Wednesday, June 29, 2011

It's working--177.6

Yesterday's weight was 180.4. I didn't post it because I was getting very frustrated but didn't want to talk about how the scale was tormenting me. I mean, it didn't move for days, even though my food had been clean. My head knows it can take a while for my body to respond to food changes, but my emotions and habits were ticked and perplexed. So I just kept at it and knew it would eventually show a loss.

Today--2.8 pounds down. Woot!

My body rarely loses weight mid-cycle. The same hormones that made me uptight and angry and crazy yesterday keeps the fat on my body too. I've tracked my weight for years in excel (lost the spreadsheet from my original weight loss when my hard drive died, but I started a new one this year), so I know this pattern exists. It still takes a lot of mental strength to realize this fact when I'm in the grips of the same hormones that control so much of me already. When they control the scale, despite my best efforts, it can be disheartening.

At any rate, hopefully the hormones are done with me for a couple weeks. Hopefully the clean, balanced food will keep my body in fat burning mode. Hopefully I can stay true to this food plan. I haven't felt food cravings (much) and I haven't gone through those horrible carb or caffeine reactions, where my body is tired and sluggish after food I eat/drink to try to get some energy. My energy has been stable, at least, even though my hormones were nuts. That's no small thing.

My oats are almost finished cooking, so I'm off to eat my big breakfast and start the day. Almost 3 pounds lighter, in body and spirit.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

1st Trail "Run"

Last week I read Lynn's account of her bike trail story, and it made me want to hit a trail.  I don't own a bike.  The last time I road a bike was in the late 1990s, in Boulder, Colorado, with my husband.  It was all down hill on pavement mostly, but I was still not confident or comfortable on it.  Plus, it hurt my booty.

Anyway, I don't own a bike, but I have two feet and thought I could go trail running.  There's a nature preserve 15 minutes away from us, and I knew they had hiking trails.  I looked on the preserve's website this weekend, asked the kids if they wanted to go on a trail walk with me Saturday morning--they declined. (I will get them out there eventually.)

So this morning, when I woke up late and grouchy, and after I yelled at the kids one too many times--yeah, so not mother of the year today--after I dropped them both off at their respective day camps/care, I called Mark (my husband and boss) and told him I needed a few mental health hours.  I knew as soon as I hung up that I was going to do my first ever trail run.

I go home, get ready, and drive to the preserve.  I had left my map at home, so I stopped at the visitors' center and got a map and asked for some advice.  The lady showed me the trails that should take me about an hour.  They weren't more than 2 miles combined.  I thought an hour sounded like too much time since I was going to mostly run the trails.

Did I mention this was my first trail running experience?

The first .6 miles is paved, then it splits into the wilderness--I had a choice to take the lake trail (.9 miles) or the back country trail (1.6 miles).  The lake trail connects to the back country trail about .4 miles in, so I figured I'd start there and if I was feeling good I'd take a right and get on the back country trail instead of coming back around to where I started a mere half mile later.

I had run most of the .6 miles (which has a huge hill in it, and I had to walk some of that) and a fair bit of the first part of the lake trail.  At one mile in, I felt awesome.  It was beautiful--lots of green, not a human in sight.  I decided, of course, to take the back country trail.  I am runner--hear me roar.  I thought it would be fun to go the less traveled path, not to mention more challenging. 

I wanted to be worn out.  I wanted the frustration and anger and hormones in my body and my mind to be wrung out like a wet towel. 

Man, did I ever get what I wanted. 

The lake trail had been rather tame.  The guide said there were gentle slopes.  I had told her this was my first time at their trail; she obviously listened to that and ignored my 2008 half-marathon hat (which I wear b/c it has a zipper where I can store my car key fob) and my running skirt and my running watch, and she suggested the tamer route.

As I headed onto the back country trail, I knew why she'd suggested the other.

Holy crap. I have never climbed so many hills in my life. They were steep, and they were muddy.  Around two miles, I didn't know if I could finish.  I was worn out, just liked I'd hoped for.  But I was still more than a mile away from the trail head and the blessed relief of pavement.  No other choice but to keep moving, so I kept at it. 

After the first mile, the hills were relentless.  There were only a few times that it was flat enough to run, for like, 30 seconds at a time.  The rest of the hike was a HIKE.  No running involved.  Only climbing up and tippy-toeing down. 

I got past the wall of being worn out, and just plugged along, checking the map, checking Garmin, to see how much further I had to go. When I finally saw the steps down to the pavement, I almost shouted for joy.  I found it in me to run about .25 miles of the last .6.  And I realized that I had, in a small way, accomplished what Vickie talked about on her zip-line post-- I was "beyond normal."

It felt amazing. 

Here are my times, which are interesting to note:
Whereas the first mile was pretty decent on time for trail running--13:48, which is awesome considering my flat pavement time last week was 13:20--my second mile took 20 minutes.  My third mile took almost 22 minutes; the third mile I spent about .25 of it running, so the bits in the woods were s-l-o-w.  Garmin had a hard time keeping up with me a few times.  The trees were pretty thick, and I moved slooowly through some steeeep inclines often, and Garmin went into "pause" mode enough (it stopped recording movement, even though I was still moving) that it threw off my total distance by about a tenth of a mile (as compared to what the map said I covered). 

I am going to go back and do the "easy" trails to see if they are something my kids could do.  Frankly, I think the hills on the pavement would have them complaining like mad.  So I may keep this one to myself for a while and do another nature trail with them that's closer to home, and not hilly.  I can save the big trails for when they are older.

I'd like to make trail running a regular part of my schedule, maybe every two weeks.  I am anti "drive to go running" when I can help it.  I don't like spending 30 minutes in the car when I could have spent 30 minutes on my feet.  Plus, my shoes are muddy as heck.  It's going to be fun cleaning them up for my next pavement run.  Which, I guess, is going to feel like a piece of cake compared to today.  Sweet.

Monday, June 27, 2011

What's become apparent (180.4)

I wrote in the comments on Vickie 's post today...

It is becoming more and more apparent to me that
1) [sustained, permanent] weight loss requires the near to complete elimiation of processed foods,
2) I have never eliminated processed foods from my diet *enough*,
3) I have no idea what my body can handle as far as carbohydrate consumption, and lose weight [consistently],
4) I am slowly, slowly training my HEAD to realize that the way I have been eating the past two days cannot be temporary, and I need to keep learning and working on the food combinations that will work for me,
5) it may take a while before I figure out what those combinations ARE that will allow me lose weight, and
6) There is no diet... there is do, or do not.

I've read it [on Vickie's blog], and I've heard it echoed on Lynn's blog--the line between weight loss and maintenance is razor thin. Half a baked potato, as Frances [Kuffel] told us in her book.

