Sunday, March 27, 2011


Posting here has been pretty sparse, for a few different reasons. First of all I've just been engaged in living real life -- life that doesn't just happen on the internet. It is so nice to have friends here to engage with; I am so grateful. Second, things have just been crazy here -- and not the good kind of crazy either.

My mental health has been tenuous at best for awhile. Depression is something I deal with, and when I am depressed I still often want to turn to food to help deal with the emotion and sadness. I fight very hard against this, but sometimes I give up on the food side of things. Now by giving up, I don't necessarily mean "I am going to eat this whole carton of (insert binge food of choice) and I don't give a shit!" (though I have done that a couple times in the last few weeks). I do, however, mean "Dealing with the food and tracking it and obsessing about it is too much to handle right now so I will try to make mostly responsible choices on my own." Well, apparently I either let the leash get too loose, or lost my sense of what was a responsible choice is or SOMETHING, because I was up about 12 lbs in the span of about 5 weeks. This week I tracked 6 days and lost 4 lbs, so that was a victory. Today started out rough, though, signaling that something in my brain/consciousness is not quite to where it needs to be yet. I will get there though, one day and decision at a time.

I have made the decision to get back into therapy. I really fought this idea hard, but I am absolutely convinced I need to be in therapy for now. The first session really sucked, but, again, I think I need to be there for now. I am optimistic that I will be able to fix my destructive negative self-talk and being so hard on myself. I am also convinced, though, that it will be difficult and is likely to cut into some very deep and painful places that I don't really want to go. But, for the sake of my mental health and long-term well-being, I will go there.

One of the things my therapist told me I needed to do was to identify a support mechanism for healthy living (I hate to just term this life transformation I'm on as "weight loss", as the weight is but a symptom of the underlying problem of disordered thoughts and behaviors about food).

I have written before about how I've considered joining Overeaters Anonymous. I finally decided this week to go -- and I was very surprised (in a good way) at what I found. I will have to write a separate post to sum up my experience. However, I will say that that the meeting I attended was great, and that I identified with pretty much everything everyone said. It was cool/odd/great to feel understood in a way that I never really have with respect to my disordered eating. I think that at least for now it is exactly where I need to be -- I will definitely keep going!

Community and Friends

I have written posts lamenting my lack of friends and posting what a hard time I had transitioning to life in Arkansas and as a real adult. I am pleased to announce that I finally have friends here! Real, genuine, we actually have a lot in common, I'll be there for you and you'll be there for me friends! What a blessing.

It is funny, I had myself convinced there for awhile that I "didn't need friends" and that I "was independent and liked to do stuff without having to please others" and that being alone "allowed me freedom that I didn't want to give up". And, while there are shreds of truth in the last two statements at least, they're mostly lies and coping mechanisms that helped me to feel better. I can assure you that having friends is so much better than not having them.

I think people were designed to be in community. My therapist has even told me that I am someone who functions better in relationships than out of them (not the romantic variety, just relationships in general). He is right. I need friends and am so glad that I have some now.

I am grateful for friends who accept me for who I am -- an emotional overeater, someone who is caring and thoughtful, someone who deals with depression, a professor, someone who can be compulsive, someone who is successful and intellegent, someone who is passionate, someone who is pretty liberal and has a gay brother. They take the good with the bad, and don't try to "fix" me or judge me or convince me that I'm wrong if they disagree. I think I do the same for them -- 'cause that's what friends do. I am so grateful to have them in my lives, adding to and enhancing my existing network of friends who I don't live near anymore. I felt I owed you guys an update on that since I shared the bad with you on that one, and now I have good news to share :)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

What's the real issue here?

This week -- especially the first part of the week -- has been one of the roughest I can remember. Today I mostly just feel numb. I got almost nothing done this morning! Very frustrating, especially since productivity is largely at the crux of the issue.

I did so well tracking, packing my lunches for the first part of the week. Last night, I just felt tired so I ordered a pizza. Was I craving pizza? Yes. Was it a conscious decision to order it? Yes. Now I don't believe any food is inherently "bad" or to be avoided completely, but was it right to eat the whole thing? No. Was it right to mix sugar with cream cheese and vanilla and eat it out of the bowl after I ate a whole medium pizza? Double no.

