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Vacation Is Good (A Picture Blog)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

This blog is coming off of 15 hours of sleep, a healthy breakfast and coffee... in my pajamas... at noon. Someone is on vacation.

I've been playing for the last two weeks, out to Seattle on business and up to Lake Superior for my real vacation. It's been great. Even though I have had to be disciplined with school still (3 classes left!), I have really worked on relaxing. That has involved drinking way too much, eating well, and waking up to things that look like this:

In Seattle, not only did I get to see my best friend from high school, but I got to go to the Space Needle and eat a lot of tasty seafood.

On Lake Superior? Well, I bought a timeshare that has this view...

Yeah, welcome back Paula. I decided that not only was this going to be a good investment (because I get 6 full weeks a year on the lake) but because if I can't go, the resort works on renting it out for me. I am so excited to come to MY cabin next year :) Woot!

Things in general are looking up. I have started to accept things where they are, which has proven a beautiful thing. I am where I am. I joined my beloved fitness studio that does Nia and Pilates and Zumba and Yoga etc. Excited to get started in October when I return.

Feeling very thankful. And happy. And at peace.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

4EVERADONEGIRL 10/7/2014 6:05PM

    Hope you enjoyed the rest of your vacation and that October is off to a great start!

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PJH2028 10/4/2014 11:01AM

    Oh sweet friend… Yay!

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ALOFA0509 10/2/2014 11:41AM

    Yeah baby!!!! Seattle is God's country- You look happy and very much at peace. Namaste sista emoticon

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SHEILA1505 9/30/2014 8:10AM

    So good to see that you are in a good place

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BRAINYBLONDE5 9/26/2014 1:50PM

    awesome pictures!!!!!!!

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SARAWALKS 9/26/2014 8:25AM

    Wonderful to hear from you and know that things are going well!

FANTASTIC that you have a place on a lake! emoticon

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MT-MOONCHASER 9/25/2014 6:15PM

    That last paragraph is beautiful!!

I so am glad that you have found these things, especially the peace.


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DOTTY7267 9/25/2014 2:05PM

    Beautiful views. . . . .enjoy!

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25% to Goal

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Well, it's been 3.5 months since June 1. Slow but steady has been the mantra, and apparently that has paid off in spades for me. I am proud to say that with much less chaos, crazy, and effort, I've managed to steadily lose 19.6 pounds which puts me officially over the 25% mark.

It feels different this time, different than ever before. I'm not obsessing over calories, or nutrition, or exercise. In fact, I'm not even tracking. I'm not obsessively thinking about food as I used to. I'm in this zen space of being me, which has been a completely different experience.

Yes, it's a slower pace. And yes, I've had my moments of feeling disappointed. However, I know that even if I went overboard with my choices, it wouldn't derail me the next day.. in fact, I've been much more mindful about things in general, and I do believe this has made the biggest difference.

If I am hungry, I eat.
If I am thirsty, I drink.
If I want chocolate or chips, I have them.

I have no "off limit" foods this time. I have no rules and regulations of what I can and can not do. I haven't even added exercise in to the mix as of yet, and I have still had success with this moderate approach.

I'm feeling very thankful and optimistic about the future.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

4EVERADONEGIRL 10/7/2014 6:04PM

    Way to go!!! Keep at it, lady!

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PJH2028 9/15/2014 10:20AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon
Hooray! I've been attuned to your shifts and energies…. and have felt the FLOW you're in. So glad to hear your voice. Love you every day. P

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CAROKNITS 9/15/2014 7:18AM

    Well done! One day at a time with grace.

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SHEILA1505 9/15/2014 3:14AM

    Well done

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MPLSKEN 9/14/2014 10:48PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MT-MOONCHASER 9/14/2014 1:41PM

    I love this new calmer, laid back attitude you have toward yourself. Keep it up!!


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RICKHANN 9/14/2014 1:35PM

    Good job, it's easier when you make it fun.

Keep it up.

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KJBLACK1 9/14/2014 1:33PM


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ARNETTELEE 9/14/2014 1:24PM

  That's great!

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My Own Little Miracle

Monday, September 01, 2014

Since June 1, 2014, I've lost 17.2 pounds. As of today, I saw a new "decade" on the scale that I haven't seen since last October.

Yes, it's slow. However, I'm not doing ANYTHING this time outside of being mindful.

I'm not meticulously tracking my food.

I'm not working out 1 or 2 hours/day 5 or 6 days/week.

I'm not counting my calories.

I'm not starving.

I'm not restricting.

I'm not binging.

I have experienced hunger and fullness.

It's kind of like its own little miracle really. It's really put me on pause to question everything friends, relatives, and the media have been spoon feeding me for years.

Maybe this element of kindness, of just accepting I can't do much given everything that I am doing, has been the missing link all of these years.

I've never been kind to myself through this process of trying to become healthier. I've been harsh to the point of being militant. I've counted the calories in my gum. I punished myself at the gym with extra time if I ate or drank something that I felt I shouldn't have. I silently judged myself 24 hours a day, and told myself a plethora of lies including "If only you were at X weight, then you would be good enough and worthy of love".

