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The Non-Diet Mentality

Life is still super stressful.  I’m feeling a little piled-on at the moment, experiencing more than the usual amount of stress both at work and in my personal life.  I’ve been getting headaches over it and on any given night could wake up around 2:30 or 3:00 a.m. and not be able to fall back asleep for a few hours.  It sucks.  Plain and simple.   You know the people and internet memes that tout how it’s up to us to choose our attitude?  Trust me.  I am all about being positive and upbeat.  So, a good attitude would definitely be my choice – if I could find one.  I’m going to keep looking.  Honest.  I can feel the stress affecting me not only emotionally and mentally, but also physically.

So, really, I am doing my best to counteract the negativity.  When my head starts to pound and I can practically feel my blood pressure rising, I focus on deep, calming, breathing.  I take walks and do Tai Chi.  When stress thoughts begin to repeat in my head like hyped-up hamsters on an endless wheel (what I believe psychiatrists refer to as inefficient worrying), and disturb my sleep, I pick up a book to read for a little while rather than toss, turn and keep thinking the thoughts.

I practice being grateful.  I also keep repeating the Serenity Prayer.  I have a full cache of techniques and tools and am doing my best to employ them effectively.  When all else fails, I simply remember that the stress won’t last forever and this is not the worst time of my life – not anywhere close.  In the grand scheme of things, these fall somewhere in the “small stuff” category — or at least the “medium stuff” — and I can handle them.

One of the positives that I acknowledge and celebrate is that I’m not eating over the stress.  Actually, I’m doing far better following the Always Hungry food plan of low refined and white carbs/low sugar but full fat and protein than I ever thought possible.  I don’t have physical cravings and am not dancing on a micro-thin ledge where a slight push could have me jumping into compulsion or binge eating on crap foods.

It really is a sensible, workable food plan in my life.  I never thought I’d say that about a low-carb plan.

I should point out that my weight loss has not been fast, significant nor steady.  When I first started phase one of Always Hungry?, I lost 11 pounds in two weeks.  Then I put on three of the pounds when I went to phase two.  I went back to phase one with occasional whole grains and didn’t lose anything for weeks.  A couple of weeks ago, I lost the three pounds I’d regained, then stalled again.  This week I dropped another two.  (At least as of today.)

The lack of consistent weight loss has been frustrating.  I crave instant gratification and rapid loss.  There’s a lesson in this for me and I am cautiously optimistic that I am finally learning to give up the diet mindset and embrace a non-diet mentality.  Doing that was an important part of when I first experienced recovery many, many years ago in OA.  It is important that I remember, and positively reinforce, myself for the daily effort of eating according to my plan; that I find joy in making good, healthy food choices.

Most of the time, I really am jazzed that I seek out fresh, good food instead of chowing down on processed stuff.  I take time to acknowledge when I make good choices.  Earlier today I had a Chamber of Commerce luncheon to go to.  The restaurant featured a salad bar and a series of buffet items.  There were plenty of things I could have loaded on my plate.  Instead I fixed a nice salad with fresh ingredients that weren’t carb or sugar-laden.  I bypassed the rice at the buffet and picked some sauteed vegetables and a little bit of the shredded meat.  The ciabatta rolls looked great but I walked right by them to my table.  Skipped the dessert offering too.  Everything I consumed was right in line with my food plan.  That was the NSV, the non-scale victory.  Even faced with the opportunity of non-plan foods, I chose to eat according to plan.  At no time did I feel deprived or like I was eating diet food.  I wasn’t dieting at lunch, per se.  I was just eating lunch period.

This is the mentality that I will continue to foster.   I know that I’m also on the mark with my portion sizes and striking the balance between healthy carbs, protein and fat.  As long as I continue to follow this approach, eventually I’ll lose more weight.  The journey might be slow, but I can hopefully condition myself to accept that too.

