Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Going down...

Last night I weighed in at my meeting and I found that I had lost 2.2 pounds!

Mostly, I'm excited because last week was a pretty rough week for me emotionally...and there were many times that I felt lots of different emotions even within the span of an hour.

For starters, I got a really craptastic email from Joe on Monday where I'm not sure he could've been more passive agressive should he have tried.  This came in right around the same time that I received a text that brushed off Mr. Wonderful.  Those came right after I found out that my boss who drives me bat-crap crazy is now coming into the office full time.

So basically, Monday kind of blew...and even though I tried to make it better, the week just never really recovered.  But you know what?  When I was sad, I cried.  And when I was happy, I laughed.  And when I wasn't hungry, I didn't eat.

That's the trend I hope to follow this week... it's so easy to say, but it's so hard to do sometimes. 

So, in case there is someone else out there wondering how I did it, I'll share what helped me. 

I really just tried to be aware of what I was feeling.

I've heard countless times that people should ask themselves if they're really hungry before eating something.  That doesn't work for me.  I can't, when faced with a delectable dessert, ask myself if I'm really hungry or (taking it a step further) what I'm really hungry for.  It just doesn't work for me.  I'm too flooded by saliva to make sane decisions and I usually just dig right in and tell myself that I'll try to figure it out later.

What HAS worked for me is to practice asking myself how I feel.  I do it so often that I'm not even aware of me consciously having to think that.

The benefit of this regular check-in is that I'm at least partially aware of how I'm feeling before I start being faced with food.

Sometimes the answer just comes back as "tired."  Well, that's great information to know and be aware of...I mean, if faced with a donut and sugar-laden coffee later, I'd probably be overly tempted to consume it.  But if I'm aware that I'm tired, it's somehow easier for me to make a logical decision and pass it up.

If the answer comes back that I'm sad, I try to sit with that feeling as long as possible before "doing" something about it.  I've felt that a lot this past week - and each time I've done a little something different.  I've hugged my cat, I've called friends, I've watched TV, I've journaled, and I've done something nice for somoene else. 

I make this distinction, of trying to be aware of my feelings rather than aware if I'm hungry, because for me THAT way is easier.  I realize that it's a bit like the proverbial chicken and the egg scenario, but being aware of my feelings BEFORE temptations arise, helps me tend to myself quicker before I'm salivating and struggling with decisions.

Make sense?

This week, I have a lot of stuff going on.  Lots of appointments packed into this week and get togethers with friends.  Somehow I need to finish my Christmas shopping and maybe even send out Christmas cards.

So I can't promise that I'll track appropriately or even keep around my points target.  But I can make a concerted effort to continue what feels right and good...and checking in with myself, being gentle and kind to myself, feels like an excellent Christmas gift.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

It's a new dawn, it's a new dayyyyyyyyyy

Isn't this a weight loss blog?  I thought so.  Then let's get to it, shall we?

Monday night, Weight Watchers unveiled it's new and improved plan.  And apparently, it meant that the smaller ladies in our group had their points decreased...and I couldn't believe how upset people were (but that's a different rant for a different day).

At any rate, as my leader was talking about the changes, and people were complaining or getting cranky, I had sort of an out-of-body experience.

I realized that I have been sitting in the same seat, making jokes, being supportive, and yet pretty much at the same weight for the last 6 months, give or take a few pounds.

And as I sat there, I realized that if I didn't change something NOTHING (including my weight) was going to change.

The magic isn't in the meetings - it's in the actions. 

Well, DUH.

My weight was down over two pounds each of the last two times I weighed in.  And that included the week of Thanksgiving.  Where I was at my mom's the whole time. Where there were candy bars, a day where I didn't get out of my fun pants, and fatty foods.

But I lost 2 pounds over Thanksgiving week.  How?  Well, I ramped up my activity.  And I ate when I was hungry and didn't eat when I wasn't.

So this brings me back to my age old dilemma of:

Do I practice intuitive eating or do I count points?

The last time I counted points, religiously, was 6 months ago.  Know what I was doing then?  LOSING WEIGHT.

The last time I practiced intuitive eating I lost weight.

So pretty much both approaches work.  And it's about darn time that I stop trying to force myself into anything.*  And THAT is one of the reasons why I really do like the new plan.  You can switch from "Simply Filling" (i.e. an intuitive eating type approach) to the points plan daily and vice versa.

So here's what I've decided - at least for this week.  I'm going to pay attention to my body and eat foods that are good for me when I'm hungry.  And I'll go ahead and count the points to see how it matches up.

Last night, I met up with a good friend for what was supposed to be just drinks and maybe dinner.  It turned into an appetizer, a small portion of dinner, and a LOT of beer.  But it was exactly what I wanted at the time.  I had an awesome time...and after being brushed off by the douche canoe, I enjoyed every moment of it.

This morning, I counted up the points and realized that I used almost all of my weekly points.  Eh.  That's what they're for, right?

I feel good about the things that I can control and good about the things I can't.

I actually feel at harmony with things in my life...and I know that when I feel at peace, my eating is cleaner and much easier.

The whole health concept...there just might be something to it. :)

*OMG.  Seriously?  I heart this sentence.  It's applicable to every area of my life.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Well, that sucked.

Know how people are all, "Give nice guys a chance?" 

For the past 15 years, thought I did... but I guess I never really did.  The last few months, I've had an opportunity to look back at the guys I've chosen routinely and realized that they've all had some serious issues right from the get go. 

The ones I've picked to stay with had issues with intimacy, issues with their moms, issues with their dads, or issues with me.  But in all cases, they strummed a chord right on my heart strings - that chord being: "Stay.  Help Me.  Fix me."

And apparently that chord always works with me.

In truth, it doesn't mean that they weren't nice, but it does mean that they had some red flags.

So each time, when something ended, I found myself inching the door to the possibility of a lasting love a little more closed.  I have believed that those dreams - those nice things - weren't for me. 

The guys I passed up?  They were the nice ones.  The guys who treated me the way I should be treated - right from the get go.  But the chord that they strummed never seemed melodic to me. I chalked it up to the chemistry not being there and moved on.

Ending the relationship with Joe, was a great time to realize that the problem wasn't with ME.  It's with the people I've continually picked.  Which, okay, WAS with me.  But hopefully you get what I mean.

I took the time to re-calibrate my heart strings. And I realized that the ones that called for help weren't quite as melodic as I had thought.  And the ones that offered genuine feelings of happiness and love sounded better than I ever believed.

So this past month, when I had the opportunity to really look love in the eyes, I did.

It started with a wonderful question - something along the lines of "Are you ready, really ready to be in love?  Are you ready in your heart and your mind?"

I looked within me, brushed off my newly re-vamped heart strings, and answered, "Yes."

And it was WONDERFUL. The act of falling in love is an amazing feeling.  It's fast, it's all consuming, and it feels beautiful.  Like my blinders have been ripped off my eyes - and now I could start to see life's full beauty - which includes ME.

I found myself peering through the crack in the door to lasting love.  I found myself lured by it's charm.  I started to (gasp!) hope.  And when my brain tried to tell my heart to slow down, I reminded it that THIS type of story happens to others.  Why not me?  Why not us?  Why not now?

We even said several times that it felt like we were 15 again - to feel like the whole world was ahead of us and that we could figure out anything that came our way.

To me, it felt like the first part of a drop on a roller coaster ride.  I was scared, white-knuckling it...until something inside me encouraged me to just let go; to just enjoy it.

And oh, how I enjoyed it.  Because that feeling?  It's amazing; intoxicating; heart-stoppingly beautiful.

Until it wasn't.

Realistically, I've recounted the weirdness of what happened many times with my friends and they all believe that something is clearly going on with him.  And from the stories he told me about some of the girls that he met, they all reacted with similar disbelief when things ended.  Judging from the outside looking in, this seems to be his MO.

