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Cruise Day Three – Snorkeling and Spirituality

Needless to say, after getting to talk with Larry Gatlin, I carried a glow with me throughout the day. We docked at Grand Turk in the Turks and Caicos on a beautiful, sunny but breezy day. I’d lugged my snorkeling gear and a wetsuit with me from home and looked forward to a trip to the reef. I am such a water girl, as we’ve established before, so it made perfect sense to disembark a huge ship to board a smaller one for a few hours.

I always enjoy snorkeling, but I have to say that I think our reef in the Florida Keys is prettier with more varieties of coral and many more species of fish. That said, I still had fun. I also saw some sizeable “flag” yellowtail that my fishing friends and I would be happy to have hit a hook back home.

After an enjoyable few hours, I returned to the ship a salty, sticky, happy mess. I cleaned up and hit the buffet for lunch, putting together a nice, healthy salad. My attitude and approach to food and eating were so great while on my cruise that I wish I could package them and access them whenever and wherever I need to make a food choice. Only a couple of days into the cruise and I began to think that I might be able to surpass the goal to not gain weight and actually lose some. I was incredibly willing to keep eating right and be as physically active as possible. That thought stayed with me every time I walked up several flights of steps to the upper decks for a meal or different activity. (Going down is, of course, a no brainer.)

Lunch completed, I walked upstairs to the Gatlin Brothers’ interview. They are blessed with a great gift of beautiful voices and rich harmonies. During the interview they spontaneously broke into a rousing rendition of America the Beautiful and had the entire room (A hundred or so people, I estimate) singing a long. Later on, they sang a gorgeous hymn.

This brings me to the second part of this post. I’m not sure if it was thinking about Larry’s long ago personal ministry to the people at Ashley, the joy of the Gospel Hour, or hearing so many different artists on the cruise profess their faith, but I found myself thinking a lot about God, faith, spirituality and where I am with all of it. The 12th Step of AA/NA/OA talks about spiritual awakening. I’ve always believed that means different things to different people, depending on where we, or they, might be in their lives.

I was born and raised Roman Catholic but once I aged past 16, my regular practice of my religion and attendance in church have been sporadic. I used to go through periods where I’d attend church regularly but the years of not going are far more numerous. Yet, I believe in God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, even if I couldn’t tell you exactly what I believe the Holy Spirit to be. An essence, perhaps, but not a personage. I’m not much for the rules of the church, but when I go I behave in accordance with them. For example, I grew up learning that Catholics do not take Communion without first going to Confession and doing penance.

I pray. I try not to ask God for too much beyond the Serenity Prayer pleas for acceptance, courage and wisdom. I ask Him to help me in my efforts to be a good person, to do good in this world. If friends or family of friends are sick or need support, I’ll say a prayer for them. Most of my prayer time is devoted to being grateful for all of the blessings and lessons in my life. That’s something that I started doing the year that my mother was so sick and dying. Every night I found five things for which to be grateful. No matter how bad the day had been, or what challenges we faced, I was determined to cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Doing this got be through the worst days and helped me sleep with more ease, then get up the next day at least able to put a foot in front of the other and keep moving.

So with this spiritual awakening on the ship, I found myself wanting to connect to something greater than myself and to be part of a bigger picture. I saw on the daily schedule that Mass was scheduled for half an hour before dinner. I haven’t been to Mass in years, other than for a funeral, but I felt called to go. It was held in the Northern Lights room which I’m pretty sure is usually some sort of lounge or private party room. On the ship, this room was located near the casino. Before they closed the outer doors, the bells and clangs of slot machines came through. Strange or not, I wanted to be there. My heart felt full and I felt more connected, as I’d hoped.

The 12th Step talks about carrying the message of the steps to others and to practicing the principles in all of our affairs. I thought about what that meant to me. The spiritual awakening I experienced on the cruise showed me that I can continue to work on being a better, kinder person. Not that I don’t already try to be good and kind, but I know there are times when I am impatient, snarky and selfish with my time. I resolved to keep practicing the life lesson I got more than 20 years ago and be more generous in heart and spirit to others.

It’s a good goal and one that rewards even while it engenders more giving. When I first went to OA, there were a lot of us who didn’t understand how the 12th Step helped us with eating disorders. I’m not sure that I can make a point to point correlation, but I believe it goes back to the larger connection. Overeating is often an attempt to fill empty spaces, to make up for something that we feel is lacking. Expansion of spirit, in whatever way it happens, fills empty spaces from within. The 12 Steps are good guidelines for living a life of honesty, integrity, and kindness toward ourselves and to others. Working on those principles leaves a lot less room for the diseased thinking to take hold and manifest itself in diseased behavior like overeating.