It can be a hard thing to give up all the foods we love. I have felt deprived several times this past weekend, thinking about what I "can't have" anymore.  Until I read [Vickie's] story about the zip line. And then I think, are you kidding me? Why would anyone think food is better than flying?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Food (180.4)

Gasp.  I've run two days in a row and I started a new food plan yesterday (and did very well on it).  And I didn't lose 5 pounds.  I am shocked.
I kid.  I know it doesn't work like that.  Part of me did have my fingers crossed for a pound or two since, you know, I didn't eat sugary junk yesterday. But, alas, my body does what it does and the scale doesn't always equal success on day two.

(Actually, when I read the books "Crack/Conquer the Fat Loss Code," the author talks about how the body is on a three day food cycle.  I don't remember the science, and don't have time to look it up right now, but I remember her talking about why she planned food days the way she did, and it had to do with how the body stores food for energy.)

At any rate, I am not expecting a miraculous weight loss overnight, even though I really did think I might weigh in the 178 range this morning.  It's just the same old thinking attaching itself to me, I suspect.  But I am recognizing it for what it is--potential sabotage. I am not going to let the lack of one day's movement in the scale derail me that easily.

Yesterday I had breakfast at 10 am.  By 2:30 I was hungry.  I had no food cravings for 4 1/2 hours.  I didn't have cravings at 2:30; I was hungry.  Not to say I didn't think about food.  I DID.  All day.  I kept thinking "what in the heck do I eat for a starch if I can't have wheat or any kind of flour?" 

For my late lunch, I had rice as my starch.  It was the boil in the bag whole wheat kind, but it didn't taste very good.  The texture was off.  How do you mess up boil in the bag?  I think I overcooked it.  Plus, I think I need long grain wild rice or the kind that takes 30 minutes to cook instead of 10.  Texture is a big thing for me.

At 6:00 pm I went out for a run.  I was starting to get hungry, but it wasn't bad. At around mile 2 I was feeling puny, like I hadn't fueled myself enough.  Then I channeled my inner Jillian and said "Are you kidding me? You are carrying around your fuel on your behind.  Get it moving and keep it moving."  It worked.  I bettered my 5k time from the day before by 30 seconds, and I ended up going 3.4 miles. 

At 7:00 I left for the grocery store.  The exercise suppressed my appetite.  I shopped at Target and The Fresh Market (we just got one a couple weeks ago; expensive, but the sales on produce are actually pretty good).  I bought tons of veggies and fruits. 

When I got home it was 8:30.  By the time I had the fridge cleaned out and everything put away, it was almost 9:30.  Then bedtime for the kids.  Then it was almost 10.  No time to eat a full meal.  I had a measured cup of fresh raspberries and 1/2 c. lowfat organic cottage cheese.  I was full and happy and no cravings.

Woohoo for day 1!

My big issues now are to figure out how to get protein and starch into my diet--and how to make them enjoyable.  You know, without sugar and fat and salt, these things are just not a turn on.  I know they can be.  I just have to figure out how to get them there.

I have a couple of recipes from my low carb days that work well--protein and veggies.  I can do breakfast easily and tastily.  It's lunch and dinner that are going to throw me. I don't have time to spend an hour every night making dinner; heck, I don't have 30 minutes. 

I need a plan so I don't fall on my face on day 3.  

Cooking and preparing fresh food is work.  It's work until you've figured out how to make it NOT (so much) work.  And right now, it's work.

I have enough work in my life--the job, the house, the kids, the dog, the never-ending piles of laundry.  No wonder it's so easy to throw up your hands and give up.

But I know it's possible for a mere mortal to cook real food on a daily basis (although, truly, aren't Moms expected to be more than mere mortals?). So I will pursue and learn and figure out how to do this. 

I did pull Vickie's link on the foods she eats so I know what to call a starch. I mean, I "know" what to call a starch, but the one page I printed from Kay Sheppard's plan doesn't elaborate much on what she classifies as a vegetable.  Potatoes and corn and peas are starches, but she doesn't list them as such.  To be fair, I've barely perused her site, so it may be there somewhere, just not on the page that I printed. 

I also see that Vickie has a list of recipes on her side bar.  I'll be going there next.

I can't do this whole food transformation in a day, or a week, or even a month.  But I can get started.   Which is what I finally feel like I'm doing.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Eating plan (180.2)

So I am starting a new eating plan today.  After reading about Kay Sheppard's plan several times recently, on Vickie's and subsequently on Jane's blogs, I figure it's time.

I didn't start off right--I had a cold can of Illy latte coffee, which has caffeine and sugar, but I hadn't officially decided this morning whether I was going to start or not.

When I was ready for breakfast, which was late today because I slept in until 8:30, then had to pick Luke up from a sleepover at his friend Jack's house at 9 a.m. (his first sleepover at a friend's house--it was Jack's 6th birthday... Luke did great and the boys had a blast), I looked at the food plan at 9:45 and thought, that's a lot of food. 


My breakfasts are usually two of those--frozen blueberries, steal cut oats with honey and pecans, or yogurt, frozen berries, and granola.  Never all four. But I figured there's a reason for all the food, so this is what I ate this morning.

1 cup steal cut oats w/ 1/2 c frozen berries
1/2 cup egg beaters
1 cup yogurt with 1/2 c frozen blueberries

That is a lot of food.  I ate the egg beaters and yogurt while the oats cooked; to make the eggs taste better, I put some yogurt on the plate with them.  I love that flavor combination.  When we do breakfast at Bob Evans, I usually get the yogurt & fruit crepe with a side of egg lites.  This was the same thing, only without the added sugar and starch. 

I was already feeling kind of full after that.  A cup of lowfat yogurt is a lot!  But I measured out 1 cup of oats and poured them on the berries, and sat at the counter and got to eating.  By the time I was done I was full, but not stuffed and not uncomfortable.  Which surprised me.  I thought for sure this would be too much food.

It was, however, too much time.  It took me almost 30 minutes to eat!  I never spend that much time sitting down and eating, at least by myself at home.  I did read a book--it was monotonous to keep eating and eating, esp when the food was a bit bland without the added honey and nuts in the oats, or the granola in the yogurt.  I know it will take a while for my taste buds to adjust.

But again, I know there's a reason for this.  It's two hours later and I'm not even remotely interested in eating anything else.

I know this will not be a quick fix and there will be fits and starts.  It's going to be hard to give up caffeine (and I don't plan to go cold turkey).  But, I figure if I can follow the plan as best I can, like eating the categories of foods together at each meal time, then it is a start. 

I am tired of feeling sick and tired after I eat.  I'm tired of waking up bloated from the snacks before bed (which is what happened this morning).  I'm tired of drinking a second or third can of something caffeinated (with sugar), and feeling more tired than I was before I drank it.

I want to feel energized and alive.  The way I've been living isn't getting me there.

I went out and ran last night.  The weather was gorgeous all day...the nicest day we've had all year.  It literally made me sick to my stomach that I had to sit in the office all day yesterday, looking out my window at the clear blue skies and the swaying trees. I wanted to BE part of that.  Instead I was stuck, and not a happy camper.