So, logically, I know it's not me.  Or maybe it is.  But I know that even if his opinion of me and us changed that quickly, it doesn't have anything to do with me.  Yeah, yeah...maybe he got scared...but maybe he was just playing me.  Maybe he's just damaged goods with entirely too high of standards.  No matter how hard I try, I can't figure out what happened.

Because to me, even if I got weird vibes or mixed messages, I'd want to ride the roller coaster again.

But eesh.  It still hurts.  Just like the heartbreaks of 15 year olds.

So how is it that I'm more upset about things ending with a man that I haven't known nearly long enough than ones that I've stayed with for entirely too long?

Because my heart strings strummed a song that seemed to be in tune with his (and even I puked in my mouth with how cheesy that sounded).  But that tune? It was one of the most amazing things I've felt and heard.

So here I am.  Sad, disappointed, and hurt.  Maybe this is the rebound relationship effect.  Or maybe it's because we really could've made it work.

But I do know this: I need time to repair the damage - to re-tune my heart strings and repair my pride.

So that the next time a nice guy asks if I'm really ready - for love and all the wonders it holds - I'll have the courage to say yes.  I'll have the courage to walk through that door, down the aisle, and wherever else that path leads.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

An attempt to update

I’m going to be honest with you…I’m not even aware of where to start.

So many changes have happened in the last few months – each deserving of their own post – and since I haven’t taken the time to write about them, it’s hard for me to figure out how to update you and still write about what’s relevant to you and the content of this blog.

I’ve decided to do things the most efficient way possible:

1) I have a cat. I KNOW! I’m that girl that said she’d never get cats. Only I also am that girl that has a hard time saying no to people that ask for help – especially when it involves animals. In July, I became the owner of Zoe – a 5 pound ball of fluff. She’s sweet, little, and more comforting than I ever thought that cats could be. And yes, I have allergies. Why should that stop me from getting a cat? Clearly it shouldn’t.

2) I’ve started running again with some regularity (meaning not going weeks between runs). Finally. I’ve missed it. I’m slower than I ever thought that I would be…probably has something to do with the extra weight I’m carrying since I was really into it. But you know? We all have to start somewhere….or rather, we all have to start back somewhere.

3) I’ve been dating. Actually, I’ve been dating kind of a lot. This is probably the top reason why posting here has been virtually non-existent. But the dating? It’s been such a fabulous experience!

I think I enjoy it so much more because I know more who I am and what I am looking for. I have a positive sense of self and it makes dating so much easier and so much more fun. Gone are the days/nights where I sit and wonder what he’s thinking and whether or not he’s into me.

It’s like I’m my very own chapter of “He’s Just Not That Into You.”

The guys that show interest and then fade away? I let them. I don’t need to chase them. At the risk of sounding cocky, if they don’t recognize the quality now, then I don’t want them either.

The guys that stop asking questions and showing a strong interest in getting to know me? Forget it! I’m happy to be reciprocating of the intentions that are bestowed upon me. So if they start showing that they’re lacking in things to ask for/about, I’m just fine with also stopping the getting-to-know-you process too.

Bad kissers? Next!

Guys who just want to get in my pants? Of COURSE they do! My pants are fun! But that’s not all that I’m looking for. If they’re not making a serious effort to get to know my mind and not just my body, I feel comfortable with showing them the door. Sometimes, literally.

Dating this way is WAY more fun. And it’s much more linked to healthy lifestyles than I normally would’ve thought. If I’m not having fun, I stop.

And in the end, I’ve gone out with some really great people. It’s been great to get to know several different men and to figure out who meshes with me the best. I also think that it makes me a much more fun date.

The feeling of being pursued, desired, and valued is wonderful.

And I’m freakin’ lovin’ every minute of it.

4) As far as weight…I’ve been losing. It’s so much more fun and it feels easier than what it has been in a long time. I’ll expound more on this later (because hello, isn’t that kind of the point of this blog?), but suffice it to say, things are going well in this department as well.

5) The house: It’s starting to come together. Honestly? I love it more every day. This weekend I’ve got some decorating planned and am super excited to clear some things off my to-do list.

Hopefully with these topics covered – even if just partially – it’ll be easier for me to come here and update more often.

Friday, October 28, 2011

A New Year's Resolution

It didn't hit me until just a few moments ago, that a year ago, I had abdominal surgery to remove a very large uterine fibroid.

A year ago, I walked into the hospital full of hope (that they wouldn't end up doing a hysterectomy and that I wouldn't die) and more than a little trepidation of the healing to come.

Well, here I am, a year later, and I have the same emotions - just the subject and the location have changed.

I spent the last thirty minutes or so looking over pictures from the last year.

And since we're all friends, I'll admit that I've gained weight.  The number is actually around 20 pounds.  But by looking at pictures, it seems that I've gained it all in my face, my neck, my belly, my butt, my...okay then, I see it everywhere in the pictures I just glanced through.

And oy vey does it suck to look at pictures of yourself and realize just how much ground you've lost. I feel like I'm starting all over in so many areas of my life and it's a daunting feeling.  I just asked myself, "Self...it's just you and me.  Do you really want to add another thing that you're starting over again with?"

I took a few seconds to think about it, but the answer was still yes!

I'm not waiting for January 1st to start anew.  The last 365 days have been filled with a lot of pain, emotionally and physically.  I've had a lot of new beginnings - a new job, a new home, a new single life.  I've had a lot of losses - my relationship, my grandmother.  I've celebrated a lot - a successful surgery, my little sister's wedding, and me getting through some really rough months of therapy.

But if I'm to be 100% honest, I'm fully ready to put this year to bed.   I'm ready to put it behind me, to acknowledge the things that I've learned and to mourn the stuff that I've lost.

And I'm ready to get my self-confidence back.  I'm ready to feel powerful while running again.  I'm ready to try new foods, new recipes, and to practice restraint when it comes to eating.

After a year of feeling anything but sexy, I'm ready to bring the sexy back.

A year ago, I felt broken going into surgery.  I'm sad to say that that feeling hasn't really left me after all this time - not really.  It's felt like one thing after another for the past year.  I've felt like other things and other people have ruled my life. 

Isn't it time I take my life back? 

Aren't I worth eating healthy foods - foods that fuel my body rather than ones that numb the pain I've been feeling? Aren't I worth getting up an extra 45 minutes in the morning to go for a quick run?  Aren't I worth saying nice things to myself rather than inwardly groaning at my appearance in the mirror?

I want to believe the answer is yes; I've worked hard in in therapy to learn that the answer is yes.

So starting tomorrow (which, by my clock is in about 10 minutes), I'm going to start living like it.

Here's to a year of new beginnings, of shedding fear and old beliefs, and of choosing to believe in me.

Who's with me? 

Thursday, October 27, 2011


It’s probably been a long time coming, but Joe and I have officially broken up.

Like I wrote in my post “Making Room”, there were a few ways this could go.

“So will we keep dating? Maybe. Will we live together again? Maybe. Will we break up? Maybe. Will we part ways and never speak again? Maybe. Will this all get figured out and we'll live happily ever after? Maybe. Will we each meet someone else to spend the rest of our lives with? Maybe.”

And I’m so sad to have it end the way that it did. It was pretty sucky and it was difficult to not be able to have the closure that I so would’ve wanted.

In the end, I didn’t get to tell him anything that was in my heart. All he heard was that I felt like we were more like friends than anything else and he bolted.

Over two months ago, I wrote this regarding our relationship:

“Can you see why this is a tough decision? So no, I’m not going to make any rash decisions. I owe it to myself to not do that. Because if you’re anything like me, you know that after you end a relationship, it’s easy to second guess all the decisions you’ve ever made. It’s easy to see all the ways you were intolerant of someone else’s flaws. It’s easy to blame yourself for throwing away a perfectly good relationship. What I want to do is explore all the possibilities, try all the ways I can, collect data (hello, I’m an engineer), and understand how I feel. That way I know that in the wee hours of the night when “The Voice” tells me how stupid I was and how much being alone sucks, I can whisper back that I made the right decision and that time heals all wounds.”

