Sunday, October 13, 2013
I made my friends take so many photos of me yesterday, out hiking through a local park in my awesome new Scouting Legion hoodie. It looks so good!
Bit-by-bit I'm catching up on sleep and I'm happy to get a few miscellaneous tasks done today like emails and read the latest Attack on Titan chapter and watering the herbs. Soon I need to bring them inside.
My workout didn't happen today as planned and I'll have to make it up later. I might break out the bike trainer instead of hitting the gym for a treadmill walk/run.
It's still a challenge to make exercise a day-to-day part of my life. Starting out I learned how to overdo exercise, going at it 7 days/week to burn 500 calories per workout. Of course then I hit maintenance and needed to find how to stop losing. At one point I was able to consider any movement like errands or running tasks to be exercise and still maintain.
Then I started eating more (about 100-300 calories per day) and light errands didn't cut it. If I want to eat what I eat, I need to always work out in a regular fashion.
It's just difficult; I get bored with exercise. I keep switching as I become interested in different types of cardio, related to my ability to multitask during the activity and how many calories I would burn. Wii Fit I could work out during and watch TV. Then biking I could even accomplish errands outside, or I could set up the bike trainer and watch TV. Right now running/walking on the treadmill or on the elliptical at the gym I can watch TV and read. I like doing that because during a workout is typically the only time in my day I have for actually watching TV and reading.
And I must say, strength training is the ultimate bore. It's just do a few reps rotating through many machines to burn maybe a few extra calories. There's no where in there that I can multitask and watch TV or read, and those are the incentive I need to keep working out.
Yoga is good not only for my mind but also my flexibility, but the classes are not conveniently scheduled to be able to fit into my day. I work at 6am, 8am, or 9am depending on the day, workout in the afternoon, come home to make dinner, do laundry, menu plan, and then work until midnight or 1am. Sleep, repeat. Off on Saturdays, usually to spend time with friends.
I also want to attend martial arts classes, but the same issue makes it impossible right now.
Sometimes I can also get excited about a new cardio regime because I'm training to participate in an event, like a 5K. But not very often since I'm already in pretty good condition, enough so to be able to run such events without a great deal of advance training.
I just keep getting bored and I can't stick with anything. This is why exercise must be a job for me, a set obligation that I have to account for. It's a work in progress, but identifying the underlying obstruction helps me attain a true solution.
This is the same for when I binge. Binging is a problem, it happens with regularity and is something I have been working on to varying success. At one point I was able to prevent binging by asking myself whether I would feel better or worse if I ate what I was seeking to put in my mouth just then. That solution is no longer working which is understandable because it didn't necessarily identify and attack the underlying cause.
I think I have stumbled on that just this weekend by discovering there are different varieties of binge eating. It sounds obvious yet it's never quite examined in a way that I've been able to discern. Instead there is a focus on binging in general such as how to identify and deal with it, as well as emotional eating specifically.
None of which actually has helped me deal with my form of binging: stress eating. When I need to work but it is stressful I escape by making food and eating. Then I feel more stressed, so I eat more, adding more stress and more of a need to hide behind the act of eating and continue to avoid actually dealing with the original source of stress.
Maybe the information about this cycle of avoidance through eating is already out there and I just wasn't yet in a place to recognize it. But now I have been able to understand it as the culprit in order to help myself better.
Granted much of the act of binging is nurtured by the toxic chemicals of addiction, but at least in knowing the trigger I can potentially head off a new cycle before it gets that far.
Looking for those underlying causes can be hard, we have to break down our defenses and really own up to our mistakes. But there's a silver lining, letting us understand the problem and giving us the weapons we need to effectively fight back.
It's good I've found this during a time when I greatly need it. The holiday season is amping up with work on top of online meetings on top of tutoring on top of workouts on top of movie parties, 5Ks, pumpkin carving parties, mozzarella making class, pie making plans, and car repairs. That's just for October and November, December will probably be even more nuts.
I'll keep doing my best!
Saturday, October 05, 2013
This blog has been a long time coming, with lots of events and thoughts to report from the spring to summer. It's jam-packed, prepare yourself.
I cut off all my hair to have fun with my first pixie cut. I’m growing it back out and enjoying all the fun along the way, but another pixie might return in the future. I have also progressively learned how to better apply makeup, I love it. This from the girl who was never brave enough to care about my appearance because I never felt worth the effort.
