Thursday, December 27, 2012

The best gift (155.8)

The best gift I received this year was abstinence.

I had no problem resisting desserts at my mom's or not eating sugar cookies that Sophie & I made on Christmas day (she likes to decorate more than eat... I think she's had 3 since Tuesday).

Funny story...  When we arrived at  my mom's on Christmas eve, I went straight to the kitchen to toss my salad.   Everyone had already started eating.  My sister came up to me and held a fork up to my mouth with a small bite of food.  I didn't pay any attention to it and I really couldn't see it that well since it was so close to my face & I have "old eyes" now that can't see that up close. 

I assumed it was dinner food, since everyone had just started eating--so I just took the bite. 

It was chocolate pie! 
Chocolate pie is THE dessert for me at my family's gatherings.  I loved it when I was a little kid and loved it as an adult.  I'd eat slice after slice, usually 2 slices after dinner and 2 slices a couple hours later.  Crystal made the pies this year, and she's a "food is love" person. 
As soon as I tasted the chocolate, I panicked and spit it out in the sink.  I'm pretty sure she knew I wasn't eating sugar, but I think she probably just forgot or didn't realize what I'm doing now with my food. It's not like I talk about it around her.  She's very overweight and very unhealthy and has no interest in me getting thinner.  

But after I spit it out and said I can't eat dessert, she said "you're weird.  You can't even have one bite?"  I said no, I wish I could have just one bite, but I can't stop at one bite.  She said "you're weird" again and let it drop. 

No one else even noticed when I didn't eat dessert.  I didn't notice that I didn't eat dessert.  There were too many other things going on with the kids and family conversations.  The food just didn't matter. 

I had a small serving of chicken and dumplins and a huge portion of my salad (it was the only green thing there). I skipped the rest of the food--chili, potato soup, rolls, ham, cheese slices. I was perfectly content and full enough.

Christmas day was just us four.  It was lovely.  The kids had a great Christmas and were happy campers.  I went for a five mile run that afternoon, which was another great gift I gave myself.

Yesterday was not so easy.  I kept myself busy with laundry and reading and movies.  I shoveled the drive way, which took about half an hour and was a butt load of work (I'm sore today in my back and arms and shoulders). 

I went outside with the kids and Mark and built a snowman. I rarely play in the snow with them.  I don't have snow pants, I don't like being cold and wet, and I usually crave the alone time.  But not this year.  This year I wanted to be with my kids and wanted to LIVE and not just exist.  It was fun.

But we were basically couped up for two days in a row, and I got a little stir crazy.  I did OK with food all day, but had a couple handfuls of peanuts around 8:30 pm.  Peanuts make me retain water (these are unsalted, unroasted, but there must be something in them that messes with my body).  I ate them because I wanted a snack and they don't trigger cravings for me.

But I still ate them out of boredom.   And out of the post-Christmas melancholy that set in after the snowman building.  It was a big AFTER.  And I think not being in front of my SAD light for 5 days caught up with me (it's at work). 

The peanuts were not the end of the world.  I'm aware of it. I need to start paying attention and redirect when it happens again.

Today I'm working a half day, then going grocery shopping and making au gratin potatoes for dinner with Mark's family tonight.  I am glad to get out of the house. 

And I'm ready for spring.  We've had Christmas. We had a good snow.  I hate January and February.  They are like one big AFTER.  Recouping from November and December.  Waiting for Spring.  Waiting for the sun.

I'm glad I have the half marathon at the end of February to keep me running and have something to look forward to. 

Friday, December 21, 2012

The week of restaurant eating (154.8)

So I've been to more restaurants this week than I have in ages. 

Lunch on Sunday (Mexican) after church with my family (Sophie sang a solo at church and my parents & Mark's cousin came to see her, and so we all went out afterwards).

Lunch on Tuesday for business.

Dinner on Wednesday with girlfriends for a birthday party.

Lunch on Thursday with my sponsor.

Lunch today for our office Christmas party.

I'm truly, utterly amazed my weight hasn't gone off the charts. 

It was up a pound yesterday, after the Japanese hibachi dinner.  I had the veggies (no meat) with 1/2 portion of fried rice (a half portion is a really full portion--the quantity they serve is ridiculous), a small salad and about 1/3 of miso soup.  There is a lot of sodium in this type of food.  I didn't overeat--I only ate the broccoli and zucchini from the veggies (I don't like mushrooms or large onions).  And I left feeling full but comfortable.  I usually get chicken when we eat hibachi, but I am always already full by the time the meat is ready, and I feel better not eating meat on a regular basis. 

I am drinking lots of water, keeping my other meals small(ish).  I haven't run once this week--because I've have had zero energy, I think due to the low pressure systems, hormones, and seasonal affective disorder popping up. Even though I'm using my SAD light in the mornings and had acupuncture a week ago, I think I still may have some issues with SAD, but nowhere near as bad as in the past. 

I went to Sears last night before choir to return some things, and ended up buying a pair of Levi's (on sale.  Also got two Land's End long sleeve tshirts for $10 each.  Sears is awesome).  I only have one pair of jeans that fit, and they are getting baggy and faded.  The new jeans are size 10s!  They have 1% spandex, which is all I could find and is OK with me, even though I'd prefer 100% cotton.  If there is more than 1%, the jeans don't hold in my behind tight enough.  Saddle bags look better if there is something holding them in place so they aren't all misshapen (ah, the story of my fat butt!  ha).  I always wear Assets under my dress pants and skirts (the high waisted kind so there's also no muffin top).  I love their black tights for this time of year. God Bless Sarah Blakely!

So I feel really good about how I look today. And the sun is shining and the high pressure system has arrived. My hormones have mostly run their course, so happiness abounds for the moment. 

Busy, busy, busy weekend.  Tomorrow is my long run (10 miles if I can swing it; I'll do at least 8).  I have all the kids' presents to wrap and three presents for a child we "adopted" for Christmas at church.  Mark will help with wrapping.  Kids are going to Grandmas for the day. Then Sunday is our Nicholson family dinner (another meal at a restaurant...I have no idea what I'm going eat.  It's at the Log Inn, and they only serve country style, carb & sugar laden, food-coma food.  I will probably eat before I go).  And then a going away party for our good friends who are moving to Iowa.

Then Monday is Christmas at my mom's and Christmas Eve service at church.  Thankfully Tuesday & Wednesday it is just us four and we have no commitments.  I'll be working Thursday and Friday, at least part of each day.

I doubt if I post again until next week.  So MERRY CHRISTMAS to you all! 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Cheese sticks & tater tots (155.0)

I had a really bad day yesterday.  It was cloudy, I was starting to feel sick (Luke fought off a virus this weekend & I was getting it), and I was extremely hormonal. 

It was a walking through mud, ready to cry at the drop of a hat, everything is wrong with my world kind of day.

I had lunch with a business contact and chose my food well, with no desires for food to comfort me.  It was a nice conversation but my heart wasn't in it and the extrovert interaction took a lot out of me.

Tuesdays are when the kids have acting class and I run 3 miles between 4-5 pm.  The sun came out & the temps came up to around 50 by 4 pm, but I had no ability to overcome the sludge feelings, so instead I chose to sit on the couch in the studio and play Words with Friends and catch up on Facebook.

After acting class, I drove to Sonic for mozzarella cheese sticks & tater tots.  These aren't sugar; they aren't (weren't) on my trigger food/binge list.  But I wanted them for emotional reasons and for comfort.

My sponsor said when you attach emotions to a food, it's time to look at that food and probably add it to the trigger food list. 

I had a handful of peanuts around 7 pm and a cup of decaf coffee, but that was it for the rest of the night.

I didn't binge. I didn't eat sugar.  But I deliberately ate foods that aren't good for me (oh, the fat & sodium count!).  And I ate them to comfort myself and to soothe my raging hormones.  I'm not beating myself up over it.  I'm learning a lesson.

After the kids went to bed, I started reading my OA book of stories from members on my kindle.  The chapter I was on was about defining abstinence.  OA defines abstinence as refraining from compulsive overeating.  OA does not define what compulsive overeating is.  Everyone gets to define their own abstinence and what compulsive overeating means for them.

The story that stood out to me was this: Abstinence is eating food to fuel my body.  Compulsive eating is feeding my disease.

It is possible to feed my disease even if I'm not eating sugar. I'm adding Sonic to my list of foods to stay away from.  I have an emotional attachment to that type of food, and so it will feed my disease if I let it in.

These kinds of days are going to happen, probably countless times over the rest of my life.  I still have a lot to learn about how to handle these feelings.  I feel like I've taken a small step to learn how to cope without food.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

My work chair (154.8)

Last year when I was having problems with my left arm nerve damage and neck/shoulder pain and went to Physical Therapy, one of the things I did was get a new chair.  Along with other ergonomic changes, it fixed my problems. 