For what it’s worth, I’d like to keep this spiritual awakening awake for as long as possible.

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Cruise Highlight – Larry Gatlin

I promised yesterday to tell you this special story. Previously on this blog, I’ve shared that my mother was a recovering alcoholic. Back in the late 1980s, she was in the midst of a bad relapse. Our family worked with her therapist to do an intervention and she agreed to go into rehab at a wonderful addiction treatment center called Father Martin’s Ashley in Havre de Grace, Maryland.

A few years later in 1992, the center planned a big event to dedicate Bantle Hall. They invited all alumni and family to attend. Mom wanted to go and I said that I’d drive down with her from our home in New Jersey. The keynote speaker for the event was Mrs. Betty Ford. Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers were booked to perform in concert. It was a beautiful, inspiring afternoon. I will admit that I’d only started listening to country music a few years prior to this and I’d never seen the Gatlins before. Their concert made me a fan of their music. Larry Gatlin’s actions afterward made me a fan of him personally.

After entertaining the crowd outside on this warm day, still dressed in his performance attire, Larry stood in the small rose garden for at least an hour or more. There were many people, either those currently in program at Ashley or alumni, who wanted the chance to meet him. (Larry is himself in recovery. I’m not telling tales out of school. He openly talks about it and you can read his story online.)

In that hour, Larry was unfailingly patient, kind and warm to everybody in that long line. He had a hug, a handshake and a word of encouragement for each person. Every few minutes, an assistant asked if he was okay or if he needed to get back to the bus, but the meeting and greeting continued. At one point Larry told the other man that if he needed to do something he should go ahead, but Larry was fine with the people.

I was so impressed by his warmth and generosity of spirit that the experience became a life lesson for me. Honestly, I think it had something to do with me becoming so willing to talk about my eating disorder, weight loss surgery, and recovery journey. More than 20 years later, I’ve never forgotten that day. When I learned that the Gatlin Brothers would be on this cruise, I was excited to hear them perform again. I also hoped that maybe, just maybe, I’d have an opportunity to tell Larry this story. I thought that a celebrity should know and be acknowledged for that kindness he showed to all of those people.

Of course I wasn’t going to stalk him on the ship. 🙂 I just figured that if it was meant to be, it would happen.

On that day at sea last Monday, up at the line dancing after the Gospel Hour, I ran into Leslie again who introduced me to Cat whose husband is also in Restless Heart. We talked about the gospel performances and something moved me to tell them the story. Cat and Leslie told me that they thought Larry needed to hear it. They encouraged me to write it out and if I didn’t see him, to give them the letter and they would make sure they gave it to him.

I went back to my stateroom and wrote everything down, including my thank you. I carried the letter around with me so I’d have it when I next ran into the ladies.

The following morning, I left it in my room while I went down for my morning walk and breakfast. I got my meal, the cruise ship equivalent of a healthy breakfast sandwich, and sat down at a table. Well, about five minutes later, I saw Larry Gatlin walking down the line on his way to the omelet station. No, friends, I did not bolt to my feet and proclaim, “Larry! I have to talk to you!” I did, however, smile and simply say good morning.

To my surprise, he stopped by my table, said good morning in return and then joked about my meal. Something along the lines of, “You’re on a cruise and that’s all you’re eating?” I sort of shrugged and, my mind racing, thought that this might be my best opportunity. I smiled and asked if he had one minute because there was something I’d been hoping to tell him. He waited and I started the story.

Clearly the ladies had already talked to him because I’d said no more than two sentences before he put his hand on my arm and asked, “Are you the woman my friends told me about?” With that he sat down at the table with me and listened. I told him everything. We talked a bit about how celebrities often have things asked of them and it can get tiring, but he said that he realizes how much he gets back. He also talked about being a Christian and trying to do good work. I told him that at Ashley when his assistant kept trying to give him an out to leave, he’d said that he was fine with the people and the Lord said, “Feed my flock.”

Larry asked me if I’d written my letter like Cat and Leslie suggested. I said that I had but didn’t bring it with me on my workout. He told me to make sure that I got it to him and to say hello if I saw him on the ship again. he then gave me a hug and a kiss and thanked me for making his day.

