Thursday, July 28, 2011

Calories, my weight, and the weekend (174.6)

I have to be honest.  I was beginning to freak out a little bit when my weight was still 176.0 yesterday.  I know I'm losing at the right rate, and last week's 175.2 marked a 5 pound loss in the past month.  But the up-tick on Wednesday messed with my head.  Knowing something in your head--like a small weight shift is no big deal--doesn't always translate to a rational emoitional response.  I was thrilled with this morning's reading.

Freaked out and thrilled..... emotional responses to that number staring back at me from between my feet.  Not exactly what I'm trying for this time. 

But, alas, I'm still learning to unhook from the scale.  That's going to be a long road, I think.

Last night I reviewed my food journal, which I've been keeping since June 28th (in hardcopy--a small Moleskine notebook). I've had 12 days of calories under 1,650.  The rest have been days between 1,700-2,000, or days I haven't fully tracked (like the cake eating days last weekend).

For 3 out of the past 5 weeks I've run/walked 3 days; one week was 2 days; one week was 1 day.

I was thinking last night I might want to back my calories down a bit if I didn't start losing again soon.  Today I think I want to keep them at the 1,600-1,700 level.  That allows me room to exercise 3 days a week without feeling deprived or exhausted.  And I think it also allows for the occasional day where I go over 1,700 calories.  Emphasis on "occasional"; as in, 2 or 3 a month at most.

Ultimately, I'll know by what the scale says.  It's determining how long I want to let my weight stay the same before I adjust the calories down (or, increase the aerobic activity, which I want to do anyway). 

What IS the right time frame to allow for a steady weight before reducing calories?  A month?  Less?  More?

I know there's no rush to lose this weight.  But I also have a goal of weighing 155 by the end of February, for the Princess Half Marathon in Florida.  I think that is attainable and not at all agressive--it's 20 pounds in almost 7 months.  I'd like to weigh less, because I run faster when I weigh less, but I can run 13.1 miles at 155 pounds, and it won't kill my pace too badly.

So, we'll see.

Tomorrow we are taking the kids to Indianapolis to see Taylor Swift. We are staying at a hotel down town Friday night (walking distance to concert), and then Saturday afternoon we'll meet up with Mark's sister and niece's families for the pool and dinner, which will include celebrating Mark's birthday on Sunday (he shares a birthday with Harry Potter--July 31st ).  There will be cake. 

I haven't decided if I'm going to have a slice or not.  I think "not" is the smart choice, since there was cake last weekend.  But, it's his birthday and it won't be in my house or the house we are staying in Saturday night, so there won't be temptation for more.  I will probably see how the rest of my food is up to that point before I decide.

Traveling is tough. I'm going to try my darndest not to gain weight on this trip.  I am packing food and a cooler, so I will have my usual snacks.  I know I can order healthy foods when we eat out; Saturday I think our niece & her husband are going to grill, so that will work out great.

I'm taking my running stuff & hitting the treadmill Saturday morning at the hotel. I have to get in 4 miles Saturday to stay on my half marathon training plan. A workout will help keep me focused on making healthy choices.

Saturday night we are staying with Mark's sister & her husband, in their new house.  They will have healthy breakfast foods like oatmeal (real oats, not brown sugar & cinnamon in a small brown bag) and fruits.

The good news is that his family is very health conscious, and we are not visiting or staying in homes where they eat a lot of junk food.

I likely won't blog while I'm gone, so it may be Monday before I'm back here, unless I have anything pertinent to share.  I can blog from my Blackberry, which is super cool. 

Oh, and it's been absolutely lovely having a husband who isn't tied to school books!  Wednesday morning as Mark was leaving for work, he had a lightness to his voice and face that I haven't seen in ages.  I told him if I could read people's auras, I would say that his has finally changed from dark to light.  It's a very good thing.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Therapy (forgiveness) (176.0)

Monday was my 7th therapy appointment.  I have a spreadsheet that I track everything related to my health on.  I color code and number my therapy and acupuncture appointments.  I track my cycle, and also my moods and intrusive thoughts.  I log if I eat at night, my weight, and my workouts (type, distance, time).  I note if there is anything big that happens that day, things like vacation or being out of town or any other family event.

I think this tracking helps me a lot.  It's sort of like Vickie's green/red day calendar post.  I started using a spreadsheet the first time I lost weight in 2007.  I kept it up for about 3 years, I guess.  I lost it when my harddrive died last year.  I started this new one in February this year.  On February 6, I weighed 176.6.  My weight hasn't had a net change since then, but I gained 10 pounds and have lost 10 pounds in the the past six months.  So, the spreadsheet tells a bigger story than the number on the scale alone.

On to the therapy appointment.  I have made a lot of progress in my 6 therapy appointments.  Obviously, though, I still have things I want to work on.  I had made a list before I went  so I'd know what to talk about, other than how much better I feel, which we did discuss for the first 10 minutes.  Like most lists, I didn't get down to the real meat of what needs to be tackled first until I got to #8. 

Have you heard that before?  If you make a list outlining pros/cons/the "why's" of something, it's not until you get to the end that you find real meaning. I read that once, anyway, and it seems to be true, at least for me.

At any rate, my #8 was anger and resentment toward my mom.  Ever since starting therapy, I have had a horrible time being around my mom.  She has always driven me a little nuts, but dragging all this stuff up from my past has made it almost unbearable. 

Since I started therapy, my mom has not changed.  I have. 

I have been at my absolute worst around her; another way to say that is, she brings out the worst in me. But that implies my behavior is her fault, and it isn't.  I'm impatient and anger easily and am defensive.  I punish her with passive agressive comments.  I spend as little time as possible with her.

I explained all this to Julie.  We talked more about the dynamics of our relationship.  We eventually ended up at Forgiveness.

Julie asked me to define forgiveness.  That was hard.  I said it's not holding something against someone anymore, and forgiveness is more important to the forgiver than the forgivee.  My mom doesn't even know I have anything to forgive her for.

Which is another reason I'm angry at her.  She has no clue (or at least hasn't acknowledged that she has a clue) how abandoned and neglected and abused I felt as a young adolescent and teenager.  I felt all those things, and on top of it, I feel that she knows me so little or cares so little or is so stinking unaware of the complexity of childhood and human beings, that she is ignorant or simply ignores how her actions and inactions have affected me so strongly.

I resent her.  I feel the need to punish her.  I'm angry at her. 

I don't know how to forgive her.

Julie asked if forgiveness is the same as forgetting.  I said yes, in a way, because I want to forget all those things she did/didn't do, because every time I'm with her, I feel those feelings.  I want them gone, so I can forgive and forget. 

Then Julie told me what she thinks forgiveness is.  She said that forgiveness is acknowledging your past, acknowleding your pain, and proclaiming that you have survived.  That you are okay NOW.  And you can move on.  Forgiveness is not letting the past infect your relationships now or control who you are now. 

Forgiveness doesn't mean you have to say "that's okay."  The way I've been brought up, when someone says "I'm sorry," you respond with "that's okay."  I'm teaching my kids that by example.  This is wrong.  "I'm sorry" doesn't mean whatever was done to you was okay. 

I realized in her office that that is why I can't forgive (based on my definition) my mom for the past.  In my mind, if I forgive her, I am saying that what happened then is okay, and it's pretty freaking far from okay. 

This new definition is taking some getting used to.  I understand it, but it's a huge shift in thinking.  I want to embrace it; I plan to.  I don't want to feel all knotted up and angry when I'm with my mom.  She doesn't do anything to me NOW that warrants my behavior (at least that I have examined; I am so wrapped up in the past it is hard to know that for sure). 

Don Henley has a song called The Heart of the Matter.  The bridge goes like this:
There are people in your life who've come and gone.
They've let you down.  You know they've hurt your pride.
You better put it all behind you, baby.  'Cause life goes on.
You keep carrying that anger, it'll eat you up inside.

The last verse is:
I've been trying to get down, to the heart of the matter,
because the flesh will get weak, and the ashes will scatter.
So I think it's about forgiveness, forgiveness,
Even if, even if, you don't love me anymore.

I've been on a Don Henley kick the past week or so (which is how I roll; I like to listen to one artist for days and days, then switch to someone else).  I've listened to his Actual Miles CD every morning, and these lyrics hit me hard every time.

