Monday, January 31, 2011

Safety first...

I have a few things to report on today, but safety first...

Mid 2010, I ran across a product that really filled a need I had.  See, I had been steadily ramping up my running, but when I moved in with Joe (in downtown Denver) I wasn't so confident of my surroundings and found myself sticking with shorter distances.  Sure, I try to tell people that I'm strong and could fend off an attack.  I tell myself that I'm healthy and that nothing should happen to me.  But what if something DID happen to me?  As my distance training lengthened, I got a bit more wary. 

Until I ran across Road ID.  In fact, I believed in it so strongly, that I got one for Joe too. 

What IS a Road ID?  Well, it's either a band, bracelet, or strap that is attached to you when you run.  The band has either your contact information or an "interactive version" where you put in your unique code on their website and it will give your saviour your information.  This means that if someone finds your body (or shoe or dismembered body part), they can't call someone right then.  They have to lug the appendage to a computer and then figure out who to call from there.  My luck, it'd be someone like my mom who happened upon it and would be all "I'd LIKE to help, but computers confuse maybe I'll just leave this poor girl here and pray that someone else stops." 

If you choose to have your info on it, you can customize it to however you want it to look, but Joe and I picked basically the same thing:  the Shoe ID version.  It's velcro and just attaches to the laces of your running shoes.  This was perfect for me, because I didn't have to remember to strap on something else prior to my runs AND I didn't have to deal with the irritation of something rubbing against my wrists or ankles.  Besides, I only use my running shoes for when I run, so I didn't have to worry about leaving it behind.

Joe and I both chose to have our names (in case we needed to be checked into a hospital so our loved ones could find us easily) and three phone numbers.  Joe has a medication allergy, so he listed that too.

Honestly?  I hope that it's never used...but I feel better knowing that it's there should it be needed.

Why am I writing you about this?  Because I just got an email that stated they're having a sale, where the Road IDs are 10% off.  So from now until February 21st, you can enter "pcVDay14" upon check-out and get 10% off your order.  The coupon code apparently IS case-sensitive and no, you shouldn't use the quotation marks around the code when entering it. :)

Okay, secondly, I rocked last week's interview...BUT it turns out I still have another one to pass through before being offered the job.  The more I know about this job, the more I like it...but SHEESH!  This will be our fourth conversation (three in-person interviews) and I'm kind of ready to end this process so I can get on with my life, whatever employer I may work for.  It'd be more money than I make now, and hopefully more vacation, but these hoops that I'm having to jump through are feeling like a bit much.

Lastly?  I kindasorta didn't do Jillian Michael's 30 DayShred this weekend.  Both Joe and I came down with a stomach bug and then the flu - which involved running a temperature for me and general crankiness for us both.  We slept over 17 hours on Saturday and over 13 on Sunday.  I feel a bit better today and I've committed to doing the 30 Day Shred DVD if I'm not running a temperature tonight when I get home.  So I'll do 30 out of 32 days...and that's got to be good enough!

Oh, and just so we're clear, I don't have anything to do with Road ID - it's just a product that I really like and figured you all might think is groovy too.  They're not paying me a dime and don't know that I am even writing about it. 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Thank you

I tried to think of a clever title for this post, but I couldn't - because the mantra that kept pouring out of me was "Thank you."

Seriously.  Your advice, emails, and listening ears regarding my last post helped out a ton.

To be honest, I'm not sure I ever really thought about things the way that some of you wrote.  I mean, yes, I've written about what Geneen Roth calls your "inclination to bolt" as a way to zone out of your life as it stands... but in some ways I wasn't aware of how deep it could go.  I knew I was afraid of feeling empty and alone, but I didn't really think to figure out WHY those feelings were so uncomfortable.

I've done some processing about why that feels so darn uncomfortable and my hope is that I'll be able to put those issues to rest - or at least to peace.

Truthfully, like every time I drop a bomb (something that I've been holding in and not sharing) on this blog, it felt better just writing what was going on in my head.  This was no exception.

I have a lot to think about.

In the meantime, our second session with the couples counselor is tonight - where hopefully we'll be able to figure out more about how much longer I'm willing to wait and how much thought he's putting into this.  I know he's trying.  Guys don't agree to go to a therapist for the first time in their lives weekly AND add in a couples counselor if they're not at least willing to do some work on the subject.  And I know he wouldn't go through all this just for anyone.

Is that enough?  And if it is, will it be enough for forever?  Maybe.  Maybe not. 

In other news, I had the third (and hopefully final) interview on Tuesday and I feel like it went really well.  If they do offer something that is within my requested salary range, I'll take it and be happy.  They said that I would hear soon and when I left, the HR manager gave me a benefits package to review "until the next time that we talk."  The two people I interviewed with indicated several times that they would give me an offer.

Lastly, I've started to do some thinking about how to structure my eating, my approach to eating, or my plan of eating a bit better.

I believe that intuitive eating CAN work...but I believe that I need some more structure.  I brainstormed with some ways on how to do this - and maybe it means sticking strongly to the "rules" that Geneen has written about in many of her books.  Maybe it means taking pictures of my food before I eat so that I can pause and actually decide how hungry I am before I start.

Whatever the case, I feel more optimistic today that the cycle of overeating can and will stop. 

And that?  Is progress.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The art of ignoring

Note: This post ain't pretty. But it is where I'm at and honestly? It's where I have been.

When I was a kid, and other kids teased me, my mom always told me to ignore it.

"Ignore it and they'll stop."

The thing is, although she was right in that situation, it's not exactly a healthy coping strategy for things that bug me now.

So here we go...

I want to get married to Joe.  I want to have kids with Joe.

And, for the most part, Joe doesn't want that.  It's not that he does NOT want it, he just doesn't WANT it.  Make sense?

Basically, he's not sure.  And the not sure thing?  It's eating at me.  So I'm eating it.

When I went into surgery, I weighed the same as I did when I went to my mom's for Christmas.  Since then?  I've gained 7 pounds.  So you tell me how I can not gain weight in two months, most of which I spend as a sedentary blob, and now I'm gaining weight like a champ when I'm busy and active?

Ahhh...yes.  That would be me - bolting from the reality that is my life.

I use food to veg out.  To check out.  To take my mind away from the reality that I have a few outcomes in front of me - most of which involve my relationship going by the wayside.

"But you seem so happy!," you might be thinking.

And the kicker is?  You'd be right.  I am *SO* happy.  We laugh and have fun.  He fits with my family and I absolutely adore his family and friends.  We have a good sex life and we are there for each other when things aren't so great.  We take refuge in each other's arms - like ducking under a shelter in the middle of the sh!t storm that is life sometimes.

But he still doesn't realize that.

And I am left feeling like I'm not enough.  Like this relationship, the best thing I've ever been a part of in my entire life, isn't good enough for him.

Wednesday, the day of my interview (that I rocked), I came home in a foul mood.  We had gotten a few measly inches of snow which turned all the drivers around me into sliding, fumbling nincompoops.  The normally twenty minute drive took over an hour and a half.  It was, to be clear, a very frustrating time.  But as I sat fuming in my car, cursing the drivers around me, I realized that I couldn't possibly be *this* pissed about the weather and driving.

I walked in the door and found Joe who was making dinner (the first in our whole time together).  He was smiling, warm, and happy.  And I wasn't.  I was cranky and when he asked about the interview, I told him I didn't want to talk about it.  I told him that it wasn't him, it was me, but that I just needed a moment to myself.  I went in my room, changed into warm and comfy fun pants and then came out to talk to him.

