Monday, August 31, 2009

Balancing act

This past week I had a lot of anxiety about my relationship with the guy that I've been dating.

I wish that I could say that it doesn't matter. But it does. I do like him. And even though I don't know where it is going or even if I want it to go somewhere, I know that I feel good when I'm around him. I haven't felt that in SO long. There has been quite a few shake-ups this past week and one huge misunderstanding that had me worried for most of the weekend.

So yesterday we met and talked about it. And I'm so happy we did. I found out that when I thought that he said "Uh-huh" he actually said "Nuh-uh" and when that's in response to "Are you still dating other people?" the answer matters quite a bit.

We ended up eating pizza and watching the Broncos get beaten by the Bears. It was a fabulous night filled with cuddles and yelling at the TV. And again, I haven't had that in a long time.

Anyway, I didn't exactly pass through this week with flying colors. In fact, I pretty much ate my way through this past week. Just when I thought my dog was getting better, she started peeing blood again. And the vets after multiple tests opted to try the test that they should've done correctly in the beginning. I've had to run home every 4 hours and due to that, I had to cancel the appointment with my therapist. My grandma is in the hospital. My work load at work exploded. I did not deal with the stress well. While I can't remember the last time I tracked points, but I do remember the pints of ice cream and burgers that I ate my way through.

When I stepped on the scale, the scale said 0.5 over what it did last week. My scale isn't the most accurate, but it's a good barometer to what is going to happen tonight at the meeting.

I am prepared for a weight gain. If not this week, then next week. Because truthfully, I know how I ate and that after this week, I *should* have a gain. True, I did run about 14 miles this week, but that wasn't enough to undo the damage of my eating.

What I'm not doing is beating myself up about this past week. I'm recognizing that it was a tough week and I'm moving on. When I've read that on other's blogs sometimes that sounded like a cop-out. After doing the work with my therapist, I'm starting to realize that what I thought was a cop-out is actually just an expression of love to yourself.

So here's to this week - full of challenges (dinners with management and a weekend trip with my best friend) and joys (a weekend trip to visit my best friend). Sure, I'll be having a Portillo's hot dog from Chicago and Steak n' Shake in Peoria (OMG, those are the BEST and we can't get them here in Denver!), but it won't be overkill. Everything in moderation, isn't that right?

I'm also going to bring my running shoes so I can run at least one morning while I'm there. I figure this healthy living thing works both ways. Because after MONTHS of not wanting to budge the scale, I'm getting to the place where I want it to move again.

I'm ready to lose again.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The same? Not hardly...

Last night I went to Weight Watchers with a horrible headache. I can count on one hand how many times I've weighed in and then not stayed for the meeting in the past 13 months...but I knew that last night would be one of those times.

I weighed in with a substitute leader as our normal leader wasn't there. And first, can I just say she was so very cute? She was petite, young, fresh faced, and had a really positive personality...pretty much someone I've wanted to be my entire life.*

I hopped on the scale and saw that the number was the same as last week. And she said, "Oh! You stayed the same!"

And right then, flashes of this past week danced in front of my eyes. In the past week, I was worried that I would have to put my dog down. I worked harder at work than what I have in months. I got some results from my doctor that were really bad news. I received results about my cholesterol that was really good news (to be shared later). I cancelled a much awaited trip to Seattle. I passed up bagels and because it would've been another way I would've eaten for pure comfort. I ran when I didn't think I wanted to. I took care of myself by doing almost nothing all weekend. I did some great work with my therapist. I had a HORRIBLE date with the guy that I've been dating. In fact, I'm doubting whether he and I will even see each other again - as he seems to be brushing me off. I had to re-set boundaries with a family member, which is unbelievably taxing.

I'm stronger emotionally and physically than what I was the week before.

This past week I grew.

Stayed the same? Not even a little bit.

* As I walked up, she said, "Oh my gosh! You're beautiful." I was so very touched because at that moment, I wasn't feeling beautiful. I was feeling downtrodden to say the least. I was in pain, wasn't smiling, and wasn't feeling my normal perky self. I'm always amazed at how it feels to be complimented by a complete stranger. Somehow their comments mean a lot. I mean, I don't know her. She doesn't know me. She has no reason to lie to me - she's not selling anything and I don't think she's running for anything. Sure. She could've said that to everyone at the meeting. But it also just might be that she believes it. Sometimes I wonder how long it will be before I actually believe it too.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Bagels are not the answer

Let me start off with the fact that our Regional Sales Manager brought a feast from Panera for us this morning. There are warm, gooey cinnamon buns. There are pastries. And oh my gosh there are the best bagels ever...complete with the best cream cheeses. I heart bagels more than any other pastry. I love the way that they get all toasty on the outside while still being chewy on the inside. I love the sweet, cold cream cheese that goes on top. I love bagels.

