Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Thrift Therapy and Down Time

Yesterday was one of those days where I was running late all day.  I was late for an appointment, and again for my class last night.  Nothing of major concern, I think sometimes I just try to do too much in too little time, and sometimes it just backfires. 
I did manage, in between an agency interview (a class project) and class, to get a little thrift shopping done.  It's always a good sign when I spend a decent amount of money at the thrift store, it means I found some great deals.  I have such a hard time finding jeans and yesterday I figured out why.  I carry the majority of my weight in my waist, and my legs are much smaller by comparison.  So, my legs should be in a size 12, but my waist needs a 16.  No wonder I get so confused about my body image.  I am a mutated mix of sizes, and with only some of my weight lost, I am an oddly-shaped duck. I have come to terms with it.   But I did find some flattering jeans yesterday, three pair to be exact, and I even scored 3 equally flattering tops and a brand new pair of Marco Sarto shoes for an absurdly low price.  It was worth being a few minutes late to class for my little shopping exscursion.  I have been feeling like I am spread too thin lately, with no time to do the little things I need to, like get a haircut and do a little thrift shopping.  The haircut finally happened over the weekend, and the shopping yesterday.  It was more than just having new clothes that I feel good in, it was about finally finding a little slice of time for myself, where I am not Mom or Wife or Student or Optician.  And as I was speeding off to class, the impending snow storm cast a grey over the city that felt suspiciously like a spring rain.  My spirits were screaming spring.  It was a much-needed break from the stressed-out schedule I normally keep.  The sky was grey, but I was casting my own sunshine.
Class was cut extremely short, due to said forthcoming storm (which ended up being mostly rain for this area anyway, but north of my city they got nearly 2 ft of snow), so I got to spend a cozy night with my family, and recoup and rest.  It felt really good to take things at a slower pace for once. 
Staying on track has been a breeze this week, it's already so natural for me that I don't have to be so aware of what I'm doing all the time.  And when food can be such a stumbling block for me, not finding myself thinking about food is a relief.  It makes life so much easier.  I also ran yesterday, in increasing intervals at 5mph, with my longest interval being 3 minutes.  I think this weekend I might try a mile at 5mph, just to see where I stand.  I need to be running more often or I will not be able to finish my 5K at a better time than the last one I ran.  Yesterday's run made my muscles a little sore today, so I skipped working out this morning and caught up on a little sleep.  Yawn.  Stretch.  I feel really relaxed today, for once.   Just one more night of class this week, and the rest of the week should be a breeze to get through.  I am already priming myself, mentally for my weekend run and thinking of strategies to allow myself to enjoy my weekend and still not go off the rails.  I feel really positive about the way things are going.  It's amazing what a little bit of down time can do to restore a person! 
My new favorite song is  Blackout by Breathe Carolina.  I think they are singing about a good alcohol binge, but I first heard the song when I was super pumped up about signing up for this 5K, and I was in a really positive place and everytime they say "I'm only getting started and I won't blackout" conjures up a mental image of me running and triumphing.  Can you guess what song will be on my iPod for the run? 
Halfway through the week, friends, I think we can make it!  Have a great Wednesday!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Fierce and Awesome

Monday mornings have become a time of confessions for me, to atone for my food sins over the ever loosening weekends and vow to be healthy for five days at a time.  Yeesh!  It didn't used to be like this. 
When my husband was a body builder, he was abnormally disciplined.  Now he's a model, and during the week, he gets his carbs and calories so low that he looks like an anemic zombie.  And let me tell you, while he's never been obsessed with food in the 11 years I've known him, now that he's depriving himself, he goes a lot more crazy with food on the weekends than I've ever seen him.  That is the beauty of the emotional being.  I think he is finally understanding the mind game that overweight people face, the comfort that eating what you want brings, and the challenge that avoiding those foods can be. 
