Archive for June, 2009

Back to Basics

Over the past couple of days, I have been focusing on the basic principles of intuitive eating. Eat when you are hungry and respect your fullness. Novel ideas, I know. To a compulsive over-eater like myself, these are foreign concepts and have to be re-learned. Over the past few years, while doing the weight watchers core program and starting my path to intuitive eating, I have become very in touch with my hunger signals but the signals of fullness still elude me sometimes. With practice, I am finding that my brain is starting to be re-wired, if you will, about eating only when hungry. I have learned so many new coping skills and have let so many of my pent up emotions out that the desire to eat when not hungry isn’t all day everyday anymore. I still struggle with wanting to eat after dinner but I am finding it easy to only eat when hungry during the day.

Instead of fighting with hunger, I am learning to embrace it and even find myself excited to feel it. It starts out gently by thoughts of foods and wondering when I will be hungry again. Then, within an hour or less, I start to feel an empty feeling and shortly after, a gentle gnawing happens in the pit of my stomach. When the gentle gnawing feeling happens, I think to myself “I am hungry”. If I wait to eat after this feeling, The gnawing turns into intense growling and if I still don’t respond with food, I get a headache and start to feel defensive and pissed off. I find it best to eat when I am feeling hungry or even “really” hungry but when I wait until the headache pissed off stage, it isn’t pretty.

Emotional hunger is not so gentle, it is not a physical sensation and it happens only in my mind. It is typically instant and very persistent. If I have “issues” that need to be dealt with and I ignore my emotional hunger, I start to feel what I call “bingy” and if I don’t address that emotional problem, a binge usually ensues. My emotional hunger strikes for many reasons, some are deep seeded and some are more obvious like deprivation or stress. Sometimes, the bingy feeling lasts for days ending in a binge and sometimes, it comes on suddenly. I still struggle with identifying the emotional need but recently learned a new “technique” for dealing with it. Get this….just sit with it.

Since I have given up dieting, I haven’t felt bingy at all but I can not wait to put this new idea into practice. We have always heard to distract yourself, scrub the toilet, knit, chat on the phone but this sit with it concept is all new to me. I learned this on a new online community for itutive eaters and felt shocked and in awe when I read about it. One of the members is an intuitive eating counselor and she suggests using what she calls “The 15 minute method”. And really, it is brilliant. Her name is Shannon and she suggests sitting with the emotion for 15 minutes and if you still feel like eating/binging after 15 minutes to go for it. After all, food has been such a deep seeded coping skill that sometimes it is self care to do it, at least until we learn new ways. She also suggests having a temper tantrum! How fun is that? Seriously, I have totally felt like having a tantrum a time or two in my life and permission to do that sounds marvelous.

Even with all of my new insights about dealing with feeling “Bingy” and my awareness of hunger, I am still struggling with fullness. My RD told me that each person has to figure out what “satisfaction” is and it isn’t the same for any two people. People have told me about “the sigh” and I am not sure if I don’t always get it or I am just not listening for it. I think that my problem is trying to make my body fit with what other people say works for them. I guess you could say, I have that problem in more areas that feeling fullness but I digress :D. The past couple of days, I have been eating until I think I am satisfied, I don’t feel uncomfortable but have eaten a bit more than what I feel is my “satisfied”. I seem to get wrapped up in “am I full or not” and I start to second guess if I am or not. Then, I determine I am not and even though two more bites is what I need to feel satisfied, I take six and end up feeling a little too full. I have been doing very well with not eating past this point but I really need to learn to hone in on that just right feeling. This is a work in progress, that is for sure!

What are your hunger and fullness signals?


A Piece of my Heart

On facebook this morning, one of my “friends” made a slanderous comment about the death of Michael Jackson and all morning long, I envisioned myself telling her off on her facebook page, on her blog or by private email. Now granted, this person is not really a friend but someone I know through my old blog but for some reason, her words cut me like a knife. After stewing on it while getting ready for work, I decided to delete her as my “friend”. Even still, I couldn’t figure out why it felt like her jab at Michael Jackson was a jab at my heart. The death of the “King of Pop” was weighing heavy my mind and I felt like a piece of my soul was missing. The reason dawned on me as I was listening to a tribute to him and his music on the radio