At one point, when we were talking about the job, he encouraged me to do whatever it was that I wanted.  Calm, supportive, thoughtful, and sweet - that's Joe. 

But all of the sudden it was too much.

"I don't get to do what I want," I said. "Because if I got to do what I wanted, I'd marry you right this instant.  I'd have your babies.  We'd get a dog.  I'd move in more of my stuff into our tiny place.  I'd quit my job, become an elementary school teacher in the same district as our kids so I could have summers and holidays off with them.  Don't tell me to do what I want...because I can't do that."

He stared at me and then opened his arms, where he folded me - crying, sobbing me - into his comforting embrace.  He didn't say anything to refute what I said.  He didn't assure me that it would all work out.  He didn't tell me that he wanted the same.  He didn't tell me that he didn't want the same.  He just hugged me.

It's the same dance we've been doing for months now.  It's this THING in our relationship - one of the few things we actually disagree on.  But this thing?  It's becoming bigger and stronger than I am sometimes.

It's not that I have to have kids or I won't be happy married to Joe.  If we couldn't have kids, we'd find some way to have them in our lives - adoption, fostering, or being a Big Brother or Sister in social organizations.  I'm not interested in marrying him for his sperm.  But I'm not going to say that having my own children isn't a HUGE pull for me right now either.

It's that I feel like I have two chances.  The chance to marry Joe and the chance to have kids of my own. 

My worst nightmare is having my OB say to me that it's too late to have kids.  He told us when I was in his office (during the whole uterine fibroid thing), that after mine was removed, we'd have a few years in which to have kids.  Then, my awesome lady bits would likely keep growing fibroids - ones as big as the grapefruit-sized one that I had removed - ones that probably would crowd out any fetus wanting to grow in there.  Is he 100% right?  Maybe; maybe not.  Could I go to other docs to get a different opinion?  Probably.  But the thing is, he's the specialist I trust.  I trust that what he's saying is true.

So let's say I hang in there with Joe and hope that he comes around.  Let's say he never does.  Let's say I eventually leave him.  Let's say that a while later, I find someone who is ready to settle down and treats me almost as well as Joe does.  Let's say that then?  It's too late for me to have kids.  Now I don't have Joe or kids.

It boils down to this: I'm finding myself trying to choose between the chance to have kids someday and the chance to be Joe's wife someday.  The hard part is that I don't know what my actual chances are at either.

If I were given the choice to marry Joe or have kids, I would pick Joe every time.  But the very real choice of giving up the chance to have kids for the chance to be Joe's wife is too risky for me.

But really?  That's big talk.  Because I also can't see myself walking away from a relationship as wonderful as I believe ours to be.  That doesn't come along every why would I walk away from it?

But then again, if it's so great, why can't he see that?

So that's where we are - in a crossroads of our relationship.

In the good news department, we had a big ol' fight mid-Decemberish.  Mostly about other his inability to trust me with some parts/aspects of his life...but this issue came up.  It's not exactly a unique fight - with me or previous exes.  He's 44 and until I moved in, he'd never lived with anyone else before.  Never been engaged either.  Inability to commit isn't exactly a new thing for him.  Ultimately, he agreed (reluctantly) to see a therapist - both for himself and with me as a couple.

Those people are specialists too...and they should be able to help us figure out what we want to do or what we don't, right?

He had his first session with the therapist in December.  We had our first session as a couple on the 13th of January and all I can say is this going to be tough. 

In the meantime, it's me.  Me and a whole lotta' uncertainty.

Know what's easier to face than the uncertainty?  The plate full of food in front of me.  The drive-thru lady during my lunch break.  The supermarket clerk on my way home.

Because in those moments, when I'm hurriedly eating food, I don't have to face the fear that I'm not enough for the person I've loved most in my life.  I don't have to worry about how I may never feel a baby kick inside me.  I don't have to worry how I'm going to handle being the Maid of Honor at my baby sister's wedding in two months when what I want most is to getting married myself.  I don't have to weigh possibilities or plans to change anything.  I don't have to think about steps to leave the best thing that's ever happened to me.  I don't have to deal with the worry that I might be pushing and sabotaging my relationship for something that I don't even know that I can do.  I mean, it's not like I've ever TRIED to get pregnant anyway.

So eating when I'm hungry?  I can do that. 

But stopping when I'm no longer hungry?  When I do that, I feel empty.  Alone.  Foolish.  Left-over.  Passed-over.  Not good enough.

I'm not sure what the solution is.  I know that I'm actively doing things to try to figure myself and us out.  I know he's doing the same.  I know that's something.

I want to fight for this.  But sometimes?  I want to ignore the fact that I have to fight for this.  I want to ignore the idea that another sh!tty thing might happen to me in the long line of sh!tty things that have happened to me. 

I want to ignore the voice that's screaming "I told you so" when I had the audacity to hope.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The wonder of not being sore!

I can't believe it.  I thought this day would never come...

I'm actually not sore 100% of the time.  Truthfully, I'm only sore about 2% of the time - and I'm so thankful!

Doing Jillian's 30 Day Shred DVD every day (yeehaw!  I'm still 6 for 6!) so far has been a challenge.  And it might be delusional thinking, but I'm actually able to give more effort to each exercise and I don't hate her *as much* at the end of each workout as I did before.

She's beginning to grow on me.

Having said that, I'm still not ready to move to Level 2.  Level 1 still kicks my butt and I can't do a proper push up to save my life. But I'm getting better.

In other news, the phone interview that I had two weeks ago turned into an in person interview last week.  That interview has turned into a second in person interview this week (date TBD - we're playing phone tag). 

The thing is, I'm not sure I want this job or not.  It'd be more money, but I'm not sure that I like where the position would lead...which is into more sales and less engineering.  At the end of the day, I'm a nerd and enjoy numbers, charts, percentages and graphs more than most people.  I know that there may be other career paths I can enter down, but I'm trying to figure out how to ask that question in our next face-to-face meeting tactfully.

The last thing to mention here is that I've been getting some great sleep on the weekends - and I think that makes a huge difference to my mood, my eating, and my life.  I got 12 hours of sleep on both Friday and Saturday nights this past weekend...and it felt AMAZING. 

In fact, I think I'm starting to realize that I need more sleep to feel satisfied than I ever thought.  When I get more rest, I find it easier to reach for better foods or to be able to have the patience to actually judge how hungry I am before I start eating.

Healthy behaviors lead to healthy behaviors, no?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Smoothies, soreness, and self-confidence - Oh my!

Hello there peeps!

First, thank you SO much for your comments and suggestions on what you do to make the most out of your breakfast smoothies.  Two great sites that I've heard about (in case you're interested) are: Pimp My Protein Shake (although her recipes can be a bit complicated) and Green Monster Movement.

I have to say that I am super excited to try all of the things that I've found.  The thing that would make my life easier is to not have to blend the ice...mostly because we only have cubes available, not crushed ice.  My bullet is doing okay with it, it just takes awhile to blend, especially because I only blend for a minute at a time, so as to not overheat the motor.

I'm SO excited to tell you about my newest love.  I used about two cups of spinach, a cup of low fat organic chocolate milk, and a scoop of some whey protein powder (french vanilla creme) that Joe has.  I blended all the ingredients and then kept adding ice cubes as needed until I got this:

[Side note?  We totally need to get more light in our place.  It's like a cave which doesn't work well when taking pictures with my phone.]

