Thursday, January 31, 2013

Still using food, even though it's not sugar (152.0)

It's been a very difficult week.  Not only is it busy with the kids' variety show Tuesday night, tonight, and Saturday, the crazy weather and my hormones have pushed me into a pit.

My food has not been clean this week. I do fine during the day.  At night, the Afters kick in and I am simply eating too much. 

Today is my 119 day of abstinence.  I've lost 23 pounds since I started going to OA meetings last September. I haven't had one bite of a sugar/flour/fat trigger food in those 119 days.

But, I have to be honest, I am still using food for comfort.

I didn't expect all my food issues to be switched OFF just because I'm in this program.

What I do expect is that if I don't WORK this program, I'm going to start having (more) problems with food.

I have been complacent and lazy.  I have been happy with my weight and delighted that the weight loss has been relatively easy.  80% of the time I eat what I need to eat.  It's the other 20% that is a concern.

Here's what last night looked like.

Long day at work.  Left at 4:30 and ran to the grocery store for a few things.  Picked up kids at 5.  Home by 5:15 (seriously, I can get almost anywhere in 10 minutes.  Love where I live).  Debated whether to get on the treadmill and do 3 miles.  Hate the treadmill + no reserve energy = no treadmill.

No run means guilt, and no endorphins to alleviate the pain of the changing weather and my moods. 

Changed into slouchy PJs.  Made dinner for me--curry couscous with carrots, celery, and tons of asparagus.  Yummy and filled me up.  But my icky feelings remained.

So ate a lemon luna bar with a cup of hot tea.  Watched mindless television while Mark & kids worked on Luke's zombie costume for the variety show.

Made the kids pizza for dinner.  Ate 2 small slices of their pizza.

Helped Luke with homework.  Watched more mindless TV.  Beat myself up for eating too much and not getting on the treadmill.

Ate a handful of peanuts. Ate a pretzel luna bar (yes, these are a problem. yes, there is sugar in them. no, they aren't on my binge list.  but are a concern that I can't ignore any longer) and had another cup of hot tea.

Felt really guilty because I ate that second luna bar. Recognized my insanity.  Said a prayer for help.

Helped kids get ready for bed.  Then watched "Our Idiot Brother" until 10:30.  Fell asleep on couch.  Moved to bed around 1:30 am.

Woke up this morning expecting a big gain on the scale. Instead it's a loss. Thankful but aware that a loss doesn't mean I got away with anything.

The main problem I'm facing is that working the OA program means mental energy focused on reading and writing and talking with people on the phone.  After a day at work, after an evening with kids, I resort to comforting my Afters with unhealthy and unproductive things like TV or fluff books. 

I haven't made the shift to taking care of myself using the tools I've been given through OA.  Instead I'm still using my "escape" tools.  It doesn't include binge foods, but the escape isn't getting me where I need to be.

And if I don't change my escapism ways, it's only a matter of time before I slip for real. 

I believe in rest, and I believe there are nights when I'm going to be completely unproductive.  But most of this winter has been one long escape for me.

It's the last day of January, and spring is coming soon.  I am writing about this and will talk to my sponsor about it.  I am not depressed and I am not failing.  I am aware and writing.  And I am asking my higher power to help me get through this.

Because clearly I can't do it on my own. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Monday check in (152.6)

Crazy busy week, so here's a quick update to start the week.

I ran last Thursday after work--3.5 miles, and it was fabulous. I hadn't run for 12 days, so I was glad it went so well. It was cold, around 30 degrees. I ran by the river, at dusk.  It was full dark when I finished.  The trail is completely off road so it was safe (and in a safe area, not urban).  I love running in the cold. It takes more work to get dressed, but I'll take it over heat and humidity and definitely over the treadmill.

I ran 8.25 miles Saturday around noon.  Another very nice day, temps in upper 30s.  But at mile 4 or so, my legs turned to lead.  Which makes sense, since I hadn't kept up my weekly runs.  I plowed through and finished, with a lot of walking after mile 7.  This run reinforces how important my weekly runs are. 

Less than a month until the half marathon on 2/24.

