Thursday, December 31, 2009

Looking back

I love this time of year, but I didn't always. See, when I was a teenager, our family took turns hosting a New Year's party for our immediate family and those that were close friends from church. My mom went on this stint for a few years where she made us, as part of the nightly festivities, write down a resolution on three separate pieces of paper. We'd seal them in three separate envelopes with our address on it. She'd mail one letter to us after a month, after 4 months, and after 8 months.

I never kept my resolution past month one and, as a teenager, it was ALWAYS weight related. Somehow I think I got the resolution writing down business confused with letters to Santa when I was younger. For the most part, I was lucky as a kid - I usually got what I wrote Santa for. Not so much the case when it came to writing down a resolution to lose weight.

The first envelope came and I'd resolve to do better the next month - no matter what! Inevitably, I'd hear chocolate chip cookies call or the lure of fast food and I'd never keep my resolution past the next week.

But then letter number two came and I found fresh new resolve. I'd do it so that I could succeed by the end of the year - I just knew it! Only then I'd get stressed about my home life and comfort myself via food.

I never bothered to open the third letter.

I'm looking back on 2009. I started the year 16 pounds heavier than what I was at this past Monday's weigh in. I lost 40 pounds in the last four months of 2008. A part of me is somehow sad that I don't have more to show for 2009, weight wise.

And then I remember...

Not only did I keep off the 40 pounds that I had lost in 2008, I lost another 16 pounds.

I faced some real demons regarding my family's history.

I started dating someone - someone who loves to eat out, thereby facing a host of new challenges.

I actually started dating someone - I let myself be open to the possibility of a love of my lifetime or a pile of hurt at the end of the relationship. I don't know which way it's going to end...but I do know that being vulnerable again isn't as comfortable as I'd like for it to be.

I started seeing a therapist. One that's helping me deal with past traumas in a helpful way. She is helping me get back in touch with my emotions, ones that I've stuffed so far down with food that they're almost foreign to me. She is helping me to cope with life's stresses without food.

As I write this, my income is uncertain. My love life is uncertain. The traumas of my life have not met closure yet...


I'm in a better place - emotionally and physically - than what I was at this time last year..

So yeah, I've only lost 16 pounds in 2009. But my resolution last year to be healthier in mind, body, and spirit DID get met.

What are you most proud of in 2009?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I was bumped in Denver and all I got was this lousy t-shirt...

A few months ago, I bought an airplane ticket to go to Chicago for Christmas. My father and grandmother live there and my two sisters were planning on being there for the holidays. I paid for the ticket online via United's website. I paid with my credit card. I got a confirmation number stating that I had bought my ticket.

On Monday morning, I got an email from United Airlines - stating that I was now free to check in. I checked in online 23 hours before my flight took off. United Airlines gave me four chances to upgrade my seat...but since I had already paid almost $600 for my seat, I didn't really want to pay more money. Four times, I clicked the button that indicated that I'd keep my plain ol' seat.

When I clicked through and printed what should have been my boarding pass, I saw that it was actually a travel document, not a boarding pass. I called the 800 number and was assured I had a seat.

Tuesday morning, I checked in at the airport over two hours before my flight was to take off and asked the agent about the travel document labeling. "Oh!", she said. "That happens all the time. They'll assign you a seat at the gate."

I went to the gate and immediately stood in line hoping that the agent would assign me a seat.

They did not ever assign me a seat.

Turns out, you can be "involuntarily denied boarding" because the airline oversells seats. They needed 15 people to be willing to take later flights in order for me to board the flight. They only got 12.

We were told that they would try to get us out that day, but they couldn't make any promises. Since I only had 3 full days with my family planned, losing a whole day and night did not exactly make my day.

In the end, after raising my voice and explaining my needs to the agent, the supervisor, and eventually the director, I (and two other people that were also "involuntarily denied boarding") got seats on the next flight out and the promise of a round trip ticket for free.

I'm not proud of the way that I acted towards the agent, the supervisor, and the director. I was so mad at the time. I still think it's absurd that you can BUY a ticket, you can check-in 24 hours early, you can show up at the airport early and you can do everything right and you STILL don't get what you were promised.

For the past 15 years, ever since I starting taking flights by myself, the airport meant frozen yogurt, chips, candy, greasy fast food, and anything else I could think to indulge in. Somehow I'd convinced myself that diets didn't matter in the airport. Doesn't everyone know it's so hard to eat healthfully in the airport? So then, why even try? High fat and calorie food choices are everywhere in airports. Everyone eats it, so who am I to be different? Traveling is the perfect excuse to eat whatever I want - a built in alibi.

The thing is, after I got a new boarding pass, I realized I was hungry. My sensible breakfast in the morning (one I'll share in a later post) had worn off as it was now 5 hours later. I had (smartly, I think) sliced apples at home and put lime juice on them to keep them from turning brown. I had the slices in a baggie, but I knew that wasn't going to hold me another 4 hours.

I could've decided that that morning had been hard enough and that I DESERVED to treat myself. I was still pissed that I was in that situation. I was mad that I was inconvenienced. I was sad that I wouldn't get to see my sisters until much later. I was worried that my dad was going to get mad at me for being late. I was sad that I wasn't going to see my grandma at all that day...she has dementia and who knows how many more visits I have left to see her? I was disappointed with how I acted towards the agents. Just because they were poopy heads doesn't mean that I had to stoop to their level. I wanted sugar, I wanted the lift of simple carbs. I wanted to just feel better. I could've decided to eat my emotions.

OR I could've taken the time (and boy did I have a bunch of it!) to find a healthy alternative even if it was in another terminal.

And, that, my friends, is exactly what I did.

I ended up going to Itza Wrap/Itza Bowl and had a few bites of brown rice, veggies, and chicken. It wasn't delicious. It wasn't soothing. But it was the healthiest option I had at the time. It wasn't a decision I made out of emotion.

As I sat at the table and stared down at my food, I realized that for the first time in my adult life, I actually ate something healthy ON PURPOSE at the airport.

And that's when it hit me... Airports aren't kind to diets. But I'm not on a diet. My new way of living involves me forgiving myself for some bad choices that I make involving how I treat other people. My new way of living doesn't involve me soothing myself with food. My new way of living allows me to treat my body with respect and to honor it by giving it the fuel it needs.

I'm not perfect. Even though I've had this "new way of living" as a mindset for many months, I don't follow this approach all of the time. But I did THIS time. And this moment, right now, is what matters.

I know that the agents didn't mean to be crappy to the passengers of my flight. I know that they were stressed. I know that getting bumped from a flight sucks, but it wasn't THAT big of a deal. Sometimes bad luck just happens.

It's like that adage - if the problem isn't hunger, the solution isn't food. Eating crappily wouldn't have changed my situation, so why do it? Why fill my body with foods that would make it feel more sluggish and possibly have made my headache at the time worse?

I changed a habit on Tuesday morning...and THAT is worth way more than a round trip ticket any day.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

What's cookin', good lookin'?

Almost all of my life I've been a picky eater. If it had any vegetable on it, I probably turned up my nose and went on. I'd pick through my mom's casseroles for the grains of rice and beef and would discard any thing that looked like it would taste gross (i.e. everything else in the casserole).

During the past few years, I've opted to branch out. I've tried new things and have tried eating the items as they are on the menu without a ton of omissions. I've found that I actually like zucchini, carrots, onions, and mushrooms. Instead of wanting my hamburgers with cheese, mayo, and ketchup only, I eat them with many veggies and no mayo. I've found that I love the burgers more when prepared this way. Who'd have thought? Definitely not the 6 year old me.

But cooking? It's still a little intimidating to me. I used to think that I had to look at the recipe and if I didn't have all of the ingredients (or if I didn't think that I liked all of the ingredients), then I shouldn't cook it.

So basically, this explains the THOUSANDS of dollars I've spent on fast food in my life.

I've only recently tried to cook. It's hard to do in my smaller than small kitchen. I've fallen into a rut during the last two years of having one of a few different breakfasts, one of a few different lunches, and one of a few different dinners. I still eat out more than not.

Given the unstable work environment I'm now in, I'm determined to save money and brush up on my cooking skills. I'd like to be able to have guests over and know what I could fix them without calling my mom in a panic. I'd like to be able to look in my fridge and figure out what I could make out of the various ingredients I have.

I want to continue to build on my healthy relationship with food. I want to get more enjoyment out of my food by preparing it instead of just eating more of whatever food I happened to pick up on the way home.

So I've been looking for cook books or websites that meet the following criteria:

1) They have to be easy to prepare.
2) They have to not require a bunch of ingredients because I don't have the space for lots of them AND I don't want to waste money by not using all of them before they go bad.
3) They can't make 6-8 servings per recipe. I don't usually like leftovers but I can bring myself to eat a few - just not 7.
4) They have to be healthy (like low in points, low in fat, high in fiber, or high in protein).

Not a lot of cookbooks/sites meet these needs. If you have any ideas, I'd love to know about them!

So I came across "Hungry Girl's 200 recipes below 200 calories" in a few weeks ago. I got free shipping from for a month and because this book was only $11 and change and I thought that I might as well purchase it to try it.

Here's what I found: all of the recipes feature items that are easy to have on hand - and pretty much all of them are packaged and processed. Most of the recipes are for sweet foods - lots of cookies, cupcakes, treats, and sweet breakfasts/lunches. All of the recipes are 4 points or less per serving and the serving sizes look pretty reasonable. AND there aren't a bunch of servings in each recipe. The list of ingredients are usually pretty small in number and it seems manageable.