You know what the best part about this time around has been? I don't think about food. The obsessive thoughts have all but disappeared. Because I'm not limiting myself to "good foods", I have the freedom to indulge in the taste of something if I want. Like peppermint bon bon ice cream. I actually can have a container sit in my freezer and not feel a compulsion to eat it, unless I am getting a craving for it. Or the mini bags of chips I have had sitting in my cupboard. I eat a bag when I am wanting it, maybe even two bags, but then I'm over it.

I've been trying to focus on more well rounded meals, though a go-to is still ramen noodles for this graduate student. Hey, I still have to eat! But I've been buying cut fruit and eating that as a snack, and have incorporated a ready-to-heat breakfast sandwich in the morning... every morning...to get me off on the right foot. It's made a difference.

One thing I noticed is that I have been having food go to waste. I explored this, and realized I am still buying in the quantity I did before... for the girl who would eat that quantity... and so I have had to alter my shopping habits t buy less more frequently. It's still a work in progress.

Overall, I'm quite happy with things. I'm elated beyond measure that I have spent the last two days writing the draft for my thesis and it is nearly complete. That 30 page project has been hanging over my head for quite some time, but now I can put that anxiousness behind me and focus on the future of: Edits, 3 more classes in the next 6 months, and then graduation! Done and done!

I look forward to see what September will bring into my life. I hired someone to help me last week, and they start at the end of this week. That will relieve a lot of my burdens at work. I am flying to Portland in a couple weeks as I have been asked to present on our hiring, retention and talent development practices! And then, right after I get back, I go on a week long vacation to Lake Superior before school starts again in October.

The end, my friends, is in sight. Amen.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SAPHRAEL 9/7/2014 10:01AM

    I've had to adjust my grocery trips too. I took advantage of the farmer's market this summer for the fresh stuff. It was awesome. Good luck with your presentation. I'm involved in a strategic workforce planning initiative where I work. I've been to Grand Marais, Michigan, which is on Lake Superior. It was a delightful, sleepy little town. Enjoy the vacation!

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CAROKNITS 9/2/2014 7:55AM

    How wonderful! Your post reminds me of a nice, warm fuzzy robe with a cuppa hot tea on a wintry morning. A delightful, calm moment in the midst of an otherwise busy day.

May you get lots of good feedback on your draft, never lose anything due to a computer glitch or outage, and have the edits just fly from your brain to the screen!

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SHEILA1505 9/2/2014 3:00AM

    Well done!
At last, you have an Assistant ... yay!
Thesis - great

Big hugs

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LDY_ALI_79 9/1/2014 3:27PM

    Oh I so needed to read/hear something like this. Congrats on all your little miracles! I love your comment about things being slow & you're not doing anything but being mindful. Isn't it always great to be grateful for the little things!?!

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The Fear of Hunger

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

So, today I realized that I am afraid of feeling hungry. I have never really thought about/acknowledged this piece of my personality before, but it came to light today as I was discussing why I didn't want to start exercising again. Inevitably, I will feel more hungry and I don't want to feel that way.

This was a WOW, stop-me-in-my-tracks moment. It's true, I am afraid of feeling hungry (especially since I have had 2 decent months of fairly contained hunger... I just don't want to deal with it anymore).

This was a point of challenge from my therapist. She said that hunger isn't what needs to be feared, because it's just information from our bodies; in fact (lo and behold) it's NORMAL to feel hungry, especially after working out. She said it is the eating disorder that is making me fearful of what has been the RESULT of feeling hungry, being completely out of control with my food in the past.

Ok, so I am letting that settle in for a moment. I googled the opposite of fear and came up with the following: peace, faith and safety. Ok... so let's break those down. Do I feel peaceful with my food? During the last couple months, sure more than before, but I never feel completely at peace with my food choices so that doesn't work. Faith? Well, I'm working on that in a different aspect but I don't have faith in myself enough to believe that I really do have this conquered (I've been down this road a million times, I'm done being persuaded). So there goes that.

Now I am left with safety. Safety in my food choices, safety in knowing that X won't cause me to gain weight in the long run. Safety in knowing that intentional movement is a way to be kinder to myself. Safety in knowing that losing 5 pounds a month, and having it feel like it was not a ton of work and being able to maintain the loss is psychologically less damaging than losing 5 pounds in a week and swinging back up the next because I ate less than I normally do and am now compensating.

So for me, the opposite of fear is safety. I can work on building safe habits that will help ensure I don't swing. It won't be glamorous, as I was reminded of today, but it will be sustainable. And I will have to work on it being enough because what has worked before hasn't been able to be sustained.

I want different for myself. I feel like I am on the right path and making good progress in many areas of my life. I am thankful for being able to recognize the Fear so I can challenge and reframe the unconscious messaging I've been telling myself forever.

And I am thankful for you, SparkFriends. Your encouragement means more to me than you will ever know. I long for the day that I have more spare time to respond and interact with you, but until I am done with grad school, I am working on coming here and writing down my thoughts as being enough. emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BOOKLADY36S 8/27/2014 12:25PM

    Excellent blog!