Then this morning, I felt really guilty about it. Ugh. But here's the thing -- for me, it's not about the food. It's about the hopelessness and exhaustion I feel sometimes. It's about feeling like I have "earned" less healthy food in copious amounts, and using food as a reward. That is unhealthy, and although I do it WAY less often than I did at almost 300 lbs, it is something that I still struggle with. I just realized in writing this post, though, that instead of focusing on controlling what I eat, I need to recognize that I really need to deal with the anxiety and stress and sadness that cause me to overeat. It is so much easier to slay the emotional eating monster when one is level-headed.

It is not about the foods, it's about about the feelings. I need to remember and focus on that. This mental health thing -- so easy to describe, so hard to handle sometimes. The good thing is that it is getting easier to recognize what is me vs. what is mental illness or depression. This week on Tuesday, for example, I thought I was really going to just collapse from the weight of all that is bearing down on me in a particular issue that's been going on. I wanted to stay home. I wanted to cry and eat all day. I wanted to be completely reclusive and avoid seeing anyone after work. Instead I went to work and bowling with friends afterwards (even though I didn't actually even bowl since my back was hurting; another reaction to stress). Going out and being social wasn't what I wanted, but it was probably what I needed. I recognized that it was the seeds of depression that made me want to do counterproductive things, and so I stepped in and seized control. I am able to do that more and more (hence, the ability to lose weight), but it is still not reflexive and is sometimes quite difficult. Like today, for example.

I am a work in progress and am not giving up. And I'm about to go get a healthy option for lunch, so take that emotional overeating!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Not Much to Say

I feel like I am going in fits and starts lately, and I do not like it. Things at work have been insane. That means things in the rest of my life have been insane too. Thankfully, one of the big reasons for the insanity is (mostly) over.

We are interviewing people for a position where I work. I remember when I was in the shoes of the candidates. Here is how it works for an academic interview: they wine and dine you. I remember going to super-swanky restaurants each night I interviewed. I mean we're talking the $25-40/plate type restaurants -- and that's before the appetizers and desserts which inevitably are ordered. Plus, about 50% of the time people order booze too. Being on the search committee, you go to dinner with each of the candidates. You do the math.

Last week we also had lots of other abnormal work-engagements -- most of which came with free lunch. Also there were tons of cookies around during the interviews. And let's not forget that the Girl Scout cookies I ordered came in.

Can one make good choices at these events and surrounded by cookies? Absolutely. Remember, I reached a new low during a week with four Christmas parties. Can one make good choices in this environment while feeling physically and emotionally drained? Maybe, but I will just admit that I didn't.

I feel stuck. I feel drained. I feel frustrated. I reached a new low and am now back up to 235 -- this past weekend I was even up to 238! I have been giving WW a half-hearted attempt AT BEST, but really I am just trying not to lose ground. I feel mentally off a little bit and am paying extra attention to my mental health these days.

While I don't think that feeling off is a license to go all out and chuck healthy eating out the window, I think that for me for now keeping mentally healthy is more important than focusing on WL. The two are actually very fundamentally linked for me. You may remember that this summer my blahness about WL actually caused me to seek help from a therapist where I was diagnosed with a raging case of depression.

I need to find a healthy balance of keeping my nose to the grindstone so I can make progress for work, but not grinding my nose off to spite my face. Balance is so tricky, you know?

So that is where I have been -- I don't want to be one of those "I am going to do so awesome because today is DAY ONE!" "Oh, I really messed up again yesterday guys -- oops -- so I'm turning over a new leaf. Today is DAY ONE!!!" bloggers, so I just took a bye on updating my blog for awhile. Not to mention, life is crazy busy. Thanks to my mom for checking in on me. There are unexpected bumps in the road for this healthiness blogger. I will stay the course though, even if I have to wear a helmet and take this healthy living train offroad for awhile. I WILL NOT GIVE UP.
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