It’s not a bed of roses but the flowers are still pretty…

31 01 2011

I am on vacation.

While this usually brings visions of lying around in the sun (which I did for a few hours) or spending endless hours shopping (I did a little) or running around trying to see all the sights that (insert city here) has to offer, it usually means one thing for me:

Being out of my comfort zone.

Add to that the reason I am on vacation (husband is having surgery) and it could be a recipe for disaster. However, I’m happy to report that the over all feel of this vacation has been one of success. Yes, I’m eating out multiple times a day. No I haven’t made the best decisions each time I’ve eaten. I indulged one night in celebratory food consumption with my husband = good. I also binged one night and ended up laying in bed with a stomach ache = bad. I stocked my hotel fridge with veggies and greek yogurt = good. I opted to eat out more often than not when I could have easily made a healthier option at the hotel = not so good.

I have run multiple times this week = good. I went to the gym (and will return tmw morning) = good. I got the nerve up to go down to the pool in my swim suit and NOT wear a towel = good. I convinced myself my new size 1o pants would no longer fit after eating beyond my comfort and then following it with a dairy queen blizzard (stinking thinking) = bad (the pants fit just fine).

The longer I am away from home, the more stressed out I am becoming. The vacation is over in two days and I will return to my normal sense of control = good. I miss my dogs. I miss my cats. I miss my home. I miss Godfather, my gym and packing my food.

But this isn’t about what I don’t like about my vacation. This is about what I do like. I liked that this has been the best vacation when it comes to my state of well being. Yes, I’ve looked in the mirror and been mad at myself for some of my choices but I’m not anywhere near where I was when I went to Ohio last June. Yes, I thought about making myself throw up while laying on the bed holding my aching tummy after eating beyond what I’m used too, but I didn’t. I let myself sit with feeling uncomfortable and let the voices play through their tapes (“you did it again”, “you’ll never get it right”, “throwing up will make everything better”, “you can eat more food if you throw up”, “you’re stupid for thinking you’re ever going be successful”) and when they were done screaming in my head, I moved on to the best of my ability. I liked being able to get up on a beautiful Sunday morning and run a 1ok virtually with my friend Kelly (startingmy45thyear). I liked being able able to go to the gym (less than two blocks from hotel) and sweat it out on the stair machine and then text Godfather that I did his sprint training and like it even more that I know I’ll return to the gym tomorrow to  sweat it out again and probably get in one last run before I get on the plane Wednesday. I liked putting on my bathing suit and sitting by the pool without covering up with a towel and while I didn’t like the look of my extra skin on my thighs, I didn’t care because my 165 pound body deserves to be in a bathing suit: loose skin and all.

Is this the best vacation of my life?

No, but it’s the best one since being on this LCJ and that’s saying something. I still have two more days here in Arizona. Two more days of learning to ride without my training wheels. Two more days of wobbly steering and feeling like I might “dump my bike”. Two more days of moving forward because backwards is no longer an option for me.

And if I “dump my bike”…

You better believe I’m getting right back on that mother fucker!





Emancipate (your mind)

29 01 2011

Some days you find the message you so desperately seek in the oddest of places.

Last week after days and days of rain, the sun showed it’s beautiful self on my little city of Tacoma. I was just coming out of a dark place (call it depression, pms, or just plain feeling crappy about myself) and all I wanted was to run. To know me is to know that running has become very important to me. I’ve noticed that when I am not able to run (outside) my emotional state declines. I don’t need to run long distances or really fast (though it helps). I just need to strap on my shoes, pop in my ear buds and spend some time with me…

5 mile drive - Pt. Defiance

The sun came out and I sent a little prayer up to mother nature to keep that ball of light out until I could get home, change into my running clothes and get to Pt. Defiance park to run. Mother Nature came through for me, and I came through for my emotional state of well being. About half way through this run I saw a car parked off to the side way up ahead of me with some large stencil that I’ve never quite understood across the rear window. I assumed it would be some sort of “(insert country here) pride” or “In memory of” but as I got closer and it became legible it said the following…

Emancipate your mind.

