When the whole is broken…

13 04 2011

Have you ever woken up from a dead sleep and wondered “how in the world did I get here?” More importantly you wondered “how in the world do I get out of here?”

I can’t tell you how many times this happened to me.

What I can tell you is how many times, before this LCJ took a hold of me, I actually succeeded at doing something about the direction of my life.

ZERO

I made many attempts at losing weight. Some of them I did okay. Atkins was probably the biggest weight loss I’d seen after almost 50 pounds came off of my body. Of course this was while clogging my arteries and finding a million ways to eat meat stuffed with meat and wrapped in more meat. Once I was sick of meat and the call of bread smothered in delicious butter was too much to handle, the weight came back with a vengeance.

It always did.

The problem?

I had the mathematical equation wrong.

You see, I thought that if I got rid of the weight my life would be normal and all my problems would go away. My depression would melt away just like the pounds. My anxiety would dissipate with every meal turned away. My self loathing would turn to self loving with each lower number on the scale and for a while it would work. I would be elated to see 10 pounds gone, then 20 pounds and sometimes I would even make it to 30 pounds but then something would happen:

LIFE WENT BACK TO BEING THE SAME.

My depression would creep back into the pores of my body and following close behind would come the anxiety. Short bursts of the “Love” I felt for myself became long drawn out episodes of “how much do I really hate myself” on one channel and “You’re such a fucking failure” on the other. The numbers on the scale would tick back up and each time it would go a little higher than the last weight gain.

Weight loss =/= Happiness

By the time my 40th birthday rolled around I was a hot mess of absolute nothingness. When you looked into my eyes there was no life. I had no direction. My whole was broken. Look I have the picture to prove it…

This was taken a few weeks after my 40th birthday. This was hours before I embarked on what I would come to term as my Life Changing Journey. It was taken hours after I came to the following decision (for the umpteenth time):

This is not who I’m supposed to be.

Look at my eyes. There’s nothing there. No life. No love. My face is bloated. Whatever semblance of a smile that seems to be there is forced. It’s hard to believe that this is the shell of the body I used to live in…

Not living in: Occupying.

I was still in that “losing weight will take my problems away” mentality but that was short lived (just like every single time before). I lost a little weight and was riding the “this is it, this is for real” high portion of the diet wave. I was pushing away donuts and fast food bags like it was no one’s business. I was gagging on water despite my almost over powering withdrawals from diet soda. This. Time. It. Would. Be. Different!!!! Then my friend Depression came back and brought along his sidekick Anxiety. Anxiety also brought a few friends: Frustration, Anger and Oh Just Fuck Off.

Weight loss =/= Happiness

I got lucky though. Something about this time around was actually different. I recognized those old behaviors creeping up on me. I didn’t want this to be another short lived “success” story. I kept thinking about that mathematical equation. Every time I’ve gone into this I was convinced when the weight came off I would be happy. I would be whole. Each and every time I was wrong. So I made a small change to the equation…

Being Whole = Happiness.

There were so many parts to my soul missing and I thought that if I lost the weight all those missing parts would some how miraculously be filled. My emotional being would become whole. My mental being would become whole. My spiritual being would become whole…and at the end of the road all the weight loss would eventually bring those missing parts of my soul together and I would BE WHOLE. When I changed the equation I understood that the weight was a secondary symptom of my primary problem: I was not whole.

It’s been a long sixteen month journey.

My friend Depression tried to stick around for the party but left after I started to make my emotional being whole. Anxiety tried to hang out a little longer but when my mental being was coming together real nicely, they left and took their friend Anger. Oh Just Fuck Off? They were around the longest it seems. Never really wanting to leave even after it was apparent that the journey was different this time around. I had the physical, the mental, the emotional aspects down. It wasn’t perfect and it’s an ever evolving journey to make those parts of me whole. The last part? The spiritual part? It’s been the hardest but also the most rewarding. When I surrendered myself to the idea that being whole also meant coming to understand that I did indeed wanted (and so badly needed) the spiritual part of me to come alive, that’s when Oh Just Fuck Off left the building…


That is when I became whole.

