I didn’t make it to the grocery store this weekend as planned, and I was out of a few of my go to items like Eggbeaters, yogurt, Fiber One cereal (to add crunch to the yogurt), Arnold Sandwich Thins and light string cheese. I decided that I would walk to the grocery store that’s a few blocks from my office during my lunch break and pick up “a few things.” By now, having toted groceries all over the place, I should know that there are things you shouldn’t buy when you are going to have the sole responsibility for dragging your bags around town like some sort of urban pack mule. Watermelons, jugs of water and canned goods come to mind. Buy one get one free isn’t always a good thing.
I ended up with two big reuseable bags full of stuff, including some canned goods, and I also needed a couple of plastic bags to contain the overflow. Thank goodness for those reuseable bags! They are better for the environment, which is great, but they are so much more comfortable for toting groceries around that I would use them regardless of their environmental virtue. I hate the plastic bags because they always make my fingers go numb. I’m all about putting an end to “plastic bag fingers syndrome.” I did pass on the watermelon and the gallons of water, but the bags were still quite heavy. I felt so weighed down as I carried them from the store to my office, lugged them on the metro and finally dragged them home. It was hard to navigate through the crowd of people on the metro platform. I wasn’t able to scamper– yes, I sometimes scamper– down the left side of the escalator, which is usually reserved for those who prefer to walk down the steps rather than stand, because the bags were sticking out so far. I was bumping into the people standing innocently on the right side with my heavy load so I had to give up and just join them.
If you’ve watched the Biggest Loser, you’ve probably seen them do challenges where participants are asked to put on vests that weigh the same amount as the weight they have lost. That is usually followed by the participants being told to run around a track or do something embarrassing that involves jell-o. Ok, so I’m not sure the jell-o thing actually happened, but it seems like something they might come up with. Anyway, I could relate a bit to that experience today, although I was certainly not carrying 180 pounds of groceries. I was also not in the running to win anything interesting if I carried my groceries well. The prize is that I get to sit in my comfy apartment and enjoy my microwave popcorn. There is much to be said for that!
One of the best things I’ve experienced during the weight loss process is the liberation that comes with being able to walk around without becoming exhausted. With my groceries, I struggled to walk a relatively short distance. To think that I used to carry around even more weight than that while trying to live my life astounds me. I remember feeling heavy and sluggish. I remember how hard it was to move through crowds. I remember trying to play it off when I was obviously gasping for breath. I remember how awful it was.
The good news is that every pound makes a difference. If I had taken the 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes out of one bag and the two cans of soup out of the other, chances are good that I would have noticed. In the same way, every pound that I’ve lost has made moving through the world a more pleasant experience. Even when I was just starting to lose weight, I remember thinking that I felt so much better than I had before I’d lost that first 20 pounds. I can’t help but think that I will continue to see these kinds of benefits as I work to whittle away this last little bit. Ending up at a comfortable weight is definitely a worthwhile goal, but there are so many opportunities to appreciate your progress way before you ever get to the end. I think that’s one good thing to remember if it seems like the task of getting to the final goal is far too daunting.
Yesterday was a good example of my liberation. I went to the National Museum of Women in the Arts with some friends to see an exhibition of works by Mary Cassatt. It is a great museum, and if you ever find yourself in DC, you should check it out! We walked to the museum from the metro, climbed several flights of stairs in the museum, strolled around for a couple of hours and then walked back to the metro with a stop on the way for some yummy skim chai lattes at Cosi. There was a time when I would have been spent after all of that activity, and I would have probably collapsed in a puddle when I got home. Instead, I was happy to know that my fun little day of playing tourist had burned off a few more calories than I would have burned if I’d spent Sunday sitting on the couch watching reruns of The Office on DVD. Even more importantly, I was able to head home, run a couple of errands and then go for my evening work-out afterwards rather than collapse in a puddle. I feel like I’m able to fit more life into my life.
I couldn’t take pictures of the artwork, but this is one of the museum’s sparkly chandeliers:
The exhibition was excellent, by the way. I learned that Mary Cassatt made sure that Degas was taken care of in his old age. I like knowing that about her. Not only did my appreciation for her artwork grow yesterday as I looked at her paintings and sketches, but now, knowing about the care she exhibited for Degas, I appreciate her more as a person.
Although I enjoy going to museums to see the exhibits, I have to admit that I don’t really find any museum outing to be complete without a trip to the gift shop. It seems like museum gift shops always have some very interesting things. Down below is a cheesy picture of me posing as a shopper. Below that is an item that I declined to purchase. I don’t think that there is room in my life for a ceramic avocado salt and pepper shaker set, but I’m glad to know that they exist in the world. I’m pretty sure that I’d prefer the real thing, although this one would have less calories.