eat, move, think, feel


December 2009

Shining A Light into the Darkness

I got an email recently from one of my blog readers, who was responding to my jacket post. She said,

You (maybe because you are now thin?) are able to speak about things that I (and many) have also experienced, with such shame. It is so awful to be too big to fit into any jacket in the store and I’ve been there!  It’s always moving and fascinating to me that you can put this stuff out into the blogosphere, where I’ve just been mortified.

It really struck me, these words. And I thought, well maybe it is easier to write about these painful experiences because I’m not exactly in that place now (I wouldn’t exactly say “thin” but that’s another point). BUT I also think it is writing exactly about these things that has allowed them to change and heal. I really believe this.

For so long I felt such terrible shame and hatred (for myself) for being overweight, and out of shape, and for using food compulsively, and just ALL of it. I thought I was dealing with it: I went to numerous therapists, but that was very private. I went to a few “groups” and talked about it there, but that somehow didn’t do it either. I really felt resigned to having to live that way forever. It was very painful.

Finally when I decided that I NEEDED TO DO SOMETHING, I was casting about in the dark. I just knew I had to somehow throw myself out there, and be honest about it, or it was never going to change. I had to describe all the angst of it. I somehow knew that this was the only way out.

And it turned out to be true.

Sometimes I think about this blog and it makes me so emotional. I really believe it saved me (along with other things). This blog saved me. And so did the blogging community. And my friends. And my trainer. And eventually my family when I felt safe enough to share with them. And the Twitterers. (Tweeters) Y’all know who you are. But it was all about SHARING stuff that felt massively secretive before.

Now, I have another part of my life that could use a little light. Something that has plagued me as long or longer than the weight stuff: my unending clutter. I know somehow these things are related.

SO since it worked so well here, I’ve decided to start yet another blog to focus on THAT issue. And I am hoping that, like with this blog, I will find a community of both inspiring mentors and also struggling companions who are in the same boat as me. I have a RL (real life) friend who is helping me in a real, physical way. I am very very excited about this. I feel hopeful.  It’s another area that has brought me a lot of shame and upset and mortification. But I’m ready to shine the light.

The Cup Runneth Over

This week it seems I am being offered to lead WW meetings right and left. And up and down. On one hand, I find this very flattering. People seem to think I am doing a good job. Which is great. On the other hand, this it testing me in ways that are very… interesting.

How difficult it is for me to say no when something seems like a good idea, or is very compelling. Or when it seems like I will do a good job at it.

For a long time in my earlier adult life, I did not feel very competent or very good at what I did. I was a big ball of low-self esteem. It was rough.

Now, later in my adult life, I have grown into, or found many things that I actually do believe I am good at. Which is wonderful. And I feel very fortunate to be able to have opportunities in these areas. But the problem is that I think there is a small part of me that believes I still suck at everything, and that I NEED TO SHOW that I can do something well. And so I keep saying yes to stuff even when it is beyond my capacity, time or energy wise. Plus, I hate letting people down.

But if I don’t let SOME people down, then OTHER people will be let down. Not long ago my husband remarked that I was now “married to WW.” Ahem. Which seemed to be a signal of… something. How can I balance it all? I do not know. This is one of the major challenges of life.

It also occurred to me that this inability to say “no” was partly what got me into trouble (with food) in the first place. I’ve got that part going much better now, but now I have to be the same way with my time. Maybe I need a time tracker like a food tracker. No, not maybe. Definitely.

This morning, on Facebook, I came across this quote on someone else’s page:

“The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time.” ~ Mary Oliver

That one kind of stabbed me in the heart. Because that is me. And yes, being a WW leader is a KIND of creative work (I truly believe that, and it is one reason why I find it compelling) but there is the other creative work, of my writing, that has been severely neglected this year. And part of me regrets that so much. I need to find a way to balance it all. I don’t know what that is yet. I am really wishing and hoping to find balance in 2010.

Fake it till you make it.

Woo! I’m back in game. Wow, I had a weird psych-out week, workout wise. (how’s that for some alliteration?)

Wednesday was my first workout back with my trainer since I’d gotten sick. I think, objectively I DID okay, and he was like, yeah, you’re doing great, this is awesome, BUT I was emotionally shaky. I do these sideways running hurdle things, two sets of ten. Usually I just do them. They feel good. On Wednesday, during the second set, when I was on #7, I felt myself looking anxiously at the clock, and wondering if I could actually make it. I did, but it brought up this crazy anxiety and grief about Not Being Able To Do something. Or having it hurt or feel hard. I know, I’ve been down this road before. But it’s my particular Achilles heel.