Tuesday night, “The Voice” told me that I was a horrible person and that I wouldn’t find anyone else who was as marvelous as Joe. It told me that I was heartless and that I wanted too much. Because the truth is, I didn’t want to break up Tuesday night. But I did want to tell the truth about how I felt.

At one point, I knew I could’ve said some things to make it hurt less. I could’ve said that I wasn’t 100% certain that the love was lost. I could’ve said that I still wanted to try more. Those things would’ve been truths. But would they have just delayed the inevitable? Would they have made it hurt worse for him in the end? Maybe. So I swallowed those words and let nature take its course.

One thing lead to another and now yours truly is single.

He’s asked that I not contact him in any way. He’s removed me as a friend on Facebook (which we never communicated there anyway) and removed me from other shared applications that we had.

He has, effectively, removed his love.

While that’s perfectly normal, it is terribly triggering. And yet, I am reminded that I have my own truth inside my body.

I have a womb that wants to bear children. I have a heart that can mend and eventually love again. My mind knows that I tried everything within my power to make this work. My feet are firmly planted on the ground and my arms can hug the husband I’ll eventually have.

It feels in some ways like a deep cut. At first, all you can think about is the pain. Eventually, I know that I’ll be reminded of the cut whenever it hurts. I’ve been through this before and know that the cut is the hardest part…and that all that’s left is the healing.

Because as I wrote, time does heal all wounds.

But oh, how I miss my best friend.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Accidentally finishing a 5K

Folks, the last time I ran was in June.

As in four months ago.

As in I’ve been dreading the first run back because I knew I would feel sluggish and my pace would be a far cry from where it used to be.

But one of the things I LOVE about my new place is how close it is to a lake and a few parks.

The lake I’m closest to is called Sloan Lake and it’s about three miles around. Sunday morning I decided that I would walk and run the circumference of the lake – you know, to get back in my groove.

Less than three miles? I can do that. No problem. Only I didn’t factor in the distance to and from the lake. Nor the heavy construction that left the paved path detouring through neighborhoods.

And I didn’t know that there was a race that morning; one that I apparently joined halfway through. I got to cross a finish line with lots of applause and then looks of confusion as I kept running past the volunteers.

At the end of the day, I ran a bit over 4 miles and I’m happy to say that I ran more than I walked.

My next 5K will be the Turkey Trot in El Paso on Thanksgiving morning. I ran it 2 years ago and my goal is to just run the whole thing and to try to forget about the time, pace, and where I used to be.

It’s where I am now that matters, right?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Lots of things in my life have helped me feel a bit turned upside down.

For starters, I did close on my house at the end of September. But trying to make the closing date 3 weeks after the date of the offer was pure silliness in this day and age. I found out the day before that I was approved to close the next day – literally at the last minute. My credit worthiness wasn’t a factor, but because of programs like the Patriot Act, every deposit and every money exchange needs to be scrutinized to the nth degree. On one hand, I get that their diligence might stop or dissuade someone else, but on the other hand, it sure was a pain to go through.

Part of my kitchen; the freezer is next to the stove and the
refrigerator is on a completely different wall.
The day of closing brought excitement and then disgust as I realized that the previous owner opted to not clean anything, to leave a full fridge and freezer full of expired items (like gallons of milk and rotting meat) and take out that should’ve been taken out. He filled the recycling bin with linens and broke countless glasses in the alley. He left debris everywhere and when he took his art (that had been stuck up with double-sided tape), he removed patches of paint as well. There were a few nice things that he left, like cleaning supplies (perhaps he didn’t know what to do with them?) and rugs that I wasn’t expecting. The main bathroom shower rod was broken such that the only way to fix it is with clear sided tape. And no, without getting into it, buying a new rod won’t work.

Nothing like buying a new home and then immediately feeling an immediate dampening because the place looks like some sort of feral child used to live there…

Less than 24 hours passed and I had a leak from the upstairs bathroom to the downstairs bathroom through the air vent. The leak has been fixed, but I’m now a proud owner of a giant hole in the closet of the bathroom (to get to the leaky pipes). I had another leak (this time from the downstairs shower) this past weekend; but I ended up trouble shooting and then fixing it myself.

Home Depot and I are becoming fast friends. But the relationship is one I’d rather put a stop to because it’s kinda’ pricey.

Having said that, I’ve had a few friends over (one couple were so nice and GAVE me a lawn mower and the other brought a huge bottle of wine that I’m determined to finish) and it has felt marvelous. I’m sure everyone says “Oh, I like your house!” to be nice…but because this house is the culmination of a journey that I have been on for weeks, months, and years, it feels awesome to have my choices enthusiastically supported.

Each box I unpack helps me feel more connected with what my life has been and currently is. For the most part, these things have been packed up for the last year and a half, but some items were moved from my garage in 2007 and then never unpacked in the place I moved into last. So re-opening those boxes and tubs are like meeting up with an old friend.

Even with the leaks, the paint jobs that desperately need to happen, and my dwindling bank account, I can’t help but feel lucky and blessed.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Making time...

Yesterday I went to my Weight Watchers meeting...and I'm happy to say that I'm down 0.2 pounds.  It might not sound like a lot (and let's be honest, it's not), but to me it shows and proves that I'm done with eating to fill an emptiness inside me.  There have been a lot of feelings the last few weeks as I prepare for a separation with Joe and the buying of a new house. 

But I haven't eaten them.  And THAT is the best.

Anyway, at the WW meeting, my leader talked about making time for things that matter.  She asked us to think of any goal that we had in our lives - and then asked us what it took to attain that goal.

For instance, when I wanted to graduate from college, my investment wasn't just in the time spent at classes or the money spent for the classes.  My investment in a great degree came with lots of hours at labs, in meetings with classmates, and at tutoring sessions if I needed more help.

Likewise, I can't look at the only time I'm willing to take for me to lose weight as the time spent in the meetings.

I need to invest the time into making healthy lunches, not just grabbing something on the go.  It means taking the time to get up early to go for a run.  It means understanding that there is time spent to drive to the gym.

To expect that this would just happen miraculously without any other time investment is silly.

And yet, how many of us have thought that if we just fix this "eating thing" we'd be fine?  Nope.  There's way more things going on that have contributed to my weight gain than just fixing my eating. It's by choosing to take the time to make the change a part of my identity that is going to get it done.

As I sat in the meeting, I thought of all the other things that I do with my time.  Some of it is productive, some of it is non-productive but totally awesome, and some of it is wasteful.  I want to be more mindful of scheduling or making time for the goals I really have.

After all, aren't we all worth spending some time on us, on our hopes and dreams?

P.S.  YAY!  The house was inspected last week and it passed with flying colors!  There are a few things to be fixed (aren't there always?) but nothing so big that it was a deal breaker.  The seller has come to the table with his offerings - not as much as I had hoped, but it's doable - and this whole process has gotten me even MORE excited about moving in the house.

I can't believe it's going to be mine in 9 days. 

The seller has had some heartbreak, some good times, and a new beginning with love while in this house. 

I can only hope that the same holds true while it's mine.

(le sigh)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Making Room

First, I had my inspection earlier today and was THRILLED with the results!  The inspector that I've hired for all of the homes I've bought (and then eventually sold) in Denver is awesome - and one of the things that I always love about him is how thorough he is.  As in I have 32 pages of findings from today's inspection.

Like I wrote, he's done two previous inspections for me, but this was the first time that he said, "You've got a great house.  You were lucky to find it - this one is a keeper." 

And he's right.

Sure, there are things that need to be fixed - aren't there always?  But the things aren't horribly expensive and they're reasonable.  If the seller won't fix them, I kind of don't care.  This is my house...and it feels SO good to be in it.

It's more room than I need.  But I hope to fill it up with unique finds, pictures and prints from friends, and lots of memories of wonderful people.

I'm making room for all of the wonderful things that are to come in my life. 