I got my Ace of Spades tattoo, and now I'm tempted to add a squid tattoo to my shoulder and down my arm in the same style. Until I make that decision, my Ace has done wonders to conquer the doubts about whether or not I was asexual and whether or not there was anything I could do to “fix” myself.
I spent the summer dating The World's End, I went to it four times in the theater (it still has yet to hit the dollar theater so there's probably a fifth viewing coming up). The first time I drove to Chicago to attend an advance screening and a special Q&A after by the creators. It was a Bucketlist moment for me.
I ran my first 5K this summer with Team LadyAvengers: KAREBARE00, Kat, and Steph. I don't like running, so I promptly turned around and signed up for two more 5Ks this fall because I don't like running. The Ghoulish Gallop starring Halloween Tina on 10/19 and later Fugly Sweater version Tina in the Ugly Sweater Run 11/23.
I’m working too much in the hope of faking some semblance of financial security. This past week I averaged between 2 and 6 hours of sleep each weekday, and this is my first weekend off in a month. As I procrastinate and work into the wee hours I've been binge eating bad, oops. So I'm trying to deal with that by getting a better schedule in place and making the gym my third job.
It's where I get my reading in, mostly Merlin fic right now.
Due to the binging I'm up about 14 pounds. I was up 8 pounds in the spring, lost five, then regained it + 6. The yo-yoing of life begins. I feel like a sausage in my shorts and my one pair of skinny jeans and I don't feel the greatest, but I'm not going to throw in the towel. It'll come back off as I can manage and for now I've been wearing a lot of dresses. I've figured out how to repurpose my summer dresses for all seasons by wearing a light button up top underneath.
I need to accept that these ups and downs are a normal part of what we experience directly related to what we can manage at a given time. It will come off as I figure out how to deal within the limitations of time I'm facing. Starting with figuring out how to be more efficient in my kitchen.
Work isn’t allowing me enough time and energy left over to spend the 4 hours I want in the kitchen each day. Somedays I can barely manage 1 hour. I can't track 100% of what I'm eating anymore. It has me pretty consistently stressed out. I'm working this weekend to get back on track with menu planning that is feasible for this busier schedule.
As I contemplate the my own experiences of health and addiction, I am more and more convinced the main source of trouble is work. Or rather, the value placed on work above the time necessary to care for ourselves. Turning food into a convenience, relying on boxed meals or fast food to fit into the work day. When I was living in greater poverty I was healthier because I had more time to take care of myself.
Time is the commodity we need to take care of ourselves, but that's not possible as the employment game plays out and steals it all. It's all rather two-faced.
I would expound on the issue further, but well, I just don't have time. And I need to get the hot baked apple chips out of the oven, made with Cortland apples picked at a local orchard last weekend with Mere and Ray.
Little by little I have been opening up about my interests and about my food addiction instead of hiding them away. It's a sort of abbreviated effort to help others, sharing the resources I use on a regular basis split into four categories:
1) Community: friends & family, SparkPeople.com
2) Education: The Hunger Fix by Pam Peeke
3) Controlling my environment: Cooking Light and EatingWell
4) Affirmation: Jillian Michael’s Daily Dose Podcast
Many of these resources overlap into the different categories and it is far from an extensive list. There are endless articles and such that I browse to cobble together the bits of knowledge I need. But these are the mainstays that allow me to function and stay sane.
More and more I also find that I'm building my direct community of friends and family around me into the help and sources of support I need. That is a part of why I have been less present on my Sparkpage, so at least it's a good transition rather than I dropped off due to failure. I do wish I could interact more, to help support and further encourage everyone here, but I can only expect what I can manage. I just want everyone to know, we deserve the care and regard we show ourselves—today, tomorrow, 10 years from now, for a long life and a fulfilling journey.
In the meantime be careful out there. Pumpkin and squash season is upon us.
Thursday, June 06, 2013
The theme at my yoga studio is the Summer of Love right now so it feels like the perfect time to make a new seasonal blog. I would like to post more frequently but life just has a way of using up the time and effort regular blogging would require.
Among these life moments include a lot of work. Maybe more than I should have taken on because in three months I gained nine pounds. Yep, you heard that right, nine. I have a number of financial goals that I am working towards right now and when I hit an eight day stretch of 17-hour work days (up at 10am, work, lunch, work, dinner, work until 4am, repeat) regular exercise fell by the wayside. After that job was done I was working to catch up on my other jobs and I couldn't get back to regular workouts. This was compounded by repeated attempts to eat more intuitively than I was ready for and a willful lack of weigh-ins. Whoops.
