Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Weightloss in Review - Goodbye Old Friend

Changing focus is never easy. My first focus swap came from learning that losing weight to look good is never as sustainable as losing weight to feel good. My second focus (which only just recently occurred) came from understanding the size of my body in relation to the world around me. That is - how much physical space do I actually occupy now? I had to get reacquainted with my body and how to work with it, how to move in it, and how to clothe it. The hardest part that I still haven't learned completely is how to properly feed my body.

Entering maintenance stage was something I found absolutely terrifying because the focus went from aggressive loss to ... stagnancy. The status quo was left to bubble, rot and fester. I had to learn to be happy with what I'd achieved which felt like less than I wanted, but more than I'd worked to earn. It was strange to hear that from my inner-monologue because for a long time I'd been so done with the concept of eating to lose weight, working out to lose weight. Loss became compulsive and controlling, and when my maintained weight deviated I had two reactions: Either I accepted it, and my upper-limit kept pushing higher by a half-pound at a time, or I did not accept it and reached a breaking point and began spreading the same vicious lies about myself within my mind that I'd worked so hard to get away from before.

I learned throughout this past six month period that I can't do everything. I saw my world foundation getting cracks, more shaky and unstable as my personal guiding philosophies were so conveniently pushed aside. A complete tear-down and reevaluation of every personal decision I'd ever made began, triggered by a slow-spreading depression. I realized that all my suffering, my negative internal monologue, and my marked change in health were all related to the simple fact that I wasn't happy with where I was.

I started school without a fixed direction, realizing that getting started was the hardest part and that I'd surely find my path once I got started. I have heard a calling, stronger some times than others, but still audible enough that I can distinguish it apart from the thrumming sounds of life. It's whisper quiet, but present...So I suppose my mettle will be proven, or not, figuring out what lives at the bottom of this rabbit hole. Change isn't easy, but strength is found in how we cope and react to it (or so it is said) - hopefully I am gifted with just a little more grace to do what needs doing, whilst doing it. I say these things because I know they're true, and I think I'm finally starting to believe them all...again.

I've gone back to how I was eating when I was happiest - vegan according to Eat to Live. That book started it all, and although I've fallen off the path and tried different things and different methods for health, I can honestly say I've never been happier than when I was subsisting on plant-based proteins. Returning to my roots, the roots that got me to where I am (with a few hiccups along the way, like an attempt at Medifast to support my husband's efforts to drop the weight) and made me the happiest about how I existed in, and interacted with, this world.

Losing weight wasn't easy, how could it be? I went from a life of convenience found in pressed pseudo-beef patties, processed snacks and surfing the television from the couch. That life is so sad, but certainly easy. Choosing to change everything about everything I ever did for the sake of my health, the sake of how I felt about my body? I had to sit out of meals with family, was looked down on as "too extreme" by friends, and got frustrated that no one ever seemed capable of seeing that I was doing what I had to do in the way I had to do it. It about broke me many times, I was always just 'this' side of stronger, never quite broke, but it took a toll (sometimes positive, sometimes negative) that presented both physically and mentally.

Mentally I realized personal truths, and realized how these truths are inherent to who I am. I learned that I can, absolutely, do anything. I can, and it's hard, but I can. I've realized that those who "can't" are usually unwilling, ignorant, lazy, or content/happy. So in that I see both sides of the coin, but I realize that whenever I say I "can't" do something I'm really just saying one of the following: "I'm unwilling to make the changes necessary to achieve that," or, "I'm ignorant of the changes that need to happen in order to achieve that," or, "I'm honestly just too lazy to bother achieving that," or, "I'm actually okay and happy with where I am, but society seems to think I should be doing something other than I am so I am conflicted in refusing to do this." I think if people took a deeper look into their psyche and their choices they'd probably realize the same thing, but then again? Maybe not. Maybe this is just something I've come to realize in my own head, about my own life, and I simply can't fathom not 'getting' this and therefore am applying it to the lives of those around me. Who knows?