I also should let you know that I already had breakfast this morning. I am not physically hungry. But oh, how I crave a bagel right now.

My eating has not been going well this week. My exercise has not been going well this week. I feel pulled in a bunch of different directions. You might've read on my other blog that my dog is having some (maybe) serious issues. In fact, this morning I dropped her off for an ultrasound. For a DOG. I love her...but I guess I still can't get over the fact that my dog is getting a procedure done that most women never have done.

ANYway, I've had to let my dog out at various times throughout the night which means that my sleep consumption this past week has been less than ideal. I got some bad news from a doctor on Wednesday that I'm still trying to figure out how I feel about it. I'm worried about my dog. Because of the dog issues, I had to cancel a much anticipated trip to Seattle. :( I'm worried about the relationship with the guy (who, for clarification sakes, is not my boyfriend). I'm worried about showing him the crazy side of me, about crying on him or leaning on him, and that he will decide it's just too much and leave. I'm feeling like I'm neglecting me. Pressures at work are getting higher while layoffs are looming. I'm flat out worried.

And basically right now I'm having a tough time holding my shit together.

And I'm eating. I'm making poor food choices. A week ago when I was camping, I made GREAT food choices. This week? Not so much. To be fair, I'm not binge eating...and the things that I'm eating too much of are still not BAD for me. Nothing like what I was doing over a year ago. But it's still eating due to emotions and feelings.

I'm not exercising. I don't wanna'. I guess I'm rebelling against healthy things right now.

I think it might be because I feel so very out of control about everything else in my life. I feel like stuff is happening TO me - not that I'm making stuff happen. I'm scared and worried about what is going to happen and am not handling "the unknown" with the usual grace and fearlessness that I typically have.

But you know what? That's okay. I think recognizing it is a great first step. In fact, as I sit here and type this, knowing that there are bagels and cinnamon buns in the breakroom, my interest in eating is starting to fade. I'm recognizing that I'm upset. I need soothing. I need sleep. I want an answer as to why my dog is still not getting better. I need hugs. I need to be good to myself. I need to do stuff to make me feel better - to lift my spririts.

I did bring my running clothes to work so that I could go for a run during lunch if I felt like it. Having just written out my thoughts, I think that running is something that I can do FOR ME. It is a choice, just like choosing not to eat out of sadness/fear is a choice. It is gaining some control and I know that when I'm done with the run, I will feel positive towards myself - I always do. I will know that that positive thing that I did? It was a tiny gift to me from me.

I can't do much about the feelings that I have. I'm trying to just feel them, to acknowledge them because too many times in my life I've just buried them. After that, I can go about doing something that will help me soothe myself and soothe whatever need "comes up."

It's amazing how what will soothe me is turning out to never be bagels from Panera.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


"If we knew each other's secrets, what comforts we should find."
--John Churton Collins

Yesterday, at my Weight Watchers meeting, we were talking about times when you're stuck, when you're cruising, and when you're moving forward. At one point, a man in our group said something like, "I think that I'm finding out - and this sounds silly that I'm just now figuring it out - just how much my feelings impact my journey."

To which, a lady said something like, "Really? I wish I could just stop feeling so much."

So I brought up the time when I was challenged about my struggle with just feeling my feelings. I thought, for a moment about not saying anything. Usually in the group, I'm the smart-ass. The public Anne, like the one represented on my other blog, the one that makes light of many situations. I didn't. I shared. Because I think I'm realizing that there is power in releasing secrets.

At one point, someone jokingly said to me "Yeah, but how do you FEEL?" as a way to make light of what I had shared. I know she meant it good naturedly - as a way to tease back the person that constantly is making jokes, but for a split second, I felt shame. Shame seems to be my go-to emotion these days. And then, a split-second later, I found myself opening up my mouth and defending my statement, my progress, and my journey. I am proud for attacking the "big" issues with WHY I am overweight. The issues? They're deeper than me not tracking, deeper than me not eating 5 fruits and veggies a day, and they're deeper than me making poor choices.

