Monday, August 29, 2011

Bla bla bla - RBOC edition

RBOC = random bullets of crap, for those not in the know.
  • My eating last week was total crap. Not sure why, which makes it all the more disturbing.
  • Gained 3.4 lbs last week. See bullet #1.
  • Even with a gain, I'm still in the low 230s which is crazy (in a good way).
  • I was starving all week long last week. Not sure what that was about, and when I did eat, the choices I made weren't that wise (e.g., having Doritos instead of an apple).
  • I am really enjoying roommate living. Not only no regrets, but actually no complaints. I love it. Helps with loneliness for sure.
  • My back has been killing me for about a week now. Not sure why, but I really do not like it. At least it's prompted me to start yoga and swimming again.
  • I have been cooking a good amount at home and starting to eat out less, which is great. Needs to continue.
  • I bought a bunch of fruit and veggies on Saturday. It is so much easier to eat healthily when there are fast, easy, healthy go-to options.
  • They offered donuts for free at church to people who parked in the far away parking lot. Surprisingly, it was not a temptation at all and it was very easy to say no.
  • Life is starting to settle into some sense of a rhythm. Not all the way there, but starting which is very helpful.
  • The no cable thing is surprisingly easy, and I still feel super-busy and overwhelmed.
  • I feel somewhat prompted to get an OA sponsor and to start really working the steps. However, given my read on how obsessive many of them are, this is hard and I am very hesitant.
  • I cut my hair short. It was on a total whim. If I'm being honest, part of me wondered what it weighed. The funny thing is, I didn't even weigh the day before the haircut so I have no idea. STUPID! (Though I like the haircut just fine).
Overall, life is good and I am really busy and feeling it. I am focusing on reining in the eating and figuring out why my eating went to crap last week.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Hoarders and the QuickFix

Last night my roommate and I got Netflix. I feel like I am the last person in the world to have Netflix, but since we are not getting cable, we decided to get Netflix. I love it so far.

I have talked about how I moved recently. I don't think I talked about it here, but I'd estimate that I got rid of about 60% of my stuff during the move. During the first three years I was in Arkansas, I got extremely depressed as long-time blog readers know. I dealt with the stress in two ways. The first is discussed here -- eating. The second was by spending money and buying stuff. I accumulated a lot of things, and material objects are no better at curing loneliness and depression than food is. There are other layers to why I accumulated stuff, but I won't discuss them here. Over the course of the move, I got rid of stuff and casually said I was a hoarder.

Now, this is a little true, but I guess it's like the people who need to lose 5-10 lbs. talking about how fat they are. I mean, could they tone up a little? Sure -- but overall, I think that many of us who are or have been morbidly obese tend to discount their stories and say that they're not really fat and that they don't understand, etc. I think that my saying I was a hoarder would make a real hoarder roll their eyes and/or piss them off like very marginally overweight do to me. I see that now after watching an episode of hoarders.

What struck me about this show is how many parallels there are between hoarding and compulsive overeating. Both are unhealthy, compulsive behaviors. Both are not problems that develop overnight: you can't fill your house with garbage in a single day, nor can you gain 50+ lbs. in a single day. Both are exacerbated by painful emotions -- compulsive overeaters often binge to stave off sadness or pain, and hoarders' behavior often intensifies after the loss of a loved one. Both cause you a definite sense of shame and a sharp decrease in the quality of life. Neither are well understood by the world at large.

Bottom line: I could see a lot of myself in the hoarders, even though I now realize I'm not a compulsive hoarder. It was hard to watch, honestly.

Most of all, I felt that the show Hoarders was doing them a huge disservice. For those who have not seen the show, they send in a crew to remove trash (obvious product placement for 1-800-GOT-JUNK), a psychologist, and a professional organizer. I have no idea how long the process takes, but definitely on the order of days, not weeks or months. They show before and after pictures and then the show ends. The stories and lives of two hoarders are showcased in 44 minutes in a nice package with a bow.