I had a really hard Sunday.  The combination of the full moon, low pressure system moving through, and my hormones was a perfect storm of BLECH.  I was out of sorts all day.  I kept busy, not by choice--church, then grocery & craft store (for Sophie's book report), then variety show rehearsals from 3 - 5 (for the kids' show this Saturday), then I cooked dinner.  I finally sat down around 6:30. 

Downton Abbey was a difficult/emotional episode, and that didn't sit well with me at 10:30 pm when we were finished watching it, so I watched an hour of the show Episodes, for some comic relief.  (Love Episodes.  It's on Showtime.  I'm rewatching season 2.)  Made for a late night but I usually don't go to bed until after 11, so I'm used to it.

Food is good.  Loving that the weight is slowly creeping down & staying down.  So thankful I have admitted I am powerless over food and that I don't have to rely on my willpower to keep me sane.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Face in the mirror (153.6)

Do you ever look at yourself and think, is that really what I look
like? Can that really be ME?

I've done that a lot. It happened again last night.

When I was really overweight my face was swollen and, well, fat. When
I was pregnant even my nose got fat (it was truly bizarre). I didn't
recognize myself for many years.

Some fat women have lovely faces. Some women on the biggest loser look
great from the neck up. One of my good friends who weighs 300+ pounds
is gorgeous. I've seen a pic of her when she was younger and prob
170-200 (she's about 5'9'') and she doesn't look that much different

I look at old pictures of myself now and can't believe it's what I
looked like. Now I don't resemble the me of the past at all.

We have a mirror in our bedroom on the bathroom door that faces my
side of the bed. I can't have the door open when I'm in bed (it's an
OCD thing) and the mirror often reflects me while I'm sitting in bed.
Yes, I will get up and reposition the door so it's closed but I'm not
looking at myself.

Last night after I took off my makeup and put my hair in a pony tail,
I caught a glimpse and thought, I look soooo much like my mom. Not my
mom now. But my mom in her 20s or 30s. And I look a lot like my aunt,
her sister, who is 7 years older than me.

When I got thin in 2007-08, family compared me to my aunt a lot. She's
the only naturally thin person in our family. She got it from my
grandpa, who was a bean pole.

I don't know where all this is going other than I felt weird, and
often feel weird, in my own skin. There's a point when I get to a
certain weight that my face maybe is thinner than I'm used to seeing.
That I've only really had for a couple years of my adult life.

I'm back at that point now.

I don't know what I expect to see. I've lived with myself for 42
years. You'd think this wouldn't be an issue! It's just odd to see so
much of other people in my face in the mirror.

I also think I have a conception in my mind of how I look that doesn't
always match reality. Pictures of me--the good ones--are more
reliable. Then the bad ones throw me again. Is that what I really look

I wonder what it will be like in 20-30 years (I'm being optimistic--I
WILL look exactly the same in my 50s as I do now!) when I'm covered in

I'm starting to do the same thing with my hands. When did my hands
turn into my grandmother's?

So that's the totally random mind deposit for the day.
I have been basically sick or feeling poorly since last Wednesday. I
haven't run in almost 2 weeks. I hate this cold weather. I'm busier
than is normal (work, kids' variety show rehearsals during the week
and on weekends, and it's not going to let up for a while). And I
generally feel life spinning wildly around me.

What this does is cause me to shut down when I'm home at night. I've
watched all of Downton Abbey in the past few weeks (love!!). I've
read a bit of fluffy fiction. I don't want to do anything of
consequence in my down time. I don't have it in me.

I've kept up on laundry and keeping the house clean, so I'm not being
a slug or anything. I just want to carve out more for myself. More
running, reading OA lit and working on my 30 questions, more

I hope for spring's extra sunshine and renewal of spirit.

But I'm ok. I'm really very ok. Food is abstinent. That's a lot to be
hopeful and happy about.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Quick update (152.8)

I'm swamped.  I'm also starting to get sick with the virus my son has--sinus pain & congestion, headache, general malaise. There's so much going around, including the flu, which we haven't gotten yet (knock wood). 

I had a rough weekend but I survived without eating my way through it.  I think I was having PMS issues. 

I managed to run 7 miles on Saturday.  I had a great 1st mile -- 10:35, which is fast for me.  The rest of the run was much slower & I think my pace ended up in the 12:00ish/mile.  It was very warm & humid and I had a hard time breathing.  I used my inhaler before my run, but didn't take it with me because I haven't been needing it.  I think the humidity affected my breathing.  The cold does too.  I'll probably start taking my inhaler with me on long runs.

