Opening Words from Sun. November 25 by Barbara Frederick

As those of you who remember back a few years know, I stand before you today a mere shadow of my former self. I have lost about half of my top weight: from 340 lbs. to 175. There was a time when I stopped coming to Platform because I didn’t fit in the auditorium seats. But we at Ethical have a great hidden resource: each of us knows something useful to others, and we share what we know. Doreen Hulsey shared what she knew about nutrition with me, and after checking it out with my doctor — a very sensible man — I started on a low-carb, high protein diet about two years ago. The results are what you see here.

But there’s plenty you don’t see. Or maybe, being very perceptive people, you do. Self-esteem is a big factor in weight loss, both as cause and effect. You can have a vicious circle that means you can’t lose weight because you don’t believe you can, or you can have a benevolent circle where the more you lose, the better you feel about yourself. With friends to keep you on track, and a few self-discipline tricks, you can keep the circle benevolent.

One of the important things I did to keep on my diet was to write down literally everything I ate: the portion size, calories and carbohydrate count. I totaled them up every day, and tried hard to keep to 1,200 calories and 60 grams of carbs per day. Exactly how much is a matter between you and your doctor, but the point is to actually keep the record and do the math. If you are ashamed to write something down, you shouldn’t be eating it. It took self-control to avoid lying to myself.

The more weight I lost, the more my excuses not to get out of the house sounded lame. I’ve always been a home-body, and still am. But now I take a walk nearly every day. OK, so I walk to Starbuck’s most of the time, but I count the calories and carbs.

Still, weight loss is no longer the focus of my life. About a year ago I started volunteering for the OFA organization: originally Organizing for America, but it morphed into Obama for America after the Republican primaries selected his opponent. The lovely thing was they didn’t expect me to do what was uncomfortable for me, but let me do what I’m good at: computer data entry in my own home. And now that the election is over, I’m thinking that being useful to a good cause is vital to my well-being. Anybody know of a good cause that could use my fingers on my keyboard? If so, see me downstairs after platform.

I guess this is what we mean by bringing out the best in ourselves and in others.