Category Archives: Weight loss

More to Love

Excerpt from my new WIP

Elizabeth sat alone, smiling as she watched the couples dancing gracefully around the floor. Occasionally, she nibbled at the cooky she held, taking comfort in the richness of the sweet almond confection. As she was a great favourite of Longbourn’s cook, Mrs. Bailey, who had learned the recipes for several types of cookies while a young woman in America, Elizabeth was never without several of the tasty morsels in her reticule. Mrs. Bailey kept her well-supplied.

Toni Collette in 1996 version of Emma

The lady is pleasantly plump, not hugely overweight. I’m seeing this body size as my Elizabeth in More to Love.

Knowing her mother would disapprove of her eating while she waited for an invitation to dance, Elizabeth practiced her usual ruse. She hid the jumble in her embroidered handkerchief, careful to let no one see it. In any case, she was rarely asked to dance, cooky or not, as there were always more ladies than gentlemen at Meryton’s Assemblies. This night had been no exception. She had danced only one set.

Her sister Jane’s amiable partner for an earlier dance, Mr. Bingley, stood fairly close to Elizabeth, chatting with a handsome, austere man. Mr. Bingley’s voice carried over the music and gaiety, impossible to ignore.

“Darcy! Why are you standing here with your arms folded when there are so many uncommonly pretty girls lacking dance partners? You should not keep yourself apart from the company in such a stupid manner when lovely young women are seated and gentlemen are scarce. ’Tis rudeness itself. I must have you dance.”

“I certainly shall not,” answered the gentleman, drawing himself up to his full, intimidating height, looking down his nose at his friend. “You have been dancing with the only handsome girl in the room, and your sisters are engaged at present.”

Bingley’s voice softened. “She is an angel, is she not? The most beautiful creature I ever beheld.” He sighed. “However, there are plenty of suitable young ladies who are available.”

Elizabeth smiled upon hearing his praise of her sister. His pleasant manner and good sense caused him to rise several notches in her estimation.

The young man continued, “Look! There is her sister, and she has a very pretty face, too. I daresay she is most agreeable. You must ask her to dance. Allow me to ask my partner to introduce you.”

She felt the weight of the gentleman’s disapproving stare and glanced away.

“She is tolerable, I suppose, but there is rather too much of her to tempt me. Return to Miss Bennet and bask in her smiles, for you are wasting your time with me.”

Elizabeth’s eyes filled with unshed tears as she crushed the cooky hidden in her handkerchief. While she had never been obsessed with her looks in the way her younger sisters were, she always took pride in her appearance. Her father had often complimented her beautiful skin and her lustrous, thick hair, while her mother made sure her bonnets and dresses were stylish.

Even so, she grudgingly acknowledged to herself that she had been avoiding mirrors for at least two years now, and lately, her gowns had become uncomfortably snug.

True or not, his comments wounded her deeply. Though she was well-known for her intelligence and quick wit, she yearned to be told she was altogether lovely. She had many friends, but she feared that being bright and cheerful with a pretty face described a governess or a lady’s companion, and she did not aspire to those vocations.

Secretly, Elizabeth wished to be the wife of a gentleman who adored her, as well as a mother to children she would love, regardless of their outward features. She prided herself on valuing the characters of her friends and relatives rather than their physical attributes.

Too be judged so harshly by a person she had never met was disconcerting. Her view of the world and her place in it was shaken.

In the moment the haughty gentleman had declared her to be “too much,” she had become, to herself, “not enough.” Not good enough. Not pretty enough. Not tempting enough.

Mr. Bingley, sweet man, would not agree with his friend. “How can you say that, Darcy? She has a perfect complexion, beautiful eyes, and dainty hands which are lovely. Her entire face is alight when she smiles, and I have also observed how graceful she is when she walks. Surely you have noticed that.”

Thomas Beaudoin

Thomas Beaudoin is my model for Darcy. My husband cannot object. He always wants to watch Hallmark movies, and Mr. Beaudoin starred in a new one – Love on the Slopes. I’d love to have his face on a cover.