I love everything about this cookbook other than that there is a lot of sweet items featured and I usually like savory items more. There are many savory items, just not as many as I would've hoped for. I'm looking for meals that I can make quickly and easily and these seem to fit the bill. The only other problem I have is with the amount of "fake food" in it. I'm not too bothered with this now because I figure this is a good way to get my feet wet in the world of cooking.

So far, I've written all of the points values by each recipe (those values and pictures can be found here). I also printed off the thumbnail pictures and taped them by each recipe so I can see what it looks like.

I've only tried one thing - "The Choco-Monkey Oatmeal." The recipe calls for some cinnamon, a package of low calorie cocoa mix, some salt, a sugar substitute packet, a half of a mashed banana, and (of course) oatmeal. I don't really know how to get permission to write the recipe here so I won't, but I'm sure that you're smart and can figure out how to mix it all up. Anyway, I tried it (as directed) yesterday and found that without some protein in it, I was ravenously hungry within two hours.

So today, I did something I haven't done before. I adapted the recipe! :)

I took out the sugar substitute, knowing that sugary type things in the morning sometimes triggers me to crave other sugary things throughout the day. And I added a tablespoon and a half of reduced fat peanut butter.

I am SO happy with my adaptation! It added protein and was very filling and satisfying. It was a bit thicker (almost like undercooked cake batter) so I'll add some more water tomorrow and adapt from there. The addition of the peanut butter made the breakfast only 6 points...which is pretty good for me - especially since if I eat well for breakfast, the rest of the day seems to go smoother.

There are a lot of other recipes that I want to try - ones that look easy to prepare ahead of time and then take with me to work. There are quite a few that require microwaving rather than pots and pans...which is the solution to my small kitchen issues.

I'm sure that there are those that will turn up their noses at this type of cooking...and maybe years from now I'll be like them. But for now, this is a manageable gap between cooking one meal a month and cooking a few a week.

It's progress, it's healthier than what I was doing, and it's fun. As cheesy as it sounds, THAT is the recipe for healthier living.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Up a little, down a lot

My Weight Watchers meeting was last night...and I gained 1.6 pounds.

I hate going to the meetings when I gain. I hate walking into the facility knowing that I am heavier and knowing that I'm farther back in my goals than I'd like to admit.

But something happens EVERY TIME I get off the scale after I've gained.

The world keeps spinning. People laugh. Babies are born.

And no one, excluding myself, cares that I gained.

I know why I gained - it's easy. My week was filled with good foods and next to no exercise. I'm not a doctor or a nutritionist, but I'm pretty sure that eating more than you should and moving less means that you end up gaining.

This past week I've had a lot of ups and downs. I've ridden this rollercoaster of emotions tied to my facility being shut down and us not knowing anything. At one point last week, I was fully prepared to take any job they offered me.

And then?

Well, then I spent the weekend with my boyfriend. My sweet, wonderful, loving, fantastic, and supportive boyfriend. And then? Well, then I didn't want to leave at all.

He and I went snowshoeing for the first time this weekend and it was a bunch of fun and a good work out. It's kind of a pain in the butt to go so far away (four hour round trip) but we were so blessed to have friends that lent us the snowshoes, poles, and even a pack to put our water and granola bars in. We got to try the sport for free and although it's not something I can see us doing often, it was a bunch of fun and something neat to mix up our exercise.

And because I can't possibly be the only person who wonders what people out there in the blog-o-sphere look like, here is a picture of us outside snowshoeing (you'll have to trust me on that one) while it was snowing.
Today marks one week from when we found out that the facility is closing...and I've mourned and worried enough for now. I've been down a lot this past week...but today I'm taking my life back.
Sure, I'm still a little worried about what is to come. I am applying for jobs here in Denver daily - hoping that something will turn up where it is a job I'd like, that it pays more than what I'm making now, and that it is here in Denver.

I'm not so naive to think that there are oodles of those jobs out there, but it just takes one, right?

And today, I've gotten back on track exercise and eating wise. I've packed my sensible lunch. I've packed snacks. I've brought my running gear so that I can run in 40 degree weather at lunch. Will I be cold? Probably. I know that after taking two weeks off, I won't run as fast or as far.

But it will feel SO good to get back into the swing of things.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Motivation, from a different source

So yesterday morning at work, all of us were called into the conference room and told that our facility is being shut down.

And wow was it a shock. In fact, I feel a little betrayed by one of the managers here, but that's a different story for a different day.

Basically, someone in upper management of our huge company decided that a good way to save money would be to take the early-out option of ANY building's leases. Ours just happened to be first.

The rub of it is, we are actually the star facility of the company. Seriously. Our bookings and shipment numbers are ALWAYS above where they should be. Other measurements that are trackable are great too. That's one of the many ways that I just didn't see this coming.

We were told that each employee falls into three categories:
1) We might be let go and given a severance package
b) We might be offered relocation to go to a different site - although the job we're offered may not be what we have or anything that we would want
iii) We might be allowed to work from home.

We were told that we have jobs until April. We were told that we will find out which category we fall into by the end of January. And that's basically it.

Yesterday, I found myself being pretty optimistic for people at work. But on the way home, I broke down.

The fear of the unknown creeps in and even though I know realisticallythat I'll probably be fine, I'm having anxiety.

Scratch that. I'm having a lot of anxiety.

So I went through the normal cycle of emotions and I find myself thinking about things that I can cut out of my budget. Do I really need the gym membership? No. Do I really need the channels of TV that I have? No. Do I really need Weight Watchers?

And that's the thing, right? I mean, I've been sort of dicking around with it for the past 9 months. That's $360. And I could use the $360 right about now.

But I've stopped and thought about how I can save money in other ways. I'm determined to have my WW fee be the last thing that goes. Because although it is expensive, it helps me much more than other things do. It's my support - given to me weekly. The people there know my name, they know my story, and they want me to succeed - much like the readers of this blog.

The other thing is, as long as I'm committed to paying the money, I might as well actually work the program. I'm proud of the sustained weight loss that I've achieved up until this point. And I know that the scale *is* moving in the right direction. But I also know that I can work my butt off (literally) until the last day I work here.

The reality is, I don't know what is going to happen in the next five months any more than you do. But I do know that I can change my reactions to things and I can work to make something more positive in my life (like my health) even when it seems that things are hopeless.

I'm not hopeless. And neither is my weight loss journey.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

I just wanna' be normal

I read Jack Sh*t, Gettin' Fit's post about how he finally got to be "normal" according to his Wii Fit.

And it was so inspiring.

Pretty much all of my adult life, I've been considered obese by BMI standards. Now, I am a tall girl so I'm not altogether certain that the BMI should be the end all be all of measurements...but I honor that most health experts feel that it is a good measurement. The range (at least for my height) is 43 pounds. And to be honest, it seems like most people (at my height) should be able to fit in that range. It's how Weight Watchers sets it's goals and in lieu of other hard calculations, it seems to be pretty workable.

I have lots of goals - some number related and some not.

I'm looking forward to the day of when my boyfriend asks if I am cold and if I'd like to borrow a jacket, sweater, or sweatshirt from him, I can say "yes" and know that it will fit.

I can't wait until I'm able to mark "M" for my t-shirt size for races.

I can't wait until I'm able to look at my closet and KNOW that any one of those pieces of clothing will fit because my weight doesn't fluctuate by complete sizes on a regular basis.

I can't wait until I get to buy nice things and know that they will be around for years because I'm committed to staying the size I am.

I can't wait to get under 200 pounds (I'm close!).

I can't wait to get to the lowest weight I've been as an adult (182).

But I really can't wait until I get to my goal weight and am finally considered "normal."

P.S. I am aware that I am pittifully low on graphics in posts. So today I wanted to find some image that screamed "normal" to me. So I decided to go to and search the images section for "normal." And WOW. Apparently "normal" means show me women's body parts. I'm still a little shocked.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Hooray! :)

Happy Monday!

I am THRILLED to announce that there will be no babies in my future anytime soon. Good grief! Even though the odds were in my favor, I was definitely worried.

I've also re-realized that my PMS symptoms are worse on this particular form of birth control. Don't get me wrong, I won't be switching from it anytime soon, but the constant wanting to eat things was out of control! I also need to be more aware of how much sleep my body needs, especially during that fantastic time of the month. In fact, on Thursday night, I fell asleep at 8 PM because I was so tired. When I don't get enough sleep, my body craves food - of all types, but especially carbs - to keep it awake and energized. So I'm going to really try to keep that in mind for next month. Sleep = good stuff.

In other news, I had a fantastic weekend. It has been snowing here in Denver for the past 24 hours - and it's supposed to snow for the next couple of days. Obviously, running is out...but I'm going to start going to the gym more. I miss my running when it's icky outside, so I want to find ways where I can work it in. I am debating being the good neighbor and shoveling everyone's walkways tonight. It's great exercise and everyone benefits. :) And because I'm curious, what do you do for exercise when the weather gets cold?

Oh - and this weekend, my boyfriend and I went to Costco where I successfully avoided the tasters. I find myself wanting to eat the samples because they're free...and sometimes only because they're free. Does anyone else have the same issue? When I stop and ask myself if I even WANT that food, I usually don't.