I know I can forgive my mom, because it's not about her.  It's about me.  I survived.  I am okay now.  I can move on.  I don't have to let the past control me anymore.  I can let the light shine into that black box, and release it.

Julie said I need to find a way to work through this in a tangible way.  Ideally, this would involve talking to mom about how I feel.  She said that it's not necessary though; I don't feel the need to hurt my mom with all this.

Which is another issue in itself--I feel like it's my responsibility to protect her from being hurt, but that means it's okay that I hurt myself--which is totally not okay.

So she suggested I choose some kind of symbolism.  I could write about it, print it out, and tie it to a balloon and set it free, or burn it.  I thought of the idea of taking a magnifying glass and setting it on fire with sunlight. I like the symbolism of the light taking away the dark.

There was more, believe it or not.  It was a very productive session.  I'll write next time on commitment vs. attachment.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tuesday weight update (175.4)

Been very busy today, no time to post. I'm on track, doing well. Had a productive therapy appt yesterday that I will write about soon.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Successful "After" Weekend (176.8)

Saturday was a packed day, but good.  

I spent 2 hours Saturday morning getting our bedroom cleaned up.  New duvet and clean sheets on the bed.  I cleaned the year-old stacks of books and various other things from our nightstands.  The clean bedroom was a gift to myself for getting through the last 3+ years of Mark's studying. And it was a gift to Mark too--a clean slate, with no more books or highlighters to crowd his sleeping area.

Then Sophie & I drove to my mom's & picked up Luke, and the three of us ran errands for over 3 hours.  We got everything to decorate the house for Mark's return Saturday night.  I bought flowers at The Fresh Market (a gorgeous bouquet for $6.99--a steal), balloons, crepe paper streamers, and a cake. More on the cake in a minute.  We finally got home and I decorated while the kids relaxed.  I think I sat down maybe a total of 30 minutes all day, which was a good thing.  Busy hands and all that.

Mark got home around 7:30 pm, and he was pleased by the fuss we made over him.  We had a great family night together.  He still hasn't really adjusted to the fact that he's finished.  It's going to be a big After for him, too.

So. The cake.  It was 6" round--the smallest I could get. At first blush, the cake is a bad idea. We didn't NEED cake to celebrate. I chose to have cake because it is a traditional way to celebrate, and I pulled out all the stops for Mark. I wanted him to feel special.

I had a slice Saturday night when Mark got home, and one slice Sunday.  It was not my downfall this weekend.  I didn't do my usual dance with the cake--where I take a fork and eat straight from the box in the middle of the night.  I mindfully sat down and ate a piece when everyone else did, and allowed myself to savor the sweetness, and let it be. 

I think allowing myself to have some cake let me get through The Afters of the weekend without binging.  Because I did. not. binge.  At all.  Not once.  The only sugar I had all weekend was the two slices of cake. 

After I look at how the weekend went down, food wise, I can see that allowing myself the small bits of sugar pleasure--and not making it forbidden and therefore something I obsessed about all weekend--was, for me, a good way to cope without having a full-on binge meltdown.  

It is important to note that I kept the rest of my food stable and normal. I ate cake after I had had a meal with protein, and my next meals were exactly what I would have had if I hadn't had cake.  I think the sugar impact was lessened because of it.

The cake was a lot of sugar, though.  I wasn't used to it.  I didn't need much to satisfy me.  Much less than I would have eaten in the past.  I also had a cup of milk with each cake slice, and that protein may have tempered the sugar, too.

We spent all day Sunday at home. The kids never got out of their PJs.  It was a nice family day, and we all needed to chill out.  I kept very busy, but also made time to rest and play. 

All of our hampers are empty and there is only one basket of towels left to be folded (which Sophie will do as one of her chores). 

I had finished our vacation photo album Saturday; I left open slots on many pages for journaling papers and started writing them on Sunday.  I cleaned up my scrapbooking table and got things organized for my next projects. 

I read a while on my Kindle.  I played charades with the family for about 45 minutes.  We sat around and talked about the new Harry Potter movie (which Mark went by himself to see Saturday night at 10:45 pm because he couldn't stand to wait any longer). 

I ate cleanly, didn't have the wants, didn't take a nap, didn't feel bereft, didn't yell at anyone or get impatient or angry. It was a nice, steady day. 

Mark and I had a long talk last night after the kids went to bed.  I was glad we got the conversation going right away, instead of waiting.  We have put our relationship on hold for over 3 years.  He did an amazing job of staying connected to our kids during these insanely intense 3 years.  He has made a living for us and we are still in business.  He has his bachelors degree.  He took a 10 hour exam that he put in over 400 study hours for; that doesn't count the 6 trips to Philadelphia and the hours he spent working and studying there.

The 3 years he has been studying have encompassed a lot of drama.  The stock market crash of 2008.  My dad's year long illness and death, and all the stress that went with it.  My depression and weight gain. Mark's own health issues, especially his lower back pain.  Our daughter's migraines and ADHD, which, praise the Lord, we finally found resolutions for in the summer of 2009 and she has been healthy ever since.

It's frankly a miracle we have a marriage left at all, after the immensity of what we have faced.  But we do.  I am blessed to have a sensitive, emotional, intelligent, communicative husband who wants to rebuild our relationship.  And I am excited to see what happens next.

I told him last night that I have no expectations.  I am leaving the future open, not setting up rigid guidelines for how I want my life and our lives to be.  I don't want to set ourselves up for failure.

There were many times during our talk where I could have gotten defensive, let my pride get in the way.  I didn't.  I stopped, I thought, I let encouraging words come out of my mouth.  I can get my feelings hurt easily, and I often interpret things the wrong way.  I didn't let that happen last night.

I am fully aware that the recent topics on several of our blogs--on graceful living mostly, and my realization that my reactions to people are often prideful, and not the way I want to live my life--are a big reason I was able to do this.  I am also aware that not have sugar coursing through my veins also allowed me to think more clearly. 

And the 53 minute 4 mile run I went on at 6 pm last night, in the drizzly cool blessed rain, helped rid my mind and body of stress and anxiety.

Considering what a huge After this weekend was, I am happy with how things went.  I am not wallowing in regret. I am relishing the peace and joy that enveloped our family.

Today, I am happy.

Friday, July 22, 2011

No Ben, No Jerry (175.2)

Yesterday was an extremely frustrating day.  I got to work at 8 a.m. because Mark is out of town.  Our email server was changed the night before, but it was only supposed to affect the other broker & his assistant, and not Mark & me.  But when I got to the office yesterday morning, we had no email, and Mark wasn't getting his emails on his Blackberry.

I wasn't involved in the process at all, and the service provider gave my coworker the wrong information, so it was a giant cluster-youknowwhat.  I did something to my PC in the process that messed things up (I know just enough about computers to be dangerous, and trying to do something myself bit me in the butt), so it took even more time than it should have.  All in all, updating Blackberries and fixing emails and my PC (had to call in the computer guys that work in our building), I spent almost 7 hours in a big mess and being highly frustrated.

Not once did I think of eating my way through it.

I left the office at 4:30 and went straight to the movies (mom has the kids yesterday and today, so I could get to work by 8 am. Sophie didn't have any camps this week). I saw Harry Potter--wonderful!--and didn't want to eat anything there, either. Movies are a big eating trigger for me.  This was the first time I didn't NEED something to eat while there. Maybe it was because I was by myself and no one was with me eating popcorn and candy. Or maybe I've gotten past the desire for movie+food.  I'll be going to see HP again with Mark & Sophie, so I'll see what happens then.

After the movie, I went home and got straight into my running gear.  I headed out at 7:30 and went running/walking for 3 miles.  It was hot, and there was no breeze.  But I'm getting stronger and was able to run more than walk.  My asthma kicked in after about 30 minutes, after I'd pushed myself at a 9:30ish pace for a tenth of a mile.  A tight, burning chest in oppressive heat was enough to slow me down for the last 10 minutes.  I got home and showered, ate some yogurt and fruit, took my meds, took care of the dog, talked to Mark, checked my emails, and headed to bed.  I was asleep around 10 pm.

In the past, a day like yesterday coupled with a night to myself would have meant an excuse to indulge my love affair with Ben & Jerry.  B&J are notorious for giving me immense ice cream pleasure.  Chubby Hubby, Phish Food, Triple Carmel Delight--all are past consorts that I have lovingly adored, usually a full pint at a time.  