Physically I melted. My body deflated as the fat got burned off. I suppose that heaps of sagging skin is better than heaps of body fat in the end, but sometimes (most times) I look at my naked body and cringe. It's sad because this body is the only one I've got. It has always done everything I've asked of it, and has always responded to how I've treated it just as well as can be expected. I overfed it and abused it with processed garbage and it kept going, it didn't stop me with a raging case of diabetes or sudden death. I put it hard to work, long hours and it never complained. Sure my muscles got tired eventually, but my body always kept chugging - sometimes even when my brain had checked out from the exercise I was doing. My body is probably the thing I'd thank most in the foreword of my weight loss chronicle - "Dear Body; Thank you for never giving up on me, working around the clock with me to create change, and putting up with the hours of abuses and endless revisions."

Speaking of revisions, I noticed from a general skim of my blog that I have seemed utterly directionless for much of my journey, especially from an outside perspective. I tried a natural health degree program, but realized quickly that that wasn't where I was meant to be -  I followed my gut, took a financial loss and kept hunting. I made an Active 2012 goal list and got a lot done on it, but not all of it. I did the Medifast program, then came off of it. I felt a bit panicky about it at first, but then figured that 2012 was my 'year of finding'. My efforts were designed to expose me to as much as possible, to experience as much as possible, and to get out and do as much as possible so that I could take steps closer to figuring out where I was meant to be.

 I figured out a few things from this, both about myself and those in my life. I realized that my husband was my best friend, not my life partner. This still breaks my heart every day as letting go of years with a person is never easy to do, even if it feels like it is the best thing to do. When I chose to leave my husband my brain started churning on what  I needed to be happy, and what issues I had that really needed addressing. 1) I realized that I can give myself permission to focus on being a mother and keeping my space clean! For a long time I felt guilty about friends I have that say they're simply too busy with their children to keep their houses clean. I had to come to terms with the fact that having a clean house does not, in fact, make me a bad or neglectful mother. That sounds weird, but when I consider a majority of my friends with children seem to be unable to keep their houses organized I really started to feel that since I was the outlier that I was somehow less of a mother than them. Thankfully I was able to kick that ill mentality to the curb. 2) That having some unpacked boxes, or one single room that is not perfectly organized does not make me a failure at everything worth succeeding at. Sometimes it is a process, and I am simply a part of the process as much as that box is. I need time to unpack myself, before I can unpack that box. 3) That not everyone is capable, willing, or able to be at the same stage of their journey as I am, and accepting (knowing) that when the time is right all things meant to happen will happen - both as they pertain to my own life, and to the lives of others. 4) That social work isn't necessarily a high-wage earning job, and likely never will be. That the hours are long, the work is hard, and sometimes it will never be gratifying. That the human cost of a sick society needs to be mediated and that I love working with people and giving to people. I've been toying, constantly, with thoughts of packing up and joining the Peace Corps, but realize I can effect just as much change in my community (wherever that is) and do just as much good healing the societal illnesses on the home front as I can abroad. 5) That it's okay to be me. It's okay to love people the way I want to love them and it's okay to not love them if I don't want to love them. It's okay to laugh, it's okay to be vulnerable, it's okay to put on my armadillo hat and hide my feelings away if I want. It's okay to be depressed, it's okay to take time to process, it's okay to accept being a part of the process, and it's okay to say no. It's just never okay to give up, because when we give up it's over.

2012 is the last leg of this blog's journey, and it's seen me through so much. I've written before of the blog being like the secret confidant I told everything to. "Dear Diary, today I hated myself but having you here reminds me that this has happened before and tomorrow I will learn to love myself again." "Dear Diary, today I was on top of the world and accomplished everything I set out to. I achieved so much and never wanted to forget the excitement that I felt, so I'm sharing it with you." "Dear Diary, you were present almost every step of the journey I've taken. It's spanned years, this relationship between you and I. I haven't been around as much lately because my life got dark. I didn't want to remember these times forever and ever, I didn't want to give my lack of reason a voice, and so I loved you (and myself) enough to spare you this. I am a fighter, and I always will be. I will find my purpose, my voice, my meaning and my belonging - because of you."

I am a soldier, and although this marks my last entry in this blog, the battle continues. Every day is a choice, and I just hope to keep finding the strength I need to persevere, the wisdom to keep striving, and the knowledge that everything will turn out just the way it was meant to.