Then, come Monday morning, I am preparing my confessional, and he is chiming, "It'll feel really good to be back to eating normal."  Normal for him is chicken breast with green peppers and onions, turkey breast cutlets, egg whites, protein shakes, and one lowly serving of carbs in a bowl of oatmeal in the morning.  I think to myself, that will feel good to get back to?  I want to keep eating all the garbage I was eating over the weekend
It does remind me how powerful a factor the mind is in weight loss.  The feeling of deprivation is so powerful that it causes stress.  I think I was not entirely ready to do that keto phase this time, it felt a bit torturous to me, and I was constantly aware of how abnormal it was to not eat some grains and fruit.  And I probably ate much worse this weekend than I have in some time, due to the mental stress of having to stay on-point when my mind was going in the other direction.  One of the reasons I did so when I first began this diet a year ago, was because in my mind, I could see where I was going and I knew I was strong.  When I wanted something unproductive, I knew that I was stronger than whatever was driving me to want the junk.  I believed so strongly that I could reach my goal, and that every part of what it took to get there was absolutely worth it.  Another part of my success was all the time I had to myself each day, six beautiful hours of peace gave me time to reflect and focus on myself and I had all the time in the world to workout/cook.  Not that I want to be unemployed without a paycheck ever again, but in retrospect, the free time was amazing!  And while I can't possibly make that much time for myself these days, I am going to try to fit in a half hour of journalling each night before bed.  Self reflection is so important, and with as busy as my schedule has been lately, it has been one key element that has been missing.  My other goals going forward, are to keep my weekend a little more sane.  I eventually want to work my way back to only one cheat meal per weekend.  I have been in maintainence mode ever since last August, when I started going crazy on the weekends.  It is like shooting myself in the foot, putting all the effort during the week, only to erase all the good I have done by eating so much junk over the weekend. 
I have a lot of things to consider in my quest, not just looking good in summer clothes, but my heart health, my mental health, my 5K, and being a good role model for my kids.  The deeper I get into psychology classes, the more I see the correlation between mothers' mental health and their children's.  It is scarey how closely children of both sexes end up with the same problems their mothers had/have.  Not a very strong correlation for fathers, so dads can be a total mess and the kids will come out OK, but if Mom is a bit sad sometimes, their kids will be a mess.  No pressure there!  Sometimes I think it would be better if I was outside of my head!  Alas!  There is still plenty of time to fix myself and my kids.  And I can do both, because I am fierce and awesome!
Go forth and be awesome.  And have a great Monday!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Sleep, Therapy, and Sleep Therapy

Today I woke from wonderously restful, extra sleep, gave my youngest a happy birthday kiss and extended my middle finger to the dusting of snow (the white devil) that fell over night, I realized that I have been a walking zombie for weeks.  It has me eager to find the cause so I can get my mojo back.  Or at very least, have the large amounts of caffeine I am consuming, touch my exhaustion. 
When I first decided to go back to college, I knew it would not be without it's challenges, but I was imagining things much differently than they have gone.  It's not the work itself, I only go to class two nights a week, and the homework is pretty manageable.  It's the fact that none of my other responsibilities have been eased or helped along.  Some nights I get home from class a half hour before my kids bedtime, and they still have homework to do, and need to eat.  And usually at that point, I haven't eaten in a few hours myself, so the chaos of trying to manage three lives and still be a nurturing listener to my three favorite men becomes a jumbled mess of nice to see you for five minutes, I'm drained.  See you for five minutes in the morning.  Work isn't always as slow as I'd like it to be either.  One of the reasons I knew I could do OK if I went back to school is that work has such slow stretches that I figured I could get most of my homework done at work.  Some weeks that goes smoothly, a lot of weeks, not.  So that puts extra stress on me to try and stay up late to read, wherein I end up nodding off every few minutes, not really ideal for retaining what I am reading! 
The whole weight loss thing is not exactly top priority to me right now, because I feel, somedays, that I am barely afloat.  But I did do really well this week, despite my energy level feeling lower than it's been in years.   There were plenty of times when I felt like just giving in, telling myself that it would boost my energy level, and I could regroup after.  Logic prevailed over those times, as I reminded myself of my health concerns that got me started on this journey in the first place.  I have never been very good at telling myself no when I want something.  Whether or not I can afford it, if I want it, I will get it somehow.  Food is no different. 
My class on adolescence has really opened my eyes and opened the doors to healing a lot of things for me, things I had slight imperceptions about, or things that were colored by my own misjudgements or emotional perceptions.  While it is uplifting in the end, I have to go into very dark and hurtful places in order to get the upliftment and understanding.  The depth of the emotional journey is exhausting.  Don't get me wrong, I knew I would eventually have to visit these things somewhere in my life, I always thought it would happen on a therapist's couch, but I knew I couldn't just be the hurt little girl with a tough facade forever.  It would be like those people who have broken fingers that jut out in odd angles and never get them fixed.  I always think, how can you walk around broken, don't you have the desire to be fixed?  I never turned my finger back on myself, though I always knew there were parts of me that were broken, that I would eventually need to confront in order to fix them.  I think sometimes I am more afraid of going through the therapy than the fix itself. 