This chair is the best chair I've ever owned.  I've had very little stiff neck issues or anything else relating to sitting at a computer 7-8 hours a day.

I didn't realize how much the chair made a difference until I had to give it up.

I gave it to my husband and now I'm sitting in his old chair.  Within a couple of hours my neck and trapezius muscles are tense and hurting.  This is not good.

Mark has chronic back pain.  It's so serious that he had a radio frequency procedure a couple months ago to burn the nerve in his spine to stop the pain signals.  He's missed days and sometimes weeks of work because the pain has been so bad. 

Sitting is what aggravates his pain. 

He recently started using an exercise ball to sit on and it seemed to help.  I warned him that studies had shown those caused more harm than good when used for long periods of time, because your core muscles have to be super strong to support your lower back.  Well, he rarely listens or believes me when it comes to that kind of thing.  He had to figure it out himself.

When he did, he went back to sitting in his chair.  It's an old Herman Miller aeron chair.  It may have been a good chair 6 years ago, or it may not have been, but it's not good now, because as soon as he switched to it again, his back started hurting after sitting at work for a few hours.

Last week I told him to take mine and just try it and see if it helped. After only a few hours he said he felt much better.  It is a fabulous chair. 

After a few hours, I could tell I was no longer in my fabulous chair.

Here's the thing.  I'm willing to sacrifice short term because if Mark doesn't work, we don't make money.  I am not in the kind of pain he is in.  It's not that big  a deal for me (yet).   Mark is not happy about me hurting in any way, and while I did complain at first and told him I could tell a difference right away, I'm not going to make a big deal of it and make him feel bad.

I will eventually get the same chair when we can afford it again (it's $300 and we don't have that kind of extra money right now). 

In the mean time, I'm hoping my back and neck don't get too jacked up.  I'll never underestimate the power of a good chair again.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Is it amazing? And info on addiction (155.8)

Vickie asked "Is it absolutely amazing to you how easily your weight is coming off? Does it feel easy/quick to you?"

YES and YES.

It is also very humbling. I am working hard to view the quick loss as a GIFT and not something that *I* am doing. Part of the "I am powerless over food" idea. I am following a program, and the program is taking care of the weight.

I don't know if that's how it's supposed to be in OA or not, but it's helping to take my EGO out of the process.

Does that mean I have no responsibility? Absolutely not.

I am responsible for calling my sponsor if I'm struggling, and calling her on a regular basis just to check in. 

I am responsible for going to meetings. 

I am responsible for reading literature. 

I am responsible for writing and answering the 30 Questions (part of the OA process). 

I am responsible for physical activity.

I am responsible for not eating the foods on my binge list. 

I am responsible for eating 3 healthy meals a day.

Everything else is left up to God.

Long time OA members talk about relooking at their food when their weight starts to get wonky. I think that has to do with getting older and metabolism changing, or letting foods creep in that aren't triggers but might be a weight-gain issue. It's never, ever about being on a diet.

The first 15 minutes of a meeting is the same thing every time...several readings including the steps and traditions. One part says "many of us find that the obsession with food is lifted as a result of working the program." That is what has happened for me. I have had a brief longing for a treat when my family has had ice cream, but it has been fleeting and not a pull on me.

I know in my bones that it is also a result of not eating sugar/fat/flour foods, which for me are a drug. A sugar addicted brain has no shot at overcoming food obsession if it's being fed a continuous diet of sugar/flour/fat foods.

At my last appointment with my therapist, she talked to me about how addiction works.  How a person can be reasonable, in control, driven, motivated, conscientious, intelligent, thoughtful, and whatever other descriptors fit an emotionally healthy human being.

But when their addictive brain takes over, those things go out the window.

She said doctors have studied addicts' brains, and when the addiction area of the brain lights up--and it lights up like wild fire when the addictive substance is consumed--the other, rational, "emotionally healthy" part of the brain DOES NOT FUNCTION as it should. 

It doesn't stand a chance of contradicting the raging demon of the addiction.

I haven't read the studies, and I don't know the science.  But I know from my own experience that THIS explains why, when I'm in the sugar, I can't stop myself from eating more sugar.  The experience of walking into the kitchen and eating sugary foods and the whole time I'm thinking "WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS?! WHY CAN'T YOU STOP?!" 

Like I'm watching myself from outside my body, not in control and not able to regain control.

Utterly powerless.

That description of how the brain works also helps me accept that my sugar addiction is a disease that I am powerless over. And if I want to get better, make the disease not make me sicker, I have to stop feeding the disease.

It also explains why this feels so easy. 

I am not fighting the raging demon any longer. 

The addiction is always there.  That part of my brain didn't get cut out.  I can't feed it what it wants if I want the healthy part of my brain to stay in control.

I am still and will always be addicted to sugar, and I am still and will always be powerless over food. 

But I am not powerless.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

I'm doing well (155.6)

Work & home are crazy busy right now, so here are the highlights.

*I ran 8 miles Saturday afternoon and they were glorious!  It was cool but not cold; rather damp actually, but not windy.  My time was 1:33:30, which is an average pace of 11:41.  For a long run, that's a great pace for me.  At least 2 minutes faster per mile than the half I ran in February.

*I ran 3 miles yesterday after work and they were great, too.  I am running at around 10:30-10:45, but can't keep that pace up for miles, so I take walk breaks.  That is the pace my body settles into and wants to run.  I don't fight it.  I just go with it and soon enough I'll be holding that pace for longer distances.

*Food is good, still abstinent.  The scale reflects that.

*Kids are wonderful.  They performed their short plays for their acting classes on Saturday.  Luke was wonderful!  It was his first time on stage, and he loved it.  He wasn't nervous, and he delivered his lines and stayed in character perfectly.  Sophie's part was smaller, but she was still fabulous.  She's been on stage so much, I can't even keep track.  Luke's play was the Rainbow Fish and Sophie's was the Lion King.

*Christmas--ugh.  I am so not ready.  I have been buying small gifts for the kids here & there, and have just stuck them in the closet.  I don't have a handle on how much I have for each of them yet--that's the weekend's project.  I'm hoping everything else I can buy online.  I don't want to think about how awful the stores will be this weekend. 

We have Christmas eve lunch at mom's house, then have church that night at 7 pm (I sing in the choir so I'll have to be there early--an also serves as an excuse to leave mom's at an early hour).  Christmas day we have NOTHING!  Just the four of us.  Since Mark's sister moved to Indy last year, we now have that day free.  Last year was so stress, no where we had to go. 

We have two events on Sunday 12/23.  At 1 pm, our Nicholson family reunion is at an historic restaurant near us. This is the whole Nicholson clan. There were 10 kids in Mark's dad's family, and they have been getting together at Christmas for 50 or 60 years.  Probably about 100 people still come.  Then after that at 3 pm, we have a going away party for some of our close friends.  We have known them for 17 years, went to St. John with them in 2009, and Paula has been a rock for me when I've been at my lowest.  They are moving to Des Moines for his job.  I've been in denial that she is leaving.  It's going to be really hard.  Their families are still here, so I'm sure we'll see them a couple times a year. But it's going to be hard.

That's it for now.  I'm happy things are trucking along & hope they stay that way.

Friday, December 07, 2012

My son is sugar sensitive (157.4)

I've suspected that Luke has sugar issues for a while now.  But Sunday night we got solid confirmation.

We were at a church Advent dinner, and cake was for dessert.  Luke had a good-sized piece (chocolate with icing) and as soon as he was finished he wanted more.  I said no, of course.

We worked on an ornament project for about 20 minutes, and he was squirmy the whole time (he's squirmy a lot, so this wasn't necessarily out of the ordinary).  At 7:30, we left for home.

In the car, he was a total monster.  He & Sophie fought and by the time we got home, Luke was in a rage & had a total meltdown.  He went to his room and screamed and pitched a fit for about 10 minutes before we went in and talked to him and he got calmed down.

I knew as soon as he asked for a second piece of cake that he probably has the same issue I do with sugar.  The sugar rage afterwards just confirmed it.

I talked with him about it the next day.  I asked if he liked how he felt the night before, and he said no.  I said the cake was why it happened.  We talked about how he reacts to other junk food & sugar he eats, and he understood what I meant when I said his behavior changes after he eats sugar.

Luke is a very intelligent 7 year old. We talk about everything--including his ADHD, which he's taking medication for.  He asks questions and we give him truthful answers.  He knows I don't eat sugar anymore and why I don't eat sugar.

