April 28, 2011

Gardening

My dad called me yesterday morning during my 10 am lecture. I called him back for a quick chat before my next class started, and he asked how I was doing and how I enjoyed Mom and Dan's visit. A few days and a lot of written words later, it was a little easier to discuss objectively: I had a good time. I liked seeing Mom and Dan, it was just a little tough trying to stay healthy while dealing with a variety of stressors that week. And he understood.

Also on my emotional plate for last week was the stress of finally hearing from my director at my current job that rehiring me for the fall is unlikely, but I will know for sure in May - sort of "keep your hopes up, but don't count any chickens." My concerns with work have several levels:
- If I do not have a job, I can't pay my bills.
- If I can't pay my bills, I have to move home.
- If I move home, I am likely unable sustain my healthy lifestyle.
These stresses increased dramatically by having my mom here filling my kitchen with unhealthy food - it made my concerns more real, I guess. This is what it might be like - again. This is bad. But this is easy. I'm stressed, so I want to eat myself sick and take naps - usually, I find other ways to soothe myself and de-stress, but with Mom here, binge eating was not only easily accessible, but encouraged.

Dad said that what he heard from Mom upon her return to Connecticut was mostly concern, that she saw patterns of obsession manifesting themselves with my eating and my exercise. I explained to him that I'm not obsessed, far from it in fact - I want to live my healthiest life possible, and for me, that means counting calories right now. I'm okay with the fact that Mom isn't a planner when it comes to trips and excursions - my bigger problem with her disorganization was not planning meals. summer 2010I needed to keep going to the gym when she was here not because I am obsessed with exercising, but because I want to be healthy, and if my food quality is down/quantity is up, I need to make sure I am doing my best to stay balanced and burn the calories.

I understand where she's coming from. My mom has struggled with her weight for most of her life, too - both on extreme highs and extreme lows. I'm her firstborn, she loves me very much, and she just wants to see me attain my goals in a healthy way. I really don't think her intentions this past week were to sabotage my efforts - for my family, food is love, and this is the way that she knows to show me she cares. Both my parents grew up in situations where food was not always available, so being able to provide it means that they are successful and able to take care of their family. My mom wants me to be taken care of, so she bakes me a quiche and makes me tapioca pudding early in the morning right before she leaves. What needs to be understood, then, is that I love her too, and I am doing very well, and I don't need boxes of cereal and bottles of salad dressing to know how much I mean to her.

My mom and I had a lot of really great conversations while she was here, and I think my letter to her will reinforce some of the things we talked about. While I was at work one day, she read the book Jess sent me, and we had some good related talks - she commented on how the author didn't talk so much about how she lost the weight but how and why she gained it, and I told her that I thought that was the point. spring 2011I haven't finished the book yet, but it's not so much a diet manual as a woman sharing her experiences with super obesity and how to come to terms with the having a disordered relationship with food. I essentially came out to my mother about having an eating disorder and tried to explain the difference between enjoying a treat and bingeing on it, and I feel good about that - it was a huge step for me in a positive direction.

She also started reading a book lent to me by a co-worker, Mireille Guiliano's "French Women Don't Get Fat," which I have not yet started to read, but she said that of what she read so far, it seemed like a reasonable approach to weight loss. Eating less, eating whole foods, and eating mindfully - all things she can see herself implementing in her own life. I'd like to think that she honestly believes it and that she'll make a conscious effort to do so. I think that my mom went back to Connecticut with the seeds of some good ideas, and I can only hope that she makes the effort to plant and care for them when she settles back into her daily routines. Because I love her, my dad, and my siblings, and all I want is for everyone to feel as good as I do these days. I'm so happy, hopeful, positive, and full of energy. I'm honestly living, and nothing would make this complete for me like having a family that not only supported me but that wanted the same joy and good feelings for themselves and made the effort to attain them.

5 comments:

Debbie said...

You can really see the difference in the two pictures. You are looking good. Mom's are hard to take sometimes. My mother is to the extreme the other way. She is super skinny and thinks I should be to. Keep up the good work

Amy said...

The picture from last week is great!

I think everything you have said is great...and shows your commitment and how much work you're putting into this at all angles.

gracies tough journey said...

You look awesome. Unfortunately not every woman should be a mom, or they just really arent that good at it. My mom was an alcholic and also suffered from depression. She too, said some awful things to me. Similiar to what happened to you. She has passed away, I still miss her and love her. I have forgiven her for all HER issues. I was the only girl and youngest by many many years. I felt the brunt of her pain. As a adult now,I realize that it wasnt me. But it was her pain. I guess after this long winded comment what I want to say is that you are ok and what you are doing is amazing. I know if you were my kid, I would be so proud of you, just like your mom is. Perhaps she just doesnt know how to show it or say it. We mom's are crazy but we adore our kids.

Krista said...

I have to move back home this summer because I have some rotations for school there, and I am super worried about keeping this up while I'm at home. It's like going back to the source of my problem, and I'm not ready to face it yet. Stinks.

And dang, what a difference in those pictures! You look amazing.

downsizers said...

If you do have to move home as a last resort maybe your mother would try and help if you two had a long talk. Maybe she would be willing to plan meals and exercise with you. You won't know until you ask. Communication is hard when the relationship has been somewhat stormy but you must - I think the letter writing is a good idea. You might test the waters by telling her there might be the possibility of your having to move back home but let's hope that is the last resort.