Weighty Matters

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Operating on Faith

Sometimes it is really hard to not get frustrated or impatient.  (Remember the old joke, “I want patience NOW!”?)  I need to constantly remind myself that as long as I follow my food plan and continue to exercise, I will lose weight.

Have I mentioned that I am not a very patient person when it comes to my own endeavors and performance?  Yes, I know that I put an awful lot of pressure on myself.  Unfortunately, it’s a lifelong habit.

I’m used to turning over the physical stuff to my program and Higher Power.  It is much more challenging to let go of the mental and emotional things.  Every morning when I first wake up, I express my gratitude and I ask for help in remaining on my food plan and staying abstinent.  When I say abstinent, I know that I’m thinking about the act of abstaining from compulsive eating or binging.  Today I realize that I need to broaden that and ask for help in abstaining from certain thoughts.  Thoughts like, “I should have lost X number of pounds this week” or “If I do this, I should lose X amount of weight by X date”.   Those are only two examples.  There’s no end to what I can think up.

For today, I will keep working on having faith in program, Higher Power and myself.  For today, I will ask and be open to help in not getting caught up in my head so much and in not pressuring myself with expectations over which I have no control.  I am responsible for sticking to my food and fitness plans.  That’s the priority for me every day.

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I’ve been afraid to get on the scale and weigh myself for the last few weeks.  This ties in with the whole feeling like a failure episode that I experienced.  It also is part and parcel of my ongoing conflicts and how much power I give to that three digit number.

Because I went through the rough period, I magnified in my mind all of the possible negative results.  They ballooned in my head until I was absolutely positive that I must have gained 10 or 20 pounds.  I didn’t want to face the evidence of my own fall from grace.  This all caused extra stress and upset, of course.

Even when things turned around and I began to eat and behave more sanely and rationally, I still feared stepping up onto the scale for the physical reality check.  At that stage, I was afraid that seeing a big gain would send me off the wagon again into the muck of diseased thinking which would lead to me compulsively eating yet again.  This is such horrendous cycle.

Instead of just sucking it up and stepping up, I avoided.  I focused on my eating and exercise, my readings and emotional work.  I took heart in how I feel, how my clothes weren’t oppressively tight, that the shirt I put on fit better than it did the last time I wanted to wear it.

This was all pretty positive, sane behavior, so why wasn’t it enough?  Well, there’s the whole “denial” thing to address.  Sometimes it is a very strong asset to recovery to not be so locked into measuring my success and recovery based on my actual weight.  It really is a good thing to build recovery based on my behavior, my healthy choices, not compulsing or binging, and so on.  Unfortunately, sometimes not weighing can also be a form of denial, as in denying that there’s a problem unfolding.

It’s so difficult to balance these things sometimes.  I finally decided that I needed to face facts and hope for the best.  So, I finally stepped up on the scale.  That’s when I discovered that I was still the same weight as I was a couple of months ago.  In that moment of discovery, I had a choice to make.  I could dive right into the negative and berate myself for not losing, or I could take a deep breath and be happy that, despite the food issues, I had maintained and not gained.  I could also, as I shared yesterday, recognize that while the number might be the same, my body has changed and a number of those pounds have switched from fat to muscle.  A plus!

Today I am glad that I faced the fear and weighed myself.  Today I am also seeking a good and healthy balance.  I don’t want to be obsessed with the scale number.  I want to keep my focus on choosing to eat healthy food in a healthy, recovery-oriented manner.

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Changing the Failure Mindset

I’ve been thinking of myself as a failure because I have not reached my goal weight, even almost four years after my weight loss surgery.  This mindset does mean things to me emotionally, mentally, spiritually and, ultimately physically.  It wreaks havoc with my eating disorder.  Anything that results in me feeling or thinking badly of myself can trigger disease-related eating and relapse.

For a couple of weeks, I was thoroughly depressed about the situation, much more so than I’ve been in years.  I was constantly caught up in failure feelings, beating myself up, joy-less in spirit, at least where my physical improvements and recovery were concerned.   I wanted to anesthetize the feelings and mood in carbs and sugar.  That all just made me feel worse.