I did, however, buy three new workout DVDs at Costco. We had a coupon where they were only 5.99 each - and so I got two of Jillian Michael's workouts and a Yoga one. I like Jillian's because I really like the circuit training on the DVDs. I've done 30 Day Shred for several weeks in a row and somehow the last circuit is okay when you know that it's the last one. Plus, from what I've read, it seems like that's a smarter way to work out. It's also going to be a great way to introduce the weights back into my routine, which is another one of my goals. Besides, it's something other than the gym that I can do to move my body more when it's cold outside. Can you tell that I really want suggestions on this? :)

This weekend I definitely turned the train around. I had sensible meal options and smart snacks. Although I didn't work much exercise in, I did things that were good to my body. The scale is down from last week, although the weigh in tonight will verify that that is actually the case.

Best of all, today I have the feeling that I can tackle anything...and these days are sometimes rare, so I'm really going to enjoy this feeling.

Oh - and the good thing that I'm doing for myself today? I'm going to really enjoy sipping on some hot decaf tea while looking out the window every now and again watching the snow fall.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

More of the same

Well, I didn't do as well last night as I had hoped I would have. My actual meal was fine - duck with rice and pears. I only ate half and my rail thin boyfriend ate all of his AND the rest of mine. I skipped the bread basket, had one glass of wine, and three bites of a key lime pie.

The problem is that since my boyfriend got out of work late, we weren't going to eat until much later. This meant that I knew that I had to have a snack...and my snack wasn't healthy. THEN when I got home, I heard a glass of milk and two heated up cookies (WW ones - one point each) calling my name from the kitchen.

So, I did go over points...and today although I'm still in my points range, I'm really struggling. I'm having a hard time figuring out if I'm actually hungry or if I just have this deep desire to eat. Because I have to tell you, I'm really wanting to crunch through a lot of stuff. I'm not bored and my stomach is feeling SOMETHING (although it's not really hunger per se).

I think what's bothering me most of all is that I'm not quite sure what IS going on...

Anyway, I'm battling it right now with gum (barely), but basically I'm having to white knuckle through this today. I mean, usually I'm really good about chewing a piece of gum for a long time...but all day today and yesterday I'm choosing one until it starts to lose it's flavor and then getting a new piece.

I think that if I'm still feeling this way tomorrow, I'm going to take a look at refined sugars and where they might be lurking in the foods I'm eating. My body is craving something...I just don't know what exactly.

AND I had the worst time getting up this morning (again!). So I'm going to go home, eat a dinner that I prepare (nothing take home), clean more of my place (which I did do some of yesterday) and then go to bed as early as possible. I figure I can battle through things easier when I've got sleep on my side.

I am realizing that although I didn't exactly turn the train around, I've certainly slowed it's momentum.

And for now, that's going to have to be enough.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Turning around the train


It's been a LONG time since I've written a post like this, but I'm kind of struggling lately.

See, yesterday was yet another day in a long line of days that I had tons of crap to do after work. Here's where you guys with kids start rolling your eyes and want to stab me...because most days of the week, I don't really have anything to do after I get home but sit and watch TV, go for a run, play with my dog, read a book, or maybe catch up on the phone with friends.

So today marks day #15 in a row that I HAD to get stuff done. The last thing I wanted to do was run to the grocery store, battle the cold front without my jacket, and stand in long lines at the grocery store. But I did because I was down to milk, cheese, and beer in my fridge. And I've eaten out every meal (except for breakfast where I've had Wheat Thins and peanut butter) since I got back in town.

The problem was that I was SO hungry by the time that I got to the grocery store that I wanted to make some seriously bad decisions. The fruit didn't look good, the veggies weren't appetizing in the least, but what did look good? A food that has been on my RED LIGHT foods list for years.

I bought three of those damn Betty Crocker Warm Delights things. If you don't know what they are, do yourself a favor and skip to the next paragraph. If, on the other hand, you're like me then you know that they're "single" serving dishes that have brownie mix and peanut butter chips in them. You add a bit of water, nuke the mixture for about 45 seconds and then dive into some seriously great peanut butter brownie goodness. The only thing that makes it better is adding about five thousand cups of peanut butter chips in the mixture. Each bowl has 400 calories and 14 grams of fat. And that's before the mound of chips I put in it.

And in case you're wondering, that's exactly what I had yesterday for "dessert." To be fair, I only had one. But the point is, I wasn't eating MINDFULLY. The "meal" that I had was a hodge podge of items like cheese and crackers, some rice, and some cereal. I mindlessly ate carbs...and when I realize that, I usually have a moment where I realize that when I'm eating carbs like that, something else is going on.

I was exhausted. My house is a disaster area for various reasons. My dog is not doing well (HELLO! Story of her life!). I'm getting sick. I'm PMSing (or at least I really hope so. The BF and I had one close call this month while I was switching birth control methods and I'm REALLY freaked out about that right about now).

And so I sat in front of the TV, watching "The Biggest Loser" where people were running an F--ing MARATHON after losing 201 pounds in 5 months, eating basically brownie batter.

I hated myself in that moment. I haven't been "that person" in a long while. Hell, I thought that I wouldn't ever return to be "that person."

So I got up, went to bed. I read a book for a while and set the alarm for early to battle the snow that hadn't yet fallen.

This morning, I woke up with congestion (and a sore throat along with drainage and hurt ears), worrying even more about being preggo (even though logically, I recognize that it probably isn't an issue), and had the mother of all headaches. Carb overloads do that to me EVERY TIME.

What can I say? Sometimes I'm apparently slow.

But I'm determined to make yesterday be the stop in the overeating and mindlessly eating phase. I wrote a phrase yesterday that has kind of haunted me..."I'd settle for 60 pounds gone."


Nope. Any pound I've lost has had to be didn't just happen. I worked for them. And the slow gain the last three weeks have shown that I didn't work to be healthy.

So today, I turned the crazy train around.

I dumped the peanut butter chips down the garbage in a cascade of chips. I brought the other two desert dishes and gave them to a single, skinny guy at work. I ate an english muffin with egg today for breakfast. And for lunch, I'm having soup (again, it's chilly and snowy outside, so I like stuff that is warm).

Tonight my boyfriend and I are celebrating his birthday - at a restaurant of his choosing (he hasn't made up his mind yet as to where we're going). I'm sure he'll get dessert...but I'll encourge him to get the one that I wouldn't like anyway.

Any other week, I'd say that I could have the dessert or dish that I want - just in moderation. But I know myself well enough to know that I have to stop this slow slide into mindless eating NOW. And the best way to do that is to gain control today. Eating a dessert I would really love and getting the dish I would most enjoy today would mean that I'm giving myself permission to "start again tomorrow." I want to prove to myself that celebrations are about more than the food.

The best way that I can turn the train around is to make a conscious decision right now about what I'm going to eat. I don't have to think about tomorrow or next week or next year. But I can decide to eat healthfully and mindfully today.

Tonight, I will choose a sensible dish. I will concentrate on how happy I am that my boyfriend was born and NOT on the food.

My thing that I'm doing to pamper myself today? I'm wearing fake fur lined boots. :) And on days where it's so chilly and icky outside, my boots make me feel warm and comfy. I'm also drinking tea and taking Zicam and DayQuill. I may still be sick and (hopefully) PMSing...but at least I can feel comfort in being good to myself.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Home IN the range

Last night I went to my Weight Watchers meeting...and this was after me knowing that I had gained a few pounds.

In the past, I really would've beaten myself up about gaining weight. I wanted to be at 75 pounds down by New Years. Now I'll settle for just reaching 60 pounds gone.

I COULD beat myself up about gaining weight. In fact, I started to write all the things that I could beat myself up about...but I found myself not even wanting to finish the sentence. I don't want to write down all the hateful things I could say to myself.

The truth is, no one should ever strive to weigh the exact same number each day. No matter what, people should not live and die by that number.

Weight Watchers asks you to pick a goal weight. And then stay plus or minus 2 pounds from that number. And if you think about it, that should be pretty doable. You've got a 4 pound swing there - and you really have quite a bit of flexibility in that swing. I mean, I ate a bunch of extra food this past week and I only gained 2.4 pounds. Staying within a 4 pound range should be doable.

This point was really driven home for me last week on "The Biggest Loser: Where are they now?" special from last week. I do have some things that I COMPLETELY do not agree to or with about that special, but there were two things that really stood out (in a positive way) for me. One I'll write about later. The other one is my point for today.

Each contestant was apparently supposed to say what their starting weight was at the beginning of the show and what they weigh now. Then they were to talk about their life now.

Several of the contestants said "I weigh XXX."

But there were a few that I said something along the lines of "I fluctuate between XXX and XXX."

And that's when it hit me, it's okay to live and be at home IN the range. In fact, it's healthy to be that way.

People should be able to feel that they can eat more during special occasions...and if they don't kick up their activity, they will gain weight. It's not emotional, it's just math. The difference is that when you've got a healthy mindset, you don't let yourself stay at the higher weight. You do what it takes to get the weight back down to whatever you've deemed your healthy weight is.

The difference is love versus hate. It's knowing yourself and your body and having an upper weight that you triggers you to realize that something is going on with your body. The upper weight limit, whatever it may be, tells you "Hey you! I love you! When you're at this number it means something else is going on. Are you stressed? Are you okay? Are you putting others before yourself? What can I do to take care of you?"

Hitting that upper limit shouldn't be an opportunity to berate yourself. Instead, it should be a way to show yourself love.

I can't wait until I'm at home in my range....

