Fat as Hell…

and not going to take it anymore!

Another Notch

I think perhaps I’ve stumbled upon something important.

Over the last week or so I’ve spiraled pretty far out of control. In a series of events that would make Mr. Freud waggle his finger at me and say (in German of course) “I told you so,” the emotional trauma of the last few days has triggered a pretty significant regression on my part. Though I’m no psychotherapist, even I recognize that I’ve exhibited some fairly infantile behavior and, despite all my tough talk about personal accountability, in this instance I’m pretty dead set on blaming everything that’s wrong with me entirely on my mother. :)

That said, however, despite having lost at least one battle in the war this week, I’m feeling more and more tonight as though it hasn’t all been for naught. Let me explain. Normally, in these situations, my major weight loss stumbles tend to come in sets of two. First, I fall off the wagon as a result of the obstacle du jour — that is to say, the actual real or perceived wound that I feel the need to treat with a box of Krispy Kremes. Then, as if the first trip down mega calorie lane wasn’t enough, I then beat myself up for having strayed from the skinny path in the first place only to, ironically, seek out solace in food, yet again.

I know. I know.
Not too bright.

But this time has been a little different.

First off, I’m the first to admit that the wound was a bit deeper this time, and thus the fall was a bit longer, but… and here’s the important bit… I only fell once. There was none of the usual post-postmortem kicking of my own ass to contend with. Rather, I seem to have recognized something important this time:

Just as weight loss, in general, is a process, so too is recovering from the personal calamities that seem to so easily deflate even the most successful weight loss endeavors. It’s not as simple as falling off the horse and just getting back on. Rather, it’s about reaching the bottom of whatever hole you’ve fallen into (recognizing that some holes are much deeper than others, of course) and then climbing your way back up… one agonizing step at a time. Not only is it not fair to expect a one step recovery of yourself, but it’s totally unrealistic too. Sure, we’ve all heard the cliches about getting right back in the saddle after having fallen off, but anyone who’s ever been thrown from a horse knows that the reality of such a thing is much different. Recovery of any kind is a process… and this is no exception.

So here I am, climbing my way back.

I’m not “back” yet, but that’s ok. The important thing is that I’ve fallen as far as I intend to and now I’ve begun the climb out of this particular hole.

Baby steps, right?

All of that said, I’m happy to report that over the last few days I’ve managed to spend more time out of bed than I have in. With each day, I’ve gotten better at saying no to food that I don’t need to be eating. And tonight, I even went for a walk. Not a super calorie burning power walk of days past… but a walk nonetheless.

After dinner my husband and I took the dogs for a walk around our neighborhood. It was warm, but not hot. There was a light breeze and the dogs, for whom summer walks are just a little too close to cruel and unusual punishment, seemed so happy to be out in the world. We managed to get in about a mile and a half at a pace that was leisurely enough to allow conversation, but brisk enough to put a little sweat on my brow.

Afterwards, despite my normal aversion to everything exercise related, I felt, if not great, than at least very, very good. I felt a bit stronger, a bit more empowered and a bit further out of the hole.

Who knows what tomorrow will bring. :)

Oh. And one more thing…

In the 8 months since I started it, this blog has turned into something different than what I first imagined it would be.

At that time, I thought of it only as a place for me to chronicle my weight loss journey. And it has been that. But it’s been something more too.

When I first started, I never imagined sharing the kind of personal details about myself that I have. The notion that I’d one day write about my life and my family here just never occurred to me. Similarly, I truly never expected anyone to read what I wrote, especially not with any regularity. And I certainly never imagined that those who did would end up meaning so much to me.

In short, I never dreamt that I’d paint these walls with the kind of broad brush strokes that I have.

Needless to say, it’s been a pleasant surprise. But more than that, it’s been an absolutely necessary one. I can’t imagine what I would have done this summer without this spot and without all the people who choose to spend a little time sitting here with me. Whatever failures I’ve racked up in the last few months, I know they’d be so much worse without the support and guidance afforded to me by this blog and the little community that I’ve managed to become a part of.

I have to say, “thank you” just doesn’t seem like enough. But it’s all I’ve got.

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August 14, 2008 Posted by | losing weight | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Big Girls Don’t Cry

I haven’t seen my mother in over 12 years.

