Monday, January 19, 2015

An Answer, or Something like that

My trip to California is finally booked!  It is a really big deal for my family.  Not only is the longest we've even gone away for, but we get to get out of the cold for a whole week and feel out the potential for moving there.  I am so excited I want to jump out of my skin!  I can't wait to wear skirts and not freeze my entire self!  I can't wait to see the Giant Seqoia trees and the coast, and Napa.  
I didn't make any rash decisions about my diet, but I did put a little effort into it today.  I took the day off work to hang out with my kids, who slept past ten, giving me a good chunk of personal time. I watched a little GMA while doing some yoga and sipping some iced coffee with sugar-free, vanilla caramel flavored creamer.  When my yoga was done, it woke up an energy I haven't had in a while, so I did some walking in my absurdly long apartment.  And I included a few walking lunges for good measure.  I felt really good after that, I don't remember the last time I was sweaty.  It was that awesome kind of energized calm that I've missed out on for so long.  I didn't end up eating breakfast until almost 11am, listening to my body and not eating before I was physically hungry. I ate a fairly low-carb most of the day, but allowed some carbs later in the day, but I kept busy with some heavy-duty housework all day which kept me plenty occupied.  My Pebble finally reached my 5,000 step goal on a day off, that hasn't happened in months!  
I had a moment in the grocery store though, and I'm still not sure I made the right decision.  I had to go pick up 1 lousy thing from the grocery store for my son's lunch, and I can rarely ever walk out with just one thing.  It is maddening!  As I was cruising the aisles searching for Capri Sun I ended up going down the candy aisle.  My stomach had a gnawing, I-haven't-had-enough-calories-today sort of thinness.  And I tried to figure out why I was trying to convince myself I needed chocolate.  I decided that since food still has this control over me, maybe I'm not ready to start trying to restrict and restrain myself.  I ate an entire Caramello bar.  And I hate how happy it made me.  I felt like a little kid opening a present on Christmas Day.  
I ate regular low-carb stuff the rest of the night (had some baked pea snacks today too, they are sort of the baked equivalent to Funyuns, so good).  So I am not in any one lane, I'm sort of hogging both.  And, I'm remarkably OK with that.
I did a brief meditation tonight, imagining I was sitting on a tall empty hill with the Dalai Lama, asking how I can move forward in my health and weight loss.  The answer was, "Slow down". I immediately and ungraciously protested, "Slow down?!  I feel like I'm at a dead stop!"  The explanation was that patience awareness and kindness were the human tools I would need to move positively toward resolution of my demons. There is perhaps no other human for whom I have greater respect for, so I accepted this message without questioning further and ended my session a little astounded.  It is true, I would love to lose weight for this trip.  And I could do a juice fast and drop some, but it isn't like I would miraculously get to goal weight in a month's time anyway, and once I get off the veggies-only diet, I will leave for vacation and eat whatever I want and gain it all back, which would be bad for my heart, and worse for my spirit.  It would send me spiraling down, and I would lose important ground I've recently gained with beginning to love myself as is.  
So I am going to stick with my original plan, which is to slightly modify and mesh  South Beach, Breaking Free (Geneen), and eating more iron-rich foods.  And I am going to stretch and exercise more, because it feels good and it helps ensure I will be able to keep moving.  It will be interesting to see how my joints feel in California.  I know they hate this cold weather. Without totally self-diagnosing, I have all of the symptoms of Sjogren's but I am so tired of going to the doctor to have her tell me all of my problems stem from my weight.  My joint pain felt really sudden.  And I have gotten to the point where my mouth, eyes and skin are so dry, I drink about 2 gallons of fluids a day and still have to put eye drops in and wake up to put lotion on my skin in the middle of the night.  Maybe I'll check it out before we leave on vacation.  Ibuprofen does help with my aches, but I don't want to be on that my whole life!
Well I guess that's enough idle chatter for one night.  Hope you had a good weekend and a great start to your week!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Decisions Decisions

I am at a crossroads right now, being pulled in two different directions, and my mind is struggling to make sense of it a all.  
