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Pressure Cooker July 13, 2010

Filed under: emotions,food,friendship,Mindful Eating,overeating — Susan @ 12:31 am
Tags: , ,


Steaming cooker

Originally uploaded by Intrudēr

The next three weeks are going to be the most pressurized, intense weeks of my entire year. I run a camp, that takes all year to prepare for, and it takes place the last week in July.

I’ve been doing this for six years now. For the first several years, I viewed this period of time (actually, all summer) as an opportunity to completely throw in the towel and give up on any remnants of fitness or healthy eating. It was really just an excuse. I’d cancel my trainer, eat like there was no tomorrow, and it was just stress piled on stress. It felt inevitable. When camp itself came, I would literally inhale the crazy carbs they served: sloppy joes and mac and cheese and tacos and hotdogs and french toast and ALL OF IT, and I believed the more I ate, the calmer (read: more anesthetized) I’d feel.

Last year was the first year that I tried to get through the summer without my customary meltdown. It went pretty well and I managed to get to my Lifetime status at WW in the summer. But the ghosts of past camp seasons are always around to haunt, and it’s so easy to just succumb to the pressures and just say “I give up!” for now.

I really don’t want that to happen this year. This year is the biggest camp in our whole history. We’re in a brand-new site that is giving me HIVES with their incomprehensible difficulties and insane little rules. So I am just prime for all sorts of falling down.

Today we had a staff powwow to assess all we need to do in the next 2 weeks. It is a LOT. And either it will get done, or it won’t. But just making that list almost put us all over the top.

One of my co-workers ordered a sandwich with extra bacon. I suddenly thought, what can *I* have?? I deserve this! I need something extra-special!! All the old song and dance. I spied a triple-decker Havarti grilled cheese on the menu of my favorite takeout place. THAT’S what I want! I thought. But I was deep in a task which kept me busy for a while longer. During which time I got to really think about what it was that I wanted.

I wanted to eat something that would not stress me even further, or put me to sleep, or make me feel bad about myself. I thought. I needed PROTEIN. So I went to the Thai place and got a cup of chicken coconut soup, and some chicken satay skewers. I didn’t touch even a grain of rice. I had the cucumber salad and a little dollop of peanut sauce. Then I was able to go back and face the rest of my afternoon (and evening, as it turns out) of work.

It’s going to take EVERYTHING I HAVE to remain conscious, and present, and healthy, during these next weeks. If I can emerge August 1 in a good place, I will be very grateful. Cross your fingers for me. Or leave me lots of comments for strength. <3

 

A Little Downward Spiral May 25, 2010

WOW I had a crazy tough week last week. Why do I always get surprised by hard times?

So the week started out sad because after my very exciting and fun weekend with Shannon, she went home. I went back to my hugely packed work schedule.

My fabulous trainer was out of town for the week. Instead of planning for alternate forms of exercise, I just said, “Oh well,” and I ended up just letting that time get absorbed by more work.

I was so stressed. My new job is a huge learning curve, a lot of new information and also straining to remember old information that is tucked away in some brain wrinkles that haven’t been activated in almost 20 years. I even broke down and cried at my desk on Thursday. That was a real low point.

My eating went a little haywire, off and on during the week. This ended up (of course) in a gain. I first realized this on Sunday RIGHT BEFORE I was going to the theater for my show. NICE! I felt like, oh my god, what an idiot, what a fraud, what a… freaking EXPLETIVE and who do I think I am, etc etc etc.

I woke up Sunday morning with one of my big toes all swollen and red and hot from an ingrown toenail. My mind went into freak-out overdrive and immediately I thought, “My diabetes! It’s gonna get infected! They’re gonna amputate my foot!” and the like. Thank GOODNESS in that moment for Twitter. I reached out to my dear friend Dr. Mo, who just happens to be a podiatrist. She was both concerned and reassuring in the right mixture.