So, last night I blew things a little bit.  Work had been going pretty smoothly, I was able to get some homework done, and had started to do some much-needed organization around my store.  Then, about 2:30 pm my boss called to say that she got notification that we need to inventory the entire optical.  No problem, I say, dreading having to count more than a thousand frames and even more accessories.  5pm.  What?!   I pulled it off, because I am awesome, but I was muttering uglies under my breath the whole time.  Needless to say, my stress level was extremely elevated by the time I punched out.  Then a text to my husband as to whether he picked up the boys from the sitter.  He got done with work at 2, I get done at 5'ish.  No answer to my text.  Must be napping, must be nice.  I called him, he was indeed napping and was just about to leave to go pick them up.  I hide my irritation and tell him, I am already out and I will do it.  The sitter is fairly close to my work, less than 5 miles away, so it isn't a big deal.  And honestly, my kids are therapeudic for me, I was looking forward to seeing them, even if they were fighting.  Then something that never happens in Green Bay, traffic jam.  Some idiot with a gun was causing a hostage/stand-off situation on a nearby street, causing traffic to flood the street I was on.  It took me so long to get to my kids, which gave me extra time to fume.  I took my irritation out on thoughts of my husband.  I had a rough day, why couldn't he just pick up the kids?  How is it he always gets so much time to himself and I get none?  Why do I have to do everything?  The usual flood of apathy that washes over me when I am stressed out.  Not fair to my husband, because I do not let him know what I need, which is why I never say such disrespectful things to his face.  When I finally did get my kids, they were showered with kisses and we got in the car.  Then they began to whine and cry that we didn't get to go to the Reading Spree at school, and I had that aweful feeling in me that I had failed them because I was working and didn't bring them.  In all fairness, they never expressed interest in it until that very moment, or I would have made my husband bring them.  As a way to make it up to them, I offered to bring them to the convenience store so they could pick out some snacks, and promised I would read them some books when we got home (even though they are quite capable of reading).  By the time we were picking out snacks for them, the soft, squishy brownies were staring me right in the eye.  I passed them up, thinking, it's not the weekend yet.  But before we left, I grabbed them.  I was so strung out on stress and apathy, that I reached a moment where I really felt like I needed those brownies in order to go on.  It could be worse, I could have turned to drugs.  Ok, that last part was a joke, but I did eat those brownies in the block that it took to get home, and they did their job of getting me off the proverbial ledge.  I told myself that was enough, and I was going to behave the rest of the night, but as soon as my husband left to do errands, I stuffed food with reckless abandon.  Tortilla chips with nacho cheese, and sugared ceral with almond milk.  I ate just enough to take the edge off my day, then I got the kids to bed and fell into a coma myself.  Since the kids had the day off school today, I took the opportunity to sleep in, skip my workout, and have a relaxing start to the day.  I felt rejuvinated from the extra sleep.  I don't remember the last time I got to sleep until 6:30 on a weekday.  And the internal dialogue for breakfast was about whether or not to just be done with the keto and have a piece of wheat toast with my eggs and turkey bacon, and logic and reason prevailed.  Even though I had my little episode last night, I feel strong and good today.  And maybe using food for therapy isn't the evil it is made out to be, as long as it doesn't happen on a regular basis.  In the end, everything comes out OK, and I know I can handle whatever life throws at me.  Sometimes, it just takes a brownie to get through it.  And I'm completely fine with that!
Have a great weekend, friends!

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Track Has Been Unburried

At the end of November, I celebrated a year of my weight loss journey, and made resolutions to myself to help make the next year a success as well.  As most resolutions go, I did great for a while, bolstered on by the thought of a fresh new year of triumph over fat, but by the time the holidays hit, I was a mess.  I willingly hopped on the sugar/blood sugar roller coaster, and indulged in it's warmth, and coasted on the same old theory of, I'll get things back on track Monday/after the new year/after school starts, etc.
Today I went back to Phase 1 of the South Beach Diet.  I have been here a bunch of times before, and everytime I go ketogenic I end up feeling great and losing a bunch of water weight, which really improves my mood.  My downfall is not during the keto phase, but directly after, when I am allowed carbs again.  I go way overboard.  So this time, I am going to be a lot more conscious of that and work to keep things balanced. 