It's pretty obvious attempting to get by without regular exercise and trying to eat intuitively does not yet work for me (if it will ever). It was a learning moment, and it helped reveal to me the area I continue to struggle the most with is to ensure exercise is a regular part of my daily life. I have easy access to all the tools (Wii fit, exercise DVDs, a bike trainer, a yoga membership, a gym membership, shoes), but the willpower to use them each day, that's much harder to come by in comparison to everything else I need to accomplish each day.
It's a work in progress and my drive and willpower have been renewed for the summer. Keeping to a new exercise routine and back to counting every calories I'm already down two and three-quarters pounds. Six and one-quarter to go measured with weekly weigh-ins.
What's helped the most is knowing that weight gain during maintenance is not a failure. Rather it is only a natural part of the experience. Everyone gains weight during maintenance and then we work it back off. The only way we might have a chance to avoid this yo-yo cycle is to robotically control every aspect of our lives, our environments, our activities, and our food. I have watched people attempt to do this, and to me it is a level of deprivation that I am unwilling to employ. It is a level that would deny me mental health and happiness.
Actually I think of this whole experience as a success. I tried a number of behaviors during a period of time when I was overworked and they didn't work. And now I've moved back in the right directions knowing what I shouldn't do along with what I could try.
It's all a matter of trying, learning and trying and being happy in the process. There's plenty of happy going on right now.
I'm reading Pam Peeke's book The Hunger Fix which is teaching me a lot about the complications of food addiction. In addition it's providing me the reassurances I need to reinforce what I am doing each day is best for my longterm goals (especially when my internal cheerleader gets drowned out with self-doubt).
At work I enjoy my jobs and benefits and luckily I have been offered additional hours which will advance my financial aims. I won't have to worry as much over the car repairs, loan payments, annual vet visit, insurance payments, prescriptions, and computer replacement parts that are filling my plate right now.
My herb garden is doing fantastic, and I'm also growing mitsuba and shiso from seed to use in my Japanese recipes.
I just found the keys to making the best scrambled eggs ever courtesy a Gordon Ramsay video tutorial (low heat, crack egg directly into the pan, stir constantly with a spatula, keep moving the pan on and off the heat, and season at the end). I never realized before I was overcooking the eggs into oblivion, which might have been why I didn't like scrambled eggs. I never knew what I was missing!
In August I will be completing my first 5K, a Color Me Rad fun run, though I need to get my training program rolling here. Yikes!
I'll also be attending a family reunion where I get to show off my gorgeous new pixie cut. My stylist recommended it because it goes great with the long oval shape of my face. This is a very happy change from the puffy round face it used to be!
I have developed a fab design for my ace of spades tattoo, and hopefully I will get to the parlor soon to get it completed. I can't wait!
The best is that I'm back in the saddle with all of the healthy habits I need to keep maintaining my weight.
All in all it's the summer of love and I'm going to enjoy every bit.
Saturday, March 30, 2013
I have some amazing, fabulous, super groovy news to share. In little over a month on May 7th the new SparkPeople book The Spark Solution will be released. The book features an all-inclusive two-week diet program to improve your total body health as well as tips and stories from actual SparkPeople members, including yours truly!
When SparkPeople contacted me with the opportunity I was so flattered. I was also eager to share and to give back to this community which has completely changed my life and continues to sustain my success. The entire experience has been super reaffirming and positive and I can't wait for the release of the new book.
I do confess I have an advance copy (shhh!) but I'm waiting to read it; for me there's nothing more satisfying than holding the real thing in your hands. In the meantime as I browse and reread the tips and information I contributed, even though I'm rereading what I wrote prior, I still find the content insightful, fresh, and powerful, and I hope everyone will feel the same.
At this point the news of the book release is a little stale and you're probably already aware of it. You might have seen the advertisements for the book floating around, too. Did you spot my braying face? For the marketing campaign I participated in a photo shoot and I look so good!
The photographer Michael Mowbry gave me a tip that turning to the side helps further slim the body but I'm not too concerned over that.
As I admire the photos I take pride in all that I have achieved and wow, look at those sexy knees!
