54 at 54 Friday Update – Week 2

Down 1 pound…right on target.  If I can maintain a one pound per week loss then I will reach my goal (or just 2 lbs shy – big whup) by the end of the year.  To me, that not only feels doable, it feels peaceful.  Still a quiet determination.

I’m reading another book, It Was Me All Along by Andie Mitchell.  Here’s the Amazon description:

“A heartbreakingly honest, endearing memoir of incredible weight loss by a young food blogger who battles body image issues and overcomes food addiction to find self-acceptance.

All her life, Andie Mitchell had eaten lustily and mindlessly. Food was her babysitter, her best friend, her confidant, and it provided a refuge from her fractured family. But when she stepped on the scale on her twentieth birthday and it registered a shocking 268 pounds, she knew she had to change the way she thought about food and herself; that her life was at stake.

It Was Me All Along takes Andie from working class Boston to the romantic streets of Rome, from morbidly obese to half her size, from seeking comfort in anything that came cream-filled and two-to-a-pack to finding balance in exquisite (but modest) bowls of handmade pasta. This story is about much more than a woman who loves food and abhors her body. It is about someone who made changes when her situation seemed too far gone and how she discovered balance in an off-kilter world. More than anything, though, it is the story of her finding beauty in acceptance and learning to love all parts of herself.”

While Ted Spiker’s book Down Size showed me a way to reach my goals by uncovering my own truths and facing my sexual abuse head on (that’s an entirely different post that I will address…sometime), Andie’s book has opened my eyes to the fact that I need to make peace with food and the role it has in my life.

Like her, I have never had a normal relationship with food.  Food has never been just sustenance for me.  While I don’t emotionally feel I’m using (and have used) food for comfort and to numb my feelings, intellectually I know that this is the case and her book helped to confirm it for me.  All I can say is thank God I found a great therapist because working through all of this may take a while.

From her alcoholic father (that hit so close to home I had to put down the book from time to time and catch my breath) to her obsessive calorie counting and exercise to her battle with undiagnosed depression, her journey is my journey.  I hope mine turns out as well as hers.  Thank you Andie.

And, TA-DA, my treadmill arrived this morning!!!!  My husband and son are going to put it together for me today and I’ll walk/run on it for the first time tonight.  I am SO EXCITED!!!  I’ll post a pic of my baby as soon as I can.  😉

Finally, I ordered a wellness journal from Amazon which, coincidentally (?) is due to arrive today as well.  I’m going to use it to set small, attainable goals (as well as the big one at the end of the year) and also record my workouts and food and moods to see if any patterns emerge.  I’ll let you know if I uncover anything.

Happy Friday!

Namaste

PS – If you’re interested in following Andie, she blogs at Can You Stay for Dinner.

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Again

I got some truly amazing comments on my post yesterday about The Before.  It resonated with a lot of people which made me happy because, well that’s why we’re all out here right?  That, and the cheap therapy.

One comment in particular has been stuck in my brain since yesterday and I have to write about it or it will be up there tumbling around unaccompanied until it drives me batshit crazy.  So to avoid all that drama – I’ll be writing about it here.

Josie over at The Miracle Is Around the Corner commented that she feels like she’s in The Before when it comes to her eating and exercise plan and that it feels just like it did when she was in The Before of her drinking career.  She and I have discussed this, so she knew I would understand (which I DO).  Pop onto yesterday’s post and check out her comment – it was awesome.

The reason I get it is because it’s the same for me.  The only difference is that this particular Before has been going on for me since fucking puberty.  It’s been rolling around in my brain and making me miserable since I was about 12.  That’s almost 42 years of bullshit brain activity (or approximately 336 dog years). 

What the what?

This is my 474th post on this blog.  Of those posts, I would estimated that at least 1/4 to 1/3 of them are about eating, exercising, dieting, body image, etc.  That means between 119 and 158 posts have been written about my struggles not with alcohol but with FOOD.  That feels like a lot to be on a blog that is supposed to be about sobriety.  Maybe it’s not.  What the hell do I know?

What bothers me is the up and down in and out back and forth of the whole thing.  One day I’ve got this killer eating plan and I’m exercising every day, the next day I’m stuffing my face with Oreo’s and Halloween candy and my self-esteem is in the toilet.  One day I’ve sworn off thinking about food and I’m just going to learn to love myself the way I am, the next day the doctor calls me “obese” and I’m crying in my Diet Pepsi.  One day I’m meditating and practicing self-care and telling myself only good things, and the next I catch sight of myself in a mirror and I swear I’m not going to eat until my 55th birthday by which time (in 2016 btw) I will have lost approximately half my body weight and have to check into Betty Ford for an eating disorder.

I’m not making fun of eating disorders by the way – I’m saying that thinking like this IS NOT HEALTHY.

Where does it stop?  Unlike cigarettes, alcohol, drugs or gambling, WE HAVE TO EAT!  What’s more, food is one of the greatest joys of life.  Sharing a meal with friends and family is a beautiful thing.  Sitting down to a table of food made with love (including dessert and bread) is a blessing that I never take for granted.  (There are too many people in the world that never have enough to eat.)  All this bullshit going on in my head ruins that joy if I let it get away from me.

