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.


Ex Yo-Yo Dieter Debbie said...

Yep, we're here for you! My lord, you're going through a lot lately...I'm sending big hugs your way.

Imagine - all this AND taking off 9 pounds - maybe when everything else is swirling around you, there's some solace in the structure of the WW program? Kudos to you!

I can see why you'd be reluctant to appear okay when you're not - it sounds like you've done that for way too long as it is.

I hope things start turning around for you very soon...

xo Debbie

Karen@WaistingTime said...

Sorry that life had been so hard lately. Me... I can overeat fruit:(

Jams said...

9 pounds is awesome!!!! I'm so proud of you. You're dealing with the turmoil and taking care of yourself at the same time.

Keep it up. Let me know if there's anything I can do.

Lily Fluffbottom said...

Terribly sorry to hear about all the health crises your family seems to be experiencing right now. I hope the turmoil ceases and you and them can find some peace... at least before the next storm.

Congratulations on your weight loss.

I love reading your posts. Its like talking to a friend.

Missy said...

Great job, girlie! You're doing great. And with all that's going on, too. Keep it up!

I 've been doing EMDR, too. Isn't it trippy? I remember vivid, vivid details that I'd pushed down. It's scary but forces you to deal with it. I'm proud of you for doing the tough mental work. It is very hard but soo worth it.

Lots of hugs. :)

Anonymous said...

Anne-what a wonderful post. I love what you've uncovered in EMDR--I will be starting it soon. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself, it is courageous!

I care.

Alicia in Texas

Janell said...

This is a beautiful, touching post. The part about the sister - pain.

I have to tell you that once you get thin no one will think all that much about it. People are really self-centered for the most part. THe part where you write:
"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.”

No one (in their right mind) could ever think that.

Dillypoo said...


Lisa said...

i did it too. rejoined w.w. ..and i too am worried that when those who love me see me losing and working out they will think "oh good, Lisa is fine now"..

i'll never be fine. or over it. but i can overcome. I can make it make me a different person, not necessarily a broken person..just someone put back together again with a few pieces missing, and a few new shiny ones :)

i wish you the same.

kristi said...

I'm always here for you! I'm sorry to hear about all the family issues you've had to deal with now, and in the past. I can't imagine what you've been dealing with. I'm so proud of your WW success and wish you even more success in the future!

Lesia said...

Just stopped by to say hello. Smile. Great post!

Ex Yo-Yo Dieter Debbie said...

Hi - I just wanted to check in on you - hopefully you're hanging in there...we miss you out here in blogland (although I was MIA for a while myself).

Update when you can - we're here to support you. I'm hoping you're having a nice rest from everything.

Take care
xo Debbie