Not once did I have the desire to drive to Walgreens for a pint.  

I talked to Mark before bed, and told him about this little victory.  He knows about Ben & Jerry, and knows if he discovers a pint in the freezer, that I'm not doing well.  It felt really good to tell him about my horrific day, and how well I coped.  I had the escapism I needed in Harry Potter, and I wore my body out so I didn't have the opportunity to ruminate or feel alone.  I slept really well last night.

The scale finally moved down.  My clothes continue to feel looser. My legs are looking better (I have great calves from running, and they are getting that contour and cut back again). My face is slimming down already.  Positive reinforcement for positive change.

I don't need compliments this time.  I'm not waiting on pins & needles waiting for when someone will ask me "are you losing weight?"   I don't need anyone else's external acknowledgement that my body is getting smaller. 

The trip down the scale, this time, is much different than in 2007.  The trip down the scale, at 175 now, is much different than the trip up the scale in the past year.  When I first hit 175 on the way up, I felt horrible and like a failure.  Now it feels good to finally be solidly under 180, and making my way back to my size 12 body, which means I'm that much closer to my size 8 body. 

But I am making the most of the journey this time--even though I am impatient to get the fat suit off--and there's no rush and no pressure. 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Making hay while the sun shines (176.6)

I have felt better this past month than I have in the past two years.

I am not "elated" or on some kind of high.  But after being depressed for so long, the lifting of spirit that has happened to me recently is a tremendous improvement.

It has not been one thing.  It has been many things.

First and foremost is therapy. Something happened after the "invisible/control" session, which includes the revelations in my blog post about my weight gain after Dad died.  I don't know the science of therapy or how an expert would describe what happened. But to me, it felt like I opened that dark box and let the light in.  And the light made room for better things to replace the dark box. 

I still cry every time I think about that session (like, right now as I'm writing this).  Which tells me the pain isn't gone yet, and there are still dark boxes that need to be dealt with.  And that's okay.  I've started the process and am moving forward; that's what matters.

Second is the Whole Food change.  I still don't know what to call how I'm eating.  And when I say that, I mean I don't know how to respond to people like my mom and my friends (although I haven't been in a social environment all month, so it hasn't come up with them yet) when communal food opportunities comes up.  It's not a diet, because there is no end.  I'm not eating processed foods; I'm eating whole foods. 

I guess I don't have to say anything but "no, thank you."  Explanations just sort of get in the way and bring out my prideful side anyway.  An explanation from me can end up sounding like "no, I don't want to eat that processed junk you are eating because I'm only eating whole foods now, but you go right ahead and fill your body with that crap."  Not the most gracious way to respond.  I think I'll work on my "no, thank you's" and shutting my mouth.

At any rate, not eating sugar or processed foods has been a revolutionary change.  The times I have eaten them, I have felt much, much worse emotionally. Now that could be a chicken/egg thing--I ate when I was very hormonal, when I was feeling bad emotionally anyway.  But I know what sugar-rage feels like, and it is different from hormonal-rage. 

There's also sugar-bloat and sugar-coma and sugar-cotton-mouth and sugar-rush and sugar-crash and sugar-craving and sugar-obsession and sugar-holy-cow-I-can't-wear-my-pants-anymore.  Those things are gone. 

I do not feel food deprived. I am happy to make and eat breakfast every morning. I love discovering that greek yogurt, strawberries+pineapple, and walnuts taste like heaven (and don't make me crave more, more, more).  I love not spending money on drive thrus or take out.  I love that my clothes are looser.

Third is (possibly, probably) the medication (lamotrigine) I started a little over a month ago. You have to titrate up slowly to avoid side effects.  So the 1st two weeks were 25 mg, the 2nd two weeks were 50 mg, and then Monday we bumped up to 75 mg.  The therapeutic dose isn't supposed to be reached until 100 mgs, but the nurse practitioner said that she wouldn't be surprised if I am seeing some relief from the lower doses.  "Go slow, stay low" is the mantra for these types of meds, she said, so we are going to go to 75 for a month and see how I feel. 

Fourth, I'm sleeping much better.  I am not staying up until 11 pm or midnight.  I get in bed around 9:45 or 10, and by 10:30 I am asleep.  I usually wake up once to go pee, but I go back to sleep fairly easily for the most part.  I'm not yet an early riser, but I could see me getting there soon.

Lastly, I'm blogging nearly every day.  I'm relying on the blog community and my long-time blog friends for support and advice and real learning.  I stopped blogging when I was depressed and gained weight; I felt like I didn't have anything positive to share.  I started blogging almost everyday when I felt better and am losing weight.  But... is this a chicken/egg thing too?  What if I'd never stopped blogging? What if I didn't bury my head in the sand for a year and ignore reality?  Would I have learned these things a year ago?  Honestly, it doesn't matter either way.  I can't change the past.  But I throw that out there for anyone who reads this and isn't blogging because she is depressed and gaining weight.  Maybe she'll read this and be ready to change, and start blogging regularly again to discover her own truths sooner rather than later. 

So all these things (and probably more that just haven't come to mind yet) add up to me moving forward on a regular basis.  I am making hay while the sun shines.  For me, making hay means:

I cleaned my closet. Every day I get to see an organized closet with clothes that fit me, instead of being assaulted by what I can't wear and by the disorganization.

I stay on top of the laundry. I have been doing some kind of laundry activity almost every night.  I did not spend last weekend up to my eyeballs in full hampers and overflowing baskets of clean clothes, because I had been working on it all week. All our hampers are only 1/4 full, and as of last night, mine was empty.

I keep the kitchen clean.  I unload the dishwasher almost immediately and keep dirty dishes off the counter and in the dishwasher.

I cleaned up the clutter in my "hot spots" in the kitchen. Anyone ever follow The Fly Lady?  I used to years ago; had a control journal and everything (which was just another excuse to plan and not DO, but that's a post for another day).  She talks about living in "chaos"--Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome.  She tells you to start avoiding chaos by shining your kitchen sink every night.  Start with a clean kitchen, and the rest will follow.  Keep the hot spots--where things gather and clutter--to a minimum by having a "one touch" rule.  I'm a bit obsessive about it now, but I have to be or else it gets out of control in no time.

I started our vacation photo album last night.  Not a scrap book, but using a scrap book quality photo album (from Creative Memories).  I ordered the photos last week, which was a huge endeavor to begin with (we took over 500 pictures and a ton of video).  I decided last night that instead of moping or eating or feeling lonely, I'd give our family the gift of memories by Doing Something with our pictures.  It doesn't have to be done all at once.  I am not in an "all or nothing" place with these pictures.  I am not waiting until I've finished Luke's baby album and our Christmas album and the kids' school albums to work on our 2011 Vacation album.  I am starting where I am, and will do what I can, and will work backwards until there's nothing to work backwards to anymore.  I may be 60 before everything is finished.  So what.  I'll be 60 anyway someday.  Might as well be 60 with photo albums completed than 60 with a "woulda/shoulda/coulda" complex.

I am running again, and planning for an October half marathon (my 6th) and a February half marathon (in Florida at Disney with 5 other women).  I dug all my race medals out of my jewelry box the other day.  They were tangled and unloved.  I gathered them together and thought, "These medals are something to be displayed, not buried under a mound of tangled jewelry. They each represent 13.1 miles, and every race--no matter how slow or fast--is a triumph. Why on earth would I bury these symbols of my accomplishments?!"

So they are going to be displayed in my bedroom by my bedside table (I am looking for some display hooks this weekend).  Not in the family room or the hallway--I do not want to appear boastful or proud.  But I do want to remind myself that I am a runner.  That every year since 2008 I have run at least one 13.1 mile race.  And I want a place where each time I run a new race, I can honor that run for what it is--a personal miracle and gift.

It's not just about the races, though. Those medals will be there to remind me that
Every single day that I get out of bed and stand on my own two feet and move forward with purpose, it is a personal miracle--and a gift.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

THE Test is this weekend (176.0)

My husband leaves for Indianapolis today.  He is staying with his sister and brother in law in their new house, which is very nice and comfortable, and his sister will make sure Mark eats well and is rested.  The CFP exam starts Friday (3 hours) then continues on Saturday (7 hours, with a 1 hour break for lunch). 

