April 23, 2011


I knew this month would be stressful, but somehow even when I anticipate stressors, I never fail to be surprised by how tough the times can be to get through. In the moment, it feels like it will never get easier again, even though it always does. navy pierI recover, I carry on, I get right back on track. But as it unfolds, it feels bottomless, like I'm slipping and there's nothing to grab onto to keep me from falling all the way down.

My eating has been on and off this past week. One really great day is followed by an absolutely horrible one. I'm not only eating way too much junk, but I'm not eating mindfully. Physically, I'm experiencing feelings I never wanted to feel again - the stomach ache, the pain in my mouth, the gassiness, the bloating. Worst of all, though, I'm finding myself seeking the comfort of old rituals to help cope with how out of control I feel, and I totally hate myself for it. It doesn't matter what the scale says - when I eat this way, I might just as well be 345 pounds again. For me, my physical progress is secondary to the emotional progress I want to be making, and a setback like this feels just like regaining every ounce and then some.

My mom has always remained silent about my weight and my issues with food - there were occasional remarks about my appearance, but never suggestions to lose weight or try to get healthier. And she never said anything about what or how much I was eating, even when she must have known it was missing. So something I can't understand, then, is why such a big part of my secret food ritual is being sneaky ... stuffing cello packaging deep into the empty box, burying the wrappers in the trash, and especially eating quickly and quietly in rooms with the doors closed while everyone else sits together somewhere else. I'd eat in my dorm room, my brother's room, even out in the backyard - but especially the bathroom.

At my dad's house, there was a window in the bathroom that lead to the side porch. Sitting on the lid of the toilet and stuffing my mouth so full that it hurt, all the while listening closely to see if anyone was coming home. in the gondolaIf I heard the door open through the window, I had to shovel even faster, swallow, then rinse out my mouth in an attempt to hide any crumbs, any smells left from whatever I had just hurriedly consumed.


If Mom doesn't seem to care about my size and no one ever mentions the huge quantities of missing food, why do I hide my eating? Why am I ashamed of exposing this secret behavior if no one seems to really notice or care either way?

I'm the one who's ashamed. I'm the one I'm trying to hide from.

Even at my biggest, I knew better, but I still felt this need to eat a lot, as fast as possible, and secretly. My goal was not a physical fullness but an emotional one, and I think the purpose of the secrecy is because I'm ashamed at needing a dozen snack cakes or an entire pizza in order to feel emotionally satisfied (or at least what I assume in that moment to be emotional satisfaction). My intentions while sharing a meal at a table with family and friends are entirely different from my intentions when standing at the bathroom sink, cramming one cookie after another into my mouth as fast as I can. There's a mirror in the bathroom, and I watch myself as I do what I am doing. It's almost a punishmment in itself - humiliation on top of the original shame: Look at you. Look what you are doing. Look what you have allowed to happen to yourself. Other kids have parents who talk to them. Other girls have boys who look at them. You're alone in this bathroom. You have to look at yourself. This is your love. This is all you get.

The other day, I found myself walking through my kitchen; without being mindful, I picked up a cookie my mom had bought in Chinatown, and without realizing, I ended up in the bathroom in front of the mirror. The cookie was not what I wanted. What I wanted was to feel in control of my sitation. Illogically, I'm falling into this old habit because I'm stressed out about feeling unable to sustain my new habits when my family is around. I was thinking yesterday afternoon, trying to remember when was the last time I felt this food-gross - and it was Christmas. Another time with my family. I'm really concerned that I'll never be able to spend as much time as I want with them because it's just impossible for my lifestyle and theirs to co-exist. I keep trying, but I'm just not strong enough yet. Emotional weight loss isn't enough - I need some emotional strength training.

afraid of heights
This month has been stressful so far, but it isn't over. There are more stressors to come - the end of the semester, the end of my job, and the beginning of whatever comes next for me - but with my mom and brother leaving tomorrow, I can't help but think the worst is just about over.

April 22, 2011

Roses and thorns

This week has been full of ups and downs. I'm happy to have some of my family here, and I've had some really great conversations with my mom, especially related to weight loss. But it's been an interesting challenge, trying to balance my routines and my healthy lifestyle with having them around. My mom is the kind of person who will have a profound emotional discussion with you about your eating disorder, then come home with enough sweets from Chinese bakeries to feed a small army.