I didn't leave the house for my run until 7:30 pm, and it had gotten more humid but there was still a nice breeze and the sun was setting.  I ran/walked 3.1 miles in about 42 minutes.  Not fast, but not horrible considering my weight and my lack of consistent exercise.  Mentally I felt better after my run than I had all day. 

I kept asking myself why I'm not making this a daily requirement, like taking medicine.  It is, after all, as essential to my mental health as the pills and vitamins I take each day. 

I'm planning on starting morning runs in earnest.  I have liked the two I've done with my friend Dedra.  I don't have VBS anymore, and there's no reason I can't get up at 5 or 5:30 am and go out for an hour a few days a week. 

The only thing holding me back are old habits. 

It's high time to forge new ones.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Update - VBS + Not Eating for Comfort (179.2)

Just felt like writing a quick update.

VBS is going well.  I have nine kids ages 2, 3, & (young) 4, and have two parent helpers every night so it's not as bad as it sounds. 

I love this age group--they are little sponges. Their love is quickly & easily shared.  All you need to earn the love and trust of a 3 year old is a couple of hours of care and smiles and attention, and they are yours for life.  It's been a huge blessing to work with them this past year. 

VBS is two hours long.  After 15 minutes of snack and settling in, our class joins the other classes in the sanctuary for music and the nightly skit, which is 35 minutes long. It's a miracle my class can stay put (they don't sit still, but they stay in the pew) that long.  We give them 20 minutes or so to run and play (outside if it's not wet, which it has been all but one night) and work out their wiggles.  Then we do a simple craft, then play some more, then we sit down on the floor and I teach a lesson (about 5 minutes long). Then we gather in a circle and hold hands and I say a short prayer; I always ask for blessings or give thanks for each of them by name. I think it makes them feel special to have an adult pray for them out loud, using their names.  I hope so, anyway.  I stamp their hands or arms at the end of the prayer.   Then they play or watch Veggie Tales until it's time to go.

So, for the most part, it is an easy teaching gig.  But I am not inherently extroverted.  It takes a lot of energy for me to be extroverted.  And teaching is about as extroverted as you can get (with, perhaps, the exception of being a politician).  I am continually talking with them and helping them resolve conflicts or complimenting them on something they did right, or helping them say "I'm sorry" when they do something wrong. 

When it's one hour on a Sunday morning, it's not a big deal.  When it's five nights in a row of two+ hours a night, it's exhausting.  I still love it and wouldn't trade it for the world.  But it takes a lot of energy. 

So I've been really careful this week about not feeding my face with comfort food, especially at night.  More often than not, when I want to eat when I'm not hungry, I've stopped and asked what do I really NEED.  Rest is the answer.  Rest and sleep and quiet time.  Instead of eating junk food, I've been going to bed as soon as the kids are down for the night. 

It's obviously showing on the scale.  I've lost almost 8 pounds since mid April, which isn't a lot but it's an average of a pound a week.  I'm OK with a pound a week, especially since I was on vacation for 10 days during that time frame.  I've stopped the gain, and I'm working my way slowly back down.  If I kick up the exercise (as I plan to) and continue eating less processed and more whole foods (as I'm doing), then I will be a happy camper.

Vickie shared a link from Jane yesterday that fits perfectly with this issue of finding comfort through food.  Jane talks about being sick and not eating to feel better.  I'm not sick right now, but I am stretched beyond my limits, which is definitely an excuse to eat to "feel better."  I found both posts very helpful yesterday. 

Jill also shared a post I found helpful.  It's a big reason I got up this morning at 4:50 am and met my friend Dedra for a four mile walk.  Yes, I'm really super tired right now.  But this morning was lovely.  It was no big deal to get out of bed and get moving, because I'd promised a friend I would meet her to workout. 

I don't know why I can't do that FOR MYSELF.  What I'm (slowly) figuring out is that it's not a matter of CAN'T.  It's WON'T.  Making excuses and putting the blame on "life getting in the way" is getting old. 

Maybe it's therapy, maybe it's the new med (doubt it, only been on it a few days), maybe it's acupuncture, maybe it's paying attention to blogs again, maybe it's realizing how miserable I was this time last year and telling myself I don't have to be miserable anymore.  Or maybe I'm just ready.  Probably it's all of the above.  I feel like I'm ready to drop the WON'T's and CAN'T's and I'LL TRY's.  Ready to move on to the I WILL and I CAN. 

Ready to be my own best friend.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Busy week

I likely won't be posting much this week. VBS started Sunday night, and I am teaching the 2-3 year olds from 6-8 pm each night thru Thursday (had 8 kids but also had 2 other adults and 1 teen helping). 8 pm is too late, but ending earlier wouldn't allow enough time for the older kids, and starting earlier is too difficult to get working families there.

It's a fun week, but is exhausting. I've been part of VBS for 15 years at our church. I took a few years off after Luke was born, but am back at it now. This is a week that sticks with kids their whole lives, so for me it's worth the time and craziness. Of course by Wednesday I'll be DONE, but that's the norm and I just deal with it.

My days at work are going to be focused mostly on work this week too, because Mark has a week of online prep classes for his CFP exam next month, so I will likely be "quiet" in blog land this week. Maybe it will be easier than I anticipate and I'll not be so swamped, so we'll see.

I do hope I make it without too much drama. I get acupuncture again Wednesday. No negative side effects from new meds, either.

It was a busy, full weekend and a nice Father's day.

The summer is flying by.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Friday, June 17, 2011

Taking care of Me day (179.0)

I had my first acupuncture appointment in 4 weeks today.  I mentioned in an earlier post this week that I think it must have been making a difference.  The 4 weeks off were probably a good test to confirm that yes, it is helping to keep my moods stable and my energy up.

The treatment I get is called GAM, which stands for Great American Malady.  My doctor studied under the acupuncturist who "created" (whatever that entails) medical acupuncture.  That guy created the GAM treatment.  It treats stress, anxiety, and exhaustion.  Think that's an accurate description of the American malady?

Speaking of which... I noticed today during the treatment* that when my mind wandered to future stuff I need to do, or wandered to stuff I'm worried about, I didn't feel it working.  When I brought myself back to the present, I could feel the needles and pulsating energy doing what they are supposed to do--bringing peacefulness to my mind and body.

I have left there more than once feeling completely high--or what *I* would call high, being that I've only tried pot once in my life and I hated it.  It is more like a runner's high, only without the sweat and exertion.  Or like the nose gas you used to get at the dentist's office. (Remember nose gas?  They gave it to me when I was a kid and had to have fillings.  I had never heard of Pink Floyd at age 9, but I remember my hands feeling like giant balloons in Dr. Witgen's reclined dental chair. And it was goooood stuff.)

Today I got into the relaxed state when I kept my mind in the present, for a good 20 minutes. I left feeling more centered, less stressed. 

I have my next appointment in 20 minutes with the nurse practitioner who prescribes meds at my therapists office. I had totally forgotten--she's not a psychiatrist, she's a nurse practitioner.  I am going to talk with her about the OCD, the mood swings that happen hour by hour some days, the intrusive thoughts, and not wanting to try yet another SSRI.  I also am having trouble regulating my sleep, so we'll talk about that, too. I'm not going to mention the bipolar spectrum stuff unless it makes sense to go there, or if she brings it up.