Sunday, November 29, 2009


Well, I'm back.

The boyfriend and I drove all day yesterday from El Paso to Denver...unlike the last trip that took over 11 hours, this one we made in just under 10. So. Much. Better.

So what happened between now and my last post?

Well, I ate. A lot. While I didn't have all of the quantities I've had in years past, I did have everything I wanted. As in, if I wanted a cookie, I had one. I didn't have twenty, but I did have one. I had a handful of peanut M&Ms. I had over half the bag* of Reece's Pieces at the movie, "The Blind Side".** I ate sensible breakfasts (egg and toast) even though I knew my mom would've gladly made me lots more. I even limited myself to an appropriate helping of my mom's - from scratch - lasagna. I haven't had that lasagna in about 6 years. The trouble came into play when we made my mom's special - from scratch- recipe of chile con queso. SO GOOD. I probably ate my weight in it. But every bite was better than the last. And honestly? I'd do it all over again (the chile con queso, that is).

And oh, did I drink wine! My family has always been red wine drinkers, while I have preferred white wines. Being the only white wine drinker meant me not drinking much - I never could finish a bottle of wine by myself, so I just didn't usually drink it. The last few months, I've realized that my taste buds changed and I no longer liked the same whites I used to. A trip to a winery confirmed it...I like reds. And wow did I polish off at least 2-3 glasses each night this week.

All of this food stuff meant that when I stepped on the scale today, I am 2 pounds heavier than last week.


Okay, perspective time. It's not like I do this every week...I indulged...sure, but it happens once a year. Next year I'll try to limit the craziness for one DAY not all week.

But the two best things?

I ran a 5K on Thursday morning and had my personal record! My time of the 5K was 34'49" at a pace of 10'38" per mile- which is AWESOME especially since the race was pretty poorly organized so I had to muddle through many walkers and slower joggers at the beginning of the race.

The boyfriend and I had such a great few days together. I picked him up on Wednesday evening and on the ride to my house I was thinking that it might have been a huge mistake. I think I was psyching myself out in case it went badly...but it went wonderfully. Seriously. The best experience with a boyfriend at my house ever. I think the key was that although I wanted him to make a good impression on my family (and vice versa) I realized that it all may be completely fine or completely shitty. But that didn't have to make or break my one trip to see my mom this year. I was relaxed, I was myself, and I am so thrilled that everything worked out okay. In fact, as I write this, he is in the shower getting ready for our breakfast out. One would think that us spending 4 days together (when we don't typically spend a ton of time during the week together) non-stop would have made us sick of each other...especially having been stuck with someone in a car for 10 hours. BUT we aren't sick of each fact, just the opposite.

In the past, I would've asked my mom what she thought of him - because I didn't have enough faith in myself to make my own decision. I think my mom likes him, but I'm not going to ask. Because the most important thing is that I am so happy dating him. And if that becomes the exception rather than the rule, I'll do something about it. But for now, it is decadent.

This past weekend was fantastic - in so many more ways than one. And I am SO thankful that that is the case.

*THIS bag was different than the last one. This bag only had 2.5 servings, so I did WAY better.
**Best movie I've seen since "Zombieland." Also, it's slightly different than "Zombieland." :)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Catch up

Sorry it's been so long since I've last posted.

The best thing that happened in the past week is that my little sister (who is one of my closest friends) came to visit me for the weekend.

It's a little convoluted, but basically, she is from El Paso - which is the same place I am spending Thanksgiving. She flew into town on Friday right after work, we spent the weekend together, and then we drove down to El Paso (11 1/2 hours due to really bad traffic in areas) on Monday. THEN I'm picking up the boyfriend today from the airport so that he can spend Thanksgiving with us. THEN he and I (and my big dog) are going to be driving back up to Denver on Saturday.

The result? I've been away from my internet/computer far longer than I usually am. In fact, I'm trying to steal the internet service (wireless) from one of my mom's neighbors right now as I write this.


Anyway, in case you were wondering, I DID weigh in on Sunday morning and I decided to wear shoes to make up for the difference. The result is that I gained 0.6 pounds...and in the grand scheme of things, I really don't care.

My eating has been okay the last few days - the trip down was not full of carrot chips (sorry Angela!) but also wasn't as bad as it has been in the past. I also went for a run yesterday along a new hiking/biking/walking trail here in El Paso. I ended up running 3.2 miles in about 35 minutes...which is pretty good for me. Of course, that didn't exactly counteract the three glasses of wine (hey - that's a fruit, right?) and the homemade gnocchi (with alfredo sauce!) last night. But OH was that good. Besides, I have 35 flex points to use, right?

Tomorrow morning, my older sister, my mom, and I am running the Turkey Trot - which is a 5K race in El Paso. Well, actually, my sister and mom are doing the "family fun walk" which is (I think) a 2 or 3K walk. I'm excited to do something healthy the morning of Thanksgiving and I really want to continue that tradition in years to come. If you're interested, there is probably a Turkey Trot in your town too - they have them all over the nation.

Okay - I'm going to post this now. I'm getting an error message at the top of the screen indicating that all that I've written is not going to be published...looking at the wireless bar, it seems to be that my neighbors wisened up and pulled their internet.

I am not thankful for that.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Decisions, decisions

I usually weigh in on Monday nights, but this coming Monday I will be driving from Denver to El Paso to visit my family for the holidays.

I can't really weigh in on Tuesday due to the only WW meeting on our side of town is when I have a massage scheduled. And I've been waiting a LOOONG time for her.

I can't weigh in on Wednesday because I'll be picking up my sister and my boyfriend from the airport (don't worry - they're not flying together) when the meetings are.

Thursday is out and if you think I'm weighing in on the day after Thanksgiving, you've got another thing coming.*

Saturday is the drive back to Denver... and Sunday is officially in the next week.

So the thing I need to make a decision about is if I want to skip next week all together or if I want to weigh in on Sunday in Denver.

Skipping the meeting all together isn't the best option, I feel. I feel like accountability is still pretty key for helps keep me on track at this stage in my weight loss.

But weighing in on Sunday is tricky too. Because the meeting times all over Denver are either at 8, 8:30, or 9. Morning weigh ins are a far cry from Monday night weigh I'll undoubtedly be lighter than what I am.

Any suggestions on how I can make my weigh be more accurate?

*I know...I *shouldn't* matter. But it still does.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Pleaser

"The basis of shame is not some personal mistake of ours, but that this humiliation is seen by everyone."
--Milan Kundera

In my life, I've tried to please fact as I think of it now, pretty much all my life, I've tried to please people.

On the surface, it worked out well. People walked away from me feeling happier about themselves. I'm sure if you asked people if they liked me or not, they'd probably tell you "yes." I made people feel important, comforted, and valued. I'm funny (in general) so they would usually walk away having laughed and feeling lighter.

If we ever had a disagreement, I'd find myself apologizing for things that I didn't do, didn't mean to do, or even had nothing to do with. Whatever it took to make that person feel better.

Did you fall through on a promise you made to me? That's okay. I'll still be here for you.

Did you treat me disrespectfully either in private or in public? That's okay. I probably deserved it. Sure, I'd take the treatment, maybe complain about it to my friends, and then never say anything to you. Why would I? If I did, you might question why I thought I was good enough to be treated otherwise. And then, undoubtedly you'd realize that I wasn't good enough.

Need a volunteer for your cause? I'm just the sucker you've been looking for. Especially if the position had a title. Because titles meant that I was worth something. I wrote about it in my post about finding REAL value, but basically, because I disliked myself, I only found value when other people liked me.

In fact, I even dated a guy in high school who repeatedly physically abused me. I've come to realize that I have felt so poorly about myself because of an overwhelming sense of shame.

I read in an article recently that stated that there is a difference between shame and guilt.

According to the article, guilt is a bad feeling that you have about some action. Like maybe you said something you shouldn't have. Perhaps you have a bad feeling because of something you didn't do but should've.

But shame? It's a whole other animal. The principle of shame revolves around a bad feeling that you have about yourself. A person who lives and breathes shame has it because they KNOW that they're not worth anything. Other people can be forgiven, but not them. Because they are inherantly BAD. Unfortunately, you can't convince them otherwise.

It's been within the last few months that I've realized that I have lived with shame for most of my life. Every little thing that I've done wrong was typical of me - because I was a bad person. And talking about the shame? Why that'd only highlight how bad I actually am, which they probably already knew anyway. On the off chance that they didn't know that (and they found out), they'd realize that they'd be crazy to be my friend, my boyfriend or even my co-worker. It's best to hide the shame however you can - and I found that I hid it best by trying to please others, taking on roles of responsibility, and by being funny. The perfect pairing to my shameful feelings? Anything that I could stuff in my mouth.

Somehow washing down shame with cokes, cookies, or chips made it easier to swallow.

Recently had a discussion with a friend of mine. He said that I had my faith in the wrong stuff. I should have my faith in Jesus. Because Jesus loves me, I should know that I have value and should stop looking at other people for it - even myself. But religion (at times) can feed shame...and for me, it hasn't always had the most beneficial results. Don't get me wrong, I still BELIEVE that there is a Jesus...but the concept of him dying just for me is lost on me most of the time. I struggle with the thought that someone could love me enough, especially when I haven't loved myself for decades. Clearly, Jesus and I are still working things through.

I've made great strides with my self-worth and balance. I've worked on saying "no." I've worked on moderation. I've worked on no longer pleasing everyone else at the expense of myself.