Merriam – Webster definition of Emancipate: 1) to free from restraint, control, or the power of another; especially: to free from bondage. 2) to release from paternal care and responsibility and make sui juris (one’s own law) 3) to  be free from any controlling influence (as traditional morals or beliefs).

This message hit me in the very core of my being.

I need to practice emancipating my mind from my body. More often than not my body wants to move forward in ways never imagined. It wants to push harder, go faster, go longer distances. It wants to get leaner, stronger and lift heavy shit. It wants (and craves) healthier, non processed, clean eating types of food. But…

You know what stops me?

My mind.

I’ve been on this LCJ for over a year and even with all the things I’ve accomplished (I’ve done more physically and emotionally speaking in the last year than I have in the previous 39 combined), I still wake up on a daily basis and fight the emotional battle between body and mind.

What my body wants, the mind fights against.

What my body KNOWS it can do, my mind doubts from beginning to end.

I spent that week before this glorious message was presented to me feeling bad about myself. Feeling bad about food choices. Feeling bad for maintaining my weight instead of losing. Feeling bad that I wasn’t moving enough or burning enough calories. Feeling bad because I thought….

My mind has too much power over me.

I’m not proclaiming that from this day forward my mind will not have power over me. It’s not that easy. That’s why this is called a LIFE changing journey. What I am proclaiming from this day forward is that I am giving myself permission to emancipate my mind from my body. I am giving my body permission to push harder, go faster, go longer distances. I am giving my body permission to  get leaner, stronger and lift heavier shit. I am giving my body permission to eat cleaner, more mindfully and enjoy every healthy bite that I put in my mouth.

I am also giving my body permission to fight back when my mind thinks it can’t do something. I am giving my body permission to fight back when my mind wants to fill it with food that is only placating an emotional / feeling I am afraid to face. I am giving my body permission to fight back when it says HELL YES and my mind says HELL NO.

Want to know something else?

I’m giving YOU permission to do the same.

 

 





Caution…

23 01 2011

You know how when you get on a new piece of equipment or enter a work area you see caution signs all over the place? The one’s that tell you to “Wear a hard had” or “Make sure to read all the instructions before use” or the one’s that tell you the obvious things like “Plug in to operate” or “Don’t put hand under blade while in motion”…

I wish this journey would have come with a huge fucking caution sign.

A big blaring yellow one that popped up the moment I decided to make a change in my life. One that would be so big I couldn’t miss it and it wouldn’t go away until I had read every word of it, understood everything it said and then when I gave my nod of understanding it would *poof* be gone and I could do what I came to do.

It wouldn’t just pop up once. It would pop up numerous times in my journey. Hell, maybe even once a week day hour every few minutes. Just something that would give me a warning that what I’m about to attempt may need some extra instructions or for bloody hell Tara, don’t put your hand under the blade while it’s moving.

I feel like this last week or so should have come with a big old fat caution label on it. I don’t necessarily feel like I’m spinning out of control today (like I did last week) but I’m having a difficult time getting off this merry-go-round of confusion, anger, sadness and plain old frustration (at myself). I’m either having some really great days or days so insanely bad, I literally want to punch an old lady in the face (yep, I just said that).

Riddle me this: Why did I go and put on a pair of size 10 pants last night, have them fit, get excited and then feel horrible about that success (or maybe the idea of buying more clothes – anxiety), eat beyond comfort level then top it off by eating a piece of cake (I don’t even like cake!!!). WHERE WAS MY CAUTION SIGN?

Okay, let’s get totally honest here…

I was told that the first few months of maintenance was difficult. I did NOT realize it would be this difficult. It’s like I’ve been given a piece of machinery and the instructions are in French  (with no pictures). It took me 11 months to put this machine together and now that I’m trying to use it, it’s awkward, malfunctions and after 3 months of riding it I still don’t know where the brake system is located.

Yet, I keep trying to use the machine. I get up every morning and look at it in the mirror and wonder if today is the day I will fully understand how to get this body/mind to work properly. I wonder if today is the day I can take the “training wheels” off. Make good decision. Be proud of the accomplishments and to stop beating this poor newly acquired body up when something doesn’t go quite right.