My original plan was to keep up my routines almost entirely, just a little rescheduled. That fell apart almost immediately - I just can't exercise in the morning. I've made it work, though, and still got to the gym every day since they've been here. In terms of eating, I've been trying to keep a maintenance point of view where I make mostly good decisions but also allow some things I don't typically eat - then get right back on track. The tough part is limiting to one "off-plan" decision while my mother goes from one ethnic neighborhood to the next, having cookies here and sandwiches there. I definitely related to the comment Caron left on yesterday's post:
I'm an adult and I make my choices but I'm not strong around so much temptation.
I'm really happy with the fact that for the most part, I eat what I want - the difference being that now I enjoy these things within reason, and I don't keep them regularly in my house. My mom is a take-over-er (it's a word if I say it is) and went grocery shopping as soon as she got here to fill my fridge, yet hasn't cooked anything - so my house is full of triggers and things I usually try to avoid. Multiple kinds of cheese. Bread. Crackers. It's all really dangerous to me. I know better, and I still can't stop myself from mindlessly devouring a whole bag of Goldfish.

I don't want it to sound like I'm totally miserable and that I'll never be able to deal with socially eating with other people ever again - going out to eat wouldn't be a huge issue, it's going out to eat several times a day for a week that gets to be a problem. Again, I'm trying to keep the maintenance point of view and make mostly good decisions but balance less-than-great choices with exercise and lots of water. It's just really interesting being more self-aware - eating like this used to be my life. One year ago, this would have been a dream trip - not only would I be able to eat unlimited junk, but I wouldn't even have to pay for it. And honestly, one year ago, it happened - when the whole family came out for my graduation. It's kind of like a saying I've heard referenced a few times by recovering alcoholics: in the end, nothing costs you more than free drinks.

This week's weigh in has me at 212, a two pound loss for the week. All things considered, I'm pleased - I can show a loss while having my mom around! - but I'm a little disappointed since I saw an even lower number earlier in the week. I'm really looking forward to stability and success once I get back into my routines and regain control of my apartment.

A little bit of a brag: last night I did my run for the Jelly Bean Virtual 5k, and I totally killed it: 34:26.

ow oww
Woo hoo! That's nearly four minutes off my 5k time from January!

What about you? What do you have to brag about for this week?

April 21, 2011

Video: Pudy

I mention this in the video, but it's worth saying again: I miss writing. It's just another part of my regular routine that I'm totally aching for. Video blogs are good, I guess, but not exclusively. I'll be writing tomorrow for my weigh in, for sure. Guaranteed plenty to say about that this week.

Yesterday was another tough day, though in completely different ways than the day before. This one was tough with regards to eating decisions - definitely something I'm going to hash out in writing in detail next week once Mom leaves. *sigh*

What about you? Are there any "food pushers" in your life - folks who urge you to try just a bite of this, a taste of that, and only one of these won't kill you? How do you deal with them?

April 20, 2011

Video: Tough day

Another video blog! This one has my brother in it, too! We're talking about the tough day we had yesterday.

And we never even made it to the cupcake place, though that's more of an afterthought to the day's struggles.

What about you? What's your go-to "emergency" food you keep around for times of hunger like these? People who are into morning workouts - how do you wake up your body along with your mind?

April 19, 2011

Video: Updates

I finally did it!

A video blog!

Bear with me as I venture into this. I talk about my mom and brother being here. And, unsurprisingly, I ramble a bit. (I often hear from people I know that my writing sounds exactly like when I speak. So keep that in mind!)

It's about 10 minutes, and I won't be offended if you jump around in it (or skip it entirely). But I liked doing it, and I promise they won't be as long in the future - I was just nervous and a little excited about doing something new!

I apologize in advance if the chopstick is distracting...

What about you? Any advice on what to feed a picky little boy? Please send those kid-friendly recipes my way!

April 18, 2011

SFC: Week Three

My positive picture for the week:

all is love.
Loving life at Garfield Park Conservatory with my little bro.

What have you done this past week to help you achieve your goals?
(1) Down 3 more pounds this week to 214. Fifteen pounds to onederland!
(2) After a binge last week, I was reluctant to give up the scale again. My goal for this week is to not weigh on Tuesday and Thursday.
(3) I biked 25.5 miles this week, for a challenge total of 40.5 miles.
(4) I got over 60 minutes - I did most of an hour a few days ago, then got over the goal once my brother got here and we started playing together. Oh, nunchuck! I have missed you.
(5) I made progress on #64 (Send 25 postcards via Postcrossing). I sent postcards (China, Germany, the Netherlands, and Canada). One more card until that goal is completed!
(7) I applied for two jobs, both of which sound completely perfect - full-time lecturer positions here in the city. I'm nervous but hopeful.