But I still haven't shed my shame completely, even though I'm working diligently with my therapist to do so. If anything, my anxiety is creeping up higher these days...because in a week, I'll be coming face to face with the cause of most of it.

And I guess that's why I'm writing this.

See, I was molested by a close family member of mine when I was much younger. That person will be in the house over Thanksgiving and, for the most part, my family would prefer that I would just drop it. Members have told me to "just get over it."

The old me, The Pleaser, would've dropped it - in fact, she HAS dropped it and not spoken of it for decades.

But as I wrote earlier, I'm no longer The Pleaser. And trying to "just get over it" doesn't work - and obviously hasn't worked. My therapist has helped me understand that even though I *know* that kids shouldn't be treated in such a way, that I feel that I endured that (and the ex boyfriend's abuse) because I was inherantly bad.

Shame...pure and simple.

So what is left is this wide gap between the old Pleaser and the new me - who tries to please and honor herself. Ignoring that this event happened does NOT honor myself. The chasm is big and I don't know what to do to bridge the difference.

To make matters worse, the boyfriend is coming home with me to meet my family for the first time. Awkward? Why yes...yes it probably will be. But will I get through it? Undoubtedly. Clearly, I've been through worse.

So, as I sit here, with my pulse racing furiously, I'm trying to remember that there IS strength in standing up for myself. I'm not planning on going in there and screaming and throwing my new non-pleaser self around...but neither am I going to let my true authentic self shrink from her own growth.

One thing's for certain: I will not wash down shame or numb myself with food.

And THAT pleases me.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Love Thyself

I've read countless times that we should try to reward ourselves with non-food related celebrations. I've even put it into practice. For instance, when I lost 10% of my body weight, I bought a watch. For me, planning ahead for celebrations is easy.

I've even planned on what to do when stress pops up by putting my running/exercising into practice or by having friends that I can call in times of struggle. It was difficult, at first, to not turn to food. But after a while, it became second nature (at least most of the time).

So now I've been faced with a new challenge. On Chubby Girl Diary's blog, she wrote about taking care of yourself daily in non-food ways.

I know, you're probably thinking that that is no big deal - I mean, isn't that basically what I have been doing? The answer is no. I've been reacting to stresses...but not doing things daily to show myself love. It's a slight paradigm shift that I needed.

The difference is rather than being reactive to the stress or celebrations, I would be doing something on a daily basis to tell myself that I am loved, good enough, and fantastic.

Does that make sense?

See, if I PLAN to do something non-food related that helps me feel indulgent, loved, good, and special, then maybe I'll be satisfying needs before they come up. I might even be more balanced so that I can deal with the day to day stresses and have them slide off my back like it's no big deal.

After all, I try to help my friends, family, and boyfriend see how loved they are regularly. I do things that are outside of my norm to let them know that they are great. Why can't I do the same for myself?

So today marks Day 1 where I'm going to do something good for myself. I'll even tell you my plan: I'm going to give myself a mud mask tonight and enjoy a hot cup of tea as the temperature drops outside tonight.

What do you do on a regular basis to show yourself love?

Monday, November 16, 2009


Okay, folks...who knew that eating whatever you want whenever you want means that you're likely to gain weight?

Right. Every one of you is raising your hand right about now. And congratulations to you - you win...well...your dignity.

Well, I thought that I knew that too...but this past week, I fell way short. I ran - two times for about 7 miles total. And my pace was around 10'55" each time...which is pretty good.

But oh, did I eat!

I still didn't eat so poorly that I gained lots of weight - I wasn't *completely* out of control with binges. I just didn't choose healthier choices when I could've or should've. I didn't choose the healthier choice at almost every meal and, since I'm being honest, at almost every snacking occasion.

Take this past Saturday night...

During a particularly snowy and blizzardy night, the boyfriend and I went to my favorite restaurant in Denver. This restaurant has a bowl of gumbo that is so good I could probably eat it every night for dinner and be just fine. I had three slices of bread (with the best garlic-y butter ever), a bowl of gumbo soup, and then had some of the jambalaya that he ordered. It doesn't SEEM too bad, does it? Well, what you may not know is that one serving of chicken and sausage gumbo could be as much as 7 points. My bowl had probably 2-3 servings.

My point is that I normally would've just ordered a cup of soup with baked fish. I normally would've held myself to one piece of bread with only a little butter. But in my head, the warm bread and yummy soup was perfect for the chilly and cold night. So I indulged.

And THEN we went to the movies. Now I typically never order food for the movies because I'm not even AWARE that I'm eating the food. But I felt SOOO good, so loved, and so important that night. I threw caution to the wind and decided to get a package of Reece's Pieces.

And oh, how I love Reece's Pieces. They are most definitely a "red light" food - one that I have never been able to sanely control.

Sure enough, by the end of the movie, I had had half the bag. Half of the big movie bag is 3 (THREE!) servings of Reece's Pieces. What's more, I didn't even enjoy the treat because I was too busy watching the movie.

You'd think that I would've thrown away the bag...but no. I ate the rest of them the next morning when I was hungry and waiting for the boyfriend to get out of the shower so we could go to breakfast.

So it should be no surprise that I've gained this past week. The scale shows that I'm up about a half a pound. I know the weight will come off. I'm actually not worried about that. And like I said, I'm letting go of the numbers on the scale so I'm actually not upset about gaining a half pound.

What I am cognizant of is how I've been indulging myself at every turn this past week. Bagels in the kitchen aside, I've had more treats during the day (like when I went to Subway for lunch but had the full fat sour cream and onion potato chips), more junk food at night, and less fruits and veggies.

If I *had* to come up with a reason why, I'd say that after being off the Nuvaring, I feel so much better that I just want to celebrate everything. Life seems easier because I'm not struggling to keep my emotions so much in check. It turns out, I don't just eat when I'm sad or angry. Apparently I celebrate with food when I'm happy and loved.

So, this week's gain (whatever it is) will give me the feedback to help me re-learn that eating whatever I want whenever I want is actually NOT celebrating how good I feel. Eating that way is more than a little selfish and gluttonous. Eating that way is not honoring my body or my new found good feelings.

This week, I'm going to be good to me. And that means listening to my body and celebrating without food. This week, I'm going to live my life to the fullest. I'm still going to celebrate me feeling sane and good...especially since I have so many blessings rolling my way this week. And the biggest way that I can honor myself is to choose health over around the clock indulgence.

Everything in moderation, right?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Being greedy

I've posted LOTS of things on this blog that I'm not proud of. Issues with food, issues with my family, and issues with exercise. I've written about big gains and big setbacks.

And yet, I'm finding myself *not* wanting to write this post.

There is something about free "brand name" food that I have a hard time turning down. I'm not sure if it's because my mom is thrifty and I learned that free stuff is nice or because it's something that someone is offering something to ME.

If someone brings in something that they baked at home, I have about a 75% success rate of turning it down. It's easy to look at it, realize that I have no idea how it was prepared (not just for the sake of calories, but what if they don't wash their hands??), and not eat it.

But if it's from a restaurant that I like? I have about a 5% chance of turning it down.

Case in point: Yesterday I had already had breakfast (one that was dissatisfying because I thought that I had stuff here at work that I didn't). I wanted something else sweet and I topped off my breakfast with a Fiber One bar. Then I had decaffeinated tea. To be clear, I was full and satisfied.

And then someone came up to me to tell me that there were free bagels in the kitchen.


As I've written before, I have a strong emotional tie to bagels from Panera or Einstein Bros.

I walked my able body into the kitchen and saw my favorite bagels (which are either blueberry, cinnamon raisin, or cinnamon crunch, or cranberry, get the picture) with my very favorite spreads (aka plain and not plain). And I calmly toasted one. I smeared it with the cream cheese and enjoyed the bagel even as I ate it faster than what I should have.

And then I was STUFFED.

I felt better after my run yesterday at lunch (yay - 2.79 miles in 30 minutes!) and was able to not touch the many more bagels that multiplied throughout the day. Seriously, TWO more vendors stopped by with we had probably 4-5 dozen bagels.

This morning, I had forgotten about the bagels. Until I walked into the kitchen prepared to make my egg muffin sandwich (toasted whole wheat english muffin, microwaved egg, low fat cheese, and some buttery spread)*. I wanted my sandwich. I was hungry. I know I need protein.

But I still wanted a bagel. The sweet, sugary, deliciously toasted bagel sounded SO good. But 13 points for a bagel and spread was something I didn't want to do.

So I literally sat there in the kitchen snacking on an apple for about 10 minutes trying to decide what I was going to do.

In the end, I opted for my egg sandwich. But I can't stop thinking about the bagels.

I have the same problem when we have Qdoba catered in for a lunch. Guacamole, queso dip, and chips stand no chance with surviving my inhaling...and that's after I've had two tacos.

So what is it? Is it that it's free? Is it that I don't choose those foods at home so I want to take full advantage of them when they're here? Is it that I share my workplace with people who walk quickly to the kitchen to load their pockets with bagels or treats when people aren't looking? Do I really need to feel like I'm getting "my share" that badly? Am I feeding off of their gluttonous behavior or are they feeding off mine?

The adage "nothing tastes as good as skinny feels" doesn't help in these particular times when I'm battling my salivating glands. It's not even a matter of counting up the points - as what I have typically isn't so horrible that I can't balance it out the rest of the day/week. It's the desire to HAVE IT deep down inside.

Gluttony**...pure and simple.

