Plans Abandoned

As is my pattern, I have gone from rabid embrace to complete abandonment in a few short weeks.

I was logging my food like a champ. Eating well. On days when I made the conscious effort to eat well, there was never an issue with exceeding my calorie goal. It was easy. Then, I had days where I felt like I owed myself a whole bunch of frozen custard. I logged on those days too. The idea was to hold myself accountable. It’s a good idea, in theory.

The problem is that even though I logged those extra thousand calories, the behavior that led me to consume them remained unchanged.

I can and will go back & forth between “good” and “bad” days, but the truth is that the logging doesn’t make a bit of difference. Not for me. I am an expert at justifying my behavior, be it positive or negative. That’s one of the reasons I abused alcohol for so many years.

I still haven’t found the secret sauce. That thing that will make it click in my brain, like it did with the alcohol, where I just start making good decisions for the sake of the good decision. Of course I am aware that sitting and eating a quart of ice cream in a sitting is not doing me any favors, but when I want it, in that moment, it’s like my brain just checks out. I spend all this time and effort on my health, exercising, taking vitamins etc… but then I follow that up with a Taco Bell binge. It’s frustrating.

The issue is clearly in my brain and the traditional strategies aren’t working for me. I’m too crafty for my own good and I sabotage all of my own best laid plans.

I am still weighing myself, because I like it. It doesn’t modify my behavior at all, but it is kind of a barometer for me, in the respect that I can look at that number and say, “Self! Here are the fruits of your labor!” Whether those fruits be positive or negative, they are mine and I am responsible for them. I want to be able to blame my age or metabolism or thyroid or some other such thing and while it’s possible that there are indeed factors at play that I don’t have any control over, as long as I continue to ignore the things that I absolutely DO have control over, the rest of it is irrelevant.

I have no new plan as of now. I am making no proclamations because I do that all the time and it amounts to nothing over the course of a few weeks. Realistically, I will try to be kind to myself, because I will continue to fuck up and hating myself because of it is counterproductive. I will also try not to sit and eat a whole quart of ice cream. Maybe I’ll go for a walk instead. I’d like to think I will.

Random Blather

I have nothing substantive to write about, but it’s been a while and I don’t want to get out of the habit, so here’s a compilation of random things, just to keep the ol’ juices flowing.

Skin Care – Since I’m closer to 50 than 40, I’ve recently started to re-evaluate my skin care routine. I’ve always been good about washing my face, exfoliating, using a decent moisturizer with SPF and all that jazz, but I haven’t done anything new in a while and I’ve begun to notice a little more laxity in my face and I’m not a fan. I went ahead and got a special eye cream and a couple serums to add to my routine and I must say, I’m happy with the results so far. I’m not trying to turn back the clock. I’m ok with aging and I know that I’ll never have that 20 year old skin again, but if there’s something I can do to maintain what I’ve got for a while longer, I’m all in.

Diet – I feel like the improvement in nutrition has had a positive effect on my complexion as well. I lost about 2 pounds this past week, which I was actually surprised by. I feel so much better than I could have sworn it was more. But whatever, I don’t give a shit if the scale stays the same from this point forward, as long as the way I feel continues to improve. My levels of energy and patience have also improved, which is awesome ’cause I need both of those things desperately.

Knees – My knees are still giving me trouble, to the extent that I had all but decided that it was time to go to the doctor. When I went to work out with Ralph on Tuesday, my knee was an impediment to a movement that I have historically had no issue with, so Ralph set to work. He’s a brilliant trainer and an excellent physical therapist in that he gets results, however, the massage therapy is excruciating. He yells at me that it’s so bad because I wait so long and I yell back that I wait so long because it’s so bad. My knees did feel better afterward and gave me hope that I am not injured, just going too hard and not allowing for recovery. I agreed to come back for a massage next week, but I’m going to try to get him to crank the intensity down if I agree to come weekly for a while. Fingers crossed.

