Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Born this way

A few weeks ago, Joe and I saw Lady Gaga on SNL where she performed "Born This Way."

And wow, I can't unsee some of the things I saw.  Bizarre is just the beginning of it, in my humble opinion.

But I like the song.

And even though I don't live an alternative lifestyle, I love the self-acceptance in it.

A few Fridays ago, I was on the phone with my mom.  It wasn't an easy conversation - in fact, it was pretty horrible in a lot of ways.  I left the conversation with swollen eyes and feeling VERY upset.

One of the big topics of conversation was how I just didn't fit with my family.  We had a very distant aunt, cold grandparents, and a grandmother who we visited maybe 5 times in my life.  Because my father was not able to interact in socially acceptable ways, he scared off many of my mom's friends.  My father was distant, my mother was hovering and although a great lady, we just never clicked.   And as hard as it is to say it, it's even harder to hear your mom on the other end of the line agree with you.

I never really felt like I belonged.  When every one else is happy in their own dysfunction, and you're the odd man out, you learn to adapt.  But you never quite forget that you don't belong - not fully.

Maybe that's the reason I want to be married to Joe - to feel like I belong to something greater than myself.  Something that is wonderful with the promise of forever.  

But that doesn't really exist, does it?  Belonging forever.  Things happen, freak accidents occur and people simply change their minds.  A ring is the promise of a hope of forever, but not a guarantee.  What's more, if I switch from looking for my worth in my parents to looking for worth in a union with Joe, is that really any healthier?

So, I can start to see myself as someone who is worthy of good things - someone who may not have belonged to her family fully, but someone who is good just the way she is.

I'm quirky.  I'm smart, I'm funny.  The fact that I didn't really fit with my family growing up doesn't mean that I don't deserve love.  No matter what your faith, I think we can all agree that we're brought into this life innocent, full of hope, and worthy of love.

Maybe that's why I really like the song that I referenced above and the message that there wasn't (and isn't) anything wrong with me.


And in case you're wondering, yes...I did add this to my running mix.

--Excerpt form "Born This Way" by Lady Gaga
My mama told me when I was young
We are all born superstars
She rolled my hair and put my lipstick on
In the glass of her boudoir
"There's nothing wrong with loving who you are"
She said, "'Cause He made you perfect, babe"
"So hold your head up girl and you'll go far,
Listen to me when I say"
I'm beautiful in my way
'Cause God makes no mistakes
I'm on the right track, baby
I was born this way
Don't hide yourself in regret
Just love yourself and you're set
I'm on the right track, baby
I was born this way

Monday, May 30, 2011

Gray matter

Happy Memorial Day!

If you're like me, you have the day off - which has been a welcome relief!  We haven't enjoyed the weekend as much as we had intended due to four (count 'em...FOUR) trips to the ER for Joe's grandpa.  He's been in each of those times with penis pain.  Can you blame me if I didn't ask more questions?

I just finished my second week on Weight Watchers and I have to say, I'm really happy with the results.  And to be clear, I mean the results of MY thinking.

It's no big secret that I've been struggling with lots of my mental demons lately - and it's taking up a lot of my brain space.  It's been a welcome relief to be able to rely on the fact that I need X points for the day.  I don't really even have to worry about how to "spend" the points - I eat a lot of what I used to be eating - just sometimes my portion sizes are smaller.

The first week, I lost 7.2 pounds.  Now I could go on and on about how awesome I was that first week, but truthfully, I knew I weighed heavy that day.  I stepped on the scale with a full bladder and heavier shoes than I normally wear.  But I can tell you that the 7.2 pounds definitely wasn't all water weight or shoes.

This past week, I lost 2.4 pounds - although it's unofficial because the meeting is canceled today due to the holiday.  I'll try to weigh in later this week, but it's a busy week and I'm not sure how likely that is.  So the 2.4 pounds lost is from the details on my bathroom scale.

Truthfully, I'm happy that I'm losing weight again.  I'm happy that I'm once again making smarter, better for me choices again.  It's different for me this time - in that if I'm hungry, I'm choosing to eat right through my point target.  I'm not stopping and starving for anyone - even a program. 

