Monday, May 23, 2011

Perfect Sunday (178.8)

Yesterday was a practically perfect day.  We went to church, took Sophie out to our favorite Japanese hibachi restaurant for her birthday (which is Wednesday), and got ice cream at Cold Stone (we go there about once a year--it's waaayyy too rich for more often than that). 

Then we went home and changed clothes, laid around and talked for about 30 minutes, deciding what to do next.  It was a windy and warm day, and great kite flying weather.

We have had the same parafoil kite since Sophie was three or four years old.  I bought it for her from a speciality toy store in town--the kind that has more wooden toys than plastic, and more educational stuff than commercials in a box.  I think I paid maybe $15 or $20 for it. It fits snugly in a small bag, has a super long tail of pink, orange, and yellow ribbons, and is a breeze to get in the air.

Before we flew the kite, we first went to the park to feed the ducks.  We fed mostly geese, who are greedy and aggressive, and pretty funny.  We saw one duck family with two baby ducklings, and threw bread to them as close as possible because the geese are fast and snatch the bread away.  Mama Duck didn't stick around long when the geese closed in. 

This is the same park where I've put hundreds of miles on my feet, on the .8 mile asphalt loop that goes around the park and also on the longer trail that is next to the park, about 1.5 miles in total, around the soccer fields and beside a couple of roads nearby.  I love it there--so many gorgeous trees and two small lakes.  I've had many an emotional break down in that park, and many more joyous running moments.

There's a huge 220+ year old cherry bark oak tree that stands about 100 yards from the big lake. I know these details on the tree thanks to a sign that was erected in 1991 by some Hoosier Tree Huggers (that's not their official title, but I don't remember who put up the sign).  The kids have come to the park a lot over the years to feed the ducks, but we've never taken them to the tree. Yesterday we all walked out to see it.  It's the biggest tree I've ever seen.  Not in height, but in breadth.  It's sprawling--the limbs have grown impossibly long.  The trunk is huge--I wish we'd all tried to hug it and see if we could touch fingers.  I don't think we could, but we will have to try that next time. 

There's a wide expanse of green field just past the tree, and we tried to fly the kite there but it didn't take.  Too many buildings and trees around to hold off the consistent winds we needed to get it to stay in the air.

So we walked back to the car and drove to the soccer fields near our house, where we always have success with our kite.  Here are some pictures from 2009.

I didn't take any pictures yesterday.  We just enjoyed spending time with each other. 

Mark is the designated "get the kite in the air" guy.  He loves it.  He lets the string all the way out.  Sophie and I like the kite at a nice, close, safe distance.  Mark likes to push boundaries and is adventurous.  My stomach gets nervous when Mark first starts letting it go really high; I don't know why... maybe a reverse fear of heights?  I talked about it with Sophie, because she didn't want Mark to let the kite go all the way out either. 

I said that at first, I feel anxious when the kite shifts from comfortably in control to beyond what we think is "safe."  Then I surrender to the faith I have in Mark and in the kite and the string, and sit back and watch with a "whatever happens, happens" attitude.  Then, when Mark announces that it's as high as it will go, I sit in wonder and stare at the kite, which now only has two tails because the yellow one disappears into the sky when it's that high. 

The force of the pull on the kite is very strong when it's flying high. It takes some concentration and strength to hang on tight to the string's now-empty spool.  The kids both took a turn flying it.  Sophie held on for a long time, and got it to do loop-de-loops.  Luke was scared he'd let go or it would slip, and didn't fly it long.  Mark wished for a skate board like he had in his childhood, that he could stand on and let the kite pull him along.  I sat on the blanket in the late day sun, happy and relaxed and thankful we were spending some remarkably blessed time together as a family.

When we were ready to go, it took a good 15 minutes to pull it back in.  Mark pulled the string and gave the slack to Sophie, who twirled it around the spool like a pro.  Before we completely reeled it in, we each took a turn flying it again at a closer height--the kite barely pulled and it was easy to hold on. 

But as it neared the ground, it also became more likely to crash. It was fun to watch it swirl and spin and dive, then on Luke's watch it nose dived into the ground.  We laughed and laughed, wound the string up tight, folded it away, walked back to the car and drove three minutes home.

I could wax metaphorical on my kite anxiety and fear and subsequent faith, but I think the experience speaks for itself. 

We leave for Florida on Thursday morning for a 10 day vacation.  Daytona Beach, then Disney World, then Sea World.  We haven't had a long vacation with the kids in over five years.  I'm almost all packed, did not have to buy a size 18 swim suit (size 16, and it is not tight at all), and even though I'm not skinny, I feel much better about my body than I did a month ago.  I've built some strength and endurance, and I'm not worried about walking the parks for hours.  I'm looking forward to it, actually, hoping the walking will do my legs good. 

And best of all, even though I won't be in the Happiest Place on Earth until May 29th, today I feel happy. 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Tasteless (178.8)

Part of the problem with eating with distractions--TV, books, computer--is that you usually don't realize when the shift happens from "this tastes good" to "this doesn't taste like anything." 

