Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Bariatric Betty recieves a random act of kindness

This morning my son and I went to Subway before school.  He has a field trip and they needed a lunch that was disposable (no lunch box), plus he loves their Veggie Patty subs so for special I agreed to pick one up for him.  The election results were being discussed on the radio station playing in the store, and as I checked out the cashier leaned over and gestured to me.  I thought maybe she was going to say something about the election outcome, but instead she said "You look really good!  Really.  Whatever you're doing, you just keep on doing it!"  Wow.  I can't even tell you how much that lifted me up.  First, I only go to Subway about 1-2 times a month, so I only vaguely recognized her and was surprised she recognized me as having changed at all.  Second, I  was bundled up in a winter coat and knit hat, without makeup, and wouldn't have said I felt particularly attractive.  I was so surprised that all I could say was "Thank you, you're so nice". 

How amazing that a stranger can have such a big impact on us.  Obviously, as a WLS patient she happened to say something that touched my heart.  But it made me think of the random acts of kindness and secret santas that you hear about during the holidays.  People paying for the person behind them in the drive through.  Helping pay off layaways for strangers.  In my case, just a kind word that made my heart feel like it swelled and almost made me cry.  It reminded me that not only must we guard against bullying, hate, and destructive thoughts/ people, we must look for opportunities to help others.  With kind words, kind thoughts, kind actions. 

We can reach out to other WLS patients with encouragement.  We can thank people who serve us in their jobs.  This morning I stopped at Walmart and mentioned I had forgotten something when I was line and the cashier started to call somebody to go get it for me.  Wow.  I told her not to do it, that I didn't need to be at work for a little while, I didn't want to hold up the line and I knew that they had plenty of other things to do, I could get it and check out again.  She was surprised, and thanked me saying that it wasn't often that they heard from people that they work hard.  I made sure to tell her supervisor how nice she was.  Maybe she will feel a little lifted herself today. 

We can give thanks for our blessings and remember how lucky we are.  Regardless of your feelings about the election, we can be thankful that in our country we have the right to choose our leaders.  As I look at my pile of dirty laundry I can be thankful that unlike the people in New Jersey, we have all the warm clothes we need - not to mention safe and dry homes.  We can make donations to the Red Cross.  As our children begin fantasizing about Christmas and Hanukkah gifts, we can help them learn about giving to others.  Picking out presents for children in need.  Donating our outgrown (or out-shrunk in my case) coats and mittens.  Organizing or participating in a food drive. 

The days are getting colder and wetter - especially as Sandy came through Ohio.  After almost a week of solid rain we had just a few breaks that even included glimpses of blue sky in between the dark clouds.  This has been rough on my training routine, as I regularly get a lot of cardio walking and jogging with my dog.  There's only so much I can get him to do in the rain, however, and jogging in my rain boots isn't practical.  So my steps-per-day has taken a hit, both from my workouts and from the fact that the rain has meant indoor recess for my job at the school.  Sometimes I get to do Wii Just Dance with them, but other times, it's walking around a classroom and encouraging them as they color or play board games.  A couple of times I've done a workout on my elliptical, and I'm still going to the rec center a couple times a week to jog or swim.  As the weather gets worse, I'll need to do that more.  I bought some Under Armor Cold Gear pants to jog in.  After the complement I received today, I felt like running an extra mile today!

However, I decided to carpe diem and signed up for a 5k!  This might sound counter-intuitive as the length of time I'm running has decreased both because of bursitis in my hip and weather, but I need the challenge.  I've always thrived on challenges - to do better than I've done before, to prove someone wrong who underestimated me, to accomplish something new...  So when Living Social had a deal for a discounted registration for the Jingle Bell Run in Cleveland I decided to jump on it.  After all, as another jogger told me - just because you sign up for a 5k doesn't mean you can't walk part of it if you want to!   I would love to jog the whole thing, but will play it by ear & hip.  It's a run to raise money for the Arthritis Foundation and I'm running it in honor of my husband.  He has struggled with rheumatoid arthritis since he was a child, at times being unable to walk or use his hands.  He is also a source of inspiration to me.  There are the times when I cheered him on in triathalons and the times when he can't sleep because of pain but still gets up in the morning to go to work or play with our kids.  He is my biggest supporter, and I wish that he could have a surgery and get a chance at a pain free life, but arthritis doesn't work like that.  So I'm running both for myself and for him - and he'll be running with me in spirit. 

Halloween wasn't a big source of temptation for me right now, I'm not craving candy and am still scared of dumping but I have some things I do to improve my chances of making healthy choices.  My strategies include 1) out of site/ out of mind - store the halloween candy in a cabinet I don't go into 2) mostly buy things I don't enjoy - this is easier for me because I'm allergic to chocolate and 3) get it out of the house ASAP.  My kids know that they have to choose their favorites after trick-or-treating and then they each get a sandwich baggie to fill with their choices.  The rest usually goes to work with my hubby, but this year the middle school is having a candy drive for our armed forces overseas, so I think we'll send it there. 

I've started my holiday baking, and am enjoying it a lot.  Right now I'm making poticia, a Slovenian nut roll that takes a lot of time to make.  I've had no temptations to eat it, so that's good.  As soon as I finish cooling and wrapping it, it goes right into the downstairs freezer.  After I finish that I'll start on the cookies.  My family has had a long history with cookies - we even decorate our Christmas tree with them!  My parents always hosted a New Year's Eve cookie party for my friends as I was growing up.  That way they knew we were safe and off the roads, our friends enjoyed coming and eating cookies all night, and our fun was all g-rated.  We do the same for our kids.  Cookie baking has the potential to be more tempting - I used to love snacking on cookie dough, a definite no-no.  If I find myself picking at the dough or tasting the frosting, I will stop baking.  We'll just have to find a new tradition.  It's not worth making myself sick with dumping or backsliding into old habits.  So in a way, this is another challenge that I'm signing up for - continuing to prove to myself that I am a person who will enjoy the creativity and fun of baking without eating it.  I've done it before - I was pre-op dieting last year during my baking season, so this year I just have even more reason to stay on the program. 

At my last support group meeting we had a great idea I thought I would pass on to my readers.  Next month we're going to have a swap, where we each bring in things we don't use that others might be able to enjoy.  For me that will include some packets of protein powder that I never enjoyed and didn't need post-op, some Hazelnut Torani, and some Lactaid tablets.  That way some other vets and pre-ops can benefit from some of my "misses" and maybe some of theirs will be a "hit" with me.  I plan on giving someone $60 of PHP protein powder that I didn't use :)  Pass it on - or pay it forward.

If someone does you a kindness or you get a chance to do one for someone else, post it on Facebook.   You could say "I saw someone ...."  instead of saying you did it yourself so nobody thinks you're blowing your own horn.   Let's start that holiday goodwill early, and try to inspire others to do the same. 


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