Whatever it is, I need to GET OVER IT. Because the Christmas season coming up means that we will have more food catered in, more gifts from our vendors and customers, more delicious baked goods, and more candy in the office.

Do you all have these same feelings? Even if you don't, do you have any suggestions on what I can do to re-frame the situation?

* It tastes much better than it sounds, trust me. I thought microwaved eggs would be revolting...and although they're not my favorite I now know the exact number of seconds where I can make it decently.

**For a really interesting post on gluttony that I've been meaning to share for a while, visit Escape From Obesity's post on it.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My ah-ha moment this week...

Roni asked her question of the week - and it was "Why do you exercise?"

And in my response, I started to realize something.

A year and a half ago, I looked forward to my time with MY food...whatever it was. I obsessed about food. I continually thought about how it would taste and feel in my mouth. The creamy, crunchy, sweet, or salty tastes would have me salivating before I even got to the restaurant. I would leave work and after a particularly stressful day (read: any day that ended in 'y'), couldn't wait to have my time with my food.

And oh the special time that I would have with my food! No matter who was calling, I couldn't and wouldn't put my food down to answer the call. I had to be alone - focusing on the good feelings that I got from it. In the time with my food, I felt loved. I felt pampered. I felt important. Until, of course, the eating stopped. And then I'd feel bloated and guilty.

So when I started Weight Watchers and focused on what I *could* focus on at that point. And that was just trying to stay within my points levels for the day or week. At that point, with 112 pounds to lose, I didn't think about the healthy guidelines...or at least not much. I didn't focus on getting my fruits and veggies in - and healthy oils? Please! They were the last thing from my mind.

Then, after a few months, I realized that I wanted to eat more. I didn't want to give up my time with my food but the slower weight loss that I was experiencing wasn't cutting it. I wanted to lose weight faster. So I started exercising. Health and healthy behaviors really weren't my focus. Getting to eat more was.

And then, slowly (sometimes ever so slowly) I morphed into being the person that I am today. I no longer exercise to overeat. Primarily, I run to feel better. I feel the day to day stress build up in my body and I run or take a class to relieve it.

I exercise because it is MY time to concentrate on me. To shut out the rest of the world. It's my time to do something that I like...something that shows love to myself.

And that's when it hit me.

I exercise for the same exact reasons that I used to overeat.

Now, when I run, it's because the stress that I have gets worked through. I get highs - but they're different than the sugar highs I used to get. The chemical reaction that happens in my body when I exercise helps me feel energized and more optimistic.

When I run, I work through the issues that I'm facing. When I run, I listen to the music and I think about where I've been and where I'm going. I feel more focused when I'm done. And unlike the carb coma that followed binges, I feel like I can tackle the day.

My anxieties lessen, my spirits lift, and I feel good. And there is no phone call that I would even consider taking during that time.

I still look forward to good food. It's just that I no longer look there to soothe my feelings. I no longer feel the itch to go through three separate drive thrus to eat the "perfect" comforting meal.

I don't know when that switch happened, but it did.

My core identity is changing. I am no longer a person who eats to numb. I'm a person who feels emotions and then works through them.

Not being numb *is* more painful sometimes...but when I overcome some hurdle, it also feels much better too.

Monday, November 9, 2009

The pack mentality

A few months ago, I saw a catchy little commercial about a new form of birth control.

It was this nifty little ring - the NUVARING! And even though nothing was wrong with my birth control (at all!), I found myself fascinated by the commerical with the jingle that sticks in your head more firmly than the tune of "Tom's Diner."

You know the commercial...the one where all those synchronized swimmers are singing, "Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, EVERY day..."

All of the sudden, I realized that my daily birth control was THE MAN. It was keeping me down. How could I ever think about having to take one tiny little pill EVERY DAY? The burden of having to remember it every night started to weigh on me. Who cares if I have to take other medication at night? Who cares that I've never missed a pill? Clearly HAVING to remember it was impacting my life and clearly, being on the pill was JUST LIKE being in prison.

If you've seen the commercial, you know what I'm talking about. Clearly: people that take boring, stupid birth control pills are boring and stupid. And they're not popular. And they don't get drinks served to them at the pool side while wearing sexy bikinis. And they wear bright red lipstick which is somehow lame.

The only solution for any sane, non-swimming cap person was to "break free from the pack" and enjoy all of the freedom that came with Nuvaring!


I could see myself living my life as a free person. Why, with the Nuvaring inside me, anything was possible! I'd probably win the lottery. I'm sure I'd have more green lights on the way to work, where I'd undoubtedly get a raise. I'd never burn another dinner and I'd always remember my grandma's birthday. In fact, I'd probably have less dropped calls on my cellular phone...all thanks to Nuvaring.

Three cheers for Nuvaring!

The first month it was awesome...unless you count the times that I was consumed with worry that it would fall out at any moment, that I hadn't placed it in just right, or that it would be stuck in there FOREVER.

The second month is when I started having problems. One day I felt down. As a normally "up" person, it was a little odd, but I figured I'd bounce back in no time. Only I didn't.

And then? I went a little a whole lotta crazy. I wanted my space and then quite quickly I wanted nothing of the sort. I wanted to talk stuff out with friends until I started to panic and then I would've set myself on fire if it meant getting away from them.

I was angry - like really angry and cranky. The only thing that would stop the cranky and anger would be the unexplained tears. I complained at work more than I normally did and snapped at people when I normally would've laughed off their jokes.

Clearly, I had turned into a teenager.

The entire time, I kept thinking that this wasn't like me. Where was my zen desire to be healthier in mind, body, and spirit? What was wrong with me?

So, like any crazy person, I decided to not call anyone and not do anything with anyone. Because when you're crazy, you think you're doing a good job of hiding the crazy... especially if you stop all communication with everyone else.

The only person that I couldn't quite dodge successfully was the boyfriend.

I'm sure that I drove my boyfriend bonkers because I was one of the neediest, bitchiest, and most confusing person in the world. And just so you know, I've worked hard to try to eliminate the drama in my life - and during the last week on Nuvaring(!), it was like I was putting on my own one-person play. In fact, the word "drama" doesn't even cover it. Now, it's true, sometimes he was being a bit of a turd and probably deserved some amount of communication about it, but he definitely didn't deserve the crap I was shoveling out.

And hoo boy, was I shoveling out some crazy crap.

The misery of the situation is that I didn't put two and two together until the end of month two... and I only put it together because I had had a similar (albeit much more minor) reaction several years ago when I was on a generic birth control. So if you're interested in specifics, you should know that I lived in Crazy Town (the medical term is "emotional lability") for two to three weeks.

And here I am, after 6 days off of the ring (and on my good ol' LoEstrin), feeling significantly saner. Without going into gory detail, I'll just say that my body is oh-so happy to have that particular type of hormone out of me.

Oh, and you know what was the biggest bummer of all? EACH AND EVERY NIGHT I still had to remind myself that I didn't need to take my birth control pill any more. Like I would be falling asleep and I would wake up nervous that I had forgotten it. GAH!


I am writing this post for two reasons:
1) To publicly thank my boyfriend (who will quite possibly never read this) for believing me (or at least pretending to) when I said that the crazy behavior WAS NOT ME. I'm not sure if the craziness damaged our relationship permanently...but I'm okay with whatever outcome happens, mostly because I feel more like me. And the me that I am can handle anything that will come, even the demise of something that could've been great.

b) To let the women out there know that hormones can be dangerous things to mess with. While it's true that some women may never experience the same symptoms, it's good to know that it CAN happen. I just feel horrible thinking that there could be a woman out there experiencing the same hell that I went through and not even knowing that her birth control (Nuvaring or any other one) could be to blame. Although to be fair to Nuvaring(!), I know of two people personally who loved it and never had any of the same issues I did. The same hormone can affect women differently (obviously).

In a society where everyone wants the next coolest thing, it's easy to want to be on different medication that seems cooler...but like that saying goes, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

So if you need me, I'll be in the pool practicing my boring and stupid synchronized swimming - cap and all.

Disclaimer: This post was originally posted over at my other blog, From the Mixed Up Files of Happy Fun Pants.

Breaking the cycle...

It isn't the things that are happening to us that cause us to suffer, it's what we say to ourselves about the things that are happening.
--Pema Chodron

Last week, I was struggling BIG TIME with staying sane. Like it was all I could do to keep my shit together on a semi-regular basis. My mood swings had gotten so out of control that I was starting to doubt my sanity. No really. Like I was actually wondering if I was bi-polar or not. I was working so hard to keep it together during the work day that I had nothing left in the evenings.

The thing is, I have promised myself to NOT eat through the emotions/anxiety. So I didn't.

But I still felt the emotions and then, in the panic of the moment, couldn't remember any other coping skills. And here is where for the past few decades, I would've thought to myself "SCREW IT. Just have whatever you want. You deserve it. You're sad. This will make you happy." And I would've eaten whatever I wanted.

But I didn't.

Yay for me. Except that emotionally, I was a WRECK. Because I literally couldn't remember what would help me to back away from the crazy ledge I was so precariously perched on. I tried exercising through it - and although that helped a little bit, it wasn't helping enough to keep "the crazy" away. So I tried exercising a bit more, and that tired my body out, but didn't tire out my mind. Nothing seemed to help.

So I scheduled a meeting with my therapist where I pretty much bawled for an hour straight.