That is when I knew deep down in my soul

I was am happy.

It hasn’t been easy. In fact it has been down right painful. Staying in the moment. Living through all the emotions as I fight to become who I was meant to be. As I fight to become whole. As I fight to let go of the old me and embrace the woman that stands here today. But as the pieces of this puzzle come together and empty spaces are filled with Understanding, Patience and above all Love the pain lessens. It becomes easier to stand firm even when I feel like I’m going to fall.

Stop looking at your “diet” equation. That weight loss equation that you think  “This is what’s going to change the direction of my life” is not the equation that you need. What does your life equation looks like?  What’s missing from your whole. Don’t be afraid to change what isn’t working for you anymore. Don’t be afraid of finding those missing pieces. Stop pounding your head against that wall, hoping that this time…this time will be different.

Know it will be different.

Change it.

Be it.

Whole.

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San Francisco (aka putting my life into action)

6 09 2010

A funny thing happened while on this LCJ.

I’ve learned how to live.

One of the most amazing things about waking up one morning and deciding that weighing 263 pounds was not where I wanted to be any longer is figuring out  that this stopped being about ONLY losing weight fairly quickly and became more about just living life.

The last time I went on vacation it was to Ohio to visit my friend Michelle back in June. I’d been on this journey for about 5 months and down 50 pounds. I thought I was ready. I thought I was prepared. I did the best I could with the tools that I had provided myself but in the end I had a major freak out (all internally of course) and ended up purging after one particularly heavy meal. I felt out really out of control after that and was super disappointed in myself. It took a long time to not feel defeated and wondering if I would ever get it right and an even longer time to forgive myself. I came home and vowed never to go anywhere on vacation again.

This week I went to San Francisco.

I was really scared nervous freaked out. I didn’t want to repeat Ohio. I didn’t want to obsess about everything I put in my mouth. I didn’t want to feel like I had to spend hours and hours sweating off some preconceived notion that I was going to come back weighing 263 pounds because I put something in my mouth that I didn’t know the exact calorie / sodium / fat / protein count. I wanted to spend the week just living in my body the way it was meant to be lived in.

Without fear.

Without guilt.

Without self loathing.

And you know what? I did it. Yes I thought about food choices, but I ate everything I wanted. I also pushed my plate away when I was full. I ate things that 3 months ago I never even would have allowed myself to THINK about eating.

Holy Smokes! Is that a keilbasa in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

I did sweat a lot while there but not because I told myself I had to in order to maintain some level of control over the course of the next 5 days. I ran because I wanted too. It was something I was looking forward to when I got up in the morning. Just me and the streets of San Francisco. No pressure. No set distance. No “oh my god I have to run off the (insert food item) I ate last night”. I got to challenge myself running up hills and feeling pretty much like a rock star because the last time I was in San Fran I looked like this:

I ran the streets looking like this:

Yes, that is the "Full House" Back drop.

The best part about sweating while in San Francisco is it only happened while I was running. It didn’t happen just because I was out moving. I walked like a mad man over the course of the five days. I walked up hills. I walked up stairs. I walked block after block after block and it didn’t even phase me. Let me repeat that: IT DIDN’T EVEN PHASE ME.

Don’t get me wrong. There were a few minor bumps in the road. But they were just that: minor. One small panic attack over something non food related was the worst thing that happened. It didn’t even last more than 5 minutes before I was moving on to the next awesome part of my trip. For the first time in my adult life I was out participating in my vacation instead of dreading it.

Obviously Mickey Mouse plays for the Giants (only 4 fingers)

SF Giants (2) vs. Colorado Rockies (1)

Golden Gate Bridge on my way BalsaMan (yep, I went to a beach party of sorts!)

The things you see when you walk to your destination instead of driving.

Random buffalo I saw while running at 630a. So awesome!