Several times during the past two weeks, I've thought that I'd really blown it with my eating.  I mean, the first week, I was out of town most of it with almost no control over what we got to eat.  And if you think I turned down the double chocolate chip (freshly baked) cookies that the hotel I was staying at gave me, you're not exactly right.  I ate the cookies.  I ate desert.  I drank wine. There may have been a few Snickers bars in there too.

In fact, in celebration of Chassis' birthday, I drank three glasses of wine.  (side note: it's almost a year later...how can I miss her so much still??)

So tracking has been a really helpful thing - because even when I'm crazy high with my points (or so I think), I realize after I put it down that it's not as bad as I thought it was.

Realizing that makes it easier to pull back on the overeating throttle of my consumption. 

Working the WW plan helps me remember that it doesn't have to be all black and white.  I'm not right or wrong, fat or thin, on plan or off.  I'm just me.  And I'm realizing that the beauty of life is sometimes in the gray.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

After the Rapture...

Last week, when I packing for my trip to Chicago, I left my suitcase out in our bedroom so that I could throw things in as I thought of them. (Is here when I say that after years of frequent travel, I *still* don’t pack the night before I leave? It’s always the morning of the trip.) It’s also an invitation to an unspoken request that Joe and I have for each other - a way to unobtrusively tuck in little notes in the other person’s luggage. Since I’m the more frequent traveler, typically I send a card while I’m away or leave him a note or two for him to discover while I’m gone.

When I got to Chicago, I discovered a few notes – and they’re usually filled with the endearment that Joe and I call each other. I always feel good and loved when I find a new one.

But Thursday night – the night before I was leaving – I discovered the last note, tucked into my running shoes.

A simple “I love you” was all the note said – and it was a great boost to don my running gear and head down to the hotel’s dreadmill. Normally, I love to run outside…but it was 4 in the afternoon, it was hot, humid (for this Colorado gal) and sunny. And I forgot my sunglasses at home. Oh yeah, and I was in a completely foreign suburb right off the highway and busy streets. Probably not the safest thing I’d attempt.

The dreadmill was the only viable option –and that’s what I chose.
I remember a time when I was able to run for 5 miles without stopping or walking. I remember a time when I was pacing under 10 minutes a mile. Those times are not now.

Now I suck wind at the ¾ mile mark. Now I resort to walking one song and running for another. Now my pace is slower. Now is painful.

But I did it. I slugged through the 4 km I had planned.

It relaxed me and made me feel more in control before I had dinner with my father (who was about 15 minutes away from where the hotel was). Time with my father usually makes me feel tense and out of control.

As I build my pace and distance once again, I hope I hold onto the memory of these tougher times – when I can look back and say “look how far I’ve come!”

Last night in my Weight Watchers meeting, our leader asked about ways to keep workouts from being boring. There were a few suggestions from other people, but I realized my own truth inside of me: I used to love running races. I loved trying to improve upon the last one. I loved wearing the race shirt later. I loved being motivated by someone my size (or bigger) who trudged along and ran the whole thing too. I loved pushing through when I felt that I couldn’t (or didn’t want to) run another step.

That is how I kept running fresh.

I’m going to pick out a race to run in the next month. Initially, I wanted to run the Undy 5000, but it’s on June 25th and that’s our anniversary…and we’ve already been talking about going out of town.

I want to pick a race that will be fun – and one that when I wear the shirt afterwards, I can be reminded of a time when I found myself again.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Out of the mouths of bums...

Sunday morning, Joe and I decided to get our breakfast from the Einsteins across the street. I've mentioned this before, but we live just off the 16th Street Mall in downtown Denver. I ordered an egg white sandwich with ham and cheese on a bagel thin. Joe ordered something similar.

As we were walking back across the street to get into our building, I heard someone clearly shout, "Hey Fatso!!"

I turned around and saw a homeless man (who was in the middle of going through the trashcan) look directly at me.

Kids and people who are mentally ill will, apparently, tell you the truth about yourself - whether you want to hear it or not.

Did it hurt? Well, yeah. But is it true? Well, yeah.

I've had a few a-ha moments recently but this one kind of takes the cake.

And really? I want to be healthier. I want to be back on track.