So this week we've limited the junk he eats.  It is helping his moods at night tremendously.
Enteman's Little Bites (which is basically cake) and chocolate granola bars are what he often snacks on when he wants a treat.  He's not eating cookies or ice cream or candy every night.
He ate a Z bar the other night (Cliff bars make these for kids--organic, lower sugar than candy, but still has around 14 grams of sugar), and within about 10 minutes he went from normal kid to -bouncing off the walls couldn't control his body- kid.  So Z bars (alone, without a source of protein) are now out.

He is getting peanuts for snacks now, and when he asks for something sugary I say no, you can have peanuts or a PB sandwich.  He's been ok with it so far.

He is very limited in what he can eat as far as fruits & veggies because of his oral allergy syndrome.  His mouth itches when he eats most fruits--apples, bananas, pitted fruits like peaches, melons--and veggies--celery and carrots.  Basically he will eat strawberries, grapes, and broccoli and that's it.

We also have to watch his milk intake.  He LOVES milk.  But more than one cup of milk at night and he has the same reaction as he does to cake--bounces off the walls and can't control his body.  I started limiting milk several weeks ago.

It's interesting that Sophie does not have this issue.  She's self-monitoring when it comes to sugar, and doesn't even like a lot of sugary foods (for example, she skipped the cake on Sunday night). 

He's a lucky kid, I think, that I am aware of this issue NOW while he's young and we can direct him to healthier choice for his brain and his body. 

As far as fruits and veggies go, he will either grow out of his allergy or we will have to start allergy shots when he's older.  We had him tested by an allergist the first part of this year; she told us the mouth itching thing is fairly common in kids that have tree allergies.  He's highly allergic to every single tree and grass they tested him for. Spring time is brutal for him.

Hopefully he won't develop a peanut allergy!  I will have to find other alternatives for him, too.

Hope you all have a great weekend.  8 mile long run on the training calendar.  Not sure when that's going to fit in, but it WILL get done.  I'll report back next week.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Feeling blessed and at peace--today (156.0)

So this place I'm in.  I haven't been here in a realllly long time. 

Feeling more comfortable about how I look and fit into clothes. 

Not being a slave to food. 

Able to handle difficult emotional situations without thinking of food as a solution. 

Able to run--really run, not just "wog." (Not that there's anything wrong with a wog--walk/jog--but when you know what it feels like to "run," you miss it when you can't and it's exciting when you can again.)

Not yelling at my kids or husband on a regular basis because I'm steeped in sugar anger.

Sleeping well and not eating at 2 am.

Waking up in the morning hungry and without a sugar hangover.

Keeping food in it's proper place--as fuel, not as a companion.

I am working hard on living in TODAY and not thinking about tomorrow or the future.  12 step programs teach "one day at a time." 

It's ridiculous and sometimes daunting to think I will never eat chocolate again.  And while that is a fact--if I want to stay abstinent--it is not my business to think of the "never agains."  All I have to worry about is today. 

The strength of the program I'm working is in my weakness.  I don't have to hold on with tight fists, trying to control my every action or reaction.  I can open my hands and be weak, and let God's strength carry me.

I know this might be a turn off to a lot of people.  But it's what works for me, and it's working better than anything I've done before.

Random book/music stuff.

I re-read the book Divergent.  If you liked the Hunger Games or Matched series, you will love this book (I like it better than The Hunger Games).  I rarely re-read anything.  But I was talking to Jen on FB about it, and decided I wanted to relive that story.  There is a second book, Insurgent, that I'm reading now.  Even though I know what happens (although I do not remember detail, so it's still enjoyable), I couldn't put it down last night.  The third book comes out late next year.  The author is in her early 20s.  I hope she gets a movie deal.  These would make excellent movies. 

I cannot stop listening to Mumford and Sons.  Seriously.  It's been a month and I have to listen to them every day.  Sometimes it's all I listen to.  I listen to them when I run.  I listen to them at work.  I listen to them in the car.  I listen to them when I get ready in the morning.  I know this is an addiction issue.  Mark & I talked about it.  It feels good, makes me feel good, and I want to hang on to that feeling all. the. time. 

I do listen to other music, too.  It's just that 90% of the time, it's M&S.

I'm not really worried about it.  I'm not hurting myself or anyone else.  It's just an oddity.  I've gone through periods similar to this with other bands--recently it's been Gotye, Muse, and Eminem (Spotify makes it really easy to listen to new music)--but not for this length of time.

I did this with Dave Matthews Band when I trained for my first half marathon.  I only listened to DMB while training, and it had a Pavlov's dog affect on me.  I'd listen to DMB when not running, and I'd want to run.  Same thing now.  I hear M&S and want to go running.  I want to go running so I can listen to M&S without distraction.  So that's actually not a bad thing at all.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Almost 60 days, and back to yoga (157.0)

After hitting a plateau for a couple of weeks, my weight has started to come down again.  This is consistent from what I've experienced in the past--go no where, then drop, then go nowhere again, then drop again. 

Monday will be 60 days of continual abstinence, and I'll get my 60 day chip (I've actually not eaten sugary trigger foods for 90 days, but the pizza incident caused me to start over my day count after 30 days).

It is SO much easier living my life this way!  Yes, I still occasionally struggle with wanting to comfort myself with food.  A few times I have overeaten foods that aren't on my trigger foods list.  But when I don't eat the sugar/fat/white flour combo, I don't crave it. 

I am retraining my brain to not eat after dinner, to eat only at meals, and to sit with uncomfortable emotions, or at least to work out those emotions with something other than food. 

I'm also approaching this from a place of surrender and powerlessness.  Living with open hands instead of clenched fists.  Open hands represent accepting the gifts being given to me and accepting what IS instead of struggling for something out of reach.  Clenched fists are the opposite: striving to control, holding on too tight, never having enough. 

I am soooo not perfect with any of this.  It's a learning process and I have to continually remind myself of these things.  Weekly meetings with people who have lived this way for years and talking with my sponsor a few times a week makes all the difference.

I am not doing my 30 questions or writing and reading like I should be.  That is an area I will be improving.
I didn't get to run Tuesday as planned, and by Wednesday night I was so wound up I was ready to pop.  Last night I didn't have choir practice, and I took advantage of the free time by going to a hot yoga class. 

I first ran 2 miles on the treadmill.  I can control my speed and usually do intervals on the TM.  I ran 10 min/mile for .25 or .2 miles several times.  I still ended up with an avg of 12 min/miles, because of my recovery walks.  But I love interval training because I like running fast & I know it's good for calorie burning and makes my cardio system stronger.

After my run I headed to the yoga studio.  I haven't taken a yoga class in forever--at least 6 weeks, maybe 2 months.  I was super excited. 

We had a wonderful instructor--the kind who walks around the room and tells you the little things that improve poses in ways you wouldn't expect.  Such as, in down dog, press your fingers to the floor so your second knuckles are pushing into the ground, and pull your hands toward each other, so your shoulders will go down your back and relax more.  It works. 

The poses we did led us to doing the Big Pose, bird of paradise.

We approached it from the floor.  I don't think I can fully explain how we did it, but I'll try.  We started in a lunge position, then got our arms in the bind, then scooted in our back foot, then lifted the front leg in the air.

Now, I did NOT get my leg straight and I did not get my back all the way straight.  My inner thighs are the least flexible part of my lower body.  But I did the bind, I did stand up without falling, and I did get my knee in the air.  And this was after 45 minutes of hard work.  I was only able to do it on one side.  By the time we got to the other side I was spent.  I also couldn't get into it from a standing position. I think I needed the bind to happen when I was stable on the ground, instead of trying to bind while balancing on one leg.

When she first showed us the pose, at the beginning of class, it bummed me out.  I thought "OMG there is no way I can do that.  Oh well, I'll just enjoy the rest of the class and it's no big deal.  I won't be the only one who can't." 

It is an amazing feeling to do something you never thought you could.

I felt smaller and looked smaller in the yoga mirrors.  My tank top is getting too big.  My hips don't look as deformed (they are still deformed, but not as bad, stupid saddle bags).  I'm starting to see light between my thighs when we are in forward bend.  My shoulders are starting to get definition.  My beloved collar bones--this is one of my favorite parts of my body, probably because I couldn't see them for over a decade--are coming to the surface more and more. 

And I felt strong.  Very strong.  I didn't have to rest once during the hour long class, and it was 100 degrees in there, which sometimes puts me on my butt at least a couple of times to catch my breath and rest. 

I also did something very brave in the gym.  I ran on the treadmill in my yoga pants & tank top--nothing covering my behind.  I am so self conscious about my back side (really, Laura? you are? you never talk about it, I had no idea :).  But I was hot in my baggy t-shirt after the first mile and I decided I didn't care what I looked like.  I just wanted to feel good while I ran.
Busy weekend.  Dinner with a client tonight, Christmas tree tomorrow, church Sunday morning and then advent dinner that night.  I'll be doing a long run of 4 or 5 miles and am going to try to do a yoga class tomorrow morning. 