Saturday night my family went to Applebee's for dinner, which was a new experience for my kids.  They had a blast.  I had been feeling fairly low about myself, due to the fact that I don't really need a belt with my jeans anymore, when at one point I was on the fourth hole.  But I put my petty weight issues aside and went out to have fun.  After all, I hardly see much of my hubby these days, so I cherish the time I do get.  During dinner, one of our male servers, a cute little thing in cool glasses, let his gaze on me linger a little longer than what was comfortable for my husband, and usually he is not too perceptive about these things, but he noticed that night.  My husband, being very mature, simply cracked a joke and we laughed it off, but it was really a meaningful moment for me, because I was at such a low point before dinner, that I thought not even my husband could find me attractive. It reminded me that I am not my weight.
It goes to show just how much we let our body image effect everything.  It has the ability to suffocate and choke us if we allow it.  And we base our self-worth on it.  I am an amazing person, not because I have lost weight or will lose weight, but because of what I have faced and overcome, because I am an amazing mom to two awesome kids, because I am smart and caring and sometimes allow my joy to spread to others.  The amount of fat around my waist doesn't make me a good/bad person, and even if never fit the ideal image, I will celebrate who I am. 
When I started this journey, I was driven by a dream to slough off the rough edges and get rid of the self-loathing and sadness, and in the end, be able to wear a cute little strappy dress and feel comfortable.  I will admit, I do care what I look like, it is a driving factor.  But what I was happily suprised to learn by this journey, is that exercise and good nutrition are what made me feel balanced and vital.  It gives me the piece of mind that no matter what I look like, I know I am doing the right thing for my body, and I feel so great.
That is why I believe this restart will be effective.  I am going to make time for weight training again, and start really working toward increasing my speed for my 5K.  I am eating a lot more vegetables and making sure everything is planned out so I don't have an excuse to eat something off plan.  And, while I don't know how long it will last, I started a food/exercise journal this morning, as a way of keeping myself acocuntable and aware of what I am putting in.  This morning I did a chest/shoulder/tricep workout and my upper body is feeling like it is my first workout in years!  Tomorrow I plan on getting some interval running in on the treadmill. 
The scale said 162 this morning, and without thinking I told myself that I want to be 152 by my 5K on May 19.  That would be so great to see those numbers again, to feel the triumph over my own mental challenges.  We have been having spring-like temperatures quite frequently lately, and the dripping of the melted snow is a great reminder of what is ahead, warm, beautiful summer days.  I think getting back on track now will yield great results for summer.  And now, my husband and I are going to make a serious effort to move to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida in a little more than a year.  It is perpetual summer there, I need to be sure I am in shape to handle the heat and beach-ready so I can enjoy all my days in the sun.  A plan to get out of the snowy beyond is just what I needed to fire me up! 
Until school is done in early May, I probably won't be blogging as much, but I will try to do weigh-ins on Fridays and blog my progress.  It makes more sense to weigh-in on Fridays, after a successful week, instead of Mondays, when I am still retaining water from the cheat-infested weekends. 
Here's to fresh starts!  Hope your week is wonderful!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Powerless Crockery

The past two weeks, I have been lost in a blizzard of chaos and I feel I can hardly catch my breath long enough to get out from under the crushing weight of it.  Don't get me wrong, I am in good spirits, but life is certainly having its way with me lately, and not in the eyebrow-raising sort of way.  Two strains of stomach flu have visited my children, and some missed work should have allowed me to catch up on some things, but when you have a sick kid who sometimes doesn't make the bucket or the bowl, you spend the entire day (or week) on edge, cleaning up messes of stuff I'd thought I'd never have to clean up after my boys again.  Two weekends ago it was the younger, last weekend the older one.  And I didn't know it was possible to have the 72-hour flu, but apparently my older son "goes big" when he goes.