You might be rolling your eyeballs thinking to yourself that I'm not exactly saying anything that is different from what I have been the last few months.

And you're right - but that's only because I haven't finished this post yet.

See, Monday night I did something I thought that I wouldn't do. I went back to my old Weight Watchers meeting.

Before you throw something at me and call me a traitor, I'll explain how I got to that decision (and then you can throw something at me).

First, I've been thinking about this for MONTHS. I asked Jams about it (she is a WW leader) and she gave me some great advice about the program. And agin, that was months ago. I've been marinating what she told me.

Honestly? The program seems to be pretty good in the sense that they're focusing much more on health rather than their points of things. I was optimistic that they have finally tailored their points calculations on protein, carbs, fat and fiber not just fiber, fat, and calories. I really like that they have indulging as a main point in their program - I think that's healthy. And I like that more emphasis is being placed on "real" foods.

I feel a bit skeptical that fruit can really be no points - because I guess I feel that they should count for something. But I read all the material they sent me home with and their focus group lost weight using this, so maybe it's not as sketchy as I thought.

BUT...I don't think I want to do this for forever. Or even until my goal weight. I do think that intuitive eating is the way to go (hello, filling foods technique) and I feel like ultimately, WW may only take me so far.

In their defense, I didn't hear anyone this week say that they wanted to eat fake WW foods or congratulate themselves about being hungry or depriving themselves. I hope that continues.

For breakfast, I did have the exact same thing I typically have. And for lunch, I had a Subway sandwich on the way to the airport (I'm now in Chicago) because I knew that my options at the concourse at the airport are limited to Steak Escape, McDonalds, and TCBY. I knew I didn't feel like any of those, so I stopped and picked one up to eat while I was waiting for my plane.

For dinner, I met with my dad at a place that served great ribs. I did order everything I wanted - fresh green beans, a cornbread muffin, and 4 pieces of ribs. It was delish!

Because my eating didn't vary much from my normal eating style, I was shocked to find that I only went over my points values by 7. It was really great to realize that I was still on plan.

Will I stay with WW? I don't know. What I do know is that I'm a sucker for charts and graphs and I kind of like that WW does that for me. I know that there is no such thing as good and bad foods. I know that I want my cholesterol numbers to be like those of a child (which is what they were 2 years ago). I know that when I eat better, I feel great. I know that I miss that feeling. Oh, and I know that I don't want to answer to "Hey, Fatso," ever again.

If WW gets me a few steps closer to my goals, who cares? Like I said before when I struck out on my own a year ago, I want to do what works for me. And right now, it feels good to have more structure in my life surrounding food. I like the guidelines. As soon as I start feeling severely restricted and triggered, I may back away.

I'm giving myself permission to change my mind. That feels healthy too.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Catching up

First things first... I'm sorry I've been such a slacker about posting. Sometimes it's easy to assume that the lack of posting is due to the person falling off the wagon in terms of health.

That's not necessarily the case with me.

I've been traveling. Actually, I've been doing a lot of traveling. Two weeks ago I celebrated my birthday. And on that day, I was in three different towns, two states, and two airports. This week, I leave to go to Chicago for a few days. After that, I should be travel free for at least a few weeks when I have to go to D.C. for my grandmother's funeral.

I'm doing okay though. No fabulous, but okay.

The hardest thing that I'm doing these days is working with my therapist to get over issues. Unfortunately, it's harder than it ever has been. It drains me - and honestly, sometimes really depresses me.

I plan on writing more on this blog though...it has been so helpful for me in the past - even if just getting words out of my head. It's helped to process, to support, to be supported, and to celebrate.

Before I had the cute little redheaded girl in fun pants at the top of this page, I had a simple statement about my blog: "This is where I come to celebrate my successes and learn from my mistakes." I haven't had a lot of successes these days - or at least it doesn't feel like I have. The EMDR work that I do with my therapist is hard stuff and it doesn't feel like winning often. But this is still my safe place to land...and it is worth overcoming the obstacle of not being able to post during the day.

I look forward to catching up with you all soon too. I've been horrible about writing, but even worse about reading blogs and answering email.

I don't really have a good ending to this post...but I'm exhausted so I'm going to go to bed.