Weekly OA meetings continue to be my lifeline.  They are on Monday nights, which is perfect.  Something to look forward to when the weekends are hard, and it sets the tone for the new week.

I wanted to check in, even though this is brief.  And I'm so happy my weight is going back down again. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

It's the least wonderful time of the year (154.6)

Ugh.  The past two weeks have not been fun.  And I'm sorry to complain but this is where my brain download happens.  No one in real life wants to hear it (although I do share with my mom & my sponsor and to some extent my husband); no one in blog life wants to read it either, so feel free to stop reading any time.  :)

SAD is at it's worst.  Even though I'm using my SAD light, I still feel the effects this time of year.

Christmas "afters" at their worst.  I still need to take down the Christmas stuff.  We have been busy every weekend since Christmas and I haven't had time or energy. We are very busy this weekend, too, but I have tonight & tomorrow morning to myself (Sophie at Honor's Choir, Luke at my mom's) so I get to spend 4 hours putting it all away (probably by myself unless Mark helps with boxing the ornaments). 

Unpredictable weather.  I couldn't run outside in the snow, and I avoid the treadmill as much as possible.  So my running has been nearly nonexistent. I had one run outside with snow on the ground but roads clear and it was lovely.  But then the rain came & I've done nothing.  I'm planning to run this afternoon if I have time & energy.

I had mid cycle hormone issues last weekend & felt like I was moving through mud.  Lasted the whole weekend.  I also had a bad headache Sunday morning & skipped church, which I rarely do since I teach Sunday school & sing in choir.  Just was a bad weekend.

Mark's back pain has spiked again.  It is pretty scary on days like this.  He's trying to power through but it's nearly impossible for him to concentrate at work when it's this bad.  I hate seeing him in pain.  I hate fearing that it's never going to get better.  I hate the anxiety of wondering what will happen to us if he can't work or if he just gives up.  Chronic pain sufferers like Mark just do not have good solutions. 

January is busy. Kids are in the school's variety show, and I am in charge of both their groups. It took a lot of time to put the music together.  There were three parent meetings.  We have Sunday afternoon rehearsals all month, weekly night-time rehearsals one week, and blocking/dress rehearsal nights the week before the show. Sophie has to be at school 2x a week at 7 am & Luke once a week at 7:30 am for finale rehearsals, which means early mornings & driving them to school.   It's a lot of work.

But it is a lot of fun. I am making memories for my kids--and a dozen other kids--that they will enjoy the rest of their lives. I do not regret taking this on. It's just a lot and I have to acknowledge it and then figure out how to best navigate the time required.

Sophie is in the school district's Honor's Choir this weekend.  They spend today from 3 - 9 rehearsing, and tomorrow from 8:45 - 3ish rehearsing, concert at 4.  Kids are split into elementary, middle, and high school.  They bring in a guest conductor for the HS kids.  Each group learns 5-6 pieces, which are broken into parts (alto, soprano, etc).  Sophie was soprano 2 last year; she is soprano 1 this year.  She will be exhausted but she loves performing.  A couple of her friends are also going. Only 8 kids were selected from her school (hence, the "honor" :).

Through all this, though, I am not eating my way through it.  Today is day 99 of abstinence. 

I am thankful beyond words that I don't have to add all the misery associated with overeating sugar to my load.

Monday was my first OA meeting since before the holiday (didn't go Christmas or NY Eve).  It was like coming home.  After the meeting I talked with Mark about his back pain (he was at a very low point) and I shocked myself with my patience and understanding. 

I often have no emotional capacity to be the support he needs when it gets this bad; I just want him to make himself better and start being normal again.  And while this is unreasonable and illogical, it is how I often feel.  If you've dealt with someone with a chronic condition, you might understand what I'm talking about. 

The OA program is helping me not just with food addiction, but also with spiritual and emotional issues that impact other people in my life. 

OK, that's all the time I have to whine. I am very unmotivated today but have tons to do.  I am getting acupuncture today at 11, so hopefully that will renew my energy reserves. 

