Monday, June 07, 2010
Since joining SparkPeople I have started to look at the world differently.
There are the obvious ways - trying to figure out how to fit in more exercise, cooking new recipes, waking up every morning and walking myself through my day to make sure I'm doing everything as mindfully as I can to be healthy.
But the thing I wasn't really prepared for was how I am starting to look at other people in the world.
Maybe it's because I'm a DONE GIRL and have the most awesome support of the best team of ladies one could possibly ask for - but I am literally starting to see SparkPeople everywhere!
Now - most likely these people I'm seeing are not really Sparkies. I would assume in a lot of cases, these people I'm running into have never even heard of SparkPeople (oblivious to the Spark as I was 2 months ago). But I think something happens when you start doing things for yourself. You start looking at the people in the world around you and you begin to wonder if they know what you know. If they have experienced what you have experienced. And in the case of something good - like this is for me - you want to know why everyone doesn't know about this really terrific thing!
I was out and about all weekend long enjoying some pretty awesome weather (between thunder showers). And since most of what I was doing involved exercise, I started looking closely at the people who were also out walking, hiking and biking. I saw a lot of athletes. I saw a lot of runners and cyclists and fit people enjoying their workouts. But I also saw a lot of overweight people. Young mothers struggling with their 3 kids to climb a hill. Out of breath ladies pushing themselves to go one step further, climb one hill higher. Women whose feet were sore and swollen who had stopped to take a rest and whose thighs were surely rubbing together under those shorts.
I saw these people and I thought of Spark. Maybe these people were Sparkies too! Maybe they were tracking their miles, and drinking their water and giving it all they had to live a healthier lifestyle. I watched them, and I thought of SparkPeople and I got an instant boost of energy. Just imagine - fellow Sparkies - people who I've never even met, but who might be fighting their own battle, trudging along beside me. It was great!
And even if they aren't SparkPeople, even if they've never heard of this great site, and even if they aren't trying to lose weight, or live healthier - just their presence and the possibility that they were made me feel stronger.
Even when we can't be with each other, we are in spirit. To my fellow DONE GIRLS and other team members who have shown me endless support and love already in my journey - you are the BOMB! I take your energy and spirit with me wherever I go. And I see your smiling faces in the faces of people I meet on the road - cheering me on.
A world full of SparkPeople. Now that's a great world to live in!
Thursday, June 03, 2010
It was August 2006. I had just started a new job and was figuring myself a pretty big deal since this new position was in my field and finally paid more than poverty level in Chicago. I was working on my first big project that involved calling around for a bunch of quotes on some new equipment we were looking into purchasing and meeting with contractors who were coming out to pitch their latest and greatest models. That's when he walked into my life.
My back was to him when he actually walked in since I was busy on the phone, but when I turned around I was struck... love at first sight - I don't know what else to call it. It had never happened to me before and it hasn't happened again since. I tried to keep my palms from sweating and from batting my eyes at him as he described the equipment he was selling. Get yourself together woman - you're supposed to be a professional! Professional or not - I was done for. I would have bought ANYTHING from him right there and then.
Luckily for me, his company was also the least expensive, and a few days later he was back in my building, going over a proposal to install what we needed. It should have ended there and then. But for whatever reason, he thought I was fun to talk to and we sat in the theatre after talking about the proposal and chatted about everything from families to jobs to plans for the rest of the summer. I was melting into a puddle in front of him. Completely smitten.
Our conversations continued over that fall and to my surprise, he seemed to find excuses to call me to catch up, always asking about business first, but then cracking a joke, or slipping in a personal anecdote of some sort. Our emails and phone calls back and forth turned into breakfast meetings about once a month. There was no one else in the world I would get up that early in the morning for. It felt as though he was courting me...except when he would inevitably break into talking about a pending contract with my company, or when I would argue to pay the bill because he had picked up the last 3. "We" had our favorite breakfast places. I knew what he took in his coffee. My heart started to beat faster when I saw his name on my phone. Haha - It's doing it again as I write this. I wanted him with every fiber of my being.
He was the perfect guy for me. Tight with his family. Sporty, but down to earth. Cultured, but not anywhere close to the over-cultured, theatre-type I was used to dating. Wealthy, but frugal. Ruggedly handsome and boyishly cute all at the same time. We liked the same things, the same kinds of people. It would have been a match made in heaven as far as I was concerned.
But I was a 5'2", pushing 300 pounds, previously married & divorced woman with a ton of emotional baggage and an addiction to food. How could this perfect specimen of a man possibly love me?
So I stood back, and refrained from pursuing a romantic relationship with him because I was embarrassed. I was embarrassed for me, but I was more embarrassed for him. Even if he did like me, I wouldn't subject him to being seen with me. His type did not date my type.