Then, for some reason last week, I pulled out of it.  I recommitted to my program and got back in touch with feeling good about myself.  Positive feelings beget more positive feelings.  I went several days without a single starchy carb and wasn’t grabbing for handfuls of chocolate, other candies or other sugar-laden foods.  Even through the bad weeks, I’d continued with my kick-butt rowing classes but now I could note positive changes in my body shape, appreciate the increased strength, better range of motion and other benefits.

I felt powerful inside and out and took the time to really acknowledge and experience the upswing.

This led to me really investigating my mindset and laying out the reality check to sift and separate the truth from the distorted thinking.

These statements are false:

  • I’m a weight loss failure.
  • I can’t do this.
  • I’m weak-willed.
  • I’m unhealthy.
  • I suck.

These statements are true:

  • I have not reached goal weight.
  • I have lost and am maintaining a weight loss of around 140 pounds.  (I have never maintained a significant weight loss for this long a time!)
  • Sometimes I fall back into relapse eating.
  • More often, I eat sanely and on my recovery plan.
  • When eating sanely and on plan, I overall make far healthier food choices.
  • I am physically active and stronger.
  • I haven’t lost weight in total number of pounds in the last two months, but I know my overall fat-to-lean muscle mass ratio has improved.  There are fewer pounds of fat, more of muscle.
  • I am determined.

Looking at those lists, I am so happy to see that I know the lies from the truths.  I’m also happy to see that the positive list is twice as long.  It is amazing that positive thinking can lead to such positive change.  My mindset over the last week has completely changed for the better.  I’m not wallowing in despair or steeping my spirit in depression and sadness.  I have returned to celebrating the good, real, strong progress that I’ve made.



Kindness Even More Necessary

Half-way through the month of kindness and all around me I see images of terrorist attacks.  Paris, Beirut . . . many horrific acts, many deaths, many different cities.  These beget retaliation and the bombings start.

On the one hand, I am bolstered by the acts of solidarity, the outpouring of support and prayers for the affected cities, the wounded, the dead.  Then I’m saddened, heartsick really, to see anti-Muslim sentiment spread because the vast majority of the terrorists are Muslim.  Several of my friends are Muslim.  Do not blame the people of the faith.  Blame the violent extremists, the jihadis, who claim they commit these horrendous murders in the name of Islam.  I heard today that several states are refusing to take refugees from the Middle-East because they fear that jihadis will sneak into this country posed as refugees.   A woman who is a friend agrees with this stance because, she said, “How do we know?”  Terrorism is getting us to the point where we turn our backs on the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free.

Right now, today, I am convinced that we need more kindness in our everyday lives.  Thousands of miles from Paris, here on our island chain, we are still affected by the killings.  Is there a single person anywhere who hasn’t looked around their community at least once and wondered if the same actions could happen where they live?  All of us need the simple acts of kindness offered in a smile, extra patience, a warm hug, a pat on the back either literal or figurative, a hand reached out to offer simple assistance.

Each act of kindness is an affirmation.  There is still a great deal of good all around us.  Evil has not won.

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Month of Deliberate Kindness

For the last few years, I’ve declared November as a personal month of gratitude.  Each day, I posted in social media something for which I was thankful.  A few of my friends picked up the effort and did the same.

I believe that cultivating an attitude of gratitude helps not only me, but also those around me.  It’s good for me to notice, acknowledge and state things that I appreciate in my life.  So, every day, not just in November, I send thanks out into the universe.

A couple of days ago, I started thinking about kindness.  Occasionally, a kindness meme would pop up on a Facebook page, or I’d run across a quote somewhere.  More and more, thoughts about being kind arose and I started to believe that there was a message for me in this somewhere.   I imagined what it would be like, how it would feel to look for opportunities to be kind.

Don’t get me wrong.  It’s not like I live life as a bitch, running roughshod over people with no regard for their feelings and circumstances.  I believe that, overall, I am a kind and thoughtful person.  I’m not perfect – far from it.  I can be that bitch sometimes, but my preference is to be good and kind.  I think that’s a good way to live.