I'm thankful I am in this place right now.  December is almost always something I dread.  This year, I'm working on being grateful and living with open hands instead.

***new profile pic
I started doing my hair differently, for the first time in years.  Trying to be more up to date.  I really like it and it's easier than using a straight iron all over.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Sharing my story at OA & Thanksgiving Afters (158.8)

Last night at my OA meeting I told my story. 
My group's meetings have a rotating format each week. 1) first Monday of each month is a discussion of the step that corresponds to that month (so next week, it's step 12).  2) Week 2 is a discussion based on a reading of the leader's choice. 3) Week 3 is another discussion based on someone's "short" story. 4) Week 4 is a "long" story, where the leader talks for 40-45 minutes.
So I gave my long story, starting from when my parents met at ages 12 & 18 thru today.  It was a broad painting of my childhood, middle school & high school years, and then my adulthood.  I made notes before I went so I could get my bearings on the dates and details, but I just talked and didn't read a script.  I'm a good speaker in front of a group. 

Plus, I feel completely comfortable sharing the details of my life with this group of friends & kindred spirits.

I choked up & cried a few times, because my story is often emotional and difficult to talk about--just like most people's stories.

It was nice afterwards to have several people tell me they could identify with a lot of what I said.

When I got home, I did feel some "after" feelings of anxiety, mostly because it was such an outpouring of difficult information, and just being in the spotlight for an hour.

I didn't eat over it.  I could have & felt the stirrings of "I need to stop these feelings so I should have a little something to soothe myself."  But I prayed and asked God to keep me abstinent.  I tucked the kids in to bed and went to bed myself. I read a chapter in my OA book & started reading another book on my Kindle, then fell asleep.

The "afters" of Thanksgiving did not drive me to food.  I think running on Thursday and Friday mornings helped, then I did my long run Sunday (6.5 miles).  Running helps me get through those "after" feelings A LOT.

I didn't want to run Sunday--I didn't feel good that morning & we skipped church (the kids were fried & Mark's brother was still with us, and the guys stayed up late every night).  But I ran anyway, because it was easier just to DO IT than to ruminate all day on not doing it.  And I'm so glad I did. It was a tough 6.5 miles, but I felt great afterwards. 

It wasn't an easy weekend, though.  Too much of no routine.  Too much being in the house.  Luke especially had a hard time without the structure.  Sophie had a dizzy spell Friday afternoon when the family went on a hike in a local park.  Luke & I didn't go, so Mark had to deal with her on the trail.  She was able to walk but it was hard for her to keep going and Mark had to hold her up.  He was pretty upset by it--worrying what he would do if she couldn't keep moving.  She's too big to carry (5'0 & 95 pounds).
We've found another trigger for her migraines.  When the weather changes, she cannot go outside & exert herself.  Same thing happened on Halloween night.  It had also happened a couple years ago when she went riding on a four wheeler with my step dad out in the woods, but I hadn't made the connection until the two episodes within a few weeks. 
Thankfully the maxalt she took when she got home got rid of the dizzies, and she was fine that night and the next day.

It's good to be back to the normal routine.

I have to plan out Christmas break, because even though it's shorter than normal--they are only off school from 12/24 - 1/2--I need to have them busy and structured or they will have a miserable break.  I can't just leave them with my mom, because too much of grandma's house is not good either.  I'm not sure yet what we are going to do.  I'm going to have to work part of the time, too. What do your family's do when you have a lot of time off but can't go anywhere out of town? 

I had a conversation about running with niece Kate's husband on Thanksgiving.  He's got hip and knee issues and had to stop running a while ago, and now is having trouble biking.  It reminded me how stinking blessed I am that my body is still cooperating with me. 

I ordered new running shoes after my long run Sunday, because I could tell my shoes are wearing out. My feet hurt around mile 4, more than they should have been.  It's worth every penny to keep my feet and legs supported so I can keep everything working the way it's supposed to. 

I'm not overdoing it running--just 3 runs a week.  I stretch for 5-10 minutes afterwards--stretching is one of my favorite things to do.  I still haven't worked in cross training, and doubt that I will have time or make time for anything else until the holiday is over.  I'm thankful I've got a race to train for so at least I'm moving on a regular basis.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Abstinent Thanksgiving (158.8)

I got through Thanksgiving with flying colors.

I ran 3 miles yesterday morning at 8.  It was a beautiful run and set the tone for the day.

I also talked to 3 OA members in the morning, which was yet another tool to keep me committed.

I wasn't stressed prepping the rest of the food. I had no problems choosing foods that were not triggers.  The only time I had an issue was when the pies started being served.  But I went to my bedroom and closed the door and watched TV for 45 minutes while everyone else had dessert, and I was just fine. 

I had decaf coffee and that was dessert for me.

I did no clean up--I told Mark that since I did everything to get things ready, he was in charge of clean up (he had help from other family members, too).  That helped a lot because it kept me away from the food after my meal was finished, and it also helped keep me from being exhausted or resentful

I weighed the same today as I weighed yesterday.  THAT is a success!!

This morning I met up with Kate & Travis and ran 3.5 miles.  It was my fastest 3 miles yet this year (I did sprints alternated with walking the last .5 miles).  I feel calm & happy & thrilled that food has no hold on me today.

Family just arrived for lunch, and I am feeling OK about it.

And Vickie, the cranberry sauce was the best & I got several compliments on it.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving (159.2)

I had my therapy appointment today, and it was really great. Personal stuff I can't discuss here, but I can say that I always feel better & more focused & more positive after I talk with Julie.  I'm blessed to have her.

I'm ready for Thanksgiving.  Cooking cranberries tonight (thank you Vickie for the healthy recipe!) and peeling potatoes.  Tomorrow I will make 2 potato dishes--one with rich cheese and one vegan (guess which one I will eat? :)--and also will roast green beans and heat up the brown & serve rolls.  Family comes over at 4pm.

Mark's brother from Colorado is coming in late this afternoon, so I also have to get Luke's bed ready for him. Luke will sleep on the floor of our bedroom in a sleeping bag, which he'll love, bless his little 7 year old heart.

I'm hoping I can get through tomorrow and the weekend without stressing.  Right now I feel calm & cool.  The tables are set up, the food is bought, my plan is in place.  The plan is to get up early tomorrow and go for a run before it all starts.  And then run again on Friday morning with Kate & nephew Travis (from Colorado).

Speaking of running, I ran 3.5 miles yesterday.  My training plan calls for 30-45 minutes. I have gotten faster and can get 3 miles done in 36-37 minutes.  Since my weight hadn't moved from 160.6 for over 2 weeks, I decided to start doing 3.5 miles on my short runs.  Thankfully I saw a decline on the scale this morning.

OA tradition is to call and talk to (not call and leave a message, not text, but TALK TO) three OA members on Thanksgiving.  So that's also a priority tomorrow morning.

I hope you all have a blessed and peaceful day. I'm thankful for everyone of you who reads my blog.  Whether you comment or not, I know you're out there & I appreciate your positive thoughts & energy.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Locked out of the house (160.6)

I weighed 159.8 yesterday.  Basically 160, but it was nice to see the "5."

This is a long, drawn out story, but I need to get it out there so I can get past it.

I went for a run yesterday afternoon and when I got home, the front door was locked.  It is always open on the inside and we have to check the outside knob to make sure it's unlocked if we leave and want to get back in through that door. 

I thought I had left it unlocked when I left.  I'm rather OCD about it.  But either I missed it or someone locked it after I'd left.

I rang the doorbell to have the family let me back in.  Nobody came.  I rang it over & over & over.  Nobody came.  I went to the back yard & looked in the patio door.  It was locked & no one was in the family room.  I went back & rang the doorbell over and over.  Nobody came.

I run with my cell phone, so I called the home phone and Mark's phone, but no one answered.  I texted Mark; no response. 

It was a nice afternoon, and I figured Mark had taken the kids for ice cream or to the park and they'd be home soon, so I didn't freak out.  Just felt irritated, mostly at myself because I hadn't replaced the extra key I keep on the backside of the house. I'd given it to Mark's brother when he stayed with us in July,  and I have no idea what happened to it; either he kept it or I misplaced it.  Getting a key made is a pain, and I just hadn't gotten around to it.

Niece Kate called as I was starting to sweep off the deck (berries from the bradford pear tree were everywhere, and they are sticky and take a lot of time with the broom to get off the wood).  I spent about 30 minutes on the phone and on the deck. 

