Losing Weight

I’ve been trying to drop some weight lately, and it’s not going well. It never goes well. I am not a glutton and I have plenty of self-discipline, but as my dad once said, I also have a metabolism suited to weathering an ice age. “Just wait 12,000 years, Grace. Everybody’s going wish they had your metabolism.”

Thanks, Daa.

And we all know I don’t deal with summer’s heat and bugs. I probably  have the semi-annual version of seasonal affective disorder, but when the winter doldrums hit, I can just turn on my happy lights. There is no turning the summer sun down, no telling the dawn birdies to please save it for another couple hours.

So there I am, taking my grumpacious self out for a walk to get the old step count up, when I see my neighbor sitting on his porch. We’ve shared a property boundary for maybe twenty years, but we’re both quiet, keep-to-ourselves people, so I don’t really know this guy well. I know he has kidney disease, though, despite leading a very temperate and responsible life.

My neighbor was happy to report that his veins pass muster in terms of suitability for dialysis, but he was frustrated that Johns Hopkins can’t evaluate him for the transplant lists for another six months. He’s getting on as many intake schedules as he can, and hoping somebody can “work him in soon.”


Then I go to the therapeutic riding barn, where one of the lessons I assist with is for a young man who has cerebral palsy and scoliosis, both of which are likely to progress. I don’t know how he has the courage to get on a horse, much less how he stays in the saddle. But he does–every week.

My poet friend can’t walk without a cane because she has rheumatoid arthritis. When the weather, sunspots, medicine shortages, or stress cause her condition to flare, she can barely walk at all.

So yes, I’m frustrated with my inability to move the number on the scale, but… I can walk, for pity’s sake. I can stand up straight. I’m not hoping for good luck in the in-take appointment scheduling lottery,  just so I can win a place on the lists of people hoping a miracle might come along and save their lives.

I believe that preaching, “Count your blessings” to somebody who is gloomy and frustrated is unkind an unproductive, but I also know that genuine gratitude can help me re-set my outlook. So this is me, going out for another walk, minus the weight of (most of) my grumpiness.

Have you ever been handed a much needed re-set? Ever encountered a situation that changed your frame of reference when you felt stuck?

I’ve sent out my first batch of Miss Dashing advanced reader copies, but if you’d like one, just email me at [email protected] and let me know what device you’re reading on.

(And PS, Miss Dashing is already available in print!)



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18 comments on “Losing Weight

  1. That bear, by the way, is the notorious (Mrs.) Hank the Tank. She grew quite stout raiding homes and dumpsters in the Lake Tahoe area, but was recently re-located to a wild life refuge in Colorado. I hope Hank regards that as a happily ever after, because some of the alternative plans under consideration for her weren’t cheerful AT ALL.

  2. I know that my second round of breast cancer has given me a major reset. The diagnosis, tests, scan and chemo was at times very overwhelming. The fatigue is real. I had acid reflux for 4 months and lost 35 pounds….and I can not eat some if my favorite foods.

    The re set happens each week when I have my blood work. I see men and woman much younger than me who are fighting cancer. I realize that I have lead a great life and how lucky I am.The nurses and my doctors have been fantastic .I walked into chemo determined to be positive because of their support.

    I can’t wait to take my corgi Greg on a beach walk. He’s been my buddy-waiting for me after my after chemo. He’s been a great comfort to me.

    • Sue, I somehow missed that you were dealing with this. Last I recall, there was a major renovation in progress, but that was ages ago. I’m sorry this challenge has been thrown at you again, and I wish I could take one of those walks with you and Greg.Maybe some fine day in the not too distant future…

      • Grace Thank you!
        The kitchen remodel, new deck, new front porch pillars and a few other things to place during the chemo treatment- fun times! We made the best of it.

  3. Yes, I get the “downers syndrome” when I find I don’t have the stamina to do what I want to do…. And then I try to find those things which bring me joy — that I CAN DO. Yup, accentuate the positive and try to leave the negative in the dust…. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t — but I have to TRY to make it work, each and every time!

    And I would love to receive an ARC of Miss Dashing! Have a VERY GOOD DAY!

  4. Discovered that replacing “willpower “ with “self-interest” improved the pound shedding. Willpower may be lacking but self-interest exists in abundance.