There have been a lot of stories in the news about this study done with contestants from a season of The Biggest Loser.  All or most of them have regained most of the weight that they lost while on that program.  There were also very discouraging claims that our body fights to get back to the number we weighed before we dieted.  Dr. Ludwig, who created the Always Hungry? plan offers hope that it doesn’t have to be that way.  That this plan does indeed help us conquer cravings, retrain our fat cells and lose weight permanently.  For today, I’m taking it on faith that he’s right.

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No Reasons, No Excuses

The last two days have not been ones that I’d like to make scrapbooks about and remember forever.  They’ve ranked a little higher in suckitude than in the category of sunshine and roses.  Most of it is work related.  Trust me, if Mercury isn’t in retrograde, it should be because ordinary tasks are getting screwed up.  Other, unexpected things are contributing to an overall atmosphere of snafu.  (I don’t think snafu actually belongs as that part of speech but humor me, okay?)

Normally, I’m an upbeat person and take most things in stride.  Semper Gumby (always flexible) is a standard rallying cry.  I can roll with pretty much any punch.  Except those rare times when I feel like things are piling on more than usual and circumstances are stealing my joy.  Stealing my joy along with my bright light, energy, and general tolerance for other peoples’ foibles.

Honestly, everything has contributed to me being cranky as hell and not as willing to stifle it or rise above it.  I pretty much isolated myself in my office today rather, as much for my well being as well as that of others.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t ignore emails and, through that means, a couple of people really pissed me off.  Bad timing that they picked this week to do so.  While last week I would have been more inclined to not call them out for passive-aggressive behavior or control freak tendencies, this week . . . not so much.  In a couple of days, I’m probably going to feel bad that I didn’t call on great techniques to resolve the issues in more gentle, less blunt ways.  Tonight I honestly don’t give a #*$&.  Yes, I am that bitchy right now.

Aren’t you glad you stopped by this blog today?

So, why do I share all this ugly crap with you today.  For one simple reason.  No matter what has rocketed my way, regardless of the various emotions rolling over me, I am still abstinent.  I haven’t caved into compulsive urges or overeaten.  I’m not medicating my emotions in a pint of ice cream or stuffing my aggravation with wedges of cake or handfuls of greasy potato chips.

I’m eating my healthy meals, prepared according to plan.  Rotten days are not a reason to abandon my recovery.  Difficult circumstances do not become an excuse to binge.  No reasons, no excuses.  Even in turmoil, I’m managing to remember that giving into the eating disorder will only make it all worse.  I prefer to hold onto my abstinence and use it as an example of something that is still going right.  It helps me to recenter my gratitude which, ultimately, will reduce the power of the other circumstances.

No reasons, no excuses.  I’m remaining on track.

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Different Measures of Success

After a wonderful weight loss in the first two weeks of the new plan, I’ve had a frustrating week.  I’m still carefully following the plan.  However, I not only haven’t lost weight, I’ve gained a couple of pounds.  There might be a couple of things factoring into my body’s reaction.   I did three challenging rowing workouts this week.  I wasn’t great early in the week with drinking enough water.  My digestive system has been extremely sluggish.  Even knowing all of these things and absolutely knowing that I have not deviated on the plan, it’s hard to not be disappointed.

I will give myself permission to feel frustrated and disappointed.  However, I am determined to not let it throw me off of the wagon.  We already know that I have an unhealthy obsession with the number on the scale.  I cannot afford to let that be the only, or even the main, measure of my success.  It is definitely a great time for me to reconnect with Non-Scale Victories or NSVs.

Here are some of my other successes from the past week.  I went to a business dinner last Tuesday and, on Wednesday, we ordered from a restaurant for lunch one day.  At the dinner, I bypassed the dinner roll and the white rice and only ate foods that are on my plan.  For lunch, I did not order my favorite sandwich.  Instead, I ordered a great wedge salad and supplemented it with protein I brought from home.