On the other hand, the photos are also a reminder of the body dysmorphia I lived with and continue to experience each day. Just going about my business in the day I feel approximately fifty pounds heavier than I am now. I sit and I feel like my legs spilling over the seat, my bingo wings flapping as I raise my arms, my belly bulging out over my pants. In my mind's eye I still look like this:
Weird huh? I also realize when I weighed my heaviest I thought i actually looked about fifty pounds lighter, coincidentally the same image as above.
But now when I catch a glance in a new mirror, when I spy my reflection in a window, when I have photos taken, I undergo revelational moments of sheer clarity. Each reflection and photo, I experience another miracle because instead of the stocky girl I expect I find the girl I have worked to be, and I love it! I love every little bit about my new body, no matter the loose skin or saggy frowny-face stomach or the stretch marks and psoriasis scars or the barrel-shaped torso. Even after two years we're still at the honeymoon phase. It's love and I want to celebrate, I'll even bray about it!
I just feel so lucky to be able to share the potential for these happy times with all of you in the new Spark Solution. Here's to the new book helping you find you own miracles! They're waiting for you.
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Life has been keeping me busy and I have some happy news to share, but first I want to address some significant concerns that have been on my mind lately. Issues that were relevant to an experience I had this past Sunday at a coffee shop.
It would have been any other Sunday meeting a friend for coffee and a movie but in this instance a fellow patron approached our table to pay me a lovely compliment on my colorful attire. She said I was the second brightest object she had beheld all day, besides the cardinal outside her window earlier. It was both kind and courageous of her to do so. Particularly coming from a trans-woman.
In a brief period of time we ended up discussing of a variety of random topics. She was wonderfully creative with a flair for beautiful spontaneous poetry. Despite this, I had the sense that people did not often respond to her with kindness and appreciation. She seemed very isolated so I was at least grateful I could help show her for a moment she was not alone in her needs to be understood and accepted by others for who she was.
My concerns over how others possibly treat her actually stem from a consideration for the ridicule and harassment shown to those of a certain weight. While people on both sides of the scale can present evidence of acts of discrimination made against them, I feel the behaviors shown to those on the heavier end of the scale is worse than at the lighter side.
As someone who went from a size 22 to size 2 I am perhaps partially qualified to understand both sides of the argument. But at the same time I have struggled to recall instances of direct harassment when I was a large size 22. I wasn't bullied for my weight, people didn't mentioned it much at all to me. They didn't exhibit cruelty to my face, call me names, or mock me for my lifestyle choices. In fact I didn't really seem to experience much of the stereotyped vitriol at all, at least not externally. Internally was a difference matter.
Yet when I achieved a smaller body size there was a noticeable difference in the behavior directed my way. I feel that I've been able now to better pinpoint that imbalance between size 22 and size 2. In doing so I can definitely confirm that weight discrimination is worse towards larger sizes.
As a thin person, I get offered help more often, people are more apt to smile at me, strangers are even more likely to begin random conversations with me or volunteer information.
The difference is they exhibit a greater degree of kindness towards me now. The difference is that they are more likely to acknowledge my presence with hospitality. I remain surprised when others show me kindness because I have been trained as holdover when I was obese to not expect it.
Society teaches us not to harass or bully but it also teaches us to award kindness on the basis of appearance. For those who are not deemed young or thin or attractive enough, they are not considered worthy enough of basic kindnesses and courtesies. We are taught to ignore the parts of life that are not "attractive" enough, even when they are people. Because of appearance alone, they are not worthy of a simple acknowledgement of their presence.
Direct discrimination is hard to bear but living without acknowledgement and common courtesies, I think that's the worse fate.
I have been seeking, inspired by my mother, how I might be able to show others a greater degree of honest kindness even before I fully understood this act of erasure on the part of society. The affirmation to love every person--and I repeat. Love. Every. Person. That's a huge aid in continuing my journey, yet the followthrough remains something that I struggle with. I have lacked the courage to fully commit.
This past Sunday morning a brave woman who faces a degree of discrimination on a daily basis greater than I could ever understand, who lost her job due to discrimination, she put herself out there. She came up to us to share a feeling of kindness, even at the risk that we might not be receptive in return. Her courage inspires me to fight against the willing disregard society teaches us and perpetuates.
I might have been dressed bright but she was truly bright in spirit and in kindness.
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