Darcy snorted. “I have. Who could miss it? She approaches the refreshment table every half hour, and she is sorely mistaken if she thinks her handkerchief hides what she is constantly eating. Bingley, I am not in humour to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men, especially when that slighting is so obviously justified in this case by the lady’s lack of discipline.”

His companion rather testily replied, “I would not be as fastidious as you for a kingdom. You are determined to be disagreeable, so I will leave you to it. Furthermore, I shall dare your disapproval and ask her myself.”

Elizabeth hardly ever allowed herself to dislike people she had never met, but she was willing to make an exception for tall, dark, brooding Mr. Darcy.  Upon further reflection, she was somewhat surprised to realize she truly despised him, despite his unusual beauty and aristocratic profile, which was most unusual for her. She had never met the gentleman, yet she could hardly stand the sight of him. Odd, for she was generally accepting of everyone.

Seeing Mr. Bingley approaching her, she stuffed the handkerchief into her reticule and placed it under her chair. Her determined attempt at a pleasant countenance was successful.

A moment later, Mr. Bingley appeared before her, bowed, and extended his hand with a smile and a request.

Elizabeth stood and placed her hand in his, determined not to disgrace herself. She held her head high and fixed a smile upon her face, allowing her brilliant, green eyes to sparkle with mischief as he escorted her past Mr. Darcy onto the dance floor.

As she and Mr. Bingley moved through the steps, she glimpsed Mr. Darcy watching them several times, an inscrutable expression on his striking face.

Assuming that he looked at her only to find fault, her active mind formed a scheme, and she could hardly wait to set it in motion.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

What do you think? Have you ever been judged harshly concerning your physical appearance? I have, so I have years of material to access in this story. My sister Gayle gave me this idea, and she will have much to contribute.

You can read future posts at Beyond Austen, where you can read works in progress by some of your favorite Austenesque authors. Leave a comment for the authors. Sometimes our readers influence our stories.

Thomas Beaudoin curly hair

The actress in the picture is Toni Collette who played the part of Harriet Smith in the 1996 version of Emma.

And just in case you didn’t notice my Darcy model earlier in the post, here he is again, Mr. Thomas Beaudoin.

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Learning Curves

and Earning Curves.

Curves2 About a month ago, I decided that eating right and losing weight wasn’t enough to make me healthy, so I started doing something I haven’t done in at least twenty-five years.

I started working out regularly. Five days a week. Yes, you read that right. Robin, the queen of avoiding exercise, is paying to work out.Curves3

That’s one of my cute little coaches checking out my progress at the laptop. (Curves has machines that spy on you and report back to the coaches. Very 1984.) I want to look like her. Can they make me lose about forty years?

My workouts take between 45 and 50 minutes and consist of 30 seconds on each machine, 30 seconds of aerobic motion between machines, and stretches. I do the entire circle twice, and all the major muscle groups are involved. The final machine tells me my workout is over by flashing “END.” How’s that for propping up a weak short-term memory?

CurvesHere are my results from Thursday. Green dots are great, yellow dots are okay but not great, and red dots are BAD. (Sort of like the colors on traffic lights, but I digress.)

And now for the life lessons.

