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Is Confession Truly Good for the Soul?

1 Jun

It has been a very long time since I have shared a posting on this blog of mine.  Back in the fall of 2011 when I started it, I thought it would be the perfect bit of accountability I needed as I whittled my way down the scale. And, it helped with that a great deal.

But the other way in which it helped was with the shame and confession of being an addict – a compulsive eater. As much as it was difficult to air that dirty laundry, it also seemed to take the sting out of the embarrassment. Exposing the evil and terrified vampire of my shame to the sunlight.

In the last few years, I have lost 40 pounds and gained back nearly 30. Talk about humiliating…

Life has been pretty crappy lately.

Oh, no – not the Zumba-dance-hang-out-with-my-girlfriends-fun-vacation-with-my-husband-totally-lovable-new-dog-mom-is feeling-so-much-better-than-last-year life. I mean the life I hide from the rest of the world – my inner life. The one that plays out inside my head day-after-day-after-day-after-hour-after-hour.

The one where I tell myself I’m not good enough for most things or people in my life. The one with the non-stop K-FCKD radio station blaring from every speaker with Rush Limbaugh constantly yelling, “you screw-up, you aren’t worthy.” The one asking you how on earth you lucked out with such a wonderful spouse and amazing friends in your life when you can’t imagine the good they see in you. The one where you DON’T smile and make jokes, but instead, wear the heavy failure sign around your neck.

There have been a couple of late night Facebook message confessions to one or two friends. But, besides that, it’s my own dirty secret. And, it is relentless.

I have tried weakly, to get ‘back on track’ to a healthier way of being so I can feel good about myself again. I’ve been trying to think of what the right and perfect formula was that led me to be inspired to lose those 40 pounds. And, the one thing that I am always reminded of is this blog – my confessional.

It’s is so very painful to put these words out there, because there will always be people who just don’t get it. People who wonder why I might choose to share something so deeply personal. Or simply, people in my life in front of whom I don’t want to appear weak and damaged. The ones it will be hard to look in the eye once they see this weird, insecure side of me.

Then I remind myself, that I have personally spoken with those I know, care for and respect who also have inner lives of their own. They may be hearing different stories than I…but, it’s still a common fate. It is that shared sense of struggle that somehow gives me courage.

And, selfishly more than courage, it is the comfort I feel knowing I’m not alone.

So, here I go, once more emotionally exposed to the world, naked as the day I was born – trying to solve this seemingly simple mystery that is the basic care (and feeding) and loving of myself. I will tell you, it has me stymied. And, I’m already feeling like a failure before I leave the starting gate. I don’t know what will happen tomorrow, or the next tomorrow or the one after that. That not knowing, scares the shit out of me. But, I’m putting myself out there and starting afresh right this moment.

Here’s to embracing the sunlight…

Milestones, Commitments and Binges, Oh My…

30 Jan

Last week I hit a big milestone in my weight loss ride – I hit the 40 LB mark since starting out in September of 2011.  That is HUGE (pun intended).  Sometimes I think about it and kind of gasp in amazement – like – how could there have really been 40 more pounds of me?  Where was it?  It was suggested to me that I go back and look at some old pictures to answer that question.  This is a good idea, because sometimes I can’t see it!!!

At times I can’t believe it is true.  Partially, because it happened slowly, which I think is a good thing.  But, too, because I still look ‘fat’.  I know it’s a harsh term, but I’ve never minced words here, and am not about to start now.  It is how I feel…YES, my clothing size has shrunk (yay!), and in general I feel so much better.  One of the BEST things, which I hadn’t even thought about was, it is so much easier to cross my legs.  And, every now and then, when I get on a plane, I think that somehow I’m going to suddenly need the seatbelt extension again, which I haven’t used in a long time.  That was my first very big milestone.

What IS hard is, it seems I’m in a state of confusion trying to get used to this ‘new’ me.  Especially the new outside me with some of the same crappy inside thoughts.  Which brings me to commitments…

As some of you know, I signed up for a second round of Flourish which started in early January.  When I did it last fall, I was a damned good participant.  I would say I was a pretty obedient child in following all the rules.  This time – a stubborn teenager who says one thing and does another.