We continued to brunch and lunch (and sometimes dinner), and attend sports games, and hang out after work to grab a beer for two full years. Both of us single. The attraction (at least as far as I was concerned) inevitable. I met his family. His whole family. He introduced me to his grandmother unexpectedly one evening after work when he surprised me with a "what are you doing right now?" phone call. I loved all of them, and as far as I could tell, they loved me too. I became friends with his sister and her husband and started hanging out with her apart from him. I was SO in. But I was still so fat.
It was August 2008 when he called me to ask about my new relationship with my current boyfriend, as he'd heard I was dating someone. And it was then that he told me he'd met someone too. I'd had my suspicions. At our most recent breakfast date he'd ordered an extra meal to "take to someone". In the car on the way to a family cookout at his sister's place, he mentioned that he and "someone" had gone to see a particular show that I liked. And even though I had just gone FBO (Facebook Official) with my current beau, I was dreading this talk like no other. I knew it was the end. The end of the fantasy about what him and I could have been if only there were less of me. I congratulated him on his new lady-friend and then went home and cried for 2 hours.
For the past two years I've been negotiating my own relationship with a wonderful man who loves me for who I am. But for the past two years I've also been watching his relationship with the love of his life bloom and grow and solidify. I watched them contemplate moving in together, then buying a house, then getting a dog. I listened to her talk about the first time he told her he loved her. About the trips they were planning together. The life that they were building together. My heart breaking more at each meeting. I watched all of this because "they" are now my friends, not just him.
The last time we went out to eat together, she came too. He asked me first if it was ok - it's nice to know he still honours our little tradition. But I knew then that it was going to be him and her from here on out. If only I weren't such a coward. She's perfect for him - beautiful, active, tall & slender, kindhearted, and a doctor to boot. Everything I wish I were - but most of which I will never be, because that's just not who I am.
Yesterday, she flashed me the most beautiful diamond ring - designed by him, just for her. I shrieked with excitement. I'm really, seriously happy for them. I didn't realize it at the time, but I had helped him plan his engagement. On that most recent lunch outing with the two of them, they were asking me about travel destinations for their upcoming anniversary trip. I suggested a few, and they eventually decided on Portland, which I told them was simply breathtaking in beauty. And it was there, over this past weekend, that he proposed to her on bended knee during a hike behind a waterfall. A perfect proposal for two perfect people.
Someday I will have all those things. Someday I will be the person I know I am inside and out. Someday the love of my life will sweep me off my feet and we'll run off into the sunset!
But I know I still have a long way to go before I get there. Not only in body, but in spirit as well. I feel like this time I lost the perfect guy - but in all honesty, it's because I really wasn't ready for him anyway. None of us are really perfect - but I'm going to keep working on myself and plodding ahead on my journey for my own idea of perfection (which is really as imperfect as it gets). And next time when someone "perfect" comes along who really IS perfect for ME, I will be ready - with open arms!
Wednesday, June 02, 2010
Ah, the ballad of the broken scale. Well, I don't think it's broken, but my house might be.
So I get up this morning and am dreading the weigh-in anyway. I know I'm likely going to be up because of the long weekend, and the food and the alcohol. However, I also rocked out a couple of really long walks, upped my swimming laps and exercised when I didn't plan on it this past week, so anything could happen, right? Essentially if I look at my week, I calorie cycled - I had a couple of really high days, and a couple of low days - so it should have all balanced out - theoretically.
I pulled out the scale (a digital WW model) and stepped on...297.6. OK - I'm up. Grrr. Totally disappointed in myself. But when I stepped off the scale I felt it rock a little on the feet. My bathroom floor is totally uneven and warped from old water damage, so I bent over and jiggled the scale a bit - sure enough, it only had 3 feet on the ground. Now I know it's supposed to auto correct, but the perfectionist in me couldn't handle a wonky weigh-in, so I moved the scale and stepped on again.
296.9 - OK - I'm still up, but that's a better number. I step off - it wobbles again. For the love of everything holy! Can I not find a sturdy spot in my whole bathroom? Apparently not. And just to prove my theory, I step on again - 299.2. Clearly this is not right. New place on the floor, off and on, off and on - every single time I'm getting a different number.
I finally give up on the bathroom and take the scale into the living room. It's carpeted. I know I shouldn't weigh-in on carpet because though all 4 feet rest on the ground properly, it most likely doesn't allow the scale to descend properly when I step on it (this is what I tell myself, but at this point I'm running late, I need to get in the shower, and I'm tired of getting on and off this darn thing). Oh well - it's Berber, so it's almost flat. And it's not like it's got a ton of padding under it. So on I go...