I really, really worked hard at each rowing class.  Not that I don’t work hard every time, but these three classes included some challenges we haven’t tried before.  On Friday, when doing sprints, I hit a personal best on power – hitting 222 watts of power on several strokes.

I’ve faced temptations — then turned my back and walked away.

Even today I went to a big luncheon fundraiser.  I declined a cocktail.  When dessert came, I ate the whipped cream and fresh berries (both on the plan), took one forkful of the cake and then stood up and placed the plate out of my reach.  Later one when took a trip to the supermarket, I cruised by all kinds of food items that I would normally buy and eat.  Instead, I stuck to my list and that was that.

Although I wish the number on the scale would go back down, I can see the overall weight loss.  I can also feel that even just 11 pounds — or 8 with the weird gain – has reduced the pressure on my right knee.  I have less pain in that joint.  That’s huge.  Last month I was so depressed by how much and how frequently my knee hurt.  To be aware of the improvement is not just a physical thing.  It’s a real mood booster.

Three weeks into working a strong food plan, and working it so well, creates such an improved attitude.  OA has a saying that nothing tastes as good as abstinence feels.  Alleviating the compulsive overeating is a relief.  I feel better about my plan, my progress and, yes, about myself.  This, my friends, is a NSV beyond measure!

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Post-Thanksgiving Post

Yesterday was a curious day for me but, ultimately, a successful one for which I am very grateful.  I did not have any plans to share a holiday meal with any friends.  A funny thing happens down here.  I think my different groups of friends assume that one of the other groups or couples have invited me to spend the holiday with them.  Unfortunately, that didn’t happen this year.  One friend did invite me last minute to come for dessert later in the day.  Another friend/co-worker was in the same situation and we sort of half-heartedly said that if we had the energy or desire mid-day to go out to a movie together, we’d get in touch.  Neither of us did.

For about a week ahead of yesterday, I veered between feeling sorry for myself/lonely/resentful and being completely okay with the circumstances.  While I would have liked to be in a group of friends for the human contact and camaraderie, I really, really, really didn’t want the day to be about feasting and overeating.  Then again, I did experience some yearning for turkey, some of my favorite side dishes and the like.  I just worried over whether the emotions would send me into binge mode.

It was a dilemma for sure, but I approached it with a healthy mindset.  From the time I woke up, I was determined that I was going to make this a healthy day for myself.  I started out by taking Natty for a longer walk than usual.  The weather is gorgeous right now — sunny but cooler — and he and I both enjoyed ourselves.  Throughout the day, in between doing other things and watching football, I also did other exercises.  I worked out a little with light weights and also did some situps, pushups and planks.  At another time, I did a full set of Tai Chi.  (By the way, since the rowing gym is closed through the weekend, I did rowing classes Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.)

Our holiday meals always began with a fresh fruit cup.  (No, none of that canned stuff.  Everything fresh!)  I didn’t go full tilt with the full array of fruits Mom and I used to combine, but I cut up an orange, an apple and half of a banana and had it as a snack at lunch along with a  small salad.

Not knowing whether I’d end up at an afternoon movie, I had shopped to make myself a healthy but delicious Thanksgiving dinner.  I bought turkey thighs, a rutabaga, and yes some boxed stuffing.

Mashed rutabaga aka yellow turnip to some, is my favorite side dish.  It was a staple on our family Thanksgiving table.  Here’s the good news – it is a cruciferous vegetable, nutritious and delicious.  Although I put a little butter in it when mashing, I don’t overdo and I used skim milk.  This was, for me, a better choice than mashed potatoes.  I feel it also helped counter balance a little bit of stuffing.

Once it was determined that I was staying home, I really enjoyed preparing my meal.  I chopped up fresh herbs from my little garden to season the turkey and added chicken stock that I’d made and frozen to keep the meat moist while it roasted.  This also made for a delicious gravy after the fact.  I used more of the chicken stock in the stuffing, too.