Almost as soon as I started telling people I’d lost 40 LBs, I started to have binges – eating until I felt a pain in my belly.  It sounds so cliché, but it is as though I don’t feel I deserve to reach this goal and celebrate it.  It’s the old shit bird hanging out on my shoulder telling me that this achievement must be some kind of mistake.  ‘You aren’t someone who sets and achieves goals!?  Don’t go getting all high and mighty because it may not last.’  That is one ugly, ugly voice.

Not only did I get binge-y last week, but I haven’t stuck very closely to the Flourish program at all this time.  It’s like my teenager is thinking, ‘Yeah, I’ve done that already, I know how to work THAT system.  I don’t have to follow the rules.  I can tell someone I’ll do something, but I don’t really HAVE to.’  UGH – this rebellion is no fun, and in some ways, it feels like it is outside of myself and I have no control over it, which, we both know isn’t true.  But, that is how it feels.

I think part of it is getting used to this updated version of myself.  Lots of it is good, but there are things that are starting to sag the more I lose the weight.  AND, clearly the internal struggles don’t magically disappear with the pounds.

Before (and, who am I kidding, very much during) my weight loss, I would wish I could lose weight without changing ANYTHING I was doing.  Ahhh…where is my genie!?  Now, it seems I’m feeling the same way emotionally.  My therapist mentioned I might have to work on some positive thinking exercises, which I don’t want to do.  What a surprise?  But, it may be the only way to achieve the ugly-emotions-and-self-talk-‘weight-loss’ I’d like to see (and feel) happen.  It’s all a process, isn’t it?  I SO don’t like being uncomfortable, physically or emotionally.  But, we don’t always get our wishes.  And, deep down, I know it all serves as a learning opportunity.

I guess while I’m shrinking my outsides, I need to also work on growing my insides…

The Grumpies got the best of me today…

4 Dec

AND they seeped right into an email to a client.  YIKES!  Not good.  There’s nothing I can do to change that unfortunate incident.  HOWEVER, I can use it as a lesson to check and filter myself on these grumpy days (actually, every day).

They really caught me by surprise.  Sunday night, I was worried that Monday would be tough, and that I’d not be able to follow through on my commitment to get back into the Flourish swing.  I even sent myself an email with a food plan for the day along with some nice, encouraging words about doing something good for my future self.  And it worked.

But guess what?  I had NO plan for today.  I woke up at 5:30 and couldn’t go back to sleep, and then I slowly got grouchy…sort of werewolf-style, you know the way they slowly grow hair on the backs of their hands, and their teeth get all longer and drippy?  I’m feeling that sense of being overwhelmed again, like I did in my first week on the Flourish plan when I was giving up everything I usually use to cope.  I ended up eating popcorn.  Harrumph!  Each day needs a plan.

I’ve got a lot on my plate (oh dear, those food references always sneak in there), and I’m getting frustrated with a certain aspect of what I do for one of my clients.  I let that frustration show today.  And, as I think about adding on all of my own personal lessons and reminders it feels like too much.

There is good news, however – I really do remember feeling this way 8 weeks ago, AND, more importantly, remember it not lasting very long.  After a few days of thick clouds and nasty weather brewing, I recall that emotional storm breaking and feeling a tremendous sense of relief.

So, this is the time to hang in there, have a plan and work my exercise and eating program…the relief, and eventual goal results will follow…

Why do some commitments stick…

30 Nov

while others do not?

Last Thursday (the one BEFORE Thanksgiving), I made a commitment to Coach Julie that I would stick to the Flourish eating program until we had our Thanksgiving meal, today (with a few caveats like, drinking coffee with cream, a few grains here and there, etc.).  When I made that commitment, I didn’t really feel it in my bones.  I was looking forward to having some things I hadn’t had in 7 weeks.  I primarily wanted to please Julie, because I am a HUGE people pleaser.  And, how can you say ‘no’ when someone asks you to make a commitment?  I mean, I did it for 7 weeks.   I also HOPED I could do it, which is not really the same as committing.  And, for a couple of days, it worked.