I had a little emotional moment after he left. I couldn’t believe that I’d gotten to do what I hoped. I also received another life lesson in being generous with time and attention. I’m no celebrity but sometimes all of us in regular life situations run into people who might want something of our time. You never know when giving someone attention, encouragement, or just a little extra kindness might have a positive effect. I came away resolved to be more patient as a general rule.

The next day, I got a chance to give him my note. The following day I ran into him again at the buffet. He thanked me for writing him a sweet letter. I thanked him for being a sweet man.

I have to say, my friends. This experience was definitely a highlight of a wonderful week.


Cruise Day Two-Fitness For Sure

My room didn’t have a clock and I’d turned off my phone. Thankfully, my internal clock woke me up at 7:10 a.m. This was a full day at sea so I wasn’t rushed to get anywhere. The cruise-related events started later in the morning. I rolled out of bed, ate a banana in my room and headed for the promenade deck for a morning walk. Most cruise ships tell you how many laps equal a mile. On the Eurodam, they said three. I turned on my iPod and walked four laps for good measure. Off to a good start, I took the steps up 8 decks to the buffet restaurant.

Whether one has an eating disorder or not, buffets are a challenge. Buffets on a cruise ship are feasts waiting to be consumed. Everything looked and smelled delicious and temptation was very hard to resist, but I managed. It was also a bit of a challenge to get the servers to accept that I really did want only half a scoop of scrambled eggs. I guess they’re used to people filling their plates and stomachs. I stayed with the half scoop of eggs, a single sausage patty and a mini croissant. I ate slowly and mindfully and realized that I didn’t want everything on my plate. I took my tea and left, heading for the morning Wellness Program.

A trainer from the gym led our group through a series of moves that incorporated stretching, a little aerobic activity, some yoga and Pilates and just plain breathing and moving. I will admit that I was very happy to see that I could do all of the moves without strain but still felt like the routine gave me somewhat of a workout. Just to keep the movement momentum going, after that program, I found space on the aft deck to do a set of Tai Chi. This was my first attempt to do a full set on a moving ship. The gentle roll threw off my balance. The movement of other passengers around me, along with the plain beauty of the sea, distracted me and I messed up the sequence. I feel it was quite possibly the worst set I’ve done in months. I ended up repeating the kick sequence to work on my balance issues.

Like I said, I thought I’d done a terrible set, but when I finished and was putting my socks and sneaks back on, a woman came up and asked if I was a Tai Chi instructor! She’d thought that my moves were beautiful and graceful! We talked a bit about Tai Chi and its health benefits. I gave her the Taoist.org website URL and encouraged her to look for classes. (She and her husband both have issues that Tai Chi could help.) I also pointed out that if she can’t find Taoist classes, she should still ask at local hospitals, senior centers, etc. Many offer classes in some form of Tai Chi.

This was a great lesson for me. I was embarrassed by my mistakes. The woman helped me remember that, errors or not, I was still benefitting myself by practicing. Even more so, I was demonstrating the principle of making Tai Chi available to all by doing the form out in the open and being willing to chat about it later.

After a morning of fitness activity and exercise, I showered and got ready for a full day and evening of cruise activities. First up, the Gospel Hour featuring performances by a young bluegrass duo The Roys, followed by Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers. I’m a huge Gatlin fan, not only for their music but also for something that I observed more than 20 years ago. I feel like the whole story deserves its own post, so I’ll tell it all tomorrow. I promise!

For now I’ll just say that the rest of the day included more exercise via line dancing, taking the stairs and just roaming around the ship. I continued to do well with my food choices at lunch and dinner. I also rewarded myself with a wonderful lime and ginger scrub and massage. Bliss! Andy Griggs performed in one of the smaller lounges. Patty Loveless was the star of the Main Stage show. After that, I called it a night and went to bed.

On this first full day on the ship, I learned, or maybe reconfirmed, that old habits can give way gladly to new, healthier choices. I’ve never tried to be so physically active when cruising. I was never so happy to consistently eat more healthfully and mindfully. Sometimes the old resentful diet mentality can kick in where I feel deprived and whiny about the things or amounts I can’t or shouldn’t eat. When I went to bed I spent some moments just feeling the gratitude that I was happy about how I’d chosen to spend the day being active and eating right. I think this set me up for more success the following day!


