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Step Back, Move Forward

I felt myself get a little whacky this morning. It’s not entirely surprising. It happens when exercise declines and sugar rockets.

What did seem new though was the fact I recognized I was standing at the precipice, and I actually wanted to step back. It seemed enough to teeter for just a bit feeling no compunction to throw my arms up and lean into the crumbling edge.

Choice. I tell my son all the time that he has the choice of how he is going to view life, choosing to look for the bad or good in any situation. It’s hard to watch him navigate these teen years, and at times I secretly would love to control his thoughts and behavior. However, when I step back myself and choose to commune with the positive, I also realize how little I truly can control.

Much of my life I tried to control and compartmentalize what I saw as the pieces of my life – weight, body image, family, work, friends, the overall search for perfection. However, I may be on the verge of accepting the interconnectedness of it all. The way I treat my body does affect the way I see myself, which in turn blankets the way I interact with all the people in my life. Seems stupid simple, but it still hasn’t stopped me from pushing against the idea.

I have no control over much of what surrounds me, damn. I can, however, regulate my behavior and reactions and outlook on life. When I’m in this space, it seems absurd I would try to focus energy in any other way.

I saw this when I lost 100 pounds. I learned that the weight was not about the food (unless it’s a pan of brownies sitting on my counter at 2 a.m.). I ate for a lot of reasons other than hunger using the weight to insulate myself from life. It was a sad existence, and I never want to return to that place.

As I teetered this morning, there was a moment that I wanted to wallow in the fact that some of those pounds found their way back, far too many to ignore. It’s time to select a different path because the one I’ve been traveling has been taking me in a big fucking circle. I know the science, an easy equation of in vs. out, and now I feel good that I’m choosing to connect with me.

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Pause the Slippage

I want to eat a house right now. I nearly ate one last night, and it gave me horrible indigestion all night long. I’d like to avoid the re-run this evening so I’m hoping that pushing pause for just a few minutes to post a blog entry might help.

Part of the problem is I spent some time over the weekend traveling and eating too much sugar, which always wreaks havoc so I’m trying to detox a little. Gum usually helps; of course I have none. I’m sucking on a lollipop trying to constantly remind myself not to bite into it, invariably busting up one of my fillings.

I had a pretty good day with food and exercise so the evening cravings threw off my mojo. I ate reasonably and took a spin class at lunchtime. I also noticed today that I didn’t get extraordinarily freaked out in the locker room. I didn’t even contemplate taking two towels into the shower with me, and I stood naked in front of my locker without feeling major heart palpitations. Shit, if things keep going this well, I might be able to bend over in all my glory and not give a rat’s ass, or stand in front of the make-up mirror next to Naked Woman to compare saggy hooters. Nah, that will never happen.

At any rate, I think I have my head screwed back on and the house might be safe for one more night. What helps you press pause to gain control when you feel slippage?

Step Off the Train

Vacation has been sweet. It’s taken several days to truly decompress. There were no big vacation trips, just time with my mom, which has been delightful even though my son managed to give her a kick ass cold shortly after she arrived.

Lazy mornings and empty agendas fill our days. It’s been exactly what I needed, and it’s provided time to breathe, think, readjust.

I hopped off the crazy train of must dos and gave myself a chance to reflect on what has been happening in my mind and soul. I wrote yesterday that I felt a little squirmy, and the wiggles are still present, but confidence seems to percolate beneath the surface too.

I can’t help but turn thoughts toward my attitudes about weight and food and body image and how they mingle and blend and haunt. A hundred pounds ago, I may have eluded myself to believe that the weight was about food, but I’m acutely aware now, it is not quite that simple. I wonder if the small amount of weight that I’ve struggled with for the past year serves more as a reminder that I haven’t been quite ready to embrace the fact that I’m good enough just the way I am. I, just me as I stand today, am good and right with the world. It causes my stomach to flip even as I type the words.