Then it didn’t…

I had oatmeal, some cheese, gluten free toast, and last night, we went to Paley’s Imperial which was a blowout.  I paid for it in the wee hours with some indigestion and a couple of hours of sleeplessness.  I started the evening with a cocktail (a Harlequin with aperol and bubbles – delish), then we had wine (allowed on Flourish in moderation), then it was time for dinner.

We brought a bottle of Domaine Serene, 2005 Mark Bradford with us, and the wine buyer came over to say ‘hi’.  We gave him and our server a taste, which they loved.  This inspired all sorts of fun, special treatment  – including a gift of the appetizer ‘steak and eggs’, elk tongue with a duck egg.  After our kale salad with goat cheese dressing and our entrees, (quail for me and pork for Tom), and after declining dessert (I was trying to wait until today) they brought us a cheese and honey plate AND a tin of their homemade cookies to take home. OH MY!

This sounds more like a restaurant review, but my points are a) I LOVE great food, and b) I was reminded how this rich food can affect my body.   It’s not a good feeling – and as fun as it is to eat this way, I know all too well what the long-term results of that would be – and they don’t make me a happy gal.  I was really looking forward to my Zumba class this morning, which was —  C A N C E L L E D!  At least, I thought I could sweat some of that physical, internal pummeling feeling away.

So, while I did not do a good job at living up to the commitment I made to Julie, I need to make a new commitment to myself – today, being our Thanksgiving celebration – I will eat a helping of everything and not go back for seconds.  This is actually, the Part A of my pact with myself.  The bigger one, and much more important to me is, agreeing to go right back on my Flourish-ish eating plan.

I would like to say I will do this by tomorrow, but I’d really like to allow myself a turkey or ham sandwich.  By Monday, I will be back to my modified Flourish (adding in beans, legumes, and some grains – which are not on the Flourish 8-week plan) program.

So far, I’ve lost 20 LBs (8 LBs of fat) with the help of Flourish, and it feels great.  Little things, like being more comfortable crossing my legs are big to me.  Buying new clothes is great.  I’d really like to lose 5 more LBs by Christmas (and I’m going to finagle my husband into doing so as well).

So, these are my commitments and goals.  I’m feeling good about them – they seem doable.

Change is good, right?  Of course, so are roasted chanterelle mushrooms with bone marrow and garlic (I know, right?)– but, considering the latter makes me feel crummy like shit, it seems those things should be had in SERIOUS moderation!

Looking back…

12 Nov

I decided I needed to look at my food and weight log from when I started my 50 by fifty journey/quest to see how much I’ve lost all together.

So, I started the blog and plan in the middle of September two years ago, and with the weight I just lost during the Flourish program, it’s a total of 35 LBs lost!  That is pretty dang groovy.  I have more than 35 more LBs to lose to reach my ultimate goal, but it’s a HUGE (ha) start.

Sometimes it’s good to look back, as long as you keep moving forward!

P.S. Speaking of Flourish, this is the 8th and final week.  Next week’s 6:00 a.m. conference call includes and friends and family ‘segment’ which means we can invite people to listen in and see what the participants have accomplished during the program.  So, loved ones, any of you who would like to join in on the call a week from today (Monday) at 6:00 a.m. and learn about our successes, let me know.  I will just need a count for Julie so she has the right technology in place…

Why such a Crabby Abby today?

11 Nov

Even some things that are sweet are irritating me.  It could be hormones…I think menopause has begun, though today I did get my period.  It could be because I woke up at 4:00 a.m.  A poor night’s sleep can really do me in.  And, in the past, being tired has made me want to eat and eat.

It could be that I ate a few too many tamari pumpkin seeds this morning, which, I know can make my tummy feel less than happy.  I think it has become my current ‘numb out’ snack food.  It IS on the food list.  Even though it isn’t a surprise, I’m a bit upset that I still have the ‘snack attack’ mentality.  I’m not sure why, it’s an addictive behavior…

I also have a meeting this afternoon that I DON’T want to attend.  Not because of the meeting, but because I don’t feel like being THAT responsible today.  I’d rather be at the casino, which, I think is becoming a wee bit of a problem.  The desire for more, checking out, perhaps?