If she doesn't help me, my acupuncture doctor is a psychiatrist, who is in practice with his dad.  So, all is not lost if my appointment this afternoon is fruitless.

Busy weekend. VBS starts Sunday night, runs through Thursday.  I am teaching the 2-3 year olds.  I will have help  in the class room, but all the prep is on me.  Sophie is going to help me decorate and come up with craft ideas.

I didn't run this morning.  I was awake at 1:30 am and couldn't get back to sleep until 5 am.  Not going running on less than 4 hours of sleep, no thank you.

Vickie, my mom picked up Luke at day care today and took him to her house from there (Sophie is not going this weekend), so no scale conversation today.   I like it being out of my bathroom, though.  It's not staring me in the face every time I am in there (which is a lot).  I am still weighing myself regularly, as noted in my posts, so it being in Mark's bathroom (which is attached to our bedroom) is no biggie.

*Acupuncture consists of this--The room is like one you'd find in a massage place/spa.  He plays peaceful yoga-style music.  I strip to my undies, get under a sheet on my back.  He puts a pillow under my knees, and I have one under my head.  I like the eye pillow, so I am in complete darkness and don't watch the needles.  He puts needles in my feet, ankles, 1/4 up calf, inside knee bend, wrists (arms are facing up), inside elbow bend, 1/4 way up arm, three across stomach.  Then he attached electrical energy cords, turns it up until it's pulsing (I tell him when it's enough); if you've ever felt a tens machine, which manages pain through electrical stimulation, it's kind of like that.  He also lights some kind of fire stick (eyes covered, don't know what it looks like) then heats every needle point around my body, twice in succession.  Then he leaves, and I chill.  I try to relax every muscle in my face and body.  I try to focus on the present.  I repeat a chant if I can't stay in the moment.  It's what I use when I meditate, which is hardly ever but it happens when I need it.  "Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy, on me,"--breathing in and out on the commas.  The deep breathing really works for me, too.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Shame (180.4)

I read Jen's post on shame a few days ago.  It helped explain a lot about what's going on with me.  It explains why I reacted so harshly to the guy who asked me if I knew where the sidewalk was, and why I got so upset by the instructor who asked if it was my first step class.

Shame is a topic I've not spent much time on, but I'm rife with it.  It's poisoned me for decades.  It's time I start cleansing myself of it. 

Therapy will help with that process, of course. And Jen's post was a good supplement.  I'm going to see if I can get the book she references on CD or audio file.  I'd like to learn more.

I've had a couple of up and down days.  My emotions are still going like a roller coaster.  I started my period, so the hormonal PMS has lessened, but I'm still up one half of the day, down the next.

I haven't had acupuncture in almost a month.  Friday I get to go back, and I wonder how much that has been helping me feel stable?  Since it's been gone I have felt worse, so I think it may have been making a big difference.

I also started taking more of my Omega-3s.  Studies have shown that Omega-3s can help ease depression.  But you have to take enough of it to make an impact.  So now I'm taking 6 capsules a day; I get them from, and I know they are safe (sorry to any walmart lovers, but I won't take any supplements from there--I don't trust walmart with diddly squat, esp anything I put in my body).  It can take months for it to help, but so what--I will still be here in months.  Might as well get started now.

Tomorrow morning is my second morning run with my friend Dedra.  I have to find a way to not let her sweep me away in gossip or in talking my ear off after we've finished (I stood there for 25 minutes after our run and listened... I don't have that kind of time to chat about other people's business).  I'm not good at setting boundaries, especially with friends.  Guess it's time to learn.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The night before (179.6)

I sometimes listen to online sermons by John Ortberg from Menlo Park Presbyterian Church in California (the church has a podcast on iTunes or you can download sermons from the church's website).  Rev. Ortberg wrote one of the best books on faith that I've ever read--Faith and Doubt--which I received a couple years ago from Debby, who graciously mailed it to me when I was going through a tough time.

Yesterday I listened to a sermon from last year, 6/14/2010.  It's on daily prayer and living each moment with Christ. 

Rev. Ortberg points out something I hadn't thought of before, although it's not new news to those of the Jewish faith.  God's days start in the evenings.  Genesis 1:5 says "and there was evening and there was morning--the first day." *

With that idea in mind, I started TODAY last night at 9:00 p.m.  I knew I wanted to get up and run this morning with my friend Dedra at 5:15 a.m.  There was no way that was going to happen if I followed my usual behavior of staying up until 11 pm or later. 

So as the kids were getting ready for bed, I took my sleep meds at 9 pm and got on my PJs.  (I usually take my sleep meds at 10 or 10:30.)  I got the kiddos settled and the dog's needs taken care of.  I left the kitchen a bit messy and laundry unfinished, and I got in my bed at 9:30.  I set my alarms on my phone and iPod Touch, read a few pages in my book, and before 10 pm I was asleep.

My phone alarm went off at 4:55 am. I got right up; no need for the two back up alarms on my iPod.  I got my workout clothes out, found my running shoes, got dressed, grabbed a banana and water bottle and a Red Bull (I know, I know, it's crack and I can't give it up), and I was out the door to drive to Dedra's house at 5:10. 

I was wide awake and not tired at all. The morning was beautiful--cool air, not humid, the sky already well lit from the rising sun.

Dedra and I walked and jogged for 48 minutes, 3.2 miles.  She's a talker, which I'm not since I've always been a solitary runner, but we struck a nice balance.   We are about the same height and weight, so it wasn't difficult to keep up with each other's pace.  She's been doing more walking and jogging than I have lately, so I determined when we stopped to walk.  I did fairly well--.25 miles jogging at a time, at 11 - 12 min/mile (while jogging; our average was obviously slower than that). 

We plan on getting together again on Friday morning.  I'm under no delusion I'm suddenly "a morning person."  But at least I learned a good lesson.  If I start my day the night before, I can do a reasonable job of pretending to be one.

I talked a lot with Mark last night.  I finally just gave him my post about last week's therapy session so he could read it.  When he got home from work, I asked if he'd had a chance to read it yet.  He came over and gave me a big hug, which made me cry.

I talked with him about how I need to get on new medication, but I'm concerned I won't be diagnosed properly because so few psychiatrists know about or recognize "bipolar spectrum disorder."  If that's even what I have.  I don't know.  I just know I'm not "simply depressed" and I don't just have OCD.   I don't care WHAT it is or what I have.  I just want to be treated with medication properly.