The first bites are always the best.  "Hunger is the best seasoning" is true (which is why I eat my vegetables first). 

Almost more than anything else, how food tastes--or doesn't taste--in my mouth helps me know if I'm getting close to full.

It takes 20 minutes for the brain to know the stomach is full, right?  If I'm still eating 20 minutes after I started, it's likely that I've started with a salad and then had an appetizer and then dinner and now am on desert.  Meaning---it doesn't take me 20 minutes to eat a "normal" sized meal (without distractions.)

So, how am I supposed to know that I'm full or getting full if there's this time disconnect between my stomach and my brain?

Apparently, I just need to pay attention to my tongue.

Paying attention to my tongue means paying attention to what I'm putting in my mouth, while I'm putting it in my mouth.  Not after my plate is clean.

Even sugary and fatty foods stop tasting good after you've eaten enough.  I don't eat an entire pint of Ben & Jerry's in one sitting because the ice cream tastes delicious from top to bottom (although, yeah, it does taste like liquid love, but that's a problem I'm working on with my therapist, ha).  I eat it because I want to get numb.

But I don't want to live life in the numb lane any more.  That's not living.

"Enough is as good as a feast," Mary Poppins says.  I say that to my kids a lot.  I'm saying it to myself more and more. 

And when a bite of food is nearly tasteless, I take one more bite to confirm I've had enough.  And call it a feast.

Today was my first workout since last Friday.  The morning gym time, resulting in my getting to the office at 11 or noon--was wearing thin on my boss/husband.  So we are finding a middle ground, hopefully.  If I take the 8 am classes, then I can get here by 10.  If I do that a couple times a week, it should work fine. 

I didn't get to the kick boxing class this morning until 8:30, but I got in a solid 15 minutes of cardio and 5 minutes of core and 5 minutes of stretching, then I did 20 minutes on the indoor track.  I like the track a lot.  It's big--just over 10 laps per mile.  I alternated walking a lap with running a lap.  Running is already easier with the weight I've taken off, and I presume I'm building some muscles and endurance somewhere inside my body.

I got a new pair of shoes for the classes (ordered online from Sierra Trading Post for $55, which is a good deal), that are volleyball cross trainers.  Lots more cushion in the forefoot.  I could tell a huge difference even in the shortened class.  I don't think I could do much more than a mile or so in them walking or running, though.  My forefoot was starting to rub uncomfortably after my last lap, which I sprinted (I like to finish fast...makes me feel like I've given my all).  My running shoes are still in great shape, since they've not been used much yet.  Planning on wearing them out over the next few months.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Unexpected Gift (179.0)

At my last therapy appointment, Julie said that she wants me to think of my weight gain in the last year as a gift.

We'd been talking about my reactions to the jerk on the street who asked why I wasn't walking on the side walk and to the aerobic instructor who asked me if it was my first step class.  I talked about how I know that, logically, I shouldn't assume that either of them were making comments because of what I weigh.  And then she said, so what if they DID make the comments because of what you weigh?  Does that change anything?

I answered fairly quickly that it doesn't change anything, what their motivations for speaking to me were.  How I receive and interpret what they say has only to do with ME.

She said that I feel a lot of shame about my weight.  Shame is one of those words that makes me cry.  I'd rather say I'm embarrassed or depressed or sad.  Shame implies I've done something wrong that I shouldn't have.  That I should have been able to control the situation, but I didn't. 

I did start crying when we talked about shame.  It brought up many things from my childhood that I associate shame with.  The 18 year old boyfriend.  My parents' unhappy marriage.  The trailer we lived in.  The weight I gained in middle school.  The aloneness I felt for many, many years.

When I look at what I went through from 2009-2010, it's no wonder I gained 40 pounds.  I had this little girl inside me that had all this pent up shame and aloneness and sadness, and nothing to soothe her with but food.

That's about when she said, I should look at this weight gain as a gift.  I wouldn't be in her office talking about all those other things, if it weren't for the weight gain.  I told her that at my first appointment--if it weren't for gaining weight in the last year, I wouldn't be here.  I'd be grieving and depressed and stressed and unhappy, but if I was still thin, I seriously doubt that I'd have done anything about those emotions.

More to the point, I didn't do anything about those emotions when I was thin. 

Geneen Roth talks about how we spend our lives focused on gaining weight and losing weight, gaining weight and losing weight, over and over and over, because we don't want to deal with what really needs to be dealt with.  The Weight is a shield, not just from the outside world, but from what is really hurting us. 

I have thought, many times, that getting to 146 pounds (which I maintained for about a month) was a curse. A curse because I held onto it so fleetingly, and I prized it so highly.  If I'd never gotten there in the first place, I wouldn't know what I am missing.

I felt thinner than I'd ever felt in my life in 2008. Even when I was 23 and weighed about 145, I felt fat because my girlfriends were stick figures with no boobs and no butts, the exact opposite of me. 