As someone who identified very strongly with many aspects of these hoarders lives, I was so appalled! To me, cleaning the hoarders' homes and leaving them is like giving someone who is morbidly obese liposuction and skin removal surgery, showing pictures, and then saying "The end". Will that really work in the long term?! How many of us would not regain the weight?

I guess I can only speak for myself, but I thought before I ever had lost a single pound of weight that if I could snap my fingers and lose the weight that my life would be magical. I don't think that anymore. I am so grateful for the year I spent not losing weight, but stalled out. It forced me to wrestle with some very real emotions and to make some not easy choices. I am grateful for the journey of fitness I've taken. I wish I didn't have back problems, but in the end I'm even grateful for the lessons of learned as a result of having them. To me the process of losing this weight and figuring out what causes me to eat in the first place is as valuable and maybe even more valuable than losing the weight itself. Had I had a quick fix, I would not have reaped the benefits that have resulted from fixing my super-dysfunctional relationship with food and finding other ways to deal with difficult emotions. I also would have given myself only a 5% chance to actually keep the weight off, since I had not learned the skills and behaviors that would help me to maintain my weight.

Not only that, but I think I would have damaged my self worth even more than it already was if I had lost weight via a quick fix and then failed to keep it off. I think that A&E is doing the hoarders a disservice by offering them a quick fix and limited aftercare. And I refuse to feed into it by watching that show ever again. It makes me sad for the hoarders, because I see so much of myself in them -- and even though I am by no means perfect at this healthy living thing and do not always feel this way as it is happening, I am grateful for every single setback on this journey because they have all caused me to learn a whole lot about myself and to improve myself in so many ways beyond just losing the weight.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Back down

As I mentioned, when I was moving I didn't track my food or anything and I got out of the habit of attending OA meetings. I need to re-integrate OA into the schedule, but with everything going on it just has not happened -- but I've been solidly on WW for a little over a week. I lost about 3 lbs last week. Anyhow, because I was eating out a lot (when all the dishes were packed and life was just insanely busy etc) and because I was not tracking my food, I got back up to around 235 over the course of the move/birthday/finally this proposal is done stuff. On the one hand this is good because this is were I was stuck for a year, and during that period when I gained weight it was usually up to about 240 so that's a net loss of 5 lbs. However, any regression is regression and who likes moving backwards?! It's tough to celebrate a gain when, well, it's a gain.

Anyway, the point of this point -- as of this morning I'm back down to 228.8. So nice to be solidly back in the 220s again.

One of the unexpended surprises (all good BTW) of moving in with a roommate is that it is easier to eat more normally since she is around. I had gotten into the pretty bad habit of eating an entire watermelon for dinner once or twice a week when I lived alone. Now, yes, it's "free" on WW, but that is abusing their free fruit policy -- it is not at all the way they intended for that rule to be used. I do not do that anymore because 1) it is just wrong, 2) others know it is wrong, so it would appear (for good reason) to be gluttonous to others so I don't want to look weird around others, 3) there is more to do/I feel way less lonely. So, the roommate decision is good all around.

I intended this to be a one sentence post just reporting the good news that I'm back in the 220s. I guess I had a little more to say than I realized :) The good news is, well, it's all good news!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Lots and lots of stuff going on!

I moved into my new house this past weekend with the help of 14 great friends and a 1.25 month old baby. I have to absolutely brag about my friends and how grateful I am for them -- you have to be a great friend to get up at 8 AM to avoid the 105F projected high, and to work in 90F, humid weather to move me out of my second floor apartment. I felt so loved. It sounds cheesy to say that, but seriously I thought in the middle of this "Wow, they are willing to give this huge chunk of their Saturdays for me? And get up so early on Saturday?! And help even though this historically hot weather smothers you the moment you walk outside?!" I was (and am) incredibly grateful for their help, and the spirit behind their help. Beyond the friends who helped with the move itself, there was a friend who stopped by to bring us cold drinks. There was another who watched someone's little daughter because she was pregnant and didn't feel comfortable doing all the lifting, and this freed up two more friends to be able to help. It was a real team effort and I was unspeakably grateful for and humbled by everyone's help. For someone who had a very long and hard season of isolation and crushing loneliness in Arkansas, it was incredible to realize how vast and rich my pool of friends here is now. Again, gratitude is the word that comes to mind -- not only for their help in moving, but for their friendship and for having them in my lives. I am so so blessed and grateful for each of them.