  5. When my son was about 5, at the end of a long day, instead of his usual eagerness, he was dragging his feet and escalating his complaining about the upcoming bath despite my likewise escalating encouragement, cajoling, and stern commands. I finally lost all patience and picked him up fully clothed and put him in the tub full of water. The loud whining stopped abruptly –he looked at me, shocked, and said “I can’t believe you did that!” “I can’t believe I did it either!” We both started giggling and it became one of those can’t-stop-laughing times. Somehow we got his wet clothes off, he got clean & got to bed, and I had avoided screaming at this dear little bundle who could push my buttons like noone else in the world. That time.

    If I can find a way to truly laugh at a situation, without meanness but with delight in the ridiculousness, that’s my best reset. Also I agree metabolism is stupid and weight is complicated and the best experts in the world don’t have good answers and shame is soul-sucking and “should” is rarely a useful word. So there.

  6. I was always struggling to lose a few stubborn pounds. No matter how much I worked out or limited the calories, those few pounds never left. However, once COVID hit, my appetite declined. My husband and I walked vigorously on a deserted golf course every day as a way to fight depression and feel restored by nature. We were filled with gratitude at having easy access to beauty at a time when so many felt confined at home. As the pandemic finally receded, we were overwhelmed at the loss and suffering of so many, despite the fact that our family members survived. Since that awful period, I can simply not be bothered by minor setbacks, aches and pains or a few extra pounds (which, ironically, disappeared).

  7. I’ve been having some health issues lately; nothing that has profoundly impacted my life (yet), but which has the potential for some real problems down the line. In search of answers as to why this has been happening, I underwent a very unpleasant medical test this morning. As my husband and I navigated our way through the maze of hospital halls searching for the department I needed, I was musing to him about how this experience of hospitals, nasty tests, registrations, procedures, etc., is all very unfamiliar to us. How lucky are we that, having reached the Medicare portion of our lives, this experience is blissfully unknown to us? How much worse still, must it be for those parents who have to learn the ropes of hospital visits, uncomfortable tests, and fearful results while soothing a frightened child? Once I put into perspective the relatively minor inconvenience and unpleasantness of the test I was about to undergo compared to the challenges some people face, I submitted, uncomplainingly, to my test. Stay safe. Stay well! Stay healthy everyone!

  8. The weight thing has been lifelong. Alas… However, I always put Fat Bear Week with the Katmai NP brown bears on my calendar and know that for some, it’s essential! https://www.nps.gov/katm/learn/fat-bear-week.htm

    The fires in Hawaii have reminded me of fires ripping through our neighborhood 10 years ago. The houses on either side were singed, 2 down both ways were destroyed. I know how lucky we were then and how much grace there was all around us. A reset certainly.

  9. I find it’s true that taking a look around at those who are suffering is a great way to get my perspective back. A few years ago I was worried about depression and started keeping a gratitude journal. Every day I wrote something I was grateful for. Mostly it was kind of simple things like good weather, time to go for a walk, finishing a project, having dear friends. But I think it did help and it was a nice way to end the day.

  10. I am coming out of some chronic pain and boy, do I feel excited every time I can wash my hair with 2 hands. It sounds minor but trying to wash my hair with my non-dominant hand for the last nearly year, has made me appreciate all the ways having all of my limbs working makes my life easier. Driving, cooking, washing dishes, there is almost nothing that isn’t made more challenging with one hand. The sense of gratitude for my health, as imperfect as it will always be, is very strong and grows empathy as well. It hasn’t quite cured my grumpiness though.

  11. At one point I questioned why I continued to have challenges. Wasn’t I getting wiser with experience? Then I realized each new challenge was more difficult than the previous one and life continued to teach me new things.

    I would love a copy of Miss Dashing for a Kobo. Thank you Grace.

  12. Grace,
    I just shot you an email for an ARC of Miss Dashing.
    Thank you so much for your generosity!!

    Working in the medical field gives one the opportunity to count one’s blessings daily, so I know wha Mr you mean about getting a re-set by appreciating what you have. I hope fall weather comes for you soon

  13. Traveling is probably my best re-set. It needs to be for some other purpose than weddings, funerals, milestone birthdays etc.

  14. My Portugese immigrant grandmother found herself to be an unintentional single parent raising four children under the age of 7 when her husband suddenly died from a burst appendix. We, her grandkids, learned not to complain about ANYTHING in her presence. She’d immediately ask us, “Can you see? Can you walk? Do you have a enough to eat? You have nothing to complain about!” In her blunt way, she did teach us to look outside ourselves, and to see how lucky we are.