Three years of work boils down to 10 hours.  He finished his bachelor's degree in 2 years, specifically so he could take the CFP exam, which he's been studying for for 17 months (there was overlap with finishing school and starting CFP prep).

For the majority of our son's life, who is 5 1/2, my husband has been studying.

Mark does most of his work in our bed, which drives me nuts but it's his way and I can't change him (and we don't have a spare room for a separate office).  The duvet is a mess--ink and highlighter marks in enough places that it's a mess.  I am getting a new duvet this weekend while he's gone. 

The kids and I are going to decorate the house Saturday and welcome him home with balloons and streamers and kid-made posters.  We won't know if he has passed the test for 2-3 months. But, either way, it's a victory that after Saturday, he's FINISHED.

And yes, it is going to be a big AFTER adjustment.  I envision that we are both going to want free time, but in different ways.  I don't know what he expects--we haven't talked about it.  He isn't a "future plans" kind of guy; he has a hard time looking beyond the moment, especially when he's focused on a big task like this test. So I guess next week we'll have to talk about it, although I'm not going to ambush him.   The best plan is probably to relax my expectations, take it easy, and, above all, communicate.

I did go running/walking last night, in the heat. I went out at 6:45 and it was still in the 90s.  There was a breeze, which was nice, but it was still very hard to breathe while running.  So I walked a lot, and jogged for a tenth or two of a mile at a time.  It didn't matter that I walked--I was moving for 45 minutes and when I was finished, I was wrung out and much more at peace with myself.  I love it when workouts work their magic.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Creativity and Play: Links from Jen (177.2)

Jen has written several insightful posts (here and here and here, and there may be more but those are enough for you to get the general idea) about the work of author BrenĂ© Brown, PhD.  I really identified with Jen's posts and the information she shared, especially about shame.

I finally looked at Dr. Brown's website today, and read several of her blogs.  I've bought both her books on my Kindle today, and expect to start reading them this week.

A couple of her blogs stood out to me today.  These are things that are absolutely missing in my life. 

Creativity--she says, "As long as we’re creating, we’re cultivating meaning." 

And Play--she lists this quote from Brian Sutton-Smith: "The opposite of play is not work; it's depression."

She also writes:
"Stuart Brown has done wonderful research on play - his book has really helped me get my head and heart around play. Rather than defining play, Brown proposes seven properties of play.
One property of play is that it's time spent without purpose. In our culture that's also known as an anxiety attack. Our TO-DO lists are so extensive that we feel like slackers if we're not working to check off tasks every single minute of the day and night. Even sleep has started to feel self-indulgent.
Brown also identifies losing track of time as an important property of play.

I can't remember the last time I was creative or played.  I don't even know what would constitute either for me.

Almost everything I do is related to getting a task completed, even when it's a fun task.   Now there's an oxymoron.

The quote "opposite of play is not work; it's depression" really hit me.

I need more play in my life.  I think my trail running was the closest I've come to play in a long time (and that was in the guise of a workout, but ultimately it was an adventure and fun).  I know that scrapbooking has been a creative outlet, but right now there is so much stacked up and disorganized--I just feel behind and it's a task, not creativity.  I don't play with my kids--that's left to their dad; the time he spends with them is always play, and he's really good at it.  My time with the kids is almost all business--homework, chores, appointments, activities (singing for Sophie, gymnastics for Luke), errands.  We watch movies together and have down time, but often even when that's happening, I'm folding laundry or doing some other housework while the movie is on.

I don't know how to have fun.  Or, better said, I don't allow myself to have fun.  There is always too much to do, too much to clean, too much on my shoulders, and if I don't do it, who will?  Ultimately, I think those thoughts are prideful and martyr-driven, and are the example that was set for me by my mom and my grandmother.

Yet another area to improve and grow. But this one, by its very nature, should be fun filled.  Guess I'll put "have fun" on my next to-do list.  :)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Monday post (177.4) - Hormones a ragin'

Please see the other post from today (below) for some very important realizations I had this weekend.  I think they may help a lot of you who struggle with the same issues.

This post is to update what's going on with me from the rest of the weekend.

I had a very rough Sunday, preceded by a semi-tough Saturday.  I had the epiphany about not straddling the fence of dysfunction Saturday morning.  It helped me deal with my Friday carb binge.  Saturday for dinner we went out to eat at our favorite Japanese hibachi grill restaurant.  I had eaten healthfully all day, and knew that the food at the restaurant would be OK, but the stuff they add to the food (butter, salt in soy sauce, MSG) would not be.  I knew, but I agreed anyway because both Mark & Sophie wanted to go.  I did not eat to the point of being stuffed.  I was comfortable, not overly full in anyway. But the sodium and extra carbs from the rice surely took its toll.

Sunday Mark left for the office at 7 am.  He took a practice exam over the weekend (3 hours Saturday, 7 hours Sunday).  I had decided not to go to church, so the kids and I could have a stay-home day and because I was not up for fielding all the "where's Mark?" questions. 

I was extremely hormonal Sunday.  I've talked about this before--my mid-cycle hormones are in many ways worse than PMS.  I get angry, and feel reckless (like, wanting to listen to Pearl Jam in the car and drive really, really fast), and have a lot of intrusive thoughts.  I live inside my head during this time, and have to push a lot of stuff down, because what I feel and think aren't appropriate to share with anyone else.  And added to all that, I was feeling quite lonely from very little adult interaction lately. 

I resolved that morning, just as I had Saturday morning, to stay on plan.  I ate a good breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  I took a xanax at 11 am because I was ready to blow up at the kids, and I didn't want to put them or myself through that.  I kept busy with dishes, laundry, and cleaning.  I read a book.  I watched part of Harry Potter with Sophie.  We went to Target and got school supplies. 

I did not eat my way through the day.  At one point, when I went out to get food for dinner for the kids & Mark at Dairy Queen (burgers--I was not up to grilling or fixing anything else for them), I fought and won the battle of "Ice Cream Screaming My Name."  I told myself that I would not feel better eating a small cone or a large cone.  That no amount of ice cream was going to take away the feelings. That I could feel them and not die.  That they were only temporary and would pass as soon as the hormones were through with me.

A little miracle occurred--I believed it.  I believed it all, and I didn't get ice cream, and a real sense of peace came over me. 

At 5:30 Sophie had a friend call and ask her to see a movie.  Mark wanted to take Luke to see Winnie the Pooh, too, so by 7:15 pm the house was mine.  I was sleepy from the 11 am xanax and from being on the go all day long.  I fell asleep while reading a book for about 30 minutes. I woke up and got up off the couch, and knew I was doomed.

I couldn't go back to sleep, because I had to be available for the kids when they got home. All I wanted was to have the Horrible Day over with. I regretted not having the energy to go running while I had time to myself.  I had fought the cravings and the emotions and the feelings all day.

I was tired of fighting.

I ate.

It was the usual suspects. Carbs, fat, sugar--wrapped up in destructive bags and boxes and cellophane wrappers.  880 calories in five minutes.  I knew what I was doing but couldn't stop.  I had no control left.  I was aware enough that I counted the cost in calories.  I stopped when I had enough in my body to soothe the angst; it could have been worse.  There was no ice cream involved. 

The stash I raided was the "kids' fun food."  It will be thrown out tonight when I get home.  They ask for it at the store, I cave in, they have ONE serving, I put it away, then I finish it off in times like this.  Sabotage.  It's senseless and counterproductive.

I woke up late this morning, but ate a healthy breakfast.  I cursed the scale, but knew I had to weigh and not bury my head in the sand.  My fingers are puffy--I am bloated from Saturday's salt and yesterday's junk. 

I will take this weekend and USE IT.  I will not hide from it.  I will not lie on this blog and pretend that I'm perfect and healed and have it all together.  I am far, far from it. 

But I'm getting closer.  Even when I take a step back, like I did this weekend, I can turn it around and start moving forward again.

I started keeping track of what causes "the afters."  I will write a separate post later in the week about what they are, and add to it as I discover them.  A big problem I face is this: I don't know what all my "after" triggers are, and I don't know how to deal with them even when I DO know.  I know there are things to do to keep me even and healthy, which I am not doing enough of (like running, so I can have endorphins in my brain).  Those things are proactive.  It's the "reactive" that I need help with. 