I could get into size 6's, and I got tons of compliments on how I looked and dressed.  A friend told me my behind looked fabulous in my jeans (miracle jeans, the sales lady from The Limited called them, and they were, because I've never thought I had a great behind).  Of course, looking back now I know that somewhere inside me, I was not okay with all this attention, even though it was positive.

I also got comments once in a while from my girlfriends from church on what I was eating--"are you really eating that sandwich with lettuce instead of bread?  you're dieting? what else do you have to lose?" Those kinds of comments made me uncomfortable, but I brushed them aside.

I felt pretty good in a swim suit for the first time in over a decade.  I loved the clothes in my closet. I loved going places and doing things and being seen, because I looked great.  I wasn't embarrassed about my body any more.

But... but... all those things are externals.  Even the faster speed I could run--in 2008 I ran a half marathon at an avg 10:22 pace, which is lightening fast for me--was an external accomplishment, because it's that "10:22" that I'm proud of.  Just like the "6" on the labels of my clothes that are now boxed in the garage. 

I don't think there's anything wrong with wanting to feel good about your body, and wear great clothes, and run in races.  I still want all those things.  That's not the point I'm trying to get to.

But, I can LET myself have them NOW, at 179 pounds in size 14s at a 13:00 pace. 

If I can't be happy now, at this weight, I will not be happy when I lose weight again.  It won't stick. And it will always be about the weight, instead of what is really going on inside me.

Matching the inside to the outside.  We've talked about it before.

This is a process, a journey, not a destination.  There is no end.   I haven't "arrived" when I hit the magic number (whatever that is) on the scale or on the tag in the back of my pants.

The numbers matter, but they don't get to say whether I'm happy or not.  They don't get to boss me around or put me down or make my day or make me happy.  They just are. 

All I can do is live in THIS moment.  Right now.  In THIS body. 

And then do the best I can to make the moments that follow matter.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Mommy/Daughter Journal (179.6)

At therapy last week, the other half of my session was spent on how to parent my pre-preteen.  Sophie will be Ten next week (!), and the past couple of months have been challenging.

She's more hormonal, more sensitive--and she is a sensitive soul already, just like her mother--and more quarrelsome with her little brother. 

I haven't had a clue how to parent her. 

Julie said during my first session that it's not a coincidence that a good deal of my emotional crises started when I was twelve, and I will have a twelve year old daughter in two years.  I'm ready to work on those previously boxed up issues, because I know it's what's best for my child. 

And I really, really want to raise healthy, happy kids. 

Julie has two daughters--one in high school, one in college.  She is not only a great therapist, but she's been there.  We talked about how to discuss with the kids when they are fighting... "oh gosh, that is some angry language.  can you tell me what's going on?"  instead of "Sophie, stop call Luke disgusting!"  And then talking with them and determining TOGETHER what's at the root of the issue (they're tired, they're feelings are hurt, they're hungry, they need attention from mom and dad), and letting them NAME their emotions.

Mostly, it's about me being more patient, and being a teacher of how to recognize their feelings.

The best thing she suggested was a Mommy/Daughter Journal.  Sophie had a really hard Saturday night.  She gets depressed easily, and when she feels like that she often says she "hates being sensitive."  We talked and talked.  She wasn't coming out of it, but was just more frustrated and sad.  I was out of ideas, so I mentioned the journal idea.  She said okay.

So we found a beautiful journal my friend Debra gave me as a birthday present, and I wrote a letter to Sophie.  I put it in her room, and then she wrote me back, and put it on my bedside table.  We've both written to each other several times, each time leaving it in the other's "special place" after we're finished writing. 

Sunday morning she wrote "mommy, I know you'll probably say no, but can we please, please, PLEASE make cookies this morning?"  Baking isn't something she asks to do, so I wasn't sure why this came up, other than it was a rainy day and seemed like a good idea.  Or else she just wanted homemade cookies for breakfast.  Anyway, we did it together.  She read the recipe, she measured, she used the mixer, she dropped the cookies on the baking sheet, she cleaned up, she gave cookies to Daddy and Luke.  I facilitated, but she did the work.

Later she wrote to me in our journal that she loved the time we spent together, and loves the journal, and loves me, and I'm the best mom in the world.

I don't know who's happier about our journal--me or her.  It's already a huge blessing and a connection between us.

On Saturday during our talk, I also said that sometimes, when we are sensitive people and we're sad, it's better to get out of our heads and into our bodies.  I told her that's why I run and go to the gym.  I feel a release of endorphins--another brain chemical like those pre-teen hormones she's experiencing--and they help ease the depression.  I asked if she'd like to try doing yoga together.  At first she was hesitant, but then said she'd try.   She loves to walk outside, which we often do when it's nice out.  But we don't have a regular routine.  I said we could set a goal of doing yoga for a month (like, 12 times in 30 days) and if we meet our goal, we could do a mommy/daughter activity.  She loved that idea.  So I found a yoga for teens DVD on Amazon that will be here on Tuesday. 

Julie reassured me during my session that parents who try and who care and who recognize they don't know it all and look for answers when there are problems, are the parents that have well adjusted kids. 