I found a website by a physician that talks about a lot of what my issues are; I have not had a manic episode, but I have several "soft bipolarity" symptoms from his list, including: *When I started Wellbutrin in 2008, I felt high for about 3 or 4 weeks.  I remember thinking it was the best I'd ever felt, EVER.  It didn't last, but I realize now that it was not a normal response. *I had severe post partum after having Sophie.  *SSRI's lose their effectiveness for me after a couple of years.  I've been on four different SSRI's; none of them worked 100% successfully.  *Major depression episodes have been brief, but I've had quite a few of them and they started early in my 20s.  *When I am depressed, my symptoms are "aytpical"--low energy, need lots of sleep, highly reactive to others' responses, appetite is increased (carbohydrate craving & night eating included).  *My dad was never diagnosed with bipolar disorder (he was depressed, and started Prozac soon after it became available), but he certainly had episodes that could have been considered hypo-manic, so there could be an inherited element there. 

I know enough from being on and off SSRI's since I was 26 years old and about how I feel currently, to know that I am not plain old vanilla depressed.  From what I've read on the website, SSRI's (especially long-term use) can sometimes make bipolar & OCD worse.

I know the OCD is real; heck, I'm obsessing about whether or not someone will diagnose me correctly, and fixating on trying to diagnose myself because I don't trust that "they" will get it right.  Today I'm trying to take a step back, say some prayers, and live like a person of faith should live--with faith, instead of fear and doubt. 

*During the sermon, Ortberg instructs us on how to live life with Christ at many milestones during our day, like getting ready in the morning and eating breakfast and driving in the car and being at work.  He starts with bedtime, and said that when your head hits the pillow, pray:
"Thank you that I'm alive today. I didn't have to be.  Help me to let my burdens go.  Help me to let go of my worries, unanswered questions, pressures, concerns.  Remind me that the outcomes of my life are not meant for me to carry around on my shoulders.  Help me to let go. Help me to receive the benefit of wisdom that Proverbs 3:24 promises: 'When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.'  For you are at my side, and you are with me."

Monday, June 13, 2011

The weekend (179.8)

I spent much of the weekend in emotional turmoil.  Other than my blog post, I didn't share my therapy revelations with anyone.  There wasn't a good time to talk with my husband about it, and I'm not a phone person and don't have any friends who would be up on all this stuff anyway, so there was no one else to talk to.

I'd never talk with my mother or sister about all this.

Which is another part of my turmoil.  I am angry at my mom right now, for things that happened 30 years ago.  I know hanging onto the anger is wrong and unhealthy, and I will work through that.  But it's raw right now.  My mom's behavior and the way she speaks (very poor grammar, which is fingernails on a chalkboard to me) drives me crazy anyway; adding all of her failures (as I perceive them) from my childhood to the forefront of my mind makes my interactions with her painful.  I want to withdraw and lash out, at the same time. 

She was at my house Saturday morning to pick up the kids.  (We had a client appointment at 9 am so she drove down that morning to stay with them.)  She came in the bathroom as I was getting ready, did her usual thing--used the toilet, then weighed herself, then made a derogatory comment about the number on the scale, then looked at me and said "you're losing weight."  I could have just screamed. 

She weighs less than I do.  I told her earlier this year that I am not okay with her talking about how fat she is in front of me; I weigh more than she does, so what does that say about how I look?  She brushed it off, said I'm taller and younger than her, I carry my weight differently, have more muscle tone.  Which is all true, but whatever.  She made excuses and didn't acknowledge my feelings at all, and instead told me (for the umpteenth time) "You don't look that fat."  I could have just screamed.

Before I left for work Saturday morning, I'd asked her to stay until I got home so I could see them both off, since they were spending the night with her.  When I got home, I got the kids' packed and mostly just ignored mom.  I hugged on the kids, picked up the house a bit (mom cleaned the kitchen when I got home, which was nice of her), and counted the minutes until she left.  She'd ask a question, I'd give her a one sentence answer.  I'm sure she knows something's wrong but she didn't press.

Sunday afternoon she brought the kids home and I was reading my Kindle when she got there.  I kept reading.  She had my niece and needed to take her home, so she didn't stay long.  I know it's not fair to her, but I can't do anything about it yet.

I had made plans before we left for vacation to go with my friend Debra and her husband to our city's zoo for a beer and wine tasting (with Mark, not just me).  I hate beer and can't drink wine (headaches), but I was trying to be nice to Debra and agreed we'd go, and also agreed to be the designated driver.  I will not go into gory details, but it was not pleasant.  I will never, ever do that again.  Debra, who weighs 145 and was wearing a dress and looked gorgeous, got compliments from her husband, her brother (who we picked up on the way), and my husband.  I was wearing a khaki skort and black tshirt; I received no compliments, no attention after the first couple of hours since they were all pretty intoxicated, and was completely left out of their jolly, drunken fun.  I felt invisible, swept away without my consent, emotionally raw, and bitter. 

The whole thing was so ironic, after my post on Friday. And stupid. And I suppose self-sabotage at it's finest. I had felt all day that it was a bad idea to go, but I'd already committed to it and wasn't going to be a bad friend and back out at the last minute.  It added to my emotional turmoil, which put me into a "I gotta get numb" fest on Sunday.  I spent the day reading historical fantasy (Patricia Briggs is my favorite right now).  I ate ice cream and cookies.  I didn't binge, but I didn't eat well.  At least I didn't yell or take it out on my kids.

I have been hormonal and moody since Thursday.  I still feel pretty bad today--raw and moody.  I just want to cry and escape from my life.  It's gorgeous weather today.  I want to be living on the beach and not have any responsibilities.  Instead of soaking up the sunshine and cooler air, I am at work rehashing my weekend and procrastinating doing my job. 

I did decide to do a positive thing today.  There are a few of my friends who are planning to run the Disney Princess Half Marathon in February; none of them have run races longer than 5k's yet.  We have a group on Facebook that we share our runs/walks with, and support each other.  I haven't posted anything for months.  I am this close to just cancelling.  But I thought instead of giving up, I'd ask my friend Dedra (not a typo--this is De"d"ra, different friend from Debra) if she'd start meeting me twice a week in the mornings to walk/run.  She is in the Princess group, and like me has been considering not going.  We are meeting tomorrow morning at 5:15, will go for an hour, then I'll be home by 6:30 in time to get ready for the day. 

Twice a week should be doable.  We live less than two miles apart.  This is new for me--I am a solitary runner, but that's clearly not working right now.  I hope it's one small step to adding what I have been longing for--moving my body in the fresh air--back into my life.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Therapy - Invisible and Control (180.2)

Yesterday was a breakthrough session at therapy for me.  Which means, of course, today's post is a novella.  So, bear with me here.

I started by telling Julie about vacation.  I thought about my dad a lot while we were in Florida.  On the Star Tours ride at Hollywood Studios in Disney, because Star Wars was the first movie I saw in the theater at 7 years old, and Dad was a big sci-fi fan.  At the ocean...not sure why, maybe just the vastness of it and it reminded me of heaven.  At Seaworld during the dolphin show, where I got choked up and started crying at one point during the intense climax of the show--there were dolphins, acrobats, people swimming with the dolphins, and a dozen or so brightly-colored parrots that flew through the stadium over our heads, which all coalesced in the finale. It was amazing and beautiful.