I’ve noticed that when I’m on a ‘healthy food plan’ and losing weight, suddenly what I want to do is gamble.  Hmmm….could this be like the heroin addict becoming an overeater?  You give up your drug, but that gene is still there that convinces us we still want to do something with wild abandon.

I decided to go to a local pub last week for some video poker, and ended up leaving being really mad at myself that a) I lost money, and b) (not for the first time) thought that somehow it would fulfill me.  Of course, I also had the delusion I might win a little money.  It didn’t work.  I had ‘buyer’s remorse’ immediately after.  And, since I couldn’t come home and ‘Cheeto-out’ over it, I felt the regret for much longer than I typically would have.  It felt very uncomfortable.  I wanted the feeling to ‘go deep’ and get buried with the countless other unpleasant feelings I’ve covered up over these many years.

I didn’t even tell my husband (sorry, honey) because I was ashamed.  And, I knew it wasn’t the financially responsible thing to do at the time.  I’ve got about $600 of doctor bills due right now.  For some reason, this is much harder to admit than my food addiction.  Perhaps because I thought I only had ‘one issue.’  I’m certainly not the ‘empty our bank account’ type.  But, I don’t think secret casino or pub trips are a good idea.  It seems I want something in my life that has no limits.  (And, this is the first time I am really getting that.  Silly me, I thought it was just food.)

We are headed to Vegas at Christmas and I’m way excited about that.  We always have such a great time, and have a special history of visiting there.  I think enjoying gambling in pairs is the way to go.

It’s strange, this sour feeling I have today, because yesterday I felt SO happy.  I know that feelings move and shift all the time.  I guess it’s just easy when feeling so good to hope it will last awhile.

So, I guess the main purpose of today’s blog is to confess, and to get out some of these feelings.  I can’t WAIT until my tummy feels better.

I also need to commit to walking my dog today…I have to leave the house by 2:15 and need to get him walked first.  Not really feeling like it, but the sun is out, and my little hound is starting to make his ‘subtle’ moaning sounds as if to say, “Come on, let’s get out there.  I’m BORED.  Let’s take some air.”

I’m also 50% committing to a 6:00 Zumba class, too…I bet I’d feel really good afterwards…

What-the-friggin’ f*ck is up?

5 Nov

Wouldn’t you think that by the beginning of week 7 of this Flourish program, my cooking/prepping, recording of my food, exercise, etc. would be running like clockwork?  I would, and I’m PISSED at myself that those old circling shark feelings are starting to resurface.  I swear, I’m actually hearing the doom music from ‘Jaws.’

For example – ‘oh, I’m too tired to log my daily food into  It’s a pain in the neck.  I don’t want to have to do this anymore.  I’m tired of so many vegetables…I can’t wait to have some couscous, or feta or whatever.’

It’s like my inner-Kiki really thought this would be over in 8 weeks, and things could be ‘easy’ once again.  The definition of these key words is interesting – why, dear, are you referring to the kind of ‘easy’ that means eating what you want, feeling like crap and not liking yourself very much?  You mean, THAT easy?  No dear, this is a lifestyle change.

I’ve lost a goodly amount of weight in these last 5-6 weeks, too.  I’m happy about that.  And yet – and yet?  I feel as though I might be turning onto ‘Now-it’s-time-to-sabotage-your- efforts’ Drive.  Why?  Because things are going well for a change?  And that’s not the map I am used to following.  I worry I truly feel I don’t deserve it.  I want to embrace this change, not just fake it until I make it.  (Of course, if I DO fake it for a bit, I may get back on ‘Embracing’ Lane.)

These feelings remind me of a shitty old boyfriend of mine, about whom, at the time I was crazy… hmmmm.  We’d be hanging out having a groovy time, and suddenly, he was uncomfortable with the LACK of drama, and would create some by picking a fight.  He just couldn’t handle a smooth boat ride.   It was very annoying.

It feels scary and crappy to think I could revert to my old way of thinking and being. And yet (again) I want a little less self-responsibility. Which isn’t how life works.