This LCJ isn’t about just losing weight for me. Yes of course it’s still a major part of my everyday existence but I can be thin and still be depressed and isolated. This journey is about learning to step outside of something I once found comforting (being alone) and doing something I was afraid to do for so long: LIVE!





Pre OWiS #25 week in review!

18 06 2010

It’s that time again.

Time where I review my week in anticipation of tomorrow OWiS. This will be #25 since starting this journey. This week has seen some great accomplishments and yet tonight I feel out of sorts. I was supposed to meet with Superman today but he had to cancel at the last minute. With the both of us being on vacation we’ve not been able to get together for just under three weeks. I was really looking forward to today but understand his need to cancel. So tonight I’m feeling a little let down and trying not to get all bummed out and what not.

Lets get to the good stuff!

Saturday: I ran my second 5k and got a personal best time of 37:00. Here are some of the pictures from the race!

Sunday: I started breaking in my Vibrams with a short one mile run on the treadmill (fastest mile thus far). I also signed up for a 10k that was scheduled to happen July 17th but as with all new runners we have to remember to double-check our schedules and NOT just willy nilly sign up for races. I did, and then realized I have prior work engagements. CRAP! No worries though, that 10k will happen and it will happen soon!

Monday: Ran two miles in my vibrams!

Tuesday: Found out I have a bounce in my step and can unequivocally declare I am no longer a “functioning depressed” person. I also ran 2.8 miles in my vibrams.

Wednesday: Was the first of two cancellations by Superman this week. Big bummer on my side. I took it as a sign from the Universe to take a rest day and catch up on my sleep. 11 hours worth of zzz’s was totally worth it.

Thursday: Took my vibrams out and ran a personal 5k. From Saturday to Thursday I ran a total of 12 miles. Not bad for a fat chick that couldn’t run a block to save her life back in January. Oh I also got some swag and had a kick ass N(on) S(cale) V(ictory).

Today: I got the second cancellation from Superman. He left me a really nice message apologizing profusely and to not give up on him. Funny, I never would have thought working out with me meant that much to him. I feel sad that he has to keep canceling because I know he feels bad and I know it’s for medical reasons. This is the kind of guy I would go out and drink beers with, talk about fishing or go to monster trucks with so I won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.  Barring some horrific medical problem (I hope I didn’t just jinx him) I’m sure he’s not going anywhere either.

So there is my week in review. Ten-toed Charlie hasn’t really moved that much for me this week. I can’t say for sure whether there will be a loss or not. Up until this morning there wasn’t enough of a change to write home about.  Regardless of what TTC says I’m thrilled with the running mileage and even more thrilled to be wearing my sock monkey Christmas pajamas (which I will probably wear every day until I turn 50)

See you all in the morning!





Food as part of the solution, not the problem / Pre-OWiS week in Review

21 05 2010

Dang it!

Its Friday already.

Seriously, did someone come here and steal my week cause I’m not sure what happen to it. Seems I woke Monday and then BAM its Friday. I tried to look for a pause button on this crazy ass week but I guess I accidentally put it in the last bag of clothes I donated to the Goodwill.

Before I get to the week in review, I wanted to share a small (yet victorious) epiphany I had today while shopping for my weekly lunches at Trader Joe’s. I’m pretty sure Seth (Fit with a Purpose) would classify this as an NSV or Non-Scale Victory.

My food choices are now part of the solution.

They are not part of the problem.

When I was at Trader Joe’s, I was looking at all the frozen entrees and I realized at one time I had 5 different items turned upside down and I was comparing nutritional value.  Not just calories but everything: Fat content, sodium amounts, protein values. It was like second nature. Six months ago I would have just gone into a store willy nilly and put stuff in my basket without a thought to anything but how it would taste in my mouth.

I see food as fuel.

Not as a way to make me feel better emotionally.

I looked down at my basket full of veggies, flax seed, greek yogurt and delicious Trader Joe’s frozen entrees and I just stood there, thinking about how different things are for me now. How every decision is conscious and deliberate.