I got through the show without completely melting down. I think my heightened emotions may have helped, in fact. My mom and my trainer and my doctor all came, plus some great friends.

But I’ve been feeling kinda shaky. And it scared me (as it always does) to realize how little it takes for me to “go there.”

There’s a scene in my show where I’m sort of scoffing at these Other diabetic people who have just let themselves go all to hell and they have every medical complication in the book. But this week I had a tinge of that. Some panic mixed with failure/shame/giving up. It was terrible. I even, for the first time in YEARS, almost pulled into an IHOP. I wanted pancakes. Big, fluffy white-flour pancakes dripping with syrup! I mean, it was crazy. The good thing was that I did not actually enter the IHOP *or* eat the pancakes. But the mere fact that I *wanted* to, made me upset. And it made me see how people can get into that spiral and just.. give up.

Tomorrow I see my trainer again. I have the feeling I’m gonna cry with relief. It’s going to tip back in a good way, and I’ll start climbing up those steps again. But man. I don’t like weeks like this.

 

Back on Track March 11, 2010


Sunrise on the train tracks

Originally uploaded by Kathy~

Well, it seems as though the worst has passed (knock knock knock on wood) and I can begin to re-focus a bit. Thanks to EVERYone who sent me/us support and encouragement. It’s been stressful and I don’t think it’s over by a long shot, but I do think I can regroup some.

Yesterday I did the first real workout in a week. It felt good. I realized that it actually felt good to do weight training (as opposed to cardio/running). It seemed to help me feel grounded somehow, grounded in my body. That was kind of interesting. Today I am going to do some more intensive cardio, on the megaflights of stairs at the cemetery (with my trainer).

Last night I led a WW meeting and my supervisor showed up. He asked me, “How’s your weight?” GULP. Um. I dunno. We are supposed to record (in the system) our weights by the 10th of each month (which is today). I was like, I can’t face this. He told me to weigh myself on each of the four scales in the center (what kind of hell is that?). Which is supposed to desensitize one from freaking out at a number. He was extremely calm and nonjudgmental and just, “Okay.”

It was a pretty eye-popping number for me. I was like, OKAY! The pity party is officially OVER. I’m no longer in Maintenance mode. I’m squarely back into LOSE mode.

Which, I have to say, is not a bad thing.

This morning I cracked open my fresh new Three-Month tracker.

Who’s with me?

 

It’s A Test. A Big Test. March 2, 2010

Filed under: emotions,food,overeating — Susan @ 11:50 am
Tags: , , ,

I feel like I’m in the midst of a major test right now. Stress raining down like bowling balls, and the test is: will I turn to food? Will I be able to wriggle out of this one without gaining significant amounts of weight? I feel like I’m in the SATs, the MCATs and the LSATs all rolled into one. Please cross your fingers for me that I am Prepared enough to get through this.

Thank you.

Edited to add:

Well, if it was a pass-fail test, I think I passed. If it was a letter grade, I’d give myself a B-. Maybe a C+. I managed to get through the hardest day because I was being super-mindful in the midst of my stress. I kept telling myself, “Food won’t fix it.” I kept reminding myself how much WORSE I would feel if I ended up binging out on some food, and that it would, in fact, ADD to my stress.

The problem with such reasoning, of course, is that often in the midst of an emotional crisis, one just plain doesn’t care. (I was there a ways back, for a little bit) Who cares if I gain weight? Who cares if I feel worse later? I WANT THIS NOW. Sigh.

Anyway, I did manage to get through the worst of it pretty well. It felt good then to exercise the next day (yesterday). I thought I had gotten through it. But then what? I let my guard down. I thought it was “over.” Then, another sneaky, different stress came and attacked me. I was Unprepared. I slipped into I Don’t Care mode. I was just tired.

I was emotionally in a bad place. I had about 15 minutes to get something to eat before teaching (not WW) class. I went to Quiznos. I just got whatever I wanted, without regard to anything. Just looked it up. 1030 calorie sandwich. NICE. Then I had a couple of madeleine cookies from Starbucks.