I’ll be honest. Even if I wanted to outline all of the reasons for this here, I don’t think there’s enough space on my screen or characters on my keyboard to capture it all. Like all relationships, the one I share with my mother is complicated and messy. And, certainly, the fact that she lives nearly 3,000 miles away has played a role in our long separation. But the hard truth is that if we wanted to see each other, we would, and most of the reasons why we haven’t made that effort are personal, emotional and too painful for me to share publicly.

I will say this, however…

I left home when I was 16 years old. I left Washington State for my husband, college and North Carolina when I was 19 and I’ve been here for a little over 18 years now. In all of that time, she’s never been here to see me. She wasn’t there when I graduated from college. She wasn’t there when I got married. She wasn’t there when I earned my master’s degree. You name the event. She wasn’t there. For the first few years after moving here, I went home every year. I headed back during the summer and at Christmas… but then, over time, I stopped making the trek out there too. And before I knew it 12 years had past.

And then… about a month ago, she called and said that she’d bought a ticket and that she was coming to see me. In typical fashion, she didn’t ask if it was ok. She didn’t ask if it was a good time. She just said she’d bought a ticket and was coming.

So… for the last month I’ve been both looking forward to and dreading this “reunion.” Of course, there’s a part of me that has desperately wanted to see her, to show her my life, what I’ve built for myself and that I’m ok. But then there’s the other part that’s been equally afraid of all that could go wrong… and believe me, a lot could. So, for a month I’ve tried not to dwell on it. I’ve tried not to think about it at all.  I’ve tried not to worry. And, most of all, I’ve tried not to get my hopes up.

Anyway, she was supposed to arrive on Sunday evening, but the long and the short of it is that she never showed up. I’d gotten a call the night before about how excited she was, but then her arrival time came and went and she wasn’t on the plane.

One consequence of 911 is that now airlines will provide you with absolutely no information about their passenger lists, so I was left helplessly not knowing what had happened to my mother and no one at the airport was able/willing to tell me whether or not she’d ever even boarded a plane that day. It wasn’t until around 3am, and a million phone calls later that, I learned that she had decided not to come. She claimed that she’d attempted to but that flight delays and poor service on the part of the airlines made it seem like “too much trouble.” I guess it was “too much trouble” to call and let me know too.

So… that was Sunday night.  And since then, I’ve done little besides eat and cry. I’ve spent the last two days almost entirely in bed, getting up just to forage for food. I can’t recall everything I’ve eaten, but there was a point when I literally felt so full, I thought about purging — something I’ve never done before. In short, it’s been a miserable couple of days.

I guess the thing that bothers me the most about it all, is that this is the kind of thing she has pulled my entire life. In fact, since she called with the news that she was coming to visit, both my husband and I joked that she probably wouldn’t even show. And yet, when she didn’t, I was completely broadsided. And as a result, I’ve spiraled, again, into a dangerous pattern of overeating to feel better.

I’ve been eating and eating and eating, but I *don’t* feel better.
Rather, I feel worse.

And yet, I’ve got to be honest, I don’t know if I’ll be able to stop yet. Even now, as I type all of this out, I’m fighting the urge to scrap it and just head into the kitchen. I’m not hungry… but there’s a hole in me that needs filling.

And here’s the thing…

I don’t want to be the kind of person who fills those holes with food.
I don’t want to spend the rest of my life letting other people control me.
I don’t want to feel like it’s ok to blame her, or anyone else, for undoing what little I’ve been able to accomplish so far.

As I said in a recent post, I feel like I’m in a strange and unfamiliar place. I’ve attempted to lose weight before, but I’ve never lost as much as I have *this* time. I feel like I’m nowhere near the end of my “journey,” so if there is light at the end of this tunnel, I can’t see it yet. But, on the other hand, for the first time ever, I also feel like I’ve gone too far to turn back.

I don’t want to give up.

Tonight, my husband pulled me out of the bed and made me shower and put on some clean clothes. Then he took me for a drive to the beach with the top down. It was a nearly perfect night… much cooler than most summer nights here and to top it off, after a week filled with thunderstorms, tonight there was a cloudless, star filled sky. As we sat on the cool sand, watching the dark ocean come in, I commented on how beautiful the night was and how my mother was really missing out on something special. As if on cue, David said I was right, but that *I* was the thing she missing out on.