Anyway, it was FABULOUS.  It was just under 300 calories and had a TON of protein in it.  Also?  It tasted like a chocolatey vanillaish milkshake. 

I know what you may be thinking - 300 calories is a lot.  And it is - or at least, it can be.  Someone could use a cup of fat free milk (at 90 calories a cup versus 190 in the chocolate milk for a cup) to reduce the calories to around 200.  But I enjoyed this yummy shake in the evening, after my 30 Day Shred workout, as a meal.  I wasn't super hungry after my workout, and I really didn't feel like fixing something intricate. So 300 calories chalk full of good stuff for me?  It was great and it fit my needs at the time.  I won't be having this often - or as a breakfast smoothie.  If something is chocolatey in the morning, I tend to crave sweets all day long after that. 

My next idea is to incorporate some sort of fiber into it to make it 1) even more filling and 2) even more deserving of the category "The Green Movement." 

Y'all... I'm not going to lie to you.   Doing the 30 Day Shred video every day so far has pretty much been horrible.  For the last three days, I wanted to grunt and moan in pain pretty much all the time.  I can't believe a) how sore I am - my quads ache from just walking! and b) how out of shape I am (hello!  My quads ache from just walking??). 

In fact, Joe commented on my pain yesterday morning when I got up to shred and grunted in pain.  He asked, "Why are you doing this again?"  I explained my pledge to myself and you guys - to do this Godforsaken video every day for 30 days.

And I meant it - a promise is a promise

This morning, I woke up and I was less sore than I have been - which means that I'm making progress.  Which means that I'm less likely to complain about my sore muscles (note: I said less complaining, I'm not a robot, people!) :) 

I'm proud that I've decided to jump into this plan wholeheartedly.  I'm accomplishing something - even if I have to switch to just one weight sometimes, even if end each workout with some not-very-happy-pants words directed at her.

I had my second interview with a company yesterday.  I woke up a bit nervous, but after finishing the workout yesterday morning, I had gotten rid of some of my nervous energy.  I love how exercise can do that for a person.

The interview went pretty well.  To be honest, I'm not quite sure if I'll like the job or's pretty much like the same stuff I do now.  Only instead of working with dirty piece of metal, I'll be working with another.  It is more pay and I hope if I'm given the job, I can negotiate more time off too.

I had a moment of panic when I realized that movement, in general, causes me to grimace slightly due to the soreness (we're out of ibuprofen and I never remember this until I realize I'm walking like a zombie).  How will that play to an interview board?

But then I remembered that by doing the shred, I've had a new found confidence in me - I've done something so far that few even attempt.  And I know I will be successful.

So when I walked in, I had confidence in myself.  I remembered that I don't need that job (which is a different situation than a lot of other people I know).  I have a job that most days I don't mind.  I like my life the way it is, for the most part.  So I don't need to sell myself desperately to them.  I just need to show them me.  They'll either recognize the quality or not.  We'll either click, or we won't.

Funny, but that was the same attitude I had when I met Joe at the speed dating event over a year and a half ago.

Confidence is pretty amazing stuff, no?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Breakfast Smoothies

I like to mix up my breakfasts...for a while, I was enjoying a toasted double fiber english muffin with peanut butter and bananas.  Then, I made an oatmeal that was chocolatey and hearty.  Recently, I've been going old school and enjoying quick oats, milk, and raisins (microwaved together) for a breakfast that I can make in the office.

But I've still been hungry before lunch...and that is presenting a bit of a problem.

See, since I've had this new, longer commute, I've been snacking on some almonds in the car.  The raw almonds are there to fend off the HAM phase, so the container isn't quite big enough to be able to munch on all week long.   

So after I munch on almonds, I come into the office and drink some tea or coffee.  I'm not really full - or satisfied.  At this point, I'm just no longer hungry.  Around 10ish I start to get really hungry.  It's kind of too early to eat my lunch, but it's a bit too late to eat the oatmeal - because I know that that will fill me up until later.  I wish I could find something that would help me feel full in the morning and then last all morning long. 

Limiting factors: I don't like to get up early to make breakfast.  Even if I did, Joe doesn't get up as early as I do.  I our tiny loft sounds travel like crazy (I blame it on the fact that we don't have "ceilings" to top off the wall partitions in our place...think of it as us living in a cubicle environment).  And oh yeah, at work, we have a fridge and a microwave so I can't get too creative there.

I feel better and more satisfied, all day, if I have a hearty and filling breakfast in the morning.

But I want to lose weight, too.  So eating a few handful of almonds (I'm not measuring) isn't exactly the "best" thing I could do...and certainly snacking from 10 to noon isn't helping.  I started bringing fruit in, but I don't usually turn to it for some reason.

And then I got to thinking about Roni's smoothies that she's done.  And I started thinking about how I could do that too.

We do have a blender, but ours is big and bulky.  And I knew that if I had to drag that thing out every day, I would eventually not do it.  Add that to the fact that it doesn't blend things completely and you get an unappealing option (for me at least).

So I went to researching on the internets and found (what I feel) is the best option.

Monday, I bought what Roni uses to make her smoothies in - the Magic Bullet from Costco.  I know the Costco site says that they're on sale until January 30th for $39.99, but it was only $34 at my local Costco - with an instant manufacturers rebate. You *can* buy the exact same kit it from Amazon, but it's a bit more expensive.  Around the same price as at Costco, you can get a bit of a different kit on Amazon, but it doesn't have the "on the go" tops which make it easier to not slosh around in your car.  I drink mine through a straw while in the car, but the top makes it easier for me to walk the few blocks to my car without spillage.

The people from Magic Bullet have in no way compensated me - they don't even know that I'm writing this...heck, they don't even know who I am.  But I figure if you've been searching for the same thing as I have, you might be curious to know what I like and what I don't like.  To be clear, I haven't used it for anything else (although apparently there are many things you can do with it)...I've just made smoothies. :)

I've had two breakfast smoothies since then in the Magic Bullet and here are the things that I really like:
  1. I LOVE that it's a smaller gadget.  We don't have much room so anything that doesn't take up much space is handy.  The base is about the size of a coffee grinder.  Of course, you do have to find room for the mugs and tops.
  2. I love that you can mix the drinks right in the mug - without having to wash more stuff.  I don't have much time in the mornings and I don't love washing out stuff that I'm just going to use again the next day.  With this, I just use one mug for each day - and the mug I used goes right in the wash.  There is a new mug/blender assembly waiting for me the next day.
  3. Your drink is already proportioned.  I'd hate to make a whole smoothie and then not have enough space in my mug/glass to fit it all in.  This way, what you fit in the mug is it's capacity.  So nothing goes to waste.
  4. It blends everything really smoothly.  Admittedly, the first time, it wasn't so smooth...and I had bits of spinach and blueberries that I couldn't just swallow without chewing a bit (it should be noted that I actually hate pulpy orange juice for this same reason- so this is my issue, maybe not yours).  The second time, I made sure that I blended everything for longer...and it was perfect!  As far as the ice, it's smoothed out completely - no huge chunks like our traditional blender.