When dinner was ready, I very carefully took appropriate portions instead of overloading my plate.  Even with the restricted stomach, if I put too much food on the plate at the outset, I tend to eat too much and then I feel sick and uncomfortable.  This ruins my enjoyment physically and emotionally.  I am really concentrating on continuing to train my eyes and my serving utensils to put the amounts I should eat… not what I would have eaten in years gone by.

I sat down and savored what I’d made for myself.  It was delicious and balanced.  I felt really good about how I’d planned and executed my holiday meal.

Now what about dessert, you might be wondering.  Yes, I’d put some thought into that as well.  I hate feeling deprived of dessert.  Emotionally, it’s unhealthy for me to feel deprived and often leads to me wanting more and then bingeing.  Last week, I researched and found a recipe for Pumpkin Souffle.  Very easy to make with a can of canned pumpkin, evaporated milk, two eggs and half a cup of sugar in the entire thing.  I counted up the calories.  Per serving, my souffle had only 180 calories.  As far as desserts go, this was a winner that I could absolutely fit into my meal plan.

I waited until my main entree settled a bit and then spooned out an appropriate serving and thoroughly enjoyed it.

All told, for me the holiday was a food win.  I feel really terrific about how sanely and carefully I planned, cooked and consumed my meal.  I’m also pretty darned please with the physical activity that I included in my day.  I took care of myself.

The result is that today I am not suffering from a food or binge hangover.  I feel good about myself and my recovery and am looking forward to building on this today.  I took the day off from work and have some fun activities planned.  I started with a healthy protein smoothie for breakfast.  Now Natty and I are going out for a walk.

I hope you all had a great day and are enjoying your Fridays.

 

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Recognizing the Changes

Pyxi had an up and down weekend.  Yesterday, although she ate a couple of times during the day, she couldn’t keep it down, seemed very weak and was not at all perky.  Honestly, last night I was afraid she was going to die.  This morning, I texted our friend/vet and he met us at the clinic to administer more sub-cutaneous fluids and some anti-nausea medication.  He prepared me that she’d probably be very sedate today from the meds, which she was.  However, she also ate three small meals throughout the day and has kept it all down!  She is still turning up her cute little nose at the carbs, but as long as she eats anything and retains it, that’s something.  We’re testing her blood again tomorrow and, hopefully, her numbers will have improved.  Fingers and paws crossed!  We can consider an appetite booster which might make her more interested in a greater variety of food items or, that might happen without help if she starts to feel better.

I had a little bit of an up and down weekend with my food and, at times, I thought I was a whole lot worse than I truly was.  Thankfully, I’ve continued to log my food in my digital food diary so I can go back, read, and truly analyze my intake rationally.  This is so important because when I don’t look at things with logic and rationale, but instead view it through the distorted lens of my eating disorder, my perspective goes all screwy.

Even with Pyxi sick, I know she’s okay if I leave for an hour or two.  I don’t go for long stretches of time, so I get back to coax her with food, check if she needs anything, and so on.  I went to rowing class yesterday morning.  I had a facial mid-day.  I went to dinner last night with a friend.   These all fit under the heading of taking care of myself so that I can continue to take good care of her.

I didn’t pre-plan my exact foods for dinner.  Instead, I logged it in the morning as “reasonable dinner”.  We went to a local restaurant that I really like and I ordered food that I really like – including the brussel sprouts “chips” appetizer that I love.  We split it and brought at least half of it away in a box.  Same thing with my entree — at least half of it came home with me and will be dinner tomorrow.  They asked if we wanted dessert and I made the conscious choice to share some of that too.  A few bites were totally yummy and satisfying — and saying yes to myself actually helped emotionally.  If I’d denied myself the treat, I would have experienced resentment, grumpiness, and, most likely self-pity.  All of those could have led to me coming home and binge eating on something.