So it wasn’t, like, a complete and total disaster. In fact, this is something I would have considered reasonably “healthy” a year ago. But it is not the choice I’d make if I was on target.

I think the mistake I made was thinking I’d somehow “made it through.” I got distracted by the fact that I’d had a good workout. But I wasn’t “out of the woods” yet. I was still feeling kinda funky, then I was sideswiped by something I wasn’t totally expecting.

The moral of this story: stay awake.

What else could I have done last night? I don’t know. I could’ve talked myself down somehow, probably. I could’ve gone to CPK and gotten that asparagus soup.

Back in the saddle.

 

The Land of “I Don’t Care!” February 3, 2010

I kind of shocked myself this week. I got into a place where I haven’t been in a very, very, very long time. It was the land of “I Don’t Care!” (… “I just want to EAT!”)

Why did it shock me so much? Because I feel so… equipped, you know?  Last week I caught a glimpse of a number on the scale, the likes of which I had not seen in Years. I felt so on top of things.

But then, late in the week, I got a call from my Offspring-in-Distress, and it unhinged me more than I can say. I flew to her side. The plan was that I was going to hang with her,  keep her company, and that we would both go to her gym together. But she was sick. She could not work out. We ate several restaurant meals. And so the days slipped by and I didn’t want to leave her, so I did not work out either, until the very last day and I took that freezing cold run. Then I had to leave to come home. By this time I was in a HIGH state of distress. She was still sick.

When I landed for my connecting flight, I received a text message that the health center had diagnosed her with mono.

By this time I was really distraught. All my nattering on to my WW meeting last week about “what to do other than eat when you are feeling emotional” went RIGHT OUT the window. I wanted pizza dammit! Now I KNEW (intellectually) that pizza was 1. Not REALLY going to make me feel better, and 2. Certainly not make my KID feel better, but… I DID. NOT CARE.

There was something in me larger than that knowledge. It was a roaring flaming pit of hell sort of furnace that was just … FEED ME. Here’s the funny thing. I tried to get a pizza. But the pizza people said it would take 7 minutes to prepare (this was the fancy shmancy California Pizza Kitchen,  not Pizza Hut!). I did not HAVE 7 minutes because my flight was boarding. So I got a cup of vegetable soup instead. Hahahahaha! I felt like somehow, the Universe was looking out for me.

When I arrived, I discovered that my suitcase did not arrive with me. That was thing one. Then the parking lot shuttle bus took over half an hour to arrive. Thing two. I was exhausted. Then when I finally GOT to my car, it was… dead. I lost it. Thankfully, the parking lot people had seen this before. I did not need to call AAA. They helped me locate the Extremely Hidden Battery (in the trunk) of my hybrid, and eventually got me on my way (another 40 minutes). By this time I was a zombie.

Next day. (yesterday) I did not hear from daughter for most of the day, in spite of my incessant motherly texting and calling. Hopefully she was sleeping. THEN, all hell broke loose. I ate things I haven’t eaten in a long time.

And it wasn’t so much what I ate. It wasn’t the fact that I gained all sorts of poundage since last week. It was the absolute Lack of Caring. Which shocked me. Last night I would say was a big huge low point.

Today, I’m back. I’m heading to see my trainer (thank god thank god thank god!).

I am concluding, with great humbleness, that the combination of Big Stress + Not Enough Exercise, is what put me over the edge into this place that I truly felt I had left behind forever. Wow, it shocked me.

Thankfully, it only lasted a few days. The damage is not huge. I finally heard from my kid and I believe that things are going to be OK, even though they are hard.

But wow. Just… wow.