I want so much to believe him.
And I know I have to if I’m going to ever get back on track.

I think a lot of times, people who are overweight struggle with feeling as though they don’t deserve to be thin or healthy or even happy. Self-loathing so often goes along with the obesity package and, as a result, it’s sometimes hard to put ourselves first or to put what *we* need at the top of any list.  Even if doing so means changing or even saving our lives.  We simply don’t believe that we’re worth it.

But we are.  We so are.

And that’s the thing I’m trying to cling to tonight.  I’m trying to remind myself that I am worth treating well.  I am worth all the hard work that goes into losing weight.  My body deserves to be treated with respect.  I deserve to be thin.  I deserve to be healthy.   I deserve to be happy.

Even if my own mother doesn’t think so.

August 12, 2008 Posted by | losing weight | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Trigger (un)Happy

Lately, I’ve been trying to pay attention to the patterns in my eating, or more specifically, my overeating. It seems like my ability to stay on track, to eat sensibly and to stick to my exercise routine is easily undermined by certain conditions. For lack of a better way to put it, I guess I’ve been looking for the things that “trigger” my tendency to overeat, in the hopes that recognizing these triggers will help me avoid them. I find that being aware of my behavior can sometimes help me curb the negative aspects of it.

Anyway, although I’m sure there are others, this is the list I’ve come up with so far.

Trigger

Description

Me?

Boredom This is pretty self explanatory. You’re bored, so you eat. I see this as being true for me occasionally, but I’m usually able to recognize and prevent this kind of overeating.
Self Loathing You hate the fat on your body, so you look for comfort, ironically, in more food. I definitely see this as being a problem for me. When I’m feeling bad about myself, it’s especially easy to drown myself in food. Without a doubt, I am a glass half full kind of girl which, sadly, often leads to a too full plate kind of meal.
Stress Again, self explanatory. When the going gets tough, the fat go eating. This can be true for me. But I don’t stress *alone* as being a terribly dangerous trigger for me personally. Rather, I think stress in combination with other triggers is truly a recipe for disaster.
Lack of Willpower You just don’t have the mental fortitude to stick to your eating plan. When it comes right down to it, I’m essentially lazy, so yeah… will power, or lack thereof, can definitely be a problem for me.
Fatigue Zzzzzz. Absolutely. Losing weight takes energy, effort and a lot of work. When I’m pooped, it feels nearly impossible to do.
Habit Your lifestyle is arranged such that overeating is a part of your routine. Recently, I’ve realized that this is more of an issue for me than I would have thought. I need a *routine* filled with healthy habits in order to survive. When my routine is disruptive, I revert to the unhealthy habits of old.
Emotional Association You find yourself in situations that feel like a time when you turned to food, so you turn to food again. Yeah. This happens more often than I would like to admit.

It’s funny, but when I look at this list, all laid out before me, it does feel a little overwhelming — as though there’s an awful lot of forces out there, conspiring against me. I mean, with traps like these lying in wait around every corner, it’s no wonder that I fuck up from time to time. However, as with all things, I’m learning that identifying, accepting and facing the problem are essential first steps in conquering them. I’ll never learn to *not* overeat in the face of these triggers, if I refuse to acknowledge their existence and the power that they have over me.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from this whole blogging thing it’s that while all of us share a few things in common… we all struggle, we all hate what being fat has done to us and we all want to do better… for every way that we’re similar, there’s at least one other way in which our stories are varied. We’re all different people, with different personality ticks, different backgrounds, different relationships with foods and, I’d be willing to guess, different things that trigger our unhealthy behaviors. Just as each of us have to learn to recognize our own individual recipes for disaster, so too do we have to identify our own unique plan for success.

That said, this blogging thing really does help, doesn’t it?

Each time I stay away for awhile, I’m reminded of all the reasons why I need this. I need the support, the tokens of kindness and the wisdom that each of you so generously shares with me. But most of all, I need the camaraderie. It’s so helpful to know that I’m not alone.

August 10, 2008 Posted by | losing weight | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments