The lap of luxury

Cathy ZielskeCZ Life66 Comments


Have I talked much about the art of camouflage in all things chub related?

Have I?

A number of years back I bought a one-piece swimsuit that I dubbed the Distract-A-Suit. The pattern was so obnoxious that people at the pool would be so confused by it they would have to look away, reducing my need to feel self conscious about my doughy, pale white chub sticking out at awkward angles.

Yesterday I agreed to participate in a documentary about scrapbooking being made by a Yale student. I had no idea what to expect, but I made the assumption that a shower and a bra would be required.

Getting ready yesterday morning and carefully (and more or less blindly because I can't see for beans) applying my makeup, I considered my clothing options.The length of this consideration was akin to an eye blink. My choices are that slim.

Black tee, black vest, and jeans.

However, the jeans in the photo above are just too tight to be called comfortable. I'm sorry. I don't do well in clothing that will not allow me to bend or breath, so it was back to the yoga pants.

I mean, heck, they're clean and they're comfy. Surely this film maker is not interested in me from the waist down, and if she is, this is not the type of film I signed up for.

But oh, that waist…

When you wear black from head to toe and stand back before a full length mirror, the camouflage effect is in full swing. You can dismiss the lumpy parts of your back thighs. You can shrug off the tummy overhang. Why, once you toss the vest on, you've got layers of distraction all working their absolute hardest for you.

Right now, I'm regretting my present options for clothing. Can I just say that?

As I get ready to embark on a year long class for Move More, Eat Well, I need to seriously sit down and have a talk to Baby Jesus or Buddha or Jillian Michaels or someone. I need to figure out what the heck is going on over here in St. Paul, Minnesota. I need to understand why the camouflage is needed now more than ever.

The thing I love about life is that it always reminds you not to be so cocky about things you think you know a thing or two about.

Don't get me wrong here, my body gives me a framework in which to live and for that I'm thankful.

But this lap of luxury is getting just a bit out of hand.


Cathy ZielskeThe lap of luxury

66 Comments on “The lap of luxury”

  1. #1
    Petra from NL

    Ah…. been there, done that. In fact, I’m there now ;-). For someone who used to play sports 5-6 times a week and being able to eat whatever I liked, it’s very hard to adjust my eating pattern now that I’ve given up on basketball (a few years ago now, due to shiftwork) and still haven’t found a replacement for it. Still contemplating to take your MMEW class… Reading up on Clean Eating by the way, did you hear about it?

  2. #3
    Bridget =)

    I hear you! BTW, not sure if you are interested or already know, but WW revamped the PointsPlus program – now it’s PointsPlus2012, and it’s a smidge more flexible. At first I was dismayed bc my points actually went down (from 29-26), but they describe a more flexible, “moving”/adjustable daily points range. You may want to check it out! Sometimes a break and a fresh start is what I need to get re-motivated!!! HTH and I’ll be looking forward to your MMEW 2012!

  3. #6

    Bridget, I am actually considering it. I don’t know. I really want to believe I can just east sensibly, real whole foods and figure this all out and not have to count the points. Yet I found myself looking at some info yesterday on it yesterday.

  4. #8

    Blog posters! I hope that made some looks silly now!

    Anyway…what I was trying to say is that you rock…and you are crazy funny! LOVE IT

  5. #9

    I hear ya Cathy! For some reason, when I gained 20 of the 100 back, it stinks! I feel yucky. My clothes, while I can get them on, aren’t even remotely comfortable. Some days I wear them for incentive. It works most of the time, it’s the days I don’t wear them that I worry about. I hoping to get back down again, but positive side…there is still a big difference from when the journey started to today. More conscience.

    Are you still planning a triathlon for 2012?

  6. #10
    Dorothy F

    I guess after the loss we are much more aware of the gains and rolls. They did not bother me as much with the extra 90 lbs I was carrying. I am anxious for MMEW so I may be able to quit camouglaging?? I am with you all the way and love how real you are about it and honest!

  7. #11

    Oh, how this resonates with me right now! I am so unhappy with myself and I feel overwhelmed at the thought of how much work I need to do.

  8. #12

    Perhaps some Pajama Jeans are in order:

    I was debating going back to WW, but I just don’t know. I don’t really like the chemical filled food that I tend to eat when I’m on that program. It does help shed the pounds, but I’m not convinced that I’m any healthier. I have to remind myself that slim and healthy are two different things.

  9. #13
    Karen Lee

    I have always resisted wearing black because of being a very pale redhead. Without major makeup applied with a trowel, it makes me look sick. However, perhaps skinny(er) and sick is better than healthier and chub. Or just maybe a nice turquoise scarf…

  10. #14
    Sara Mangan

    Is the upcoming class is making you anxious?

    Have you ever thought that maybe somewhere deep inside you you are afraid to be at your goal weight? Afraid of finally getting to the end point? Even though we know that maintaining is as hard as loosing.
    I guess I don’t really know how to put it all into words but when I read your posts something clicks with me.
    The “plan” you choose to try to get the weight off isn’t as important as the stuff that goes on in your head. It’s really about the emotions NOT the food. I speak this from experience. I sabotage my eating a lot. I know deep down there is a reason for it but I still haven’t figured out what it is.

  11. #16

    I have it loosely planned. Its weird. I dont love competing in events. I find it very nerve wracking, however… never say never.

  12. #17

    Well, Immi, take a deep breath and now this: everyone has to start somewhere. And I so know how being unhappy with yourself feels. I know that so, so well. You should join the workshop for next year. Seriously. There will be a community of women working to make changes in their lives. Some big. Some small. Some in between. But WE are so worth taking the best care of that we possibly can! : )

  13. #18

    See, that is it. I will not buy into the processed crap that gives you fewer points. And yet, right now, my whole foods approach isnt working so well. But you want to know why its not working? Because of the 4 p.m. CRAP fest that is happening in my world. You know, eating cheese, pretzels (So few ingredients! They MUST be good for me!), and then its followed by Trader Joes granola bars and so on and so forth. Slim and healthy are TOTALLLY different things. Totally.

  14. #19

    Sara, I was just talking to my husband about this very notion the other day. That leading a workshop to make change in regards to health and fitness is causing anxiety which is causing me to sabotage my eating. Its almost as if I know I need to be firing on ALL pistons to inspire people to make changes, and so I do the EXACT opposite. But then I try and remember: people find inspiration through success and failure. Who wants to listen to a person who has it all figured out, right? ; ) But yes, I know all about eating my feelings these days. Working to understand this, and add this to the list of changes I want to make in my life.

  15. #20


    The ongoing battle is a daily one, isn’t it? I know we’ve connected about this before, Cathy, but I can’t share enough how much has changed for me since I made some radical changes.

    I implemented a Paleo diet, but being a surgeon’s kid, the data against the long-term benefits weren’t substantiated for my comfort. I am eating a modified Paleo diet focusing on vegetables, fruits, some grains (though not lots of grains), meats/poultry/fish, and eggs and other healthy foods.

    The biggest change, however, has been that I have eliminated sugar and candy and cookies and cake, etc., etc. For me, having had a catering business that sold cakes/cookies/baked goods, it has been a paradigm shift akin, I imagine, to your shift when you chose to quit smoking. I just decided one day that I had enough of exercsing myself to oblivion, feeling like crap, having blood-sugar highs and lows like the Grand Canyon, and STILL not liking the way I looked or felt.

    I do not deprive myself entirely, but I have simply made up my mind not to eat “treats” with any great frequency. For me, that might mean a little sweet treat after a meal once in a great while. Coming from a sugar addict, that almost sounds absurd, but it has worked for me.

    The upside? I am eating with great frequency throughout the day, and when I crave something sweet, I go for a piece of fruit instead of candy/sweets/baked goods. Even that, though, I am mindful of because even natural sugar is not great for you if it’s what you survive on. I had to decide that I wanted to feel better in my clothes and take better care of my body (including hugely reducing cravings)so much that I didn’t want to eat so much junk anymore.

    Now, with Halloween and Christmas, it’s been a bit of a slide. BUT. The big change is that I’m not indulging anywhere near as frequently or as much, and I’m eating more fruit and other good stuff if I really feel like I want something sweet.

    This time of year is not the time to start diets – I just think it’s a recipe for disaster and self-loathing. But, maybe this time of year is the time to take an hour here and there, a few times between now and January 1st, to reflect on what things we can change in our lives, our diets, our perspectives, to get us to the place where we can connect with people and share moments that make lasting memories and impressions on our lives.

    Sheesh. Epic reflection #6,934. Sorry to hijack your blog, Cathy. I promise to put my philosophical brain on a diet!

  16. #24

    Cathy I have to say that I have the opposite reaction to WW that you and a few other posters have described. I tried it years ago and found myself eating the chemical filled foods to keep the points low. I didn’t last long and avoided WW after that. However, when they introduced PointsPlus I decided to give it a try. Something about not having to “count” fruits and veggies just really resonated with me! Anyway I find that I am eating so much better! I rarely eat processed food (it helps that I love to cook!) and when I get to the end of the day and have no more points it’s not the end of the world…there’s always a clementine sitting on my counter saying, “peel me, peel me!”
    I will say that my weight loss is slow…about 15 pounds for the year but I am happy with that. I am 47 so my body is going just a little crazy so I try not to stress about the speed of weight loss. Also, I ran a 1/2 marathon in October and am running a marathon in January so I’m sure body is reacting to that stress as well.
    Anywho…just wanted to say that I find that the new WW plan steers me into making better choices that are not packed with chemicals. Heck, even my teenagers are loving the roasted brussel sprouts that I make regularly! The husband is another story:)

  17. #25

    No, this is good stuff. Very good stuff. Because yes, from Halloween on, Ive been doing way too much sugar, which throws me off completely. It just does. When Im not on sugary stuff, then a piece of fruit is really a tasty treat that really satisfies. This month is a tricky one. I know that come Jan. 1 so many people are ready for the clean slate. I know for me, I also really want to work on my perspectives. : )

  18. #26

    thanks! That was in October, a few pounds ago. And the camouflage? it appears in the stomach region. You just dont see it! ; )

  19. #28

    Cassie, I love to hear this because last year, I never really gave Points Plus a chance. I never did. But Im really thinking about it right now. And I LOVE roasted brussel sprouts!

  20. #29
    Karin Van den Berg

    I just have to say you hit the nail on the head. The reason why you are so suitable for leading the workshop is because you know what it’s like. I’ve been watching this show called Obese that’s been on in the Netherlands this year, and you see this incredibly fit looking sports guy trying to help the obese woman of in that episode exercise and you just look at him and think, you have NO idea what it feels like to be overweight, or to want to eat things that aren’t good for you. It may not be true but it does feel that way, and it makes your barriers come up and flee to the kitchen cabinets. But here, we are all in the same boat and understand exactly what it’s about. We’re just going to go and figure things out together, and encourage each other, discover what works and what doesn’t and why.

    Ok, that’s it, I’m going over to BPC *right now* and sign up. Excuse me.

  21. #30

    I wonder if that is similar to the show here called Heavy? Yes, Im not just the captain of the ship, Im a full fledged sailor. ; ) Many times, you will find me swimming for my life looking for giant life preservers made of Cheerio material. ; )

  22. #31

    You made me aware of a podcast Dishing Up Nutrition. I had it on my iPod for several weeks before I decided to listen to an episode. I am hooked. They make so much sense. I just listen to an episode about cravings that may help you out. I think this nutrition center is in you state.

  23. #32

    Cathy, your blog is always good for a belly laugh. You are so real and down to earth I just have to check in everyday to see what’s going on with you. You help keep in real, girlfriend, keep up the good work!

  24. #33

    As another woman expert in the art of camouflage, I too LOVE black clothes! I discovered black when I was a senior in high school – it seems to really set off my dark brown eyes (I thought) & now with the need for camouflage, I’ve learned to love that color for clothing even more! Your pose in the photo instantly reminded me of a painting I did — here’s a link to the piece:

    You just need a glass of champagne in that hand of yours!

  25. #36

    As a person who is a good few sizes larger than you are, I have to wonder if you need camouflage, or confidence? I know I need to lose weight, but I wonder if anyone is ever happy with their weight. I’d like to be 4 stone lighter (about 50lbs), but I see woman who are 4 stone lighter than me and they still aren’t happy with themselves.

  26. #37

    I so agree with what you said only I cannot say it as eloquently as you perhaps, but the slim choices in clothing and the camouflaging is so true. I have gained about 20 pounds and I hate to buy new bigger clothes when I so want to go back to rightfully my own size  BTW, can you please disclose the source for the brown couch in much raved picture above, is it UO and also how you like it practically. Also, if you get a chance read up about ‘Ultra Metabolism’, the author talks about various subtle allergies like Gluten causing Thyroid imbalance, etc that gives you a fresh perspective on food. It helped me when I followed it for a couple of weeks in early fall.

  27. #38

    Oh, I hear you. Lost 100 from 6/2009-11/2010, gained 15 from 11/2010-now! Ugh! And those jeans offer no forgiveness in areas that I don’t appreciate squeezing, pulling, etc (and I don’t mean my waist!). How did I wear those jeans in my 20s that required me to lay down on the bed to zip them up? I love my yoga pants and, when required to wear grown up clothes outside the house, I love my spanx! Gearing up for a reboot in 2012!

  28. #39

    Oh, im certain a little confidence wouldnt hurt me. You know, its still the idea for me that I hit a certain point, then I started going back up the scale. Ive been in therapy for a few years now to work on being happy with myself but the outside stuff is always going to be a part of it too.

  29. #40
    Barb in AK

    Loved your post…. I don’t know how to swim, so I don’t have to worry about a swimsuit– THANK GOODNESS– or else I’d just have to plain give up swimming 😉

    Now here’s my take (and I speak from vast knowledge, as I am 40 lbs over and I actually started the MMEW idea last year— didn’t loose an ounce, actually gained 5 lbs!!!):

    You know how manufacturers are still charging the same amount for their food (cereal/boxed and canned goods)? The packaging is the same size, but the contents have SHRUNK!! Irks me to death!

    Well, the same thing has happened with clothing. To save on materials and costs, the manufacturers have cut back on the amount of cloth, but still call it the same size. Really, really because of the cut back on the amount of material we truly ARE the same size as last year, or the year before that, but we have to move into a larger size.

    It does kill our confidence and makes us think we are HUGE and won’t fit into our clothes properly. IT’S NOT OUR FAULT!!!! Blame it on the economy.
    I hope this makes sense to you. In my head, it is reality.

    P.S. Do not step on the scale to override this new fact of a bad economy affecting our waistline.

  30. #41

    I didn’t mean that to be a comment specifically about you, so much as about women in general. It seems to me that we are all so hard on ourselves. (myself included)

  31. #42

    I confess I didn’t read all the comments, so this may be a question you’ve already answered. Do you think there will ever be a point where you say, “I eat in a healthy and balanced way that also does not make me feel deprived. I run X number of times a week and swim X number of times a week. I’m over 40. I’m buying bigger jeans so I can a) WEAR jeans that do not make me feel like a sausage b) live my life with an understanding that our bodies change as we age and its time for me to come to grips with it and c) enjoy the process of living, rather than wondering if I’m doing it ‘right.'” Sometimes it just feels like women (and many that I know who are over 40 like myself) are very body focused and somewhat obsessive about whether or not they are doing “right” by their bodies. At some point, eating a balanced diet of whole foods and regular exercise should give us peace of mind and room to chase other dreams beside that one about looking like a supermodel(or our 20 year old selves).

  32. #43

    I liked your post. But then again, I pretty much like EVERY single one of your posts. I am so looking forward to your class because right now I seem to be feeling “fat” and it’s because my eating habits haven’t been the best lately because I’ve been STRESSED OUT and my gym has closed and I haven’t exercise in almost 2 weeks and I am starting to really FREAK OUT!! Seriously. The anxiety is at an ALL TIME HIGH!!! I am feeling yicky and well, just down right bitchy because of the crap i’m eating and the lack of movement. I KNOW how great exercise makes me feel…I KNOW THAT!! Since my gym has closed it’s a hell of a lot harder to drag myself to my living room and pop in a video when i see laundry, dishes,….. you get the point! And you know what? I HATE MAKING EXCUSES! i really, really do which just adds to the frustration and anxiety levels. It’s a vicious circle and I absolutely HATE it!!!