It was like I was reading about myself! I've always had a fear of food, and I've struggled with morbid obesity and binge eating all my life.

emoticon emoticon

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KRISKECK 8/18/2014 11:37AM

    You are so smart - it makes total sense that the opposite of fear is safety.

I am just so impressed with the way you're approaching all of these issues this time around. With LovingKindness and Wisdom.

Cheers to you

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SHEILA1505 8/6/2014 3:02AM

    Be Safe!
Big hugs and xxxx

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MT-MOONCHASER 8/5/2014 10:39PM

    Isn't it exciting to discover something about yourself that may seem obvious in retrospect? Hooray for you therapist for pointing you in the direction of this breakthrough.

Keep up the good work.


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PJH2028 8/5/2014 8:24PM

    Love your love of you
and emoticon s

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EMMACORY 8/5/2014 6:48PM

    This was a very reflective and honest blog. When we can name where we are on the journey we have a better chance of making successful changes for the future. Good for you! emoticon

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2 Months In Review... and a Retrospective

Sunday, August 03, 2014

It's been 2 months since I decided to try again with myself. It's also been approximately the same amount of time that I have been on my new dose of meds (which honestly has made a world of difference). I want to take a few moments to celebrate what deserves celebrating:

emoticon I've lost 13.2 pounds and I feel better.
emoticon I've been eating breakfast almost every day.
emoticon I've made drinking water a habit again.
emoticon I've been pretty consistent with my habits in general.
emoticon Overall, I've been making better choices.

What's different about this time, at least so far, is that it's been relatively slow and benign. I haven't gone berserk with the food choices, I haven't gone berserk with the exercise (in fact, I really haven't gotten around to adding that in yet). I have tried to make conscious choices and be in touch with what is really going on before I eat. It's helped.

And so have the meds, as I mentioned. I am fascinated and humbled, but I can finally acknowledge that I have a chemical imbalance that affects my food choices AND it's not my fault. The meds have really helped regulate my hunger in ways I have never experienced in all my life. I am very thankful to be over the skeptic phase and into acceptance that they can help me live a more normal life.

As I start the 3rd month of this new journey, which my therapist says is "a much more appropriate rate of weight loss", I find myself thinking back to this last time and where things were after two months. It was very different... I was counting calories, tracking everything, working out 45 minutes 4-6 days a week, working with personal trainer, staring to run, down 25+ pounds... on a real high from change. Here, you can read for yourself about it here:

Month 1 2010: www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo

Month 2 2010: www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo

Though I experienced "more" success in a shorter amount of time a couple years ago, we all know it couldn't be sustained. This "not enough, feels slow" momentum that I am using this time is teaching me lessons I didn't anticipate. For instance, I can distinguish when I am actually hungry now and I can tell when I have had enough food. Even at my best and lowest from every time I have attempted this lifestyle change before, I only ever knew famished and overfull.

I am also not on a "fat-free, healthy-only" kick this time. Life needs to be approached with some grace, and I certainly didn't give myself any last time. This time, it's ok that I want to eat out, have a glass of wine and an appetizer. I actually do it quite regularly, but I pay attention. That's it.

There has been so much less hatred towards myself, my body and my choices. I still have my moment, but they are just that, moments. I am working on giving myself mass amounts of credit for working full time and going to grad school over the past 1.5 years (3 more classes, say it with me now!) It's not easy, and I've learned that I can't do it all.

I haven't come up with a goal for August yet outside of losing 5 pounds (which will be my "slow goal" moving forward). And that's ok. I am just going to let things come as they may.

Happy start to August to you my friends.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHEILA1505 8/4/2014 3:26AM

    Such a great calmness, P
Big hugs xxx

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KAYATLANTA2010 8/4/2014 12:44AM

    You are awesome! I am excited about the progress you are making! Good for you!!!

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CAROKNITS 8/3/2014 3:05PM

    Three more classes .... yay! The end of that journey is much closer than it was last year.

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KRISKECK 8/3/2014 1:31PM

    Paula, I'm so happy to hear that you are treating yourself with kindness...

It really is about sustainability and balance.

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MT-MOONCHASER 8/3/2014 11:54AM

    I'm so glad that you have found your balance for your body.

Congratulations on all the hard work you've put in to get your grad degree. It's great that you have only three more classes.

emoticon I'm so glad to read of your new attitude toward your body and I hope you never let it slip away.


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TIFFFIT 8/3/2014 11:27AM

    Awesome mindset! I think this will be your time. I too had a monster start the last couple of times I've dieted (after which I regained it all plus some) but I'm on a more leisurely pace this time, and it really, finally feels like a sustainable change. I TOTALLY agree that we need to live our lives as we plan to live them forever--eating out, enjoying appetizers and wine, etc. We can still be successful and we've proven it to ourselves.

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PJH2028 8/3/2014 11:02AM

    I'm thrilled to read your sense of success and balance. Thank you for sharing!

also--- if u r willing to share detail on rx… email me ;-)

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