Things I'm not a huge fan of:
  1. The smell.  It has a hot or burning smell sometimes - usually when I hold it down for long periods of time (go figure!).  I just try to pulse it when it gets to this point.  I've read other reviewers complain of the same thing...and it makes me doubt the longevity of the product. I just ease up for a few seconds and then go at it again and it blends just fine after that.  But so far, so good.
  2. You have to be kind of careful about how you add everything.  I find it best to add the fruit/veggies first to blend it all smoothly and THEN add the ice to make it a smoothie. 
ANYWAY, no matter what appliance you make your smoothie with, there are now countless options for me!

My first smoothie was made with: blueberries, a spear of pineapple, probably a half of a cup of spinach leaves, and non-fat plain greek yogurt.  It's pictured to the left.  As you can see, there are some small chunkies of blueberry skins and veins of spinach leaves in there (as I mentioned previously).  The next time I vowed to blend more. According to other blogs, I add more spinach, it's supposed to greener (making it a "Green Monster") versus the purple-ish/brownish color that is displayed here.

In my second smoothie (in addition to blending more thoroughly), I added some healthy oils, a strawberry, and a small bit of agave nectar (the yogurt that I use is plain and has a bit of a tarter taste than what I'd ideally like). 

So far, so good.  When I got to work, I was completely satisfied and have enjoyed water each morning until lunchtime .  What's more, I feel fantastic that I have used healthy ingredients to make a healthy and delicious morning treat.  It's fast, easy, doesn't take up a lot of room, and is something that I can enjoy on the go.

For all you Weight Watchers, if you make it with just fruit and veggies, I guess this would be a 0 point drink (although I don't know because I'm not a member...perhaps this is something you should take to your leader :) ).
I'm looking into maybe adding some protein powders to it, or some nut butters, or perhaps a bit of flax seed.  Something to give me more protein or boost it's nutritional value.

Do you enjoy smoothies?  If so, what do you put in them?  Do you add any powders or mixes to boost the nutritional value or are you a fruit/veggie purist?

I can't wait to hear from you guys - this is something I'm super excited about and I'd love to know what more of you all are using or have used.  So PUHLEEZE chime in!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Groaning on cloud nine

Yesterday I made a bold declaration: to do Jillian's 30 Day Shred every day for 30 days.

And I'm going to be honest with you...I almost didn't.  I left work late - after working an 11 hour day.  I was kind of hungry and I needed to stop by the store to pick up some more fresh fruit.  I didn't WANT to do it.  I didn't feel a deep burning yearning to exercise like I have before.  Instead, I really just wanted to go home and relax.

'I can just start tomorrow!,' I thought.  No one will know.  And besides, it's not like you're breaking a streak of hard work.  You haven't even started yet.  What's one more day?

But I made a promise to myself and to you.  AND I know that me not exercising has drug on day by day until whoopsies! It's been almost 3 months since I've done anything significant.  I can't let that trend continue.  I matter too much.

So I did it anyway.  Even when I walked through the door and didn't want to change into workout clothes.  Even when I started the DVD and remembered how irritating it is not to be able to skip through Jillian's intro.  Even when I had my doubts as to whether or not there would be enough space in our loft apartment.  And even when I realized that I didn't have the dumbbells that she wants us to use.

I had a lot of reasons I could've thrown in the towel.

But I didn't.

Behold, my "dumbbells" used during the DVD (made of plastic because I am quite the clumsy one sometimes).  The bottle of water is 1 liter and the bottle of Kahlua is bigger than that (and almost full...we aren't big drinkers.  I think this bottle is more than a few years old). The thing in between them is the our bathroom clock where I was hoping you could see the date and time.

Behold the close-up of said clock showing the date and time.

Behold, my sweaty face.

I'm so proud of myself.

That first workout was the hardest one I've had in a while.  Not because I've physically lost so much ground from when I used to run regularly (and let me tell you, I can't believe how out of shape I am these days).  But because it was hard to get myself psyched up to actually do it. 

I think that I've felt so defeated by my body recently.  After my surgery in October, I had a string of complications where my body just wouldn't stop having problems.  It hurt *so* badly.  And I think mentally, I have gotten used to thinking "oh, I can't do that." 

Last night, I proved that I could.  I may not have anywhere close to perfect form when it comes to any of the exercises.  My breathing may not be great.  And let's face it, I'm going to have to get my dumbbells out of storage because the huge plastic bottles of liquid aren't exactly easy to hold on to.

But I did it. 

My arms are sore.  My quads are sore.  My knees are aching a tad.  Even thinking about rising out of my office chair is enough to make me groan in advance.  But I'm on cloud nine.

The first day getting "back on the wagon" with diet seems to be harder than any other day.  And the first workout is about the same.  It's daunting.  It feels like a huge obstacle, a huge burden.  For me, at least, the anxiety builds because I doubt myself as to whether I can actually do it.

But when you triumph?  It feels awesome. 

For all you Biggest Loser fans, you might as well know that right now I have the BL theme in my head: "What have you done today to make you feel proud?"

Today, for the first time in a while, I actually have an answer.

*Also, if you're curious about what my take is on the 30 Day Shred, let me know and I'll post a bit of a review on it.  I love some DVDs but sometimes I feel reluctant to buy new ones without hearing how someone I "know" liked it.  It has a few pros and cons (just like anything).  Alternately, I'd love to know what DVDs you guys really love.

Monday, January 17, 2011

I'm dating Jillian

This morning, I had a horrible thing happen...

My jeans ripped.  At work.  Where I didn't have more jeans or pants.

Know what I did have?  A fleece jacket (pretty much part of the required uniform in Colorado).  So I quickly tied it around my waist and went into my boss' office.  I started to say that I had an emergency and that I needed to take an hour off.  But instead I told him the truth - which was basically that I had an emergency and needed to leave for an hour).  He was understanding and I went home to change.

They didn't split in my thigh area, but rather in the butt.  And after I took them off at home I still didn't see a stress part where it stemmed from.  It's not like these were especially threadbare, so I'm not sure what happened.  These jeans weren't tight on me (no shoehorn needed to get into them!), but they weren't baggy either so I really am stumped.

Know what I do know?  I need to buy more jeans.  And I REALLY hate that idea since I already have TWO new pairs of jeans in the closet that I can't fit into.


This actually is good though.  Because after losing two pounds this past week (YAY!) I decided that even though I want to continue to pay attention to my food, what I really need/want is to move more.  And I know myself well enough that I need to have a goal or I get lazy about exercising.

I actually have two goals.  But the first involves a certain little lady who yells.

That's right, folks.  I'm taking the 30 Day Shred Challenge. 

I promise (to myself mostly...but putting this out there means that I'm more likely to not squelch on the promise) to sweat with Jillian for the next 30 days, starting today.

I've done the shred before - and even done it consistently.  But 30 days in a row?  Not so much.

I know that Jams and Debbie did it.  So I know it's possible.  AND I know that my body will love being able to do something positive.  My mind will love being able to accomplish a goal - one that isn't tied to a certain number of calories eaten or pounds lost.

Joe knows about my goal and he promised to be in another room while I'm doing it if he's at home.  AND a good friend from college is coming to visit me on the 18th of next I'll have completed this and won't have to worry about the conflict of a guest.

I know I'll regret writing this tomorrow...but I'm kind of excited about spending this much time with Jillian.

What about you - any short term goals you have that you're willing to share?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Just do it

When I was in high school, I was in band.  I know what you may be thinking, being in band is stupid.  Only geeks, nerds, or dorkfishes were in band.  And you know what?  You may be right. 

