Monday, April 29, 2013

Old issues resurfacing (150.4)

I think it's time for me to go see my therapist again.

This past week has been difficult.  I'm beating myself up for not exercising enough and not eating "perfectly."  I have more and more days where I'm not satisified with my weight or the way I look.  I'm getting trapped in the loop of "if only I'd lose another 10 (or 20) pounds, I'd be where I want to be." I'm upset that I'm two pounds heavier than my low weight this year.  Two pounds! And I feel like a failure.

Food thoughts are taking up too much space in my brain.  Cravings for things I can't eat.  Eating foods that are borderline not okay--Zone bars and Luna bars are my "treat" and I'm eating too many of them, especially when I'm hormonal (like this weekend). 

I know that eating processed foods are causing this, too--it's not just mental sabotage.  It's food addiction.

I feel like I'm on the edge of a precipice, like I could go over if don't reverse course now. 

It's old thinking, creeping back in.  My thoughts are moving in the old patterns, trying to fix the food instead of working on my insides and the WHY's of what I'm doing.  Fix the food, as in....I will only drink smoothies today, and that will get me back on track.  I won't eat anything after 6 pm today.  I'll get back on track on Monday.  Of course, this strategy fails every time.

This is not where I want to be.  I am stuck in a loop.

The body image thing is coming up because of my inner turmoil, I think.  Friday was our office open house, and I wore a new outfit I bought the week before.  Size small top and size 8 pants.  I felt good about how I looked in the morning,  but I saw myself reflected in a window in the office and thought, geez I need to lose 10 more pounds, and then I didn't feel so great about myself the rest of the day. 

A big part of me is happy about how I look.  25 pounds lost since last September, and I'm not miserable by any means.  I can wear everything in my closet.  Clothes shopping isn't a chore; it's fun. I don't feel like a total failure. 

It's just that the "not good enough" thoughts are bigger than the "I'm okay the way I am" thoughts.

Rationally, I know the size I am now (my dress pants are mostly size 10s, some 8s, dresses size 8s, tops size smalls/mediums) is a good size for my body.  Irrationally, I'm back to the thinking "I need to be a size 6 and THEN I'll be happy."

I'm stuck in the "if only's." The "if only's" are getting bigger.

I've been here before and recognize that it's a path to failure if I don't work on it. 

I have tools to deal with this, through my OA program.  But I think it's bigger than that and I need my therapist's help. 

I realize, of course, that to anyone who has a lot of weight to lose, I sound like an ass.  "I mean, really, 10 pounds?  You're upset about 10 pounds?  You're not happy being a size 8?  Oh you poor thing (not)." 

The thing is, I'm still a fat girl on the inside. The fat girl is insecure.  The fat girl doesn't trust the weight loss to stick. The fat girl on the inside is terrified that she'll turn the thin girl back into a fat girl on the outside...again.  The fat girl doesn't think she deserves to be thin.  Fat girl needs a lot of help.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Serenity Prayer - the full version (149.8)

Until a few months ago, I didn't realize there was more to the serenity prayer than the first few famous lines.  An OA member shared his story last night and also handed out copies of the prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr.  He had recited it by memory the first time I'd heard the whole thing.

Here it is:
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is,
  not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
  if I surrender to His will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
  and supremely happy with Him forever in the next.

The "reasonably happy" line hit me in the gut. I'd had a rough afternoon, and was mentally lamenting all the sh*t in my life that was getting me down.  Having the conversation in my head, why can't I have "x" or why can't my life be "x."  

Then I read the reasonably happy line. 

Am I reasonably happy?  Of course I am.  And then some.  My problems are first world problems.

And of course, "hardships as the pathway to peace" isn't easy to swallow either.  I'd rather have a smooth pathway to peace.

Neither is "taking this sinful world as it is, and not as I would have it."  I have spent most of my life trying to control *my* world and making it into what *I* think is best. Letting go of my control issues and letting others live their lives is something I've worked on in therapy, and I'm getting better at it, but it's still a challenge.

After learning about the rest of this prayer, I think it's a shame that most of us only know the first small part.  Those first lines provide comfort; the rest of the prayer challenges us on a much deeper level.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Uncomfortable in growing-older skin (149.6)

My grandma is in the hospital and I visited her last night.  She has been in and out the past few weeks.  Had a pacemaker put in last week, then was back on Wednesday b/c of blood in her stool (she also has diverticulitis). 

She is 84 and has lived a hard life.  She and my grandpa had a farm, and she did all the work a farm wife has to do.  She worked in nursing homes in her 50-60s.  She is stubborn and did everything herself, and still does when she can, although that's gotten harder and harder.

