Weighty Matters

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Turning a Corner

Warning.  I’m blue and down on myself.  Understandable, considering Friday.  This is compounded by not having been pristine on my food plan.  Yes, I’m still cutting myself some slack, but falling off the wagon affects me emotionally as well as physically.

At some point over the weekend, I was mulling over things and suddenly thought, “You know, the last five months have had a lot of suck in them.”  In early May I had the car accident.  Soon after that, the plantar fasciitis got really severe and I started getting treated.  Then I get that handled and my dogs get sick.  (Natty had a battle with a persistent ear infection while Pyxi had the bladder infection.) In the middle of all this, we discover that one of my boat engines is blown and can’t be repaired so I have to start the process of arranging finances to buy a new one.   Pyxi gets worse, can’t recover, and we have to say goodbye.

Through it all I was also in a pretty significant relapse into my eating disorder and food addiction.  Add it all up, and yes, it weighs more heavily on the suckitude side.

I don’t like to wallow.  When I wallow, I get more mired into food and inappropriate eating.  I start to not want to get my ass off of my couch and move.  My whole attitude drags down and that affects my spirit.

So, I’m working on lifting myself up.  It’s okay for me to still be sad about Pyxi.  Grief has its own timetable, but I have to keep moving.  Not only do I need it, but so does Natty.  I think he put on the weight that his sister lost.  He is definitely more pudgy than he should be.  Yes, I’ve embraced the rowing classes and I am not going to let myself make excuses to not go.  I’ve booked my three classes for the week already.  My food wasn’t great this weekend, but I can climb back up onto the wagon and eat right again.  Back to the basics — pre-planning my meals, logging my food, working program, reaching out to the support groups.

I’m also getting in touch with my gratitude.  No matter how bleak or upset or towered I feel, there are always reasons to be grateful.  I think I mentioned a long time ago that when my mother was dying, before I went to bed each night I would think of five things for which to be grateful.  Sometimes I really had to dig and search but I’d find five things.  I can’t explain why doing this helped me, but it did.  It got me through.

So, for today, here are five things for which I am grateful:

  • Nat.  He is a warm, fluffy, hug-me-Mommy, cuddle-pup and this comforts me.  We have each other.
  • The overwhelming love and support shown to me by friends, family, co-workers, blog readers, just everyone.
  • The willingness, opportunity, and physical ability to work out or take walks.
  • The Philadelphia Eagles won today!
  • The knowledge that no matter how badly I think I screwed up with my eating this weekend, returning to recovery is as close and simple as the next choice.  I can get back up on that wagon and I will.

 

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Post-Thanksgiving but Not Post-Thankful

I hope that you all had a lovely Thanksgiving yesterday.  I enjoyed being with friends who are part of my work family.  We shared each other’s company, good will, and delicious food.  While I ate a little too much, I didn’t stuff.  I also enjoyed a few, satisfied internal chuckles when I compared my plate yesterday with what I used to heap on a plate and devour in the years before weight loss surgery.  It’s all perspective and stomach size that determines what’s too much these days.

Today, I’m engaged in what has become a mini-tradition — the post-Thanksgiving three-day detox.  I follow a plan that I discovered a couple of years ago on Dr. Oz which involves drinking four vegetable-fruit-nut-seed based drinks a day for three days along with some green tea.  The first time I did this detox, I felt really great during and after the three days.  I think the plan gives my body some relief, flushes out some icky stuff and, somehow, resets my metabolism.  Whatever the case, a few days of healthy drinks sure can’t hurt.

We’re closing in on the end of November.  Every day I’ve continued to acknowledge something(s) or someone or several someones for which I am grateful.  Even though it’s after that day of Thanksgiving, I am by no means past the time when I feel thankful.

I’ve known for years that embracing gratitude helps me, but I’ve never truly delved into figuring out why this is so.  I see various self-help leaders promote gratitude, read quotes all over the internet and, still, don’t know why gratitude is so often suggested.

So today I started Googling to see what I could learn.  Overall, the consensus is that gratitude is, indeed, a powerful force.

This blog post here has what I thought were great ideas, and also some useful suggestions.  The fact that it is not from a well-known self-help “guru”, but from someone who is a corporate coach for potential entrepreneurs did not detract from the message.  I particularly like what it says about expanding our focus, turning on our  natural well-being, and allowing ourselves to unconditionally accept and celebrate ourselves.

Then there’s this article by Robert Emmons, who is touted as a leading scientific expert on gratitude.  I’m interested in what he says and plan to look into his books.  This link goes to a site for the Greater Good Science Center, affiliated with the University of Berkeley.   I love that there is something called the Greater Good Science Center and need to poke around on the site some more.  Among other things in the article, Dr. Emmons says, “Gratitude also goes against our need to feel in control of our environment. Sometimes with gratitude you just have to accept life as it is and be grateful for what you have.”

That really resonates with me and connects to an important aspect of my 12 Step program.  In the Serenity Prayer, we ask for the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, courage to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference.  Serenity starts with acceptance.  It looks like gratitude fosters acceptance, so it stands to reason that it might be a stepping stone to serenity.

There are several more sites and articles, but it sounds like they all have variations on the things I read at these two sites.  I enjoyed taking the information in, absorbing it and pondering what it means to me, how it feels, and what I can take away from it and use in my own life’s journey.

Along the way, I started thinking of the optimist-pessimist description of whether one sees a glass as half-full or half-empty.  For the most part, I think of myself as an optimist, but sometimes life throws challenges and painful situations at even the most optimistic of us.  Those times are the ones when I know I most need to dig down and connect with my gratitude.  At those moments it doesn’t matter whether the glass is half-full or half-empty.  I need to be thankful that I have a glass at all.

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Nourishing Recovery

Feeding my recovery is as important as feeding my body. It’s sometimes more difficult. Protein, veggies, fruit, fluids, the occasional carbs, good fats — that kind of nourishment I understand and everything is readily accessible. Figuring out the nourishment for my emotional and mental recovery is challenging because what I need changes and it isn’t something I can find at the supermarket.

I’m still focusing on the “success breeds success” idea. By acknowledging each positive step, every good day on my food plan, making my daily exercise goals, I positively reinforce myself for my own effort. It’s like a self-delivered pat on the back and “atta girl” instead of a head slap. This nourishes the mental aspect of my recovery. When I do it successfully, it helps me do it successfully again the next time.

I guess it’s the emotional aspects that are the most challenging to feed and reinforce. Maybe it’s more that they can be the most uncomfortable to examine and then develop new ways of feeling and reacting which leads to improved, healthier choices. Choosing an attitude of gratitude first thing in the morning helps. Feeling grateful sets me up in a good way and opens up my spirit. Owning my awesomeness might have sounded cutesy to some, but it’s serious stuff to me. As confident as I am in many areas of my life, I can backslide into esteem issues.

Recognizing the challenges and setting up a proactive mindset usually impacts my emotions. Thinking of things for which I’m grateful, leads to voicing those things and that creates the positive emotion. If I acknowledge an awesome thing about myself — whether it’s an ability, an attitude, an — and really own it, that makes it real and keeps my esteem and the way I feel about myself at a good, steady level.

Even choosing this as a topic matters. It reinforces the importance of tending my recovery, nourishing it with everything that it needs to grow and thrive. My recovery isn’t just important. It’s important. Without it, my life and health can disintegrate. I want to always remember this and keep putting the emphasis on it that it deserves and needs. That I need.

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