The difference is that my high school had a fantastic band.  As in the year I graduated, we were invited to play for the Russian government in Moscow.  As in composers wrote music for only our band to play.  And, as in we got this major award a few times, one that's only given out to one band in the nation each year.

Anyway, our band director was a pretty mean guy.  Sure, he put his pants on one leg at a time and all, but he was terrifying.  Oh who am I kidding?  He still IS terrifying. Everyone respected him - or at least that's what it seemed.  He demanded perfection and usually?  He got it.

He had a couple of sayings - ones that he'd say so often we'd all be rolling our eyes inwardly each time he said them.  When I was in high school, I suppose I was like most other high school students - which is to say, that I already knew everything and had little interest in listening to an old man (I mean, he had to be in his 40s!) telling me stuff that I'd never use.

As I've gotten older, I suppose I've gotten dumber, because his sayings are more motivational now.

"If you don't clap for yourself, who will?"

"Become the most enthusiastic person you know.  Even if you don't feel enthusiastic PRETEND to be enthusiastic.  Then you'll find that you ARE enthusiastic."

"Even if you don't feel like doing it, do it anyway."  We'll ignore the undertones of high school pressures of sex FOR NOW.

I think that I've been waiting to FEEL like losing weight.  I know I need to.  I know my joints want me to.  And I know it'd be healthier for me to.  I know I need to pay attention to my hunger signals. But I don't feel like it.  Even though if I don't do something soon, I'm going to need to buy new pants.


So today, even though I don't feel like it AT ALL, I'm still going to do SOMETHING. 

I have a phone interview at 1 PM that would mean a significant pay raise.  Not quite sure if the company is a good fit or not right now, but I suppose that's the point of first interviews.  I don't expect the interview to last all my lunch hour, so I plan on walking around my new office area with what's left of the hour. 

It's not anything significant - nothing like when I used to change into my running clothes, run a 5K and then shower again in my lunch hour...but it's SOMETHING.

I don't feel like it.  But I'll pretend that I do anyway.  Maybe Mr. Lambrecht was right...maybe doing it anyway will make me more likely to want to do it next time.

Fake it until you make it, right?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I might be hiding Jimmy Hoffa

Yesterday afternoon, I had the best of intentions to eat, go to therapy, workout and watch The Biggest Loser.

Confession: I didn't do that.

Instead, I remembered that I had a follow-up appointment late in the day with my OBGYN to make sure that everything post surgery and post ruptured cysts were okay.

This meant that I was lucky enough to get another visit with the vaginal ultrasound.  I even told the tech when she inserted the ultrasound wand (which, for the record, seems less magical every time it enters me) that I was tired of her finding stuff in there.  And guess what? She found something else.  Seriously, next time?  I wouldn't be surprised to see Jimmy Hoffa's face in there.

Yes, that's right folks, I like to grow things "down there."  It's like my own little science experiment.  This time, it's another large ovarian cyst - only on my right side.

The good news is that I'm not in a lot of pain and now that I know what ruptured cysts feel like, I hope to not worry excessively when it ruptures.  The really good news is that they're not endometriosis cysts.

The thing is?  They're ovulation cysts.  As in, I'm still ovulating.   As in 95% of women on the pill don't ovulate and I'm not one of them.  My eyes got huge when my doctor told me that as Joe and I have recently resumed...ahem...snuggling.  BUT he swears that I'm not likely* to get knocked up while on the pill - something about mucous blah-bedy-blah including lining of the ya-ya sisterhood not allowing that to happen.  I was too busy daydreaming about sex in Sex Ed to while they went through this crap to know what he was talking about.  I blame Matt Grondin and Michael Shannon for being so undeniably dreamy - there is no way anyone in our class concentrated on medical terminology when they looked that cute.

Anyway, I kind of freaked out, but then I called my mom.  Turns out, she also had uterine fibroids and cysts while she was on the pill AND lumpy boobs.  I am under the assumption if she had all that and still managed to get preggo 10 times (yes, that would be 7 miscarriages) that perhaps I am a Fertile Myrtle as well.  Therefore conception is now on the list of "Crap I'm not going to worry about until later."  Just underneath that?  "How to survive 7 miscarriages."

After my vaginal ultrasound and waiting to see my doctor, I ended up being very late in leaving to go to my therapy appointment.  No time to stop and grab something in the drive thru - and besides, I really wasn't hungry - I was worried.  So I just went to the appointment where we talked about my inability to deal with uncertainty well.  Hello, timing...

I finished with my therapist, drove home, and had brown rice with veggies and chicken.  It was good and tasty.  Afterwards I watched The Biggest Loser.

But I didn't exercise.  Tonight?  I plan on exercising - even if just a bit - just so I can get back in the habit of it.  The opportunity to make my body do something - anything - that I want it to has got to feel powerful...especially since it hasn't been listening to me as of late.

*"Not likely," according to him, means that I have a 1% chance of getting pregnant while on the pill.  I groaned aloud when he told me that.  What I wanted to say was, "Seriously, doc.  You've GOT to stop saying that I have a low percentage chance of something happening.  I like to over-achieve.  I like to do things people don't think I can do.  Saying that I'm 'not likely' to have something happen is like you double-dog-daring my lady bits to grow a baby.  Stop it or I swear I'll hide your keys where only your ultrasound tech can find them."

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Don't go breaking my heart...

When I first started watching The Biggest Loser two years ago, I saw the initial weigh ins and mentally attached myself to the woman who weighed the most like what I did at the time.  We were the same - a great team - and we were going to reach a lower weight together!  But as weeks went on, and her pounds melted off with no chance of me matching her, I felt frustrated with my own body.  What was wrong with me?  Why couldn't I lose weight like gangbusters, too?

The second season that I watched, I tried a different tactic.  I picked someone who was about the same weight I USED to be when I started my weight loss journey.  Then I tried to beat them to their lowest.  Only that didn't work either.  Who knew Tara was going to be such a stud muffin and shed more weight than any other woman on the show?

The third season, I figured out the perfect motivational tool.  Again, I'd pick someone that weighed what I used to.  But then I'd use her and her body as motivation for what I could look like if I just tried harder.  Only that kind of felt like I was beating myself up. And I was.

The fourth season, I told myself that I'd just be happy if NONE of the women's starting weights were less than what I currently weighed.  And that was great...for the first week.  But weighing less than morbidly obese people (who got to be on the TV show by being morbidly obese) feels like stacking the deck.  The win isn't as sweet.

But no matter what the tactic in any given season, I'd always feel super lazy as I watched the show.  There were people - some twice my size - exercising and grunting and here I was eating on my couch (apples or carrots, but still...).

So this season, I'm trying something new.  Last week was the first episode...and while I don't quite understand why they had to introduce new trainers OR why we can't see their faces (Are they in the witness protection program?  Were they disfigured by a horrible tragedy?  Or is Joe right...are they ninjas?*), I still like watching the show.  But two hours out of my night is just too much to sacrifice.  So what to do?

I'm going to sweat in the workout room of our building.  I have my first therapy appointment of the year at 5:30, which gets done at 6:30.  Because my office location moved at the end of 2010, I can now eat on my way to the appointment so dinner is not a limiting factor.  I can make it back home by 7 and be changed into my workout stuff and into the workout room by 7:10.  All I'll miss is the recap of the week before...and with as many contestants as they have on the show right now, I can't keep their names and colors straight anyway.