Country Cruise – Day One

Although I happily disconnected digitally while on my cruise, I discovered early on that I did not want to disconnect from my process. Away from this blog, I opted to keep a journal of each day’s adventures and any light bulb moments or things of great awareness. I have several dozen photos to go through, which I started to do earlier this evening. Unfortunately, I’m still catching up on my sleep and dealing with the lingering effects of a cold that are wiping me out. I didn’t make nearly the progress that I’d hoped on sorting through and sizing down the pics to post. So, forgive me if I don’t post any yet, but opt instead to write a bit here before heading for bed.

On the very first day, I jotted some notes about how I was smiling and chatting with everyone. I toured the ship, which helped logged steps. The spa looked lovely but I resisted purchasing the expensive “hydrotherapie spa” package. I realized that the daily schedule of cruise activities was so packed that I didn’t plan on having a lot of time to lounge in a big mineral hot tub. I did, however, schedule a massage for the first “at-sea” day.

While I was enjoying my first meal on board – a light, fresh salad — I made the resolution to take the stairs up and down as much as possible. That’s also the time that I first stated the goal to not gain any weight. When I returned to my room I noticed a small card that asked me to state my fruit preferences. This was not only a nice touch from Holland America, but also a great reassurance that I would always have easy access to a healthy fruit snack. Oh sure, I could run up to the buffet deck any time, but that would mean that I would also have to walk by the dessert shelves. Fruit in the room acted as a safeguard. It also helped with my plan to keep up my activity level. I could eat half of a banana before I set out for my daily morning walk instead of delaying by running up to the buffet for breakfast first.

Overall it was a terrific first day. I went to the Sail Away Party where I met nice people and line danced. I discovered that it is actually possible to dance in flip flops but pivots and 180 degree turns are hard.

Singer Bryan White was interviewed for the entertainment company’s “Backstage Pass” feature. I went to that taping before dinner. It was fun and interesting to hear more about his background. I can’t remember what my meal choice was that night, but it was good. I tried everything on my plate but pushed the rest away when I’d had enough.

The evening’s main show entertainer was Jo Dee Messina. Her new album’s songs are terrific. She funded the project herself with a Kickstarter campaign and is involving fans in selecting the cover art photos, the first single, etc. She also spoke a great deal about the challenges of caring for her mother who’s been ill and hospitalized for several months. A nice couple named Leslie and Paul came in and sat next to me in the theater. He’s the bass player and a lead singer for the group Restless Heart.

One of the best things about this cruise was the amount of entertainment. In addition to the main theater show each night, there were two lounges that were set up for shorter, more intimate shows. On the first night, I saw singer Ty Herndon in the location dubbed the Opry Bar. Great performance. Singer-songwriter Anita Cochran accompanied him as his guitar player and backup singer. They sang beautifully together and separately. I remembered her name from a duet she did several years ago with singer Steve Warner. She has a powerful voice and great range.

After the show I could have gone up to the Lido deck where they had nightly late parties with a band, or to the Crow’s Nest for line dancing. On this, the first night, however, I was tired and went to bed at midnight. Even with all of the activity, I didn’t quite make 10,000 steps, but I was damned close and resolved to do better the next day.

I went into this adventure believing that I would have no trouble being sociable and that I would never feel out of place or strange about traveling alone. Since I was having enough fun on Day One to not even go to the special gathering of single and solo travelers, I figured that my initial instincts about myself were true. Good to know and the affirmation boded well for the rest of the trip.


Jumped In and Cruised

Everyone, I’ve been away from home for a week without internet access. I wrote the last few posts before I left and scheduled them to appear while I was on vacation. In the past I’ve said flat out when I’ve been away, but several friends and other stories convinced me to, perhaps, not be quite so open about the absences. I’m sure you understand.

I think I mentioned several months ago that I booked myself as a solo traveler on a Country Music Cruise. I’d mentioned the thing to some friends but either they didn’t have the desire, the time, or the budget to go. I thought about what it would be like to go by myself without knowing anyone else on the ship. I also kept going to the entertainment company’s site and reading about the incredible lineup of performers scheduled to appear, including some of my long time favorites. I really thought about how I would feel on January 19th if I was sitting at home while the ship sailed and decided to jump in and book. I figured that I’m outgoing and sociable enough that I would easily be able to talk to people and have a great time even without friends and family.

Friends, I cannot find adequate enough adjectives to describe how fantastic a week I just enjoyed! Every single day was packed with activity, adventure and abundant fun! I also enjoyed some extra special experiences, felt significant spiritual reconnection, and got in touch with some new or additional awareness.