Micheal Jackson was, in fact, a piece of my heart. You see, I don’t have many memories of being a child and the ones I do have are typically bad and only remind me of how I was abused. As I look back, I only have one memory of my dad that doesn’t include abuse and it is about Michael Jackson. It was 1982, his album “Thriller” was on store shelves and the Redskins were playing in the SuperBowl. In my little eight year old heart, it would  mean the world to me to own the album and I had spotted it on sale at K-Mart for $10. I suppose I must have begged and begged for the album until finally my dad made a deal with me. If I would go outside during the SuperBowl and yell “Go Redskins” he would buy me the album. I don’t really remember doing the yelling part or if my dad held up his end of the bargain but I still feel like a piece of all that was precious of being a kid is gone. Sure, Michael Jackson was odd to say the least but he owned a piece of my heart that I will never get back.

At first, I thought it was silly for me to feel like I needed to grieve over a man that I did not know but I now realize that what I really need is to grieve over my lost childhood. Those are years that I will never get back and have molded me into who I am today. It was not pleasant and I have done my best to rise above it and and not let the vicious cycle of abuse continue. And even now that my one fond memory is tainted, I will carry on and forge ahead. Michael Jackson will forever sing in my heart.

Rest in Peace, Michael Jackson.

This Time

Today is my “official” WI day and it wasn’t good; I gained. I know all of the morale boosting sayings about water weight and fluctuations but I can’t help but pin it down to the binge from Sunday. And of course, my mind takes me right back to dieting. Should I do weight watchers or should I count calories? The really sick part of that is the weight I was this morning is actually higher than when I officially joined weight watchers three weeks ago. So if dieting leads to binging and binging leads to weight gain, why do I keep wanting to go back?

I make all of these empty promises to myself about “this time”. What is this time, really? Isn’t it all just living our lives and chasing that dream of happiness? It is times like these that the voice of my RD floats around in my head. She told me to just “live out loud”; do what I want and don’t wait for thinness to pursue life. She is right, I only get this one shot and I feel like I am wasting it on these struggles. In the end, I know all of this is to teach me something. And I even think I know what that is. Live it while you can. I know first hand from my brothers passing that there are no guarantees. Tomorrow may not happen so why bother fighting with yesterday and today. Why not just live it up?

I want to be able to take on the world without fear of calories, pounds, long workouts, short workouts. I want to eat because I am hungry and exercise because it relieves stress and depression. I want to talk to my friends about things other than the latest diet and how my next five pounds are coming off. I want to take advantage of the time I spent in therapy and with my RD and really let those lessons sink in. I want to write, bead, practice yoga and run. So what would happen if I focused my energy there instead of on the scale? I have covered up the voice of my spirit for so long with the voice of my next diet that I haven’t been able to really listen to the things that make my heart sing.

And really, don’t we all just want our hearts to sing?

A Fine Line

Yesterday was not a good day, food wise. On Saturday night, I couldn’t get to sleep and eventually took a tylenol pm to lull me into dreamland. Not a good idea, I know, but I did it and woke up feeling like I was hit by a mack truck because of it. I was groggy, sore from my workout and hungry. Despite  a decent breakfast, the whole day ended up being a hungry day and those days make me grouchy, especially when I am trying to follow the points plan. My stomach had that empty hollow feeling most of the day and my points were slowly but surely drifting away. I was already in panic mode because I was out of WPA and would be dipping into AP’s if I went over my DP’s.

The day progressed and my hunger grew. I thought that the lazy Sunday was causing the hunger so I told the DH that we had to get out of the house. We headed out and went to Target and things started to really go down hill. I got a tall cafe mocha which is pretty high in points but somehow, I felt ok with it. I was still feeling a bit hungry but thought it was in my mind so we proceeded to the book store. I hung in the diet section most of the time, of course, and even bought a diet book. By the time we paid, I was ravenous. I was shaky, my stomach was growling non stop and the only thoughts in my brain were eating. We were headed to the grocery store and I saw a Mexican place and that made my brain and stomach happy. I went back and forth about whether or not to just eat the Mexican food and eventually decided against it because my points were already in the toilet.

We got what we needed from the grocery store and finally, we were headed back home to make dinner. I was so freakin hungry at this point that I ate two handfuls of almonds out of my purse. By the time we made it home, I was on a mission. I made the dinner I had planned, Hamburger “Fried” brown rice, but I didn’t measure the oil, or anything for that matter. I just dumped until it was all ready to eat. I shoveled it down like there was no tomorrow and then hit the coconut milk ice cream and the girl scout cookies. While I was making the bowl of ice cream, I nibbled on frozen brownies and frozen muffins. When I sat down with the ice cream, I felt calm and at peace. Honestly, I didn’t even feel guilty about my behavior.