There is one runner chick who used to run during Tuesday nights, but I think she might've moved out.  I guess I'll find out tonight.  Even if all I do is the elliptical, I'll feel much better about not wasting time in front of the TV.  I can workout until I'm tired (no way am I going to last 2 hours this first time) and then go back to our place to drink water and relax...assuming the exercise didn't break my heart.

The Biggest Loser and me - perhaps the best team since The Captain and Tennille.  {insert groan here.  I know...I had to work hard to set that one up, didn't I?}

*Cute story...since I ended with such a punny joke.

My co-worker was out driving with her 5 year old grandson at the end of the year.  They stopped at a stoplight and on the corner, there was an Indian woman with a burka on. 

Her grandson gasped and then said in an amazed whisper, "I think I just saw something!"

"What do you think you saw?," she asked.

"I think I saw a ninja!"

Monday, January 10, 2011

Heavy heart

On Friday I found out that my good blogging friend, Margie, from My Healthy Living Thru Weight Control passed away a few months ago.

If you knew her or read her blog, you know that she was a long time WW member - who had met her goal weight and had been maintaining it successfully for many years.  She and her husband, Bruce, traveled around the US and went walking often.

It was on a walk that they were struck by a suicidal driver and were both killed.

Honestly?  I still can't believe it.

Margie was one of those people who was always supportive, especially on the ugly posts - the ones where you bared your soul and scoured wounds.  We had several email conversations and when she visited Colorado and couldn't stop anywhere close to me, we vowed to meet up the next time she was in my state.

She had mentioned the idea of stopping her weight loss blog a few times and honestly, I thought she was just taking a break.  Plus, I had the whole fibroid thing and was not checking anyone's blog for months.  I feel horrible that I didn't immediately think something had happened when my emails were unanswered and although I checked her weight loss blog, I didn't think to check her other one for news.

I feel so sad that Margie is gone.  I feel happy that she and her love were able to pass together.

But I feel so sad that Margie, who was a bright and beautiful person, is no longer here to share her light.

It's selfish...I know.  But it's true.

This weekend, I tried to think about what always struck me the most about her...and I think that it's that she was always kind and supportive - exactly the kind of person I want to be.  BUT she also was relentless in her quest to maintain a healthy weight.  Sure, she and her husband were retired, but that didn't stop her from sharing a plate of food (to exercise portion control) on her vacations or monitoring her weight closely each day.

She was dedicated to her healthy lifestyle - even though she was older, even though she had already lost her weight, and even though she could've done what many of us do - relaxed a bit in her attack. 

Her resolve and dedication to her lifestyle and her health should be a reminder to me.

I have missed Margie and I will continue to do so.  I hope that her (and her husband's) passing was quick and as painless as possible.

When I got home on Friday, I hugged Joe for a solid few minutes, crying on his shoulder, and continued to tell him just how much he meant to me.  I hope I remember to do that often.

Friday, January 7, 2011

The HAM level

A few months ago, my friends and I were trying to decide where to go to eat.  Matt said to me, "We'd better eat or Kelly will reach ham level."


"Oh, Kelly gets hungry and then if she's not fed soon, she gets Hungry And Mean - HAM."

We laughed and that acronym has stuck with me ever since.

This past Tuesday was my first day back to work since the end of October.  Truthfully, although I'm not very satisfied with my job, I love working.  I like being productive and doing SOMEthing other than sitting around healing.  That, quite frankly, is boring.  What I do doesn't save the world or make a huge difference in any way.  But I do a good job - I've been the top person in my position for the past two years and I just got a raise.

Anyway, in my zeal for getting things done (and quickly) I've re-realized the importance of eating when I get hungry; of listening to my body's signals telling me when it's time to eat.

Take yesterday.  I woke up and was hungry.  I snacked on a small handful of almonds on my way to work - to tide me over until I could have the oatmeal that I could make in our microwave.  Only things got busy and after a few hours of meetings and phone calls, I realized that I was hungry.  Mostly because I was grouchy and got very irritated when our receptionist told me that our files now go in a different bin.  Since I'm usually of a sunny disposition, it occurred to me that I should eat. 

'But it's only 11,' I told myself.  I already had breakfast - why am I hungry?

By 11:25, I couldn't wait any more - I was too hungry.  When I went to the fridge to get some fruit, I realized that I actually hadn't had oatmeal - I guess I just remembered eating earlier and thought that it must've been breakfast that I ate.

In any event, I had my oatmeal but was so hungry that I ate it too quickly to really enjoy it.  And afterwards?  I was still ravenous.  I made myself wait another 15 minutes so that I could accurately re-assess my hunger, but it was tough.

Even though I'm swamped at work pretty much all the time now, I need to remember to drink water and to eat when I'm hungry.  If I don't, I get headaches and I definitely get cranky.  Maybe not HAM status, but close.

I guess it's just interesting to me that two years ago I would've gotten cranky because I was tired, lethargic, and on a sugar crash.  But now, I get cranky as my body runs out of fuel.

For the record?  When I got home last night, I sat down, started to eat something, realized I wasn't hungry but was exhausted.  I decided to take a short nap until Joe got home...and that "nap" lasted 2 hours.

Oooh...taking care of myself feels so darn good sometimes.  So good that I might just take a nap tonight too. :)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Wanna' be motivated to run?

So, it's no secret that I like to run.  If you've been following me for awhile, you know that I've been motivated by numbers and stats to run longer, faster, quicker, and smarter.  I've maintained and built that motivation through Nike+ - which requires a little sensor either in or on top of your shoe (I have mine in a pink waterproof pouch, as you can see on my shoes here).  After your run, you sync your iPhone/iPod with the Nike+ site and TADA!  Instant stats!

But lately, I've had some glitches with the Nike+ running system and with it not syncing correctly or with having it stop and start at strange times throughout the run.  It's annoying.  Sure, I could pay extra money for the New And Improved Nike+ App, but I don't feel like I should have to pay for an application when I already had to buy the sensor.

On many sites, I've seen a RunKeeper App that has been touted as being fantastic.

But that app?  It's $9.99.  Have I mentioned that I'm cheap?  I am.

The great news?  RunKeeper is allowing anyone to download their RunKeeper app for free during the month of January.  No code to use or promo to enter.  Just go to the App Store on your iPhone or via iTunes and download it.

True, in order to utilize it the best (or maybe at all?), you need at least an iPhone 3G or better (because it tracks via GPS), but since I have that, I had no problem downloading it.

I'm super excited to use it.  It looks like it has training programs built in so that if you want to run in intervals, it'll tell you when to run or walk over your music that's already playing. 

As someone who has taken a break from running recently due to surgery, I'm excited to get back in the swing of things (errr...the stride of things?) and to build up my distance, speed, etc. safely.

So if you're interested at all, I'd highly recommend downloading it - even if you're not sure you'll use it.  Saving $10 is big in my book.

And to be clear, it's not just for runners.  If you walk, speed walk, bike, skip, pogo stick, or skate, it should work for you too - which is pretty great seeing as how it's not run off a sensor in your shoe.  The GPS allows it to accurately track how far you've gone within the time that you've allotted. 