During the week, I was on total digital disconnect. I turned off my smart phone when we left Ft. Lauderdale rather than invest in an international calling/data plan. My computer remained at home and I never went to the ship’s Internet café to log online. When we reached Puerto Rico on Wednesday and could access my regular mobile plan, I briefly turned on the phone, did a cursory check of personal email, spent five minutes on Facebook, and sent a couple of text messages to family, but that was it.

Instead, to stay connected to my process and journey, I kept a journal. The notes, comments and insights will help me as I share some of what I experienced in future blog posts. I need to go over everything again, but honest to goodness, I’m exhausted tonight from all of the adventure and fun.

One important thing that I will report is how incredibly well I did managing my food plan, my eating, and my exercise. My goal was to enjoy the delicious food but not overindulge or overeat. I wanted to get through the cruise without gaining weight. Every morning I woke up and walked the promenade deck for between one to two miles. I took the stairs, going up and down, 98% of the time. I went to the hour-long wellness class four of the seven days, took several hour-long line dancing classes, and walked allll over the ship. How did this activity measure up? Well, on Wednesday I racked up close to 21,000 steps. I also did a 90 minute kayaking excursion.

So you know that I couldn’t resist getting on the scale when I got home. Not only did I not gain weight, I lost a few pounds. In a word, Booyah! It was a true reaffirmation that I can actually be in the presence of massive amounts of delicious food items and not dive into diseased eating disorder mode. That is a huge NSV and source of encouragement to realize. I’m determined to bridge this back into my home life. Granted, I won’t walk around all day long like I seemed to do on the ship. After all, I do need to sit at my desk and work. However, I can continue to focus on my mindful eating, my healthy food choices, and impetus to be active whenever the opportunity presents.

I didn’t take that many pictures, but will share what I can. I’m going to work on downloading them tonight before I crash into bed so that they can accompany the week’s posts.

In the meantime, I hope that you all had a great, strong week. I missed you. I also knew that you’d all be happy for me. Trust me, I carried you and your support with me on my fantastic cruise adventure.

By the way, yesterday was the 2nd anniversary of my weight loss surgery. The journey has been amazing thus far. I can’t wait to experience whatever lies ahead. Thank you for being part of the trip.


Not an Introvert

I’m really glad that I’m not an introvert. I’m pretty sociable, a good networker, and almost completely comfortable heading into lots of different situations by myself. While I don’t make close friends easily, I am easily friendly and can chat to complete strangers.

This comes in handy in my line of work. It also comes in handy in general. It’s a useful life skill.

It used to be more difficult when I had to overcome self-consciousness over my body size. I often imagined my large body preceding the rest of me into a room. I projected that the people already in the room, automatically judged me with the most negative opinions. I also generally compared myself to others, or rather looked around and noticed that I was usually the heaviest person in the room.

When I think about those decades, I marvel a little that I didn’t become an introvert or seek to hide instead of reaching out to connect with others. If I had, I know that it would have made my life and my job even more difficult. I will admit that I employed a lot of “fake it until you make it” attitude to help me perform in those social and business situations. Even if I dreaded, anticipated, or imagined the judgments, I pretended otherwise. I acted “as if” I was more confident than I felt.

It’s really nice that I don’t do that whole “body size judgment” projection any more. When I walk into a situation, confident and sure, I’m not acting. That’s me all of the way. I know that I really always was an extrovert and now that’s completely unfettered and free of any lingering uncomfortableness.


Making Amends

There are steps in the 12 Step programs that talk about taking inventory of ourselves and our actions, admitting them to another person, and then making a list of people we’ve harmed and making amends where possible.

It’s a daunting and humbling process to study one’s self and one’s actions so objectively, take that personal inventory, and then suck it up and make amends. I think a lot of us would just prefer a do-over and skate by on the promise to do better in the future.

It doesn’t work that way — not when we’ve harmed others and definitely not when we’ve harmed ourselves. I am far better at apologizing to someone else than I am at making amends to myself. I’ve hurt myself a lot over the years — emotionally, mentally and physically.

I’ve thought badly of myself and really treated myself in awful ways. Seriously, if I treated others the same way it would be justifiable for someone to declare me a hateful, mean person. If someone else tried to treat someone I loved in the same way, I’d bitch slap that someone across the room.

So why was it acceptable to be rotten to myself? How did I learn to be mean, or at the very least, completely unsupportive to me? I wish that I had the answer.