I have a therapy session next Monday.  I meet with the nurse practitioner tonight, and will likely have my med increased (very slow titration up, and probably won't get to useful dose for another 4-6 weeks). 

I know that when Mark is through with his test this coming weekend, things will get better.  We have both been a hostage to his study time the past few months, which have been very intense and very lonely for us both.  Surely I can survive one more week.

Dependency on Others vs. Dependency on Ourselves (very important)

The comments below from Vickie were left in comments on my Friday post.  They are very important, and warrant a post of their own.  I hope you read all the way through, to my response at the bottom.

Vickie said:

Okay, one thing I just realized is this is the first time, since I have known you, that you have NOT been dependent on a 3rd party for your process.

Yes, you are taking bits and pieces from things and using tools (kay, me, whoever, therapist, doc, meds).

But you are totally standing on your own two feet.
I think this is the first time I have seen you do this (rely on yourself and not get tied into 3rd party plan or person) in regard to the outer change. And as you said, this is also the first time you have done really addressed your inner work too.

To be honest, when I see people tied to packages, partners, groups, etc, I always feel trepidation. That is sort of putting ones eggs in someone else's basket instead of our own.

yes, I get that we all support each other and we all gain ideas from other people's experiences. not talking about that. I guess what I am talking about is REALLY OWNING one's process.

we have to actually do it ourselves. We have to be dependent/responsible for ourselves.

(part of this also is our stopping feeling responsible for others as a means of avoiding our own lives. my former volunteer work is a good example.)

the dependency on others thing -

We can't have our process stop or stall because we stop going to the group (or it goes out of business), or because we loose our trainer or partner or whatever.

We have to change constantly. We can outgrown people (to put it plain) easily. The easiest way to think about this is my classes, I have needed to step up intensity many times over the years. I would think running partners would be the same as paces change. (I don't think it probably happens as much with sponsors in step programs because the fundimentals remain the same.)

but I really think that standing in our own shoes and NOT putting responsibility in someone else's hands, no matter how subtly, is a major part of the process.

this 'dependency on ourselves' and having to drop dependency on others comes into play with enabling and codependency too.

we can not straddle both worlds and stay balanced for some of these people [emphasis by Laura]. Can't play the dependency/enabling game when we aren't that way any more. this is true in blog land. it is true in real life.

And that ties into your uncle post from the other day. We all try to have those family members turn into supportive people in our lives. We can't do that for them. If they figure out how to change to fit into our lives, it is their choice. If they don't, that is their choice too. I know it is hard, because deep inside us there is a little girl who wants them to be functional. When we learn to be functional, it is very hard to deal with the nonfunctional. We can't invested in being both.

Laura's response to Vickie's comments:
I haven't been able to name why it is so hard to listen to my sister go on and on about her husband and stepson and friends--all highly dysfunctional. Or listen to my mother go on and on about her husband and all of her issues--highly dysfunctional. But that's why. I have outgrown (am outgrowing) the dysfunction. I don't want to straddle the fence any longer.

I am still too invested--I just explained (again) to my sister [Thursday] why she and her husband need marriage counseling (because they have no role models and have never learned what a good marriage or parents look like--she got it, for the first time, finally it sunk in). But, I am finished giving her advice. It takes too much out of me. Your comment has helped me see that.

I had an "after" night [Friday night]. Should have been asleep, but ate graham crackers instead. I didn't understand what had triggered it, until now. It was my sister, and probably seeing her and mom and grandmother all at Sophie's day camp play, and the culmination of all Mark's work boiling down into this last week before his test.

[Saturday] morning I weighed, accepted the .6 gain, and resolved to carry on with whole foods instead of falling into a pit of despair and sugar. Before, I would easily have tossed 3 weeks of health away for a weekend of "what the heck." Not now. Now, the healing on the inside is too important to wreck the healing on the outside.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Minutia (avacados, nuts, yogurt, comments) (176.4)

I ran 3 miles last night.  It was hot, but not impossible (87 degrees with 49% humidity) but I told myself that runners push themselves to build endurance.  3 miles in 40 minutes in the late day heat is pretty good for me.  I was pleased.

I am finding I can't eat walnuts.  :(```  Very sad for me.  I have been having headaches the past few days, after I eat walnuts.  I have problems with almonds and pecans and peanuts, in quantities larger than around 1/8 of a cup.  I have been eating walnuts everyday (usu. 1/4 c or 1/4 + 1/8 c a day) for the past couple of weeks, and I think that whatever it is that causes headaches has finally built up enough in my system that I can't eat them that often anymore. I will have to find another healthy fat. 

Vickie, I know avocados are an option; will it make you laugh to hear I've only ever eaten them on a salad at a restaurant?  I've never peeled (or whatever you do to them) an avocado in my home.  I'm not a guacamole eater, and we just don't eat them.  I like them, and am willing to try my hand at them, so that will be on the shopping list this weekend.

I had to cut back my melatonin to half a 5 mg tablet.  I was having problems waking up even at 7 am, when I took my meds at 9 and was asleep by 10 pm.  So I cut it in half last night, slept fine, and woke up at 6:30 am feeling OK.  Hopefully that will be a dose that works and I will stay asleep all night.

Tomorrow marks 3 weeks on the whole foods eating plan.  I love it.  I need to mix up the food prep, so I don't get bored. I am thrilled with how the cravings are practically non-existent.  I don't have crazy food thoughts that cause me to obsess about what I am going to eat next. 

My size 14 dress I'm wearing today is big in the chest, shoulders, and armholes (you can see the side of my bra) and loose in the skirt (not that loose, though... the hips are going to be the last to go). 

Tomorrow morning I'm planning on running 4 miles.  The October half marathon is 12 weeks away, and I started training this week.

Sophie has the lead role in the musical her fine arts day camp is putting on this week.  She is playing a boy; the play is an adaptation of the Prodigal Son story, set in current day in a small town.  It's about 30 minutes long.  This is her second acting role this summer.  I think she may be a budding thespian.  It starts in 30 minutes, so I'm off to see her.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Clean the Inside of the Cup (176.4)

In Matthew 23 there is this passage:
"Woe to you, experts in the law and you Pharisees, hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup, so that the outside may become clean too!"

I know Jesus isn't talking to the Pharisees about a weight problem.  But I love how this is similar to what we talk about with getting our insides to match our outsides.

My insides still have a lot of work that needs to be done.  I've just scratched the surface, I know that, even though I've done some significant work already. 

Before work today I ran to Target to get a few things, and I bumped into my Aunt Janet who works there.  This is my dad's sister, who is very nice and kind.  We talked briefly about the issue of my dad's headstone--which we are just now getting, and which my other two aunts have complained loudly and obnoxiously over because of the delay--and it understandably brought up some grief.  My sister and I had both put off getting the headstone, because it has been too hard to deal with.  We didn't do it when we made all the funeral arrangements, which was stupid, but for whatever reason, it was just too FINAL for both of us, so we procrastinated.  The cemetary is over an hour away; it's not like we go up there on a regular basis (I haven't been since the funeral).  My two complaining aunts, however, make a pilgrimage 3 or 4 times a year to the family plots; so they felt like we let them down, and blah blah blah, why hasn't it been done yet?

As I was leaving Target and driving in the car, this all got me thinking about my uncle Phil. 

My uncle who was there for my dad and my sister and me while Dad was sick and dying.  My uncle who is a Christian and wears his faith on his sleeve.  My uncle who called me every week or so while dad was sick and after he died, just to see how I was doing.  My uncle who made so many comments about my body and how I looked that I believe he was one of the catalysts to why I gained 30 pounds.

Instead of thinking "I am so glad I don't have to talk to him and be on tenter hooks about what his next inappropriate comment about my body will be," I thought "Why doesn't he call and check on me? Doesn't he care about me anymore?" 

Logically, I do believe the first thought.  In my head, I know it is best to cut ties right now, and not have his influence in my life, which makes me want to hide and be invisible (which is what the gained weight is all about).

But in my heart, it really hurts.  He is one more man in my family who has let me down. Who ignores me, like my dad did for 10 years after he and my mom got a divorce. Who was interested in me as long as there was something in it for him, which was a lot--my dad gave him his new Toyota Avalon; my uncle's son got almost all the furniture in dad's house; after dad died, my sister and I both gave a big chunk of money from his life insurance to my uncle and his son for helping out with dad. 