Eggs out.
xx




Monday, October 8, 2012

Fighting For Control

Things have been out of control lately. I feel like between hormones, life choices, food cravings and opportunity I've simply lost myself in the shuffle of being a complete hedonist. My weight has experience a pretty solid +/- 10lb weight gain and although this doesn't seem drastic to many, it is devastating when I sit and look at the overall picture.

I have been trying, for weeks, to get things back into control. Nothing I was doing has been actually working, though. I'm at the scary point now where I'm actually frustrated enough that I just don't care and have been letting myself indulge more and more often. Logically I know (looking back on the foods I'm eating) I'm really just going to end up with a larger gain. I truthfully am at a loss. A complete loss.

I've been more sedentary now, my food choices have been poorer, there has been more stress and there has been more traveling. There has to be a complete overhaul of my regularly occurring routine simply because variables have changed, but I don't quite know where to start...I have a feel the gym is going to be pivotal in this.

What I need to do is get home, take measurements, take stock, and then get back into +/- monthly goal setting. I think that is going to be the ticket into forcing my body back in to the range I was actually okay with it. Otherwise I'm going to stay on this downward spiral and end up larger, unhealthier, and ultimately unhappier.

I've spent part of the morning (it's 4:30am and I'm awake with worries in my mind) looking at forums to get ideas on my next step. I seen a very sad overabundance of 12-17 year old females wondering why their bodies aren't simply already 'perfect'. Remembering this awkward and sad stage of my own life I hope they all find their peace - and it keeps my depression over a ten pound gain in check. I say I don't know what I need to do, or I don't know what's happening, but I guess I really do. I do and I've been letting myself indulge and enjoy food for a change, which has led to this gain. Any addict will go right back into an addiction if they're allowed 'just as a taste'. I think I might need to ask for help, because I've already fallen down the slippery slope.

Maintenance is the hardest, and least gratifying stage of this entire journey. Keeping my weight where I want it -and- enjoying life? Seems like a task too large to handle alone, especially for someone tired of being a soldier all the time.

Eggs out
xx

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Up, Up and Away


Climbing To The Top (It's my life...)
_________________________

The weekend was an amazing one. I am recounting all of my experiences after a week of "down-time" to sit and absorb all of my feelings on what happened. I, for all intents and purposes, climbed a mountain. I climbed a mountain trail, and I backpacked far away from home. I achieved three of my Active 2012 goals, and although I didn't feel it until two days later, I really pushed myself to the upper limits of my strength and endurance.

For part of the trail I had 60 pounds on my back. I loved every second of it. The feeling of being weighted and burdened, and the thrumming of a steady heart beat in my ears. Pushing myself beyond exhaustion and into a new realm of uncertainty is an amazing mental space. Other things stop mattering,  sounds and vision tune out, and I become a single entity with the spirit of an Ox. Being pushed and abusing my senses in that way takes me to an entirely different level of existence, and I love it. Every minute of it is my own inner beast getting her chance to hunt and possess.

My blog has been full of fears and uncertainty lately. I've been struggling to find my middle ground and my peace, and finally I believe at least one truth about myself: My body is meant to take it, or I couldn't do it. I can't wait until next time.

Being so primally charged, off in the wood, is also very soul-healing for me. Unfortunately I'm in a family that isn't (currently) much keen on the wilderness, but I hope that with time they might all come around to it. My daughter and I will be going camping soon so that I can get her out and active in the wilderness. I plan on showing her a few knife techniques, teaching her about wild edibles and different survival tactics. This is what life is all about (well, at least for me!)

Life is never more beautiful than when I'm hurting.

Eggs out
xx

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

An Emotional Feeder, An Active Enabler

VA Beach 2010
I'm an enabler. I see this in myself, someone I'd consider to be a 'feeder'. I'll cook these dishes for people with things in it I wish I could eat. I'll make rich cheese sauces, use whole rashers of bacon, white enriched pasta - garbage. There will be something I want to have a taste of, and I'll take a bite of it and then give the other 95% of what I did not finish to my husband, or my children. I never think about it when I'm doing it, but I'm a feeder.
On one hand I love to make the things I think people will like. On the other hand, I'll make myself a meal entirely separate from everyone else. I'll offer treats and things that I've made with love, but when I sit and look at the caloric counts in the foods I prepare it quite actually makes my blood pressure raise.

