Monday, October 24, 2011

New Normal

This morning I weighed 228.4. It is so funny -- I feel pretty fat because a bit of my stomach has returned (the most noticable place I lost weight last week). It is odd how quickly we can become accustomed to something -- a new weight, a bad habit, etc -- and how hard it can be to change it. Well, I am back from vacation so I'm headed back to the routine of tracking everything and getting rid of this crappy weight I picked up up north. It was worth it though.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

You'd be Swimming in That

Yesterday I went on a bike tour around Chicago, and rented a bike in the morning just to ride around. It was great -- so much fun. I totally recommend Bobby's Bike Hike if you're ever in Chicago (coupon code: YELP2011). The funny thing was, this place is owned by a guy from Arkansas! On the tour, I even got a special job: helping to corral people in the back. Reward: I got to wear the snazzy vest pictured to the right for three hours. Anyway, I digress.

They had cool t-shirts for sale that said "I Chicago" (imagine the I <3 NY shirts, subbing a bike picture for the heart, and Chicago for NY). I wanted one, long sleeved so I asked my tour guide George about it at the end of the tour. He told me and I quote, "Yeah sorry, we only have XL. You would totally be swimming in that."

This guy knew nothing about me, or about my past but I was shocked. For someone who used to not fit into men's/unisex 2XL clothes? It was pretty surreal to be told XL was too big for me. Odd, but great. And maybe he is actually right. Wow.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Eating on Vacation and Progress

The first half of this week, I'm in Chicago. So far it has been great -- yesterday I got to see two friends and also got to go up to the top of Sears Willis Tower for the first time. I would estimate that I probably walked about 8 miles yesterday, maybe even more. My calves felt tight by the end of the night, but I could have easily walked a whole lot more and this morning thanks to a bunch of stretching last night I am not even tight anywhere.

Backing up, last week I lost 3.6 lbs, following a week where I lost 5.8 lbs. I am so excited -- not so much just to be losing weight (although, yes I am pumped about that), but to be making forward progress again after feeling so stalled for so long. I am now 225.8, a good 4 lbs. below where I was at my lowest point during grad school.

All this to say: I feel a renewed vigor when it comes to WW and tracking my food. I feel like I'm ready to make another big push toward losing weight. When I started this trip I had big plans to track everything and keep moving forward progress on losing weight. I quickly realized that wasn't going to happen.

I am in Chicago. It's only the third time I've really been here, and it's known for pretty specific cuisine -- pizza, hot dogs, etc -- and I definitely want to enjoy that stuff while I am here. But I am not going to spend time before I go to these famous places googling nutrition facts, figuring out the lowest fat hot dog, etc. I am just going to enjoy this food, and eat it in moderation. When I am no longer hungry, I will stop eating. I will make sure I get vegetables with my meals.

It is funny, just as I used to obsess with food, I now realize that if I am not careful I will obsess over planning food and making wise choices. Don't get me wrong, those are both great things...but I want to use them and tools that I control, not obsessions that control me if that makes sense. I will walk and walk and be active on this trip. Today I am renting a bike and will ride along the lakefront and go on a bike tour of the neighborhoods. I am going to a couple art museums and will be on my feet most of the day. I am sure I will walk a bunch too. I will listen to my body and the scale will work itself out. Even if I gain a couple pounds, I will work it off when I get back home.

I feel like this is a good season in my journey. I am starting to feel some traction again, and am hopeful/optimistic that this isn't a flash in the pan. You all know my philosophy that this will take however long it takes to reach a [yet unknown] goal weight, and that changing my thought patterns and mindsets are just as valuable -- maybe even mores0 -- than losing weight on the scale. However, that progress is not visible to the human eye, and is thus harder to show progress for, so it is nice to be making some tangible, measurable progress again.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Financial Health

So the deeper I go into the abyss of fixing myself from the inside out, the harder and yet more rewarding it gets. Next on the docket: financial health. I made a budget yesterday for the first time.