Of course, even though I completely ate reasonably and did not overeat, I still experienced several moments where I felt like I’d done poorly.  Such is the nature of my disease.  I came home and started to beat myself up and then called a halt to the negative mind-trend.  Instead I reminded myself how I’ve been taking good care of myself; how I’m being rational about my food, how I worked so hard in the morning rowing class.  I’m convinced that doing these reminders kept me from eating compulsively last night after I got home.  Being able to stop myself from disintegrating into disease behavior is a positive change.  I need to recognize these changes when they occur.  Doing so helps them take root and provide a stronger foundation for the future.

I recognized another positive change a little later in the day.  After getting back from the vet and spending a little time decompressing by reading a book while Pyxi rested, I decided to go into the pool and exercise.  I went into the bathroom to change into my swimsuit.  When I took off my shirt and started to remove my bra, I glanced in the mirror.  In that moment, I saw where the rowing classes have begun to cause some changes in my body.  There are hints of better definition in my shoulders that weren’t there before.  My waist looks a little smaller.  I nodded at myself in the mirror and smiled.  Then I put on my bathing suit, went to the pool, turned on some music and exercised for 30 or 40 minutes.

Seeing some physical improvement is such good positive reinforcement.  I don’t know what the number on the scale will read tomorrow morning.  (Forgot to tell you that I stuck to my commitment of only weighing Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings.)  If it’s down from Friday, terrific.  If it isn’t, I know that my body is still slimming down, getting more defined and also gaining in strength.  No matter what, I need to recognized and acknowledge these changes.

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Food and Crises

When I look back at events in my life, I can’t think of a single major crisis in which I did not use food and overeating to try to cope.  My father’s sudden death kicked off an eating spree in which put on the 100 pounds that I’d recently lost and then some.  Mom’s relapses and later her illness and death – same thing.  I always turned to food and binge eating.  Stress, grief, anxiety, anger, sadness — pick an emotion that might threaten to overwhelm me and keep me from functioning and I would eat-eat-eat-eat in order to cram them down into tight little boxes so that I could stay on track with handling the crisis.

That I am managing to stay on track right now during Pyxi’s illness is miraculous.  It also takes effort, focus, and a willingness to fight for my abstinence and recovery.  I’m not 100% perfect, but hot damn, I’m doing a really good job taking care of myself while I take care of my little girl dog.

Right now, ironically, among the big challenges in her illness is her weight loss.  We’ve stopped the nausea and vomiting, but she is turning up her cute little nose at most foods.  She needs carbs but all she’ll eat consistently is protein — cooked chicken, specifically.  Forget the special formula of dog food for kidney disease patients.  She took one sniff and turned away as if I’d offered her some foul preparation.  She ate rice for a little while and then tired of it and acted like pasta was a new fave food.  Now she’s over that too.  She never quite went for smashed potatoes either.

Unlike her, if someone coaxed me to eat rice, pasta and potatoes for my own good, I’d chow down like a champ!  Food has a strong, insidious, tempting call. I went to the grocery store, desperate to find a range of possible things I could try to tempt her to eat a little more.  I thought of baby foods, mac and cheese, even whole wheat bread.  As we all know, the check out lines are bordered by racks of two things – magazines and candy.  While the clerk scanned my purchases, I caved and grabbed a small packet of mini-candies.  I got out to the car, grabbed the packet out of the bag and ripped it open to cram a few little pieces into my mouth.  Then my head caught up to my compulsive impulse and said, “Wait.  Think about what you’re doing.”  “Shut up,” I said to that voice.  I worked out hard this morning.  Some chocolate won’t hurt.”  However, while I said that in my head, I also read the label.  One package of little pieces of candy would add up to 310 calories!  Yikes!

On top of that, the very act of eating compulsively, of grabbing and ingesting food that I didn’t plan to eat, acting out of stress or an other emotion, does more damage to me emotionally and mentally than the sugar and carbs do to my nutritional goals for the day.