I sure hope she's right.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Busy Sunday (181.4)

Weight is up today because yesterday was a high-carb day.  We spent all day at home (no church), and I baked in the morning--homemade scones and cookies.  I know, not great for the diet.  It was a cold, dreary day, and it was a pleasant way to spend the morning.  Sophie had asked if we could make cookies, so we made them together, which was a lot of fun.  I didn't eat a lot of food, but I ate enough carby stuff that I could feel the bloat this morning.

The rest of the day I spent doing laundry and cleaning out Sophie's closet and my closet.  I moved her summer clothes in, and the winter clothes out (and it's 50 degrees today, which is nuts).  I also cleaned off her dresser, which I'd promised her months ago I would do for her. It was piled with random stuff that just collects there when it has nowhere else to go.

I cleaned out 2 1/2 garbage bags full of clothes from my closet.  I had already taken out the size 8s, last year.  Yesterday, I took out the size 10s.  I left most of the summer size 12s (which I had to buy last summer), because I plan to be wearing 12s before the summer is over. I'm wearing size 14s right now.

It is embarrassing how many clothes I have.  I could seriously put our kids through college with the amount of money I've spent on clothes that I can't wear any more.  But my closet can BREATHE now.  I can easily see all the clothes I CAN wear.  The floor and two shelves still need to be purged of excess shoes and handbags, but that is for another day.

I gave away the things I know I'll never wear again (that was the half bag).  The other two bags I put in the garage, along with a third full bag that I'd cleaned out months ago that contained size Mediums from my dresser drawers. 

That third bag has been sitting in my front room, which has been a mess since Christmas.  I also cleaned it yesterday.  Our house was built in the '80s--you know, the floor plan with the formal dining room and formal living room that rarely get used.  Our living room has a piano, a tall chifferobe (the 3rd piece from Sophie's Art Deco bedroom suite that I bought from my best friend when she moved--it's almost 100 years old, is gorgeous, and looks nice in the front room), a love seat, two rocking chairs, another chair, two end tables, two desks, and a small folding table with a chair.

Scrapbooking supplies and pictures cover the desks and the folding table and a good part of the floor under and near them.  One of the desks is all Sophie's scrapbooks and pictures. 

The loveseat was covered in pictures and other scrapbook stuff, so you couldn't even sit in there.  For months, I have been piling stuff that needs to go to Goodwill or recycling into that room.  It looked awful, and it nagged on me every day.  I cleaned out the junk, moved the folding table against the picture window, out of the middle of the room, rearranged the chairs, and cleaned off the loveseat.

When Luke saw the room was clean, he went in and stretched out on the loveseat and said "wow, Mommy, this works now!"  He is so cute.

Last night after the kids were in bed, I read a book in the front room.  It has peaceful spring-green walls, and the bay window looks out on our landscaping (there are no curtains or blinds, to our neighbors chagrin, I'm sure). The energy in that room is so different from the family room/kitchen area. 

I sat on the love seat, which was our first purchase as a married couple (we gave away the matching couch years ago), and I didn't obsess about the scrapbook stuff.  Instead I felt like I could start working on it soon, because I was getting the "real" work done, like cleaning out closets and getting ALL the kids' laundry done.  Their hampers are rarely empty, but they are this morning--after five loads of laundry.

Getting the clutter and the clothes situation MOVING is a big deal.  And all part of the Healthier Me, Happier Me process.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Weight and self worth (179.8)

At my therapy appointment Thursday, Julie and I talked the first half of my session about how my self worth is tightly connected to my weight.  She said that's not a healthy thing, which I get. But I told her they've been intertwined for so long--basically since I hit puberty--that I don't know how to DO self worth any other way.

So, we have that to work on.

On the Geneen Roth CD, she talks about healthy living guidelines.  One of them is throwing out the scale.  If you let the scale make you feel happy or sad based on what it says, then you should throw it out.  As in, you are feeling great and healthy and on track because you've been eating healthfully and exercising, but the scale says you gained two pounds this morning, and now you feel horrible and like a failure.

Been there, done that.

I recognize that the scale is a major mind messer-up-er.  But it's also a tool.  I'm not ready to throw out my scale, but I do see how it is beneficial not to obsess over natural weight fluctuations.  For me, tracking my weight regularly in Excel helps me see if I'm on track.  I try not to let one weigh in derail me.  I know my weight can go up, even if I've done everything right.  And it can go down, even when I've done lots of things wrong. 

What I am ready to do is stop linking my self worth to what I look like.  Julie said it might be my weight now, but someday it might be my age, and someday it may be something else I can't even imagine now.  So it's good to start unhooking my self worth from the external. 

That said, I tried on summer clothes today at Kohl's (we leave for vacation in less than two weeks) and I could wear size 14s in skorts and capri's.  Size L tops fit comfortably.  My legs are looking better, too.  I don't think anyone is going to look at me when we are in Florida and think "eegads she's a cow."  I don't think of myself that way right now, anyway. 

So while my self worth is best not tied to how I fit into summer clothes, it sure does feel good to feel better about how I look. 