I’m working on being a whole lot better to myself these days. I can’t undo the past, but I can apologize to myself, forgive myself, and resolve to not repeat the crappy, hurtful behavior in the future. I think that making amends to myself, truly being loving and forgiving, is essential to my recovery.

One way of repairing the physical abuse is to continue to be diligent with my exercise. I’m making my body stronger and healthier. The mental amends? I can work on them by cancelling negative, derogatory or judgmental thoughts if they pop up. Emotional amends? Loving myself, nurturing my needs, being as good and kind to myself as I enjoy being to others, goes a long way.

How do you feel about the ways — good and bad — that you treat yourself? Can you give yourself a hug today?


Not a Soap Opera

I’ve watched General Hospital pretty consistently for the last 30 years, or since whenever I got my first VCR and could record it during the day while I was at work. Going on in today’s episode, Bobbie is upset over the disappearance of her daughter Carly, who is in the hands of an insane murderer. Bobbie’s adopted son has just arrived in town to be helpful, but that stresses out Bobbie more because son doesn’t know that his biological father really isn’t dead. Heather, the crazy murderer wants to frame her own son for Carly’s murder and is furious that the cops haven’t fallen inline. That son is himself a serial killer but he committed his crimes because of a brain tumor.

GH puts the drama in daytime drama, don’t you think? I think these shows should make us feel better by comparison. What some people often feel is drama in their lives doesn’t come close to deranged serial killers, fathers back from the dead, and abducted daughters.

Then there’s “reality” television shows. I put that in quotes because they’re aren’t really reality. They’re reality ramped up by many degrees in order to make them more interesting, more “riveting”, often more controversial in order to generate more viewers.

When all is said and done, regardless of the occasional ups and downs, my life is not a soap opera. Most of the time, nothing that happens, nothing I experience should be powerful enough to throw me off stride and off plan. Bottom line, there really isn’t anything that happens to be today that is upsetting enough that I should eat over it. What’s that old saying about Rule #1 is Don’t sweat the small stuff and #2 is that it’s all small stuff?

I like the idea of keeping everything in perspective which means not letting mole hills appear to be mountains. It’s all small stuff.

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On An Upswing

This was an up and down sort of week. It felt a lot like Skye’s therapist’s analogy of riding waves of emotion. Right now I’m hanging ten on my surfboard, controlling the ride in the curl of the wave and powering through without wiping out.

Honestly, the work week has ended on an upswing. A friend and co-worker who passed away last year used to say he counted it as a good day when he fixed more than he broke. Patrick had that kind of wit and sense of humor. My week wasn’t perfect, but I definitely fixed more than I broke, achieved more than I didn’t. In addition to my day job, I had the monthly meetings of two organizations on whose boards I serve plus a bunch of other stuff to do. Sitting here now on a Friday evening and looking back, I can assess the ups and downs and know that, by far, there was a lot more good than not.

I think it’s important to recognize the good. All too often we give more time, attention and, ultimately, stress to the negative things. They consume us and suck up our energy. Tonight I think it will be helpful to switch that paradigm around. I’d like instead to not give too much of myself and my positive attitude to the negative but, instead, truly focus on and fuel the good. It’s sort of like the Good Wolf/Bad Wolf thing. The one that wins is the one you feed.

So, tonight I’m nourishing the good and positive things in my life, and that includes the good and positive things within myself. That is definitely worth the energy.


Emotional Eating

I’ve been up and down emotionally the last few days. I had the inefficient worrying to manage, then the up of the better-than-expected day with some hurdles successfully hurdled. Yesterday, I not so jokingly said to a friend that my ass hurt. When she asked why I replied that it was because several people were being pains in it. Basically I experience a series of aggravating situations. Unfortunately, rather than tap my car door and leave them behind before Tai Chi class, I brought them with which made me less even-keeled and more stressed about dealing with some challenges and changes.

It isn’t like me to not be able to roll with stuff, but I couldn’t last night. This is alien behavior. I’ve always had the rep of a champion coper, able to deal with tough stuff, get it done, etc. It isn’t like I fell apart, but I was not in a good, even-keeled mood at all.

I really have to wonder how much of this is because I don’t eat over the emotions. I’m not stuffing them down and smothering them with massive quantities of food. I’m not emotionally eating in the manner or extent that I used to. It will probably serve me well to remember that handling the feelings without food, when that was my go-to coping mechanism for most of my life, is one more thing that will take time to be familiar. It requires new strategies and coping mechanisms. I can go it. I just need time and practice.