I thought about Dad during that show because I felt that my response was inappropriate.  I was swept up in the intensity of it all, and the tears started flowing and I had to check myself and get it under control before I embarrassed myself or my family.  No one else was crying, afterall.

My Dad was fairly reclusive, but when he was among people, he often over reacted to things--big emotions, big displays of opinion.  I remember feeling embarrassed more than once in my childhood years by how he behaved. 

He went totally overboard on some things, like turning his Ham radio habit into storm chasing.  We were little kids and when a tornado would threaten our area, mom and us girls would go to my grandparents' basement down the hill (we lived in a trailer) and dad would sit under the trailer or drive his car around, looking for the tornado.

He also focused particularly on the attacks on 9/11/01, and on the war.  He and his 2nd wife bought this New York skyline (with towers in tact) that was made of mirrored glass and took up an entire wall of the dining room.  It's tacky and overstated; it epitomizes what I'm trying to get to here.  Inappropriate passion for something that is not personally significant (not that 9/11 isn't significant for every person in this country, but we didn't have family that died and we live in Indiana). 

After I told Julie all this, she picked out the word "inappropriate."  She said that happiness and sadness are close together in our emotions.  That tears can come with both.  That I was happy to be with my family on vacation, and I had been thinking of my dad but had to push those emotions down during the trip, and when I let myself open up to the emotional dolphin show, it was a natural reaction to shed some tears.  Nothing she heard in my description sounded inappropriate. 

I told her no one else was crying.  She said, why do you need approval from the crowd that you can cry? 

She asked what trauma I had experienced that I felt I coudn't trust my emtions and why I feel the need to not be seen?  I didn't have a ready answer.  I looked at the ceiling and thought.  She told me to look down at my lap, look below my shoulders.  I gave her a funny look and said why? I said, if I look down I'm going to cry (I was already emotional; I'd started crying in the parking lot when I left work to go to my appointment; it was a hormonal kind of day).  The emotions aren't up there, they are down here, she said. 

And sure enough, I looked down, started cry, let my mind run through my past, and kept coming to my childhood.  I said there wasn't any one thing, no one trauma.  But from puberty on, I felt like I needed to be invisible. 

My dad was moody.  He spent a lot of time in his recliner in our family room, where he watched TV with big stereo speakers and lots of sound (I am very sensitive to loud sounds, especially TV or music), or would listen to loud Lawrence Welk-style music.  He drank sometimes.  I learned to stay out of his way, or I'd get yelled at or made to feel bad about myself.  I spent a lot of time in my room, by myself.

I hated his bad moods.  I asked him one time if he was in a good mood or not--I was going to go with Mom somewhere if he wasn't--he said, you just asking me what kind of mood I'm in has put me in a bad mood.  How's a pre-teen supposed to respond to that?

By becoming invisible.  Invisible meant I didn't suffer his attention. 

As I continued to look down and think, more emerged through my tears. The 18 year old boyfriend, when I was 12, used to put hickies on my neck--3 or 4 at a time.  I was in 6th grade and humiliated at having an older, under-educated (read: stupid) boyfriend who marked me regularly.  I was (subconsciously) devasted that I had no adults that had intervened in the abuse I was receiving from this adult boy.  I wanted to hide, I was ashamed of everything about him, ashamed of my family (we lived in a trailer from 2nd grade until I entered high school), ashamed I was being abused but didn't have the power to do anything about it, ashamed I didn't have anyone who could rescue me. 

I needed to be invisible to survive the four years I spent being abused in a relationship my family approved of because it was "just like my mom and dad."  Mom was 12 when she met my 18 year old dad.  He left for the war and was gone for 4 years, and when he returned she was 16 and he was 22, they dated for a year, got married a year later, and had me a year later.  My relationship was nothing like theirs, other than the coincidence of the age differences; but this is why it was okay by my family standards.

My family's standards were seriously messed up.

Being invisible was my friend.  Being invisible kept me safe from Dad's bad moods.  Feeling invisible helped me survive the humiliation and shame of abuse.

Fat helps me be invisible still.  When I lost weight and was thin, I was the complete opposite of invisible.  I got a lot of attention--not sexual, but attention nonetheless.  I've written before about how the same people would comment every week at church about how great I looked, I was keeping the weight off, how was I doing it, was I still running in races.... blah, blah, blah.  It was nice at first, then it got uncomfortable.  It was probably always uncomfortable but the first blush of weight loss is thrilling, and the thrill obviously masked the loss of invisibility I'd been holding on to since I was 12 years old.

Gaining weight brought the protection of invisibility back.

Julie told me--I am looking at a beautiful woman, right now.  You have arrived.  You don't need to be invisible anymore.  You don't need the protection from being invisible to feel safe.

I haven't written or talked about this to anyone but my husband.  I didn't think to talk about with Julie yesterday.  But I think this is key and it just revealed itself, on why the fat came back last year.

When my dad got sick and he kicked out his wife, my uncle (Dad's brother) got very involved in Dad's care.  He became a surrogate father to me and my sister.  He is a Christian man who wears his faith on his sleeve.  His daughter died from brain cancer at age 16; he also has two sons, one older than his daughter, one younger.  He had a crush on my mom as a boy, especially I think when Dad was away in the army.  I look a lot like my mom.  I was still thin when Dad got sick and I spent a lot of time with my uncle, especially from January 2010 on, when Dad needed 24 hours a day care and my uncle started spending all his nights at my dad's house.

My uncle talked many, many times about how gorgeous my mom was as a girl, and how sexy she was, and how I look like my mom did back then.  He never made overt passes at me, never touched me inappropriately; he mostly acted like he wanted a surrogate daughter when I needed a surrogate father.  But.... I felt uncomfortable a lot around him.  He complimented me all the time on how I looked.  When I started gaining weight, he even said how I put the pounds on in just the right places, just like my mom when she gains weight. 

It creeped me out.  At the time, we needed my uncle's help too much for me to examine what was going on with these interactions.  I talked to Mark about them; he said my uncle is weird but harmless.  Again, there was never anything overt. 

But it must have been enough for me to feel like I needed the protection of feeling invisible again.  Sure, I gained weight because of the stress of my dad's illness, and the on-going drama that surrounded his estranged wife.  Yet I know there is more to it, now that I realize what I needed as a child to protect myself.  I needed the same protection at 40 years old, because I didn't know any other way of dealing with it.

It wasn't just my uncle's attention.  I think it was any man's attention, or heck even women.  I want to be liked by everyone.  Skinny women are often not liked by non-skinny women; I felt that vibe sometimes even in my circle of friends.

So the layers of fat are protection and invisibility--which is not new in the realm of weight issues, but it's new for me from a connection standpoint.

After we talked about how I'd arrived and I didn't have to be invisible anymore, Julie asked me how I got out of the abusive relationship.  Dad gave me a 1972 Chevelle Malibu when I turned 16.  My boyfriend thought I was stuck up all of the sudden (his family was very poor and barely had a car that ran between all of them).  We had also moved into a house the year before (same location--removed the trailer & moved in the modular, pre-fab home).  It basically just fell apart, without my active participation.