After I hung up with her, I texted Mark again.  I started to get really upset.  I had nothing else to do, so I worked on cleaning up the landscaping, then I went to the neighbor's house & borrowed a rake to get the maple tree leaves out of the front yard.  After almost an hour of being locked out, I got very upset and started crying. The anger and resentment was building inside me.

Then Luke walked out the front door.  I asked him where he'd been.  He said they were home. 

I went in the house, asking (yelling) what the heck was going on.  Why didn't they answer the door bell?  Why didn't they answer the phone?  Why weren't they worried that I had been gone--on foot--for two hours?

They were in our bedroom watching a movie with the sound turned up, and didn't hear the doorbell.  The home phone is in the front room only, and they couldn't hear it either.  Mark had turned off his cell phone at church and never turned it back on.

I asked why they weren't worried that I had been gone so long.  He said he saw me out the kitchen window on the deck sweeping and on the phone, and was disappointed I hadn't come in the house to tell them I was home but he figured I just wanted some more time to myself so he didn't bother me.

It was a giant, horrible cluster f***.

They had been enjoying each others' company and the movie and were taken completely off guard by the situation.  I was beside myself with anger and hurt.  They didn't feel like they deserved to be yelled at and I shouldn't be mad at them, and I couldn't believe they neglected me like they did.

The kids both said sorry and that they'd had asked about me a couple of times; Mark said sorry but he was mad that I was so upset.  He'd been working on laundry all day, helping me out.  He gets angry easily, and it usually takes time for him to see another person's point of view when he feels like he is being shamed or made to feel guilty when it's not his fault (we have a long history of this).

I had started the leaves and was determined to get them done.  I told them all to come outside and help.  The kids worked together (yes, it was like a kind of punishment); Mark held the trash bag while I stuffed leaves in.  He can't bend over repeatedly because of his back.  He just stood there, saying nothing. After a few minutes I asked if he had anything to say, if he was just going to keep his mouth shut the whole time he was out there.

He explained what happened again in detail, but still didn't see my side of it.  He asked me why I hadn't looked in the garage to see if the car was still there, or why I didn't look in the bedroom windows to see if they were inside.
It never occurred to me they were in the house.  He locked me out of the house a long time ago, when I was pregnant with Sophie.  I'd gone out through the garage to work in the backyard, he left to go somewhere and closed the garage, and I was stuck outside for a couple hours. 
So there was a precedent here.  And I have the memory of an elephant when it comes to being wronged. My first thought went to being left behind with no one home.
I started crying and telling Mark that I felt abandoned when no one was there and no one answered the phone.  What if I'd been hit by a car and was in the hospital and they couldn't be reached?  What if Luke hadn't come outside looking for me--the kids both asked Mark where I was, and when Luke finally said he wanted to be with me, Mark said I was outside and to look in the yard--what if I'd been outside for another hour or more?  Would he bother to come and get me? 

The deep issue here is my fear of abandonment and having no one to rely on, which reinforces my need to do everything myself and depend on no one else.

I've talked to my therapist about this before. I have issues that are rooted in my childhood, and also in my relationship with Mark.  There have been many instances where I can't count on him, which I can't get into on my blog because they are too personal to share. 

But I've talked it over with my therapist and I understood immediately why I was so upset. 

I was abandoned and alone, and my fear that I can rely on no one but myself was painfully confirmed.

Thankfully I already have an appointment with my therapist for this Wednesday.  I made it after going through all the issues with Mark's back pain.  Now I'll have even more to talk about.

I felt better after I'd made him mostly understand where I was coming from. He still didn't really get it, but I wasn't steaming mad any longer. I didn't want to inflict any more pain on the kids and figured it was time to just stop being mad; it was pointless.  We finished the yard.  I went inside and was worthless the rest of the night. 
Cleaning up the outside was not on my agenda yesterday.  I haven't shopped for Thanksgiving at all.  Still haven't even made my list of what I need to buy (doing that this afternoon, hopefully).  But I was emotionally a wreck, took a xanax, and I was done for the night.
Mark went to a church meeting at 5.  When he got home, as per his usual behavior, he'd gotten some distance and time to think and he finally understood how awful it was to be in my shoes.  He said he was sorry.  He installed an app on his phone that somehow warns him to turn off vibrate & turn the ringer back on. 

I am getting keys made when I go to Walmart today or tomorrow.  I am never going through that again.

I did eat over it.  Not sugar, but I ate too much food for dinner and I ate a luna bar and blue corn chips (neither are on my binge list) at 10 pm when I was watching TV.  I don't feel like it's enough to blow my abstinence--it's a yellow light issue, not a red light.

This week is going to take a lot of surrendering for me to get through.  Making my therapist appointment was the best thing I could have done for myself.

I'm going to take time off from work tomorrow to get the tables set up for Thanksgiving and finish grocery shopping.  The carpets are getting cleaned today and I still need to clean the bathtub (Mark's brother is staying with us).  The laundry is all done, thanks to Mark.  The rest of the house is ready; I've been working on it for over a month.  So there's not that much to do other than food.

I'm going to OA tonight.  I will talk with OA members Thanksgiving morning.  I will run.  I will pray.  I will sleep.  I will not be perfect, and I will try really hard to be okay with not being perfect.

Most of all, I hope that I can squeeze in some peace and thankfulness in the middle of all the chaos.   

Friday, November 16, 2012

Calling my sponsor to work out negative thoughts (161.0)

This is my Facebook profile pic.

Yesterday I had planned to get my second run in for the week (Tuesday I had a great three miles, and last Saturday I had a fabulous five mile run).  But I unexpectedly had to work late then had a church meeting at 5:45 then choir at 7, so no running.

I *needed* to run yesterday.  It's a miracle I didn't kill anyone.  Ha.

I'd had lunch yesterday with a girlfriend and she'd made an offhand comment that bothered me all afternoon.  This is the friend who I gave my size 8 & 10 clothing to back in 2010 when I couldn't fit into them anymore.  I am getting close to being able to wear 10s, and so I asked her if she had anything she wasn't wearing.  She asked me, "so are you losing weight?"

I fumbled around and said yeah, I've been losing and figure I'll be wearing 10s in a couple of months. She said she's wearing all her clothes.  Didn't offer to give me back what I'd lent her.  Which is fine. She works at a bank & has to dress up every day, and her funds are very limited, and it's not that big a deal.

The "are you losing weight" comment is what stuck in my craw. 

I'm at that place in weight loss where *I* notice the differences--the labels on my clothes are a size smaller, I can see my collar bones & the tendons in my feet, my running speed is increasing, I can wear 34Ds again--but the outside world doesn't notice.  I tell myself it doesn't matter, and that I don't need affirmation from anyone else.

But the insecure, needy, "please recognize me!" part of my brain calls BS on that.

Between all that mental garbage and the long, stressful day, I wanted to eat.  I wasn't craving a particular food. I was just a tied up ball of feelings, and I didn't like it.  I wanted to get numb.

So when I got home last night around 8:45p, I helped get the kids to bed then called my sponsor. 

This is one of the strengths of OA.  I didn't have to eat because I could talk to someone who understands what I'm going through and who can help me redirect my thinking and behavior.

One thing Ami told me was I didn't have to hang out in the bad neighborhood of those icky thoughts.  My self worth is determined by my Creator, not the outside world.

Or the scale.  I was pissed at 161 this morning.  I know it's because I'm bloated from lunch yesterday (tilapia and 2 veggie skewers, with lots of sodium) and because I'm at mid cycle when I don't lose weight.  But I was still upset.

I'm moving along though, not hanging out in the neighborhood of icky thoughts.  I'm sharing with you, blowing the thoughts away, finishing my work day, going for a run this afternoon, and having an abstinent dinner.

And then I get go do it all over again tomorrow. 

I'm going to need lots of tools to get me through the next week & a half.  We are hosting Thanksgiving and I'm already stressed about how much I have to do. 

I am going to have to watch my AFTERS very carefully.  I'm thankful I have an arsenal of tools. They will be put to the test. 

I am weak, but my higher power & my OA program is strong.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Running in the dark (160.8)

I hate it when we fall back.  I go to work, spend all day inside, and when I get home it's already dark.  (I use my SAD light every weekday morning so I can get out of bed in the morning, but it isn't a cure all.)

Yesterday was cloudy & misty & I was in a mood.  Mark's back is terribly painful, and he's struggling through some difficult stuff.  That bleeds over onto me.  It's hard to find joy when your spouse is in such pain, physically & emotionally.

I didn't get to run Tuesday because of Luke's birthday.  So I had to run yesterday, whether I wanted to or not.  I changed into my running clothes before I left work--this is KEY to running if I pick up kids from school before a run.  I got them at 4:30, got home by 4:50, talked to Mark a bit, then sat on the floor to get the rest of my running gear out of my gym bag, and almost cried.  All I wanted to do was crawl into bed and hibernate until spring.