P.S. Took a kickboxing class Friday at 4:30.  First time I've taken one of those in years.  It was so fun.  And a great workout.  I love the gym.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Satisfaction (180.0*)

This is from Geneen Roth's CD workshop "Feeding the Hungry Heart."  This is mostly verbatim from the CD.  She's discussing how important it is to eat mindfully, without distractions, to stay in the moment with your food, so that you are satisfied when you finish a meal.

But it spoke to me on such a deeper level than just food (although she would say that food IS our deepest level, and she's probably right).  I hope it moves you, too.

"Satisfaction is a result of being in the present moment. You can't be satisfied if your mind is tripping on the future. You can't be satisfied in the present moment if what you're thinking about are all the things you don't have or all the things you're going to do in the future. You will never be satisfied now. It's the present meeting's you meeting yourself that makes for satisfaction. Otherwise the satisfaction is never gonna happen.

Eating without distractions--in the present moment. Satisfaction with food has to be emotional and physical. Unless you love celery, really truly love it, you won't be satisfied eating celery, even if you're full.  (This part I didn't write down word for word)...Texture + sensation + color + taste of food = satisfaction.

You can never get enough of what you really don't want. If food isn't what you want--if what you want is to be alone or to have a connection with someone or to be outside or to see a tree or to write or to take a nap--and if you turn to food instead, you'll never get enough of it. Because it's not what you really want."

*I never thought I'd be happy to see 180.0 on the scale.  But there is it.  I said a little "woohoo" this morning.  I first crossed from the 170s up to the 180s in February.  Now, the middle of May, and I'm nearing the 170s again.  Eeegads, losing weight is hard.  And takes forever.  Hopefully I've got a long life ahead of me, and nobody to impress but myself.  So it doesn't matter how long it takes.  It's about the journey this time, not the destination.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

steel cut oats-1; quinoa-0 (181.6)

I'm trying to cook more often, and since my husband isn't eating meat that much anymore (yay! he's been eating healthfully and is doing soooo much better), I'm trying vegetarian recipes.

I always check out Roni's website first.  I love her recipes.  Simple, easy, tasty.

Tuesday morning I made her steel cut oats on-the-stove recipe, with cinnamon and blueberries.  It was fab.  I've never had that kind of oatmeal.  I am hooked.  Love the texture.

Then last night I made the quinoa (if you've never heard about this ancient grain, it's pronounced keen-wa) with cinnamon, pears, pecans, and raisins.  I've never tried quinoa before.  The Bob's Red Mill package says that the Aztecs used to eat this healthful grain; it has all 8 amino acids; it's high in fiber.  So, yeah, I figure it must be pretty fantastic, right?

What they don't say on the label is that the Aztecs didn't have any choice but to eat quinoa.  That must be why these ancient smart guys ate this grain, because it tastes like grass or straw or some other food that only cows should eat.

I knew something was amiss when I stirred it about 5 minutes in, and the smell was off.  A green, weedy scent was floating in the steam above the boiling mass of little grain balls.  I withheld final judgement though.  What does my nose know?

I cut the pear and chopped the pecans; I don't do raisins.  When the old-as-dirt grain was finished cooking, I poured it on top of the pears and pecans, stirred it all together, took a bite, and thought "wow.  it tastes like it smells."  Well, I thought, maybe it just takes some getting used to.  Roni raved about it on her recipe blog.  She ate the entire recipe in one day.

I took several more bites, and by the fifth bite I was ready to puke.  Seriously, not for me.  I dumped it all in the garbage.

Now, sadly, I have an $11 (the price point is a big reason I'd never tried it before) bag of quinoa on my counter that I'm going to throw away.  Too bad there aren't any Aztecs in my neighborhood.

Do you have any great vegetarian recipes or websites you would like to share?  I have a "chopping threshhold."  I can't do too many ingrediants (more than 7 or 8 and my eyes glaze over and I'm on to the next recipe).  I don't have much time, and I like to use one cutting board, one mixing bowl, and one pan on the stove (or one baking dish), and no more.  That's not too much to ask for a modern day mom who doesn't like to cook, is it?

I made it to the gym today for the first time this week.  30 minutes step, and, as promised, I kicked up my cardio and did another 46 minutes on the treadmill (3 miles).  I am seeing small improvements in my body already, even though the scale hasn't moved much.  My abs are stronger, my collar bones are reappearing, and I can see shoulder muscles beginning to form in my upper arms.  My stamina in class is getting better too, even though I was away for 4 days.

I need new shoes, though.  I've been wearing my running shoes for my group exercise classes, but I don't think that's such a great idea.  I think I need different shoes for different activities. My forefoot was pretty tender today during class, and it's a bit hard to walk today in my dress shoes.  Do you have special shoes for each activity?  Or do you just wear one for all?