And also?  The folks at RunKeeper have no idea that I'm writing this.  They didn't pay me or communicate with me to promote's just something neat that I found and thought that you all might be interested in. :)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Eating - a truly enjoyable experience


It's no secret - I've wanted to start cooking for a while now.  Lest you think that I'm a complete idiot, I know how to cook some things.  It's just that what I know how to cook are holiday favorites or...well... a full Thanksgiving dinner.  Mostly because those are the meals that I've helped with over the years.

Sure, I know a few "normal" recipes here and there that I learned in college, but for the most part, my cooking has been limited to Hamburger Helper, sandwiches, and cereal.  Yes, even for dinner.

I'm not proud when I say that more often than not, I've grabbed something via a drive-thru on the way home.  And since dating Joe, the process hasn't changed much - the restaurants just got nicer.  Suffice it to say, much of 2010, we ate out for dinner.

It's expensive.  And while it's nice every once in a while to have someone else do the cooking, at our house going out to eat becomes a bit of a chore.  See, I have to wait for him to come home and THEN we have a 30 minute discussion on where we should go.  So usually, I'm eating later than I'd like - and it takes up more of the night than I'd like.  Moreover, it's not a particularly stress-free process. 

I've shied away from cooking regularly for two reasons: 1) I'm not a huge fan of leftovers and 2) it seemed like just another GD thing I had to do on my list of eleventy things to do in a given day.  'When I come home, I want to relax' I tell myself.  I deserve being taken care of, don't I?  So spoiling myself by eating out often seemed the best way to indulge.

But being on disability for 8 weeks (followed by vacation for 2 weeks), gives one a lot of time to reflect.  I've felt like I didn't accomplish anything while I was off work and my need to be productive in some way started to become more apparent.

So the last few weeks, I've decided to actually do more cooking - at least 5 dinner meals a week are going to be done inside our loft walls.  It's a big switch.

I started out 2011 making something I've never made before - chicken soup.  I cut up all the veggies and chicken.  I seasoned the broth to taste the way I like it.   I used the noodles that Joe loves.  And while it may have been more hearty than other chicken noodle soups, it was fantastic.

It was so good, in fact, that I made it again on Monday for dinner.  Yesterday, I made gumbo in the crockpot for dinner as well as tuna fish salad for my lunch for the rest of the week.

When I get to chopping or cooking, a few things happen.

1) I unwind by listening to music I like and enjoying tea, wine, or ice cold water while I do it.  It's a fantastic way for me to relax - not listening to talking, television, or anyone else.  It's just me and pleasant sounds.

2) I know what's going in my food.  While I do want to be better about eating only when I'm hungry, I find that knowing exactly what I'm eating is helpful AND fun.  I get to pick out fresh ingredients at the grocery store.  I get to explore what foods I like and what spices I don't.  If the end result tastes good, I know more about what I actually like...which makes the next time I'm eating out easier to choose what I want anyway.

3) I get a feeling of satisfaction by knowing that I am doing something productive.  And when I eat what I made?  I feel proud that I made something healthy, tasty, and nurturing for me.

And can I just say that watching Joe eat a meal I thoughtfully and deliberately made is just about the best feeling?  Especially when he goes for a second helping?  Oh man - such a great feeling.  He likes what I cook or bake and I feel good knowing that I'm fueling him with things that are good for him.

Cooking makes my meals more enjoyable.  I've destressed while preparing the dish so that when I eat it, either with Joe or alone, I'm in a place that I can truly enjoy it.  I'm pampered because it's a meal that I want, a meal I like, and it's using ingredients that I like.  I know what's in it - and the freshness of veggies and spices makes the meal truly tasty.

The whole experience of preparing, sharing, and eating is pretty great.  And while I'm not Betty Crocker or June Cleaver yet, I'm proud of my presence in my home just the same.

Who knows, I may be domesticated yet.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


My high school friend, Robin, used to say in a sing-song voice, "Secrets secrets are no fun; secrets secrets hurt someone." Truthfully, she said it when she felt like she was being left out of something. Probably because I was busy being silly with anyone and everyone around. But the sing-song rhyme has stuck with me.

Yesterday (as I was cutting about fifty thousand vegetables for a healthy gumbo that is hopefully getting yummy in our crockpot at home as I write this), I was thinking about how true that saying actually is.

Secrets don't just hurt the person who feels left out because they don't know what is being said. They hurt hurt the secret keeper too.

I mentioned this yesterday in my post, but there were two Oprah shows while I was off that really spoke to me. The one with Portia De Rossi and the one about what is normal. She basically took a poll of her audience members on various topics and then compared their results with some other study. Most of them were silly and not really helpful. And then I found this one:

Since it's all blurry, I'll read the type for you:

Have you ever hidden a food wrapper in the garbage so people don't know what you ate?
67% of her audience answered yes.

On one hand, I felt great.  I thought I was so different when I ate crap that I didn't want someone else to know about and then threw it away in a place no one else could see.

And truthfully?  I've even done it a few times since moving in with Joe.

So part of me felt great - I'm not alone!

But the other part of me realized how messed up that actually is.  I don't want to live a life in secret.  Moreover, I don't want to be the person who doesn't feel like they can be honest for fear that someone else will say something, will judge, or will not understand.

And you know what?  I'm not limiting that to food wrappers either.

There came a time when I was very vocal about my struggles and about my mind on this blog.  And people were supportive.

When I quit Weight Watchers in May, wanting to finish my journey on my own in my own way, there were a few hateful emails that I received.  It was discouraging but I kept on.  I have had a lot of support (a LOT of support) even from Jams, who IS a WW leader (Thanks Jams!).  The support and encouragement far outweighed the Negative Nelly's, so I dismissed their emails...even if they nagged at me from time to time.

But then I started being vocal about wanting to eat intuitively.  I even posted a few days about our rights to eating intuitively.  And I was mocked - a few times - privately and publicly - by a few people.

Even before that, I found myself not wanting to write about the struggles of intuitive eating (and there are plenty if I'm being honest with myself) because I didn't want to be misunderstood.  I didn't want my struggles to be interpreted as the program not working.  It does work.  I have met people who have been thin for years after struggling with weight for decades.

But to be 100% honest, I didn't write about it because I didn't want to get picked on as other bloggers had.  My eating isn't 100% clean all the time and I don't want to be the posterchild for anything.  I'm not claiming to be a nutritionist or a person who knows everything about what they're doing.

What I do know is this:
~ restrictive dieting feels wrong to me because the plans that I have tried focus on lots of things other than actual nutrition.  Because it is a matter of simple math (calories in must be less than calories out), it's easy to tell yourself that the 100 calorie ice cream bar is healthy.  Or that because you ate 18 slices of bacon (but no carbs!) you're okay.

~ The truth (for me) is that I feel better when I eat better.  I run faster, I think clearer, and I am happier.  Eating more nutritionally dense foods makes me a better person.

~ When I eat less, I'm satisfied.  I don't like the feeling of being stuffed.  And I often would choose low point foods or protein laden foods (in the past) and then gorge myself on them to the point of being over-full because I wanted that feeling.  The feeling of being stuffed made my soul feel full; made my life feel full; made myself feel less alone.

So, for me, I don't want to focus on one type of food, on a number (either for calories or points), or on other restrictive approaches.

Maybe that means that I take longer to lose my weight.  Maybe that means that I never lose all my weight.  But if it means that I'm a happier, saner, fitter person, why should I do anything differently - aren't I worth doing things the way I want to?