294.5. Wow. Uh, ok - now I can't believe it. So I get off and on again. 294.5. I try a third time. 294.5. Well three times the charm. I'll take it! That puts me at 15 pounds lost! I feel totally guilty. I feel like I cheated my week and I tricked the scale. So now I'm determined to do REALLY well this week to make up for it.
Next week though - I'm weighing in on the carpet first!
Friday, May 28, 2010
Maybe it was because I was hungry.
Maybe it was because I was tired.
Maybe it was because I started delving into some rough stuff with my therapist that I'm not quite sure how to process yet.
Maybe it was because I thought I deserved it.
Maybe it was because it was there and it was seemingly healthy.
Maybe it was because I hadn't had enough calories during the day.
Maybe it was because I burned a huge number of calories the night before and I needed an extra boost.
Maybe it was because of TOM.
Maybe it was because my body needed more fiber.
Maybe it was because I haven't really talked to my boyfriend all week, and he's moving to Germany at the end of the summer, and that date is creeping up on us so fast, and I don't want him to leave because I'm scared of being single again.
Maybe it was because I was in front of the television.
Maybe it was because I had planned for it and there was no talking myself out of it.
Maybe it was because my friend at work - the one who just hit goal - wore that awesome dress that I am so jealous of again and I wish I could be that skinny.
Maybe it was because I wasn't prepped for a proper dinner.
Maybe it was because the weather is changing and it was too hot to cook.
Maybe it was because laundry was piled up, and the kitchen is a mess and my couch looked too comfortable.
Maybe it was because the flamboyantly gay teenager on the bus who has so many issues of his own that I cannot help him with called me Miss Piggy very loudly to draw attention to himself because that's what HE needed.
Maybe it was because I really want some new sandals and summer clothes, but I'm too short on cash to buy them for myself right now.
Maybe it was because I'm nervous about my job and about having to find a new one soon.
Maybe it was because my show is ending this weekend and I'm going to have to start planning for a more active social life over the summer which I hate having to do.
Maybe it was because I needed a friend and I don't seem to have many.
Maybe it was because I'm worried about my cat who seems to be licking all of his hair off his entire body.
Maybe it was because it tasted SO GOOD.
Maybe it was the wine.
Whatever the reason, I binged last night. For the first time in a while. And now that I write all of this out, I realize I had damn good reasons to binge, and it's truly amazing that I don't do it more often any more. I haven't felt the need to. But very obviously, the tendency isn't gone yet. I did some damage to a bowl of homemade guacamole (not totally evil since I made it so I know what was in it), half a bag of tortilla chips and a glass of wine. But I stopped. After 1436 calories, I stopped. I was full. I could have had another glass of wine, but I didn't need to - by that time, my head had cleared and I was able, once again, to reason with myself. I went to the fridge and got myself a glass of water, and then another, and then put away the chips and the guacamole and the wine.
The psychology of a binge is a really interesting thing. For me, it starts really early in the day before I even recognize it. Then I spend some time during the day thinking about it and starting to crave certain things (I have very specific binges and they can involve just about ANY kind of food, so nothing is really safe in my house. Something that I've never had a problem with in the past can turn into a binge food really easily with me). By the time I'm on my way home, it's a fully-fledged plan, I've made up my mind that I'm doing it, and I've lost the ability to reason with myself before I even step foot in the kitchen. Most often I will have stopped off at a store to pick up something (or two or three things) on the way - everything I buy is subject to "binge haze" so usually I will end up with things that I would never typically buy. I can't think straight or even hear myself talking until the binge is over. You take the right combination of triggers and a lack of something specific planned for dinner and WHAM, it happens.
All in all - I didn't fare too horribly. I was 500 calories over for the day, way high on my sodium, fiber and carbs - but within range for everything else. Since it was the day after my weigh-in, chances are it won't affect the next one since I have lots of exercise planned over the next week. I woke up feeling like I knew I would - dehydrated, tired and bloated. So I've already consumed 8 glasses of water today and will likely get in a few more to replenish what I lost and to flush out all the salt. I'm not sad, or depressed, or even feeling all that guilty about it - I'm just moving on.
Binges are bound to happen in this journey. I am a recovering food addict. It's an addiction that unlike others you can't go 'cold turkey' with. As things surface in my therapy, so do the reasons why I eat and why I need food so desperately. The feelings that come with learning about these issues are not often emotions that we want to deal with - so we cover them with food. When you're learning how to 'break up' with food, it can be a tough road - and sometimes you just need a good, long, make-out session with an ex-lover (why is ice cream so damn sexy?).
But the binge has taught me what it needed to this time. Now I can move forward with my newly gained knowledge and continue to live my normal, healthy, active life. Binges will surely happen again in the future, but it's how I'm dealing with them now that is different. Drinking my water, planning my activity and learning that food should always be enjoyed, but should never be a bandage for hurt feelings, or deep, down emotions that should have been felt a long time ago.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Wow. I haven't blogged in a week. To be honest, I haven't really had all that much to say. I've been coming to terms with my last blog and letting the idea of becoming an "athlete" truly sink in. I like it. I'm game for it. I'm making plans to exercise more and start my training.