I think one of the reasons I really despised that girl Amanda on Biggest Loser is that I saw her as this big whinemuffin. Which is how I was much of my life. I hated myself for it, and I hated that this is how I was. And if things got hard, I’d be whimpering and moaning like a big baby. (she started doing this high pitched whining during her marathon and I just had to TURN IT OFF, it upset me so much) And I felt my whinemuffin self starting to rear its whiney little head on Wednesday. And I couldn’t stand it. I left the gym feeling really anxious and pissed off, and thought, this better change SOON.

On Thursday (yesterday) I sort of dragged myself to a Nia class. Most of the people there were like 75 years old, so it was not really this big consolation that I was able to get through the class without whining. In fact I felt rather pathetic. Also, I got there late because I was dragging my feet so much. I missed the first 15 minutes. I told myself that the consequence I was giving myself for being tardy was that I was going to take the class AFTER Nia, which is called something like Turbo Toning.  It’s filled with very buff college students (no senior citizens). I always see them chomping at the bit, waiting to get in as we are finishing up our Nia. (which I’m sure looks super lame to them) It’s only a half hour class. I figured I could do it.

Well, I did it. But it was hecka hard. We used 3 and 5 lb weights for endless (it felt like) repetitions. There were a lot of variations of pushups, which I hate. So I did it. I felt a little more virtuous, but still, I did not feel happy or good because I REALLY felt like whining during that class.

This morning, I trudged back to the gym. I had a little heart-to-heart with my trainer during my stretching and warmup session. I poured out all my whiney neurosis and he listened, like the great guy that he is.  He also had a bit of a devilish twinkle in his eye. He let me express all of my doubt, anxiety and whininess and then he put on my favorite Slumdog Millionaire workout mix, and we got down to it. Some of the things he had me do, I was like, you must be joking. But he was not joking, and I DID IT, and I BROUGHT IT, and it felt….. WHOOOOOOO!!

What I did today:

I did that whole circuit 2 times through. When I was done I felt like a million bucks. I loudly sang holiday tunes along with the radio all the way home.  I was so pumped.

It was interesting how my head really messed me up this week. And how it turned around. Just… interesting, this mind-body connection.

My Winter Coat

It’s been really cold these days, so I’ve been wearing my winter coat a lot. I remember so distinctly buying this coat about a year ago. We were going to visit our daughter in her Chilly Midwestern Town, and I needed a really warm coat. So I went to the local outdoor gear store looking for a winter jacket.

I will never forget that day. It was such a low point for me. I remember trying on about a dozen coats, all sized large. None of them came even close to fitting me. I was fighting back tears, in a terrible mood, and so upset. Could I not find ONE coat that I could zip up without suffocating??

After a long time, I did find one coat: a black, down-filled, boxy size XL jacket. It was like the last one on the rack. I was so relieved to zip it up and it actually fit. I bought it on the spot and then rushed home.

So now it’s one of the few warm items I own (it doesn’t usually get THAT cold here, but this week has been Different). It is pretty huge on me now. I think about getting a smaller, more stylish warm jacket. But I feel emotionally attached to this one. I feel like, this was the only jacket that let me in, when all the other jackets rejected me. I dunno.

I got rid of a pretty big pile of some of my nicest “larger” clothes over Thanksgiving. I gave them to a friend who is a few sizes behind me on the weight loss journey. It was a scary thing to do. I wasn’t just getting rid of big old trash, I was giving away some of my nicest items. I said to her, I hope I never, ever, ever have to knock on your door and ask you to give me this stuff back. It was an emotional moment for me.

This is one of the biggest gifts of losing this weight: to really be able to go into ANY STORE I WANT and find SOMEthing that will fit me. In some stores, I’m still on the large end of things, but I can find stuff that fits. In other stores, I am at the smaller end, and THAT is certainly a new experience. It continues to amuse me that I have sizes in my closet that range over six sizes, and they all fit me perfectly. Dumb clothing companies.

We’re All On Our Own Journeys

I’m discovering that one of the pitfalls of being a WW leader is being too heavily (no pun intended) invested in our members’ progress. I now have four regular meetings a week.  At one of them, I am “only” a receptionist which I am realizing has become my “relaxing” meeting. I enjoy the members, I like them, but I don’t feel like they are MY RESPONSIBILITY. In the other meetings, I feel uber responsible. I fret if people don’t come. I fret if they don’t lose weight or if they are frustrated. This is all part of my own learning journey, I realize. It’s definitely a pitfall of being a borderline (?) codependent, caregiving, invested kind of person.