  33. #45

    you know, its a good question, and one I hope to answer this coming year. When is enough good enough?

    That is the $100,000 question. : )

  34. #46

    I am struggling right along with you. But, I must say- that photo is FABULOUS! You look great!

  35. #47
    Susan Ruffalo

    … and let’s not forget Pirates Booty!! I can (have have) eaten a whole bag of that stuff!! It’s like crack, I swear!! Well, not that I know what crack is like, thank God!!

    PS- I’m all signed up for next years workshop!! Can’t wait!

  36. #48

    I am in the midst of feeling not so great about my current state of affairs and I can’t quite get back the motivation I once had to eat well & exercise to the level I feel I “should” be exercising. I had what I thought was a great year of working out and eating well..but life was good and I was able to focus focus was like a full time job for me. Certain events in the last couple of months have brought my work outs to a screeching halt and I find reasons to eat poorly. I feel like I getting mushy with all this sitting around. I blog about my Get Fit journey every week and lately it has just been a big ole pity party, so I am trying to make a daily conscious decision to feel good about how far I have come instead of beating myself up for where I am at right now..a 100 times healthier and 50 pounds lighter. However if I could find the magic potion that bring back that hard core dedication and progress I was making before I would be all over it.

  37. #49

    You write so well, thank you as I needed that chuckle. My wardrobe too is very thin right now. One drawer covers everything I can wear out of the house…horrible!

  38. #52

    Its such an interesting thing, you know, how we do this, and its going well and were feeling strong and healthy, and then, not so much. I really plan to explore this a lot in the next 12 months, to try and find a place where I feel good.

  39. #53
    tara pakosta

    do you know how awesome you are?
    I adore you, I mean truly, you are such a funny, wonderful person! You are full of light & true joy and making others not feel so alone. I think you look GREAT!
    I should sign up for your class, because I have got to lose about 25lbs. UGH> been saying this on and off for 10 years now. I lose about half of it then quit, every single TIME! at least this time, I am down 10 from where I had been.
    thanks for being YOU and sharing your journey!

  40. #56

    I always love every thing about every one of your posts. I am (sadly) on your page right now. Finally had a sugar free day and I have SUCH a headache. I am tired of being tired cause I am eating crap!! Too tired to drag myself up to workout so then I figure it is OK to have some more crap. My shirts are tight, my middle is mushy and I work AT A GYM helping people fight this problem. Anyway, I rarely look at blogs anymore, but I am ALWAYS glad when I take a second to read yours. I NEED YOUR CLASS and I need my own act back together.

  41. #57

    Cathy, I have to say that the eighties were good to flab! High waisted jeans? Suck it all in and hold it there. Jeans nowadays? Let me say just two words about them…muffin top. Enough said.

  42. #59

    Oh PLEASE don’t put your philosophical brain on a diet! That would be a shame. I loved what you said, and how you said it.

  43. #60

    LOL! I love your logic!

    …. but to really burst your bubble – today’s size 14 is larger than last decade’s size 14.

  44. #61

    My biggest obstacle: my husband. Love him to death. But HE loves processed food. I must kick this depression, take over food shopping and cooking, and win the battle!

    It is just toooooo damn easy to open the pantry door and grab some junk.

    ~~ a follower who must lose 20 lbs to fall into the overweight BMI category, and another 40 after that to land in the right BMI range. I am 35 lbs lighter than my highest weight. I keep reminding myself of this.
    ….. heck I need to lose 20 lbs just to reach my weight when I delivered my daughter and my twin sons! THAT is ridiculous.

  45. #63

    That is hard, when you have people in your house eating the stuff you probably shouldnt be, especially when its an adult who can buy it for himself! : )

  46. #64

    Hi Cathy I really wanted to join your class but for some reason it is not giving me the option to register? Is the class full or maybe just a glitch? Hoping there is still room for me!!

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