Speaking of shoes, and then I've got to scoot, last week I wore my all time favorite brown stacked heel sandals--they are about to fall apart, I've worn them so much over the past 4 years--and they hurt my ankles. Maybe it's wearing high heels that have zero support.  Maybe it's the extra 30 pounds this spring I'm carrying (which I haven't had before when I've worn these shoes).  Maybe it's the exercise and pounding my feet in shoes I shouldn't be pounding my feet in, and then wearing heels afterwards.  I don't know.  Maybe it's yet another malady of middle age.  All I know is, they made my left ankle and lower calf swell up. I will not be wearing them again any time soon. 

And if you hear taps playing in my backyard, it's me, burying my beloved brown sandals.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Fanatic vs. Normal

Today I read a lot of blogs.  I was at work at 9 am, and I pretty much was done working by 3.  So I started reading blogs.

Very few people post every day like Vickie.  I'd read all of my favorite blogs' recent posts, so I went and found some new ones, too.

Pasta Queen had a new post yesterday, on accepting herself at the weight she is (I think I read on another post that she's about 50 pounds heavier than she was at her thinnest) and not being so bat-shit crazy about food like she was a few years ago. It's a really good blog post, and I'm happy that's she's happy.  But....

She says, "I have often wondered if someone who’s lost a ton of weight has to become a fitness and health fanatic for the rest of their life to keep it off, or if they can just integrate it into a normal part of the life that is not any more or less important than other things in their life."  

I think "fanatic" is too strong a word, but I think "normal part of life" isn't enough. 

For someone who was closing in on morbidly obese (at 220 pounds post pregnancy, that would be me), I can't see myself in maintenance mode and having food and exercise be "any more or less important than other things in life."  For me, to be successful at keeping weight off (at least at this point in my life, and certainly when I was at my goal weight three years ago) it has to be MORE important than everything else in my life.

Because everything else in my life is influenced by what I weigh.

So why would I expect that the forces behind my weight--food and exercise--should take anything less than being the number one priority? 

I'm not saying that life has to be All Diet, All Exercise, All the Time.  But, a "normal" life in our country in this century doesn't allow most of us to just coast through and stay thin.  We have to plan our meals.  We have to set aside time to exercise.  We have to pay attention to our bodies, our minds, our emotions.  And yes, it takes up a helluva lot of time.  If you do it right.

Even when I'm gaining weight, a disproportionate amount of my mental and physical energy is spent on food and my body.  Just not in a healthy way.

I want to get on the fanatical side of healthy living.  I think that would be a good thing, indeed.

I read a ton of posts from Lynn at Lynn's Weigh.  Oh my, what richness lies there.  I can't wait to read more.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Monday Update (182.6)

I worked out four times last week, but none this weekend.  One pilates class, two step classes (one was only 45 minutes), and one day of walking/bike at the gym.  I didn't get to a body pump class, which I actually may have to avoid anyway.  After I took weight lifting classes a couple weeks ago, my forearm started hurting from the nerve damage.  My physical therapist had said it could take 6 months for my arm to completely heal, and I should not lift heavy weights at certain angles.  She's fine with body weight exercises in yoga or pilates, but not weight lifting. I tried the body pump classes when my arm had been feeling all healed, and I damaged it again.  Guess that's something I had to learn for myself.

I know I need to step up the cardio if I want to lose weight.  I am happy with the gym routine I have going.  I just need to do more.

I also let my food slip this weekend. It wasn't horrible, but it wasn't great either.  We went to Indianapolis to a concert (just Mark & me, the kids stayed with my mom).  We stayed with Mark's sister and brother-in-law, who just moved to a new house north of Indy.  It was a nice visit.  I love his family. 

We got home late Sunday afternoon, and the night went way too quickly, and so it was like we didn't even have a weekend together as a family.  Nobody handles that well.  I had a bowl of cereal at 10 pm because I was feeling sad. 

I didn't gain a ton of weight over the weekend, but I also didn't lose anything. I can't routinely let two days blow up the good work I do the rest of the week.  I was mindful many times of how often I felt like eating because I was tired or lonely or bored or frustrated, and I didn't eat to soothe myself.  So that's a tiny bit of progress. 

I'm not feeling particularly wordy today, so I'll try and write more tomorrow.

To see what I want to be writing about myself soon -- go read Shauna's post.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Eating Guidelines (181.8)

So I've been trying to eat according to Geneen Roth's Eating Guidelines.  Here they are:

1. Eat when you are hungry. (Truly hungry, body hungry not mind hungry)
2. Eat sitting down in a calm environment. This does not include the car.
3. Eat without distractions. Distractions include radio, television, newspaper, books, intense or anxiety producing conversation, and music.
4. Eat only what your body wants. (Big difference from what your MIND wants!)
5. Eat until you are satisfied. (This is different than full).
6. Eat (with the intention of being) in full view of others.
7. Eat with enjoyment, gusto and pleasure

Can I just tell you that #3 is probably the hardest for me?  I mean, none of them are natural for me yet. I've been a compulsive eater for as long as I can remember. It's going to take a while before any of them aren't hard.

But until I started working on these, I never ever ate without either a book or a magazine or the computer or the TV. 

It's weird to do nothing but eat.