When I was there last night, the nurse was changing her IV.  Her veins collapse after an IV is in for a while, and they have to keep finding new veins.  She hadn't eaten in a few days, and finally had dinner last night before I got there.  She threw up after they changed her IV; she said it was probably too much food on her stomach that had been empty for days.

She didn't have her dentures in.  She looked tired and frail.  She talked about going into a nursing home but said my aunt doesn't want her to yet.  My aunt and her family live with my grandma.  They moved into her house 15 or so years ago, so she's never alone.  My mom helps a lot too, taking her to appointments and to the hospital and staying with her.

Aside from noticing how frail she was, what got me was her skin.  It is thin and crepe-y.  Even her skin looks tired--which makes sense since it's the largest organ we have.  Her inside upper arms were especially striking to me; not only thin and crepe lined, but flappy.  I am not being judgemental, just explaining what I saw. 

As I was leaving, I had a little freak out.  *I* am going to be in my 80s someday (God willing). I will have skin like that.  I will likely have skin like that before I'm 80.

I love my skin.  I pamper it with skin care products and makeup and body lotions.  I'm blessed to have good genes and fair skin that hasn't been in the sun too much. I don't look my age.

Sometimes I don't have time for body lotion, and I don't put lotion everywhere (like my inner/upper arms).  This morning I put lotion on my upper arms.  And I couldn't help but think, is there a miracle product I can buy at Sephora that will stave off my skin aging too soon?

Aging is showing up more in my hands than anywhere else. "When did I start getting my grandmothers' hands?" I said to myself a year or so ago. My earliest memories of my grandmothers are in their 50s. And at age 6, I of course thought they were old then.

It's no wonder the beauty industry is a bazillion dollar business.  I am freaked by the idea of looking older. Not getting older.  Looking older. Obviously millions of other women are too.

My therapist once told me, when I first started seeing her and my primary complaint was the way I looked at 185 pounds, "you know, there will always be something you won't like about the way you look.  How will you deal with getting older?"  I don't really remember the solution she offered. I was so focused on getting the weight off and fixing my head about weight, I didn't bother processing how I'd think about myself as I got old. 

John Ortberg, the Pastor at Menlo Park Presbyterian church whose online sermons I listen to, once told the story of an old woman who was beautiful.  She was at that age where looks were superfluous, where her spirit shined through her face, and made the wrinkles beautiful.  I know many women who fit that description, especially at my church. 

That idea gives me a little peace, but it is the END result.  It's the journey getting there and the entropy on the journey there that gives me pause.

I don't know how my grandma felt about getting old.   I wonder if she gave it much thought; if having 5 kids and a daily life of intense work that didn't depend upon how she looked precluded a concern for the face in the mirror.  (As opposed to my life, where how I look plays a part in my business success).

I do know she's used her body to its fullest and she's ready to shed her mortal coil (sorry, English major here).  And I think she's ready for a shiny, healthy, brand new body in heaven. 

So I guess the take away from this is: 

Enjoy my youth and beauty for what it is NOW. Take care of myself NOW--body, mind, spirit (and skin). Accept that I will change. Learn to embrace my changing, aging face and body and love it for what it is.  Be thankful every stinking day for everything my body can DO. 

As I age, I hope I can see past the wrinkles and sags and crepes and the spirit-driven beauty within myself.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

What a difference a year makes (149.4)

A year ago today we moved our financial advising practice and joined a group of advisors at Ameripr*se (don't want to hit a search engine, so the *). 

It has been challenging and rewarding.  It has changed our lives.  We have been successful and happy.  Mark said yesterday I am blossoming in my roll here and he can tell I am so much happier.  And I AM!

Our work environment was miserable for so long, and I basically shut down for quite a while.  Here, I am with a team, who are supportive, intelligent, kind, and generous. 

I love coming to work every day.  I love our beautiful new office building.  I love the girls and the other three advisors. 

We are blessed beyond measure.


I have been swamped.  Work is nuts, which isn't a bad thing.  We had a client meeting Tuesday night and a client dinner an hour out of town last night.  Both were great meetings, but it was a lot of extroversion and time away from home and the kids. 

My weight is staying steady.  I am fine with that, but I know it's not going to move until I start exercising and paying more attention to what I eat after 6 pm.  I tend to eat the bulk of my calories at night, which is (duh) obviously not the best way to do things.  It's okay, though.  I am a work in progress.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Busy April & pic of ear piercing (150.6)

April is crazy.  We have two client meetings out of town in the next two weeks, including today, and tonight we have a client dinner.  It's going to be a 12 hour day today.  The rest of the month is crazy with activities.