Dad – My dad likes to eat pepperoni that has been microwaved until it’s kind of crispy. I usually make it for him, but this week I was out of the house and he took it upon himself to make his snack. He proceeded to carbonize these things, but he ate them anyway. I know all of this because when I walked in my house it smelled like a hot pork garbage fire. It took hours to clear the smell out.

He’s having a rough week because he has a colonoscopy coming up. It’s not that he’s scared of the procedure, it’s just that it causes a disruption in his precious routine. Leading up to the procedure, he has to have a low fiber diet for 2 days, then a liquid only diet the day prior. The low fiber days mean that he can’t have cereal for breakfast and he was acting like he was just going to starve and die. I explained that this meant I would make him bacon and eggs, which he loves, but he was still skeptical. He went so far as to cancel lunch plans with his friend on Saturday because he “can’t eat anything at a restaurant” – I explained to him that he can have so many things, just don’t eat a vegetable, bean or whole grain. He wasn’t convinced.

He flew into a fit of rage earlier this week because the shower knob broke. It wasn’t catastrophic, it was just the plastic part, and the thing could still be twisted on & off with pliers until we could get to the hardware store for a new knob. But he was using every curse word in the book. Emmitt calmed him down and fixed the knob the following day. The funny part about it was that when dad was telling me his version of what happened, he said he “wasn’t upset” about it, he just didn’t have the tools to fix it. He’s so full of shit.

Good Attitude and Nude Massage

I had a very productive day yesterday. So productive that I completely forgot I had scheduled a massage until I got my calendar reminder. I had exactly 15 minutes to get my shit together and get across town.

I literally threw down what I had been holding, ran to put shoes on and get out the door.

I got to the car, but then a new neighbor who has this stunningly beautiful Great Dane came walking toward my house. My priorities in life are straight, so I got out of the car to visit the dog. His name is Apollo and he’s timid, so I scared him a little in my enthusiasm to visit. I felt terrible. So I had to spend extra time making him trust me. I think the owner’s name is Paul. But who cares about him, right?

I came to my senses and got back in the car and hit the road. As I’m leaving the neighborhood I realize I’m not wearing underwear. This is my default setting, except for when I am going for a massage. Oh well. Brad was gonna get my whole butt today I guess.

As I’m flying down the interstate, Eye of the Tiger starts playing and I laughed, because it was like the perfect anthem to get me past the anxiety of my upcoming full nudity. I sang along, terribly, and felt great. I made my appointment with not a minute to spare.

Turns out, fully nude massages are pretty awesome and I think I’ll continue this trend.

Today has started out completely unproductive, which is fine. It’s gloomy & wet outside, so I’ll probably catch up on some TV. Or try to. Dad will likely wreck my day at some point, but I’m expecting it, so it takes some of the sting out.

I’m feeling pretty healthy, more comfortable in my skin than I have been in a few months. It’s a good day.

Do My Pits Smell Like Rain?

I committed to going with my neighbor to do some yoga at a brewery(?) this evening. Technically it’s in the parking lot of the brewery, which really doesn’t make it any less weird. When she asked it seemed like a fine idea, I could certainly use some stretching and today was both a rest day AND a busy day at work. Busy days at work equal lots of sitting.

It’s supposed to start in an hour and a half and I really don’t want to go. So I prayed for rain. I asked for rain to start exactly 15 minutes before this thing is supposed to begin. According to my weather app, its going to rain for the next hour which kind of helps, but if it lets up too early I won’t be able to back out.

I figure if the rain does stop then it means that I was supposed to go and that I will get good things out of it.

In the meantime, I have to make dinner early because if I wait to see if I have to go somewhere I will end up ordering junk food and I already had pizza yesterday, which was delightful, by the way. Plus I have asparagus that’s going limp.

My husband just came in the room to tell me that he’s going to run an errand and tell me he had a good day, which is great. I remarked that I also had a good day and that my armpits didn’t stink even though I was sweating profusely earlier. He came and sniffed my armpit. Then I sniffed his. we took turns identifying which deodorant scent the other had chosen. This probably seems weird, but I assure you that neither of us would have sniffed if we weren’t remarking on the lack of B.O. We have a whole basket of deodorant and when we find ones we like, we share them and, apparently, sniff each others pits. We highly recommend Native brand, if you’re interested.