Conscious and Deliberate.

Nothing in my life was conscious and deliberate before this journey.

Life just was.

I’m not saying the battle with food is over. I’ve not yet been in a situation where there wasn’t at least a healthier option to food. I haven’t been in a room alone with a birthday cake. I have wished my protein filled fish was a cheesy slice of pepperoni pizza from dominoes, but it quickly faded without incident. I’ve consciously had Baskin Robbins ice-cream that led to unconscious S & P (snacking and picking) so I know it is still a learning process for me.  But that’s the great thing, I’m learning. I don’t know what macronutrients are, but I’m starting to learn. I don’t know exactly how many grams of each macronutrient I should be consuming, but I’m starting to learn.

Food is part of the solution now.

I hope it is for you too.

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This week has been…well I’m not really even sure how to describe it. Major milestones were hit. Humbling lessons were learned. New adventures tried. I guess I can only use Valerie’s (Seattlerunnergirl) word:

AWESOMETASTICNESS

Saturday – I saw the biggest weight loss since starting this journey. I also received a letter from a friend I’d lost contact with for some time.

Sunday – I participated in my first race event. I walked the Capital City Half Marathon. My number was 1469. My running shirt was a large! It was awesome!

Monday – I ran my fastest mile ever out of frustrations with Superman and then I learned to never complain again.

Tuesday – I gave an anatomy lesson.

Wednesday – Was just a typical Wednesday…however I did see 7 mph on the treadmill that morning, but I had to take a break from running in anticipation of my first 5K. I will be revisiting that speed again soon (oh hell yes I will).

Thursday – Just your average Thursday, if  your Thursday includes deciding to do a TRIATHLON! Oh and of course I talked about my own tipping point!

Today – A great session with Superman, a great 2 mile walk to stay limber and I am learning to like taking pictures of myself!

This was taken today.

Just for comparison, here is a picture from a year ago.

So the week in review is done. This is the part where I try to predict whether there is going to be a gain or a loss come tomorrow’s weigh-in. The scale has been all over the place this week. It did get back down to 213 this morning so I can’t really say what I think is going to happen. Here’s what I do know for the first time in this journey: Regardless of what the numbers show me tomorrow, I could give a RAT’S ASS! That’s right, I don’t really care. I know my first gain a few weeks ago was overly emotional but mixed with a family crisis it was understandable. I made it through and pushed forward. I’ve lost 50 pounds so far and I am starting to suspect my weight loss is going to slow down now that I’ve added weight training. I may even see some gains along the way.

  • I am not gaining because of lack of movement.
  • I am not gaining because of bad food choices.
  • I am not gaining because of lack of determination.
  • I am not gaining because of lack of self pride.
  • I am not gaining because I can’t move forward
  • I am not gaining  because I am afraid.
  • I am not gaining because I am depressed.
  • I am not gaining because I am weak.
  • I am not gaining because I think I can’t be successful.
  • I am not gaining because I want to give up.
  • I am not gaining because I don’t have any fight left in me.

So take that scale! And for the rest of you, I’ll see you in the morning!





One mile madness / Tractor Tires / Fog is clearing

11 05 2010

In anticipation of meeting with Superman today, forging a summer long training schedule and being pushed to a sweaty mess of muscle soreness, I woke up with a lot of anxiety . I decided that my one mile run was going to be faster today than it was last week which meant I was going to need to come out under 12:00 minutes.

I don’t know how your math skills are or your time keeping for that matter but in order for my mile to be better than 12:00 I was going to need to see an 11 on the machine when I was finished. 11 can be a very intimidating number only because I knew I’d have to keep the speed at nothing less than 5.1 mph if I wanted it to happen.

I wanted it to happen bad!