She gave me some great things to think about and also encouraged me to switch my birth control. According to her, you can never underestimate the effect hormones have on your body. Moreover, she gave me some clarity as to how some of my anxiousness may be because I'm not sure that I'm okay with my relationship with the BF.

And that rather than being honest with the doubt, rather than LIVING in the moment with the doubt, I was just freaking out. I was distracting myself and exerting control on every little thing. Because I didn't want to look at the relationship closely and ask myself if it's what *I* wanted. I'd way rather blame every little thing on me.

In this situation with the BF, rather than realizing that things aren't feeling quite right and sitting and being with those feelings (and then self-soothing myself out of them), I opted to concentrate on how they just weren't right. If they weren't right, then it MUST be my fault. Nevermind that I've never promised to be any different than what I am. Nevermind that I've been authentic. Nevermind that almost any woman in a relationship would want the same thing. If things weren't going right, then it's MY fault. Things aren't working because I'm stupid, dumb, and a failure.

The berating of myself? It's MY cycle. It's within my comfort zone because it's all to familiar.

And as I look back on my life, I can see all the times where I actually may have fucked things up - with friends, with boyfriends, with my family, or with perfect strangers. But I can also clearly see where I've blamed myself for those things even when they weren't my fault.

So clearly, I'm comfortable with the cycle of Anne = SHIT. What I'm not comfortable with is having self-confidence and asking myself what I want when it comes to relationships (friendships or otherwise).

When I realized this, I did something pretty important.

I stopped. I felt the feelings. And then I realized that I can CHOOSE to feel the same way and to repeat the cycle, or I can change my mind. I can decide that although I'm not perfect, I am worthy of love - from others, but more importantly - from myself.

Pema Chodron, an author that I really like, writes that we should practice being present. That doing so allows us to almost pause our life. So I've been practicing that during the past few days...and I'm finding that somehow by actually living with the fear is helping dissipate it.

I'm changing my mind. I'm choosing to realize that I am not a failure. I simply cannot be to blame for everything wrong with every relationship. I am human. To expect otherwise IS insanity.

In other news, I finally changed the birth control. And without going into it, my body's reaction to me taking out the Nuvaring is pretty amazing (albeit disgusting). My body is clearly appreciating that I'm not utilizing that method any longer. As an added benefit, I'm not feeling the swings of emotions as much (if at all) and I'm so much happier that that is the case.

The scale shows that I'm up slightly from two weeks ago (I didn't get to weigh in last week) and I'm okay with that too.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The good, the bad, and the oh-so very ugly

Last week I felt on top of the world. I *felt* like I was doing a decent job of holding my shtuff together.

Turns out, not so much.

Because in the middle of everything last week, I went a little a whole lotta crazy. I wanted my space and then quite quickly I wanted nothing of the sort. I wanted to talk stuff out with friends until I started to panic and then I would've set myself on fire if it meant getting away from them.

I was angry - like really angry and cranky. The only thing that would stop the cranky and anger would be the unexplained tears.

The entire time, I kept thinking that this wasn't like me. Where was my zen desire to be healthier in mind, body, and spirit?

I'm sure that I drove my boyfriend crazy because I was the neediest, bitchiest, and most confusing person in the world. I've worked hard to try to eliminate the drama in my life - and last week, it was like I was putting on my own one-person play. Drama doesn't even cover it. Now, it's true, sometimes he was being a turd and probably deserved some amount of communication about it, but he definitely didn't deserve the crap I was shoveling out.

LOOONG story short, I realized two things. Two VERY big things.

1. I hadn't exercised AT ALL in almost three weeks. And like I've written on here countless times, exercise is so much more about the mental sanity for me than the activity points that I can earn. I finally went for a run on Saturday and thought to myself: "DUH! You should've done that before now." So guess what people? Mr. Goodbody was right. Exercise is good for you.

2. I recently changed my birth control...and it could be that the hormone levels might be assisting in me not reacting to things rationally. Uh, you think?

So how did I handle this?

I ate.

I ate because I was bored, I ate because I was angry, I ate because I was lonely, I ate because I acted like a crazy person to my boyfriend, I ate because I'm scared he's going to get tired of my craziness, I ate because he really has hurt my feelings and I don't know if we're compatible, I ate because I'm concerned that maybe I don't know what a healthy relationship is after all, I ate because I feel like I can't think logically through my craziness, and finally, I ate because I didn't know how else to cope.

I'm disappointed in myself.

Which, in actuality, is a pretty common theme these days. I just don't feel like I measure up to much. I'm so very irritated these days - at everything but mostly myself.

Unlike what I do with other people, I can't cut myself slack. I can't forgive myself for all of the multitude of wrong doings I've committed against myself (and others) this past week.

I recognize that I need to start fresh. It's almost like I need to confess my sins and get on with it already. Because there is (at the moment) no closure for the moods that I've been in.

It sounds horrible to say, but the truth is that I'm keeping tally in some sort of weird way/game of how obnoxious, hateful, unstable, cranky, and needy I've been. And when I do that, I always lose...because there is no winner.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

More than halfway

May 11th was when I had lost exactly 55.6 pounds - which was/is exactly halfway to my weight loss goal. And although I was proud of the progress that I had made in just 9 short months, I was also worried, concerned, scared, and kind of freaking out.

And so, as you've noticed, I paused. I put my weight loss on hold and decided to apply all of the things that I had learned up until that point. In doing so, I had to let go of all of the timelines I had set. I let go of some insecurities and I started to love the body I had. I felt (in some cases for the first time) all of the emotions of scared, worried, concerned and anxiety.

I concentrated on the feelings.

And then, in most cases, I released them.

I find it encouraging that I knew when I had to start loving my body. I knew that pausing was the right thing to do long term - even if it felt like a failure at times. It's almost like I was running a race and had a pain in my side. I was out breath and just needed to stop - if only for a little while.

I find it encouraging to look back at my May 11th email and realize that I no longer worry that I will gain the weight back because I *know* that I will lose it all. It may take me another year, but it will be gone. I'm so happy that I don't have those thoughts anymore.

As I shed each pound, I'm encouraged by the new identity that is emerging. My new identity feels more like me anyway.

So why am I writing all of this down here now? Well, I weighed in last night and I'm thrilled to report I'm officially over the hump. 56 pounds down puts me at more than halfway to my goal.

To continue the analogy from before, the pain in my side is gone and my breathing is back to normal.

It's time to start running again.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Doubly good

"I don't believe that you have to be a certain size or certain shape to feel sexy. My butt is just the price I have to pay for having such great tits!"
--Kellyanne Russell, contestant on Project Runway, Australia

Let me preface this by saying that I absolutely LOVE my little sister. There is not a thing in the world I wouldn't do for her. She is a fantastic person - a giver, a lover, and someone who sees the absolute best in anyone and everyone. She would NEVER do something to deliberately hurt anyone. Simply put, she's one of my favorite people in the world.

Two years ago, my younger sister had to get a troublesome lump/mass removed from her breast. It was a horrible experience for her - it was painful and was handled by doctors that were inept at best.

Less than a week after the surgery, we all met at my father's for Christmas. During this break, she was still recovering from the surgery. And it became apparent that she was very worried that the scar (and the fact that there was a divot/chunk missing on her breast) would be such a turn-off to all the guys that she was sure to date for the rest of her life. And she cried and cried and cried about it. I think it's only normal to have concerns about any scarring...but I think that for women, scars or things that look like dents in your breasts would be especially emotional.

So, to make her feel better, I made jokes (when don't I?). I said that it could be worse...she could have droopy boobs, just like me if she wanted. I'd gladly trade her for her perky boobs any day. Years of yo-yo dieting had made mine less than stellar in my eyes.

She didn't believe me.

I showed her.

And she laughed. She laughed because she had just spent a long time crying. She laughed because I prefaced it in a funny way. She laughed to relieve the stress and she laughed with relief that not everyone's boobs are perfect.

But when she laughed, inside I cried.

Now, up until that point, I've always been pretty proud of my breasts. They were always bigger than other girls' and I always felt that they made me more womanly and more attractive. Incidentally, I've never dated anyone that was completely ga-ga over them. It seems that the people that I've dated weren't boob guys at all. But alas, I digress. I guess that while I've been overweight most of my adult life, I've felt pride that at least I was proportionate.

In fact, a few years ago, I was on a type of birth control that caused my boobs to grow. That (and the weight gain) caused me to be wear a 40DDD. And in case you're a guy and stumbled on my blog, I'll just tell you, that means they're big.

Really big.

Freakishly big.

But by then, my ass had grown to Biblical proportions, so I figured everything was still balanced. And yet, when my younger fantastic sister laughed at my slightly deflated but yet somehow still gigantic boobs (a unique combination, to be sure), I started feeling even more like a freak.

From that day on, I felt more comfortable dating guys who had already been married to someone who had had kids. I mean, instead of seeing "fun bags," they were used to seeing "they used to be really fun bags but now they're just sort of fun bags" right?

These days, I'm back down to a 36DD...a size that I feel pretty darn comfortable in. And while they don't look like billiard balls at the bottom of tube socks yet, they're not that far off either.

Maybe now you can understand why going to Victoria's Secret last weekend was so much fun. This past week, I've enjoyed my boobs being perky, even if only in a lacy push-up bra. I've enjoyed them looking pretty - and I've started having more confidence in them again. It was just the sort of pick-me-up that I needed.

I've fallen back in love with my boobs - even though they're no longer pin-up material.