I am a follower by nature.  I never want to be the first one in line, the first one on the bus, the first one out of the gate.  That's not to say that I not capable of leading, but it wouldn't be natural.  Following gives me structure.  South Beach diet says I can't eat carrots or corn in the first phase.  Geneen Roth says I need to stop eating after I have enough.  If there is structure, there is less guesswork and if there's less guesswork, there's less of a chance I'll screw something up.  Geneen Roth would say that means I don't trust myself enough, that I feel as, if left to my trust my instincts, I will destroy myself.  south Beach diet says that eating those sugars will keep me on the blood sugar rollercoaster and it is really tough to get off.  I am stuck somewhere in the middle, I know that I need to detox from the junk, but if it feels like restriction and deprivation it won't last.  
The weekend was one bit glut festival for me.  I have been buying and eating things in front of my husband that I wouldn't have been comfortable eating in front of him in the past.  I know he is concerned about my health, and I know he doesn't understand why, knowing what I know, I allow myself those things.  I don't feel like explaining it to him each time, I have been trusting him to trust me when it comes to my body.  I'm not naive enough to believe that it only concerns me, I know my health effects my whole family.  I believe in the Geneen Roth method, but when will I cross over from rebellious stage to the part where I start wanting the healthy food as a way to love myself??!  In the book she asks readers to give it a year.  I don't feel like my health can take that kind of hit.  I am noticing more signs of iron deficiency, white lips and eyelids, tiredness, aches, and I don't want to go back on supplements, the gastritis was torture!  But I do want to start healing myself through food.  I put a little research into what foods I can eat to boost my iron, and I even learned that iron absorption issues can be caused by a magnesium deficit, and one easy way to boost it is by taking a bath with Epsom salts.  I had a nice lunch with my husband and son and had some chicken.  I don't eat meat, but I wanted to see if it changed the coloring in my lips and underneath my eyelids.  It did slightly.  Not enough to make me eat meat regularly.  And it just tasted OK, nothing to write home about.  So I know I have this issue and I want to fix it.  
I bought some Epsom salt and had a nice soak while also using a mud mask on my face.  I felt really pampered and that makes me more aware of my body and what it deserves.  I was fully engaged in body mode.  
So I watched the documentary Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead 2.  If you haven't seen the first one (same title without the 2) it is well worth the watch, and the second one is just as good.  Basically this guy Joe, over 300 pounds and on all kinds of medications, decides to take matters into his own hands and detox his body from all the garbage he's been feeding it his whole life.  He drinks only juiced fruits and veggies for 60 days, and cures himself of all the ailments he had, and drops down to 220#.  He looks good, has a ton of energy, even his skin is glowing.  He starts spreading the word and helping others. It started a huge juicing craze, even my husband bought a juicer.  The idea behind juicing is that it takes a boatload of produce to get an 8oz glass of juice, but in that 8 oz is more nutrients than you could comfortably eat in one sitting.  Juicing streamlines the nutrients into you.  He isn't secretive about the first couple days, which he describes as a certain sort of torture, but after day 3 or 4 a bunch of amazing things happen, your senses become heightened, you sleep better, you have more energy, you feel great.  So says the movie.  Once you have gone through a juice "reboot" ( you can also opt to eat only fruits and veggies instead of juicing) your body has been naturally reset to crave healthy foods instead of other stuff.    I had the same reaction to the second movie as I did when I watched the first one a couple years ago: I gotta try this!  
But the battle in my mind was still flip-flopping, it is just another form of deprivation, but so is South Beach and when I get off sugar I stop craving it so bad.  I could do a reboot AND Geneen Roth together.  No, Geneen says not to combine deprivation with Breakin Free.. The argument goes on in my head.
While still trying to digest all the thoughts and feelings, I spotted another documentary called Vitality.  I watched it. Really, this is what matters, having the health and energy to do what I want to do in life.  Vitality is the result of balance between diet, exercise, sleep and mindset.  I particularly like how they compared our current medical system, which makes doctors wealthier the sicker we are, to an ancient method from Asia, where doctors were paid a monthly fee to keep people healthy, and if the doctor allowed the person to become sick, he was not paid.  It made me realize how my frustration with my own doctor is simultaneously valid, but not unexpected, these modern doctors don't have the time or knowledge to treat patients holistically.  This movie was essentially showing how to try to balance out the four areas, but also showing how they are interconnected.  Until you have a diet that is healthy, you will not have the intended or necessary energy to get ample exercise.  Without a good diet and exercise, your hormones will not be balanced and you will not sleep as well as you should.  It's difficult to have a good mindset when you are nutrient or sleep-deprived.  You get the picture.  It all seems to stem from the diet, as we have heard time and again.  Diet is 80% of your physique, exercise is another 15% and genetics the other 5%.  So it is said. You can change your physique by altering your diet alone, but you cannot change it simply with exercise (assuming you don't already eat an ideal diet).  This is why I am considering doing a reboot.  I cannot drink all of my calories, I would have to eat them, but I'm thinking about it.  The answer to my Geneen "rule" of not combining a diet with her method is that, Geneen found her own way to stop abusing herself with food, through deep inner reflection, a fantastic support system and chocolate.  It was rebellious because she found her own way.  So maybe it's time I find my own way instead of following this time.  Who else is qualified to tell me what's going to work for me?  