I guess that's very telling about my relationship with food.  Food is my companion.  And because I eat with these distractions, I often can't imagine watching TV or reading a book or working on the computer without food to keep me company. 

No wonder I struggle with my weight.

I'm guessing that people who are successful at keeping lost weight off are already following these guidelines.  And while they may appear to be common sense, they are the antithesis of the way we live our modern lives. 

I don't think they are going to be easy for me to follow 100% of the time, but I'm already deep into them (eight nights in a row of no eating by myself at night) and know that they are the key to my recovery.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

"Is this your first time?" (182.2)

This morning I took an 8:00 a.m. Step class.  It's a push to get to a class that early--Sophie gets on the bus at 7:30, and I take Luke to daycare before I go to the gym.  I'd planned last night to do this class, so I had my gym bag packed and my workout clothes laid out in the bathroom.

Still, even with the advanced prep, I didn't leave until 7:45 and was 15 minutes late to class.  No biggie--I figured I'd get a decent 40 minutes in.  It's a super intense class. I took one last week and fell in love.  It had been years since I'd taken a Step class, but I picked it back up with no problems.

This morning the instructor was hard to hear and didn't give adequate lead time or enough description for her instructions.  The class is full of regular class takers, as evidenced by strong thin bodies scattered around the room.  There are usually one or two other overweight women in the later morning classes I take, but not today at 8 a.m. Today it was just me with the excess poundage.

So during the first break (the class is broken into 5-6 minute song segments), the woman behind me introduces herself and says "Hi, I'm Barbara. I'm an instructor here. Is this your first time?" No, I smile and say I've taken step classes before.  "Okay, well, sometimes it's easier to get the steps right if you watch the person in front of you, instead of the instructor.  Because she's doing the opposite of what we are doing."  Okay, thanks, I say, a little confused. I was doing just fine--it took me a bit to get the steps right, because I came in late and started while they were in the middle of a segment, but I was hitting the steps right most of the time and wasn't just standing there like a lost newbie.

Then the rest of the class, I felt like a newbie because the instructor's directions were so poor and the mic wasn't loud enough.  And instead of thinking "how nice" Barbara was, I was resentful that she thought I needed extra attention or instruction. 

Inside my head, it's the same refrain from the guy who snarked at me for being on the road instead of the sidewalk.  She's talking to me like that because I'm 30 pounds overweight. I don't look like I belong there.

I often feel like I should be wearing a sign that says "Previously fit and trim! I know what I'm doing! Please do not give the fat girl advice."  There really are very few overweight people at the gym in the mornings, at least that I've noticed.

I've been a member at this gym off and on for years (and my husband used to teach kickboxing classes here, years ago), and several of the instructors still remember me.  The ones that I knew before, I don't feel like I need to give my fitness resume to them. We say hi to each other in passing or in the locker room, and they are glad to see me in class. I know they know I used to run laps in the gym and take two Body Pump classes a week.

The others, I wish I could take a few minutes and say, "Hi! I have run five half marathons and have lost 55 pounds and used to be a size 8 and could lift heavy weights in Body Pump and could do tricep dips with my legs straight out from my body, just like the instructor does! So, really, I don't need any special approving looks during class or a "thumbs up" that I'm doing well (that's what I got from the instructor when I took my first step class last week, who also asked me if it was my first time, but she was teaching the class, so I wasn't as bothered by it).  I just need time to get this weight off, and then I'll be just like you!"

Just getting this out here makes me realize how silly this is.

You know in the movie A Few Good Men, how Demi Moore is always trying to impress Tom Cruise with her legal exploits....he says to her at dinner "why are you always giving me your resume?" And she says "because I want you to think I'm a good lawyer."  I guess I sort of feel like that.  I just want all these fit, thin women to think I'm a fit, thin woman, too.  I just don't look like it yet. 

I didn't feel like this the first time I lost weight. I felt like I was on a mission and any attention I received made me all warm and fuzzy inside. 

I don't know why I'm having such a hard time now.  My self-esteem is obviously in the toilet, and it's so screwed up with the "I want attention, no wait, I don't want attention" thing.  I don't know why it has to be so complicated in my head.

Thankfully none of this craziness is a deal breaker.  I still LOVE the gym in the mornings. I love using their hot water and shampoo & conditioner (I know, so weird, yet I get a thrill from not using my bathtub all week).  I love being in a class with a group of people who are pushing themselves.  I love knowing that I'm already stronger.  And in two weeks I'll be even stronger.  And on and on. 

And I'm thankful I have therapy again next week, because clearly, this crazy talk has got to go.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Body Imagery Exercise (181.4)

I took a 4 mile walk in the sunshine on Saturday.  The weather was perfect.  I listened to the first CD of Geneen Roth's Feeding the Hungry Heart on my iPod.  It's a recording of one of her workshops, not just her reading a book, so it even has some interaction from her workshop participants.

On the CD, she does a guided imagery exercise.  Walking was actually a really great way to do this exercise.  My mind wasn't distracted by anything--my body was busy and my mind was able to wander where she asked me to.

