Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Life lessons from one of the babies

When you're an only child but a part of a really (and I mean, really) large extended family, your cousins become the siblings you never had.

I love my cousins the way most people love their siblings--seriously. My family is incredibly close. Growing up, I'd spend every afternoon with my cousins. Weekend outings, parties, all of it was a huge part of my world growing up...they're my friends, my family. My brothers and sisters.

Which is why Thanksgiving was such a highlight for has gotten crazy for all of us as we've gotten older; some of my cousins are off in college right now; others are working their ways through their first jobs, their first big's fun to watch and experience with them and catching up with them over turkey and rice and beans (What can I say, we're Cuban!) was the best part of my day.

Of course, my cousins all commented on my weight loss. I got lots of big hugs, congratulations and encouragement. They had questions about how I was doing it, what I wanted, and what my workouts were...and inevitably, I sat and spoke with one of my cousins in particular because she's a fitness buff and she wanted to help. (We actually got a big laugh out of my mom's reaction when I started doing pilates...which went like this: Mom: "You're doing pilates? But that's real exercise. Your cousin D does pilates. Aren't you too fat to do pilates? You know, if D does pilates, that's a good thing. She has a gorgeous body. Why didn't you take up pilates sooner?")

To understand why that was funny to me and my cousin D (who I consider one of the family babies...since she's a whopping six years younger than I am) you have to understand who D is...she's the family starlet. Seriously. The girl is gorgeous. Skin as clear as you can imagine. Long, dark shiny hair. A smile that is perfect and white and has never required braces. And oh yes--the figure. D has the kind of body I would murder someone for. She has curves in all the right places and without an iota of extra fat all seriousness, she is absolutely gorgeous and our family knows--she's the beauty.

But here's the thing--while, sure, there's a little bit of genetic magic in there (How did I skip those genes?), there's a lot of hard work there too. While everyone sat around us stuffing themselves with multiple servings of turkey, ham, stuffing and mashed potatoes loaded with cheese, cream cheese and sour cream (umm....), D sat there, nibbling on a plate full of vegetable sides.

She became a vegetarian a year ago. She works out every day and just listening to her regimen made me exhausted. But it left me inspired. And it reminded me--it does take hard work to reach the goals we have for ourselves.

When it came time for dessert, D indulged--she had one (small) piece of pie. While everyone else ate multiple (large) pieces of pie. She and I sat giggling over the ridiculous quantities of food and how our family just doesn't get it. Somehow, we always have way, way, way too much food to consume. It's the family joke. There's never been a shortage of food at any get together. Ever.

Sitting there and talking to her for most of the day helped me stay on track. How could I be discussing my new healthy lifestyle while I ate a cupcake? Was I supposed to talk about my new workouts between bite after bite of flan and pumpkin pie? I think not.

Having D to talk to, to commiserate with, to laugh with was huge. And it paid its dividends two days later when I went to my WW--and I stayed the same. Was I happy I stayed the same? Not really. But I knew I'd worked to do that--after a week of eating out, after being sick and too tired to work out, after surviving Thanksgiving--staying exactly the same was a minor miracle.

Life has started calming down somewhat for me. I've worked out a few more times. My eating is back on track in the best way possible. I'm actually eager to get back to my meeting this Saturday and see if the number has finally started budging down.

And I know part of what kept me on track during that rough week was my conversation with my baby cousin D...who knew those younger siblings could be so wise?


Heather said...

That is so great that you had support during your Thanksgiving meal. And as I wrote my blog, I think just to maintain this time of the year when everyone else is gaining is such an accomplishment. Im also glad your family recognized your weight loss. Mine didnt say a word so enjoy that!

Healthy Pear said...

Good for you for maintaining over your Thanksgiving! I loved reading about your extended family and growing up with all your cousins. I too have a close family and many happy childhood memories because of it.
I had a smile on my face when I was reading about how you were talking to your cousin D over Thanksgiving dinner and therefore didn't dare to overeat. I could just see myself doing the same. :)
Hope your good week continues!

Lauren said...

congratulations, that's awesome.

Lora said...

My cousins are like siblings to me too! Isn't it wonderful?

Good for you manintaining over Thanksgiving. My regim went to the dogs in spite of my determination. (I guess determination without resolve doesn't cut it!)

Teale said...

That's so great that you had such a great support during what can be a really difficult time for people!

Erin said...

Don't you love it when your mother tries to be helpful and somehow, no matter how good her intentions were in the beginning, the things she actually ends up saying are like just the biggest emotional bitchslap but you just laugh because it's your mom and moms are like that?

Okay, maybe I'm projecting just a little bit.

Your Thanksgiving sounded awesome, and cathartic, and not just inspirational to you. The idea of having to actually WORK for beauty is a concept that evades me a lot. Thanks for putting it in such an elegant way. I really liked this entry.

FiguringOutLife said...

I just found your blog today and I wanted to say that reading your journey from start to present has been inspiring. I am on WW too and I feel like this past weekend has been crazy, but after reading the times you have gone through have been extra motivation to me. Thanks and I look forward to reading more.

Anonymous said...

What a great post! I has a similar experience last time I was home with all of my extended family around, I think it was just a bbq though but we always have an surplus of food. People noticed my weight loss and it really opened door to coversations that before would have been taboo. We shared our struggles with losing weight, what worked for us and what didn't and it was really great.

Way to go on mainting on such a rough week!

Lora said...

Where have you been? You haven't given up on us have you? It's a new year!