While I was all excited and wanted to rush into this starting tomorrow morning, I allowed logic to return and realized I just spent a bunch of money on groceries and I will use them up this week (they are mostly South Beach friendly) and that will give me time to prepare for the reboots, decide if I really want to go through with it, and plan what I will buy.  I am going to California in a month, I don't want to slow my family down because I am not fit enough to keep up with them.  I don't want anything interfering with our enjoyment of what I hope will soon be our new home state!
Ah another long post.  What can I say, watching stuff like that gets me fired up.  

Thursday, January 15, 2015


Yesterday was a day that just felt heavy.  I worked at a different office than the one I normally work, and I just don't like working there.  For one, the lighting is so much darker than the office where I typically work, which makes me feel like I'm in someone's basement.  And when I work there I feel like I am cleaning up someone else's problems and messes when I've already worked really hard to keep my own office nice and orderly and running smoothly.  It makes me feel like a maid and a one-woman complaint department.  I cope with the stress of it by eating until I'm uncomfortable. Eating to the point of where I'm not really tasting the chewy Sprees I am shoving in my mouth, and I am not enjoying them (especially how they make painful sores on the inside of my cheeks) but I'm still edgy so I'm still eating. That level of uncomfortable doesn't allow for numbness.  And even though the bloated balloon-gut is there begging me to stop I can't get over how much I dread working there.  It's my mental trip that I need to get past, even though I only work there once every couple months or so.  
When I got home from work I was still looking for food, telling myself that I hadn't eaten a "real meal" since I had lunch at 1pm.  But nothing we had in the house sounded good and I started contemplating ordering pizza, the ultimate comfort food.  I melted some cheese over some tortilla chips instead and lived.  
I was irritated at how something so trivial could continue to affect me, but it did.  
Later, before bed I tried to meditate and came up blank, so I did some yoga and then went on Facebook for a minute.  A friend and former coworker came on and told me that she'd gotten home from the dr a few hours earlier and was diagnosed with colon cancer, but wouldn't know the prognosis until today.  I still haven't heard from her, and I will respect her wish to tell the news when she is ready.  But it has my head swimming.  Today I was so aware of all the anti-inflammatory info about sugar out there.  I am a slave to sugar.  Sometimes I wonder how anyone can completely swear it off and walk away clean.  I know when I am eating low-carb I crave it a lot less, but there are times when it feels like I gotta have it.  
My dilemma right now is this:  I am on my beginning of this journey for truth, and I do believe the truth will eventually liberate me from my compulsive eating, but my mind is fighting it telling me I need to get off sugar and junk food.  My brain is fighting against me, wanting to revert to the old thinking.  I am only in the rebellion phase, eating what I feel I can't or shouldn't have, but I am realizing that certain parts need to be more committed.  I break all the rules, and put such little thought into it.  I need to be more aware instead of just trying to numb myself without exploring why .  With my dad's heart issues and my friend's cancer issue, I know I need to pay better attention to my health.  I have been so tired again, and I still feel like something is wrong, but I am sick of doctors and trying to find time for appointments just to be told to eat vegetables and exercise more.  Yes, I'm sure these things would be beneficial and I would never deny that.  
Anyway, my eyes have been driving me crazy lately so I am going to have an eye exam tomorrow with a new doctor.  There is a lot that the eyes can tell you about your health, maybe I'll learn something about it tomorrow.  
My health is important to me, but it seems that I have to detach from it temporarily while I give my mind some love.  I can't fix one without the other.  