Which I do.

Often.

I wish that for once in my life I could make peace with sustenance.  I wish I could find a happy place that was free of guilt or shame or self-righteousness (when I’m doing well I can get very self-righteous).  I wish I could learn to treat food as sacred and, in turn, treat myself that way.

I know there’s a root to this issue that I’ve yet to uncover.  I’ve read book after book on the subject.  I’ve scoured the Internet and plunked down lots of cash in an effort to understand what’s going on with me and food.  I’ve been to nutritionists and spas and doctors in a desperate attempt to right this ship.  And here I am typing about it again.

I often talk about wanting to get back to the way I was when I was in my 30’s and early 40’s.  Now I’m not so sure.  While it’s true that I was at a healthy weight and was extremely fit, the fact is that I was not happy.  The shit going on in my head now was there then – a constant stream of consciousness about what I was eating, where, how much and how much exercise I needed to do.  That’s not healthy.  It also wasn’t very joyful.  It was, in fact, a Before.

There really is no point to this post.  No pithy comment that will make you think, “Yes!  That’s it!”  Only a recovering alcoholic, ex-smoker who would love, for once in her life, to find peace of mind on a plate.  I have no idea how I’m going to get there or even if I’ll ever get there.  I just know I have to keep trying because, as I said yesterday, The Before is no way to live.

Namaste

No Thanks…I Don’t Like Roller Coasters

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First…you guys!  Guess what?  I’ve been Freshly Pressed!!!  My post on Facebook was selected for Freshly Pressed!!!  (Can you tell I’m excited?)  Never in a million years did I ever think that would happen and yet…WOOT!  Thank you Krista for noticing me and pressing me…you’ve made my blogging year!

Now…on to today’s post.  

Earlier this year I wrote a post about eating cleaner and breaking the cycle of obsession that had been a part of my life for as long as I remember.  The obsession with food, with the scale, with how I look, all of it.  I was able to break that awful cycle.  I was able to set myself free.  Free from getting on the scale every freaking morning and letting it have the power to decide my attitude.  Free from waking up every morning and thinking, “I’m going to eat well today.  I shouldn’t have eaten (whatever) last night.  Ugh…I hate myself.”  Sound familiar anyone?

I broke that cycle until…until that bitch rude nurse poor uninformed woman at my doctor’s office used the “O” word.  Obese.

I said I wasn’t going let it affect me.  I said I was going to stay on my path to healthy, clean eating and moderate exercise.  I said

…doesn’t matter what I said.  What matters is what I thought and what I did.

What I did was jump right back onto that motherfucking roller coaster.  I started weighing once a week…and then once every three or four days…and then every damn morning.  I started tracking my calories on MyFitnessPal.com and using my FitBit to not only track my steps, but to give me back some of the calories (you can lync the FitBit to MyFitnessPal).  Before I knew it, I was right back into thinking about food either consciously or unconsciously every minute of every day.  I was dreaming about food!  Shit!

This morning I woke up and my first thought was, “Okay..today’s the day I’m going to eat better.”

And I stopped in the middle of my bedroom and thought, “STOP!”  Which reminded me of my day in my closet when I yelled the same thing (out loud that time).  Which made me realize that I have let one single solitary word uttered by a woman who didn’t give it a thought put me back into a place from which I fought to remove myself with every fiber of my being.  I let that word not only impact my eating but my thoughts about who I am and what I look like as well.  One simple word unraveled all that hard work, and I mean HARD work.  Double SHIT.

It felt like a relapse.  Not a relapse back into drinking but just as harmful to my well being because I have worked very hard in recovery to cultivate peace and quiet in this crazy head that sits on my shoulders.  AND I WAS THERE!  Sigh…

Here’s the cray-cray part, the more I let those voices in, the worse I ate!  Potato chips every night (I counted them of course).  Candy (counted). Cake (counted). Banana bread (counted). Fried chicken, full fat dressing, blah, blah fucking blah.  Plus?  Not one single pound lost…not an ounce!  In fact, I’ve gone up two pounds (and then back down…whatever).  All why counting every single calorie and staying below my target.

Prior to jumping back on this nightmare of a roller coaster I had lost the weight I had gained at Christmas and leveled out.  I knew Spring would arrive and I’d get more active and then – well then I was fully prepared to let my body do what it needed to do while I was feeding it only good things and moving it in a moderate and responsible way (i.e. not making my already bad knee worse).  I WAS THERE!  

Until I wasn’t…

To show you how bad it got (is),I ordered “Rockin Body” from Beachbody and led by Shawn T.  The same Shawn T from P90X and Insanity.  Really?  While I could probably do the exercises and might even like it because it’s dance and I spent a good part of my life doing aerobic dance, I am sick of worrying about when I’ll do it and if it’s going to work and should I start getting up a five am and do I need a knee brace and what if I can’t do it and feeling guilty if I decide to walk the dogs instead and UGHHHHHHH!!!!!  STOP!