However, I also think that it’s good to go beyond what is hopefully the norm.  To be kinder than usual, if you will.  I bet doing so on a daily basis can and will create an amazing energy.  Really, what could be better than doing something nice and kind for someone else and bringing a little extra light to their day?

That’s what I want to do so I am officially declaring November as a Month of Deliberate Kindness.  Every day, I’m going to be aware and look for opportunities to do a kind act for someone else, more than a single act for a single person if I can manifest them.  I’d like to invite you to do the same.  Let’s see what we can accomplish in a month and how it feels.  The acts don’t have to be huge, they only need to be thoughtful.

In September, when my Pyxi was so sick and then when she died, so many people reached out to me in kindness.  I know how those actions helped.  So, I’m kicking off the month with a self-made meme honoring my Pyxi and going out of my way to be a little kinder.

Acts of Kindness

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Hack, Hack, Sniffle, Sneeze, Cough

Sorry that I’ve been MIA but I’ve been sick, out of town for a couple of days, and then sicker.  I swear that even though I now eat far healthier, and am overall in better condition, than I ever did or was at my top weight, I’ve gotten sick more often in the last almost-four years than I ever did before I lost the pounds.

It’s like I used to have an incredible immune system.  Other people at work could cave en masse to germs that passed around the place and I would trundle on unaffected.  If I got a single cold a year, it was remarkable.  I’ve had one lousy stomach virus in the last 15 years.  Since weight loss surgery I have still avoided stomach viruses, but I’ve sure been more susceptible to colds.  (Excuse me for a moment while I now knock wood, toss salt, and employ various other methods to stave off jinxing myself on that stomach virus comment.)

Okay, I’m back.  Anyway, last week I started feeling a scratchiness in my throat for a couple of days with a light, dry cough.  Symptoms did not progress like a regular cold, which was puzzling.  By Thursday, I decided that I was suffering the mutha of all allergy attacks.  The wind had been blowing like crazy for several days and we’d had dry weather, so I was sure that my discomfort was the result of excessive coral dust.  I soldiered through, which is my m.o., even continuing to do my rowing classes.  They weren’t easy, let me tell you.  Difficulty breathing and intense cardio work do not mix well.

I drove up to Miami Friday night for a weekend “off the rock”.  A friend was getting married Saturday afternoon and, in a happy time of coincidence, the Tai Chi Society to which I belong scheduled a half day intensive that morning about five minutes from where I was staying.  Sometime over night my coughs started to get a little deeper and more “productive” and random bouts of sneezing began to creep in.  Since I still didn’t actually feel all that bad, I was still positive these were all due to allergies.

Saturday was a fun, great day.  Sunday, I slept in at my hotel and then did a little shopping before spending some time with friends I haven’t seen in several months.  As the day progressed, so did my sneezing and coughing.

****Gross alert****  When one’s sneezing becomes to strong that it stimulates projectile phlegm from one’s lungs, one must finally concede that one is ill.

I got home around 7 ish and spent the rest of the evening on the couch watching the football game with a box of tissues and lemon-echinacea cough drops as my companions.  The game ended around 11 at which point I popped some Nyquil and rolled into bed.

Thoroughly, or some might say crazily, optimistic, I’d set my alarm for 6:05 so I could get up for rowing class.  The alarm went off, I sat up, coughed up half a lung, said, “No freaking way” and reached for my phone to cancel my appearance in rowing class.  (There’s an app for that!)

Two hours later, I woke up again to text my boss and my assistant that I was taking a sick day.  I managed to go out long enough to pick Natty up from boarding.  I then went back to bed and slept for several hours.  Sleep was pretty much the most productive thing I did all day.  I’d manage an hour or two of consciousness and then curl up back in bed again for more zzzzs.

Clearly my body knew what I needed.  When Tuesday morning rolled around, I felt much better than I had 24 hours previously, so I went into work for a few hours.  However, I decided from the outset that I wasn’t pushing matters.  I just wanted to get a few important tasks done.  Once I did, I left and returned to my comfy bed for some more rest.