His son lived at my dad's house for 5 months after Dad died (he was living with my dad while he was sick, too--rent free the entire time, even after dad's death).  He didn't pay the last two months of the electrical bills, and instead moved out and left the bill for me to pay.  I called his son and asked him to pay it; it was over $500.  It wasn't about the money, although it is a lot of money. It was the principal of the matter.  He was taking advantage of me, and I wasn't going to have it.  I was very polite and civil when I talked with him and texted him; I am not a confrontational person for the most part, but I was adamant that he pay the bill.  He never did; neither did I.  It's in collections now, which is unfortunate for the energy company but it's not my responsibility. 

Since then, which was back in March, my uncle hasn't called me once to check on me.  This leads me to not only be disappointed in my uncle, but also to think that it is in part my fault that he's not calling, my fault that he doesn't care about me anymore. 

I know this is irrational thinking.  It is the same sort of thing I thought about my dad for my entire life.  I had to be perfect, or he wouldn't love me. 

I still struggle with the few confrontations I had with dad while he was in the depths of ALS.  There weren't many. I gave Dad eveything he wanted--and he wanted a lot of stupid stuff that put hardships on other people.  But still to this day I feel bad about those times; if only I hadn't said or done this or that, he wouldn't have been upset with me and told me I didn't love him in that last month in the nursing home.  I would have been perfect, and he would have loved me.

I needed to write about this today because my next therapy session isn't until July 25th, and I needed to get it on the outside instead of pushed down on the inside.

The inside of my cup is riddled with hurt and pain and lack of understanding and irrational thinking.  I'm thankful I've started the cleaning process.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Weight and Calorie Update (176.6)

My weight is stable, and isn't dropping dramatically from day to day.  Contrary to what a dieter might think, this is a good thing. 

My body seems to be on a two week cycle.  I will lose 2-3 pounds, then maintain that for about two weeks, then lose another 2-3 pounds.  This is the same pattern I noticed when I lost weight in 2007.  As long as I'm keeping my food healthy and even and whole, then it's no big deal.  And as long as I know this is how my body works, then I can unhook my self worth from the scale reading.

Other than a couple of "blow up" days, I have been eating an average of ~1,500 calories a day since I started the "eat only whole foods" plan 2.5 weeks ago.  It is very hard to get in more food than that without feeling like I'm overeating.  I know that might sound a little nuts.  I just feel full and am not eating when I'm not hungry, so putting more food on the menu seems counter intuitive right now. 

I haven't been running much, because it's been so stinking hot, even in the mornings (when the heat index is 104 at 10:30 PM, you know a 5:30 am run is not going to happen if you are half way sane... there were people running in the afternoon when the heat index was 115-120. They are clearly not sane).  I got on the treadmill yesterday for 30 minutes, which isn't much at all but is better than zero. 

I am planning to run the October Half Marathon, which means I start a 12 week training program next week, so when my running increases, my food may increase some too.  I'm going to wait and see what my body needs and not automatically say "hey, I'm running 4 miles tomorrow, hand me a big plate of pasta!"  The Kay Sheppard plan (which I'm mostly doing, but not strictly) supports 45 minutes of cardio a day.  Unless I'm going longer than 3 miles, I won't need more calories. 

So that's that.  I am off to go have lunch and finish my work day.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Food Games: Sugar is very, very Bad for Me

Friday afternoon, as I was going over our weekend schedule, I realized I was teaching Adult Sunday School this Sunday.  Summer Sunday school for adults is one big class of about 35 people, and a different church member teaches every week.  Last year I spent about 45 hours (over the course of a week) on a lesson on Nebuchadnezzar.  It was a lot of work, but it was worth it and I enjoyed the research, putting together the visual presentation, and the subject matter.  I did well on it and received a lot of compliments.

This year, thankfully, I was given a Bible study guide that had all the material in one place for me to put together a lesson.  My subject was Josiah, an Old Testament king who isn't well known but was one of the most important and faithful kings Israel ever had.  I spent about 8 hours Saturday--4 in the morning (kids were at my mom's so it was uninterrupted), and 4 at night--getting it ready.  It was a lot less intensive than last year, but still took up a great deal of time and energy that I hadn't realized I was even going to have to expend until late Friday.

Even so, my reading and research on Saturday morning was actually very moving and, I think, placed in my life when I needed it. So I was feeling spiritually filled, which gave me the energy to keep working until 11 pm on Saturday night to finish it up.  (FYI-my food all day Saturday was healthy and on plan.)

Sunday's lesson went very well.  It lasted about 35 minutes, and we had 25 minutes of lively and significant conversation.  I received many compliments on the lesson.

If you know me, you know what's coming...... Sunday afternoon, I blew it.

We went out to lunch after church, and I had a salad with chicken and fruit, dressing on the side.  There was a lot of fruit, and I'd have been fine if I'd only eaten half and taken the rest home.  I hadn't eaten my usual big breakfast Sunday, because I got up late and was a tad nervous, and just wasn't that hungry.  At lunch, then, I was starving, and I ate and ate and ate until that salad was gone.  I ate 3 or 4 French fries off Sophie's plate.

I knew I was in trouble, yet I did nothing to stop it.

We got home, and I made a No Pudge Brownie, a single serving in the microwave.  The first ingredient is pure cane sugar--how they get away with "No Pudge" is beyond me.  A remnant of the "fat will make you fat, but sugar is FINE!" sales pitch, I guess.  I used 1/2 cup mix, 1/4 cup LF yogurt, nuked it, and ate it up. 

At half way finished, I was stuffed and thought about stopping, but played the food game and told myself "it's just a carb UP day, like the old 'Crack the Fat Loss Code' days. This will tell your body you're not on a diet, and you'll lose MORE weight.  Yeah, that's what will happen.  You'll have this one brownie, and that's all, and it will be fine."

I spent the next 3 hours in the recliner, in a food coma.   I woke up feeling grouchy and bloated.  When I woke up the kids were in the family room watching TV.  They wanted ice cream; I was craving sugar, so as I dished up theirs, I ate a serving for myself right off the ice cream scoop.  Like a robot.  Didn't even think it through, just ate it.

And it wasn't enough.

I knew, then, that when more is never going to be enough, it was time to get a hold of myself.  I had to make myself stop.  I went in the bathroom, looked in the mirror, and gave myself a good talking to.  I looked at my backside, and reminded myself that (a) the back fat rolls are nearly gone--and that didn't happen because I ate sugar nonstop, and (b) the saddle bags are never going to go away unless I stop this NOW. 

I had been planning to organize my closet Saturday before the Sunday school lesson popped up, so I decided that would be a good way to redirect my energy.  I have a small closet--the traditional bi-fold doors type that are found in most homes built in the early 1980s.  I had cleaned out the clothes that didn't fit a month or two ago; now it was time to clean up the floor of mounds of purses and bags and books and shoes, and the two shelves of shoes and clothes and purses.  I filled three big trash bags with stuff for Goodwill, and filled a regular trashbag with stuff to throw away. 

It took me about an hour and a half to two hours, I guess, to get it all done and to take all the discarded stuff  away where it belonged.  I dropped off at Goodwill this morning. 

I could still feel the sugar in my body all night.  I was cranky with the kids.  I still wanted sugar, but ate a bowl of LF yogurt and fruit around 9 pm, to try to get some semblance of "healthy normal" going again.  I fell asleep okay but was wakened at 2 am by my husband who couldn't sleep and had the TV on, which woke me up (after his CFP exam is over next week, we are setting new ground rules about his night-time TV watching) and I couldn't get back to sleep. 

I'd wanted to run this morning, but couldn't wake up.  Instead, I woke around 6:45 am and was grouchy as hell.  And not hungry.  We were out of milk, so I drove to Walgreens and got a gallon.  I got home and was still not hungry, but was still angry.

It was the sugar from Sunday afternoon. I could feel the white poison making me crazy. I calmed myself down by busying myself with making my usual morning latte, and by then Luke was up.  I chilled out on the couch, but didn't get ready for work.  I just couldn't make myself do it.  I took the kids to daycare/daycamp around 8:30, then came back home and finally made an on-plan breakfast at 9:30.  I got ready for work, and got lunch together, and headed to the office.