Oh!  What a luxury to have such small problems!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Grinning Like A Fool

Today started with a headache, which is rare for me, but soon after I took some caffeine I was feeling AWESOME.  And by awesome I mean I felt how I wish I would feel every day.  I was in a great mood (it made my Monday feel like Friday), my kids were in a groove getting ready for school and were feeding off my good mood, and I got a few precious hours to myself before going to work.  I had a few cups of coffee, which I noticed killed my appetite, but since I had time to spare and didn't have to eat on a schedule, I decided to practice one of the principles of Geneen Roth's program, and waited to eat until I was honesty hungry.  I was scrolling through Facebook when I saw an article about the only 2 yoga poses you ever need to do for mental and physical balance, and I did those two (the squat and the hang are the two poses for those who are wondering).  By trying those two poses it warmed up my muscles and I decided to try some yoga poses I'd written down before Christmas and only done once.  Those poses were just ok, some hit my sore spots and some didn't, so I searched online to find poses.  I shouldn't find it humorous but I do, my search bar read "yoga poses for obese beginners".  😊. And to my delight, there was a handful of results.  I watched a YouTube post from some guy from Australia show non weight-bearing poses for obese, beginners, or those with joint issues.  Check, check, check.  After 45 minutes of breathing and stretching, I felt pretty good.  There were still some tense spots, but I haven't stretched in so long.  My neck was so stiff it was ridiculous.  
At work, I buzzed around with this ridiculous lilt, almost floating, smiling like I had a secret.  I even did some deep cleaning and organizing that's been needed for a few months.  My space is so uncluttered now, it feels refreshing.  And as I was walking around grinning, I realized what the feeling I was feeling, contentment.  And the reason I was feeling that way is because I gave myself permission to feel that way.  For today, I really didn't think about bashing myself because of the size of my gut.  And I didn't feel guilty when I ate not one but THREE packages of Zebra cakes through the day, even in front of others.  Instead of feeling bad or ashamed about eating that I felt totally fine.  And that there was the ticket to the precious feeling of LIBERATION!!!  
I felt more appreciative of little things today, a kind gesture from a favorite customer of mine, some promising news about our trip to California next month, even the taste of strawberries made me feel good today; when you haven't had a strawberry in a few months, they taste like summer.  
Today's content vibe made me realize that Geneen is right, being more aware as I go through my day makes me see that there are so many sensations other than food that are enjoyable.  Still, I did take pleasure from food when I ate those Zebra Cakes, and late morning when I ate a Red Baron French bread singles, smothered in cheese and reeking of delicious garlic.  I took pleasure from food, it is allowed, and I'm not a bad person for feeling that way.  In fact, I think I'm a freaking rock star.  I haven't felt this good since I was loosing weight with the illusion that my life would magically be worry-free, pain-free, and unicorns would ride the waves of my joy.  Losing weight didn't give me those things, my life was still my life, only I had one less coping tool to use because if I ate something that gave me pleasure, I equated it with being bad or a failure.  I'm not happy because I'm eating Zebra Cakes and pizza, I'm happy because I took the charge out of those foods.  Normally, if I would have taken a treat to work, I would eat it all in one day (even if it makes my stomach scream for mercy) because my mind is still the child living in unstable,  poor) circumstances, I would have been thinking that I needed to eat it all because I can't bring it home, or that I have to eat it all because I can't have the temptation hanging around because I'm not supposed to want to eat this, or because I'm always chasing that not enough feeling.  I need to eat this, and I need to eat all of this or it won't be enough and I'll just crave it eternally.    When I was 5 and getting ready for kindergarten my mom would try to train me to eat faster, so that when I finally went to school, I would have enough time to finish my snack.  Back in the late 70's, that snack was a couple of graham crackers and a carton of milk.  Yuck.  But all summer long I'd be forced to sit at the kitchen table, my mom watching me like a hawk, an egg timer set for five minutes.  When I'd be eating too slow she'd shake my plate and tell me, "they're going to take your snack away and your tummy will be growling all day!"  I understand she did this out of concern and love, and in reality, I was always allowed to finish my snack in the coat room, but since that time, I've always had issues with there being not enough.  And it doesn't just apply to food, if we are running low on paper towels I stress out well before its warranted.  If too many bills come in at once, even if we have money to pay them, I stress out that it's such a huge chunk gone and we won't have enough if something happens out of the ordinary. It goes on and on.  Food is how it manifests most prominently but it isn't alone in my neurosis.  