It feels blissful!

During the last week when I've made it more public that things were going to change between Joe and me, I've been amazed at people's reactions.  Some people were wildly enthusiastic about the move and some people looked at me with sadness.  Some people assumed that we were automatically going to break up and some people who thought that we had the perfect relationship were left wondering what happened.

The truth is, I'm not sure what is going to happen.  All I know is that our relationship isn't as healthy as what I want it to be before committing to each other for life.  I know that our therapist believes that the hard work can't happen without Joe doing some seriously tough stuff first.  As someone who has seen the benefits of therapy, I know first hand that although therapy can be life-changing, it also takes some significant amount of time.  And you have to be motivated to make the change.

Joe is motivated to become a healthier person; but it will take some time to make the changes necessary to facilitate a healthy relationship - with negotiating, full disclosures, and healthy boundaries.  I can't force or fix those things.  Believe me, I've tried.

So will we keep dating?  Maybe.  Will we live together again?  Maybe.  Will we break up?  Maybe.  Will we part ways and never speak again?  Maybe.  Will this all get figured out and we'll live happily ever after?  Maybe.  Will we each meet someone else to spend the rest of our lives with?  Maybe.

At this point, I don't know what the end result will be.  What I do know is that moving out and getting my own space is the next necessary step for me being healthier.  I know that this next step is right.

And at this point, I want to make room for all the possibilities in between us living together right now and us never speaking again.

Now is when I want to live my life fully - amidst all the struggles and confusion. 

Life isn't going to get any easier - I might as well make room for uncertainty.

See, Geneen Roth?  I listened to you after all.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Just a quick update...

Hi all!

First, I haven't been to the WW for a little while.  I weigh in on Mondays...and the 29th I had to stay late at work, this past Monday was Labor Day (my location was closed), and next week we have tickets to see the Broncos on their first game against the Raiders!  I'll admit, I haven't stepped on the scale, haven't tracked, and in general don't know how I've been doing weight wise.

Unless you count how I feel.  And in that, I've been doing really well.  I'm eating when I'm hungry and not eating when I'm not.

In fact, this weekend, I had ONE Reece's Peanut Butter Cup.  The other one from the package is still in our cabinet.  It may sound like a small thing, but it's a feat that I've never been successful at before.

The big news is that I've made the decision to move out of Joe's place.  It's been a long time coming and I made the decision with a heavy heart.  But I know that it's the right decision for me.  I just can't, in good faith, continue with this relationship without a chance to pause and determine what will make me happy.  I want children and a healthy partner so badly and I can't give that dream up.

I know that that pause needs to be in a location by myself.

Will it mean that we stop dating entirely? Maybe.  Will it be a catalyst to have him get healthier? I hope so.  Will he eventually move in? Maybe.  But this change gives me the chace to better evaluate all the options.

Joe is actually taken it pretty well and has graciously decided to let me stay until the end of the month...

At which time...

Actual door knob from my house. 
All the interior doors have these knobs.
I'm closing on a new place! 

I found the house this weekend and I LOOOOOOOVE it.  It's perfect.  It's a red brick tudor with tons of light/windows and is located only three blocks from a park/lake called Sloan's Lake.  Hello a runner's dream!

I'm thrilled that a place like this is finally in a price range that I can afford.  You can thank Joe for that too - giving me a break from the higher bills I was paying to save for this place.  I don't mean that I didn't contribute financially to the household - I defnitely have.  But the bills - even being split - are less than what I was paying on my own.

Here's a sneak preview of the guest bath - and one of the most awesome features of the house.  It's absolutely adorable.  And for those wanting more details, the tile floor has a light aqua to the buttons.  Other than the other aqua accents, it's completely white or chrome.  I heart it.

I'm doing well.  I'm taking care of myself.  And even though sometimes it's awkward still living with Joe and sad to know that I may never see some of his friends (whom I love dearly) again, I know I'm making the right choice.

I close on September 29th - three weeks from today.  I have a lot to do, a lot to arrange, and a lot to think about.  But I'm optimistic. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Slow and Steady Slims My Face

Yikes!  What is this - three posts in a week?  It's like I'm back! :)  I hope that's the case - I sure have missed you.

So, last night was my Weight Watchers meeting; I'm down another 0.6 pounds. 


Since joining Weight Watchers in May, I've lost 8 pounds.  8 pounds in three months.


When you average that out, it's like I've lost 0.6 pounds per week.  That's a far cry from what I did last time.  Last time I was on the WW plan, I lost an average of 1.5 pounds a week.  I rocked the hell out of that plan.  Every month, I got a new 5 pound star.

Until I didn't.

This time, I eat when I'm hungry and stop when I'm no longer hungry.

Take today - I still have 12 points that I'm supposed to eat today.  But I wasn't hungry enough to eat them all.  I had salmon sashimi, a salad, a few servings of fruit, a cheeseburger (kid's size from McDonalds), cheese, crackers, yogurt, and my breakfast mug sandwich.  I only used 29 points today - which is below what someone who is at their goal weight (for my height) should be eating.

Yesterday I went over points because I was especially hungry last night.

Oh hello, law of averages.  How I've missed you.

Truthfully, I don't track often.  I am trying to listen to my body more; trying to trust myself more when it comes to food.  Sometimes that means I eat more; sometimes I eat less.  It usually depends on the quality of food (nutrition) that I eat.

Go figure.

So basically, I'm okay with taking this slowly.   I'm enjoying the process of trying new foods, new recipes, new cooking, and new snacks.  I'm enjoying the inquiry into how my body feels when I fuel it with different items.

Last Monday I had a big meal (still within plan) at PF Changs but it was SO tasty!  And I was really craving it.

I love that I don't have to deprive myself to lose weight.  I love that I can still enjoy things that are decadent.  I'm talking to you, Peanut Butter Frozen Yogurt (currently available at Pinkberry).

Mostly, I'm constantly surprised at me being constantly surprised at how much I really like veggies.

Every time I even start to think that I *should* be losing weight faster, I remember all the diets I've been on - crash or otherwise.  I remember all the sizes I've been in my adult life.  And I try to remember that I am learning things about myself, each week, such that I can be the healthiest me possible.

That endeavor will undoubtedly lead to smaller fun pants.  But in the meantime, I sure am going to enjoy the ride. 

If that means it takes longer, so be it.  I'm in this for the long haul, baby.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Healthier from the mind out

Well, hello there!

I apologize if my last post sounded like I was whining about the lack of comments on the previous post. In fact, if that was the message, it was the exact opposite of what I was trying to convey. I really felt fine that there were so few comments on the post in question. I loved that that post was still profound for me even if it didn’t resonate with other people. The fact that I was completely okay with it was a huge aha moment – one that I felt good about acknowledging.

Basically, I’ve just started to realize all of the ways that I’ve been chasing love.

I came to a lot of this realization while doing EMDR in my therapy the past few months. I became aware of all of the ways that I traditionally give (and give...and give...and give) in order to be loved in return. I’ll save you the back story, but there have been many times that I’ve ingratiated myself in order to feel more worthy in someone else’s eyes.

The second way I grew was reading the book “Women Who Love Too Much” by Robin Norwood. Apparently the book came out in the 80s, so it must be read while donning shoulder pads. In the book, she gives several examples of women who pick men that are “exciting” and “daring” and “irresponsible” but give the women the opportunity to recreate the cycle of pain that the woman grew up with.

In my case, my father didn’t want children. He’s awkward and fairly selfish. I learned at a young age that if I wanted him to be around me at all, I had better act in a way that wouldn’t piss him off and make him leave. This meant listening to his problems and his issues – even when they made me feel uncomfortable. This meant controlling my own feelings so that they wouldn’t show. It meant me being only happy around him – but not too happy. That was annoying.

It’s amazing how kids learn to adapt to get love.

Is it any coincidence that I would search for men that I had to do the same things to and around? Familiarity is a wonderful thing.