I am not feeling as sugar crazed now, after a solid (although late) breakfast and a healthy snack. I was not hungry for a full lunch since I ate breakfast so late, so I had my cottage cheese/fruit/walnut snack instead.  It should hold me until an early dinner. 

Yesterday afternoon, I truly had no idea that my "this is just a carb up day" food game was actually a bad case of The Afters.  This morning, as I was getting ready and trying to figure out what the hell happened, it finally dawned on me what had been going on.

The unexpected work. The hours I had planned on doing anything but planning a Sunday school lesson. The time away from the kids. The lack of exercise. The energy of being in front of a group of people for an hour. The attention and compliments on my presentation abilities. The realization that my size 16 straight black skirt was quite loose and my size L black & white top didn't have back fat rolls showing through, but I still didn't feel "good enough" because nobody complimented me on how I looked (I know, I know; it's why I'm in therapy). 

It all added up to more than I am still capable of dealing with, without food.

At least it only took me a day to realize what was going on. 

And it only took me about 6 hours to realize that I've been feeling better and more even and had more energy the past two weeks not because of the medication I've been taking or because of a smattering of exercise.  It's because I HAVE NOT BEEN EATING REFINED SUGAR.  Period.  End of story.

For me, sugar is the devil, and it turns me into a screaming, irritable harpy.  For me, if I want to live my life well, I must eat clean, balanced food.  For me, if I want to be awake for my life, I cannot play food games and pretend like "just this once" is okay.

I hope I don't have to keep learning this lesson over and over. I don't want to have another Sunday afternoon like yesterday's "lost hours" again.  I felt yucky and miserable, and I will never get that day back again.  That's a lesson I don't want to keep repeating.  My days are already speeding past me too quickly.  I don't want to lose them anymore to sugar.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Weight update - 175.8

that's all.  just the weight today.  still on plan.  still feeling much better. 

have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Morning Run / No Weigh-in Today

I haven't run since Sunday. If I don't do it in the morning, it just ain't gettin' done. Jeez. Can't a mom carve out 45 minutes to herself after 7 am?!  Not this week, not this mom.

This morning I was up at 5:30 am, out the door at 6:00.  I did 3.15 miles in 41:38. Avg pace 13:17 min/mile.  The first mile I walked for almost 6 minutes to warm up; my second mile was in the 12:30 range.  I was shooting for another negative split on mile 3, and I was close, but it was 12:42. Oh well.  I am still happy with the workout, especially considering the air was like pea soup. 

My pace a few weeks ago was in the 14 min/mile range.  I am getting faster and stronger. 

I ate well yesterday, stayed at 1360 calories, and had no binging issues and no cravings.  I thought all afternoon about what I would do for the "afters."  Turns out, just thinking it through (at least yesterday) and realizing it was an issue really helped.  I kept busy with household chores, got the kids in bed at 9, and then got in bed at 9:30 myself.  I was asleep sometime after 10 pm, and slept all night.

I didn't weigh this morning because I didn't want the number on the scale to bring me down if it wasn't what I wanted to see.  I also don't want to pin my happiness on "oh look! I'm down a pound."  I need to weigh regularly for the feedback to know if what I'm doing is working; I do not need the scale to determine my self worth. 

I am not yet disconnected enough from the scale for it to not have that power over me.  Maybe someday, but not yet.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

PMS cravings (177.2)

AHHHH, HORMONES!  I am being assaulted.  Yesterday I had horrible PMS; it actually started on Monday night.  I had to take a xanax just to go to the fireworks with my husband and kids. I was so stretched to the limit--edgy, grouchy, tired, bitchy--that I knew if I didn't find a way to chill out, I was going to ruin everyone's time. 

I didn't have time to workout; a run would have been the ideal thing to do to burn off the offensive hormones.  So instead, I chose better living through chemicals, and popped a pill.

For this, I am not proud, but I am thankful it is an option.  Especially since it's preferable to drowning myself in ice cream and cookies.  The sugar would have eased the PMS cravings, but it also would have made me sleepy and sluggish and headachy and bloated.  And of course, it would have blown up my clean eating plan.

Yesterday was a hard day. I was sad, depressed, sluggish, unfocused. I got to work late.  We had been up late on Monday because of the fireworks, so the kids were tired too and not feeling their best, either.  My husband was in a mood, too.  I got through the day, ate well, ate a good dinner, had my yogurt and fruit for dessert, and thought I'd be okay. 

Then the chocolate thoughts hit.  I wanted chocolate desperately.  I took my night time meds, and camped out in bed with Luke while he watched a movie.  I fell asleep.  Mark came in at 9 pm and said, "are we letting the kids stay up late?"  This is how it is at my house--if I don't put the kids to bed, they don't get to bed.  My husband defers almost all kid-related (and house related) issues to me.  It's not that he's not helpful (well, he isn't helpful right now because his CFP exam is in less than 3 weeks); he just doesn't take the lead on anything. 

Even so, it makes me mad when he does that to me.  It's his passive-aggressive way of saying, why are the kids still awake at 9 pm and why are you asleep?  It makes me mad because he doesn't do what he clearly could do--help me out, and tell the kids it's 8:30 and time for bed.  I am not the bedtime decision maker...the clock is. But it is still left to me.

The PMS, the meds making me sleepy, my resentment building at my husband, my tired kids not wanting to quit their movies--it all just piled up.  And I folded. 

After the kids were down, I went to the kitchen, got out the frozen lite cool whip, and ate half the container.  I sat on the couch, knowing what I was doing, and did it anyway. 

I put the container away, feeling a little sick, and watched some TV.  I fell asleep sitting up on the couch, with my feet on the coffee table.  I woke up about an hour later with both legs asleep--completely numb.  You know how badly that hurts as they are waking up?  It almost made me cry.  I was mad at myself already.  Of course I just walked to the freezer and finished off the cool whip, standing at the kitchen counter.

I went to bed feeling angry and depressed.  I feel asleep quickly, thank goodness.  I woke up at 4 am needing to pee, with a raging headache.  It was the cool whip, obviously.  I took 3 advil and went back to sleep.

I was sluggish this morning, and weepy. I didn't feel hungry for breakfast at all, which did not feel normal.  Eating an extra 500 calories after 9 pm makes breakfast pretty unappealing. 

I have the choice to wallow in my mistake.  Or I can learn from it.  I know that The After's are a hard place to be, as far as avoiding comfort foods.  I had a lot of After's yesterday.  And hormones----eegads, I don't even know how to begin to combat them properly.  I know acupuncture helps, but I gave my appointment to Mark for his back last week, so I don't have that assistance right now. And I know exercise helps, but this morning's hoped-for run didn't happen because I was just too tired. 

I obviously can come up with all kinds of excuses on how NOT to take care of myself.  I need to come up with some solutions. 

Vickie wrote this post today.  It was helpful to me.  I included this in my comment to her:
This post helps me realize I am not going to be perfect just because I've made up my mind to eat this way. It's still a process. I am not making excuses; I am allowing that if I slip, I don't have to wallow. I can learn from it, figure out a better way to cope next time, and move forward.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Supplements (177.4)

First, the one pound gain sucks.  I think it may have been the extra nuts I ate yesterday, or it could be my PMS hormones working their lovely magic.  We went to see X-Men: First Class yesterday afternoon*.  I took a bag of nuts we had just bought at The Fresh Market as my snack, so I wouldn't be tempted by milk duds and popcorn.  I didn't measure, I just ate a couple handsful (or maybe, three).  It was more than I needed, and I snacked out of habit.  

I didn't have too much food yesterday other than the nuts, and my "carb" intake was low.  I didn't eat any oatmeal in the morning (we were out), and I didn't eat anything else in the starch category all day.  I didn't intend to not eat them; I just ran out of food, didn't go to the store until right before the movie, and then for dinner I didn't have time to eat anything but a burger (no bun) and broccoli before we left for fireworks. 

Anyway.... it's just a pound.  Who knows what it means, if anything, other than it ticked me off.  My waist is getting visibly (to me) smaller and my collar bones are peaking out more.  As of yesterday's weight I had lost 10 pounds from my highest weight in April.

So, the topic of today's blog:  supplements.  As I was divvying out my vitamins this morning into my Old People XL Pill Boxes (I have two), I thought I'd write about what I take every day.

