Weighty Matters

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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.

 

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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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The On Again Off Again Relationship

Ever hear someone talk about being in an on again/off again relationship?  When they’re on, they’re great.  The partners are in synch, nurturing each other, providing good support, a mutually beneficial give and take.  They have fun together.  Sunlight, roses, upbeat music surround them.  Joy ensues and they feel like, together, everything is better and they are invincible.

When relationships are off, whew boy.  The bloom comes off that rose.  Everything that used to be so simpatico dissolves into a morass of discontent.  The things that attracted two people to each other often become annoying.  Cute turns to cloying.  Give and take become keep and take more.  Sometimes you downright love and loathe each other at the same time and end up resenting what you most need.

This sounds a lot like my relationship with food and, by extension, with recovery.  When things are good, I’m in that sunlight and roses place.  Food is nourishment, it supports my body.  I enjoy what I eat and, when in strong recovery, I feel invincible.

When the relationship goes into “off again” mode, my viewpoint, attitude and emotions get completely skewed.  Take individual foods for example.  When in recovery, I absolutely love and savor healthy, delicious food.  I’ll get positively gleeful over a fresh salad with crisp vegetables and a melange of wonderful flavors.  Fruit is like ambrosia.  I taste and feel joy over fueling my body with yummy food and not overeating or compulsing.

When I go to the “off again” place, there’s no appeal in those same salad ingredients.  I lose my appetite for healthy food and start craving junk like sugary doughnuts and greasy french fries.

The food itself hasn’t changed.  I know that.  It’s all in my perception of it, depending on the state of my recovery.  When I’m in a good place, like I am tonight, I look at my whack perceptions and just sort of shake my head at the ridiculousness.  Living in a diseased state of binge eating or compulsive eating holds more than its share of crazy behavior, that’s for sure.

I’d like to keep my relationship with food on a more even keel, based on the simple fact that food is just food.  I don’t need to invest so much of my emotions and mental health in it.  Food can be a pleasure, when I eat it in reasonable, healthy, appropriate ways.

When I don’t, it can be the most stress-inducing, emotional turmoil producing matter in the world.

Currently, I’m in a good place.  I’m grateful and know that recovery can be fragile.  I need to shore it up, give it my proper time and attention.  Recovery needs to be tended and nurtured so that it grows healthy and strong.  That’s not all that different than an other relationship.

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Riding the Buzz

Sorry to have not been around for a few days. I left Wednesday for a business-related trip. Although I had every intention of blogging, my brain was overwhelmed with everything I absorbed and processed at the meetings. By the time I got back to my room each night, I couldn’t do anything more thoughtful than collapse into bed.

I was determined to ride the buzz from the good doctor’s appointment the week before and keep moving full steam ahead. I won’t say that I got derailed, but I wasn’t as perfect as I could have been while away. I ate a few more carbs each day than I should have. As we know from previous experience, carbohydrates act like sponges in my body and suck in pounds of water weight. So I realize that for the first few days this week, my scale number will be higher but I’ll be able to knock them off and flush them away.

On the positive side, I made use of the conference hotel’s excellent fitness center. I got up early enough to do a brisk two miles on the treadmill each morning. The hotel was also huge which meant that I had ample opportunity to add to my total step count just going back and forth between meeting rooms, my room, etc. I believe I definitely counteracted the hours of sitting in the meeting rooms by being as active as possible when I had the time and opportunity.

Now that I’m back home, and have had a lovely day relaxing with Nat and Pyxi, I’m set with my plan. This is how I’m riding the buzz. In years past, after “falling off the wagon”, I would have sulked, emotionally scuffed my feet, and with much internal gnashing of teeth and wailing, decried, “It’s no use! I’ll never make my goal.” That would just lead to more and more days, weeks, months of diseased eating and massive weight gain.

One thing that I have learned, and that I now believe through and through, is that I will always pick myself up and get back to business again. A couple of days out of my routine with more carbs in my diet are not enough to throw me completely off track. I am much stronger. My recovery mindset is much more integrated than ever before.

Living in recovery doesn’t mean always being perfect. It means accepting that I’m not perfect and, even more, I don’t always have to be. I need to remember the little steps and the big picture. Before, I had periods of recovery in an overall diseased eating lifestyle. Life has flipped. I’m now a healthy, living in recovery person. Those intermittent blips are not blockades. They’re only speed bumps that temporarily slow me down but don’t, and won’t stop me.

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