When I yo-yo, it provides constant admonishment that I haven’t quite arrived and tells me that I haven’t got things quite right, and perhaps I will never get where I need to be. But, I’m tired of playing that tape – it’s a load of shit – and I think it keeps me from reaching other goals I may have.

This particular struggle serves no purpose except to keep me stuck in an uncreative, tentative place. It seems obvious to me as I sit in my jammies spending some of my vacation with myself and my thoughts, but I need to find a way to capture and hold onto this awareness when I reenter the real world. Everyone gets anxious or outright whack-a-doodle, but some seem better at pulling it together before implosion, which for me generally comes at the same time grab for my own detonator otherwise known as triple chocolate lava cake. Where exactly would food for thought fit?

Twisted Grunders Suck

I think the last few weeks found me with my big girl panties knotted around my ankles. Two-year-old tantrums kept good behavior at bay.

Exercise has been great, but whether I was throwing too many parties in my mouth or kicking and screaming about how unfair life was that my pants are too tight, I found myself a little irked goals weren’t being met.

I’m irritated I didn’t take full advantage of the personal training for the last three months. Friday was my last session with my trainer – she’s moving out of state. I’m bummed. I didn’t meet the food/weight loss goals, but I suppose there was progress, which gives me another opportunity to think about where I want to go from here.

I have a lot of ideas swirling around in my head, but haven’t voiced many as of late, which is probably why I haven’t seen much progress, doh. It’s hard to meet a goal, which just swims in silence when I’ve spent more time aligning myself with a couch and a bag of chips.

I had hoped weight loss, eating and exercise would all be in line by now, but the problem is action needs to follow hope. Not all is a wash though. Exercise is in a good place and I definitely feel stronger than I did three months ago. Instead of beating myself up over what is NOT, I may want to build on what IS working.

A couple weeks ago, I realized I was eating an unmentionable amount of food under the disguise of an evening snack. I’m not sure what the exact caloric intake of a snack should be, but I’m pretty confident it’s less than a Big Mac. Seeing this proof written in a food journal was good feedback even if it did make me squirm.

So, one of the new strategies I decided to employ was to journal backward, beginning with my evening meal. First, it really throws off my mojo and makes me think about what I’m putting into my mouth, but more importantly, it makes me look ahead to the remaining 24 hours, which requires a plan if I want to eat more than the bruised and wilted cucumber laying in the back of my fridge.

This morning and afternoon will require a little creativity given the fact impromptu pizza found me last night. But my new strategy might just work. Last night as I skulked around my kitchen telling myself that I’d already blown it with the pizza, I remembered I still had the morning and afternoon to recover. I grabbed a peach and turned off the kitchen light.

I’m still searching for answers and finding more questions, but at least I’m thinking again. It’s funny how certain things work like magic for a while, but then all of a sudden, not so much. For now, I’m yanking up my big girl pants and concentrating on the here and now… how about you?

Believe the Slogan

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I experienced a nasty altercation with a bag of sour cream and onion chips yesterday.

I didn’t really give the purchase a second thought. I generally reserve them for holiday cookouts or if I know there will be kids around to polish them off before I start nosing around, which was exactly what was supposed to happen this weekend. My teenage-eating machine also provides a great back up.

Plans changed and fewer people arrived. As I opened the bag, Russell informed me that he only likes the barbeque flavor. Crazy talk. Does the boy not share half of my DNA?

I should have dumped the newly opened bag right into the trash, but no, I had to prove a point and practice moderation.

I consume chips judiciously in as much as I eat all the broken ones first and the teensy ones with the little brown edges next, then the whole ones. I save the folded over whole ones for last. I used to think I was a freak about this, but I’ve watched others eat chips and everyone seems to have a system.

I’m fine with chips as long as:

1. I don’t grab even one, or
2. There are large quantities of teens lingering around insuring quick, if not tidy, consumption.

Given the fact that I’m a word girl, not a number diva, I failed to recognize the pending equation: Chips – crowds = fat ass. I grabbed more and more and more until I realized I needed intervention. I tossed the bag open-side down in the trash taking no chances of just one more Mr. Lays.