I think it’s a dangerous thing to say (or even THINK), ‘I can’t imagine EVER going back to my old ways.’  Sometimes, I think it’s actually the first step on the path TO the old ways.  It’s arrogant, naïve and, well, it serves no purpose.  I think that perhaps it’s better to be vigilant and realize that sometimes a guy with a trench coat lined with Lay’s products may be just around the next corner waiting to throw you off your game.  That way you can all boy scout about it and be prepared!

I don’t know that I actively thought ‘oh, I’d NEVER go back to eating junk’.   It’s more that I just hadn’t thought about it at all.  I didn’t prepare for the Cloudy with a Chance of Cheetos day.  I just thought, ‘Hey, I’ve got this.’  And, you know what?  I don’t ‘got it’.  Not at all.

There are going to still be stupid-head, sucky hard days when I think it may be time to throw in the towel.  But, I can’t.  I have to remember what it felt like before I started Flourish.  As much as I HATE the idea of quoting Dr. Phil, his “how’s that working for you so far?” is a really good question.

As Julie pointed out this morning, it’s one decision at a time.  And, I need to decide what I want to decide on next. (Gee, maybe the very next decision is the way to go. = ] ) I think perhaps it is to stick to my eating program tonight when I‘m with all my fab gals at girl’s night.

I want it to be easy.  Maybe I can just decide that it already is?

Two of the BEST words…

20 Oct

My two favorite and most heartening words right now are, “Me, too.”   Especially when I’m convinced that no one else on earth could possibly understand what I’m feeling.  This crazy sauce I’m covered in is my personal recipe, and no one else gets it!

C R A Z Y.  Not Carrie on Homeland crazy, but…okay, not even close.

When I hear those comforting words, it means I get to dim the neon lights on my ‘freak’ sign for a while.  Oh, it’s STILL very much hanging in the window, but harder to see.  I can feel like part of the rest of the world again.  Where did I get the idea these feelings were unique?  I don’t know.  Maybe it’s because we don’t talk about them all that much.

Last Monday, as I was imploding with a volcano full of emotions I was afraid would ooze out and burn the ones I love, someone on our weekly Flourish coaching call said she’d been feeling angry and didn’t know why.  I let out the biggest sigh when I heard her say that.  Wow, it’s not just me!  I’m not alone.

Immediately I felt less anxious.  I would say I even started to feel calm.  If someone else has these feelings, then *I* must be okay…

Several years ago, I spent some time with a volunteer organization that trained service dogs.  The woman who started the organization told me that there are some dogs trained to work with schizophrenics.  One of the main jobs of these dogs is to let their person know the difference between the voices in their head, and the voices in the real world.  If someone is hearing voices, but the dog is not and doesn’t react, then they know – it’s in their head.  Isn’t that marvelous?

Wouldn’t it be great if we could train dogs to signal us when we’re overreacting or being ridiculous?  Like, ‘Hon, you are WAY in your head right now, and no one else is thinking you are strange.  It’s just you, so pass me one of those steak bones, and chillax.” That kind of help would be SO useful.

Do you think that idea is crazy?  Do you think it’s cool?  Either way, I bet you’re not alone…


13 Oct

Yesterday, as I was thinking about updating those of you in my blog-iverse, (and journal for myself) I knew EXACTLY what I’d write about.  I was excited, too.  My folks and sister were coming over for dinner, and we were making some things that are NOT on my food list.  This included making my dad some peanut butter chocolate chip cookies.  I thought, I will get through this culinary challenge without letting even the smallest sweet crumb of dough cross my lips.

And, I did it!  I imagined writing that I was some new kind of SUPERHERO – impervious to chocolate chips, mashed potatoes (which we also made, and I did not have).  Able to leap food temptations in a single bound.

Instead, I’m overwhelmed by a big giant knot of emotions that have me feeling crazy.  It feels like way too much for me to handle.  It’s like when your computer gets a virus and opens window-after-window-after-window, and you can’t make it stop, except to turn the whole damn machine off!

Unfortunately, it seems the less I eat, the more I feel.  I had no earthly idea all the feelings I was covering up with my ‘too-much’ and binge-y foods.  I’m unsettled and highly irritable, and worry I’ll lash out at people and say things I’ll regret.  Like I CAN’T control myself.  Like being at the top of the Space Needle thinking I’m going to accidentally jump.  Of course I don’t WANT to jump, I truly don’t.  But, it’s like, well what if I do anyways, without any choice of my own.  I mean no disrespect, but it feels like emotional Tourette’s. 