But it did elicit wonder. I wonder, what would have happened had I just gone to the Mexican restaurant when my hunger was a little less? Would I have been less out of control? I had been feeling a bit out of control all day and my points budget was making those feelings worse. In the beginning of the day, I just wanted to be able to eat normal healthy food and by the end, I was shoveling every junk food I had in my mouth. I’m not really sure how to get through times like this other than give up the dieting and just concentrate on changing my lifestyle. If you know me IRL or have picked up on this in the short life of this blog, you know that this is a really hard thing for me and my brain to just settle on.

I go back and forth, on again and off again. Some people say it is willpower and I don’t believe that. My therapist and my RD would also disagree that this is not willpower situation. This is disordered. I wonder, why do I keep trying? Why do I keep chasing the thin dream? Why do I continue to diet when mentally, I feel so much more sane when I don’t? Why can’t I accept my size 16 body the way that it is and appreciate the things it can do? This is a struggle that I will probably always face. A challenge that I will forge against forever. I want to be heatlhy and fit but I don’t want to starve or deprive myself to do it because deprivation is what leads to the behavior of yesterday. There is a fine line somewhere and I just haven’t found it.

Mission Accomplished

Nope, I’m not talking about a food mission, I am talking about Operation Beautiful. Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point started Operation Beautiful a few days ago and as soon as I saw the post, I was inspired to participate.  In a nutshell, the point is to spread the word that we are beautiful just as we are. I started by posting a note to myself  in my bathroom

fabulous 003

and one in my office.

operation beautiful 017

When the DH and I headed out for errands yesterday, I went armed with post it notes and a pen. I left the first note in the bathroom at Kohl’s

operation beautiful 002

and the second note in a fitting room

operation beautiful 004

and the third in the bathroom at the grocery store

operation beautiful 008

Leaving these notes around town really lifted my spirits and I have been wondering ever since who saw my notes and how they felt. I wondered if I brightened someones day or if my note gave them a confidence boost. I hope that I put a few smiles on faces out there and I plan to keep spreading this joy around. I encourage all of you to check out the Operation Beautiful website and see all of the notes that have been posted across the world. These simple acts really can make a difference and change the world. Thanks Caitlin for such an inspiring mission.

Breaking Up With The Scale

I’ve always been a game player with the scale. How much do I weigh before I pee, how much do I weigh after I pee? What if I move the scale to east wall in the bathroom instead of the south wall? The scale and I typically meet at least once per day and our relationship is toxic. The number impacts my mood, my self worth, my food choices and really, it is only just a number. One of the things I have been working with my RD on is not weighing myself so much. In the past few weeks, despite my on again off again relationship with Weight Watchers, I have stopped weighing daily. I haven’t graduated to once per week but I am widling it down to about three times per week.

In the same time that I have been working on my relationship with the scale, I have been seeing a personal trainer at my gym. We have been meeting twice per week and she has been teaching me about how to strength train properly. When I committed to losing the last 50lbs, I knew that I wanted to incorporate building muscle. I’m not getting any younger, of course, and I want my body to be healthy and building muscle is part of that. I’ve also read a million and a half times that if you build muscle as you lose, you will be less likely to have sagging skin. I already have some sagging skin issues around my mid section and my inner thighs from the weight I have already lost and my career as a yo yo dieter. I’m hoping that my new weight lifting routine will prevent it from getting worse. I don’t have dreams of wearing a bikini….ever….but defined arms and legs sure would be nice.

All of that aside, I had some pretty hefty expectations about what would happen when I started lifting on a regular basis. I envisioned the fat just melting away like butter in a hot cast iron skillet. I thought my relationship with the scale would get better because, obviously, the numbers would plummet to my happy weight in a matter of weeks. Well, girlfriends, that surely didn’t happen. In fact, in three weeks of committed running and weightlifting, I have lost a whopping .4 lbs. But, something beautiful is happening. My arms are looking more defined and my legs are becoming very shapely. My midsection is becoming a bit flatter and I can almost  see my girly bits without looking in the mirror. I feel firmer in my body and physically stronger than I ever have.

