February 2, 2011


Trying, when used as a verb, means the action of testing or putting someone or something to a trial. As an adjective, it means profoundly straining one's powers of endurance. For me, Wednesday will be full of examples of both.

I'm writing this Tuesday night in case I don't have power in the morning - and right now, Chicago is a complete mess. There's a severe blizzard - streets and highways closed, public transit practically halted, out my back doorand tons of people in a total panic due to high speed winds, expected heavy snowfall, and "thundersnow," something I'd never heard of but am kind of in love with, despite how dangerous it probably is. It's thunder, lightning, and snow. Incredible.

For the first time in decades, the university where I work has completely shut down. We have a medical center on campus, so in order for the school to shut down, conditions have to be extremely bad. I was told to cut my office hours short this afternoon, so since 2:30 pm and continuing for at least the next day, I'm stuck here at home. All across the city and out into the suburbs, my students are rejoicing, I'm sure. Tomorrow we were supposed to learn our next relative pronoun! Personally, though, I'm feeling really anxious. One, because we only have two weeks for our current chapter, and losing a day means rushing some of the information. And two, because I honestly don't know what to do with myself for an entire day alone in my apartment.

Six months ago, this was my life. Sit on the couch, eat myself sick, watch movies, and play "Sonic the Hedgehog 2." Today would have been a dream. But I'm feeling nervous and really kind of concerned about what I'm going to do with myself all day. 40 compositions down, 20 to go - plus 60 exams. VDM.I brought home my stacks of exams and compositions to grade, so I can at least try to be somewhat productive while I sit around all day and wait for the storm to pass and the streets to clear up. But I'm really, really, really, really, really concerned about my eating. Being confined here has a weird effect on me - I get really snack-y. That's not a real word, but I hope you know what I mean ... it's when I start mindlessly searching the cabinets and the fridge for something to nosh on because it's cold outside and I'm bored, lonely, and want to feel comfortable. I caught myself doing it this afternoon, and it bothers me how easily these old habits come back.

I'm especially concerned about eating because my exercise will be limited to Wii Fit until everything clears up around here. I was supposed to run 2.5 miles today, but the gym closed early, and everything's closed tomorrow ... so, more anxiety there. I know it's not a healthy habit, but I weigh myself every morning, and I was already having a lousy week. It's looking like the first week in six months where I won't be posting a loss - I haven't even had no-change weeks - and this week so far shows a one pound gain. really. truly. honestly.It's incomprehensible to me, because I eat 1200-1300 calories a day and burn 800-1200 calories during each of my workouts, which I do six times a week. This is what I have done for months, but for some reason the past couple of weeks have been slow, and this week it finally halted.

I find myself very mad and frustrated that the numbers aren't adding up, and then I get upset that I'm not practicing what I preach to others. There are so many measures of success - I can feel that my body is changing for the better, my shirts fit better, and my pants are looser in the waist and thighs - but I'm so addicted to numeric successes. Sometimes, I worry that this whole story of mine is a cautionary tale of cycles of addiction, and I haven't truly made progress on recovering from my addiction to compulsive overeating, I've just replaced it with another obsession, a different one that's just as harmful.

Every day, I find new challenges and difficulties in my recovery. The hardest part for me right now is not letting them get the best of me. I am not going to throw in the towel. I refuse to let this win. I refuse to let this defeat me. And I have a plan.

Tomorrow, I am going to eat the same as if I were going to work. My Lean Cuisine will take 45 minutes in the oven instead of 5 minutes in the microwave, but I will be working with what I have. I will do some grading in the morning, then I will do some Wii Fit in the afternoon, and I will read for pleasure in the evening - likely keep working through "Eating Mindfully," since I'm in desperate need of some progress with my emotional weight loss. My goal through all this is to obtain a sense of balance in my life - not obsession or addiction in any aspect, but a healthy sense of balance with all things. Not just today, not just tomorrow, but every single day of the rest of my life - I will seek balance.


TMLfans.ca said...

Sounds like a nasty storm. We're getting a tamed down version here in Ontario.
Even though the numbers aren't in your favor - you're doing all the right things. Cheers, Rick

Life as a Caterpillar said...

I will be thinking of you Mary, that storm sounds both awesome and horrific .

I know exactly what you mean about being stuck in the house. Being a single mom for almost 10 years, i find myself in the house alone most nights from 7pm when she goes to bed. Since my new housemate moved in last month, he has noticed i do a dance around the fridge every night at the same time. It's boredom snacking, and i know how very hard it can be to clear your mind of those anxious, bored thoughts that lead to overeating.

I will be hoping for the best for you, and i really do hope you can focus past the anxiety of the scale and be happy with what you have achieved so far, i am very very in awe of you!


Black Kat said...

Gosh! That sux being stuck inside... but it's good you have a plan. Stick to it. You've worked too hard to give in today/tomorrow. I can't wait to hear how well you made it through these couple days... be strong, sister. YOU CAN DO THIS!!!! :-)

Amy said...

I call this lazy grazing. I am so guilty for it, especially when I visit my parents.

I honestly think I need to avoid going home for a month or two so I can get some success before I go back. It seems every time I make a bit of progress it's a weekend at home and I go backwards.

Anyways... go for a walk in the snow - it's EXCELLENT exercise. A few years ago we got this insanity storm in Ottawa and for the first time ever the city actually shut down. We're always prepared for the craziest storms, but this one was just insanity. Stewart and I went for a walk to get food at a restaurant around the corner (1-2 minute walk) and it took us 20 minutes to trek through the snow. It's fun! That being said - if it's still like Snownadoing and snow thundering! Stay inside! I don't know how big your building is, but you could run the stairs too.

Just relax and enjoy your day off! You wanted a snow day and you got one!!

Jessica said...

I have thought of you all morning with Chicago being on the news for the weather. Hope you are doing okay. We actually had snow thunder during our snow storm in early January. I have never even heard of it before until then.

Try not to get frustrated if your numbers don't change. I know that is easier said than done, but remember even though you are living this lifestyle to lose weight, there will come a time when you will just be living this lifestyle for good health as you maintain your goal weight. You know that I have struggle this year with the numbers not moving at all, but I just keep reminding myself that I must keep living this lifestyle because even if I am not losing, if I stop I will start gaining.
I hope this day is better than you expect and you can enjoy it as a relaxing day.

Retta said...

The science I've read says that for about half the population, that old "by the numbers" approach works... calories in, calories out. No problemo.

But... for those that are carb sensitive (like me), or who are insulin resistant, or some other variation, the numbers do NOT always hold true. In order for them (me) to lose weight, they must lower carb intake, which lowers blood glucose, which lowers insulin response, which allows the body to release fat to be burned from where it's stored.

I have oversimplified of course... and you might already be familiar with all this. But in case you are interested, there are a ton of free podcasts about this here:

I wish someone had told me years ago why the numbers only approach wasn't working for me. :-) So, I found this info encouraging.

Hope you get some better weather soon.

Maude said...

I thought your observation about being concerned that you're just moving from one obsession or addiction to another to be very interesting. I've had this same thought myself. Mostly I wonder if I'm using weight loss as something to fill empty voids in my life or as a distraction of sorts. Truth is that it's a possibility, but it's definitely a healthier option in my opinion. I think it's a good question to keep asking yourself, but I also think it will resolve itself with time because you won't always be as intensely focused on it as you are now. Compulsive eating limited you - weight loss is opening up your life. Even if you are feeling a bit obsessed at the moment, the side effects seem to be mostly positive.