  1. I have to pay for workouts to be properly motivated to do them. It’s just like everything else. We don’t usually fully appreciate anything that has cost us nothing.
  2. Most of the time, lack of progress is my own fault. My first two weeks of working out, I made very little headway. I wasn’t sore afterwards, and I didn’t sweat. At first, I thought the machines were too easy, but then I realized maybe, just maybe, the problem was me. I started pushing harder for range of motion and more reps. Guess what? I had no trouble working up a sweat, and I was plenty sore. It wasn’t the machines. IT WAS ME. Just like in every other aspect of life, when I have a difficulty, I should examine myself first.
  3. The harder I work, the more I achieve. Though music is my strongest intelligence, I didn’t learn to play the piano really well until I began to practice regularly. (Props to Austen’s Lady Catherine on this one. She was right.) I don’t succeed at anything without putting effort into it.
  4. Sometimes, good intentions aren’t enough. I thought I was doing everything right at Curves, but all my muscle groups weren’t sore. My abdomen wasn’t sore at all. I started paying more attention to the muscles which were supposed to be worked at specific machines. I isolated them and focused on using them, adjusting my body until I felt them. Guess what? It worked. My sore abdomen can attest to it.
  5. Don’t jump to conclusions. A few days ago, I noticed a lump on my arm and nearly freaked out, thinking it was a tumor. Then I realized it was a muscle! I hadn’t seen a defined muscle anywhere on my body in years. I’m flexing now!

Here’s some encouragement for you, lovely readers. Set your goals and go for them.

You can do it!

I Must Decrease

Don’t stand near me.

I may have shared my theory of weight with you before, but it’s worth resharing. Lately, I’m seeing more and more evidence of its truth.

Robin’s Theory of Weight states that the weight in the world at any given time must remain constant. When a person departs this world, enough babies are born to replace the lost weight. If one person is losing weight, those pounds are looking for a place to go. Someone must gain them. (This idea actually has some scientific merit. Since matter is neither created nor destroyed by ordinary means, that fat has to go somewhere or be converted into something else.)

Now to my point: Don’t stand near anyone who is successfully shedding pounds. The lost weight may glom onto you. (Yes, “glom” is a word, and the expression “glom onto” is well-known in the South.)

may-30-2016

May 30th, I took several embarrassingly revealing pictures of myself, and I started a nutritional program.

To date, I’ve lost 36 pounds. I’d like to lose 30 more, but then, I’d like to write a best-seller, too.

september-29

I look and feel much better. Being healthy may have to be enough.

The title of this post is a reference to John 3:30. My Theory of Weight is a joke. The verse is not.he-must-increase-1

 

Seven Questions for 2015

It's time to think about goals for the new year!

It’s time to think about goals for the new year!

Any time I’m still thinking about Sunday’s sermon on Tuesday, I know it was a good one. Our pastor posed ten questions to us regarding our goals for the new year. Here are seven of them:

1. What is the single most important thing you could do to improve your family life this year?
2. What is the single biggest time-waster in your life, and what will you do about it this year?
3. What single thing that you plan to do this year will mean the most in ten years?
4. What area of your life most needs simplifying, and what’s one way you could simplify in that area?
5. Who do you most want to encourage this year?
6. What’s one thing you could do this year to enrich the legacy you will leave to your children and grandchildren?
7. In what area of your life do you most need growth, and what will you do about it this year?


I’ve been thinking about my answers to these weighty questions, and here goes:
Charlie
1. We need to talk more and spend more time together. Turning off the television would be a start.
2. Social media can be a huge time-waster. Obviously, I need to limit my time on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and message boards.
3. Welcome at least one new member into our family. My younger daughter is getting married in June, and I want the wedding to be a happy, not tiring or nerve-wracking, event for everyone. I want to enjoy meeting new people and celebrating the happy union, not alienate people by micro-managing. If you’ve ever planned a large wedding, you know that tempers can fray and people can get offended. I don’t want that to happen. I’m also trying to lose weight so that I can be around in ten years to play with my grandchildren.
4. I have too much stuff and too many worries. I need to let go of useless things and get rid of clutter, mentally and physically.
5. My husband deserves my encouragement. We’ve been married thirty-eight and a half years. It’s too easy to take him for granted.
6. Write good books. I may even write a children’s book or two.
7. I need to improve my interactions with those around me. Sometimes I zoom around doing good things, but I miss developing relationships with the people I’m serving because I’m too busy. That sort of misses the entire point of service.

How would you answer the questions?

