Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Austin and turning a Corner

I had a great time in Austin at my conference. I met some new people, learned about new stuff going on in my field, and connected with old friends. I really love to do that.

I made several really significant choices that made me realized "Huh, my life has changed and this is totally doable." It was as though I had turned a corner on the trip. Let me give you some examples.
  • I packed healthy bars (e.g., Larabars), a bag of apples, and beef jerky for breakfasts and snacks. I felt I would be in better control than leaving these meals to fate. Don't get me wrong, I still love bagels, sausage, eggs, and all kinds of other breakfast foods, but to be honest I didn't really miss not having them and felt 100% satisfied by my breakfasts (once I got a bottle of milk).
  • I went out to dinner a lot (what other options are there in a new place with no kitchen?), and a couple of times split things with friends. I knew that ordering a whole plate for myself wouldn't have anything to do with hunger (there is almost always way too much food at restaurants), and I was not sad about this decision. Turns out the food at one restaurant (BBQ) was kind of gross and I ended up leaving the part I didn't like behind. That would have NEVER happened in the past. Mashed potatoes -- whether they were gross or not -- would have been inhaled. Not this time.
  • The gym at the hotel was $15 a day to use. I HATE THAT AND VERY LITTLE IRKS ME MORE THAN PAYING $200/DAY FOR A HOTEL AND THEN HAVING TO PAY FOR THE GYM ON TOP OF THAT!!! Instead of using this as an excuse not to work out, I got up at 5 each morning and went for a long walk. It was actually nice to have a chance to explore Austin (and I felt safe doing so), so it ended up to be a good thing since I was otherwise at the conference venue most of the day.
  • I felt like I had reasonable control over balancing treats and eating healthy. I came back very very sodium waterlogged, but did not otherwise have a significant weight change, which was great.
  • I went out to lunch and one day ordered a side of veggies instead of fries -- not because I felt like I should, but because I wanted to and was concerned my body was not getting enough fiber. I thought to myself as I did it "OMG is this really happening or am I having an out of body experience?!"
  • I realized I needed a lot less sleep than I used to. Remember how I wanted to get a bunch of sleep for my upcoming trip? Totally didn't happen. Most nights I slept 5-6 hours. I usually sleep about 7 hours. In spite of the lack of sleep, I did fine. I was surprised but happy to learn that I don't need as much sleep as I thought.
  • (This one is huge) I did not once eat in secret. I did not pig out because I could or because I felt like I had an excuse of being out of town. This is huge for me. I thought "Huh, this must be how normal people eat...not that I'd really know."
I've posted a couple pictures of me at the conference. These are significant not only because I look smaller than I did last year at this conference, but also because I bought this shirt last year for the same conference but it ended up being to small. This year it was not. I was ecstatic to be able to wear it. Hopefully next year it might even be loose!

I think for me the reason that this trip was so significant was because I felt very at peace with food. I didn't think about it all that much. I thought about the real reasons I was at the conference, and none of them were to eat. I rarely thought about food other than when I was hungry. For someone with such a hugely dysfunctional past with food, this is huge. I was delighted to feel like I had turned some kind of a corner on this trip. I actually felt normal, which is a very comforting feeling after having felt so weird around food for so long.

1 comment:

  1. Congrats on so many NSV's in such a short space of time. Should be a good boost to get through the party season.

    I also hate it when hotels get cheeky and try to bill you for using the gym....seriously, what's with that? Good for you for not allowing this to stop you exercising.


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