I suppose there is truth in advertising, and I suppose their you can’t eat just one tagline is way more appealing than open this bag, bitch, and you are going down.

Synchronicity in Sunshine

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Synchronicity. God. Open mind. It doesn’t matter.

I was walking through the park yesterday afternoon by myself as was intended. I fought the notion of making a date with myself as prescribed in The Artist’s Way, and the most daring thing I managed to muster was an hour in the sunshine at Antrim Park.

When I began the walk, I told myself it was stupid. I did after all live in a more serene place than this little urban lake nestled beside a busy highway. As I walked though, I realized this place didn’t come with any dirty dishes or cranky teens or vacuum cleaners. Distractions emptied from my head.

I’ve struggled with my weight for the past year. Life has been filled transitions and hectic schedules and too many excuses.

The walk gave me an opportunity to tune into me, which I realized I’ve been doing sporadically at best. I reflected on what was different when I began this journey to what seems to bog me down today. Benches surrounded the path I walked, memorials of sort, sprinkled with words of wisdom from loved ones long gone, but remembered on the little tarnished plaques. I approached a bench calling my name…

“Life was never meant to be a struggle, just a gentle progression from one point to another, much like walking through a valley on a sunny day.”
-Stuart Wilde

If I rush from one place to the next, I lose track of a lot, and I fail to open my mind and soul to this peaceful place. Everything suffers.

One hour, actually it took less than that to see what I’ve been missing. I’m worth an hour; aren’t you?

Put Down the Straw and Step Away from the Milkshake

There are simply places I shouldn’t be permitted to enter. I thought I could come up with a top ten list, but surprisingly the magic number is five:

Steak and Shake
Dairy Queen
Olive Garden (or any other place with endless garlic bread and pasta)
Skyline Chili
Most pizza places (unless, I’m on my AAA game)

There you have it.

I’m contemplating whether or not I should develop a Most Wanted sign to post next to the hostess stations at all these restaurants. Add a buy one, get one coupon, and it might illicit the need for a restraining order.

What I contemplate this morning is just how much did that free turtle sundae milkshake really cost me?

Even after the first gulp, which was really after I slurped down the whipped cream and cherry, I knew it was too sweet. I asked Lyle if he wanted some. No. No? OK, Melissa. Buckle down. You can do this.

On the way home, I wondered why I had never perfected the art of puking.

As a kid, I remember trying to make myself throw up after stuffing my emotions so far down I could plaster the perfect-one smile back on my face. Food was always my drug of choice in the sometimes tumultuous alcoholic home.

The purging part eluded me. I just couldn’t quite figure out how to get the job done. Thankfully, Google was light years away, and I was too embarrassed to ask for assistance from one of the much-too-skinny girls at my school who I knew managed it quite well.

After I lost weight and marched my happy ass into my mental mechanic, I found the missing ingredient in a book she recommended about eating disorders. I realize the lack of this information as a child likely saved my life, but I occasionally I toy with the notion before smacking myself in the head and moving on.

Last night was not as bad as it could have been. After an unexpected indulgence, I’ve been known to ring the bell for the real binge to begin. I could have also eaten the triple steakburger – we had a coupon for it as well. I limited myself to the shake and some of Lyle’s cheese fries, but in my defense, I didn’t eat many fries (too soggy). I also skipped the self flagellation when we returned home and simply got ready for today and then turned in early because I felt so crappy. Is it perverse to be glad the shake made me sick?

I’m disappointed in my actions because I’d finally de-toxed from my previous sugar indiscretion, and now I will spend the next three days jonesing for the white stuff again.

It pisses me off. I know better. With knowledge comes power, right? I’ve been at this gig for 10 years. It shouldn’t be so fucking difficult, but maybe, just maybe I’m the biggest obstacle.

I don’t think there’s some big dark secret I’m trying to stuff down today; however, I find myself in a new set of circumstances and the systems I had in place no longer work. Here’s to devising a new plan. Excuse me if I toast with a little sparkling water; I’ve had enough milkshakes for one day.

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