I started at 5.o mph and slowly but surely bumped it up little by little. I got so far as 5.4 for a bit. I like the speed. It feels natural. I wish I could keep the pace but after about 5 minutes I had to bump it down to 4.7 and stay there for a while. At 8 minutes I slowly moved my way back up to 5.2 and there I stayed. At about 10 minutes I had to make a decision. This pace would put me over the 12 minute mark (still an excellent time) but it’s not what I wanted. Under 12 would jump start my workout with Superman and push me forward back into the frame of mind I lost last weekend. I needed to force myself back to that fighter mentality…

I needed my mojo.

At the .90 mile mark I pushed.

5.5 mph.

5.8 mph.

6.0 mph

6.3 mph.

It was amazing. I was running at 6.3 mph and it wasn’t killing me (at least not too much). Granted I only ran at that speed for a minute but when you start from nothing and 4 months later you’re running at 6.3 mph, it was FREAKING AMAZING! I crossed the one mile mark and looked at the time..

11:55

HELL YES!

I had a few minutes before Superman so I ran to see if there were any messages from work. There was a message but not from work. It was Superman. He had to cancel our session today. Dammit all to hell! But hey I ran a 11:55 mile and had some time to kill so I swam laps.

100 of them to be exact.

That’s what I like to call an awesome workout. I highly suggest you get yourself one real soon. It can help jump start your morning, your day and even your life…

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I’ve been talking about these bad boys for a while now and finally got around to taking some pictures. They are my new best friends. There is a third but I won’t show it’s beautiful tire-goodness until I can flip that bitch!

It might be a while.

I’m gonna call this little guy “Baby Bear”. It’s the smallest of the three but still fairly large as you can tell by my backpack. I needed something to compare sizes. That’s a huge backpack and it is stuffed full of all my stinky work out clothes from running my mile today…oh and in case you missed it I ran that mile in 11:55 FREAKING AWESOME MINUTES!!! Baby Bear isn’t too bad to move but after 200 feet the return trip can be a doozie!

Of course this is “Mama Bear” (You see where I’m going with this right?). She is sooooo freaking heavy. The first time I tried I couldn’t even get my hands under it (but moving baby bear 200 feet and back might have had something do with that). I wasn’t about to be defeated so on a non-Superman day I went out there and flipped her once. Just once but it was cool. I kind of felt like one of those guys from the “worlds strongest man” competition (only their tires are 450 pounds…this one not so much). The next day Superman was so excited I went out there on my own he made me do it again…I flipped it 3 times! Watch out Strongman competition.

Better yet, watch out “Papa Bear”

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When one decides to swim 100 laps there is this little thing called “Time” that you have to reflect on life and the what-nots that come along with it. I mean you can only think about your shopping list and what bills need to be paid for so long.

I’m feeling much more clear headed these days. I’ve had a few setbacks emotionally what with the news that my brother is refusing to get help but I really have come to a place in my life that I truly understand those are his actions and his alone to live.  I realize I am upset/sad at his situation because it is not what I chose when I was in his shoes. I can’t put that on him.

It’s not fair for the both of us.

As I swam those 100 laps I  said a quiet thank-you to the universe for giving me the opportunity to become human again. I thanked my past for all the hardships that brought me to where I was this morning. I thanked my body for working hard to lose 100+ pounds. I thanked my mind for staying in the moment.

I thanked Superman for not showing up today.

 





24 hours later / a blog award

6 05 2010

Oh man I am feeling so much better. It’s amazing what 24 hours away from an emotionally draining situation can do for your psyche. I slept pretty damn good. I’ve easily consumed my gallon of water. My food intake has been healthy. I had a great session with Superman this morning. Hard to believe but it was better than Monday. He is pushing so hard and I am surviving. We talked a lot about how hard this is for me and how appreciative I am that he is a no-nonsense kind of trainer. I told him that I pushed that damn tractor tire by myself yesterday and as a reward he made me push the next biggest one.

Pure Awesomeness!