So, here’s my gift to you today.

Print it.

Keep it.

You’re going to need it.

Bad choices yesterday.

Do not control what I do today.

Only I control what I do today.

*puts on hardhat*

I’ll be out running if you need me.





My Tribe / #7daychip / Great Stair Climb 2011

17 01 2011

"The Warriors" (one of my favorite childhood movies)

My friend Ryan (nomorebacon) wrote a really great blog post last week about the Power of the Tribe. He was referring to the power of coming together and helping a fellow blogger (journeybeyondsurvival) get a  therapy dog for her chickadee. It was awesome to watch everyone come together and in the blink of an eye raise the multiple thousands of dollars needed to get her the four legger she needs to lead a great life.

I am part of that tribe.

That tribe is a part of me.

I’ve been in a bad place the last couple of days. Normally I could chalk it up to it being “that time of the month” but this time it was purely depression sinking in. Big events are looming in front of me and my husband and with that comes more stress than I was am ready to handle (though handle it I will). On top of that a feeling of being stagnant in my journey and it was a combination that brought some dark clouds over me and my emotional state of not well-being.

I don’t really know how to reach out to people. When I am on top of my game, (the game of the  LCJ) I feel confident people want to talk to me, be around me and it’s easier for me to put myself out there to be vulnerable to what others bring to the table. When I am far from being on top of my game I shut down. I begin to think  people don’t want to be around me. That they don’t care what I feel or think. That I don’t deserve to be a part of my tribe.

That’s where I’ve been this week.

This post isn’t about where I was.

It’s about where I am.

It’s about my Tribe.

When I started to descend into the darkness of feeling bad about myself I immediately received texts  and twitter messages from people I know in real life and people I’ve never laid eyes on and only know them in 140 character conversations. All checking in with me to make sure I was okay. I wasn’t. But I was honest about where I was. They didn’t turn their back on me. They didn’t ignore me, or make me feel like I was being a bother. In fact, they sent me messages like:

“You are NEVER alone”

“I love ya T, stay strong”

“What is today (scale of 1-10 on my depression)?”

“Sending you love, compassion, hugs”

“Blues are okay, just don’t derail your progress. Talk it out, don’t eat it out. We emo eaters must be careful.”

“Sunshine and stars are ALWAYS there. Sometimes we can’t see them behind the clouds and darkness”

“I wish my depression could meet your depression and kick one another’s asses!”

I’m realizing I need this tribe more than they need me and I’m beginning to understand that I can no longer down play the power of having people in my life that lift me up when I am not able to do so for myself. That being said, I’ve also come to understand that while I can work out on my own and break my own sweat there is one other tribe member that I’ve been missing and have decided to go back to seeing Godfather. I don’t need him to tell me how to work out (I’m pretty good at it on my own) but I do need him to give me the all important (important to my emotional psyche) pat on the back and the “good job kid’ that I’ve been missing like you wouldn’t believe. I haven’t really kept the blogging world up on his where abouts lately because I was still getting used to not seeing him every day. He has since moved to Innovative Fitness. I’ve come to understand that he is as much a part of my tribe as anybody else and it’s important to me to keep having him as my trainer.

My tribe is important to me.

My tribe is essential to my success on this journey.

I am essential to my success on this journey.

I am fighting back.

On a scale of 1 – 10 today.

I am a solid 5.5

And that is outstanding!

______________________________________________________________________________

Another thing I’m learning about this LCJ is when I don’t have a goal of some sort, my oomph for being on this journey is pretty much suck ass. This last week was proof of that. I went from doing something nice for myself (getting my toes did) to trying to buy something nice for myself (shopping fiasco) to eating all the crap in my house to purging to saying some very hateful things to myself and finally sitting under one of the darkest clouds I can remember having. One of the reasons for this downfall? I’m not really involved with anything at this point. This is one of the reasons I’m going back to seeing Godfather. Seeing him on a regular basis will keep me focused on making great decisions. It’s also one of the reasons I’ve decided to join the #7daychip challenge put on Brad Gansberg. As a recovering addict, I am well aware of the recovery chip idea and I think it’s a fantastic tribe for me to join. I have a dysfunctional (unhealthy) relationship with food and with my own thought process and I think this will be a great way for me to be aware of both while attempting to earn my #7daychip and beyond.