My knee is better.  I took the KT tape off Sunday and have only felt a slight twinge in my tendons a couple of times. 

I took a walk Saturday (with tape on).  Four miles in an hour.  I walked almost all of it, sprinkling in a bit of jogging in the first two miles.  Knee didn't hurt at all.  Didn't swell after. I'm still babying it, but it was such a beautiful day I couldn't help myself.

Sunday we had a birthday party to go to, and it was outside.  The trees bloomed here overnight on Saturday, and two hours outside was refreshing, but my allergies went into overdrive.  Luke & I are both highly allergic to trees.  The last couple of nights I've been miserable.  Yesterday my face hurt all day from sinus pressure (advil did little to relieve it). I started using Mark's astelin (antihistamine nose spray) yesterday, and it seems to be started to help.  I can breathe out my nose this morning. I also take zyrtec and use zaditor eye drops.  I just have to get through the next few weeks of blooming trees and then should be fine. 

Weight is up a bit because of mid-cycle hormones, and I think also because I'm not sleeping well.  Any time I'm sick, my weight seems to bounce up a pound or two.  I also am eating out twice today, and while I'll make good choices, I know I'll have more sodium than usual.  As long as I know the reasons, the uptick doesn't bother me. 

I got my 6 month chip last night at my OA meeting.  I can't believe it's already been 6 months. Meetings are like a bubble bath or a massage or a great yoga class--relaxing, energizing, and uplifting.

Here's my ear piercings.  I got the cartilage pierced Friday afternoon.  I love them and have gotten a lot of compliments.  In acupuncture, cartilage is centeredness; earlobe is happiness. 

Cartilage didn't hurt much, just felt like a shot.  The weirdest part was the "pop" sound.  I'm diligent about keeping them clean--no phone against my ear, no touching, wash hands before cleaning with ear solution I got at the jewelry store that did my earlobe.  The tattoo shop that did the cartilage also said to take zinc and vitamin C to boost my immune system.

Friday, April 05, 2013

OA quote, April 5

I have a little book of meditations from OA called For Today.

I love today's message:

"...the more total our surrender, the more fully realized our freedom from food obsession." --OA

"Surrender. Now there's a word that stops people cold. Everybody knows that losers surrender; winners keep on fighting.  That idea kept me battling my problem of food and fat until it brought me to my knees--and to OA's door.  Step one was easy when I finally understood that fighting the problem of compulsive overeating would never in this life relieve me of it.

Proof followed swiftly in the form of abstinence and weight loss with unprecedented peace of mind. In short, sanity. In surrendering I gained what years of struggle could not bring me.

For today: There isn't a single problem in my life, including food obsession, that would not be resolved in direct proportion to my ability to stop fighting it, turn it over to God and know that a solution will come."

(bold mine)

Roger Ebert quotes and Article on "Lean In, Stand Up" (148.4)

Roger Ebert passed away.

Click on the link if you enjoy quotes.  These made me tear up.

And read this for inspiration on living in the present.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Cutting out a little at a time. & watching fat intake (148.4) and Mumford & Sons

There's that 148 again!

First, the big news.  I'm going to see Mumford & Sons on June 17th!!!!!  I have never loved a band the way I love them.  Their lyrics are poetry. Their music is original, with a lot of different instruments. And Marcus Mumford's voice is perfection. When I found out they were touring the U.S. this summer, I told my husband that what I want more than anything in my life right now was to go see them in concert (yes, I'm being dramatic, but that's how passionate I am about them).

When they announced their tour (I am in their fan club, of course!), they emailed that they would have an invitation to buy tickets before they go on sale on April 5th, as a way to keep as many tickets as possible out of scalpers' hands.  I got invited, and on Tuesday I bought tickets.  They are choice seats--in the pit in front of the stage.  We are going with two other couples, who we went to St John with (they are easy to travel with) and we are great, long time friends. We got a VIP parking pass for $20 (did this with Pearl Jam in Indianapolis and it made a huge difference) and VIP passes for the concert.  The VIP passes allow us to get into the concert an hour early, access to a private bathroom and a private bar, and some other fun stuff.   The cost per ticket, with the VIP pass, was $86. 

It is in Bonner Springs, Kansas, so there is an 8 hour drive and we will stay the night at a hotel on Monday night, and we will miss two days of work.  But it is all worth it.  Sophie (and the other couples' kids) will be at church camp that week, and I'm having Luke spend the week with my mom for his away-from-home experience this summer (he's not ready for sleepover camp--going to the country with his grandparents is close enough to summer camp for him).  So it came at a perfect time of year, too.  It is a DREAM COME TRUE.  Seriously, I am still on cloud nine and cannot believe I get to see them live.