A book that our couple’s counselor told us to read, “The New Rules of Marriage” by Terry Real had a part of the book where it talked about this. Basically, it stated that every adult romantic relationship gives us the chance to overcome the issues that we had as children. Taking my case as an example, since my father was distant and unloving and I had to strive to “earn” his affection and love, I look for people where I’ll have to do the same striving to get their love and affection. If I get it, I win – and part of me (the part that is still a hurt young girl) heals in the process. If I don’t, it reinforces the idea that I’m intrinsically flawed.*

Unfortunately, this also means that I turn away guys that like me from the get go. I mean, if they like me so much, then they don’t get that I need to earn their love…so they’re not acceptable. I’ve internalized that they must be flawed to like me so much. In short: what is wrong with them that they have liked a screw up like me?

So THAT is what I’ve been working on this summer.

I’ve learned that I’m worth loving just how I am. I’ve learned that there isn’t anything wrong with me. And most importantly, I’ve learned that I don’t need to chase love down – to try to tag it so it will turn around and chase me back.

Probably if I would’ve done this work before I met Joe I wouldn’t have continued to date him much past the two or three month mark. Probably I would’ve picked someone else entirely at the speed dating event.

But the truth is, I’ve felt so much love from Joe in the two years we’ve been dating - and it’s because of that love that I’ve been able to challenge some of my beliefs. He’s reinforced through words and actions that I’m great, beautiful, smart and strong. He has shown me more love than any other man in my life.

It just may not be enough. Or more specifically, it just may be that his issues dovetail so thoroughly with issues with my dad. It may be that I’m especially needy in this area – one that he’s especially weak in. And vice versa.

Can you see why this is a tough decision? So no, I’m not going to make any rash decisions. I owe it to myself to not do that. Because if you’re anything like me, you know that after you end a relationship, it’s easy to second guess all the decisions you’ve ever made. It’s easy to see all the ways you were intolerant of someone else’s flaws. It’s easy to blame yourself for throwing away a perfectly good relationship. What I want to do is explore all the possibilities, try all the ways I can, collect data (hello, I’m an engineer), and understand how I feel. That way I know that in the wee hours of the night when “The Voice” tells me how stupid I was and how much being alone sucks, I can whisper back that I made the right decision and that time heals all wounds.

Thank you for the outpouring of your support. Thank you for the encouragement.

I’ve been a sh!tty blog friend the last few months. I promise to comment more on your blogs – to show you the love and support that I feel for you and your journeys.

* As an aside, THIS is why I’ve struggled so much with religion recently. I was raised in a Christian household, specifically in the Lutheran denomination. Since before I could remember, I was taught that Jesus loved us even though we did bad things. We sinned because we were human; we had something bad in us that only Jesus and God could take away.

The problem with this is that when you pray and pray and pray for the pain to stop and it doesn’t – even from someone who is supposed to be All Knowing and love you more than anything, it’s hard to believe that you are worth saving. If you were worth saving, why wouldn’t you be saved already? Why wouldn’t you be delivered from evil? It’s hard to believe that the black spot of humanity isn’t just a bit bigger in you and that somehow you deserved all the pain and suffering you were currently enduring. After all, if God can move mountains how hard would it have been for him to put some healthy adults in my life so that I could go to them with my burdens?

I’m not trying to get into a philosophical debate – or even challenge your faith. I believe that there is a Higher Power that wants us to be happy and loved. I believe that we are deserving of good things simply because we are human and were created out of love. I believe in God (and Jesus) still. I just don’t believe that man has it right when he says that “everything happens for a reason.” I guess I believe I grew up with some really sh!tty luck. I suppose it had to happen to someone; I just drew the short straw.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Yes. Now.

The last time I wrote here, I wrote a lot about how doing what I want, at the expense of others, is kind of a foreign thing.  And I got 1 spam response and one response from a loyal pal, Lily Fluffbottom.
And you know what?  I kind of don’t mind.
There was a day were years where I really wanted to make sure that the content I cranked out pleased someone.  Several times a day, I’d furiously check my stats and was absolutely beside myself with glee when Lyn from Escape From Obesity thought that my material was good enough to be linked to.
Now, I’d like to think that I wrote some good stuff – worthy of being read.  And the writing actually helped me a ton more than I ever thought it could.  But still, in the background, I was wanting approval.  Specifically, YOUR approval.
For the record, I don’t think anything is wrong with that.  It’s fun to have feel appreciation for something that you took a while crafting.  (Side note: That’s actually why I feel pretty badly about watching “Project Runway” because they spent TIME working on that damn house coat and when you rip it to shreds, you’re ripping up a part of their soul too. ) I mean, who doesn’t like positive feedback?
But the strong need for it?  Maybe that’s a tad unhealthy.
So when I wrote the last post, I knew that it wasn’t awesome.  But it was filled with thoughts that had been swirling around in my head.  And I wanted to write it down for prosperity’s sake – contained in a post that I could look back at and exclaim, “There.  There was where I started to get it.”
Because I am starting to get it.  In a big way.
Thinking about what *I* want hasn’t led me to being an ego-maniac who doesn’t care about others.  It hasn’t made me neglect things and relationships that fuel me.  But is has made me re-evaluate where I’m putting my energy.
And the conclusions I’m coming to are heartbreaking, really.
For starters, my best friend, who does not and never has read this blog, and I are not close anymore.  It’s been a small drift apart for a few years if I’m being honest.  But I did everything I could to make her feel loved and valuable.  She did a lot of that too, I’m sure.  But this past year?  Every conversation we’ve had revolves around her.  And when I’ve been in moments of complete freak out she hasn’t even picked up the phone.  We’re still friends, but nowhere near where we were.  That’s really sad.
And Joe?  I’ve chased after his love for over two years now.  And he still can’t say if he wants to be in a relationship with me.  Oy, the pain. 
But like a light switch turning on, all of the sudden I’m looking at his actions, or lack thereof, and questioning if I really want to live the next 60 years with someone who doesn’t hold up his side of the bargain on some pretty major issues.  Do I really want to drag someone kicking and screaming to the alter?  To a family?  To a healthy relationship?  I’m evaluating if this relationship is one that I still want or because it's a comforting routine.  I'm wondering if it’s just too unhealthy to continue. 
But lastly?  I went to the OB at the beginning of July and was told that the pain I was having was due to a large cyst growing.  They told me it was fine, just an ovulation cyst.  Only I’m on birth control.  And I had just had my period.  So I went back last week to get another ultrasound last week.
The cyst is bigger.  And my OB loving told me that if I want to have kids ever, I should start “sooner than later.”  That was the same advice my doc gave me last year after removing The Deficit (a huge uterine fibroid), so I asked her what that phrase meant.  She sighed and said, “It means if you ever want to have children, you should start trying now.”
Now?  When I don’t know what I want? When I’m not able to have an intimate relationship with my boyfriend because he’s too busy taking care of other people? 
Now?  When his grandparents are ailing and demanding that he spend significant chunks of time taking care of them?
Now? When my work has started to get increasingly busy as my only other co-worker in my department left for another job and we have a hiring freeze?
Now?  When I’m still working through issues of my own childhood abuse?
Now?  When I’ve joined Weight Watchers but still haven’t lost more than 8 pounds in the last 3 months?
Yes.  Now.
I’ve got some big decisions, people.
And part of me wants to seize up and go back to doing what I know – chasing other people with love so they’ll love me back.  But the other part knows that all I really need to do is decide, with love and compassion towards myself, what it is that I really want.  When I do that, the rest falls into place.
I’m starting to realize that life isn’t stagnant. 
The goal isn’t to make the waves of the ocean calm again.  Complete tranquility is unobtainable. 
The goal is to be happy riding through the waves.  And when it storms, I need to just go with it instead of trying to calm the seas.
Happiness isn’t found when everything is out of control.  I think it might be found when you’re enjoying life.  Just the way it is. 
I can’t wait until things calm down everywhere before I make real, lasting changes.  I can’t wait until I’m skinny to be a loved person.  I have to start now.  With me.  That way, childless or not, I’ll be happy.  Loved.
For the first time, I can really picture a life without Joe.  It’s not as scary as I once thought.  The scary part of it is how exciting it might be.