I mentioned that I lost 40 pounds pretty quickly - from mid July of last year until January 1st. And in the past 8 months, I've only lost 13. My leader asked the group, "So, is Anne stuck, cruising, or moving forward?" And at that point, I realized that it did not matter at all what the response was. I KNEW that I was making progress...stuff for the rest of my life. I KNEW that I was moving forward. That even in this meeting where I feel pretty supported, I wasn't really looking for my worth in others.

There were a couple of people who spoke up and congratulated me on the mental work that I was doing, on the progress that I was making. And you know what? It wasn't just people being nice. They were being genuine. And what I felt was a feeling I haven't felt in a LOOONG time. I felt pure pride. When I've been praised publicly for things before I've always felt a bit of shame deep down - as if I didn't really deserve the praise. Last night, I knew that their genuine comments were true. I was working hard and worthy of congratulations. And let me tell you, it felt SO GOOD.

There is freedom in being honest.

I love the quote that I opened this post with. Because there IS comfort in hearing someone else's secrets - especially when you feel that you're not all that alone. But in my mind, it doesn't compare to being able to share your own secrets and realizing that the world doesn't stop. There is comfort that when you show vulnerability, you find there are people to catch you and build you up.

I've found that when I have the courage to be 100% honest - with myself and others - that what I'm really doing is lightening my emotional baggage.

And I gotta' say...lighter feels SO much better.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I'm not even sure what cycle to break...

I've been realizing that the I've had a not-so-good eating habit the past few months.

First, I eat very well and "on plan" during the day. But when I get home? All bets are off. I eat much more than what I should be - past the point of being no longer hungry. And go figure that the result has been me gaining and losing the same 5 pounds. The weeks when I lose weight are the weeks that I exercise - and the weeks where I gain are when I don't exercise as much.

I know. I'm a rocket scientist.

So I'm trying to come to the real issue here. Why do I eat and eat and eat when I don't really have a good reason for it?

A few years ago I used to have a big problem with sleep. I'd stay up, watching TV until 1 or 2 and then eventually fall asleep on the couch. I'd then wake up at 4ish, walk upstairs to my bed and sleep until 6:30 when the alarm went off. As you can imagine, I didn't have a restful night's sleep and was constantly dragging. I had to ask myself why I was refusing to go to bed in the first place? Why was I making myself stay up? The answer that came back to me is that I didn't feel like my day was done. I didn't feel like I had truly lived that day - merely worked and came home - and I wanted to try to pack more into the day. It took awhile, but I eventually broke myself of the habit and learned that bedtime rituals are actually pretty important.

Likewise, I think that I eat at the end of the day more and more because I feel like I NEED something. I need to feel pampered. I need to feel like a priority. I need to feel like I'm not on a diet where I can only have a certain amount of food. I need to feel not deprived. The eating? It happens whether I had plans that evening or not. I've gone out with friends, had a fantastically full day, come home, have not been hungry, and have STILL had two bowls of cereal.

I know. There are ways to circumvent this - brush your teeth after a meal, go for a walk, drink plenty of water, blah blah blah. And those are good distraction techniques. But instead, I am challenging myself NOT to be distracted. I want and need to meet these feelings head on.

Last night I had a date. I wouldn't call him my boyfriend just yet, but I will say that I have an absolutely fantastic time when I'm around him. He is so very funny, nice, thoughtful, and all sorts of other things I could gush about him. Instead of looking ahead and wondering what might be, I'm enjoying THIS moment. The time that I spend with him feeds my needs and I'm soaking up all of that attention and fun that I can.

Anyway, we went out to eat at the Cheesecake Factory where I ate about a third of my cobb salad (two reasons: their portions are HUGE and I was really concentrating on the company that I was keeping. I let the food be a nourishment while I enjoyed my time with him). We went back to his place, kissed like teenagers, and then I went home. It was a great night.

But on my way home, I wanted to stop for a quick burger. I wanted to eat SOMETHING when I got home - I just knew it. What it was didn't make much of a difference. So there I was, in my car at a stoplight, and I actually asked aloud "Anne- WHAT are feeling?" The light turned green and I still hadn't figured it out. By all accounts I should've been satisfied by my day and my date. And yet, I wanted to complete it somehow.