Just like the way it started.  I was with a girlfriend one summer, we went into "town" and hung out with our friend Jamey, who had a motorcycle (he was her boyfriend, I think).  The first time I met him, I rode on the back of the motorcycle with Azel (yes, even his name was weird--long A sound, but it still sounds like "ass hole") on the circular dirt track where the boys rode their bikes.  He took my hand in his, and put it on his thigh, then when we weren't facing the others, he put it on his crotch. He moved my hand back and forth, from his thigh to his crotch, depending on whether people could see us or not.  I remember being very uncomfortable but I was stuck on this bike with an 18 year old and didn't know what to do. 

The next week at school, there were kids asking about it. Asking if he was my boyfriend now.  I said no.  But Azel gave me his class ring through the school bus window, and I took it, having no idea what it meant.  Before I knew it, I was his girlfriend.  I had no experience--I was 12.  I didn't know how to say no.  It just happened.

Julie said, I had no control.  I was swept away, dragged by the hair--caveman style--gave no consent, was marked as "his" and had no one to protect me or save me or be my voice or rescue me.  She said when I got my car, he knew he'd lost control over me, that I would find my freedom and would be done with him, so he cut me off first.  I gave no consent at the start, and no consent at the end. 

When Julie used the word control, it hit me hard that that is why I have such control issues.  I'm a control freak.  I have claustrophia because of the lack of control I feel when I'm in a closed in space. We talked about control issues at my very first therapy session.  But now we knew where that came from.

When I was thin, I not only lost invisibility, I lost control, too.  I couldn't control people's reactions to me.  Couldn't control their attention or questions or reactions to my new body.  I also couldn't control my own emotional response to my potential power as a thin woman.  At first it was heady, but I didn't know what to do with it.  The initial rush was novel and fun, but it became uncomfortable in a way I didn't even realize at the time.

I journaled a lot of this yesterday afternoon while Luke was at gymnastics, so I didn't forget it.  I also asked myself these questions:

--Can I control reactions of others by being fat?  Yes, in my head at least.  No reactions means no attention.

--I feel ashamed of being fat.  Do I need to feel bad and ashamed, because of the abuse?  Do I (still) feel as if I don't deserve any better?

I have done no research into abuse victims' behavior and mentality. I never thought of myself as being abused (because, understand, I never thought of that time in my life.  Period.  It has been locked deep inside me in a dark black box for decades).  It seems to me that all the information on how to diet or exercise or lose weight is worthless, until I understand these newly revealed issues.

Last night I kept repeating to myself that I don't have to be invisible. I don't have to eat when I'm not hungry so I can be invisible.  I can trust myself with my own emotional responses (I told Julie my family was so full of disfunction, I have no idea what's appropriate and what's not, and it's always been better to just keep myself in control than to err on the side of embarrasement).  I can give consent when I choose; no one is going to make me do anything that I don't give consent for.  I can give over control, when I say it's okay.

I am under no illusions that my deeply held damaged beliefs are going to be healed after one hour of therapy and a blog post that runs from here to China.  But it's a start.  A start that has been a long time coming. And I can taste a tiny bit of freedom in all this pain.

Jen's post on "things that get in the way"

Please go read Jen's blog for an eye-opening post.

Jen, I tried to comment several times but blogger wouldn't take my URL or my google account.  So, here's my commment:

Great post, Jen, thank you for sharing. Good for you for standing up for yourself!

It's interesting to me that so many of the bloggers I read are now on this path (or searching for this path). We lost weight, we gained some back, we know what we did the first time didn't stick, we want to get it right now.

I haven't read this type of explanation before, not in this way.  Very enlightening.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

More on yesterday's post (180.4)

Yesterday I wrote "Being fat is what I know.  Being thin was the anomaly."

I've been noodling that thought in my head ever since. 

When I lost weight and was thin, I thought at the time that I felt more like myself than I ever had for all those years I was fat.  I felt like I'd finally been freed from the demons of being overweight, and I was then free to be the real me, instead of the me hiding under layers of fat.

Now I just don't know. I think "being fat is what I know" is a cop out.  I think it's more of what Geneen Roth says about being fat and being obsessed with diets and food.  It's a cover for what's really going on inside me.  If I'm occupied with this body stuff, then I don't have to look at and examine the real issues.

Not that the weight isn't a real issue.  Clearly, it is.  It affects every single aspect of my life.

But I didn't regain weight because food tastes good. I use food like a drug; I'm self soothing, self medicating, and self sabotaging.

As I thought yesterday about the benefits I experienced from being thin beyond the clothes and how I looked in the mirror and in pictures--it has to be about more than just looks, right?--I realized that what I miss most about that time in my life is running and exercising regularly.  I spent a good deal of time taking care of myself, of announcing to myself and to the world that "I'm worth it!"

I lost that when my dad got sick in late 2009, and especially in 2010, when so much of my "free" time was spent taking care of him and his concerns.  But dad's been gone for over six months. I gained 10 pounds while he was sick; I gained 20 pounds after he died.  I didn't go back to taking care of myself when I didn't have to take care of him anymore. 

So what's holding me back now?  Why can't I make the time to take care of myself?  Do I feel like I don't deserve the care and attention?  Why did I feel like I deserved it in 2007-2009, but I don't now?

I have no idea.  More to explore.  This stuff is hard.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Vickie's scale post & my reaction to it (181.2)

Vickie wrote a really great post in response to one of my questions on her blog. 

It is rich in revelations for me. 

She wrote: "Think of how many times a day we think about fat, negative thoughts about fat. I think positive thoughts, about being my real size, just as many times a day, in tiny ways."

It is ridiculous how many times a day I think about my weight and my body in unhappy ways.  I don't remember where I read/heard this, but some woman (famous, I think) said that women think of their bodies/weight as many times a day as men think about sex.  

I have always maintained that, if I lost weight and was happy with my body, the amount of space in my brain I'd have available to think positive thoughts could change the world.  Okay, maybe not change the world, but certainly influence my little pocket of the world in ways I'm not doing now.

When I was in the low 150s, I had a lot of positive thoughts, like Vickie talks about in her post.  My size 8 clothes all fit.  I could run for miles and felt invincible. I was lifting weights and felt strong. I looked great in pictures and in the mirror.  I blogged about my success and felt like an inspiration. 

But I still had those "fat head" thoughts.  Sure, I had a lot of happy body thoughts, but I still hated my belly pooch, my saddlebags, and my thighs.  Hated them enough that even though I can look back at pictures of myself in late 2007 and 2008 and 2009 and think, "what I wouldn't give to look like that now," back then I felt like I wasn't thin enough, wasn't good enough, needed to do more and be more.  Before I could be okay.

Today.... I assume that if/when I get back to size 8s, I'll be more appreciative of my size, no matter what the scale says or where I am in the BMI charts ("normal BMI" for me doesn't happen until 149 pounds, so even at 152-155, I am still "overweight BMI").   But.  Will it be enough... next time?