I guess I’ll go cook and continue praying for rain.

The Wobbly Toddler and the Wave

I was scheduled to see My Amazing Trainer Ralph this morning but almost didn’t make it.

I had been feeling a little weird in the guts yesterday evening. I chalked it up to swallowing too much peroxide and/or fluoride at the dentist. It was uncomfortable, but not terrible. My morning, I felt pretty normal. I got up, brushed my teeth, went to the bathroom, got dressed and headed out to the gym. I had a few twinges of intestinal unrest, but I didn’t have far to go and it’s pretty normal for my to make a pit stop when I get to the gym.

About a year and a half ago, I would have paid more heed to that twinge.

Back when I was drinking, my digestive system was predictably unpredictable. I knew that if there was going to be an issue, it was going to be in the morning, but there was rarely any indicator whether a morning was going to be good or bad, so leaving the house was always a gamble. I tried not to schedule things for the morning, because too often, there was an attack on the way that necessitated an emergency stop at the gas station, or restaurant, or hotel, or whatever else I could find on the way with a readily accessible toilet.

This was my life for a long time, so I got good at not shitting my pants, but there were a whole lot of close calls and some notable failures.

So today, as I was approaching the traffic light to turn left, those twinges rang out in earnest. They meant business… aaaand the light turned red. So there I sat, doing some labor breathing, trying to calm my guts. You see, when these episodes occur, it’s not like I can just “hold it”, as has been so helpfully suggested in the past. The powerful muscles responsible for peristalsis are acting up and my poor sphincter is like a wobbly toddler trying to maintain it’s footing against a wave at the beach.

Once the contractions start, I can tell about how much longer I have by the space between them and things were not looking good. This had escalated quickly. By now, the light has changed and I’m going as fast as traffic will allow to get to my destination in time. There’s a chance. Breathe. A little prayer can’t hurt.

I make it to the parking lot and whip into a spot. A contraction strikes. I have to make a decision. If I sit there, I’m definitely gonna shit my pants in the car. If I get out of the car, I have to cross a parking lot, enter a building and make it to the bathroom, all while basically shitting my pants. The question is, how long can the wobbly toddler stand? Will it just go straight down? Or stumble backwards a few steps, providing precious seconds?

I decided to go for it.

Thankfully, the place was deserted, and I made it to the bathroom without anything TRULY catastrophic, but I still spent quite a while in the bathroom. Finally, I had to accept that the single ply toilet paper wasn’t going to accomplish much more than it already had, no matter how much I used. There’s no way not to feel gross after that, even if you are technically ‘clean’.

Ralph was waiting for me when I exited the bathroom. He’s known me for a while, so I gave him the “OMG, I almost shit my pants” look, and he didn’t care. He never cares. I could come in there with one of my legs missing and he’d find a way to modify the workout so we could keep going. So we kept going.

I worked really hard, in spite of the fact that I felt super gross and got no sympathy about it.

COMPLETELY UNRELATED SIDE NOTE –

I’ve mentioned before that my dad is obsessed with the cats and their comfort, refusing to move if one is sitting in his lap. Well, if one of them is sitting in his chair and he wants to sit down, he will bend over and chatter at them and tell them that they need to move. Of course they don’t, because they are cats and they do what they want. At this juncture, any normal person would pick the cat up and move it. Not my dad. Nope, his solution so as not to “disturb the kitty” is to SIT ON IT. Yeah. Instead of picking it up nicely, he lowers his ass toward it, hovering, expecting it to move. Except they don’t move!! So I have to run over there and snatch the cat out of his spot before his wobbly quads give out and he crushes the poor animal. Then I get chided, because in his mind the cat would have moved of it’s own accord. This man… I swear.

Slow and Steady Might Make Me Sane

Today has been a good day. I woke up in a fine mood, had a invigorating workout & went to the dentist. I like getting my teeth cleaned, which is probably weird, but that’s ok. We all have our things.