The first time I met with my trainer, Magen, a boppy young hot thang, I told her that I no longer wanted to focus on the scale and that I wanted to concentrate on fitting into smaller clothes. She took my measurements and told me that we would take them again in four weeks. Well, about 8 days ago, I was frustrated with the number on the scale and I knew I needed some kind of boost if I was going to keep this up. I had the DH measure me and we started a spreadsheet. Well, my friends, last night I took my measurements again and compared them. I was pleased with the results; I lost 4.5 inches in just 8 short days. I can’t wait to see what my measurements are with my trainer! She is measuring me again this coming Thursday and will compare my numbers to what they were when we started our sessions. I don’t know what her numbers were so I can’t compare them but I am excited to know that just comparing them to last week, I have lost inches! No, I haven’t dropped a dress size but I am on my way to a firmer, fitter me.

Seeing these results help me to, logically, understand that the number on the scale is not the end all be all on this road to getting healthy and fit. There are more important things to consider, like the way my body looks and feels. I’m hoping that this new approach will help me to stay off the scale. We have had a long and hard relationship and I think this is the beginning of me calling things off.

Doing The Leg Work

A few days have passed since my last post and I have already missed writing on this blog. Writing is such an essential part of who I am that I feel insane without it. Sometimes, I feel insane with it but that is a different story 😀 Anyway, I am back Weight Watchers and counting my points. Since I started again on Tuesday, I have a had a couple of realizati0ns that I’d like to share with you. These little moments of clarity are what this road to being healthy and fit is all about.

I officially started counting points again on Tuesday. It was then that a little light bulb went off about a continual pattern in my choices with weight watchers. I start on flex, don’t really mind counting the points but start to think that following the SFT (core) will make my life easier. I do choose from the filling foods list after-all so why should I need to worry with counting. Well, now I know why I should worry with counting. It seems to me that there is something about the logging into my tracker and tracking the points that keeps me OP (on plan). Each and every time, except my first go round, of not counting, my mind starts to tell me that I really don’t need to worry about tracking or counting anything. Next thing I know, I am eating (uncounted) pizza and buffalo wings.

That realization led me to the second one. What would happen if I made the pizza and the buffalo wings part of my plan? What if I ate them within my points budget instead of automatically hitting the panic button and going crazy on it?  This got me thinking about legalizing foods and I am of the mindset that no foods should be off limits and that we have to make all foods legal in order to be successful. But, I haven’t really been doing that. My RD, plenty of books and most of the people I know that have successfully kept off their weight have told me this. In certain arenas of my life, I have legalized my “trigger foods”. I can keep nutella in my house now and rarely binge on it. I did that by buying a boatload of jars and keeping them in my house at all times. Doing that took the glamour away from it. Don’t get me wrong, when my mind wants to binge, nutella is still the first place it goes but binging just because it is there no longer happens. And if we are being honest about it, for me, trigger foods and binging don’t always go hand in hand. If I “need” to binge, I can do it on grapes if I have to.

So, I know that the legalizing thing works but I’ve never done the leg work of legalizing eating out . I have a few safe places like Ukrop’s or Panera but in most cases, eating out is a big bad scary wolf to me. I fear it and typically overeat like there is no tomorrow when I go to certain types of places. The main culprits are Uno’s Chicago Grill, Mexican food, Italian food and any sort of unplanned dinner out. I always do the same thing, order everything I want, eat it all, order dessert, eat it all and leave feeling sick and miserable. So, how do I legalize it? What if I plan for it? Hmmm….who’d a thought?

With that in mind, I talked to the DH and he has agreed to help me with legalizing eating out. In honor of that, tonight, we are going to Uno’s for pizza. I went online, scoped out the menu and have learned the points value of my favorites. Sure, I have gone to the Uno’s site in the past but have only ever looked at the NI of the foods that I perceive as healthy. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. I can have flat-bread pizza and my favorite Gorgonzola walnut side salad for a less than shocking number of points. If I want the deep dish pizza, it is a few more but nothing that a sweaty workout can’t make up for. Who knew? Next weekend, we shall venture to our favorite Mexican establishment.

I’m not sure why these things have never dawned on me before but I feel like I am one step closer to my goals now. I feel like if I keep on keepin’ on with the points and learn to eat at my triggering restaurants, I will have won a beautiful part of the battle. I think that one day, I will get to a place that counting isn’t necessary and that I can walk into a hole in the wall Italian joint without panic in my gut. I just have to do the leg work first.