I feel like anything but a superhero.

I’m in a whirlpool and headed straight toward the falls.  I don’t know what to do with all of it.  Yes, breathing is good, but it’s not enough.  I don’t like how I feel.

There is some good news – I don’t seem to be thinking about what I can eat to make this go away.  However, I VERY much want it to stop. 

I noticed last week that somehow I feel I have less control over my life without my emotional eating – n worried I’d forget to do something for a client.  Before, my ‘to do’ lists were more than adequate.  I felt that if I wrote it down, it was as good as handled.  I don’t feel that now.  It’s like there are things I may be forgetting, and they could be floating out of my grasp like those damned Three Musketeers Bars on TV.  I won’t be able to reach them – they’ll get missed and I’ll perform my jobs poorly.

I thought not eating certain foods would be the big challenge.  No – this is the hard shit – being with these feelings I don’t want to have, worrying that maybe I’m going to turn into someone I don’t like.  That the people who love me aren’t going to like or want to be around me as I get thinner and bitchier.  Maybe I’ve been a ‘mean girl’ all along, but the Cheetos, popcorn, ice cream have taken the edge off and helped me be nice.

I very clearly remember a time in my life when I thought I’d never find a partner who loved me, because if they REALLY saw all of the scabby, scar-ish parts, they’d hightail it in the opposite direction Roadrunner style.  When I think about that time, it seems like irrational thinking.  And, though my brain is telling me it still is, emotionally, it seems like a serious possibility.

I’m less than happy with these developments – and I know I won’t feel this way forever.  But, while I am feeling it – it SUCKS!  I don’t really know what to do except reach out to my therapist, blog, and be honest about it.  It’s hard for me to have a conversation about it – but easier to spill here. 

Here I go again, wondering why things can’t just be easy.  I’m beginning to see more and more every day, THAT just isn’t going to happen.  It’s not the way life works…at least not if you really, truly want to live it, and maybe one day take your cape and tights out of that space-saver bag sitting way back in the corner under the bed…

Oh sweet relief…

3 Oct

I guess that old Dinah Washington song is correct, ‘What a difference a day makes.’

I can’t believe the difference between yesterday morning and today.  Granted, I had to get up today at a certain time to get my dog to his beauty appointment, so I couldn’t lollygag.  He hates being tardy.  But, I actually had energy when I got up.  Whaaaaaaaat?

I made my yogurt, peach, nut, seed, raisin breakfast to take to the coffee shop with me to eat before Zumba.  Before I left, I had a large glass of water, and kind of felt (dare I say it) full!  What madness is this?  AND, I worked it pretty hard (for a 51-year-old with questionable knees and lower back) at Zumba.  Tuesday, I dragged through class.

Another crucial piece of information is that I decided to step on the scale and – booyaw (how do you spell this word?), lost 5 pounds since I last weighed myself before vacation.  This definitely made a difference in my mood.  But, the energy may be the biggest change from yesterday.  I almost feel a wee bit manic, which I’m going to re-label ‘happy.’

At least I’m happy now…however, I have to leave in half an hour to go get a ‘dunked-in-water’ body fat test, and not sure how I’ll feel about that.  It’s silly, but I don’t like deep water (it may not be deep), and don’t like putting my head under water.  I know, poor me…the government is shutdown, and I have to get my head wet.  Apparently, I also have to puff out all my air to get a good measurement.  It will be fine, and I’m determined to keep my cheerful mood all day.  This includes NOT wanting to know the results of this test.

It seems I feel I have more to say/write when I’m struggling (all my bad teenage poetry was sad stuff), but I want to record my victories as well.  Not only does it help me keep things in perspective, but, if anyone at all gets something out of this blog, it’s good to share that it’s not always cloudy (unless, of course, you are in Portland, ummm…September through, say, late May).

So – things right now are good!  And now is all we really get anyways, right?  I do wish I remembered that WAY more often.

And now I get to go don a bathing suit…P A R T A Y…(still staying cheerful)