Let's back up -- when I started this get healthy thing, it was scary and inhibiting to track my food. I felt restricted and confined -- but now I love tracking my food and actually find it freeing. I can totally have pizza, but it means I just have to lighten up at other points in the day or exercise more or something. I doubt if I would have realized that these tradeoffs were possible had I not been so diligent about tracking my food. I am still seeing results I like and am loving the ability to make progress while not feeling totally like I'm in a food straight jacket -- this comes as a result of tracking my food.

Back to the financial health issue -- I make plenty of money. I have paid off my car, I don't use credit cards, and I paid off my student loans. I really don't have any debt, but I don't have much savings aside from retirement either. I give away a pretty big chunk of money, but I feel like I could do even better if I were savvier about the way I allocated my money. I've also recently taken a big pay cut at work -- my income is down 25% temporarily, which is also helping to force the issue of needing a budget.

All this to say: it's time. Time to put on my big girl pants and make a budget, like all responsible adults should. I am hoping that in time, a budget will actually be liberating instead of feeling overly restrictive. I hope that it will free me from the anxiety I feel about money, and that I will actually enjoy tracking my money and seeing it grow, as I now enjoy tracking my food and looking at graphs about what I eat and how I've lost weight. I don't feel that yet, but I am hoping to.

It is interesting how gaining control of one area of your life almost compel you to get control of your others so you're living a prosperous, rewarding life.

I started off wanting to get healthy.
I realized that that went beyond physical health, so I went to a psychologist.
I sought treatment for depression, and realized health also means mental health.
I went to church, and realized spiritual health underlies both physical and mental health.
Now I am wanting to get financially healthy.
I wonder what's next?

Also - an update to the last post - 225.6 this morning. Would love it if I could get the next 1.2 lbs by Sunday. Seems like a long shot, but it could happen! That would be a huge milestone for me -- I would have lost 25% of my body weight, and 75 lbs.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Dude. 226.4 this morning. Lowest weight ever. Whoa. If I lose 2 more lbs by Sunday, this could mean that I have lost 75 lbs. on weigh in days. Would that not be WILD?!?!


  • This week I had a student tell me that the other day when I said hi to him, he didn't know who I was at first and then he figured it out. He followed it up by asking me if I'd been working out. Even if he is kissing my butt, I'll take it!
  • I love basically everything about my house and living situation -- except the fact that it is not near our town's network of bike trails. That having been said, there are some good cycling options around here, but the big deal is that I rode my bike to church the other day. It's about 7 miles and it took about 40 minutes. I have a couple hills to contend with each direction (the reality of life in the Ozarks, really), I went over the interstate, and I was on roads without bike lanes for about 50% of the ride. I guess this means I'm becoming a real cyclist, not just one who rides on bike paths. Wow. Wouldn't have seen that coming.
  • I think I really do have one chin now. I can still make it look like I have two, but most of the time it really looks like one. Quite the upgrade, going from three to one.
  • I have been packing my lunch. Largely to save money, but it is a great thing and I find it is so much easier to save my points when I control my lunch by packing it.
  • I'm loving soups and have been making about one batch a week and then eating on it all week. This week I made creamy chicken and rice soup -- I sauteed celery, onions, and carrots to add to the soup, I subbed half and half for the cream, and I cut the butter by half -- still delicious, super filling, and 6 PointsPlus per serving. It will get gelatinous and gross looking after refrigerated, but it is still amazing when reheated. Yum.
  • I am making a really serious go at Weight Watchers. I usually track things, but I haven't had a week where I measured everything in a really long time. This is the week, since next week I will be out of town in the land of deep dish pizza and delicious hot dogs and will have significantly less control over my food -- plus you know I like to indulge and have treats, not just live life in a food straight I am going to partake in the local delicacies!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Still here, still kicking

Things here are going. Going really well, sometimes; really poorly others; just plodding along others still. But they keep going.