The exercise was to imagine your favorite outdoor place and go there.  At first I couldn't figure out what the outside place would be.  I went to Trunk Bay in St John.  It was the most beautiful beach we visited on our trip in 2009.  Pure white sand, turquoise water.  But we only spent a few hours there, and I couldn't hold onto it in my imagination.  Also, she wanted the place to be somewhere we could have other people join us.

So I picked the park I most often run in.  We sometimes take the kids there to feed the ducks.  We've had family pictures taken there twice.  I grew up with trees and green grass and have always felt connected to that type of landscape, so this felt more permanent.

I put myself there.  Then she asked us to invite three people.  Our mother, our father, and a significant other. Then she asked us to imagine standing in front of our mother, and getting as fat as we can imagine ourselves getting.

What?  OK, this was freaky, but I did it.

Then she asked questions about how it felt to be this size with our mother.  Do you feel safe? Do you feel strong?  Do you feel most like yourself?  Is there anything scary about being this size with your mother?

After being with those feelings for a while, she asked that we imagine our bodies getting smaller and being as thin as we can imagine ourselves getting. And she asked the same questions.

She had us imagine the same with our fathers, and then with our significant others (for me, my husband).

What a revealing exercise.

With my mom, at my fattest I felt safe and accepted.  At my thinnest, I felt judged and rejected and looked at suspiciously.  With my dad, at my fattest I felt ashamed and like I wanted to hide. At my thinnest, I felt proud and as if I was saying "now that I'm perfect, will you love me?"  With my husband, at my fattest I felt sad and uncomfortable and ashamed and disappointed.  At my thinnest, I felt happy and free and relaxed and confident.

When I was in my early 20s, I had lost weight and my grandmother (my mom's mom) said to me, "Laura Marie, you have lost too much weight.  What if you get sick?"  In her world, extra weight meant protection from dying. And probably protection from creepy uncles and who knows what else she wasn't saying alound. But being thin was a bad thing.

My mom still has horrible body image issues that she has no clue about. Every time she comes to my house, she gets on my bathroom scale and weighs herself.  I am often in the bathroom getting ready for work when she does this (she comes to my house early on Friday's to stay with Luke).  Without fail, she gets off the scale disgusted, shaking her head.  I don't even ask what she weighs. It's somewhere in the low to mid 170s.  She's not dieting, she's not exercising, she has her own bathroom scale.  I don't know why she does this.  She weighs less than me. She wears a size 12.

Saturday I was at a family get together with her, and a family member she hadn't seen in a while came up to say hi.  He gave her a hug, asked her how she was, and she said "oh fat and sassy! Well, fat at least."  She says this kind of thing about herself all the time. 

I look just like my mom, by the way. And she looks really young for her age. So much so that 20 years ago people thought we were sisters. 

Apparantly it doesn't cross her mind that what she says about herself might impact the way I feel about myself.

It drives me crazy.

The exercise revealed more about my Dad than anything.  I always tried to be perfect to get Dad's love and attention.  But I didn't realize until that exercise how strongly my weight was still tied to him.

With my husband, I pretty much knew how I felt.  We had a lot of trouble in our marriage because of my weight.  We went to marriage counseling, we got past it (and several other issues), had a baby, had another baby, and made a life together.  But my size and the way I looked has always been an issue in our relationship.  Mostly because I couldn't accept myself as I was, but also because my husband married a hot wife and ended up a year later with a 40 pound overweight & depressed wife. 

The weird thing was, when I lost weight in 2007 and was super fit in 2008, Mark gained weight.  And he got really resentful of me.  He had been a kick boxing instructor for five years (while I was 40 or more pounds overweight).  He gained a good 40 pounds, and he couldn't stand that his fat wife was thin and running 20 miles a week. And he wasn't.

That really messed with my head.

Now, he is not upset with my size at all. He said I look voluptuous. And he just wants me to be happy. The weight didn't come back on the way it was before.  My face doesn't look like I weigh 182 pounds.  I have a lot more stomach fat than I did before, so even though my hips are still really big, my body looks more balanced.  And thank heaven for High Waist Assets, the modern day corset.  I can wear long dresses that flatter my body and not have to fight the muffin top.

I am working out at the gym in the mornings and getting ready for work there.  I love it.  I am eating when I'm hungry, stopping when I'm full (which is really tricky to feel when you aren't used to stopping before you're stuffed).  I am still taking the diet pills, and they are still helping.  They won't be much longer and I'll have to rely just on myself. Which is what Geneen Roth wants me to do anyway. 

I finished Women, Food, and God this weekend. Despite the title, it is not a religious book. I liked it, and it is also so rich in revelations that when I used the highlight function on my Kindle this time, I think I highlighted more than half the book. 

I wasn't ready for her methods a decade or so ago, when I had bought one of her books that I never finished and ended up selling in a yard sale.  I'm ready now.  I'd encourage you to start with the book I did, When Food is Love, if you have childhood abuse/neglect/trauma that you think could be causing your food compulsions. You might be ready for it, or you might not.  Only you can know.