Because the truth is, I'm still proportionate. I'm curvy. I'm voluptuous. And with the right bra, I'm Jessica Rabbit-ish. And as BFD's post proved, there are people that wish that they could have boobs like mine even as I'm wishing that I could wear a sundress without looking like a cow that needs to be milked.

And for those interested, this past weekend I mentioned how I felt about my breasts to my boyfriend. His answer? "I love your boobs!"

It's yet another thing that we agree on these days.

P.S. Thanks to Big Fat Deal's blog that introduced me to Kellyanne's quote!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Free to and me

There may be some major changes here in the near future.

All I'm asking is that you click and read my other blog's post for today. You can read it by clicking here.

Would you all still read me if I combined my blogs? That mixed in with the seriousness of this blog there were posts of humor and my general life craziness?

I'm open to any and all thoughts you might have - even if you think that they'll hurt my feelings.

Please leave a comment here, on the other blog - or write me directly at happyfunpants [at] gmail [dot] com.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

They're just numbers (take 2)

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how I started to realize that numbers don't define me, my happiness, or my enjoyment.

Well, this past week, I lost 0.2 pounds.

I've recently realized that I don't care much about what the scale says. I'm still weighing in - mostly because it's a way to benchmark where I've been and a firm way to measure progress. But I guess as long as the general trend shows downward, I don't really care what the individual week by week losses or gains are. Basically, for me, the scale has turned into being a tool that reflects back what I already know. If I gain weight in a week, I know it for the most part. I know when I've eaten portions that are more than what I should be having. I know when I've not been exercising. And I know when I feel healthy.

The loss of "only" 0.2 indicates the extra Halloween candy I had last week while at work. It shows how I did ZERO exercise last week. ZERO! And with the boyfriend gone, I had many opportunities to exercise, but I just didn't.

I guess what I'm surprised about is that I'm not taking the weight loss personally. I'm not really tied emotionally to that number.

It used to be that when I'd have losses that were big or any gain, it immediately affected my mood. Now I just look at the numbers and am aware of what I need to do to either repeat that loss/gain or change it. It's a tool for feedback - nothing more.

It's like the average miles per gallon readout on my car. If I want to get higher MPG, I need to decrease my aggressive driving. That's it. Crying about it doesn't help. Being mad about it doesn't help and beating myself up over it DEFINITELY doesn't help.

It's data.

For me, I think that this realization is key. Now don't get me wrong, I definitely still want to reach my goal by my birthday next year. And I'd LOVE to pass the 55.6 (which is halfway to my goal) by Halloween.

I've figured out that having and reaching benchmarks are just measurable gauges that help pontificate the immeasurable changes that are going on.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Feel Good Weekend

This weekend was a pretty good weekend - all things considered.

First, I got to hang out with some friends on Friday night. It was SO good for my soul. I hung out with two ladies at one of Denver's most happening jazz clubs. We sat in a booth and got to listen to some great live jazz - and I loved every minute of it.

See, years ago I decided to date a musician - actually he was a friend of one of the ladies that I hung out with on Friday. The musician (Jon from the post a few below this one) and I had a year and a half relationship that ended when he cheated. And while I did basically nothing to deserve that treatment, it was I who was ostracized from our friends. These women are wives and girlfriends of the guys in the bands that Jon was they had to remain in close contact with him.

And since I didn't want to be in contact with him, my contact with them has been limited. One of them (the one who I was friends with before) is still a friend of mine, but she's a single mom with two kids. Her life is hard to plan stuff around and basically, she does the best she can with fitting in social stuff. The other one, I mainly saw at gigs, so it's no surprise that seeing her would decrease.

ANYWAY, hanging out with them was so great. We talked about old times, about the ex's current girlfriend, and about my current boyfriend. We bopped to the music and we watched the sexiest man I have ever seen dance on the dance floor. It was fantastic.

Two highlights of the night: the husband of one of the ladies walked right past me without saying hello. I thought that maybe he was just in a hurry. About a half hour later, he came up and hugged me. I had, apparently, lost so much weight and had grown my hair out (it was SHORT when he knew me) that he didn't recognize me. How cool is that?

The second highlight was that I was hit on. And in a very "I'm looking you up and down" sort of way. I hardly ever go out into clubs or bars - mostly because that's never been my thing. So to have my first time out like that in about a year and a half to end with a guy checking me out and asking for my number was definitely a high. I'm not really sure where stuff might go with Joe and knowing that I could hold my own on a night out was definitely a plus.

Secondly, I went shopping at Victoria's Secret today. And wow oh wow did I go a little crazy.

See, I've only purchased a few bras in the last few years...and all of them were because I kept going up in size. Well, 90% of the bras I own don't fit anymore- they gape in the cup area and I have to put them on the tightest fitting around my ribs (and even then they're too big). And my underwear? Well, let's just say, MANY pairs were due to be replaced.

So when I was checking out, the sexy lady behind the counter asked if I was going on a honeymoon. And I said, "No. I just lost a bunch of weight - and it was time to get new sexy underwear." She congratulated me and it felt so good. I'm not going on a trip to love someone else...but I am loving my body.

I recognize that there are cheaper bras and undies to be bought out there. And I will definitely supplement my wardrobe with those too. But this trip to VS? It was all for me. It felt luxurious. I've wanted to do something to help me feel sexy. As my boobs are starting to droop with all the weight loss, I was looking for outer packaging that helps me feel like I'm still sexy - sagging skin and all.

In the end, I bought WAY too many bras. I bought a few sexy ones and a few more practical ones. I got home, pulled them out and then tried on every other bra I had in the house - and guess what? Some of the new ones HAVE to go back. I found two that I had from before I got bigger that will do.

But when I hit my goal weight? One of the first things I'm going to do is to celebrate and buy all new undies/bras. A major reward for a major goal.

I think I'm done...for now

So in case you're reading this via Google Reader, I've changed my blog.

And I think I'm done. The last piece I really want to figure out is how to create a masthead/header without Photoshop - because I don't want to buy that program just yet.

I recognize that the scribbly writing is sort of hard to see against the header maybe there is a way to outline it in some way. Other than that, am I missing any obvious things that look icky?

I've designed it on a Mac and I know that it looks different on a PC sometimes - so I'm looking forward to seeing what it looks like at work tomorrow.

And in case you're wondering, I do love the header image. It looks like a glowing heater behind a grate. And honestly? I feel that that signifies me - something glowing with white-hot potential.

Sometimes the grating is there for my protection...and sometimes it's for yours. :)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Ignore the man behind the curtain

This morning while TRYING to set up a new template, I ended up messing it up. Royally.

So basically, my web page looks like complete crapola. My hope is that in a few hours it'll start looking as it should.

Smaller, funpantsier, and all around better.

Stay tuned.

And in the meantime? Sorry for the absolute craziness.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Becoming a Little More Emotionally Healthy

I know that I mentioned that Joe (the boyfriend) is out of town this week. What I didn't mention is that he's out of town with his close friend who happens to be a girl. They get to go to a Broadway theatre production, to a hockey game, and get to see all the museums they'd like to. They left on Wednesday and will come back late on Sunday.

If you've been following me for a very long time, you might know that I had an ex-boyfriend that cheated on me - and it was one of the most hurtful experiences in my life. So you might think that I'm super worried about what might happen.

But the truth of the matter is, I've had to make a conscious decision to trust him. A little over a month ago, I realized that I worried about it - not because the boyfriend isn't trustworthy, but because the past boyfriend wasn't. And while I logically understand that Joe is different than my ex, believing it emotionally was a whole other battle.

So I made him promise that if he ever found himself wanting to cheat, all he had to do was call me and break up. Even via voicemail. I didn't care. I just wanted to be able to trust that he wasn't off doing something sexually with someone else unless I had heard from him. It may sound silly, but his promise has provided me comfort. And if I ever get caught up in the "what if", I have to ask myself "Self? Do you trust him?" and when the answer always comes back as "yes" I'm trying to remind myself to stop my mind there.

Because the thing is, it doesn't matter if he's off on a trip with his great friend (who happens to be a girl) or if he's on a business trip, or if he is just out with the guys one night. It doesn't matter if you share a room or are staying in separate hotels. It doesn't matter if your wife is hot - I knew a guy that cheated on his unbelievably gorgeous wife with a girl that was about 150 pounds heavier than his wife. What a relief it was to hear his story! Because in my mind, I had convinced myself that the ex cheated on me because I was fat. I believed that crap for YEARS afterwards. But now I know that cheating has very little to do with weight. It has very little to do with happiness. It has a lot to do with character. If you want to cheat you will find a way to cheat. It's as simple as that.

A few months ago, I was at a friend's house for a party. We were all drinking (although I was, by far, the most sober) outside on the deck. At one point, we heard sloshing sounds coming from the hot tub where two people were. These people are both dating others. The guy is LIVING with his girlfriend (who was away that night at a rodeo). And yet, here they were HAVING SEX in someone else's hot tub. * Classy, no?

My point is, I feel like I'm looking at this situation (the New York thing - not the hot tub thing) in a healthy way. I'm not saying that I've never been concerned about it. I'm just saying that I am remind myself that I CHOOSE to believe Joe. I believe his words and I believe his actions. Joe and I have a loving relationship where he is physically and emotionally available to me. I believe that. I have to.

And unless I'm given different data, I promise to not believe otherwise.

*Don't you worry. The guy had to clean out the hot tub and buy all new filters for the owner as penance.