What did you do this past week to make you feel good about yourself?
I bought a new digital camera! This sounds unrelated, but stick with me: my old camera had been broken for well over a year. My brother dropped it and the tiny piece of plastic that kept the battery latch closed snapped off. The thing is, though, the camera still worked totally fine - you just had to hold the latch shut while using it. I always said that I didn't want to waste money on a new camera when my old one worked just fine still, but to be honest, I couldn't justify the purchase to myself because I didn't think I had a life worth documenting. I never went out with my friends because I was embarrassed of how big I had gotten, I rarely left the house unless it was completely necessary because I didn't want to be made fun of, and I never took pictures of myself because I hated everything physical about me.

Taking pictures of myself is totally crucial on this journey. I want to document it as much as possible - plus, it helps me see the physical transitions for myself. Like the difference between this picture from Saturday:

And this one that I found recently, a relic from Spring 2009 (not even my biggest here):

Holy cow, indeed.

Are your SFC goals your ultimate goals or steps to your ultimate goals? Do you find it easier to set big goals or do you like making mini-goals?
I guess they're steps to my ultimate goals - my grand scheme long-term goal is to live a healthy and satisfying life, so these are all going to help with that. Most of mine are weight/exercise related because that's my main focus right now, but I also have some non-weight goals to make sure my life is well-rounded. I usually make big goals with smaller goals attached, like checkpoints in between.

What are some of your ultimate goals, things on your bucket list?
I like traveling and would love to do more of it - I would love to bike around France as my long-term weight loss reward, especially the south, with the fields of lavender and sunflowers.

If you could achieve only one more thing in your life, what would it be?
Have my own family. Maybe it's a little silly, but all I've ever wanted to do with my life, even when I was a kid, was to be a mom. I'm okay with not drinking beer at Oktoberfest or betting $1000 on black in Las Vegas - all I truly want is to have an awesome husband and a few kids of our own.

April 17, 2011

Spinach blueberry pancakes

In an interesting turn of events, my mom and brother decided to stay another night in Ohio, so they'll be here this afternoon. It's for the best, I think ... it gave me a little extra time to clean and organize my apartment and get one last big workout in. They're en route right now, about five hours away.

I'm supposed to do my weekly long run today, 5.25 miles. Unfortunately, my gym doesn't open until 11am, and I'm concerned about cutting it close with their arrival. I think I am going to get there before it opens, already wearing my running stuff under my street clothes so I can get there, run, and then race home. If I take the bus from the gym to my apartment, it's only about six minutes; if they call and say they're at my place and I'm not there yet, it will be easy for them to either wait a few minutes or drive up the road to meet up with me. It will all work out!

Yesterday's breakfast was spinach blueberry pancakes, and they were so delicious that I am having them again this morning!

yumma yumma!
I've made spinach pancakes before, though I used frozen spinach. Now that I have a food processor, I can make them the way Mary's recipe originally stated, which uses fresh spinach. It made a *huge* difference - the frozen spinach ones would be good with savory toppings, but the fresh spinach ones worked really well with fruit. Mary had hers with maple syrup, but I just ate mine plain to focus on enjoying the taste of the berries - I am so ready for summer produce!
1 cup fresh spinach
1 whole egg
1/2 cup of whole wheat flour
1/8 cup of milk
2 oz. blueberries
Pinch of baking powder
Splash of vanilla extract
In a food processor (or blender), finely chop the spinach. Add all ingredients except berries and mix thoroughly. Gently fold in blueberries.

Then you just cook them like regular pancakes. Easy peasy! Be sure to remember the baking powder, otherwise they're a little dense. (Made that mistake yesterday. Not bad, but today's are decidedly better because they're much lighter.) Yesterdays had vanilla extract and they were delightful; in today's, I used orange extract, and took it up a notch. The spinach flavor isn't overwhelming thanks to the tart sweetness of the berries. A-mazing. Of course, breakfast foods are my favorites, so I'm a bit biased. But I think even my kid brother would like these! Maybe later this week, we'll find out.