Along these lines, I had a birthday almost two weeks ago now. I think it was the best birthday I've had in probably 10 years. I loved it. My license expired this year so I had to get a new one. It was shocking to compare the new picture with the old. I am so much skinnier looking in this new one; in fact, I could not believe that I had a sleeveless dress on (I didn't think about having to take a license picture when I got dressed that morning -- let's blame my blondness) and that it looks really good in the picture. I then met my friend/new roommate for lunch, ran some more errands, went over to a friend's house (the one with baby Benson, my move in helper), and then met another friend for frozen yogurt where she had a very thoughtful surprise from my mom -- a beautiful bunch of gerbera daisies which are my favorite.

The day was so full (not in an "I'm running around and can't cram a single other thing in the day" kind of way, but in an "I can't believe what a good day this is, and my heart is about to burst" way.). It was only afterward when I reflected on it how different it was from the previous years' birthdays in Arkansas. Previously since I had very few friends in Arkansas, the way I celebrated my birthdays was with food. I'd let myself eat whatever I wanted in whatever amounts I wanted and say that that was just a part of celebrating. In contrast, this year I barely thought about food. Yes, I met friends for lunch/dinner, but food was really in the backdrop and not in the forefront of why we were getting together -- the real reason was to celebrate and have fun together, not to eat for the sake of eating. I thought to myself "THIS is what normal people must feel like around food" -- and it was not lost on me that, at least for the day, I fell into that category of people who were treating food as a part of the background of their lives, not in the starring role. I was amazed and, again, I felt very grateful.

It is incredible to think about how much God has blessed me in the last year, in very unexpected ways. I distinctly remember my birthday last year. I felt probably the worst I have ever felt in my life. I had been diagnosed with depression a few weeks earlier, and somehow putting a label on the emptiness I felt made me even a little sadder. I spent a good chunk of my day crying face down on the floor of my apartment thinking, "This is just not right. Life should not be like this." I was so lonely and sad and I felt utterly defeated. It was on that day that I gave myself permission to leave Arkansas. I cried and thought, "I have no good friends in Arkansas." I felt very strongly the voice of God whispering to me, "I am your friend." It sounds crazy -- well, it is crazy -- but it was unmistakable to me. I cry just writing about it.

I decided I would give myself one year. I would try in earnest to make friends one last time. I had already tried everything I knew to do (and my counselors agreed that the list was long and that I HAD tried a lot) one more time -- and if it didn't work out again this time, I would leave in a year with no guilt and absolutely no remorse.

The move to a place just across town (not out of the state, as I had contemplated a year earlier) and my birthday are a testament to how much God has helped me to make friends here. My friends here have affirmed that I am not weird (at least not enough to justify my having no friends), that I am valued, and that they love me -- and after the drought of local friends, the value of this is immeasurable and I in no way take this for granted.

There are other things I would have never guessed would happen over the last year -- moving in with a roommate after living alone for 10 years, joining a 12-step program, getting a year's extension on my tenure clock -- but I see God's hand in every one and am convinced this is what He has for me in this season of life. I want to learn every lesson and enjoy every day because His plan is best for me.

Just a quick update on life. It is really a great season of life right now, and for this I am unspeakably grateful especially after such a hard three year stretch after I first moved to Arkansas. The fullness and richness of life is certainly not lost on me.

(And by the way, the food part is going pretty well these days too. Again, I'm grateful.)
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