Okay, now onto food talk.

The other morning I added 2 Tbsp of peanut butter (natural, no sugar added) to my regular breakfast of oatmeal/berries/1 Tbsp chia seeds/2 Tbsp flax meal.  I was aiming to add more calories and protein to my breakfast so it would hold me longer. 

The combination of the PB with chia & flax was too much fat for my body to process.  I had my gallbladder taken out in 2002, and without it my body doesn't process excess fat well.  My GI tract reacts quickly, within about an hour, when I eat high fat foods.  Last Sunday's meal at the Japanese hibachi restaurant--which contained a crazy amount of butter esp. in the fried rice--was a perfect example.  It was not a pleasant afternoon.

After my PB oatmeal breakfast, I had the same reaction.  Not a pleasant morning.  I could do PB OR chia/flax, but not together.
I sometimes slip and forget about the high fat thing.  I don't over do it often, so it's not top of mind (just like when I forget to not eat cheese). For whatever reason I forget from one high fat meal to another.  Writing about it will help keep it top of mind.
A couple of days ago I started using only 1/2 Tbsp chia and 1 Tbsp flax meal.  The idea is to cut out some calories and fat, because as my weight gets lower, I don't need as many calories and eventually I will hit a plateau (too soon) if I keep my calories at levels I was eating when I was 25 pounds heavier. 

I think I'm going to start eating an egg before I leave home in the morning, to get the extra protein I need.  I don't have cholesterol problems.  I'm okay with eating real eggs, but I imagine I will need to mix it up with eggs and egg beaters every other day, just to be safe.  I know egg beaters has added ingredients, but I don't think I can do egg whites alone at this point.  I buy my eggs at our health food store, which gets them from a local chicken farm (is farm the right word?).

I was on quite a Starbucks latte kick for a couple of months.  I've talked about cutting down, but I hadn't.  It was a compulsion, which is not a good thing, obviously.  I am okay with liquid sugar in coffee; it doesn't trigger anything for me.  But cutting it out is, of course, a good thing and just cleans up my food even more.  The plan is one Starbucks a week. I have the Starbucks app on my phone (you can pay for your coffee and get a reward for every latte) and so I can track which days I buy a latte (it keeps a record of your purchases).

These are small calorie changes.  300-400 calories a day adds up. 

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Slow weight loss (149.4)

Today marks 6 months of abstinence.  I lost 2.8 pounds in the past 30 days.

I started going to OA on 8/20/12 and weighed 175 pounds. I started eliminating sugar/fat/flour foods on 8/29/12.  I've lost about 26 pounds so far.  That's 3.7 pounds per month.  Very slow weight loss. Very doable weight loss. 

And it has been easy.  No stress, no worries about getting to a certain weight in a certain amount of time.  No goal weight.

It's been a gentle process, and the times when I felt like I wasn't making progress have been rare. It's been a very positive process.

This is quite different from how I've felt about losing weight in the past.  Before this program, more often than not I felt a lot of "not good enough" emotions.  I'm not perfect, and I've had slips, but I forgive myself and move on.  I don't have to be perfect.  I am good enough. 

I know I want to lose more, because I still have fat in places I don't want. I don't know where I will end up.  It's not my business.  I just have to show up, do the work, and stay abstinent.  One day at a time.

Monday, April 01, 2013

Easter family pic & sidewalk chalk

Easter Sunday
 Luke's Waddledee (from Kirby video game)
 Mark drew Bart Simpson
 Sophie drew Tweety Bird (she's getting really good.)

How I react to other people's reaction to my weight loss, this time vs. last time (149.8) and ear piercing

Vickie asked in a comment on a recent post:  I understood you to say that LAST TIME everyone still sort of had everything to do with your weight loss and that was part of the problem. And this time NO ONE has anything to do with your weight loss and that is working. Is that accurate?

Since my reply was lengthy and, hopefully, insightful, I wanted to include it in a post.
I responded:

That's a good question. The first time I guess I let other's reactions to my weight loss--whether positive or negative--influence the way I processed the loss. I was in a place where I didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings by not eating what they offered. I was also concerned about what people would think about was on my plate (or wasn't on my plate). I would often feel bad about being thin around people close to me who weren't, while at the same time feel superior to them. I talked about my weight loss a lot more, too (because I was asked about it and didn't know it was better to NOT talk about it). I craved the praise and approval.

The external rewards/acknowledgment were important to me, and they aren't now. And the external (perceived) criticism messed with my head, and it doesn't now. And if/when it does, I talk to my sponsor or take a God break, and get focused on what's important again.

