El pan para la noche

Mamá Toni repeats the story every time there’s pan dulce on the table.

“El pan para la noche,” she says imitating me and giggles. “No te recuerdas?”

I shake my head no. All I remember of my trip to El Cargadero that summer was the excitement of being on a plane without my parents, running around the large plaza in front of Papá Chepe and Mamá Toni’s house playing games with the neighborhood kids, and getting hooked on Rosa Salvaje. I must have blocked out my love for pan dulce and the result.

When Danny and I returned from El Cargadero, I had gained weight. Again, I don’t remember this, but my mom and Mamá Toni insist that El Cargadero was the turning point. I was no longer average. From ’88 on I was chubby/chunky/fat/whatever/insert your own euphemism.

While I don’t remember the result of my trip to Zacatecas, I do remember my First Communion the next spring. I wore the white custom-made dress I wore as a flower girl for my Tía Nellie’s wedding just a few weeks earlier. While waiting for the ceremony to begin, mom talked to Mrs. Millan, my Brownie troop leader. Mrs. Millan complained about finding a dress for her small and skinny daughter. Mom told her she had the opposite problem, but was lucky I had the flower girl dress. I was embarrassed and felt like hiding.

I did hide. Mainly behind my hair. I let it grow long thinking that I could cover more of my body, face. I got over that when I started college. But I still had issues. I just didn’t talk about them. I wasn’t one of those girls constantly complaining to her friends, “I’m so fat. I really need to go on a diet.”

In fact, I never went on a diet. I did change my bad eating habits, with some success. Then I’d lapse back into frequently skipping breakfast and other meals. I added regular exercise, like jogging at the high school track by my apartment. I lost weight, but it wasn’t my immediate goal. I just wanted to jog.

I gained weight again when I started graduate school. Suddenly the jeans I’d been wearing since I was 21 no longer fit. No one said anything about, except an uncle in Guanajuato. I commented that my young cousins had grown a lot. My tío quipped, “y tú también.” Ouch.

I never made a sustained effort because I was scared of failing. If I didn’t try, I couldn’t fail, right?

I finally tried and faced the possibility of success or failure.

I signed up for Weight Watchers in January. For the first week, I kept my decision to myself, even though I knew I should ask for help from my family and close friends. I figured that possible failure would be worse if my family and close friends knew.

I broke down at my second meeting after seeing the new, lower number of the scale. I had to share my mini-victory and called my dad.

“Great! I’m so proud of you, mija,” he said in the warm and tender tone he reserves for these type of father/daughter moments. It was the same tone he used when I called him at work to tell him I’d just been admitted to UCLA and UC Berkeley after being crushed when I was not admitted to my “safety school,” UC San Diego.

I’ve kept my circle of support small so far, just family and DB. I’m not sure I need much more as my parents are the best cheerleaders I can ask for and the siblings can be pseudo personal trainers. As for DB, he’s been understanding and supportive… even as I’ve let out my frustrations on him.

I’m doing good so far. Now, if I could only get a hang of this breakfast thing.

14 thoughts on “El pan para la noche

  1. jz

    Try low carb, it works wonders, you eat lots of veggies, salads, and proteins. Relearn how to eat opting for better choices in food, I did it. I have lost 20 Lbs in 3 months. Pero eso si 0 tortillas, arroz, o frijoles at least not in the begining.

    I’m a diabetic, I was diagnosed at 26, now 31. Is a really Healthy way of eating, my doctor approves of it.

    You don’t have to pay anyone to teach you what you can learn on your own.Good luck in your journey.

    I visit this forums all the time,

    http://www.lowcarbfriends.com/bbs/

    Reply
  2. Steve

    That’s awesome! And the thing is, graduate school in general will do that to you. Stress + No Free Time = you’re going to eat on the run (while not running.) Same here.

    Congrats though. It looks like things are coming well. Try Oatmeal for breakfast (banana for flavor) the oats keep you full for longer than healthy cereal.

    Reply
  3. mooch

    cheers on your efforts. Weight Watchers is the only diet recommended by doctors. It teachers you to eat healthy and in moderation and it works. Other diets where you omit food works for short term success, but i doubt anyone wants to give up bread for ever.
    good luck!

    Reply
  4. Lucero Chavez

    breakfast!
    oatmeal is a great idea…I started to eat it every morning and now it’s just part of my routine..the instant kind at least (from trader joes or costco) it’s helpful for me!

    Reply
  5. Ana

    I recently started WW too and am down 6.6 lbs! I have coffee, quaker instant oatmeal,the low sugar kind (2 pts) and a slice of Ezequiel bread (1 pt) w/ 1/2 tbsp of mermelada (0.5 pts).

    Reply
  6. isabel

    I read your blog and connect with many of your stories but this one compelled me to write you. I know you do not need any more cheerleaders but I’m happy for you.

    Reply
  7. chispa

    Hey Cindy! That’s awesome =) exercise help’s me relieve stress, have you noticed it does that for you too? What gym did you join?
    un abrazo.

    Reply
  8. irasali

    Cindylu, good luck with your efforts I know you are going to kick-ass. I just want to comment on the picture of you in your first communion dress. I don’t think there was anything wrong with you and I definitely do not think you were fat. Actually, I think you were a healthy little girl. I had a similar experience as a kid and it wreaked havoc for me with body image issues that, like you, I’m not too excited to talk about.

    Reply
  9. yoyi

    DB rocks… remind me to send him a card for holding your hand and taking all the “frustrations,” lord know i wouldn’t be very good with it. luv ya c-bear, hope to see you soon… saturday mornig!!!

    Reply
  10. Audie

    I’m trying a new habit, it’s based on Mark Bittman’s book, Food Matters, and it happens to be the same lifestyle he’s taken up as well. You eat a vegan diet until 6pm and then after that you can eat any protein you want for dinner. Bittman explains; increasing fruit and vegetable consumption and reducing dependence on processed foods will lead to better health not only for your body, but also for the planet. If you cut out processed foods and extra fats from two meals each day and instead focus on fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains, you will almost assuredly be healthier. Best of luck!

    Reply
  11. Coree

    i too started weight watchers in january with 3 of my friends. ive lost just about 25 pounds. its really easy and im glad i did it. kudos to you for taking your health seriously and doing something about it. oatmael is great in the mornings, one little instant package is like 3 points and you feel really full. i also like non fat cottage cheese and a piece of toast when im not in the mood for oatmeal. good luck, girl. please keep posting about how its going :)

    Reply
  12. Ls Traductora

    Hola!
    Congrats on your weight loss, but never give up on Mexican food, porque la vida sin la comida mexican no es vida! (Besides, it is not necessarity fattening, either.)
    So your familiy is from Zacatecas? So is mine!

    Reply
  13. Alfred

    Good Job Cindy. I’ve half-assedly been on a regimen for about 2 months. Down 12 lbs, but I need to lockdown and really stick to a plan..I wanna go down another 10 lbs.

    Reply

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