Today I wasn't stressed.  Maybe it was the yoga, maybe the caffeine or the new super B complex vitamin I started taking. Or maybe it is that I am finally finding me under all the other noise I used to let burry me.  Whatever the case, I am enjoying unearthing the mystery.  

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Figuring It Out

I finished re-reading Geneen Roth's book when Food is Love a few nights ago and something about the second time really got inside of me.  There are so many lessons that I overlooked the first time, so many things that put a lump in my throat because sometimes the way she shares the pain from her childhood (and others') hits really close to home.  I feel the grip of my past wanting me to shut up and be a good girl, stop whining and be responsible.  It has taken me thirty years to see that food was never the issue, my weight was never the issue, I just used food as a way to take care of myself, my fat a barrier against what was too painful to examine.  I was a child, I was trapped in a situation that was unstable and frightening and often made me feel lonely, empty, powerless, small.  With food I try to fill those holes. 
I wish I would have known this sooner, the compulsive eating isn't what's hurting me.  "Compulsion is what we resorted to when we felt we didn't matter to the people who mattered to us."  That line is one that chokes me up because it hits a really tender spot in me.  That is how I felt, and it is one of the fables I have built my compulsion around because it is how my mother made me feel sometimes and that made me feel like I didn't matter all of the time.  I realize that I have made excuses for her actions, she was young and accidentally got pregnant, she was in a tough relationship with an alcoholic husband and two kids less than 2 years apart, my sister and I fought like boys and expected the world from them.   But making excuses for her means that her actions were acceptable and my wanting attention and affection were not.  It's not okay that she treated me that way.  Children need positive interaction and reassurance.  There were times when my parents would get in a fight after midnight and my mom would come in our room and tell my sister and I to pack a bag of belongings that were special to us.  We would be given a large trash bag and we had to shove clothes, toys and stuffed animals in at breakneck speed.  We knew we were going to grandma's house, we knew she would cry silently as she drove the half hour in the middle of nowhere, and we knew something bigger than us was deciding our fate.  I remember asking my sister, "Are we ever going to see Dad again? ". We always came home again the next day, and things would be rocky but my dad would retreat to the garage to tinker on a car or drink beer with some buddies, and my mother would be edgy and silent, we knew not to get in her way or ask for too much.  Walking on eggshells so that we would not become the scapegoat, the reminder of how miserable her life was.  
It hurts to remember these things, it makes me angry that I didn't have a voice and spent my childhood tiptoeing around my mother because she was too proud to admit she had issues that were much bigger than her.  But part of the healing process is to grieve over what was lost and realize that the only one who can give me what I need is me.  I lost stability, comfort, the feeling that I could be or do whatever I set my mind to, the feeling of unconditional love, the sense that I mattered, the sense that I am smart, the sense that I have a right to be in the thick of things and not feel like I'm in the way, the sense that I am right regardless of the choices I make, that I am lovable, that I matter.  But worst of all of them, I lost my right to have a voice without getting smacked sideways into Tuesday.  I lost those things but I never grieved for them and moved on.  It is like an inter-life karma, until you find a way to stop letting these things affect you emotionally, you will keep repeating painful (and potentially fatal if we are talking about yo-yo dieting) patterns.  Restricting and depriving don't work because our eating is protecting us, it's a distraction because we feel like the real things that made us turn to food for comfort will be too much to bear, if we are expected to sift through those things and face them head-on.  Losing weight won't make my mom give my 5 year old self more attention or affection.  Losing weight won't make my dad stop drinking when I was younger.  Losing weight won't make my husband love me more or my customers less crabby. I can't change the past by my actions today, but I can use my past to change my future.  I can decide to give myself the things I lost all those years ago.  I can realize that I already have, in my remarkable husband and kids, some of those things right in front of me.  Healing can't start from anywhere else but in me.  It is a process of discovering what missing and putting those things in place.  It is giving myself permission to speak about my needs, having a voice and rewriting the story I thought I already knew the ending of.  It is permission not just to eat, but to be nourished and take pleasure from life and be loved and love others without fear.  Fat is just a thing, it cannot give or take things from me; its a blanket that I'm hiding under.  But sometimes when you go beneath the blanket, you find a whole dark world to explore.  I'm ready for this expedition.