Lyn from Escape from Obesity has taught me so much in the years that I've been reading her.  If she would've stopped when people started being hateful, she wouldn't be where she is now- a healthier mom and a healthier woman.  I've really appreciated that she blogged her way through it - it let me know that there is no shame in stumbling.  Our approach of losing weight isn't the same, but we're in each other's corner just the same.  She never quit...and I'm not about to either.

The progress that I've made has had much more due to the space between my ears than I ever imagined it would.  I've processed those thoughts most effectively through this blog.  In fact, if I could offer anyone advice when starting out on the weight loss journey, I'd say: blog, vent, journal...or SOMETHING to get your true thoughts and feelings out there.

And just like yesterday, it's about time I took some of my own advice.

So here's the deal: I'm not going to hide behind my computer any more.  I'm going to share my struggles with my life - just as I have been - and my food journey.  I'm going to blog about my life, my relationships, my exercise, my relationship with food and anything else I want.  If you feel like coming along for the ride, I'd love that - I truly would.  I really enjoy reading about your triumphs and your failures. 

But if you feel like my way is crazy, insane, or just fodder for rants on your blog, please leave. 

Just because I'm not going to have omissions from my life doesn't mean I'm not going to omit your comments.

As I've found recently, being healthy means me standing up for myself when necessary.  It's about time I do just that.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Scouring old wounds

While I was out on sick leave, I watched a lot of television.

Scratch that, I watched a WHOLE BUNCH of a lot of television.

There were two shows that really stood out to me and they were both Oprah shows.

The first was of Portia De Rossi's interview circuit - right at the beginning of November.  She has a new book out, Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain and it's all about her struggle with her weight. 

She doesn't have the same weight problems I do (in that she was anorexic whereas I just binged), but we have something in common: we both used to hate our bodies and we both used food as an attempt to control our lives.

I found myself glued to the TV when she was speaking about her issues.  Because I swear, I could've been saying the same thing.

"It's not the weight gain from the six ounces of yogurt that worries me.  It's the loss of self-control.  It's the fear that maybe I've lost it for good. [...] It crosses my mind to vocalize my thoughts of self-loathing. [...] You're nothing.  You're average.  You're an ordinary average, fat piece of sh!t.  You have no self control. [...] As I reach the bathroom and wipe away the last of my tears, I'm alarmed by the silence; The Voice has stopped.  When it's quiet in my head like this, that's when The Voice doesn't need to tell me how pathetic I am.  I know it in the deepest part of me.  When it's quiet like this, that's when I truly hate myself." (capitalization of The Voice, mine)

A year ago, I believed the words above more often than not.  Being a survivor of molestation by a close family member will do that to you, I suppose. 

Every family is a system.  It's own rules and ways of dealing with things.  My family dealt with the "big issues" by ignoring them.  Smoothing over the rough spots, behaving as if nothing happened that was horrible, disgusting, and traumatizing.  My dad was an officer in the Army and my mom did her best interpretation of what an officer's wife should do.  Look great, be obedient, and toe the line.  We followed suit.  Never raise your voice in public.  Always smile.  Give someone else the right of way.  Turn the other cheek.  Be gracious.  Listen to others, don't speak out.  Be a perfect little lady.

When my dad's eyes clearly roved to his interns, my mom looked the other way.  When my father lashed out to my mom in verbally unkind ways, we all silently went to our rooms as if to pretend it didn't happen.  When someone had a bad day, we all vowed to try to make it better in ways that only co-dependents can do.  Don't TALK about the bad day, just do what you can to make it better.

And when I was molested, I held the secret deep in me.  My mom let my dad treat her poorly and she didn't stand up for herself - why would I trust her with the secret?  She wouldn't have made it stop; in my mind, she couldn't have made it stop.  Why would I tell my dad?  He was frustrated with me just being a kid - he volunteered to be on call at the hospital so that he wouldn't have to be at home.  His dislike for us was read loud and clear.  Best to keep it to myself.  To not bother someone with it.

The problem with living in a family system of secrets and unsaid things is that it's like a deep wound.  Something cuts horribly; it hurts deeply.  And if you don't clean the wound of all the debris, dead tissue, and unclean things, it just festers.  It gets infected.  It gets hot to the touch; unbearably sensitive.  You can wear clothing to cover it and you can try to dress up other parts of your body to detract attention from it, but the truth is still there - festering, uncomfortable, painful to think about, and very, very real.

So 2010 was my year to remove the clothing, to take away the dressings, and to strip the rest of my wardrobe of the tricks I used to attract the eye away from my wound.  I stopped being the class clown at work and with people.  I stopped being the loudest in the room and started really listening.  I stopped needing to be right.   I stopped watching out for everyone else at my own expense.  I stopped being the co-dependent sister.  I started having healthy boundaries.  I started showing myself some self-respect.  I started to love both the me that didn't deserve to be touched 25 years ago and the me that gained weight to 280 pounds.

And at Christmas, I spoke with my abuser and told her what her actions did to me.  I told her how it made me hate myself all these years.  I told her how it's not a matter of forgiveness of the actions that she did - I forgive her of that.  It's coming to terms with The Voice that has told me that I'm worthless all these years. 

In January of 2010, I wanted to be healthier in my mind, body, and spirit.  How'd I do? 

Well, I'm 8 pounds heavier.  I'm sure I couldn't run a mile if I needed to as I haven't run one in 3 months.  I'm weaker.  I've lost muscle tone.  My abdomen is bigger.  I worked hard the previous year to lose 55 pounds - and here I am having lost just a bit over 40.

But my spirit?  It's lighter by far.  I've battled with some serious demons this past year and I'm still alive and kicking. 

My mind?  It's stronger than it's ever been.  Because there is something missing.  The Voice.  A year ago, I heard the voice daily if not multiple times during the day.  It had been my constant companion for years, such that I had tuned out what it was saying - keeping only the bad feelings around that it always brought with it.  But when I actually listened to it back in August, I realized that it's just an old record that is no longer relevant.  Slowly but surely, The Voice is gone. I'm not sure when I heard it last, but I sure don't miss it.

In fact, I was looking at some pictures from Christmas just now and saw a few that (ahem) aren't as flattering of me as others are.  My first thought wasn't of me being disgusting and unworthy of love (as it always has been) but rather of a renewal of my resolution to get in better shape.  I used to only notice the muffin tops over jeans, but now I notice the sparkle in my eyes and the sheen to my hair.  I can finally say that I am pretty.

This past year, I've cleaned out some wounds - ones that have been paining me for decades.  It hasn't been fun.  It hasn't felt good.  But it was the right and healthy thing to do. 

Right now, my wounds are in the process of healing over, of scabbing.  Ultimately, there will always be a scar there; I won't ever forget what happened.  But I don't have to live in fear of someone discovering it either.  I don't have to cover them up and I don't have to try to avert someone's eyes from it. 

For 2011, my goals are simple.  I want to be healthier in mind, body, and spirit.  In 2010, I chased away demons and scoured my wounds.  In 2011, I want to let the wounds heal and I want to honor myself.

The Voice has always told me that I couldn't lose all the weight.  The Voice has always told me that being thin meant being sexier and that meant that harm would come.  Being thin was desirable, but it wasn't safe.  But since The Voice is no longer present, it doesn't have a say.

This year?  It's my year to reach my healthiest weight.  

My fibroid is gone.

I'm healed.  I'm whole.  I'm healthy.

It's time to start acting like it.