TOM's also in town this week and I think my uterus is trying to kill me. Seriously, it hurts. So I'm looking forward to the pool tonight to work through some of the cramping.
I have one more weekend of shows before I am restored to a normal weekend schedule. It's bittersweet. I'm going to miss this cast and this show - I've learned so much, felt so much, become so much more aware of myself and my issues during this show. And, I've managed to maintain a schedule that allows time for me AND the show during this whole process - something that I've never done before. Usually the show takes over my life - I eat fast food, sleep whenever possible, don't even think about exercising, and continually promise that I'll get healthy again once the show is over. But the truth of the matter is that when the show IS over, I usually end up giving myself a couple weeks "off" because "I deserve it", "I've worked so hard", "I need a rest" and then that two weeks turns into a month, then into two months, and before I know it I'm working on another show and treating myself poorly again "out of necessity". Not an excuse anymore. I have realized that the better I treat myself, the more I am able to do and the more I get out of what I'm doing. I'm more prepared to be active and don't resent people asking me to do things because I'm physically too tired to move my large behind. Now I'm ready for the show to be over so that I can fit in more exercise. Use the weekend hours that I've spent in a dark theatre to get out and enjoy the beautiful weather, dust of Roxie (my pink easy-rider bike), and plan a yard sale (I desperately need to get rid of some junk)!
Otherwise, besides a short visit from my parents over the weekend, I've spent this week like I'm assuming a lot of Americans spent the week - saying goodbye to the season of television that has consumed the better part of my weekday evenings since my rehearsals ended. Oh LOST - how I shall miss you. Biggest Loser, Dancing With The Stars, Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice, Castle, V, Flash Forward - the list goes on and on and on...
Seriously? Almost 10 shows (most of which are an hour or more in length) I'm keeping up with every week on top of my already insanely busy schedule. It's kind of disgusting to list them all out. But I'll be perfectly honest - I. LOVE. TELEVISION. It's the perfect relationship. When I want to laugh, it makes me laugh. When I want to cry, a drama is as close as the click of a button. When I want company, it's always there. When I want to fall in love, I have fallen in love with Rick and Jack and Sawyer and McDreamy. I've tried to break up with television before - it didn't last long. The people on the screen are my friends, my entertainment, and seem to know just what I need after a long day of work. I think at times I have a more meaningful relationship with my t.v. than I do with my boyfriend.
But I'm on Week 5 of my Healthy Diet Habits schedule "Eating With a Purpose" which involves cutting out distracted eating. While I have been working on doing this since before I started SparkPeople and have gotten pretty good at only eating when I'm hungry, one of the weekly suggestions is refraining from eating in front of the television. I tried this a few months back at the suggestion of my nutritionist. I did it for about a week and then couldn't handle it anymore. It was too quiet. To unnerving. Too lonely. I needed to eat with my friends - and they were in the living room. So back to eating in front of the television I go. I have made rules with myself that I only eat things in front of the television that have been properly measured out. I have to check in with myself during each commercial break to make sure I've had enough, and any walking back and forth to the fridge while watching t.v. is only to get more water. So far it's been working - but I know this is a habit that I am going to have to break eventually. And if I want the SparkPoints this week for that step of the process (and I do love my SparkPoints), I have to do it - consistently. And there is no better time now that all the shows are over to break myself of this habit - *insert audible whine here*.
I always eat with distraction. Whether I'm eating on the run, in front of my computer at work, at the theatre before a show, or out with friends, sitting down to a meal by myself, in my kitchen, at the table is really unheard of. My kitchen table is a dumping ground for my purse, old magazines, mail coupons, dirty dishes, food prep and more often than I'd like to admit, my cat's bottom - bad kitty. I've tried the pretty center-piece, the scented candle, keeping it cleared off - it's still not a place I like to eat.
Under all of this is a larger issue with social eating and a lack of friends that I haven't fully worked through yet, but for the time being, t.v. is filling the void and I'm just not so sure I can give it up that easily.
So - since I'm working on doing everything in moderation - I'm going to consciously work towards curbing my appetite for television while we're in the low season...I'm still woefully addicted to The Bachelorette so Monday nights will still need to include a couple hours of smut - but only after my weekly 2.5 mile walk home from work. It's a good payoff. But for the rest of the week, I'm really going to try not to rush to catch up on all the seasons I've missed on Netflix and try to be anywhere BUT in my living room for the summer.
Maybe if I sell my couch in the yard sale it will stop calling to me!
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