I don't really know what to say. I was sick a few days this week, and it was pretty disgusting for a day or two but I lost a bunch of weight. Last Sunday, I was 235. This morning, 227. I think 227 is the lowest I've ever been actually. I bet a bunch of it is the fact that I'm dehydrated and haven't eaten in a couple days save a saltine and banana here or there, but wow I'll take it.

I guess I will say this: I feel pretty healthy, overall. I am realizing some pretty big stuff about myself.
  • I am prone to depression, and need to be on medication, at least for now. I was off drugs for a month or two, but am back on again and I feel more like myself again. Better living -- however it comes -- is great; I will take better living through chemistry without a second thought.
  • Weight Watchers and Atkins and exercise and liposuction and gastric bypass will help you lose weight, but they will not fix disfunctional thoughts or obsessions about food. Only God will help with that. Being on any sort of structured plan of eating is not sustailable without dealing with the underlying compulsion first and in my opinion if you're a food abuser using any of these tools will fail if you don't change the underlying dysfunctional thoughts about food.
  • I am not the same person who started this blog, and as a result I don't use it that much. Many of the obsessions have abated. I process things in real life with friends, not on this blog. I would not say that "food" nor "therapy" are the two most defining things in my life, as they were when I started this blog.
  • Bad things pass. It may not feel like it sometimes, but bad things will pass.
  • Steady, consistent progress is amazing. I see pictures of myself from a year or 18 months ago. I've lost about 5 lbs, but I think I look totally different. More importantly, my mindset and life circumstances in that year have changed dramatically -- and pretty much all for the better. I am very hopeful in what lies ahead.
So what does this mean? Both in general and for the future of this blog?

The truth is, I don't know. I feel some level of connection and accountability to my readers, many of whom I don't know but some of whom I do. I've shared a very deep window into parts of my soul through the stories and experiences I've shared on my blog. For those of you who are dysordered eaters, you may have seen glimpses of your own story through mine. I definitely derived strength from your comments when you left them. For those of you who are my real-life friends and acquaintances, I hope that this has given you some level of understanding about what life with an eating disorder is like. I don't say that flippantly or for sympathy, but I do know that in my own life it is fascinating and sort of weird to peel back the layers of an onion that I know just a little bit about. I hope that you never deal with food compulsion, but that you do have an appreciation that it is a very real and very difficult thing to deal with because I've come to appreciate just how pervasive food is in culture.

All this to say -- I think I am just going to formalize the more infrequent nature of my posting. I feel a little sad about it, because so many times when bloggers disappear it is because they're gaining weight and ashamed or dealing with some really hard, dark stuff. I am not feeling like that at all. I don't feel like I am on a mountaintop or anything, but I also don't feel like I'm in a deep dark valley either. I just feel the hum of life -- what I imagine it must feel like to be a "normal" person with a "normal" attitude about food and mental health.

I've decided I will not ever say that weight is "gone forever" or that I am in any sense of the word "fixed" -- I think I will always struggle with food and with mental illness, specifically depression. But this time around things do feel ok. I have dealt with some really hard stuff in what has felt like complete isolation. I have fallen off the proverbial wagon many times. I have gone through periods that I've "let myself go" -- but what is different is me. Each and every time I have gone through these things, I get sad, and then I deal with the underlying emotion, and then I get back on track. I give myself permission to get sloppy sometimes with my eating because, for me, that is how real life is. I know food will not fix problems or bring comfort, and will often in fact make feel worse about myself. Instead of pining on and on about life and my problems with life and with food, I am just going to go out and live it. Experience it, for all its beauty and pain and joy and sadness. And I am going to live it and just write about it occasionally here.

Thank you all for the role you have played in my journey to this point -- we will be in touch, although in a more infrequent way. I am finding the way in life, and am glad that food and my struggle with my mental health are not at the forefront of the issues I am facing these days, but rather just one of many things that will have to be managed in my day to day life. That is so very different than how things were when this blog started.

Till we meet again...
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