I went home and told myself that if I couldn't even figure out what I was feeling, then I shouldn't eat. I was happy to eat, if I could just identify the feeling that accompanied it (it seemed like a good compromise - this is the first step). And I couldn't figure it out. So I didn't eat.

I did stay up - way too late. I wasn't even DOING anything, just vegging out. The thing is, I was tired, but I didn't want to go to bed. I'm not sure if it was me not wanting to end the day, or worse me NOT wanting to take care of myself (almost a way to punish myself?). Is it that I want someone to take care of me? Is it just a habit that is hard to break without any feelings behind it at all and I'm just completely over-analyzing?

Have you all experienced anything similar to this? If so, what'd you do to get out of it?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Aflac IronGirl 5K

Yesterday I ran the Aflac IronGirl 5K here in Denver and it was, in a word, amazing!

First, there were almost 1300 women running the race. It was a race for, in celebration of, and by women. I think that's pretty cool.

My friend Kelly decided that she wanted to do it too. We walked a race in April together and I so appreciate her wanting to do stuff like this. She actually opted to walk this 5K, so I ran and then cheered her on as she got close to the finish line.
So how'd I do? I finished the race in 37' 28". The one that I did a few weeks ago, I finished in 37'32". So I'm 4 seconds faster. :)

The previous race actually had MUCH less hills in it than this one did, so I know that I was stronger this time around.

BUT the really great thing is that Kelly and I went out to eat for breakfast afterwards and what did I order? An egg white omelette full of veggies, tomato slices, and wheat toast. It was fantastic. I'm proud of this because sometimes when I exercise, I use it as a way to forgive myself for anything else that I might eat. So eating what I normally would've eaten was a great thing for me to do.

I'm trying to learn that eating out just means that you're changing the location of where you're eating - you don't actually have to eat differently than what you would at home. Logically that makes sense. But sometimes, when I want to celebrate, I get confused between the emotions of celebrating and the tradition of food that usually accompanies it.

So yesterday? It was a start.

Oh - and the guy that I've been dating? We got together last night and ate at Souper Salad. I love that he is supportive of me and my efforst in getting healthier. I love that he doesn't act in any way, shape, or form, that he is dissatisfied by the way I look- in fact, he compliments me. And I love the fact that the concerns I had of us clicking chemistry-wise have been retired. He is great and this just may be the healthiest relationship I've ever been in.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Huh. So that's what that feels like...

Yesterday I was having a conversation with someone about how I've used food to numb my feelings. She suggested that I try starting to eat mindfully. We've all heard that phrase. Eating mindfully is where you take pauses between bites, where you actually take time to enjoy the food, where you don't do anything else while eating so that you can concentrate on eating.

She encouraged me to try to eat 1-2 meals in my home that I have fully prepared (i.e. not cereal, not something that I've reheated, and not something that I've gotten to go. I actually HAVE to cook) and then eat it. Mindfully.

I told her that that didn't appeal to me at all. When she asked why, I started to cry. Because what am I going to do, just sit and be? Sit and not talk on the phone, not watch TV, not read? Just sit and be with me?

She said yes. She said that then I'll be able to FEEL.

Picturing myself in my tiny little place at my tiny little table, eating my healthy meal all I could FEEL was loneliness. Hurt. Sadness that I didn't have someone to share the meal with. Sadness that after that, I most likely wouldn't have plans. Sadness that I've chosen to move and move and move to city after city so that my friends are very far away from me. Sadness that it's just me. Me and my food.

Sometimes, it seems that that's all it's always been about.

I asked her that when I feel whatever I feel - what do I do then?

And she said that I should just FEEL.

I'm not sure that I've ever just felt. I've buried those feelings. I've cut myself. I've thought through the feeling "logically" - and ended up feeling silly for feeling the way that I have. I've binged. I've purged. I've done whatever I had to to bury the feelings and then get the hell over them. Angry, sad, hurt, frustrated, even happiness. If they were too extreme, I didn't know how to handle it.


So now I've got to feel. So I'm going to practice that - feeling and breaking the connection between feeling and eating. It sounds difficult.

After being present with the feelings, I'm to figure out what I can do that would actually meet the need that is presenting itself. And then do that.

The answer, I fear, is never going to be "eat."

I'm scared and apprehensive...but hey - at least those are feelings.