Eating the rest of this candy is not going to help me and it won’t do a darned thing positive for Pyxi.  She and I both need for me to be calm, as relaxed as possible, clear-headed and functioning.  We don’t need me to trigger a binge-eating relapse.

I grabbed the candy package and crushed it in my hand, squeezing all the remaining individual bite-sized pieces into one messed-up ball.  Then I started the car and drove home.  After I parked and got out of my car, I took the candy package and threw it into the outside trash.  That was a positive act for myself and for my recovery.  Stopping myself from consuming all of the candy and then knowing not to tempt myself by bringing the rest of it into the house, showed me that I am stronger for today than my disease.  This elevated me a great deal.

Inside, I tried out a few different foods, offering them to Pyxi.  She wasn’t interested in the little sweet potato/rice puffs or the mac and cheese.  She did eat half a slice of whole wheat bread. Desperate to get her to eat something more, I decided that if all she would consume was more poultry, at least it was better than her stopping at half a slice of bread.  I spooned out some of my ground turkey leftovers from last night.  That was much more to her liking.  She ate several pieces before going back to her bed for another nap.  I decided that I’ll try her with some more and a little more bread later on.

I then proceeded to eat my own, planned-for lunch, which I enjoyed.  Not only did it taste good, but since I planned it out and ate on track, I didn’t have the negative emotions and thoughts that accompany my meals when I’m not on plan.  One more time, I was dealing with the crisis using my program rather than using food.

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Little Wins

I almost called this post Small Victories, but that’s the title of a book I’m reading by the wonderful Anne LaMott and I didn’t want to steal it for my blog.  I will no doubt write a whole post about this book after I finish it, so stay tuned. 🙂

It’s Day Three of Lean-Green-Clean and it’s been another day of good, clean abstinence from compulsive overeating.  Even though I mentioned a few posts ago how my body feels different when I eat clean versus when I eat crap, I am frankly amazed at how much better I feel after only three days.  My systems and cells are practically singing.  They’re much happier when I fuel them with healthy, nutritious food and don’t inflict big quantities of fat, junk carbs, processed foods, and sugar.  I’m also doing a better job of hydrating, which increases the wellness.  I have more energy too.

I’m sure there are people who might look at this and think, “Three days.  Big whoop.”  To a lot of people, eating clean, green, healthy food in appropriate volume isn’t difficult.  It’s, shall we say, normal.  For me, one day of abstinence from compulsive overeating is a win.  I can’t take the days, any of them, for granted.  I sure can’t look at the effort and consider it easy or think there’s nothing to it.  Humility and gratitude are important to my recovery.

On top of the overall day, I had a particularly special “win”.   A group of us got together right after work at neighboring restaurant for the send off of a dear co-worker who is going on to a different job.  I’d already decided that I wouldn’t order anything to eat, but instead just enjoy the time and then eat my planned-on meal when I got home.  It’s not that I can’t eat out at a restaurant, and the food is good at this place.  I just knew, however, that the portions would be huge and there weren’t many menu items that fit the lean-green-clean plan.  I felt strong and confident in this decision.

I hadn’t planned on there being a large cake at the gathering.  Red velvet with a cream cheese frosting, to be exact.  It was sitting right on the table in front of me . . . so close that I could actually smell the cream cheese and the sugar.  Others at the gathering offered me a slice and I didn’t even think about saying yes.  I sat there with everyone and that scrumptious looking/smelling cake for a good 45 minutes, just talking and sipping a glass of water.  It wasn’t even a case of white-knuckling my way through the event.  My mindset was strong, calm, and sure that I truly didn’t want to eat any cake.

That truly is a victory for me.  I faced down a substance that is usually addictive and didn’t give in to my disease.  In addition to checking in and noting how I feel physically, I need to spend some time acknowledging how recovery feels to me emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

There’s a saying in program that nothing tastes as good as abstinence feels.  I’m celebrating that feeling tonight.