Monday, August 8, 2011

What a girl wants, what a girl needs

Somewhere along the way, I figured that I should only ask for things I need, instead of stuff I want. I’m trying to unpack why that is with my therapist, but as I look back on my adult life, that’s mostly true.

For those that know me, you may be wanting to protest otherwise. But the truth is, I can make decisions about almost anything, but I weigh what I want into the mix pretty lightly. If it’s something I need (like air, gas, food, temperature control, etc), I can usually voice my concern. If there’s something I want but I’m paying for it or I’m responsible for it, I can usually figure out what I want and go with it.

But what I want from others, especially if it is at a cost (financially or emotionally) to them? Well, that’s a much different story.

For instance, picking out pieces to play on a board game. If I know that some piece or color is your favorite, I’ll pick that out for you and then I’ll pick amongst the leftovers. If I know you don’t like a certain type of food, I’ll suggest a different restaurant so that you’ll feel more comfortable.

The thing is, I rarely lobby for what I want. If someone else is involved, I don’t have a problem lobbying for them – wants and needs alike.

I sound like a pretty nice person, don’t I? Well, I’m not. At least not to myself.

If I always focus on what I need to do or on my obligations, I rarely feel spoiled. And if I don’t voice what I want, it’s next to impossible for someone to spoil me. If I'm always accomodating others, whether they've asked for it or not, I'm not treating myself like a priority.

And what does that leave me with? Well, 80 extra pounds of fat, for one.

Why? I've chosen, over the last few decades, to spoil myself with food rather than the actual acts of kindness that I truly want.  Mostly by my own doing.

These days, one of the things I’m trying to be VERY conscious of is the question, “What do I want?” And when I can, I’m trying to choose what *I* want.

Here’s a few examples:
Joe received great seats to a baseball game from his employer. But I really don’t like baseball. I’ve tried, and I just don’t like it. Plus, it’s on a Thursday night. And honestly? I’d way rather be watching the newest episode of Project Runway. But he feels like he needs to go, and even though I suggested that he go with another friend, he wants me to go. So I will.

However, I still have choices that night. If I want to eat beforehand so I’m not forced to eat things that I don’t really want, I can do so. If I want to, I get to choose to take a nap before the game because I know it’ll be a late night. When it comes down to it, I get to choose lots of stuff – including my attitude.

Another example is our weekend breakfast routine. Joe wants to eat out for breakfast. He also wants to sleep in and cuddle until noon. And then he wants to take his time getting ready. This means that we typically won’t eat our first meal until 1 or 2. And I usually snack on almost anything to keep me not so hungry that I am crabby, but not so full that I'm full when we eat.

And honestly? That kind of drives me crazy. Because in the whole time we’ve been dating, I’ve never said to him that I like to get up at 8 or 9. I like to have some time to myself to do things that I want to do. So really, who’s fault is it that I’ve been doing what we wants rather than asking for what I want?

Last weekend, we cuddled and then I got up to read a book. Later, while he was bumbling around the apartment, I had a bowl of cereal (gasp!) and he chose to skip breakfast. The world didn’t end, and he didn’t dump me. Go figure. He got to cuddle and I got to eat.

I think that's called peace.

This weekend I got up early, walked to our nearby coffee place, purchased a latte and a Sunday paper. I leisurely read the paper, cut the coupons, and organized them. Hours later when he woke up, we went out to breakfast.

I’m finding that I’m loving recognizing that I have a choice in things. And that it’s perfectly all right to choose stuff that I want or to choose to voice my wants. I can still be contentious about other’s feelings, but I don’t have to always squelch what I want to make others feel loved.

Because really, aren’t we all worth spoiling – even if just a little? And don’t you feel more capable of making it through all the things you HAVE to do when you get to choose things that you WANT from time to time?

Lastly, I’m trying to be conscious of not just what I eat, but how I eat. If I don’t want to rush through a meal, I don’t have to. I can take my full lunch hour. I can not multi-task by talking to friends or family during my dinner. I can CHOOSE to get up earlier so I’m not scarfing down my breakfast while cursing at other drivers.

Realizing that I get a choice in lots of things is pretty empowering, even if it’s still unfamiliar. But like a muscle that gets stronger the more you use it, I’m finding it’s getting a bit easier with time.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Habits vs. Routine

Last week, at my Weight Watchers meeting, a person in our meeting made a statement along the lines of "Well, that's just my new routine."  My leader stopped and looked at her and then asked, "What is the difference between habits and routines?"

I'll admit it, I was a bit stumped.  I mean, I know that there is a difference (there had to be, or she wouldn't have asked the question, right??), but in truth I couldn't think of a meaningful difference.

After a bit of what can only be described as wrong answers from the members, our leader helped us with the difference - at least as she saw it.

Routines have to do with time - they're what you do every morning, afternoon, or evening.  They're the bowl of Cheerios you have for breakfast because you know that they're only X number of points.  They're the five mile run you take every morning so you feel better.  They're the bag of carrots that you have each afternoon to stave off hunger.

But habits?  Well, habits are a broader way that you actually live - and they really don't have a lot to do with fixed time frames or specifics.

For instance, your routine may be the bowl of Cheerios, but your habit may be to work whole grains into breakfast.  The end result is the same, but the habits are more likely to get you to change who you really are. And when you actually change your habits, you start to change yourself.  If you're the Cheerios eating skinny lady, what do you do when you visit other people or go out to breakfast and there are no Cheerios in sight?  Your routine is gone and you're more likely to throw the whole eating healthy thing out the window.

BUT if your habit is to have whole grains at every breakfast, you'd shrug off the Cheerios-free morning and choose something that was equally as hearty.

Can we lose weight by changing our routines alone? You betcha'.  I'd be willing to wager that this is how most of us have lost the weight - time and time again.  You get motivation and you change your lifestyle.  You throw out all the junk food and dive right into a great new eating plan or exercise regime.

But if we only change our routines, it's probably harder to have the will power to stay on the track that we've laid out for ourselves.

In order for all of us to live the healthiest that we can, we must be willing to change our habits - not just our routines.

This subtle difference made me change the way that I looked at my own life, especially as it pertains to my weight loss.

I have a few habits that I'd like to change - like sleeping in as late as I can every day of the week, brooding by myself when I feel particularly blue, and worrying about things that are outside of my control.

But I have a few habits that I'm kind of proud of too - like working in a veggie at every meal, trying a new food when it's presented to me (pertaining to veggies or fruits that I'm unfamiliar with), and working on getting more fiber into my daily intake.

I think the habits were formed by routines that I had put in place.  I used to not want veggies, but the points values when I added them made things lower - and therefore it was worth the veggies.  After years of this, I noticed that my body felt better when I ate more veggies.  And (gasp!) when I didn't eat as many, I kind of missed how my body ran.  So now I look for ways to make my body feel better - at least in terms of fuel.

It's a small distinction, really.  But it's helped me be more aware of the choices I make and the reason why I make them.  Sometimes they're out of habits and sometimes they're out of routine.  Neither is bad, per se.  It's just another thing that I'm noticing and felt like it was worthy of sharing.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Safety Nets

I recognize that I haven’t been updating regularly. A lot of that has to do with the fact that I’m growing in ways and experiencing things that aren’t exactly easy to write down.

I mentioned in my last post that things are super busy for me. I also mentioned that I’d fill you all in on my life, my weight loss, my health, and my spirit. Unfortunately (perhaps) they’re so enmeshed that it this makes a post filled with lots of stuff going on.

First, six weeks ago, I joined Weight Watchers for the umpteenth time.