Last night, although I knew I had improved a good amount, I had a long conversation with myself about the wisdom of not pushing myself more than I should.  I then cancelled my appointment for this morning’s rowing class and, instead, scheduled myself for one on Saturday.   I already had one class set for Friday and I am confident that by then I will be up to the exertion.  So, at least I will get in two classes this week!

Anyway, this is the long-winded explanation for why I haven’t written any posts in more than a week.  I never even turned on the home computer until tonight.  While I would normally push myself, I knew that I needed to pay attention to my body and take care of myself instead.  So I did, and it helped.  I managed a full, busy day, at work and still had enough energy for Tai Chi class.  An acupuncture session this morning certainly boosted my energy supply, which was very helpful.  Now I’m going to keep listening to what I need and go to bed early.


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Reboots, Restarts and When Not to Upgrade

I haven’t posted in a week for a couple of reasons.  Physically and mentally, I’ve been exhausted when I get home at night.  I also made what turned out to be a mistake for my computer when I upgraded to Windows 10.  Nothing but problems and, again, I was just too tired at night to figure out a resolution.  Tonight I finally Googled for answers and found out that it’s pretty easy to resort to the previous operating system, so I did that.

Oh, if it was only as simple and uncomplicated to uninstall all of the things that we sometimes take on in our lives, only to find out that they don’t work the way that we need or want them to!  I can think of a bunch of choices I’ve made that I’d like to undo with a couple of clicks and then a restart of myself.

Right now, I feel like I’m fruitlessly and fitfully searching for an upgrade to my eating plan and daily food diet that will magically reboot my weight loss, resolve my cravings, help me make better choices and, just because I feel like repeating it, reboot my weight loss.  That’s the insanity of my head.  When I get a little crazy like that, I have to stop and remind myself that easy does it.  I have to avoid overcomplicating matters and stick to basics.  Eat healthy.  Eat in balance.  Keep working out.  Trust that results will come.  There’s no magic to it.  No big secret.  Eat healthy.  Eat in balance.  Keep working out.

I resolve to stop looking for some incredible, easy fix.  It doesn’t exist.  There is no special upgrade.  Each day I just need to restart on the sensible approach that I know works.  Eat healthy.  Eat in balance.  Keep working out.


One Day Can Make a Difference

My stomach feels much better today, less raw and uncomfortable.  It’s been smoothed by creamy, healthy smoothies, tea, lots of water, and soup.  My head, and by head I mean my mind, and my heart (emotions) feel much better today too.  Writing it all out last night and then making a plan and sticking to it today ending up being very self-affirming.  I was more clear-headed and better able to focus on my tasks.  Food was not a big issue; I wasn’t attacked by unending compulsion to eat in appropriately.

In program, we focus on one day at a time.  Now the day is winding down.  I’m chilling at home with a last cup of green tea and getting ready to settle in with the television shows I like to watch.  Tomorrow when I wake up and before my feet hit the floor, I’ll recommit to another day and know that it can make a positive difference.

Thank you for being here.  I hope you’re having a good day too.

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Once More With Feeling

Once more, I dig deep and resolve to get myself moving in the right direction.  I was doing so well with balancing things for a while and this past week I crashed emotionally and physically.  I’m eating in full out relapse and physically feel like total crap.  My stomach is off.  I’m bloated like I’m retaining fluid for three people.  I refuse to get on the scale so that I don’t totally demoralize myself.

Emotionally, I’m sad, depressed, angry with myself.  Spiritually, I’m downhearted.  Mentally, I go between WTF (What the f&&k) and DGU (Don’t give up).

Here are the bright spots.  Despite everything, I stuck to working out three times last week and gave it my all in rowing classes, Tai Chi and getting Nat out for walks.  When I finish this I’m either going to go for a bike ride or go in the pool.

Emotionally, the bright spot came when talking to one of my closest friends, I talked about how I’m still going through grieving for Pyxi.  My friend could have said, “Suck it up.  It’s been two weeks.”  Instead, she shared that she still experiences moments of grief when she sees a box of things that belonged to her beloved dog who passed a couple of years ago.  So, instead of a negative judgment, I got a much needed validation.