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Buying Clothes in “Normal” Stores

I’ve talked about shopping for clothes several times, but I’m experiencing some more new stuff.  The whole experience of going into pretty much any store and finding clothes in my size is still not something to which I am accustomed.  It isn’t natural behavior and, sometimes, I need to remind myself to take the plunge.

That happened in September when my friend and I were in Key West and passed a Chico’s store that was having a big end-of-summer sale.  She suggested we go in.  “Oh no,” I said.  “I’ll never find anything.”  My mind kept going to all of the Chico’s ads I’d seen on television with the very tall, slender models.  My friend told me that the store had sizes that would go up to what I’m currently wearing — and she was right.

Several months ago I discovered that I can go into this local ladies sportswear store and find clothes in my size.  I still figured that was an anomaly.

Yesterday I went to Key West to hang out with some friends.  I’m leaving for a cruise soon and needed a few sporty tops and, hopefully, a pair of shorts or cropped length pants to round out my shipboard wardrobe.  I thought I’d check out Chico’s.  When I rounded the corner, another shop’s windows caught my eye — Fresh Produce.  Honestly, my first thought was, “No way.  Don’t even bother.”  I took a deep breath and went as far as the sale racks that were close to the door.

Well, what do you know?  They had clothes in a variety of sizes from XS to XXL.  Some were numbered, but not in the regular number sizes, you know, 6, 8, 14, 18.   I am not good at looking at a garment and assessing whether it will fit my body.  My body shape and image are still distorted in my mind’s eye.

I asked a salesperson for help.  She was cheerful and friendly when she informed me that it all depended on the garment.  Two different saleswomen told me that they wear any of three different sizes from the store.  Hmmm.

So, I learned that there is no standard for XS or M or even XXL.  An XXL in this store could be the equivalent of an L in another.  Heck, it wasn’t even that close a comparison — an XXL in one shirt could be similar in size to an L in the one next to it on the sales rack.

There truly was no way to guess and I found that I had to get over a couple of hangups about the size on the tag.

I thought of that Anne Lamott Anti-Diet post a week or so ago where she says that there are enough things affecting her self-esteem without her jeans and clothes having an opinion.  I vowed to not negatively judge myself over the size on the tag.  XL didn’t mean that I’d swelled up and gained weight.  It meant that the particular garment was designed and cut smaller than other styles.

The only things that mattered were: Did the clothing catch my eye?  Did it fit when I put them on?  Did I like the way that I looked in them when I wore them?  Did I like it – period?

Once I put the sizes out of my mind, my shopping stress level dropped and I had a really nice time picking out a few great things.  When I left, I was not only pleased with my purchases, but I was also very happy that I’d confronted my apprehension about even going into a so-called “normal” clothing store.

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Enjoying Good Food

Every two weeks I get an order of fresh organic produce delivered at work.  Several of us are part of an organic buying club, which is kind of cool.  The club offers a greater, fresher variety than is currently carried by our local supermarket.

In the last almost-three years, I’ve deliberately tried a number of foods that I didn’t previously eat, or at least didn’t prepare for myself.  I’ve also taught myself to cook different foods and experimented with recipes, flavor combinations and the like.  In produce alone I’ve grown to love making brussels sprouts and beets.  I’ve tried slow-roasting or grilling veggies.  I’ve even experimented with making tomato sauce from fresh tomatoes and will continue trying different recipes in that arena.

The goal of all these and other efforts was to increase my appreciation and enjoyment of eating healthier foods and foods prepared in healthier ways.  Today, for example, I really enjoyed a salad at lunch that I’d put together of crisp romaine lettuce, roasted beets, toasted walnuts and a few small chunks of goat cheese, lightly dressed with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  The flavors and textures were so enjoyable from the sweetness of the beets to the tangy cheese to the crunchy nuts.  It all simply tasted so good!

This week’s organics share included parsnips.  By coincidence, I ran across a recipe on the internet for parsnip, apple and peanut butter soup.  I believe I’m going to try making that this weekend.