My attitude has improved, which is a relief. I’ve decided that I’m happy that I’ve started tracking my food again because I just really like having that information. It keeps me accountable in a way nothing else can. I have also reset my weight loss goal to something far more reasonable than it was before. It’s realistic and, I believe, sustainable. I’m eating plenty, I don’t feel deprived and nothing is ‘off-limits’ per se. I just know approximately what parameters are ideal for me to work within, and decide whether I really want that thing, or whether there is another choice I can make that would serve me better in the long run. I can have alcohol but I don’t. I can eat a donut, but I won’t. It’s funny how the reframing of a thing can make it more palatable, less daunting.

I’m trying to feel better about myself in the present, though. I know that this weight loss is going to take a while, even though it’s not a huge number. I plan to go really, really slow, but be consistent. So, I can’t beat myself up for the next 6 months or so while I work on this. Because otherwise what’s the point? To just feel like shit ALL the time?

In this exact moment, I don’t think it’s going to be super hard, because any small improvement feels huge to me right now. I had gotten so far past comfortable that incremental progress is monumental. We will see how I feel in the coming weeks. I’m trying to focus on the non-weight changes as well, which has been helpful. My energy is up, I’m sleeping well.

I do plan to weigh myself tomorrow, though I have no illusions that anything will have changed. I only started this in earnest on Friday. Even I, at my most delusional, don’t expect abs at this juncture. That’s NEXT week…

But seriously folks, I feel better just having taken some action. I have some control back and while I’m sure that could sound problematic in some circles, I’m a girl who likes to be in charge, so I’m following those good feelings. I recognize that being in charge can backfire, making me feel like a failure if my efforts don’t yield the expected results. I’ve been down that road. I may go down it again. Who knows. It’s likely.

What I hope, is that if I stumble, I will have learned enough and gathered enough tools to pick myself up and apologize and just keep moving forward, with all the love I can muster for myself.

I Wish I Was Nicer to Me.

I feel better today. I still feel fat, but I feel less sad about it.

I ordered a new sports bra that actually fits me and that lifted my spirits. It’s the little things.

I took the day off today because we were having lunch with Moira at school. Her culinary program was hosting a small lunch with a Pacific Northwest theme. We were honored to be there and the food was delightful. There was a smoked trout starter, a cauliflower hazelnut soup, halibut entrée and a chocolate hazelnut torte for dessert. I ate it all, unapologetically, even though I was stuffed after the entrée.

I did, however, log the meal afterward. I hate that I am logging food again, but I feel like I have to in order to bring my attention back to it in a more constructive way. I do like my numbers, after all, and I have to do something.

I don’t like feeling this way and I need to get back to a better head space. At this juncture, losing weight is a mental health issue for me.

Emmitt took a pic of me and Moira this morning after our workout and posted it on social media. It was a sweet post, talking about how we were his whole world, and I made him take it down. I was ashamed of my body and I didn’t want people to see it.

It’s all so ridiculous.

If I saw someone else who looked just like me, I wouldn’t judge them. I wouldn’t have anything nasty to say. But once that mirror is turned back to face me, all bets are off. It makes not a lick of sense and my logical brain knows it.

Unfortunately, my logical brain has a quieter voice. I’m working on making her louder and more assertive, but in the meantime, I’m doing what I can to shut the other voice up. At least for a little while.

If Only Writing it Down Could Make it True

I’m starting to feel a lot like I did back when I was writing about drinking. I’m making all these proclamations about how I feel and what I’m going to do and how I’m awesome and deserve better and at the time, I feel like I really believe it all. Later I start to feel like maybe I’m just trying to manifest it as truth by writing it down.

It’s been almost a year and a half, 530 days to be exact, since I had an alcoholic beverage. I am proud of that even though it doesn’t seem hard to maintain these days.