Happy weekend to you all.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Think before (155.4)

I don't like New Year's resolutions.  I really hate January and February--it's when my SAD is at its worst and I'm just ready for Spring by the time the holidays are over.  So this time of year is not when I feel spunky or motivated.  I do well just to survive until the sun and warmth return.

I have not felt great the past two weeks--not horrible, but I've had days when the moving-through-mud feelings have reappeared.  I think it has a lot to do with not being at work in front of my SAD light for 5 days in a row, when we were off for Christmas (it's bulky and fragile, and I didn't want to bring it home, but now I think that was a mistake which I won't repeat next year). 

I didn't run enough in December, either.  Running makes me feel better and think more positively.  When I only run once a week or not at all, which is what happened for 3 out of 4 weeks in December, I miss out on endorphins and the mental health benefits of exercise.  It's a chicken/egg thing--I feel sluggish, so I don't run, which makes me feel more sluggish.  A body at rest... a body in motion.

While I don't do resolutions, I still think about how 2013 can be different from last year. 

A few weeks ago I was struck by the idea of "think before."  I tend to have no filter when I speak, which can often be a bad thing.  I also tend to act impulsively at times (or, act not at all when I'm moving through mud). 

And because I often feel insecure about who I am, I tend to make my opinions known to others so I look more important or more accomplished or like an expert.

I've gotten a little better about this because of my therapy sessions last year.  I stopped trying to fix my mom and sister and stopped giving parenting advice to my friend Debra.  Keeping my mouth shut has helped my relationships and helped my state of mind.  I don't feel like it's my responsibility to fix anyone else's problems, and I hope that they feel like they can talk to me without me beating them up in the process.

But I still talk too much and too quickly and too judgementally, especially when it comes to my husband and my kids.  And myself. 

So I'm working on asking questions more, taking a breath before I answer.  Looking for the question behind the question. 

This is really hard.  And I have so much work to do to get there. 

I also don't think of other people enough.  I get so wrapped up in my needs and my problems, that I don't put myself in the other person's shoes.  I need to be more empathetic, especially (again) with my kids and husband. 

Think Before also applies to everything I put in my mouth.  Everything I buy.  Everything I read or watch on TV.  I am on autopilot much of my life, and I default to the easy choice.  Which, I suppose, is natural and part of how we've evolved to be able to deal with all that life throws at us.

But I'd like to live more deliberately and not be swept along under the influence of (bad) habits.

This is also very hard. 

I am lazy.  I like to sleep late, and I like to stay up late and read or watch TV to escape the day.  Finding the energy to be proactive and productive beyond the daily necessities of taking care of a family and working a semi-full time job can be a monumental effort.

The first step to change is thinking about it.  So I'm thinking and writing about it.  And hoping these ideas will manifest themselves through small, deliberate changes. 

I only lost 2 pounds in the past 30 days.  Now, I realize that I am WAY ahead of the game as compared to the average American who gains weight in December.  So I'm not complaining.  I know why my weight loss declined (I have been losing 4-5 pounds a month since starting OA--total of 20 pounds so far).  I had a Starbucks latte 4 or 5 times a week (an extra 350 calories each, while that's not a lot of extra calories, it is clearly enough to stop/slow weight loss).  I didn't eat enough home cooked meals.  I ate out a lot.  I ate dinner too late many nights.  I only ran five times.  I didn't get enough sleep and stayed up too late most nights of Christmas break. 

These are behaviors that will (mostly) naturally resolve themselves this month. 

I do have to consciously limit the number of times I go to Starbucks.  It has become a bad habit, an expensive habit; I went through this last year, and I know I can stop myself.  I just have to recognize it and limit myself.  The plan is to put $20 in an envelope for my monthly Starbucks allowance.  Just have to stick to it.

Training for the half marathon at the end of February increases now, and I can't do long runs well on weekends if I'm not running during the week.  So I have to run regularly if I want to succeed at the level I am shooting for.

Eating out at restaurants will slow down.  I have to be more deliberate about meal prep at home, too.  This is simple stuff, but once I'm out of the habit it takes effort to get back into it. 

I also haven't been doing my OA work, which I will begin again as part of deliberate changes to improve living my life with intention.

Even resolution-hating me acknowledges that it's a time to reflect and seek improvements in my life.