But I was already in my running clothes and I had a training plan to follow. So I put on the rest of my stuff, including a reflective night vest, and hit the road at 5:15.

I didn't walk to warm up.  Just started running at an easy pace.  I have been on a Mumford & Sons kick for the past week.  I love their music and lyrics.  Listening to them while I run is pretty close to perfect.

My heart & lungs are so much stronger than they were a month ago.  I ran almost the entire 3 miles, only walking to take off my extra layer and adjust my vest and for a few brief walk breaks.  My pace averaged 12:12, which isn't fast but it's close to my best this year.  The more important part is that running is easier.  It's not a struggle to run for a full mile.  I just run and run and run, and it feels great. 

I finished my last mile faster than the first two.  When I hit our cul de sac, a triumphant song was playing and I punched the air with my fist and tears ran down my face. 

Running can be very emotional for me.

I'm thankful I made myself move.  I was still very tired after my run, but at least I accomplished something important to me.

Monday, November 05, 2012

The weekend & hormonal cravings (160.6)

Luke's party was a success.  The boys were great.  No drama. No one destroyed anything. He had a great time.

I was exhausted by the time it was all over.

Saturday was a difficult day, in no small part due to how tired I was. I only got about 6 hours sleep and then the morning was all work work work--feeding the boys & getting their stuff together to go home, and then cleaning the house after they'd gone.

But I was also in that "I'm starting my period soon" hormonal funk, which makes me want to eat everything in my path. I also was very melancholy and just wanted to crawl under the covers & stay there all day.

I didn't do either, thank God.  But it wasn't an easy day.

Yesterday was better.  We got the extra hour, which I spent sleeping. And I ran 4 miles in the afternoon with the girls.  It was the best run I've had all year.  I am faster & stronger & lighter.  I could have run another mile or two, easy. 

Today I'm tired and crampy.  No food cravings, so that's a good thing.  At least I don't have to deal with that.

My husband is having a procedure on his back today.  He has severe chronic back pain that has gotten extremely bad.  He's had 4 or 5 injections this year, and they work for a few weeks then the pain is back.  Pain meds aren't helping much.  The procedure they will do is a nerve block.  If it doesn't work, then he will likely have back surgery.  We don't know what that will involve, because it's just one step at a time.  But if it happens, it will be major and a big impact to our lives.  As it is now, his pain is a big impact to our lives.  He's depressed about the pain and not contributing like he wants to at home or at work.

I give him credit, though. He hasn't completely checked out & still does a lot with the kids and helps with the kitchen and laundry when he can. But he's not working out and isn't engaged at work enough.  He simply can't think about anything but the pain.  It's that bad. I have a hard time watching him go through this.

I'm thankful that my weight is at least still coming off.  Big smile on my fact this morning after reaching 160 (plus .6, but who cares?).

Friday, November 02, 2012

Cupcakes & Luke's 7th birthday party (161.8)

I made cupcakes for Luke's birthday last night. Sophie & I decorated them.

His birthday theme is Kirby, which is a video game character.  There are no pre made Kirby decorations.  So we did it all ourselves.  I could have done an edible image cake, but those are like $35 for a 1/4 sheet--which is stupid.  So I decided to make these.

I found a blog from a woman who had a Kirby party for her son, and stole her ideas.  I'm so glad there are creative people out there. 

Do you know how hard it is to make & decorate cupcakes without licking your fingers?  It wasn't that I wanted to taste; it's the habit of cleaning the little drip drops of batter & icing off your fingers without having to go to the sink every few minutes.  But I did it.  No temptation to eat any of it.  Praise the Lord!

Here's one of the posters Mark & the kids made.  Sophie did this one.  Between the three of them they made 16 Kirby's.  Mark probably spent about 15 hours cutting & putting these together.  He & Sophie stayed home yesterday since she was sick, and spent 7 hours working on them.  Luke worked on them for a couple hours, too.
My husband does nothing half way (as evidenced by his sidewalk chalk art!).  The eyes are three separate pieces--tiny pieces of black, blue, & white construction paper.  He made 30 eyes on Tuesday night.  It think that took him 2 or 3 hours.  The body, arms & feet are all separate pieces. Luke is over the moon with his decorations.  They turned out way better than I could have dreamed.  Creative people get an idea & then take it to a new level. 

I just have to share.... they are all so cute.
These are Luke's creations
Sophie's wink
Sophie's idea... and that's her heron drawing from 2 years ago.
This one is all Luke.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Halloween - with pictures (161.6)

Here are the kids' costumes.  We found Luke's jester hat at the costume store, and Mark did the rest.  He made Luke's purple shirt, found the striped tights & green undershirt.  Luke's best costume ever.  Sophie's gypsy outfit was an out of the package deal.

Mark's homage to Frankenstein's monster. In sidewalk chalk.  It's about 4 feet tall.  Took 4 pieces of chalk.  He is an amazing artist.

I had no problem ignoring the candy.  Wasn't a temptation at all.

Sophie got very dizzy (couldn't walk at all) after trick or treating for an hour. We went with two other families & I think she over did it running around in the cold, plus the weather has changed so much the past few days and that certainly could have been a factor.  She hadn't eaten anything that could have caused it.  She hasn't had a migraine for over a year, so we were really surprised.  She took a maxalt and could walk by 8 pm, but this morning was still feeling dizzy enough to miss school. 

Makes us realize how lucky she has been lately, and brings back memories of how much she suffered from migraines in her young childhood.  I tend to forget how bad things used to be for her.

Luke's birthday sleepover is tomorrow night.  I am making cupcakes for him, and right now I'm not concerned about the whole cake thing, although cake is one of my biggest comfort/trigger foods. I remember Frances Kuffel writing on her blog once "as comforting as cake."  That phrase stuck with me, because I know exactly what that means.

This time of year is soooo stressful and busy.  I'm trying not to freak out about it. This is going to be the year of One Day At a Time.  I am going to have to do some plan ahead work, but I also need to lower my standards of what I expect of myself (not food wise--LIFE wise).  I don't need to be perfect. 

I also have been wrapped up in listening to NPR about the election, and have to make myself disengage.  I'm not going to write about my issues here--it's going to go the way it goes. I can't control any of it.  I am letting it go.  At least, I am working hard to let it go.

I got in my run Tuesday, and somehow will fit in 3 miles tonight.  I am getting faster & running longer between walk breaks.  My knee has been fine, thank goodness.  I haven't been to yoga in a couple of weeks, which I miss.  Doubt that I will fit it in again any time soon.

Overall, things are good.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Running and processed food (162.8)

I've run twice this week--staying on plan for my race training.  Meeting the girls Sunday afternoon for our long run of 4 miles.  I'm planning on taking a 90 min hot yoga class tomorrow at 8

Yesterday's 3 mile run was gorgeous.  I ran by the Ohio River and it was the prefect evening for it.  Warm & breezy, fall leaves, sun going down.  Perfect.

Vickie wrote a post today that made me think about what I'm eating.  The past two weeks I've been complacent & lazy about food.  I'm not binging, I'm not eating sugary foods.  But I'm not eating enough fresh veggies.  I have celery and an apple everyday with lunch, but lunch is usually a frozen meal.  I did bring a salad from home on Wednesday, but one out of five days of non-processed is not ideal.

So I printed off a bunch of recipes from Vickie's side bar, and am going to tackle at least two of them this weekend. 

It is so hard for me to cook.  Mostly because I don't enjoy it.  I also don't have/want to make time for it. Evenings during the week allow very little time after we get home.  Weekends get full with activities, laundry, cleaning, exercise (when it happens), and I have to REST at least part of the weekend or else I get completely out of balance and grumpy.

I do make things ahead & freeze them--beans & rice mostly.  The kids have frozen chicken breasts/sirloin burgers. I know I could do more.

I would like to get the kids involved in helping me chop veggies and other cooking activities.  I want them to have a mom who cooks.  My mom didn't cook, which I think is a big reason I don't.  So I have to break that cycle with my kids.

My meals at night are typically very simple, like rice/beans/salsa/veggies. Sometimes I'll have a grilled cheese made with Ezekial bread (Luke loves grilled cheese so we have this at least once a week).  I will also have Ezekial toast with avocado & an egg as dinner.  I had leftover soup this week, which I made on the weekend for a birthday party we went to (this soup from Chocolate Covered Katie--warning! do not look at her desserts...they are vegan and more healthy than store bought stuff and absolutely delicious, but still sugary. She does have other non-sugar recipes which I'm sure are great.  The soup recipe is easy & good).  But I've had no fresh or steamed veggies at night this week. Not great.