The great thing is I get to define what standards need to be met in order to earn this chip. After much thought I’ve decided on the following:

*I will not eat mindlessly (no random snacking without first making sure I’m hungry)

*I will drink at least 64 oz of water each day

*I will take my vitamins

*If I think something negative about myself I will say at least three things I like about myself in front of the mirror.

*I will eat consciously ( I will thank my food for keeping me strong and making me healthy)

*I will not eat any chocolate

___________________________________________________________________________

In case you missed it I started my Great Stair Climb of 2011 at the beginning of January. I am on a mission to climb 13,428 floors (the equivalent of climbing the Empire State Building 132 times). As of today I’ve climbed 16,125 stairs or the equivalent of 1075 floors. This means I’ve climbed the Empire State Building approximately 8.7 times.

I am 8% of the way there!

Climb

Climb

Climb

 

 

 

 





Someday I’ll get it right…

16 01 2011

Until then I’ll stumble along on this path…

This path called life.

It’s been a rough week for me. Emotionally, physically and just about every other “ally” you can think of. What started out as strong and full of fight on Sunday morning, has pretty much deflated and turned to mush on this Sunday  morning. This blog post is purely for me and my need to work some shit out. I forget sometimes that the reason I started this blog was so that I could record what I was feeling and going through, not to just get as many subscriptions, views and comments as possible. I’m not writing as much for a few different reasons: one being lack of time due to work constraints but also because I’m spending too much time focused on whether or not I think someone is going to actually read this shit. One of my biggest flaw is that I am too wrapped up in what others think of me.

The other big flaw:

I’m too wrapped up in what I think of myself.

It would be different if the next words coming out of my mouth were “I think too highly of myself”, “I’m better than everyone” “No one is going to be as good as me”. Instead the words are more like “Fuck Tara, not again” “What the fuck is your problem” “Are you ever going to get it right?” “Why do you even try?”

That’s where I am right now and I feel like I’m here more often than not these days. I’ll have a great day emotionally and physically and before I can blink an eye, I’m feeling so crappy about myself I can’t even look in the mirror.

On Wednesday I went out with Val (Seattlerunnergirl) and Sharla (262journey) for a “girl’s night” out. Now to know me is to know I’ve got little to no experience on being “a girl”. I can put on a dress. I can put on some nice shoes. I can cross my legs like a lady but hanging out with friends I consider girly girls and doing girly stuff makes me feel like an ox in a very small glass room. I don’t think it was the actual act of getting a pedicure done that caused the angst but rather the idea of doing something nice for myself that made me feel pretty that caused the angst.

I get my toes done and feel really pretty. I feel good about hanging out with them and not having a panic attack. I pat myself on the back and call it a win kind of night. Thursday I wanted to keep the “girly” stuff going so I head to Macy’s with a gift card I received during Christmas. I felt confident that I was going to find something girly other than underwear and off I went…

It didn’t go as planned.

In truth, it was the demise of where I am this week and my feeling of “it’s never going to be right with me”. I spent over an hour looking for something in the woman’s department and in that hour I went from “Tara, you got this” to “Tara, what the fuck are you doing here? You don’t belong here. You’re not pretty enough to buy this stuff”…

I left angry.

Disappointed.

Defeated.

Instead of dusting myself off and moving forward, I went home and in anger ate all the crappiest food I could get my hands on. As soon as I started to eat, I knew I was going to make myself purge. I haven’t felt that desire since June and I tried to talk myself out of it. Then I got really mad at myself for even being in the position to think about purging.

I thought I had this shit under control.