Pride, Prejudice, Pain, and Sensibility

For many years, the United States has been the world’s fattest developed nation. However, according to a new report from the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization, we have lost this dubious distinction to Mexico. Nearly a third of Mexico’s adults (32.8 percent) are obese, which is defined as people 20 years old and older whose body mass index (BMI) is 30 and above. In the United States, 31.8 percent of American adults are considered obese.

Syria (31.6 percent) is third, and Venezuela and Libya are tied for fourth at 30.8 percent. About 12 percent of the world’s total population is now obese. The world’s fattest nation overall is Nauru, a South Pacific island where 71.1 percent of its 10,000 inhabitants are obese. American Samoa is left out of the U.N. report, but acccording to a 2010 World Health Organization report, nearly all of that country’s inhabitants (95 percent) are overweight.

Dustin Hoffman as Tootsie

Dustin Hoffman as Tootsie

I haven’t suddenly become the nation’s fat police – far from it – but I do think it’s interesting to hear Dustin Hoffman’s thoughts about how women feel and relate those feelings to obesity. Our culture clearly worships youth and beauty, and to be considered beautiful, one must be thin. Since nearly one third of us are not in that category, we have an epidemic of women who think they’re ugly. Hoffman’s tears that he was as beautiful as he could be made to be in the film Tootsie speak to that ugly inner me. I have been told many times that I am beautiful, but I have never believed it, because I don’t look like the models in the magazines or the actresses on television. I confess that I hate having my picture made now, and I don’t like my older reflection in the mirror. For the first time in my life, I find myself wishing I were young again – thin and beautiful. My daughters are beautiful, but I hear them turn aside compliments the same way I have for many years. They don’t think they’re beautiful either. I guess we have to see the beauty ourselves before we believe what anyone else says.

Meryl Streep in Sophie's Choice

Meryl Streep in Sophie’s Choice

When Sophie’s Choice came out in 1982, actress Meryl Streep said that she wished she was beautiful. She felt that she was not lovely enough to do her character the justice she deserved. Streep won an Oscar for that film, but at the end of the day, it wasn’t fully satisfying. She didn’t meet the modern criteria for a high standard of beauty.

I don’t expect any radical changes in the way our culture views beauty, but I think that’s a sad statement and a judgment concerning what we value. We place importance on what is not truly important, and many times, we ignore what is valuable.

Tea With Alan Rickman

This slo-mo video is absolutely bizarre. Skip ahead to the four minute mark and watch uber-calm Alan Rickman totally lose it for nearly three minutes. I guess he noticed that he was being filmed.

I love the Inception music. It makes the blow-up seem almost epic.

On a lighter (pun intended) note, I lost another 1.6 pounds this week for a total of 14.2. I have thirty-seven pounds to go before I reach goal weight. That sounds like a good bit, but four weeks ago, I had fifty-three to lose. Baby steps.

So, My Weigh-In Was Amazing!

Yes, friends, today is Tuesday – the day I weigh-in at Weight Watchers, and I have lost 12.6 pounds! Yes, ma’am, that was me in a smaller size. Today, our group leader spoke about motivation. I find success to be the best motivator. I liked getting another 5 pound star as well as a huge star for losing 5% of my body weight, but I don’t think about the stars for very long. However, I step on those scales every day, and I look in that mirror every morning. Seeing that goal on the horizon getting closer and closer keeps me pumped up more than a thousand stars could – unless Colin Firth or Rupert Penry-Jones were there in person presenting the awards. There’s my Darcy, very happy at my achievement.

In a few months, I’ll post a picture of myself looking so good that you’ll ask, “Who is that highly presentable woman?” I want to arrive at the Decatur Book Festival in September at least three sizes smaller. This summer, I want to go to the beach and actually go down to the beach instead of staying in the room reading. I want to wear a top made by Forever 21 instead of Omar the Tent Maker. I want to have an author picture made which doesn’t excite a cringe in me every time I look at it. I have 39 pounds to go before I achieve my goal weight, and I think I can do it. Who’s with me?