Roni has been working on eating more non-processed foods, so I know I'm in good company when it comes to this being a battle.  Roni has fabulous recipes.  She's a mainstay for me when I want a recipe.

I'm still doing very, very well.  I'm doing acupuncture twice a month & using my SAD light every weekday.  The acupuncture is like taking anti-depressant meds--I could stop it since I feel better, but that would be stupid because I feel better in no small part because of the acupuncture.  My meds have made a difference, too.  This time of year is almost always very difficult for me because of SAD.  I'm also taking calcium 600 mg gel caps and glucosamine twice a day; my psych told me a couple years ago that calcium can help stave off depression. So I'm thankful I have many tools to stay well. 

My left knee is starting to "slip" when I do side stretches.  I've noticed this in yoga the past several times.  When we are in a split stance and do any sideways bending, I have to be very careful to keep my left leg slightly bent.  Last night after my run I did a split leg bent-over stretch, didn't bend my knee, and my knee cap slipped.  I don't know how else to describe what it's doing. That's what it feels like.  It doesn't bother me while running, but it did freak me out because it was a big slip.  I have been so blessed to have almost no physical limitations, and I don't want to screw up my knee.  I have a friend who is a physical therapist and I'm going to ask her how I can protect it.  Other than making sure I bend it slightly, I don't know what else I should be doing. Your input would be appreciated if you have any ideas.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Running for 5 years & The Pizza Issue (162.8)

Yesterday I ran my first training run for the Princess Half Marathon in February.  As I did my intervals, I thought about how strong I feel when I run fast (fast for me anyway). 

And how I've been running for 5 years now. 

And how I've been unbelievably lucky, that my body has held up this long and I've not suffered injury (knock wood) and can still run fairly easily at age 42.

And how I hope I stay this fortunate well into old age.

The race in February will be my 7th half marathon.  Seven!  The fat girl I used to be would never believe I could run 7 half marathons, let alone one half marathon.

I can already tell it's easier to run at 163 pounds than it was training last year when I ran at 170-175 pounds.  I can't wait until I weigh even less.  Back in the losing-the-first-time days, I wanted to keep losing so I could run faster.

I want to keep losing so I CAN run faster.  That's a motivation to hold onto. 

I also want to get my legs back into shape.  I used to have gorgeous legs, when I was running & taking Body Pump classes.  I miss those legs.  I have middle aged mom legs now.  I can't wait to get some fat off & bring the muscles back to the surface. 


Day 21 of continuous abstinence today. 

I can't help it.  I can't stop thinking about losing my 30 days b/c of 3 slices of pizza.  To be fair, I probably would have put up more of a fight if I hadn't had 3 nights in a row of eating after 9 pm (Cliff & Luna bars, not a binge, just food I didn't need after 9 pm), before the "Pizza Incident."  So I started over b/c it's what my sponsor said I should do.  And I'm OK with that part.  What I'm not okay with is the feeling that pizza isn't really a binge food for me.

Monday night after my meeting I talked with a wise gentleman, who's been in the program for over 20 years, about my pizza episode/losing my 30 days.  He said the day count is about commitment. He commits to not eating binge food. There are certain foods that aren't binge foods but that he won't eat more than a certain amount. For example, on the rare occasion he eats pizza, he commits to eating only two pieces.  If he breaks his commitment, he breaks his abstinence.

Pizza is on my original binge list, but when I look back at how I behave around pizza, I don't have a relationship with it. 
We talked about what a binge food is at our meeting Monday.  If you dream about it, plan your life around it, eat a serving and need another serving right away, eat it compulsively until you feel sick, eat it and then are lead to eat another binge food, worship it and ultimately have a "relationship" with it--that's a binge food.
Sooooo many foods fit that description for me.

But, they don't apply to pizza.  Yes, if I let myself eat 5-6+ slices, I will likely eat something sweet to counter all the salt.  I think that yes, too much of a salty/carby food can trigger a binge for me. I have watched my reaction to foods that have a little sugar/a little starch, and have been very controlled in amounts I eat, and nothing has sent me into eating compulsively.
I'm not eating small amounts of junk foods--I'm talking about about things like 2 Tbsp coffee creamer, blue corn chips, a small serving of pasta, a frozen meal, a dinner entree at Olive Garden that had a sauce with sugar in it.  All things I eat with protein, never by themselves.
Important to note here that I SIMPLY CANNOT EAT "just a little" of foods like chocolate, pastries, candy, cookies, ice cream, pie, cereal, brownies, cake, bagels, muffins, white bread foods like rolls/breadsticks. And I can't eat ANY food in the family room after 9 pm.  These are NEVER AN OPTION. EVER.  Yes, I am prepared to never eat these foods again. But I don't have to think about never eating these foods again.  All I have to do is not eat them TODAY.
So back to pizza.  I like how the OA guy handled it.  I think I will have certain foods that I can have in small amounts, on rare occasions, that won't throw me into compulsive overeating.

I think my classification of foods will change over time, as I recognize foods that aren't a binge food now, but become a binge food. Or foods like pizza that I thought was a binge food but have reflected and decided it's not the food itself necessarily, but the quantity and situation.

I eat pretty much the same things all the time.  I don't need to have hugely varied food choices.  I just want to eat enough to fuel my body.  I don't need to entertain my tastebuds.  I have pretty much always been like this; this isn't something that has happened because I'm now in OA.  I am just boring when it comes to food.

I am choosing & praying & working hard to divorce myself from a relationship with food.

So why all the obsession about pizza?  That's a good question.  I think it's mostly ego--I feel cheated in a way, b/c I lost my 30 days on 3 slices of thin crust pizza.

But it's also practicality.

I have to find a way to work in some SANITY with the RESTRICTIONS of being abstinent. 

I have to work in a way to allow PROGRESS and NOT PERFECTION to drive my behavior and thought patterns.
And maybe I'm delusional and kidding myself and the queen of rationalization. I don't know.  I guess I'll see the next time I have the opportunity to eat pizza.
That does not mean I am going to think it's OK to have a piece of birthday cake at my son's birthday party in a couple weeks. I am programming myself to think about the above binge foods as an alcoholic would think about alcohol.  Other people may be able to eat those foods, but I can't.  I can't because I am an addict, and those foods will make me sick (mentally & physically) and one bite--just like one drink for an alcoholic--can send me into relapse.

I'm learning through prayer, reading, reflecting, talking, and writing, that it's not about losing a day count.  It's about doing everything I can to not lose my life to food addiction.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Checking in (163.2)

Still doing well.  Went to my 10th OA meeting last night.  I feel at home there. 

There are 30 questions in OA that you work through.  I just finished question 2.  I have become complacent and am not doing enough writing as OA instructs us to.  So I'm talking with my sponsor this morning about committing to doing one question a week. Otherwise this will take forever.

I'm using a composition notebook for my questions.  I may also take the time to type my answers into my blog, so you all can see what is going on in my head. 

Question 1 was my food history.  I don't need to type that here. This blog is my food history.

Question 2 is: Read step 1 (We admitted we were powerless over food--that our lives had become unmanageable). Reflect & write upon the effect food has had upon you over the years.  Do you truly see yourself as a compulsive overeater?  If so, explain.

More to come.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Pictures in the Park 2012 (163.4)

Pics from our photo session yesterday.  Perfect fall weather and location. This is the 4th time we've had Pics in the Park photos. The photographer is fabulous.  And only $55 for 120 pictures.  We have lots of good ones.  Here are some of the best.  The family pic on the bridge will most likely be our Christmas card.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Size 10s, Slightly Manic Weekend, Love your body (163.6)

I went shopping yesterday for new clothes.  Christopher & Banks has everything 40% off.  My size 12 pants from there were dragging the ground b/c they were hanging off my waist.  I fit in the size 10s just fine and I can wear them until I'm down another 8-10 pounds, which will probably be through winter.  I've been a medium on top for a while now. 

I am trying not to make a big deal out of the smaller size, as I wrote about last week.  The styles are simple & age appropriate. I'm not walking around thinking "woohoo! size 10s!"  I'm not doing a style show for my husband (although I did show him how my pants were falling off me and he said to go buy new pants).

It's been almost 2 years since I've been able to wear size 10s.

I'm on day 14 of abstinence.

I decided yesterday that I am going to do the Princess Half Marathon at Disney next February. We have enough reward miles for a free Delta ticket. 3 other girls are going again, and I need a race to train for so I will make myself run.  It just hasn't been happening.  A goal is what I need to make myself move.

Had an interesting weekend.  I was feeling slightly manic.  Had a ton of energy--cleaned out Sophie's room and the front room.  This involved several bags of trash & stuff for goodwill, and moving furniture.  I also had to sort through years of pictures and school memorabilia on the desk in the front room.  All in all, I spent about 10 hours over Saturday & Sunday working on two rooms. 

