes (without thinking), they ask if I want that candy bar or extra serving of macaroni and cheese. The counter-productive "support" is usually offered when I am feeling blue or as a celebratory event.
The other day, my parents and I went out to eat. This day in particular, I helped my parents with certain "chores" around the house - mostly lifting boxes. Don't worry, I was careful with my back so I wouldn't hurt myself. However, I did break a nail ... I hope I get worker's compensation for my injury!
Anyway, back to dinner. I was so hungry I would be willing to eat beets, and I hate beets, but that is how hungry I was. As we looked over the menu at this particular restaurant, I really, really wanted to order my favorite - turkey, bacon melt sandwich with french fries (with a truckload of ranch dressing, instead of ketchup ... yuck! Instead, I surprised myself. I was flipping through the "healthier meal options" menu. When it came time to order, I was cognizant of the nutrition information following what the meal choices were.
To my chagrin, as well as my parents', I ordered a bowl of bean soup. Both of my parents, in what seemed as unison, said, "With that bean soup, you can count on walking home!" I said, "Ha ha, very funny - just for that comment, I'll have a side of broccoli, too!" With my gaseous nature after certain foods, I can illuminate the city of Marietta.
The point to this is what it was so difficult for me to order healthy foods (especially at restaurants), I realized. Usually breakfast is straightforward and is constant with my selections. It consists of "nutritional-packed chocolate breakfast powder with skim milk; a Greek or non-fat yogurt; and a small glass of 100% juice." Wouldn't it suck if I were lactose intolerant?
My difficulty with trying to eat healthy is lunch and dinner. I am still trying to learn to find my niche. I felt more positive after the ordering off that "healthy menu" at the restaurant. I felt good and empowered, especially after the news of my current weight.
This is for you ... my wonderful supporters out there "cheering me along" as well as my dear friend, Errol Lee ... (In addition, I will not forget myself) ... I have lost a total number of 19 pounds in 2 1/2 months. I finally fit into a pair of slacks that I have not been able to wear for a long, long time. Now, that is progress! Until next month ...
Casi Stewart can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. A Weighty Issue appears on Mondays monthly on the Life page.