I actually had a conversation with myself about what would be worse: keeping the food in my stomach and thinking horrible things about what I ate or get rid of the food and think horrible things about myself for purging. In the end I didn’t keep the food down and my emotional state has been declining ever since. To say it’s declining solely based on the act of purging wouldn’t be accurate. It was the catalyst but it is not the reason I’m still feeling out of sorts even today.

I’m slowing way down emotionally in hopes of being able to get a grip on what’s going on inside my head. My weight is up but only because I’m super stressed out around money and up coming events (we are going to AZ at the end of the month for husband’s surgery) and as of last night his truck broke down and now we’re trying to figure out how we’re going to pay to get it fixed.

I am definitely the bug.

Not the windshield.

It’s hard to convince myself that “this too shall pass”. I know it will. Historically speaking it always has. It’s just taking a lot longer this time. I’m trying to keep calm and stop thinking that I’m going back to a lifestyle that is full of hate and self sabotage.

I know it won’t happen.

It can’t happen.

Just keep swimming.

 

 

 

 





Where is the pot of gold?

10 01 2011

I got a comment from my last post “I want off this Path” that has had me thinking pretty heavily the last couple of days about this LCJ I’m on (we’re on). I wanted to share it with you because I think it’s not only one of the most important parts to understand and explore about this journey, but as I get farther along I come across more and more people that feel the same way.

I wrote about wanting to get off the proverbial “path” of this journey. I wanted to just be normal. Not have to think about weight, or moving or trying to figure out why I eat the way I eat and my relationship with food. I didn’t want have to wonder if the next bite I put in my mouth was going to send me into a panic attack / guilt  ridden episode or even a triumphant hoorah. I just wanted to go through one day without being consumed with this fucking journey…

Then I got the following comment from a friend of mine over at CalorieKing:

“I know that my comment is at risk for coming across wrong, so if it reads that way, I give you my sincere apologies… but THANK GOODNESS you feel that way! It IS hard. It IS a struggle that when the shiny newness of a new goal wears off, what is left is the rugged struggle. Don’t get me wrong, I’m am very sorry that there is a struggle for you. It’s just that you are such an inspiration – such a “superhuman” force who has achieved what most people fail at – that if YOU have these issues, it means there is hope for the rest of us too. The fact that I can recognize that your feelings of wanting “off” are normal and that you are to be commended for sticking with it even when things are hard… that gives me permission that I’m not a failure for feeling the same way. That just because I struggle doesn’t mean I’ve failed, but that I’m experiencing the same emotions as someone who I admire. You give us hope, and for that I THANK YOU”

It was followed with this message sent to me from the same person:

I had left a message on your blog yesterday and I’m afraid it came out wrong.  I noticed that it is still in moderation – please feel free to delete.  I just think so highly of you, your journey, your achievements, and your amazing ability to articulate what is going on in your heart.  Even when it’s anguish, you are able to speak so clearly.  I admire all of that.  And so the “thank goodness” part wasn’t at all because I thought you should feel that way.  It makes me hurt reading about your hurt.  It was a feeling that someone who is so AMAZING can be so raw and relatable – that if you, a superstar, can achieve and still have real emotions, then there is hope. Anyway, I probably made it worse and I hope I didn’t make you feel bad.  I wish you the very best.”

I knew when I read her original comment it was never intended to be the way she thought it was coming across. I knew exactly what she was trying to say: Even in success there is struggle and that is something we can all relate too no matter where we are on this journey.

Let me repeat that:

Even in success there is struggle.

Last year when I started this journey I had such a grandiose fantasy of what it would be like if I ever got down to goal weight. It would be awesome. All my emotional problems that I carried for the first 40 years of my life would float away as if I was a child letting go of my helium balloon. I would feel nothing but joy as I skipped from shop to shop, indulging in my every clothing whim. I would shine bright every time I sat down to eat meal knowing I would be in absolute control.

The pot of gold was waiting for me…

Wait a minute…

WAIT JUST A MINUTE!!!

There is no pot of gold?

You mean I’m going to get to goal weight and I’ll still struggle? I won’t let go of my emotional problems? I’ll still cry going into clothing stores and spend hours and hours looking for something to buy only to leave empty handed? That bright light is actually my phone back light shining as I tweet my way through a meal and use the hashtag #isitevergoingtogetanyeasier?