 

The Stress of Shame October 21, 2009

I almost lost it last night. I was scheduled to be a receptionist substitute at a “traveler” WW meeting; ie one in a remote location, not an official WW Center.  At those locations, they use all manual/paper tallies to track everything, instead of the groovy computer system that is now in place at Centers. I only did a few weeks worth of those before they did the switchover, and boy was I rusty. In fact, I ended up forgetting to do a very important step – marking down all product purchases on the product sheet. This is super important for reconciling the $$ at the end of a meeting. When the other receptionist counted up the money and checked it against the product sales, it was like $80 off. Because I forgot to mark it down. This resulted in everyone having to stay almost 45 minutes later, to fix the problem. I felt terrible. I felt like slinking under the carpet and dying. The other staff members were pretty nice to me about it, but to be honest, I sort of messed up their night. Everyone ended up going home late, after a lot of stress. Caused by me.

I don’t deal with this kind of thing well. AT ALL.  Guess what it makes me want to do?

I drove home down this main road I used to take, after teaching evening classes several years ago. Back then, I didn’t normally have huge problems, but it was still stressful to teach on some level. There would be ONE student who had some kind of issue, or some thing I’d forget to do, and all the way home I’d be beating myself up about it.  One night I stopped in at a Jack in the Box and looked for the most anesthesizing thing on the menu: Bacon Cheddar Potato Wedges!! (omg, I just looked those up: 720 calories in a serving, 432 from fat! O boy!!) Soon it became a habit to just pull in to the drive-through on the way home and inhale a box of those. When I think of that now, it makes me really sad.

So what did I do with my stress last night? I started the evening with a full hand of nice fingernails. They’re down to little nubs now: chewed and torn away. Ah well, I didn’t EAT them so it didn’t cost me any calories.

All night I had recurring dreams of being horribly inept at one thing after another: I had to give a speech, but had brought the wrong one, and then I lost the pages, then I couldn’t work the AV equipment, and then and then…. AUGH I hate messing up!!! It upset me so much I couldn’t even do my regular Biggest Loser liveblogging last night. I did get home in time to watch the final hour, but I pretty much sat here and watched it like a blob. I didn’t really care one way or the other.

This morning, I went to my trainer and had a fantastic workout. THEN, FINALLY, I felt better. Much better.

I am glad that I did not veer into the Jack in the Box and take up old bad habits. I’m glad it didn’t really even occur to me, like it wasn’t a struggle to not do that. I just made a mental note as I drove past. But I still felt terrible.

I need to find ways to not freak out so much when I make a mistake.

 

More Numbers to Obsess Over April 11, 2009

As if the scale weren’t bad enough, jumping on and off every day, the blood glucose meter is worse.  The thing is, if you’re getting too obsessive with the scale, they tell you to only weigh in every week, or every month or never. They NEVER recommend doing that for diabetics.  You’re supposed to test at least 3, if not 5-6x per day. But those little strips are EXPENSIVE – like $1 each! So I’m trying to conserve and also not get too obsessive over it. BUT.

It started all all good on Tuesday at the diabetes class. I had stellar numbers! I was so proud!! But then on Thursday they started getting wonky, kind of elevated, and I didn’t know why.

They’re still elevated. I don’t know why, and I don’t know what to do about it. Apparently there is something called a “dawn phenomenon” and sometimes you just wake up with inexplicably high numbers.

Apparently your glucose level can also rise when there is physical or emotional stress, and I think I’ve had some sort of cold or virus the past few days and haven’t been feeling well. I thought I was better this morning and had a really good couch-to-5k run, but … I don’t know.

It’s frustrating and a little scary because often if the scale shows me numbers I don’t like, I pretty much know why, and I also have a pretty good idea what I need to do in order to show an improvement. But with this little machine, I don’t understand it, or my body’s responses, well enough yet. Why did I have great numbers Tuesday and Wednesday, and then they have steadily worsened since Thursday. Wahh! I don’t like this!! I don’t know what to do.

Meanwhile, the scale continues to be my friend (thank you scale!).  I got my 10# sticker at Weight Watchers this morning. Still contemplating quitting though.

 

 
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