Since that time, it’s been a struggle - my life that is. The program is simple. In fact, it’s so simple, I’m really happy that this is what I’m choosing to do now. As of today, I’ve lost just under 9 pounds – which includes one week that I gained (2 pounds) and one week that I lost just 0.2 pounds. The weight loss equates to about 1.5 pounds a week.

I’m really proud.

Because in that time, I’ve found out that a good friend has cancer and that a man named Gary (who is a good friend of my actual family) had a massive stroke this past Friday night. He’s hanging on by a thread (and I suspect that he’s waiting until his son is able to fly in to El Paso today). Gary has always been a bit stand-off-ish, but his wife is like an aunt to us in my family. She comes over every Friday night to be with my mom. I’m sad and scared for her.

Joe’s grandpa has since been released from the hospital, but he’s been in a rehab facility to get his strength back up. Unfortunately, Joe’s grandma had to go to the ER, hospital, and now a rehab facility for her back injuries that I wrote about. Joe visits them everyday – sometimes for hours at a time. I’m left cooking, cleaning, and doing the shopping on days that I don’t go to the nursing home to visit. It’s been daunting, time consuming, and stressful for both Joe and I.

I’ve also done some really difficult work via EMDR. My therapist and I are really delving into the molestation that happened when I was 7 at the hands of my older sister. I’ve often written that it was a close family member, but it feels good to get it out in the open. Because what happened was with my sister – a person who was supposed to watch out for me when my parents were gone – and because of the way my family structure was, I didn’t tell anyone for years.

And what’s come out of my therapy, I have realized that me being overweight – in a family that was all about appearances – was my way of signaling to the rest of the world that all was NOT okay. Something was horribly wrong. I was hurting, in pain, and scared. I just wanted someone to ask me what was wrong.

When I started my weight loss journey almost three years ago, one of the things I wanted to do was to stop binge eating. I wanted to stop the violence against myself. The problem was that I hated myself so much that I couldn’t do it for long. I’d vacillate between restriction (being 100% completely clean with my eating) and binge eating.

These days, I haven’t struggled with that. I’ve come to peace with the idea that I’m worth loving and that what happened wasn’t my fault. I’m not intrinsically flawed. What I have had an issue with has been routinely choosing things that aren’t the healthiest options. I’ve been struggling with overeating or eating when I wasn’t hungry.

Because sometimes the thought of being skinny is too much.

It’s too scary and leaves me feeling vulnerable and naked. And like I have no voice.

No voice to warn people away from my family. No voice to signal to others that I’m in pain – about Joe, about my friends, about my life, and about my family. No voice to say the words of how horrible sometimes it was to grow up the way I did.

And sometimes I’m worried that when I get thin, my family will feel like everything is okay. I’m afraid of my family thinking, “Oh…Anne is FINE – look how pretty she is! Anne is thin so everything is perfect. Everyone in our family is great! Look how we smile! Look how we laugh! Look how we’re thin! Nothing happened here. Our family is FINE.”

So having 39 points each day helps me. It helps me concentrate on the things that need to be focused on – me, my recovery, my family issues, and my way of coping with things. The last thing I need to worry about is what is for dinner.  I know that staying at or around 39 points per day is a safety net...and it feels good.

The added plus is that I know I can always have fruit.

Vegetables sometimes feel like diet food…you know what I mean? Everyone knows that they should eat more veggies, but when you’re scared of running out of fuel or when you’re eating for reasons that have nothing to do with hunger, how appetizing does a pile of veggies feel? How comforting is it to know that you can have more veggies?

For me, not so much.

Fruit, on the other hand, is fun. It’s tasty, it’s sweet, and it’s refreshing.

So I am happy to eat things that may be higher points throughout the day because I know that I can always have fruit if I’m hungry at the end of the day. But because I choose to eat more satisfying things throughout the day, I rarely am hungry for the fruit at the end of the day.

So really?  Fruit is my safety net, too.

Ultimately, I don’t want to have a safety net. I don’t want to eat for reasons that have nothing to do with hunger. But because my life is a bit in turmoil at the moment, I’m giving myself permission to eat out of comfort.

Truthfully? I don’t typically overeat on fruit. So it hasn’t been a big issue.

And really, me eating healthier has been good and nurturing to me. It’s been a way for me to be gentle to myself as I’m going through some panic about being lighter.

It feels great to have a safety net…. Not just of fruit, but of friends, of people I’ve never met who read my words and don’t send me hate mail…in fact, they write the opposite. I know you guys care. I know you guys read my words and can understand my pain. I know you all are here for me.

It feels great to know that I’m supported. So thank you…I appreciate it.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I pretty much hate today...

One year ago today, I had to put my dog, Chassis down.

This morning I just found out that Joe’s closest friend, Pat, has a brain tumor. He is probably the nicest person in the whole world. Of course, you never *really* know what kind of marriage two people have, but from the outside looking in, he and his wife of decades have an excellent marriage. Their kids are the two best behaved (and still very real and vivacious) kids I’ve ever been around.

He and his family come up to visit in Denver a few times a year and they’re four of my favorite people in the world. They’re so welcoming – they make me feel comfortable being me. They respect and understand my relationship with Joe. They’re thoughtful, considerate, and funny. The parents and the teenagers all hang out. How they interact gives me hope that some people actually *do* have healthy families, boundaries, and love.

Joe’s parents and step-dad died before I met him. He has no siblings. His grandparents have been in the ER, hospital, and rehab facility in the last few weeks (for completely separate issues). And honestly? His grandma isn’t exactly the most welcoming, considerate, or thankful person. No matter how available I’ve made myself to help her and her husband, she makes it clear that she’d rather only interact with Joe.

I may not get to pick the family that Joe has left…but our friend? He’s Joe’s family; they grew up together. The kids called him Uncle Joe from when they were babies. They’re all so close. And wonderfully, he has made me feel like I’m a part of Joe’s family. I actually love this guy.

And he has a freaking brain tumor.

I know it’s not a death sentence (or anything close to it). But it’s major surgery. ON HIS HEAD. WHICH INCLUDES HIS BRAIN. WHICH IS SERIOUS. WHICH SCARES ME.

They’re operating on Friday. It’s two inches in diameter and is located on the right side of his brain underneath his skull. That’s about all I know.

Well, that and they’re so far away that I feel helpless.

I have more news about my life and my health, but for now, will you just say a quick prayer for my friend, Pat?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

How to stop eating as a knee-jerk reaction

Let's be honest.

If you're significantly overweight or even (gasp!) fat, one of the things that well-intentioned people tell you to do is to stop eating your feelings or to stop eating when you're not hungry.

That's kind of like when someone tells you that in order to lose weight, you should start eating more vegetables.

Every time someone says that I secretly want to roll my eyes and sarcastically exclaim, "Really?!?!  That's the key to being thin?  Why haven't I heard this before?"

The concept of eating only when you're hungry isn't lost on me.  And if you've been reading my blog for long, you know that it's kind of like finding the gold at the end of the rainbow - at least for me.  I'm always looking for ways that I can stop eating when I'm not hungry - but I can never seem to find it...at least not for long.

Last week, I referenced a really emotional discussion that I had with my mom - one where we talked about some sexual abuse that I experienced as a child that involves a close family member.  We talked a lot about how I just don't feel like people get how absolutely traumatic that was - that my family just wants to brush it under the rug with the statement of "That person is sorry - can't you just get over it?"  In fact, in the discussion with my mom, she chose to bring up other ways that I've said or done something that hurt my abuser.  Umm...really?  Does that justify what happened to me?  Not so much.  And OHMYGOSH- stealing a Barbie or pulling someone's hair isn't the same as being forced to do things that you don't want to do!

Gah.  I'm getting upset again.

My point is, I walked in the door to my home while still on the phone with my mom.  When I walked through the door and Joe saw my face, he asked me if someone had died.  I shook my head, still listening to my mom, and finished my conversation.  By the end of it, Joe knew what the conversation revolved around, but he was in the office trying to give me the space that I might need.