I can't have it, so someone else must. Or I have it, and I'll partake of a minuscule amount just to give it to someone else. Or, lastly, I'll eat it all until I'm physically ill.

I can't seem to get my mind around the struggles I have with food. I am working, hard, to maintain my weight. Every day is a struggle and a choice, and I do my utmost every day for myself, but when I see the impacts I am having on my husband (specifically) it makes my heart break. He had been doing so good with his weight loss, having gotten into the low 180's. He's back into the mid 190's and it's his fault, but a huge portion of the blame is mine to own. I make him crap. I'm an enabler. I'm a feeder. I'm the worst kind of person to try to be healthy around, which sounds like an oxymoron, but it's the truth.

Putting it down in black and white as part of a record breaks my heart. I'm going to do to those around me what I tried, and failed, to fight for my entire life. I can't imagine how to stop doing it though, because I never know I'm doing it until it's too late. I can't change the world, or make someone else's decisions for them...but I can present them with only the options I'd have for myself in order to help their wellness.

This stage of my weight loss has really caused a lot of introspection into the 'why' of my morbid obesity. The 'why' and how it affected everything. I'm not used to being referred to as 'small'. Someone said I was just a 'bitty' thing and I looked down and felt a moment of heart break. How could they lie to me to my face? My body issues need to stop at me, though, and I need to stop them there. I'm going to really try to change this behavior around - for myself, and those around me.

Eggs out
xx

Sunday, July 29, 2012

On The Other Side Of The Binge

Today was a spectacular day of indulgence. Dare I say - A spectacular binge day. I ate every source of refined sugar and carbs I could get my hands on. French fries, frozen custard, pancakes and french toast covered in strawberry preserves, Waldorf salad, ice cream and German chocolate cake. I've been hurting to just 'be' for so long that I decided something, that I'll address in a minute.

I've got some things going on, personally and emotionally, that I'm not willing to share with the public that read my blog. I might face it some day, but today is not my day. Instead I'll keep these personal things that are happening quiet to a small group and work on improving the bigger picture for myself. Tonight I wrote poetry, something I had not done in over a decade. It was calming to go again to that happy place. Yesterday I attended a really interesting cooking class organized by my place of employment and hosted at the local Wegmans supermarket at their bistro bar.

I've been carrying on with my belly dance classes. My weekly schedule is facing a shift - I've never attended a class on my own before and I worry that once the regularly scheduled classes might be faced without the lovely company of the friend I've been attending with. The true test will be class this Tuesday, which I must attend alone since she will be out of town. If I manage to not talk myself out of going alone I think I'm going to keep paying for the classes, even after the end of the discounted 3 months program I purchased. I love going, and I love dancing. It makes me feel happy within myself to be able to perform such exotic dance moves without being overly erotic. I like the way I feel in my own skin (for the most part), but have also decided that it would be better without all the extra skin I have flapping around. I've also begun work on organizing my children's beautification program to raise personal and social responsibility in our youth. I'm keeping myself busy, but for the most part it has been stress free. And then today happened.

Today I had a many hour long intensive conversation with some family members. It brought many things up, and to light. For the most part I'd say it wasn't stressful, but was certainly more stress than I'm used to. I can't tell if it was my own stress, or my empathic nature feeding off of the stress and anxiety of those around me. I realized how often I've encountered discrimination in my life, even from the unlikeliest of sources. It used to make me feel like I never measured up, and I feel like that stayed with me even now. This is my own problem, my own issue to address - to own - to conquer, but it sometimes gets in my head how easily my perfect life can be corrupted by intolerance.

Regardless, this morning I decided something. I decided that I was going to eat what I wanted, when I wanted, in the quantity I liked today. I've found a natural urge to eat gross quantities of food, to the point the hunger-centers in my brain simply switch off and stop trying to warn me. I eat to the point of no return, and today I let it happen. I stopped fighting my body's demands, and I feel sick. I accomplished everything I wanted. I hope that the over-indulgence today will stop these screaming cravings I've encountered and will leave me feeling more whole and refreshed.