I’m proud of it because even though these past 500 days or so have been relatively smooth sailing, the many, many years before that were anything but. Looking back at old journal entries from 2004 I can see issues developing. Not just with alcohol, but with food as well. Counting calories, limiting ‘fat’ like it was the enemy, trading food for wine. Making promises to myself and breaking them. Making excuses for breaking them. Justifying. Doing it all over again and hating myself along the way for being such a failure.

It took a lot of eating and drinking to get where I am now. I really thought that quitting drinking was going to be magical from a weight loss perspective, but all this time later, I’m heavier than I was.

I am different though, and better. I am stronger mentally & physically, but still bearing these psychic scars that refuse to heal. That tell me I’m a disgusting piece of shit no matter how much I scream at myself that it’s just not true.

I blogged about weighing myself last week and how I was totally ok with it. I really thought I was. Then I weighed myself again this week, and my resolve weakened. I don’t hate myself. Not really, at least not all of the time. It ebbs and it flows. I’ve been on a lot of Zoom calls this week and I’ve literally been confronted by my own face, over and over. And I’ve been very, very critical.

I am under no circumstances fishing for compliments here. I have a husband who thinks I am the most beautiful thing alive. I have friends and family that are often kind to me in regards to my appearance. I know what other people might think, or purport to think, but then I see myself and none of it matters. There is no one that can tell me anything because I see what I see with my own eyes and I find myself lacking.

Lacking in what regard? Yeah, I don’t know. I wish I did. I do know for sure that as much as I am trying to love myself in the skin that I am in, I am struggling. With that struggle comes the desire to do ‘better’. To eat differently.

I woke up this morning realizing that I had been dreaming about modifying my diet, to cut out most, if not all, of the processed carbohydrate foods that I know make me gain weight. I felt good about making a “positive” change this morning. Then I ate a sandwich on a giant bun with a side of kettle chips. It was delicious and I should have enjoyed every bite of it, but I didn’t. I felt bad about it. I demonized the food and I was disgusted with myself, but as was often the case with alcohol, I didn’t even consider stopping until it was all gone.

So here I am, feeling like a piece of shit for eating lunch and I am doubly ashamed BECAUSE I feel like a piece of shit. And around and around we go.

I have a friend who struggles to eat. This basic thing, required for survival and it is a challenge. And here I am beating my chest over liking food too much.

I hate that this takes up so much real estate in my brain. I realize that it is a colossal waste of time and energy, but I don’t know how to stop being this way.

Please. Leave.

It is exhausting living with some one who can’t take a hint.

I woke up, I exercised. I worked all day, at my job and at laundry. I made dinner. I served dinner. I watched a mutually agreed upon television show with the family while we ate. I listened to all my dad’s bad jokes, cat updates and anecdotes about persimmons while I was attempting, unsuccessfully, to unwind.

My hope was that when dinner was over, I could enjoy maybe an hour to myself. To watch a show that I liked, without commentary. I made my move… “Dad, I’ve got a couple Below Decks on the DVR I’d like to catch up on, is that ok with you?” He heaves a heavy sigh. The weight of the world on his frail shoulders. “I guess…” he mutters.

Fine with me. I don’t need you to be in a good mood about it. I just need you to fuck off so I can spend a whole hour by myself for the sake of my mental health.

Except he doesn’t leave. He just settles in and continues chattering through the whole thing. I had a second episode to watch, but when it was clear he was in for the long haul, I tried a different strategy.

“Oh shit”, I say, with feigned consternation. “I have to go update the spreadsheet for the workout.” Dad looks confused. “You’re working out tomorrow? You don’t usually do that on Thursday”, he says. And he’s right. This guy can’t read the room to save his life but he knows my exercise schedule by heart. God damn it.

So then I start stammering and making up some bullshit because I’m still trying to make him go away without explicitly telling him to go away. Then I notice that he has a cat in his lap and know that all is lost. He won’t get up until the cat gets up and here we are. He’s so concerned about the well being of this animal that he’s driving his human daughter insane.