I got off the phone, grabbed a blanket from the couch, and made my way (past the office) to my bedroom where I bundled myself under the covers and started to sob.  Joe came in quickly thereafter and comforted me (seriously, is he great or what?).

Later, he said, "When I saw you walking past with the blanket, I thought, 'Oh no - this is bad.  She must be really upset.'"

That's because he's seen me do the same routine a few times in the past few months...maybe not the sobbing part, but the bundling underneath the covers part.  I didn't even realize that I had started to use it as my go-to soothing method until Joe said something.

Why?  Because I realized that bundling under the covers feels comforting and soothing.  We even got a mattress cover that heats up (kind of like the ones here) so that the warmth and comfort can be available quickly.

Sometimes this is exactly what I need.  But sometimes it isn't.  I never usually know until I'm underneath the covers.  Kind of like when I used to eat food as a way of comforting myself and then halfway through I'd realize that food wasn't at all what I wanted.

My needs haven't changed. I still don't really know how to comfort myself 100% correctly every time.  What I've done is I've changed what I try first.  Instead of making myself a burrito, I try making myself INTO a burrito. :) 

Like I said, it sounds great to say "don't eat when you're not hungry" but without something to substitute it WITH, it's hard to do.  Usually the follow up to "not eating your feelings" is to try to ask yourself, "What do I really want?  What am I really upset about?"

What if you don't know the answers to the above?  Or what if you do know but you can't get what you most want? 

In the example from above, what I really wanted was feeling like my mother GOT how horrible it felt to be me.  How horrible sometimes it still feels when my abuse isn't acknowledged.  I know that she loves my abuser, but dammit, I'm her daughter too.  No matter how hard I try, she just doesn't get it.  And the sucky thing is, I can ask myself what I'm really upset about all I want; I can ask myself about what I really want.  But if I can't ever receive what would comfort me the most, I am still left with disappointment and the urge to do something - anything - to make myself feel more powerful and/or soothed.  To think beyond that feels too hard.  That's where I've always gotten stuck before, thrown my hands into the air, and then helped myself to eating whatever was handy.

I've never been a mom, but when you have a crying baby, don't you run through a series of fixes before you (hopefully) find something that soothes?  Maybe it's holding, burping, cradling, distracting, changing the diaper, and feeding.  All I'm saying is that I'm choosing to make "feeding" as a potential fix further into the cycle of comforting things rather than the first thing I try.
I know - it's not mind shattering. But for some reason, that simple idea of realizing that I can substitute what I use first to soothe was a completely new idea.

What kinds of things do you try when you're trying to soothe yourself?  Even if you usually don't comment, I'd love your input.  I desperately need more things to add to my soothing rotation and I'm betting that other people could use your idea too.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

We've been fired...

...by our couples therapist.

Yup, that's right.  A bit over a week ago, Julie, our therapist, sat Joe and me down and said that we were the healthiest of her patients and she really couldn't do anything more for us.  She said we had a great vibe and that we communicate well.  We've literally been tested and our compatability is great.  We've discussed what we want and need out of our relationship.  We've met each other's needs.  We've gone through our training and can now talk our way through conflict such that even Dr. Phil would be proud (and is it just me or does he seem like he'd be not easy to please?).

Joe immedietly gave me a high-five.  And I immediately said something like, "You do know that she's just saying we're the best of the worst."  What?  It's true!

Alright, alright.  It *is* wonderful.  We've done well with the homework and exercises that she's had us do.

But now it's officially up to Joe as to whether this relationship continues or not.

He's seeing a new therapist (his old one seemed to think that I was simply wrong for him and that he would commit once he found the "right one."  Julie completely disagrees and feels like his issues on not commiting have very little to do with the women that he's dated and everything to do with the fact that he doesn't seem to like close relationships).  His new therapist is someone that Julie highly recommended.  She doesn't take insurance so Joe is paying full price out of pocket weekly.  Clearly, he is trying and I believe that he deserves a lot of kudos for that.

She does want to see us again in 6 weeks to discuss the progress that Joe is making in his therapy and how I'm working on my stuff.

My "stuff" is to press for my own healthy entitlement...in short, to stand up for myself.  I've held strong to my "I need to have a ring on my finger by 2012 or we're through" ultimatum - and it's a stance that both my therapist and Julie have avidly supported me in.  I always thought that ultimatums were bad - they say they're only bad if you don't follow through on them or abuse them. 


Anyway, since I figured you all might be wondering, I thought I'd give you an update.

P.S.  Oh, and if he was 40% sure about getting married to me back in April, he's now at 45%.  Know what's more painful than watching a pot boil or paint dry?  Watching Joe's percentage SLOOOOOWLY creep up.  I mean, it's good, but sometimes, it's just painful.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Sharin' versus Sharon...

Joe and I have spent a lot of this past week in the hospital. His grandfather was in and out of the ER 4 times in 5 days and then was finally admitted a week ago today. We’ve spent hours at the hospital each day helping his grandmother to visit (due to a back injury, she shuffles about 2 inches per step).  He doesn't look to be discharged any time soon, either. Saturday we were there for 8 hours. It’s So. Much. Fun! 

And in the middle of all of this, I haven’t exactly made the best food choices…which is to say I’ve made some pretty lousy ones. In fact, WW will probably confirm this tonight, but I’m pretty sure that the weight I lost last week is now back on me – specifically in the saddle bag region.

My newest goal? To be able to sit into a hospital room seat without having to angle in. You know what I mean…where one hip has to go in first so it can kind of get lodged underneath the armrest so you can get the other hip down too?

These are things that I forgot during my slow creep back up the scale.

Oh, I remembered the joy with being able to walk into the GAP and getting to pick out of the mediums and larges. I remember being able to be too small to fit into clothes from the big girls store. But I didn’t remember how it felt to be able to sit without fear in any size seat being certain that you won’t get bruises on your outer thighs.

I forgot what it felt like to have to travel on airplanes and pretend that to have the armrest down means that you have to have someone else lean on it – which pushes down into your chub.

And while we’re at it? Since I had a massage on Sunday, I forgot what it felt like to actually have the two sides of the robe close enough such that when you sit down you’re not pulling a “Basic Instinct” move on the masseuse.

Wait. Now that’s my newest goal. And if we’re being honest about it, that’s probably my masseuse’s newest hope too.

My point is, there are so many health benefits to being thinner, but there are definitely some prideful ones that are perfectly normal to have too.

Because I want to continue being motivated, what is your next non-scale related goal?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

If I could dedicate a song to myself...

It'd be this one.

I'm waiting for me to actually believe it.

But I have hope that one day I will.

Pink – F**kin’ Perfect (Clean Version) Lyrics

Made a wrong turn, once or twice.
Dug my way out, blood and fire.
Bad decisions, that's alright.
Welcome to my silly life.

Mistreated, misplaced, misunderstood.
Miss 'No way, it's all good', it didn't slow me down.
Mistaken, always second guessing, underestimated.
Look, I'm still around.

Pretty, pretty please, don't you ever, ever feel
Like you're less than, less than perfect.
Pretty, pretty please, if you ever, ever feel like you're nothing,
You are perfect to me

You're so mean when you talk about yourself; you were wrong.
Change the voices in your head; make them like you instead.
So complicated, look happy, you'll make it
Filled with so much hatred, such a tired game.
It's enough; I've done all I can think of.
Chased down all my demons, I've seen you do the same.

Woah ohh, pretty, pretty please, don't you ever, ever feel
Like you're less than, less than perfect.
Pretty, pretty please, if you ever, ever feel like you're nothing,
You are perfect to me.

The whole world's scared so I swallow the fear.
The only thing I should be drinking is an ice cold beer.
So cool in line, and we try try try, but we try too hard and it's a waste of my time.
Done looking for the critics, cause they're everywhere.
They don't like my jeans; they don't get my hair.
Exchange ourselves, and we do it all the time.
Why do we do that? Why do I do that?

Why do I do that?