I have been so off-track, in my usual manner of eating the majority of the day/week on track, then adding extra junk that wasn't planned/intended.  Take yesterday, for instance.  It was my oldest's first day back to school after his illness, and I still wasn't 100% sure he should be going.  The morning seemed extra difficult to coordinate, getting a special breakfast/lunch prepped for him, packing my own stuff for work and school, and dealing with several "emergency" trips to the bathroom to help my son take care of issues.  When I sat down to my lunch at work, I had a beautiful turkey breast sandwich with all the fixings...except turkey.  That is what happens to me when I have too much going on at once, my brain turns to mush.  So I ate my low-fat cheddar that was supposed to be the next snack, which meant I was short of food and starving on my way to school, so I made an unhealthy choice and got some quick food on the way to class.  I have been eating chocolate on the weekends, and craving it, so I know it is time to detoxify my body from all the sugar to lose the cravings again.  I don't mind being on the ketogenic phase of this diet, I actually end up feeling really good on that phase.  So, I think I may do a 1-2 week keto again, starting next Monday.  I would start sooner, but I have some fruit to finish up that I don't want to go to waste.  And, as lame as it may sound, I need time to prepare myself, mentally, for a fresh start.  I keep reminding myself that spring is right around the corner, not only do I have my 5K coming up (which I haven't been training for) but I do NOT want to go through summer self-conscious about my body.  The thought of spring nearing makes me feel refreshed already, and ready to commit to healthier choices.  I just have to get all my ducks back in a row and make it happen. 
Over the past week, I have been seeing a local commercial that drives me NUTS!  An obese woman starts out saying, "Do you feel powerless?"  and procedes to brag about losing 64 pounds in 3 months, thanks to bariatric surgery.  It is a commercial for a seminar about the surgical options that are being toted as miracles.  As this is a nursing/healthcare-based city, with several top-notch hospitals/health systems, we are inundated with these seminars/ads.  So what are they selling?  To me it says, if you're too lazy to take ownership of your own health, just have a surgeon make it less comfortable to eat as you wish you could.   I understand weight loss is not easy.  But if you truly feel like you are powerless, there are things that are broken within that need to be fixed first.  Simply getting the weight off doesn't solve old problems and bad habits.  We even have some quack doctor who willingly gives his patient thyroid-altering drugs to help them lose weight, his commercial says, "It's not your fault you're fat."  How very sympathetic and releiving.  Give me a drug and watch me lose weight while I eat my Big Mac.  I get mad because it is sending out the wrong message, and it's not just adults who are seeing these commercials.  Yes, there are certain, dire circumstances where bariatric surgery is needed to save a life.  But nowadays it seems like just another cosmetic surgery that people have when they just don't feel like exerting themselves.  And guess how their self-esteem fairs once they drop those hundreds of pounds and still have an extra 30-40 pounds of unwanted skin hanging off of them?
I can speak from experience, because I used to tell myself I was powerless against certain challenges I faced in weightloss.  Mindset is everything.  If you believe you can't, you definitely won't.  I know I can fix what is wrong with me.  I know that I not only have the strength, but the intelligence to do what is right to prevent a heart attack, and to be not just healthy but happy and well-rounded.  I know I have been off-track for a while, but I have not lost sight of the track and am willing to get back where I need to be.  It's a commitment we make to ourselves, to challenge what is difficult, because what's waiting on the other side is a feeling one cannot get from giving up and going under the knife.  Power comes from overcoming your personal challenges.  No one is powerless. 
So this morning, when the alarm went off, I had the internal conflict with myself whether or not to hit the treadmill, and I found myself slipping into the comforting answer of I'll just start fresh on Monday.  It was just in time that reason returned, as I looked at my increasing waistline, flabby belly looking back at me as if to say, what kind of logic is that?!  And I knew from past experience, that I would feel better by the time I popped a caffeine pill and started my treadmill duty.  And by the first interval of running (4.5, which felt very doable for one minute intervals), I was happy I listened to my flabby old gut. 
Happy Wednesday friends!  Hope you had a wonderful Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

A Stretch and a Yawn

Thursdays are usually my stretch and yawn days at work, the quietest day of the week, when my doctor is out of the office, my first night of the week where I don't have obligations that will keep me out late (which, at my age is past 6 pm), and generally, a day when I can get most of my homework done for the upcoming week. 
Today, I began this blog at 8am, when I got to work, and only got one sentence done before the chaos hit.  My boss was at my office, so I couldn't be on-line blogging while she was here, and for some strange reason, I was busy with customers all morning.  Now nearly 1pm I am settling in to have some lunch.
What I am feeling today is like something that has been so deep and damaged inside of me, is healing.  Something I have been wanting for years, like an itch you can't seem to scratch, is finally being reached and beginning to be understood.  I was expecting a lot from college, but this is so unexpected.  It turns out, my teacher for the class that is "healing my demons" is a life coach.  She is one of those people who is truly doing what she was meant to do.  I don't meet many people of whom this is true, so when I do, I find it inspirational and so very admirable.  I find it a bit humorous that of the two classes I am taking this semester, hers is the one I was assuming would be a blow-off class, as it isn't truly a psychology class.  Boy, was I wrong.  I am learning more about myself by learning about adolescence than learning about abnormal childhood psychological disorders.  Anyway, I am not only gaining a lot of valuable information on how to understand teens (which I will be needing for my own kids in a few years), but it is affording me huge personal gains.  What a wonderful, unexpected blessing.