I plan on detoxing soon - getting my body rid of all the aspartame, frankenfoods, Monsato GMO's, preservatives and MSG that I've had this ongoing relationship with since I started Medifast. I'm going back to Eat to Live, now that I can tolerate a higher quantity of carbs without a huge rebound, and I'm going to start repairing the damage I caused tonight as soon as I wake tomorrow. I hope to find a refreshed perspective when I wake up on the other side of the binge.

I must own my life. I must take back control, in a more moderate fashion. As cave divers often say: "A successful dive is one you return from" - and I think this saying applies to the quest for health, as well.

Eggs out
xx

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Just Came To Say Hello~!


Boring dietary update, woo! I managed to eat 17 grams of fat today - which actually involved me putting peanut butter on a spoon and sitting and eating it. Bleh. I've been doing this for the past three days because I have to in order to cycle my diet from low fat (8grams or less), to less-low fat (25 grams - ha! Like I ever meet that.)


With concerted effort I only managed to get up to 17 grams. I'm not complaining, because it's how I prefer to eat, but it gets frustrating that I stuff my face all day and then still see I can't hit 25 grams without putting a hunk of fat (peanut butter) in my body. I need to get some salmon and higher fat fishes.

On the upside I have amazing gallbladder/liver/kidney health. My colonic health is vastly improved from where it was, and I've got fruits, veggies and (some) beans/legumes back in my diet. I'm taking it slow with beans to avoid rebound (no more than 1/8c per day right now). Trying to wean back off the animal proteins and replace those with the carb-filled vegetable proteins.

I was never happier than when I ate fish but once a month, never touched cheese, ate egg white perhaps 3 times a month and called it a day. Beans, veggies, fruit and ground flax for a healthy dose of fat. The recovery from Medifaast is slow, but I am getting there! I can't complain since I did the damage to myself, but am quite happy that recovery is moving forward.

I've managed to maintain weight at +/- 155lbs for the past 4 months. I've been as high as 164 and as low as 149 in that time. It depends on what I'm doing, but generally speaking for the past month's time my morning weights are 155-157 pounds. I need to get some new batteries in my handheld analyzer so I can tape/measure/analyze and see where my body stacks up to where it has been in the past.

I'm a teensy bit sad that I don't have ask much to update in my blog anymore..feels like I'm letting a dear friend down - but I think I've started to outgrow that relationship and that is a good thing, even if a bit heartbreak-y :)

I get to go camping in two weeks time with a good friend. I will be crossing off two, or possibly three, things from my Active 2012 list. This upcoming month is going to be an amazing one. I've been happier, dancing more at home, I've been taking Thursday nights to have time with a friend belly dancing and then catching up over tea, getting out, and playing in my life.

I am finally coming into my own.

Eggs out
xx

Monday, July 2, 2012

Back In The Saddle (Again)

So, Robert made some good points recently. Among them are that I am never quite so happy and strong as when I am working out. Not just strong physically, but strong emotionally. I feel empowered, capable and, at times, simply vicious.

Making Soy Bacon/Caramel Sundaes
In the past four days, I've worked out hard during three of them. I've been alternating strength training with pretty aggressive cardio. I haven't been burning as many calories per session as I had been in my peak, but Friday saw me burn 467 calories (plus unknown number of calories burned during strength training), Saturday saw me burn 368 calories (plus unknown strength training calories burned), Sunday I took as a rest/high carb day, and then today I started my morning with a nice work out. I hit the Cybex machine, a stair stepping elliptical of sorts, and burned 554 calories (not including whatever I burned during strength training). It was pretty fun to be getting out and really feeling like I'm making a difference in my body. After working out, I had lunch with the children and then we went to the swimming pool for almost 2 hours. Another +/-150 calories there. Boy, it adds up.

On Thursdays I've also been doing belly dance with a friend at Magnificent Belly Dance in Manassas, VA. It's been calming and soothing at the same time as being challenging and fun. The time spent with a friend and connecting with another mother/adult is also great for one's emotional state.

It has been an uplifting past week. I'm making progress toward a healthier and happier me.

Eggs Out
xx