Calcium--600 mg
Fish Oil--3 capsules (increased from 1, two weeks ago)
Multi Vitamin
Vitamin B Complex
Chromium (don't always take this; added it this morning)
Osteo Biflex (glucosamine for joints)
Rx med (lamotrigine, currently titrating up slowly)

Calcium--600 mg
Fish Oil--3 capsules (increased from 1, two weeks ago)
Osteo Biflex (glucosamine for joints)
.25 mg xanax (for sleep)
5 mg melatonin (for sleep)

It's a lot to swallow.  In the mornings I usually take them in stages, after breakfast, as I'm getting ready.  I drink 1/2 liter water to get it all down.

The calcium I may consider modifying, since I'm eating a lot more in my food now (although I don't know what the mg's are in 1 cup yogurt; will have to research).  I started taking that dosage on the suggestion of my psychiatrist 2 years ago, to help combat seasonal affective disorder.

I increased the fish oil based on research I read about how it can alleviate depression.  Magnesium & Vit B are supplements to my multivitamin, on suggestion from the website where I buy my vitamins (

Chromium is to help process carbs; I'm intending to eat more healthy carbs than I have been the past week, so adding this in for a while to see what happens.

Osteo Biflex I get at Walmart or Sam's; it makes a huge difference with my knees.  I can tell within two or three days if I run out and don't take it; my knees hurt and crack a LOT when I'm not taking it.

I have been been wishy washy in the past with supplements, but I guess in 2007 when I started losing weight, and definitely in 2009 when I started seeing the psychiatrist and she put me on calcium, I have taken supplements like they are medicine. 

Because they ARE medicine. 

If I ate a perfectly balanced diet all the time, and if the earth where the food was grown is properly full of minerals (which it is probably not, from what I've randomly read in the past), and if the foods I eat don't lose too many vitamins in the cooking process, then I guess I wouldn't need all this stuff.  I'm guessing my food will never be ideal to what I need in my body.  At least, that's my opinion.

Honestly, if it weren't for the "mental health" aspect of all these pills, I doubt that I would be as focused on them as I am.  Most supplements are to prevent future bad things from happening--take calcium so you aren't stooped over at age 80.  Yeah, who thinks of that in your 30s?  (I know I'm 41...but I guess I AM thinking of that now that I'm in middle age, but I wasn't thinking of it 2 years ago) 

But if I can take calcium and fish oil to keep me stable, and if I can take vitamin B to keep from getting sick and so my nails and hair grow strong & shiny, and if I can take glucosamine so my knees don't crackle and pop, and if I can take melatonin so I sleep through the night instead of waking up at 2 am--those things are IMMEDIATE and therefore I am motivated to swallow eleven pills every morning and seven pills every night.

*We went with the kids; we are a big movie family. I don't let the kids watch R rated movies--of course--or blood/gore/evil-themed/sex-focused movies.  Some PG-13 movies are OK, esp. the action ones like X-Men, Spiderman, Transformers, Chronicles of Narnia.  Since the violence is "comic book" and there is no blood/gore, the biggest issue with PG-13 is the language, IMO. But, we talk about language and what's appropriate and what's not.  Neither kiddo has ever had an issue with a potty mouth. Anyway, that's my rationalization & drawn out explanation of why my 10 and 5 1/2 year olds were at a PG-13 movie.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Stable (176.4)

It's been one week since I started the new food plan. I do not feel deprived. I don't feel hungry unless I'm supposed to be hungry (meal time). I am not eating lo carb but I am not eating bread or anything else wheat/processed.

I ran Friday morning at 5:30 am--3.1 miles. I ran this morning at 6 am--4 miles. Total of 10.3 miles this week.

I tweaked my yogurt/fruit like Vickie suggested in comments on my last post. That helped last night! The extra 1/2 c yogurt helped. I also measured my fruit to keep it in line, and added 1/8 c walnuts.

I am still having berries and yogurt after dinner, esp. if I haven't had a snack during the day. Last night I had them at 7 pm and that was the last thing I ate all night. I didn't have cravings until around 10 pm, and they were habit/anxiety/tired cravings, not blood sugar cravings. I just went to bed and didn't eat anything (it helps immensely that we are out of golden Oreos and I am not planning to replace them. Sophie usu. has 2 in her lunch; she is better off without them, and so am I).

For dinner yesterday my husband wanted Mexican. Our local restaurant has the best salsa ever. I did not have him get me anything. He knew not to even ask. I got home after he did (we had been at the pool with the kids) so I didn't have to see him eat it.

I made my own Mexican. Black beans, small can corn, 1/2 cup restaurant salsa, all mixed together. This had 140 calories per serving (batch made 4 servings). I had a big bunch of spinach, put the bean/corn on top, and I added 7 crumbled organic blue corn chips (Target brand). These were an experiment. The ingredients were blue corn, canola oil, salt, lime juice. That's it. I used 1/2 serving. I knew that if I got cravings in an hour or so, it was likely the chips. I also ate 3 1/2 oz shredded chicken with 1 skinny cow wedge and 1 sliced carrot--my version of easy chicken salad; I got the idea from Roni's my protein and fat to balance the carbs in the salad. It worked. Tasted amazing. I had Mexican, felt satisfied, stayed on plan (although I know it was strictly OP), and didn't have after cravings. I could have eaten more, but I stopped and had fruit and yogurt about 30 minutes later instead.

I am amazed how quickly I have become hungry for breakfast. Guess that happens when you aren't eating junk food before bed. I am also making cold lattes at home with my espresso maker; I have one shot and 1/2 c milk; I add 1 T of lite chocolate syrup for sweetness. I make two at a time, drink one, and save the other half for the next morning. It's 70 calories a serving. The RedBull I was drinking was loads of sugar and 135 calories; the Illy canned lattes were 110 calories with loads of sugar. So this homemade coffee is much improved, and hits the spot.

So that's the progress so far. I am thrilled that I am washing a lot of measuring cups and workout clothes. They are a big measure of whether I've had a "good" week.
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Friday, July 01, 2011

Friday update (177.2)

Weight is still slowly going down. Yesterday was 177.4.

I am doing great with breakfast. I am eating at meal time--and having one snack of lf yogurt or cottage cheese with 1/4 c nuts (which, so far, isn't enough to trigger a nut headache).

I have had a couple of minor slips--one oreo cookie at midnight (fell asleep in family room, went to cupboard to get a cookie like a zombie, stopped myself at ONE, then practically ran to bed) and a nutrigrain bar last night around 10 pm. That one was because I had too much fruit after dinner.

I didn't measure--just cut up a slice of pineapple and about 5 strawberries and a bit of blueberries. I added 1/2 c lf yogurt and 4 walnuts. I knew it was too big a bowl, but I ate it anyway. I "wanted" something; I rationalized it was "ok" because it was fruit.

It bit me in the butt. And I knew what it was because Vickie has written about being careful with fruit. I didn't "know" what she meant, though, till I went through it myself. About 90 minutes later I was craving carbs. 30 minutes later I ate the cereal bar. I wanted more, but went to bed. I recognized what was going on, and stopped it.

So, lightening up on the evening fruit from here out.
I cannot get all the veggies in at lunch and dinner. It's either a cooked or a raw veggie, not both. I haven't gotten my routine together "enough" this week. But I'm getting there. I'm sure the fruit/snack cravings will go away if I eat the veggies I need to.

I woke up this morning at 5:20 and ran/walked 3.1 miles in 43 minutes. Slow, but moving my bod! I went by myself, no friend to meet to get me out of bed. Just me. It was great.

I also used the gas outdoor grill Tuesday for the first time. Grilling is my husbands thing. I tell myself I'm not a good cook. The grill intimidates me. But after my 1st trail run, I felt like I could do anything--so I lit the grill went I got home, got online and read "how to grill," asked Mark (who got home while I was prepping the sirloin and turkey burgers) for advice, and I grilled up some protein--all by myself. I did it again last night. I don't want to take over the grilling work--but when Mark can't, at least now I CAN.

Very full weekend but not too many plans. Just lots to do. We will go downtown to see fireworks on the river Monday night if the weather holds. It's one of our favorite family traditions. July 4th is here--might as well start planning for the holidays. The rest of the year will fly by.
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