And today I feel really calm and a peace.  I traded in my cardio key for a little extra sleep this morning, as the morning crust was thicker today than usual, and I knew my body could use a little recoup after the chaotic beginning of the week.  I was so casual this morning, that I didn't make myself a lunch for today, planning to get something from the grocery store on my lunch hour.  By the time that arrived, I had decided to get something from Subway, which has moved in right next door to my office.  I could have had a sub on wheat bread, it is allowed on South Beach, but when I got up to the spot to order, I knew I could do better for myself, and ordered a salad loaded up with veggies and spinach, and topped with tuna.  Much better choice.  And I left there feeling so proud of myself for making the healthier choice.  I am doing exceptionally well with my nutrition this week, I don't want to mess it up for something that is not very fulfilling. 
Tonight is about trying to find my son a new bed, as he broke his last night, jumping on it.  And tomorrow, a dinner at a frozen custard shop with my in-laws.  I can't eat custard, it's too rich for my stomach, but right now I'm so on-track that I don't want it anyway.  It will be interesting to see what I do in the heat of the moment.  At any rate, that means Saturday might be the first day and night of not running around at night, and then I may finally get my chance to breathe, stretch and yawn properly.
We almost made it to Friday, friends!  Happy day to you all!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


College, I'm afraid, is ruining my bright, shiny blogging career!
But alas, here I am, relatively unscathed.
Everything is going good right now, I am in a really good place, actually enjoying the morning work on the treadmill, as it gets me ready for my long days at work and school, and sets up my mindset to focus on the better choices I referred to on the last blog.  Right now, being on track is a bit matter-of-fact for me, because I am so busy I don't have time to think of eating something else, much less, have the time to go out and acquire and eat such things.  So that is one way that going back to school is helping me.  I may be the first person in the history of the great state of Wisconsin to actually lose weight by going back to college.
Last night, while driving home from my Human Development of Adolescence class, some dark and stirring things came to the surface, that date from my childhood and even a reflection on my mother's life.  These things came about because at the end of each class we have to answer questions.  Most of them pertain to the book, and what we are learning.  Then, there is always a writing question at the end, and it is crafted in such a way that it makes me reveal somewhat vulnerable information to the professor (she happens to be a psychologist who works with teens, so she knows what she's doing).  So, once I hand the paper in, I get to leave, and the thoughts are still lingering as I walk to my car across the cold dark expanse of the seemingly empty campus.  And the thoughts continue on the drive home, pushing their way past the blaring of Green Day.  Sometimes I am so deep in thought by the time I get home, I feel a bit out of my element in getting back into "wife" and "mommy" mode.
But last night's thoughts were not all negative or hurtful.  It was more like realizing my strength.  I was thinking to myself how strong I was to overcome so much, growing up in a house where my father was an alcoholic and my mother was depressed, feeling in the shadow of my older sister, my own issues with alcohol, my parent's divorce, always always feeling out of place and self-conscious and low self esteem.  From what I am learning in my classes right now, most people in those circumstances don't have very good outcomes.  But I know I am strong enough to take it.  And I know that because I inherited my strength from my mother, who had her own really dark childhood complete with poverty, teen pregnancy, being raised by an alcoholic, then married to one at an early age, and a variety of abuses from both of her parents.  When my sister and I were old enough to watch after ourselves, she went to college, and graduated with honors in a surgical field, but instead chose a job in the emergency field, eventually becoming a lieutenant fire fighter/EMT.  When my parents got divorced, she was able to stand on her own.  And some times after all the bills were paid, she only had $13 left, but she made it work, and she never looked back.
In retrospect, and comparing my life to hers, maybe I didn't have it so bad, maybe there were parts that were dark and undesirable, but I was given the tools, by a very ample role model, on how to overcome challenges.
So the problems I have had with food, body image, exercise...while they have their root in these earlier challenges, and while I have struggled with them for many years, they are just a challenge.  And I know very well, that challenges can be overcome.
It's going to be a very productive semester!
Happy Wednesday everyone!