I am writing this now because I needed to vent but also in the vain hope that maybe when I’m done the cat will have moved, but I’m pretty sure I heard Jessica Fletcher out there solving yet another mystery with her folksy observations and extremely intrusive behavior. I’d like to write her murder.

My Belly, The Dragon Slayer

Thank you, sweet baby Jesus, the fence people have arrived! My back yard looks very weird, but that’s ok. Now that the process has started, we can all breathe a sigh of relief and Emmitt has an appointment with his therapist later, so things are good and I can move on with my life, with unclenched butt cheeks. For a while at least.

I broke down and weighed myself today. As I mentioned before, I missed my numbers. The bad news, I weighed a pound more than when I started tracking back in 2012. So, almost a decade and here I am, right back at the start. Except maybe not, and that’s the good news.

When I weighed myself, it was mostly because I just wanted to know. The suspense was killing me. I knew I had gained weight; I can barely fit my giant boobs into anything these days. The question was, how much? So now I know and what’s really cool is that I am not freaking out about it all. I can say with certainty that the body I’m in now, at almost exactly the same weight as I was all those years ago is not at all the same body it was back then.

I am stronger and leaner and happier and I know that I have made progress. This time hasn’t been wasted and that number is just information. Benign and harmless. Finally.

I can say that I am going to work on my eating habits, which have been ridiculous lately. It’s a miracle I only gained as much as I did, and a testament to the wisdom of my body, because I’ve been trying to fatten myself up like a Blue Ribbon FFA Show Pig.

As mentioned earlier, my boobs are enormous, and my gut has grown round to the extent that the cute dragon tattoo I got on my once flat 20-something groin area now appears afflicted with the bloat and has been decapitated. I must embark on a quest to save my dragon. I’d be lying if I said that my motivation wasn’t at least partly aesthetic, but I can also confidently say it’s more because I just don’t feel comfortable in my own skin right now. It’s too tight. Too many things are touching each other and I don’t like it. Plus, it’s about to be summer in Florida, and I don’t need all this insulation.

My plan? It’s not complicated. I shall simply not eat everything in sight, as I have been. I enthusiastically embraced the permission to eat, and I know I still have it. If my body doesn’t trust me now that it will be fed, it never will. I will look at foods like I look at alcohol. I can have it. I can have as much as I want, whenever I want. I’m a grown adult. The question is, is it serving me well? Does that extra helping make me feel better in any real way? Am I nourished? Or just full? Am I eating because I’m hungry? Or am I just bored?

All will be well, because it is currently well and that right there is the difference for me. I’m good with me, as I am. I know how I feel and I know I can feel better and I will work toward that, but even with my big ‘ol tits and headless dragon, I’m ok. I’m still fucking awesome.

Two more things, completely out of context –

  • I’ve mentioned before that I like kombucha. I also like chia seeds. So when the Synergy kombucha went on sale and I saw the Raspberry Chia flavor, I thought, “ooh! Yum!” Had I given this more than a moment’s evaluation, I would have realized that this was going to be pretty gross. If you are familiar with chia seeds, you’ll know that when they are soaked, they develop this gelatinous coating that make them a great thickening agent for fake pudding and overnight oats. Since they are in a beverage, however, the consistency can’t be quite that thick, so it takes on a mucus-like quality that I absolutely do not recommend. This shit is expensive though, so I’m going to power through my tangy, snot water, but hopefully I saved someone out there from suffering the same fate.

  • I’m a fan of charcuterie. Meats? Yes. Cheese? Hell yes. So it’s been great that charcuterie boards are trendy. However, as with many good things, when they become more mainstream, people like to ‘elevate’ them, so they can be even fancier. Often, this results in a great thing getting all fucked up. Case in point, salami roses. I get it. They look cute on your super curated slab of wood with your artfully peeled heirloom carrots, but I know how much you had to touch that salami to mold that rose, and now it’s gross. You ruined my meat with your nasty hand germs. Furthermore, I know it took WAAAAY too long to make that thing, and the second I try to dislodge a ‘petal’ of salami, I’ve ruined all your hard work. I hope you got that pic up on the Gram in time.