It's a moot point (or moo point, as Joey from Friends would say--I love that), because I don't weigh 152 pounds or wear a size 8.  Today I weighed 181.2 pounds and am wearing (loose) size 16 capri's and an XL t-shirt. 

I know my insides didn't match my outside in 2007-2009.  I guess my insides and my outside match right now.  I feel like a 182 pound woman inside.  I spent most of my adult life weighing 180+ pounds. From age 26 through age 31 I held steady in the 180s, size 14s.  Then I had a baby and another baby, and the scale kept going up and up, until I weighed over 220 pounds when I came home from the hospital with my son in 2005. 

Being fat is what I know.  Being thin was the anomaly.  

Even in high school, I wasn't fat but thought I was.  I have a prom picture from my senior year and my waist is t.i.n.y.  I remember my prom dress size was 11.  11 was for fat girls.  Thin girls wore size 5 or 7.  I was close, but never good enough, even then.  Especially then.

I keep looking back at 2008-2009--it doesn't help that I've been working with photos from vacation and have also been looking at pictures of myself from those years--and feeling utterly bereft. 

Borrowing from Vickie's use of definitions is helpful here: "bereft" = deprived or robbed of the possession or use of something; lacking something needed, wanted, or expected; suffering the death of a loved one.

And I realize, what my therapist told me back at our first meeting, that I am in mourning.  I'm not just mourning my dad and all the complexities of our relationship.  I'm not just mourning the lack of a nurturing childhood.  I'm also mourning the loss of who I was, who I had created myself to be in 2007 and 2008 and 2009. 

You don't know what you've got until it's gone.  Totally applies to those years, when I still wasn't happy with my weight and my size. 

But what if it applies to today, too?  What if those fat head thoughts--I'm not thin enough, I'm not good enough, I need to do more and be more before I'm okay--are what hold me back today?  And are keeping me unnecessarily unhappy and feeling like I was somehow robbed of a better life that I'd be living if I hadn't regained 30 pounds?

It's the same recording in my head now as it was in the Thin Years.  It's just louder now, because I don't have the smaller body and smaller clothing to dampen the roar.  Fat amplifies it all, but fat doesn't create the fat-head messages. Those have been there much, much too long to go away without kicking and screaming.

My therapist Julie and I talked about how I need to unhook my self-worth from my size.  Clearly, I have no idea how to do that.

The bereft feelings are real; I won't deny them or run from them or ignore them.  I also don't want to wallow in the past, and that's what it feels like I'm doing. 

Thank goodness I'm going to see her tomorrow.  I've got a lot of inside working out to do.

Monday, June 06, 2011

The After

We got home from vacation yesterday morning around 9:30 am.  The kids were ready to be home--they missed their beds and our dog.  I was ready, too.  Sort of.  But I knew today would be awful.

I remember when we came home from St John in 2009.  I'd had 9 days of no responsibilities whatsoever--I didn't even drive a car while I was there.  And I loved it.  I loved waking up and not having to worry about anyone but myself.  I loved the ocean, loved the sun, loved the freedom. 

So much so that when I got home, I freaked out because I didn't want to get all the responsibility back that I had before I left. I love my children and my husband and our little family.  But sometimes.... getting in the car by myself and driving South until I can't drive anymore sounds really appealing.  Especially in 2009, when my Dad got sick and the stock market was still in turmoil and I had to deal with all that on top of my normal everyday responsibilities.

This trip, I had the kids and my husband, so I still had a lot of responsibility (packing for 10 days for three people--thankfully Mark does pack for himself--is a ton of work, especially when you stay in three different hotels and have to repack three times) but I didn't have "real life" responsibility. 

The beach was laid back and peaceful and AWESOME. (I should have been born near an ocean.) 

Daytona beach, around 7 pm.  Our hotel was on the beach; we just walked down some stairs and were right there.  It was amazing.

Disney was exhausting but fun.  Seaworld was inspiring; Discovery Cove, where Mark & Sophie swam with a dolphin and where Sophie learned to snorkel around a salt-water coral reef, was like paradise. 

Breakfast with the Disney characters at Chef Mickey's.  This was our most expensive mael on the entire trip.... Mark got us the last walk-in table--I couldn't get a reservation before we left, because they were all booked.  We had no idea we'd be paying $128 (I know!!) for a breakfast buffet.  Still, it was a ton of fun.  All the characters stopped at our table and let us take pictures. 

It was great to be home yesterday.  We were all tired, but it was pleasant to be back home and still together. 

Today, I knew, would suck.

I got Sophie off to her first week of summer camp, Luke back to daycare, picked up the mail at the post office, sorted through it, got ready for work (I hadn't done my hair and makeup beyond eyeliner and mascara for over a week, so that was hard too), and got to the office at 11:30.  The whole time, I was depressed and wanted to cry.

I downloaded our pictures from the trip at work.  That helped a bit. I plan to get them printed right away so we can get a photo album put together soon--I don't want to end up letting this trip slip away and not have the memories in an album, so whenever we want to, we can relive our first big vacation as a family. 

There aren't many pictures of me, which is normal when Mom is the photographer (and my husband's close-up eyesight is terrible without his reading glasses, so when he takes a picture he can barely see if it's "good" or not--even the ones he did take of me are pretty lousy).  But there are enough for me to see the weight gain.  My upper arms are sadly the most depressing part of my body; they just seem so much bigger than I remember from when I was heavier before.  I did wear sleeveless a lot, which I know is a fashion don't for me right now, but it was Florida and I wanted to be comfortable. 

Sophie and me at my favorite Disney park, Hollywood Studios.

Luke and me on the Nemo ride (we're in a clamshell) at Epcot.

I didn't look any worse than many other moms we saw.  Sure, there were plenty of gorgeous hard bodies, but we were at family locations mostly and there are a lot of middle aged moms who look just like I do.

Still.  It was only two years ago I looked at pictures of vacation and thought, Damn, I look hot.

So.  I'm depressed about being home, depressed about my body, depressed I have such a ridiculous amount of stuff to do to recover from vacation.  Depressed because I thought about my Dad a lot on vacation, and I didn't have anywhere to put those emotions while we were in a happy place, so they are still stuffed down inside of me.  Depressed because I don't know why I keep longing for an escape to a life by the sea that will never happen. Depressed I can't let myself be happy with the blessed life I've been handed on a silver platter. 

I know this will pass. It's only temporary.  I have many, many happy memories of our trip.  It truly was special and magical.  I didn't worry (much) about my pudgy arms and belly while we were vacationing.  I had a lot of fun, and enjoyed every precious second with my children and husband. 

But today, the after of vacation is a bummer.

I haven't weighed yet.  I'm sure I gained weight over vacation, but I am still pretty bloated and don't want to "see" that bloat on the scale yet.  I'll probably weigh in a few days, after I've eaten clean food for a while.  One good thing about vacation--I am sick of eating food prepared by someone else, which hopefully translates to my eating home-cooked, healthy stuff for a long time.


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