My mile run today was even faster than Monday: 12:02! I kept the speed at 6.0 mph for a little longer today. I can’t believe how fast I feel like I’m running. When I started running on the treadmill regularly 4.0 mph was a difficult pace to keep.  I’m fluctuating between 4.7 – 5.0 mph as a regular speed now for the mile runs. It’s not a speed I could do for longer durations but 12 minutes non-stop is alright in my book. Speaking of book, Rachel over at BodybyPizza has recommended  “Chi Running” by Danny Dreyer to help improve my posture and endurance. I’ve got it on hold at the library and can’t wait to pick it up!

17 days until my first 5k.

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I’ve received my first blog award. I’m still so new at this I’m not even sure what all this means but I hear I have to follow the rules so here we go:

I actually received this blog award from two people almost simultaneously. A big thanks to Anthony over at  Sureshotrevolver (who by the way just ran a kick ass 5k) and Josie over at 35andshrinking (who by the way is sooooo close to Onederland!).

Here’s what I get to do:

  1. Get really excited that you got the coolest award EVER!
  2. Choose ONE of the following options of accepting the OMB award:
    • Get really drunk and blog for 15 minutes straight, or for as long as you can focus.
    • Write about your most embarrassing moment.
    • Write a “Soundtrack of your childhood” post.
    • Make your next blog a ‘vlog’/video blog. Basically, you’re talking to the camera about whatever.
    • Take a picture of yourself first thing in the morning, before you do anything else (hair, make up, etc)and post it.
  3. Pass the award on to at least three, but preferably more, awesome bloggers as yourself. Don’t forget to tell them.

I’m opting for the “Take a picture first thing in the morning”. Here I am in all my glory, cross eyed and all:

This was taken this morning at 5:04am. And yes I always look this good in the morning! I especially like my wolverine hairdo! At least I clean up nice. Now I need to pick some of my own peeps to get this lovely award so I’m going with Valerie @  Seattlerunnergirl, Steve @ NerdFitness, and Meegan @ Redstar5. IF for some reason these people are NOT on your blogroll, then you are missing out!





In search of normalcy / 12.10 / picture proof.

5 05 2010

*Deep sigh*

The last three days have been…well they just have been. I am walking around in a cloud of confusion and disappointment. Sadness and anger. I haven’t slept well. I haven’t eaten well. I’m definitely not drinking enough water. The only saving grace is I’ve been to the gym every morning and sweating through my feelings as I tackle another day.

I’ve been with my brother for the last three days and it has sapped any semblance of normalcy out of my life. I need to get that back so I am taking the next three days and leaving him in the hospital so he can think about the decisions that lay ahead of him while I return to my regular scheduled life.

Without going into too much detail, my brother is in a bad place. He’s detoxing from alcohol and is pretty much helpless at this point. No motor skills. Confused. Hallucinating and if you ask me very lucky to be alive (but if you ask him, he may say differently).

I can’t help him any longer. This is his battle. I will return to the hospital Saturday and give him an ultimatum:  In patient treatment or I’m cutting off my relationship for good. I will not spend the next (insert random # of months,  years) returning to the emergency room to find him hooked up to a ventilator. I won’t watch as he hallucinates that people who are no longer living are standing in front of him as he has non-existent conversations with them.

I will not be a casualty in his war.

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Yesterday I ran a 12.10 mile on the treadmill. I’m going to try and run a mile every morning on the treadmill since I can’t run during the week. I was trying to push myself to run much longer in the previous weeks but it wasn’t working. Knowing I’m only on there for a mile turns it into a game. I got the up to 6.0mph and it was awesome. I was running so fast. It was only for short time (2 minutes tops) but because it was so fast I could bump it down to 5.0mph and feel like I was walking…

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My war wounds are coming along nicely.

This means 2 things for tomorrow’s date with Superman: No Planks and no Captain’s chair! Woot woot!

P.S. Thanks everyone for all the nice comments over the last couple of days. It really means a lot to me. I won’t be able to respond to everyone comments but please know they have been a tremendous help over the last couple of days!