All I can say is, it’s a good thing my WW leaders over the past 15 years did not take ME personally, because if they had, they would’ve gone out back and shot themselves. I missed a lot of meetings. I had plateaus that went on for months. Then I quit. Then I rejoined. With a bad attitude. I came to the meetings but sat there with a sucking-lemon face. I did not really listen to what the leaders said. I played games on my cell phone. I rolled my eyes.

Holy toledo. Is this… karma coming back to bite me in the butt? Ha ha ha ha. Maybe it is.

So, in all my meetings, I’d say some members are doing spectacularly well. Others are doing so-so and some are really struggling. Which I guess is probably par for the course. But since *I* am so newly enamored of this program, and feel it works so well for me, I sometimes don’t know what to do when everyone is not on the same page. Or even reading the same book. Or even in the same universe.

I DO feel that I can empathize with their frustration, their disappointment and disgust (with themselves as well as with the program). I can honestly say, I’ve been there. But what would have made a difference to me, during all that time when I was in that place? Anything??

Truly, I had so much of my OWN crap that I was grappling with at the time, I don’t know if any leader could have made a difference. I will say that none of them tried. Nobody reached out to me when I was falling away, when I was missing tons of meetings. When I disappeared (for years). Nobody asked me, what’s going on? Again, I have no idea if it would have made a difference.

I think a lot of it had to do with motivation. I often joined but was not motivated. I didn’t really care. I felt like I was there because someone ELSE thought I should be there. (as untrue as that may have been, it was the way I perceived it) And when someone is in that place, it is really hard to reach them.

But I do notice when people don’t come. I notice when they don’t see what they want on the scale, and then they vanish. How familiar is that? Very familiar.

It’s a humbling experience for me, being on this side of things. I’m learning so much, about myself, about other people, and again and again how we are all connected. Or not. I have to remind myself to breathe, and to just offer what I have to offer. And if people are in a place where they really want to make these changes, they will. And if they’re not, well, maybe they’ll come around again in 5 or 10 years.

(Almost) Back in the Saddle

People, I must confess: it has been NINE DAYS since my last workout! Yikes!! I did do some (minor) walking around over the weekend, but it wasn’t like heavy exertion or anything. I was pooped. Wow.

And I can really feel the effect of my body slowly turning to mush. Amazing how quickly these things can change. And once again I have this slightly phobic feeling about exercise… will it hurt? Will it be too hard? Will I feel inadequate and discouraged? Yeah, that’s where my mind goes. That’s where it used to go ALL THE TIME in the past, allowing me to put off working out for months, sometimes even years. Fear.

When really I know how much better it makes me feel. And yet there is a big part of me that just feels afraid. How wacko is that. I don’t really understand it, but there you go.

I miss the way I feel when I’m working out a lot (the endorphins) but right now I’m not missing doing it, the way I do when I miss a day or two. I’ve passed that point. And so now I need to give myself a big heave-ho to get back up there again.

Yup, these were the two things I was afraid of: illness and injury. I’d say illness is worse because it totally took away my desire and turned it to fear. When I was injured, I still really wanted to work out and so I found my way around it.

Being sick sucks.

Bright Spots

I have reallllllllllly been dragging this week. I mean, dragging. It is all I can do to get to a meeting (I have had one every day starting Sunday, and another one tomorrow) and then drag back to bed. Today felt like the worst of it. I was so achey and sneezy and just weak. Ugh. But when I got to my at-work meeting, the members there gave me such energy. This is the meeting that is mostly guys. They are so ON it! They surprise me so much with the insights they are having, how into it they are and how successful they have been. During Thanksgiving week, they lost a total of 28.8 lbs (and over 50 lbs in two weeks since they began!). How awesome is that?? They are blowing my mind. It has been so much fun working with them. That was the big bright spot in my day today.

Tomorrow I am going to drag myself onto an airplane and take a little 3-night getaway to… Las Vegas. Yeah! I’m excited. NOT. I would probably be more excited if  I felt well. But right now all I can think of is… I hope it’s a comfy bed.  I just want to lie in the comfy bed in the Las Vegas hotel. I want to avoid buffets. I pray that I will be well enough to at least do some walking, if not return to a gym. But right now all I can think of is… bed.

I did not have energy to liveblog last night, but the BL marathon made me cry. There is a marathon coming up in my town in March. I am thinking of doing 1/4 of a 4-person relay.  But after last night, I was thinking… come on Foodie, go for at least a half. We shall see. Right now  I couldn’t make it halfway around the BLOCK.

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