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.