You’re joking right?

No.

I’m not joking.

There is no pot at the end of the rainbow.

The reason there is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow? Because the rainbow never ends. Let me repeat that: THE RAINBOW NEVER ENDS. Am I happier? Oh hell yes. I am more present today than I have ever been in my entire life. Am I stronger? Oh hell yes. My physical and emotional armor is thick and ready for battle. Am I more brave? Oh hell yes. I know now that having the courage to try is the stepping stone to actually succeeding. Am I less fearful? Oh hell yes. I know now that facing my fears makes them dissipate faster than if I turned my back on them.

Do I still struggle with this Life Changing Journey?

Probably more so now that when I didn’t give a crap about my life. I care about me. I care about my well being. I care about my emotional health, my physical health and about where my path is taking me. Turning to food or letting depression creep up on me like an old lover, is no longer an option. Remaining present and open to my emotions and feelings is the ONLY OPTION now. Yes, there days when I want off this path. Will it ever happen?

No.

Are you looking for that pot of gold?

I wish more than anything I could tell you it will be waiting for you. I  wish I could tell you the grass really is greener over here. It’s not. Does that mean you throw up your hands and stop moving forward? Does it mean you hit the snooze button and sleep through another morning without breaking a sweat? Does it mean  you sit on the couch and wonder what is the point of taking control of your life?

On the contrary…

Stop looking for the pot of gold and focus on following the rainbow.

It’s beautiful.

It goes on forever.

It’s worth every step.





I want off this path…

4 01 2011

This is a life long journey.

Some days I am prepared to fight the good fight. I eat consciously. I move consciously. I live consciously. Other days I feel like crawling into the refrigerator and eating my way through every emotion I’m trying to forget. Some days I want to sit on the couch, deaden the feelings and slip into the background and be unseen.

I’d like to say this week has been the former.

But it’s been the latter.

My emotional plate has been over flowing and in turn it has made the plates from which I eat over flowing. I’d like to point the finger at the recent holiday season but what I need to do is point the finger at who is to blame: ME. I’m eating mindlessly. I’m eating often. I’m eating when I’m not hungry. I’m eating because I’m bored. I’m eating because I’m sad. I’m eating because I’m frustrated. I’m eating because my relationship with my husband has been a little strained. I’m eating because (insert whatever the fuck you want here cause it’s causing me to eat).

I try making excuses that it’s okay.

“I’m still under goal weight”

My initial goal weight was 170 and today it’s at 167. Granted I’ve been able to maintain the weight loss for the last two months but 170 was just an arbitrary number. I felt really good when I was at 162 and I would like to shoot for 160. Over the last two weeks it’s been steadily creeping closer to 170 and I don’t like the way it feels.

“I’m trying to eat intuitively”

Eating intuitively means eating when you’re truly hungry and not based on emotions. This has not been happening. I’ve been eating purely out of emotion more often than not. While I wouldn’t say my panic around food has been at an all time high, it’s been pretty high up there. I’m still packing more food than I probably need and instead of making it last throughout the day I’m eating it all within a few hours.

“I’ve lost 105 pounds so I deserve to eat”

I can fit into a small shirt (so I deserve to eat). My pants are loose (so I deserve to eat). I ran 7 miles (so I deserve to eat). I didn’t eat any chocolate (so I deserve to eat).

But to be honest, it comes down to my emotional well being isn’t well and it isn’t too much being right now. I’ve put myself into a position of being stressed out, over worked and once again turning to food to help cope with the emotions.

Yes, I am aware it’s happening and so I’ll pat myself on the back for that. Yes I am emotionally stronger and more consciously present than I ever have been so I’ll pat myself on the back for that too. Again, I know how I feel today (this week, this month) may or may not be the way I feel tomorrow (next week, next month) but just once I would like to wake up and say to myself “This is the end of my emotional journey” and be done with my feelings.

A life long journey…

That some days I wish I wasn’t on.