This time....I think approaching it from the direction of this is an ILLNESS (addiction), and I'm not on a diet, has made all the difference. I don't care what people think if I say no to food I can't eat. Because my health and my sanity are much more important than what anyone else thinks about me or about themselves. I don't need the compliments and I don't need to talk about my weight loss.

I like how I look, and I'm not comparing myself to others anymore. Sometimes comparison still slips in, but honestly I can look back at the weight gain in 2010-2011 and I'm just so thankful I am healthier and thinner now. I accept that this is the body I have, and it doesn't have to be perfect for me to be happy. That wasn't the case before. I was never happy with my body, no matter what size I was. I always wanted to be thinner & faster & better. Nothing was ever good enough. I'm working hard on eliminating that kind of thinking from my life.

This is just who I am now. I'm addicted to food, I can't eat what I can't eat, and the body I have now is the body I'm meant to have. The body I'm meant to have will continue to change over time, and I will accept it--the good, bad, and ugly.

And, it's not about ME. I am not doing this on my own. I truly believe I could not have made this shift in thinking without OA and without God's help. I have a lot more (very powerful) tools this time around than I did last time.
We had a good 3 day weekend.  We didn't have anything on the schedule, so it was a family time with just us.  We stopped doing Easter dinners with Mark's family when his sister moved to Indy a couple years ago (smaller family now, and Mark's cousin who always hosted decided she wanted Easter off, too).  My mom had Easter dinner, but I didn't want to spend the whole day with my family.  The food is always all white and yellow and brown, and frankly they can suck the energy out of me.  Yesterday was our last day of spring break and I chose to guard our time together instead of trying to make anyone else happy. (This is not really new for me--I have never spent Easter with my family. Thankfully my mom is very understanding and doesn't make me feel guilty.)

After church on Easter we went to a Japanese hibachi restaurant, which we love b/c it is such fun.  The food is heavy on salt and butter, though, and I paid for it with some digestive distress yesterday and I'm a little bloated this morning.  I don't eat there often, and thankfully it didn't trigger any cravings. I read a book and watched "Lost" and had a lovely relaxing time at home.  The kids & Mark did sidewalk chalk yesterday, which turned out to be a sunny and warmer afternoon.  I'll have to post pics later of their art.  Mark & Sophie are masters of sidewalk chalk.

The highlight of my weekend was a girls day I had with my friend Amy on Saturday.  We met for lunch at 11, then went to the mall to shop at Sephora.  And I got my ear pierced!

There's something about being in your 40s and wanting to "mark" it somehow.  I know a ton of women who get tattoos when they turn 40 (my friend Kate--not niece Kate in Indy--has a tattoo on her upper inner arm of "I am half agony, half hope," a quote from her favorite book, Persuasion).  I guess it's a right of passage, maybe. Or hormones. Or a desire to hang onto youth.  Whatever reason, I have wanted a tattoo for several years now.  But Mark hates them, and since it's important to me what my husband thinks of my body, I'm not getting one. 

I still wanted something, though.  So I decided to get my left ear pierced where my acupuncture pins usually go.  Have I talked about those?  Part of my treatment is getting little pins put into one ear in two places--one in the divot where my ear lobe meets the rest of my ear (which is a depression--I like to think of it as "happiness"--point), and the other in the cartilage just above the "c" curve of my inner ear (which is a centering point). 

I love those pins. They look cool and I've had several compliments (and questions) on them.  They usually stay in about 10 days.  I wear my hair up a lot so my ears are exposed all the time.  I wanted to get them permanently, not for treatment but for the symbolism of centering and happiness. 

Indiana won't allow jewelry stores to pierce cartilage--I have to go to a tattoo shop for that (irony of ironies).  So I just have the happiness spot pierced right now, with a 3 mm silver ball.  When I can change into a regular earring, I will get a smaller ball.  I'll get the cartilage pierced soon. 

I can still get the pins in my right ear, when I need them.

After the mall, Amy and I got pedicures.  We spent five hours together and it was refreshing and recharging.  I love talking with that girl. We are kindred spirits.

The knee is better but not 100% yet.  Still no running or workouts.  I'm using KT tape on it for stability and to keep the swelling down.  I'm hopeful a couple weeks rest will be enough.  If I injure it again, I'll have to go to PT. 

I am officially DONE with black tights, socks, and boots.  I don't give a flying fig that it's in the 40s today.  It's April, for crying out loud.  I'm wearing a skirt and sandals with bare legs today (with a cream sweater, so I'm not being stupid about the cold, just a little rebellious).  Who cares if it's cold?  I can't take the winter clothes anymore.