So I am taking my overweight (NOT obese) ass off this scary clown, Stephen King, haunted, carnies with three teeth among them, rats and snakes and roach filled roller coaster.  I’m doing it intentionally.  I’m sending back the videos.  I’m deactivating my Myfitnesspal account.  I’m going to take the few minutes I have in my day to myself and do what I want to do…walk the dogs, yoga, meditate.  I’m going to go back to putting clean and healthy things in my body and give myself a fucking break.

Then I’ll reassess.  Stay tuned…I’m a work in progress.

Namaste

The “O” Word

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Annual physicals are part of my DNA.  I’m really, really good about getting my annual check up complete with blood work.  I will admit that during the last part of my drinking career I might have postponed the visits, but eventually I would make the appointment, go, and then lie through my teeth about how much I was drinking. (If you’ve never lied to your doctor about your bad habits then I applaud you.) 

I’ve spent the last four years repairing the damage my drinking did.  Things like high tryglycerides, high “bad” cholesterol and low “good” cholesterol as well as high blood pressure and low liver function all had to be fixed.  I’ve been plugging away at it year after year, improving my numbers little by little with each visit.  This year I was actually excited to find out what my numbers were.  I’m new to this doctor so I was surprised when her office called yesterday to deliver my results (I usually get them in the mail).

The nurse starts off with “everything looks good” which is a good thing because the phone call itself had me worried.  Then she ran down my numbers which were all good considering where they were four years ago.  LDL (bad) was 100 and should be below 160; HDL (good) was 52 and should be above 40; Tryglycerides were 123 and should be below 150 (just after I quit drinking my tryglycerides were over 800 – I shit you not.)  Liver function, white blood cells, glucose, pap smear, thyroid, etc. all normal.  Yay!!!

Then she says, “The doctor recommends daily exercise to help with a weight loss of 1 pound per week.  She’d like to see you in six months to see how you’re doing with your obesity.”

Wait…what?  No…really…what?

Did you just say the “O” word?

Ummmm…

Okay, I guess technically I’m in the “O” range for my height and weight if you use those charts in the doctor’s office.  But let me be honest, I have NEVER been in the “healthy weight range” in my LIFE.  And that includes when I was wearing a size 8/10 and working out seven days a week!  So don’t be throwing around that “O” word lady or I may have to cut a bitch!

Here’s the thing.  All my life I’ve struggled with my weight because I didn’t fit some kind of predetermined view that advertisers and clothing designers had for what I should look like.  Even though I was healthy and not at all “fat”, I thought I was because of what I saw in magazines and on TV (and don’t even get me started on what this is doing to our kids…that’s an entire post all by itself).  No matter how thin I got, when I looked in the mirror it was never good enough.  Thankfully I like pizza too much to have ever become anorexic (and I watched it very closely) but it occupied my every thought all the fucking time!  It’s a wonder all that weight talk left any room to obsess about the booze.  Drinking, smoking and my weight concerns ran on a constant loop in my head like bad muzak in an elevator stuck between floors.

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I’ve worked hard to get mentally healthy and stop the crazy voices that kept hammering on and on about that shit.  I quit smoking.  I quit drinking.  And in this last year, I quit the obsessing about my weight and started focusing on being healthy.  The Whole 30 I completed last year really helped me to focus more on eating whole and clean and just let my body do what it’s going to do.  I even declared that I would not step on the scale this year as a protest to letting a number on a little box dictate my thoughts, mood and life!  And guess what?  I kept that promise.  I didn’t even look when they weighed me in the doctor’s office AND I wouldn’t let them tell me what the number was.

Until last night.

After that woman dropped the “O” bomb on me, I went home and thought, “Well fuck me naked…I guess I’d better at least see how bad it is.”  So I got on the scale…and I looked down…and guess what?  My weight was down.  The hell of it is that I knew that!  I knew that I was on the right track because my clothes were looser and I was feeling so good!  I was also happy because the voices in my head hadn’t quite shut the fuck up yet, but they were learning to be still.  AND – and this is a big AND – for the first time in my life I was starting to look in the mirror and see what was good instead of the flaws.  I was beginning to look in the mirror and smile…to recognize this body as the body of a warrior!  A warrior who has birthed three children and fought off disease and molestation and smoking and alcoholism and found herself a healthy and happy place both mentally and physically!

So I am not about to let a “word” send me scuttling off into the corner to eat myself happy or to weigh myself obsessively or to just give up.  I am not about to let all my hard work go flying out the window because of a poor choice of words.  In fact, I’m not going back to see her in six months.  There’s too much at stake.  

What I will do is realize that, like with cigarettes and booze, I am not a normie.  I will continue to watch my portion sizes and calorie count.  I will continue to walk…and walk…and walk.  I will not jump on and off that stupid box and let a number determine my day.

I will recognize myself for who I am, right now, in this moment.

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A Mother-Fucking-Sober-Warrior-Ninja-Lady!

Namaste