What I have discovered over the months of cultivating more appreciation for better quality foods, is that I have progressively lost my taste for other, junkier foods.  Don’t get me wrong, I am sure that I will always like the occasional serving of salty, fatty, crunchy potato chips or a piece of fried chicken – but those cravings don’t come to me with any great frequency.

I have completely lost my desire for fast food burgers, fries, and milkshakes.  In years past, when driving by one of the big chain burger restaurants, if I caught a whiff of the aromas, I’d feel instant desire to pull into the drive-through lane.  During the worst years of my binge eating, I could easily order enough food for two people.  In fact, I’d order two sodas so that the counter people would actually think I was ordering for two people.  Now, the aromas make me a little queasy and definitely don’t lure me in to get any of the food.

Unfortunately, although I’ve tried, I’m yet to succeed at training my taste buds to like any seafood.  That might never happen.  However, my food choices are so much more healthy than they used to be, and that’s a tremendous plus!

 

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In the Middle Seat

I almost titled this post “To Boldly Go Where I’ve Never Gone Before”.  Well, at least where I haven’t gone very often and not in a long, long, lonnnnggggg time.

Last Thursday, I left on a business trip to California for a conference.  On the way home, for some reason the travel agent had not been able to select a seat for me even though I was confirmed on the flight.  I tried several times to select a seat before the day of the flight and each time the system refused.

This caused no small amount of anxiety all because I stressed on the great what if.  What if the only seats available weren’t aisle or window seats?  What if, (insert choked, fretful, gasp) the only seat available was In. The. Middle??  (Cue the doomsday organ chords.)

I was the first person in line at the gate when the attendant arrived to assign seats.  It didn’t help the anxiety when she announced on the microphone that they “might” have an oversold situation and were looking for three volunteers willing to give up their seats for a free flight and other perks.  Actually, the thought of not getting on the flight at all suddenly struck me as ever so much more worrisome since I would then miss the connecting flight, subsequently miss the shuttle van home, and be stuck in Miami for Lord knows how long.

However, even though I was reassured when she confirmed me for a seat, I couldn’t stop the queasy dread when I saw that the situation I so feared had come true.

I was seated in the middle of a row.

All of the dread was a throwback to my days of Super Obesity when I could barely fit in any airline seat but could at least manage to just barely squeeze myself in between the arm rests and use a seat belt extender to buckle up.  Even one one end or the other, I made sure to lean as far as I could away from the person in the middle so that I wouldn’t crowd them more than absolutely necessary.  I always hated it when I’d see the expression on their faces when they realized that they were stuck sitting next to the really heavy woman.  Needless to say, I always avoided middle seats – for my own sake as well as any other travelers.

I’m truly surprised that no flight attendant ever flagged me and said that I’d have to buy a second seat to accommodate my bulk.

Anyway, even though I know I fit in normal seats, I couldn’t shake the sick feeling while I boarded the flight and slowly made my way to my appointed row.  I gingerly slid into the row and oh-so-carefully took my seat.

Without any problem.  I sat down in the seat and realized that not only did I fit, I had a little room to spare on either side.  The arm rests weren’t cutting into me, nor were they trying to automatically flip up, pushed there by any overly thick part of my body.

I fit.  Comfortably.  Comfortably for me and for the people seated on either side.  I was so relieved that I closed my eyes, sent up a quick gratitude prayer, and breathed out the air I’d sort of been holding along with my apprehension.  I relaxed and enjoyed a very pleasant conversation with my row companion to the right.  It felt good.  It felt, Lord help me, normal.

Another hurdle jumped.  Another NSV realized.  Booyah!

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As part of my long weekend away, I went on a Whale Watching trip in Southern California.  Here are a some of the photos because, no matter what the topic, there’s always a place for cute animal pictures.

Dolphin-2

 

Leaping Dolphins

Humpback Flukes 1

Northern Fur Seal

SL on Buoy-1

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