This helped a great deal because I’ve been judging myself all week.

I understand that this is a function of my disease.  If I ever wanted to make it an actual creature in a horror novel, here’s how I would characterize it.  It would be an evil, needy force that craved human emotional pain to to feel alive; that gained substance in form whenever its victim criticized, judged, and body-shamed herself; that took sustenance from the addictive substances that its victim consumed.  So, needing these things for its own survival, the disease would take control of its victim to incite these things and then gobble them up.

Knowing all this, there are times when I just want to crawl into bed, pull the covers over my head and hide or wallow in my own misery.  Times when I want to say, “What’s the use.  I can’t win.”

Thankfully, somehow, somewhere with help from whatever Higher Power refuses to abandon me, I find the need to dig deep and try once more.

Tomorrow, I’m going the full liquid route.  This is not a crash diet.  I simply want to remove as many food options as possible.  Fewer choices mean fewer chances for my disease to take control and lead me to making the wrong choice.  Plus, my stomach physically feels raw inside from the crap I’ve been eating, like I’ve rubbed it raw with junk.  It needs to be treated gently for a while.

I’ve thought off and on about whether to face the music and weigh myself tomorrow.  Right now, I’ve decided against taking that step.  I’ve meditated over whether this is denial on my part, but I’ve decided that it isn’t.  What I want to achieve is the simple act of getting abstinent again.  I don’t want to make this about how much weight I might have gained over the last week or how much weight I might lose on a food plan of full liquids.  It isn’t about moving up and down in my numbers.  It’s how restoring my emotional, physical, mental and spiritual stability.


Feeling a Little Sideways

Over the last week, I’ve been up and down and then, this weekend, mostly sideways.  I continue to feel abundant gratitude for the kindness given to me and Nat.  It inspires me to pay it forward and to be open to opportunities to be kind to others.

Yesterday I hosted a “tea” for a friend who is getting married in a few weeks.  She didn’t want a big shower.  The tea was her preference, which was fine with me because I love a good tea.  It inspired me, of course, to dig in and give my house a deep clean — always a plus, even though I hate actually doing the work.

The down side, unfortunately, is that I felt compelled to bake cookies and scones for the event and to make a prosecco-lemonade punch.  While these contributed to the loveliness of the occasion, they also provided occasion for me to contribute to my eating disorder.  I ate wayyy too much stuff that isn’t on my plan, wasn’t eaten in a healthy sane way, and ended up giving me a stomach ache, acid, and a night of just being sideways.  Sideways, for me, is akin to being numb.  Not up, not down, but not fully engaged and functioning.  I pretty much stretched out on the couch for most of the hours after my guests left and I cleaned up so I was physically sideways, too.

Note to self:  When in that kind of mood, find a comedy to watch.  Dead Man Walking, while it features wonderful performances by Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn, is not a jovial mood-elevator.

Today I did something really nice for myself.  My regular nail tech is on vacation for a couple of weeks and I was due for a manicure and pedicure appointment.  I wasn’t able to get a convenient appointment with any of the people she recommended.  So, I indulged and went to the fancy spa of the big resort a few miles up the road.  Although I paid much more than I usually would for these services, I give the technician credit.  She did a great job and the foot and hand massages were extremely thorough.  This little indulgence felt good.

I don’t want to get on the scale tomorrow because I fear that I undid all of the good that I did for myself last week when I was careful with my food and working out hard.  So maybe I won’t.  Maybe I’ll just stay on a healthy eating track, exercise, and not weigh myself until the end of the week.

Avoidance?  Perhaps.  However, I also don’t want to make myself feel any worse.  I’m teetering on the edge of negative self-judgment and beating myself up.

Here’s the plan.  I’m about to eat a tasty, planned for dinner, that’s also healthy.  I got back a short time ago from a good long walk with Nat.  I have rowing class at 7 a.m. tomorrow.  I will commit my food in the morning and stick to the plan all day.

As long as I don’t let sideways turn around into completely losing progress, I can settle myself into my program and start moving forward again.

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