I also stayed up Saturday night until 2:30 am watching Sons of Anarchy on Netflix.

Monday was the crash. I was exhausted & felt back to normal/slightly down. I also was fighting off a virus Mark & Luke both had (headache, body ache, chills).  Tuesday was blah too.  I'm more normal today.

I found it interesting that the (slightly) manic thing has started again.  Maybe we need to adjust the lamictal, not sure.  I like feeling UP, though, in a way, because I feel so good when it happens.  I understand why some bipolar sufferers don't want to take meds.  The manic phase that they go through is much greater than what I feel.  Mine isn't out of control, I don't go on spending sprees or do stupid stuff.  But I can definitely feel the difference.

It's National Love Your Body day.  I have a hard time loving my saddlebags, but the rest of me I'm (mostly) OK with.

I've written before that if I didn't have saddlebags, I'd probably not care about losing weight.  They are what motivate me to lose weight so I will look proportionate.  There are several actresses who are tiny who have saddlebags--their backsides are small & not misshapen (like mine are with all the the extra fat), but they are distinctly pear shaped.  When I was at my smallest, I still hated my backside. I hope this time when I lose my extra weight that I can embrace my behind and not be so obsessed over it.

No matter what I weigh, I will likely always wear Assets/Spanx with dress pants and dresses. They squish in the bumpy parts so I look curvy and not misshapen. God bless Sara Blakely for inventing those things.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Clothes (164.0)

When I lost weight in 2007 & 2008, I went clothes crazy. The MINUTE I got down to 146, I went on a shopping spree because I could get into a size 6 for the first time in my entire life. I bought adorable clothing--age appropriate, but figure flattering and kind of sexy.

I could wear those clothes for about 6 weeks.

I also bought a lot of clothes when I wore a size 8, which was for about 2 years.  I loved those clothes. They were sporty, casual, dressy, gorgeous clothes.  I still have some of them--I gave most of the 10s and some of the 8s to my girlfriend Debra.  I won't get rid of anything else because I believe I can get back to 148-150.

Last week, when I hit 165, I tried on my skinnier size 12s.  Some fit ok, some were still too tight.  This week the Levi's w/o spandex fit, when they didn't last week.  That made me feel really good about my progress.

After the try-on session, I felt a little nuts. Nuts as in, "I can't wait to be in these skinnier clothes.  Where are my 10s? I need to have those ready. When will people notice I'm losing weight again? Why aren't they noticing now?  Why don't I have more cute clothes? I need to go shopping, pronto."

I didn't realize it until a couple days later, as I was still obsessing about what to wear--I hate almost everything in my know how that can be--that I needed to PUT THE BRAKES on this whole clothes thing.

I have to take the focus off the external, and keep it on the internal.  I got into trouble the last time I did this, when it was all about how I looked. I rewarded myself with new clothes at every turn. My self-worth was based on how I looked, and on the thought, "am I finally good enough to measure up to the cute girls?"

There are some pretty deep-seated issues here.  I didn't have a lot of money growing up. I could never wear Guess jeans, because I had hips as soon as I hit puberty.  I wore leggings & long sweaters through most of high school.  In middle school I just wanted to disappear, and I wore big baggy clothes, including men's shirts from the Dollar General store (I sad is that?). I felt fat compared to everyone else, although looking back at my prom picture--when I wore a size 11 dress--I was perfectly normal, even on the small side, and not at all fat (although my 80s big hair was fat, haha).

Clothes can affect how we feel about ourselves, and I believe in dressing nicely and confidently and appropriately for my body shape.  That's not my issue here.

My concern is that I stay away from the mistakes I made before.  Clothing as a reward.  Buying clothes that I think will garner attention (even though, subconsciously, I can't yet handle that type of attention, which I didn't realize the first time I went through this).  Last time, the minute I could squeeze into a smaller size, I was in it.  This time, I'm wearing my baggy dress pants and will move into the smaller ones when they fit comfortably, not when I can first get into them. 

I have most of the clothes I need for the trip back down, although when I hit the 10s and 8s, I will need to shop since I gave most of those away. But that's not something I need to worry about right now.  I just have to focus on today.

Target had some cute basic tops that I got a couple weeks ago.  Two long sleeve v-necks, in black and a cornflower blue, and two short sleeve faux-wrap tees, in black and navy.  They were $10 or less each. I love them for work & for casual. I also got a leopard print dress from Target, that I am wearing to our client appreciate event this Friday at the zoo (if it's not too cold).  I will have my picture taken and post it after so I have a progress photo.  Shopping at Target is another change--I don't have to spend a fortune at Dillards or Ann Taylor Loft to look & feel good.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Why I had to start over with my day count (164.0)

I've been 164.0 for two days in a row.  I wore my size 12 Levi's last night to my OA meeting.  They were too tight last week.  These jeans have either 0 or 1% spandex (I will look at the tag tonight, I can't remember).  They don't stretch at all.  I was happy to be in them comfortably.  They aren't loose, but loose jeans just make my butt look bigger, so I don't like them loose.

My dress pants in size 12's from Christopher & Banks are getting too big.  The waist has a "comfort band" that has two buttons at the waist. The inside button cinches in the waist so it doesn't gap (my waist is smaller than my bottom, being I'm a pear, and I have to be careful about the gappy-waist thing).  I'm on the inside button but they are starting to slide down my hips a bit and are very baggy everywhere.  A few months ago, I had the cinch waist on the outside button and they were tight in the rear. 

Last week I wrote about how I was getting my 30 day chip.  As is my pattern, as soon as I declare a success, I sabotage myself.  I lost my day count last week.

I had a couple nights of late TV (watching Sons of Anarchy on NetFlix) in the family room, and had a Cliff bar & walnuts around 10:30 one night, another night had yogurt & fruit w/walnuts, and another night had a Luna bar.  I didn't binge, but it wasn't abstinent. 

The kicker was dinner on Wednesday night.  We have friends who moved back to Evansville from overseas, and we went to visit them at their new (huge) house in the neighborhood next to ours.  We ended up staying for dinner and had pizza.  Pizza is on my binge list (the foods above are not).  I had three slices of thin cheese pizza from Dominoes. 

I could have chosen not to eat it.  I had had fruit and a couple of pretzels that our friend had set out for all of us, and I wasn't hungry.  I just didn't feel like explaining why I wasn't eating.

The wife is from Thailand, and she is a big "hospitality" person.  I felt like if I didn't eat, I would insult her.  And I was having a bad case of the envy's, after touring their home.  It's beautiful and perfect and a house we would love to have but can't afford.  Our kids loved it.  Eating the pizza was easier & I wasn't able to muster to courage to say no.

I called my sponsor & left her a voicemail the next day, explaining my week & the pizza night.  She called me Saturday morning and we talked.  She said she realized I just got my 30 day chip, but I should just start over.  I asked what start over meant--start my day count over? She said yes, start your day count over.

I did not binge after the pizza (it was a late TV/yogurt night, but I didn't binge).  I did not compulsively OVEReat.  But I did break my abstinence.
Abstinence means abstaining from compulsive overeating.  You define your own abstinence. Mine is defined as not eating foods from my binge list and eating 3 meals a day.  That definition may change over time, but that is where I am now. 
I was darn lucky I didn't binge.  I could have, very easily.

At first I was ticked off that I had to start over.  If I define my own abstinence, I thought, then why can't I include a small slip-up as part of my abstinence?  Am I expected to be perfect?  What happens if I mess up again 6 months from now? 

I understand why she had me start over, at this early stage.  I do feel more accountable.  She told me not to let my ego get involved with the number of days. To take it one day at a time.

I don't have answers to "what happens if I mess up again?"  I assume I will start over again.  That is very disheartening.  It makes me want to do everything I can to stay abstinent.

I haven't had any more issues since last Thursday.  I went to dinner & a movie with my girlfriends at Olive Garden on Friday night, and had no issues at all.  Did not eat bread.  Had salad and the apricot chicken which has broccoli, asparagus, and tomatoes & a very light sauce (which must have had sugar in it, but it did not set me off). I didn't have any cravings after. (We saw Pitch Perfect--such a fun movie!)

I am getting through the weekends just fine--which is a small miracle. 

We are hosting Thanksgiving this year, and I have a ton of work to do on the house to get ready.  Lots of decluttering.  I cleaned out Luke's room & clothes Saturday, then took everything to Goodwill & my friend who got Luke's small clothes for her son.  It kept me busy.  I will be doing that every weekend until Thanksgiving.  Then I want to start on pictures and getting them printed & organized.  That will take me months. 

I'm thankful that when I'm not in the sugar, I have the energy and desire to stay busy.  My meds and SAD light are also working.

I'm on day 6 today.