June 19, 2015

Roses and thorns

Sometimes I watch the show "My 600 lb. Life" and cry and cry, understanding how it feels to be a prisoner inside your body. And there was a girl on there once, surprisingly young, and my heart just broke for her. Her issues clearly went beyond just her size, but her depression and self-esteem issues were abundantly clear. And she said something that really struck me: talking about her family, she said "they act like they're proud of me for all of these things I'm achieving, but it's really just disaster cleanup."

I get that, completely.

It's hard to hear people say "you're doing a good job," and know that you already did the job, that you're re-doing it now because you screwed up. And that it's a job that shouldn't have been done in the first place, that it's not a real accomplishment or one to celebrate - I'm not making something new, I'm cleaning a mess I made.

That cycle of negative thinking is really, really hard to break. The physical part of weight loss is easy, compared to the mental part. That's the real challenge, especially because it has such an impact on the physical part, too. Enough negative thoughts and I can completely forget the awesome workout I had earlier or the full day of good choices - all I want is peace, even if it's temporary and wrongly obtained. I'm tired, I'm stressed, I'm anxious, I don't know what is going to happen in this mess of my life - but I *do* know what X tastes like, how it feels, how it smells. It's consistent. It's shelter in a storm. There's a great and familiar comfort in "it's okay, have what you want, soothe yourself in this moment, and you can try again tomorrow."

Then your life becomes day after day of waiting for tomorrow's fresh start, and it's incredibly hard to break free.

At the end of my trip to Connecticut, I stepped on the scale and waited to see the number - though I didn't need to. I knew how I had eaten. I knew how I felt. I knew the damage would be significant. I left South Carolina at 305, and left Connecticut two weeks later at ... 323. Holy bleep. I knew it would be bad, but ... just wow. I have a singular ability for letting myself completely go off the rails and feeding my anxieties and depression with junk - and not just junk, but the volume of it.

I'm disappointed in myself, but I'm moving forward. Like I said, I won't be going back to Connecticut for a long time - I love my family very much, but I can't go back until I am at a place in my recovery where I can go and not go completely crazy. The way I eat and drink and behave there is completely inconsistent with my goals, and right now, the goals are what I want more than anything. I'm already so relieved, thinking about Thanksgiving with just my son and no pressure, our first Christmas together just by ourselves, enjoying each other's company without trying to suffocate every negative feeling with food.

Today, a week later, I'm back down to 314, which, again, I'm struggling to see as an accomplishment, but am accepting and using as fuel for my motivation to keep going. No two ways about it, it sucks to be seeing numbers like this. (As the joke goes, I've been at this for a month and all I've lost so far is 30 days.) Even worse than the numbers, though, is the physical feeling. I felt so lousy in Connecticut - everything was exaggerated by the way I chose to fuel my body. I was even more tired, even more achy, even more grouchy.

But: it's incredible how immediately the results of healthy living can change how you feel. Even just a day or two back on track, and I didn't feel so bad anymore. The first day back in South Carolina, I drank my usual three 32 oz. bottles of water - which I'm guessing is more water than I had total for the two weeks with my family. I ate vegetables, and I didn't overdo the snacking, and I took a much-needed nap.

Monday, Noah had a dentist appointment, so I kept him home from daycare, but Tuesday, I made a goal to get back to the gym. One small problem, though: I forgot one of my two sports bras in Connecticut, which isn't a terrible issue because I have needed new sports bras for years: these are the ones I wore when I first started in 2010, at my smallest in 2011-12, throughout my pregnancy, and now. They're stretched out to the point where they chafe the heck out of my underboob (sorry). They're just done, overdue for replacing. So on Tuesday, I went to the Lane Bryant outlet ... only to leave pretty discouraged:

The sports bras were too small (I usually wear a 46 DDD and they only went up to 44 DDD), the workout shorts were ridiculously expensive, and the regular summertime khaki shorts were just awful - unflattering is too polite of a word.

I asked around on Instagram for sports bra advice, then I went home an ordered one from Enell - it should get here tomorrow. In the meantime, I didn't let this be an excuse, and I went to the gym anyway - I just made sure to avoid exercises that would cause too much bounce. On Wednesday I did the stationary bike, and on Thursday I did some of the bike and then walking intervals on the treadmill. I'll likely do that again today, it left me surprisingly sweaty!

So, that's where I am now. I'm ready to just get my stuff together and get out of the 300s again for good. I did okay this past week, and this next week I will try to do even better.


AlisonMK said...

I remember that episode of My 600 lb. Life and what that girl said - it struck me also because some of the people that they feature on that show are in denial and she apparently was not. I hope she continued to do well and I hope you do, too, Mary - I'm rooting for you!

Unknown said...

I buy almost all of my bras on ebay. SO much less expensive and the quality is still good (with rare exception). And you can find any size you could possibly ever need. Right now, as I'm getting ready for nursing again, I'm a 42GG and once my milk supply comes in all the way UGH I'm not looking forward to figuring out what I'll need then. With Piper I think I was a 48JJJ or something like that. Ridiculous. Give it a shot though, take your measurements, and see whats out there :)

Amanda said...

Good for you for facing what happened head on with logic, and getting right back on track. It's so hard to not let the derailing keep going and going.

And I HEAR you on sports bras! I'm a frugal person...ok, just really cheap...and I can't stand spending so much money on bras. I've taken one trainer's advice and I just look for cheap larger sports bras at stores like Walmart or Target or Marshalls, and then I just double them up. It's been really helpful once you really do start to lose and they become unfortunately more floppy. I'll usually wear two sports bras, a tight tech undershirt, and a tshirt. I look really flat, but it helps when horrible things like jumping jacks need to happen. ;)

Amy said...

I totally agree. Negative self-talk is the single worst thing for anyone... it doesn't matter what the number on the scale says, your clothing size, or whatever. I truly TRULY believe that progress can't be made unless it's being made on the inside too.

I think it's great you're finding a lot of healing and help from attending a church.

I think something we both share is the commitment to challenges, and the strict rules that come with them. I've seen you rock and destroy many challenges, from the Whole 30 to the Drop Dead Gorgeous by December from WAAAAY back when I started following your journey.

I really really think you could massively benefit from a personal challenge. A challenge that forces you to change the way you think. When I went to Europe in 2012 I found the book The Magic (the writer of the Power and Secret) and while it's super tacky in many ways, I bought it and it changed my life. It changed the way I think and go about life, and my perception on things. I'm actually about to start the 30 day challenge from the book again, because it's just life changing, and like a Whole 30, you have to do them every once in a while to clean up some things, and I've found myself thinking negatively lately and I know this challenge will help me immensely. I've watched it change lives of family members, and people that have done it, all by shifting the way you think about things in your heart. It's so healing.

Like you've said, you've been on the clean up crew for yourself many times before, but I think maybe taking a new approach to what you're already doing could be life changing for you. I hope you'll consider it! :)

Email me if you have any questions!!

Denise said...

SPORTS BRAS ARE THE WORST. So is losing weight you've already lost. But without disaster cleanup, there can be no new growth. Without disaster cleanup, the mess just piles up and soon you're like an emotional version of Hoarders. It sucks, but it's necessary.

I so, so understand the cycle of negative thinking. I've only recently realized that I've been in it for about ten years or so. I've accepted my thoughts as blind fact instead of damned dirty lies. So now, whenever I have a thought about myself or my appearance, I take a minute and examine if it's true, helpful, or uplifting and then kind of mentally toss it away if not (I understand that the positive thoughts can be lies as well, but I'm fighting one battle at a time).

If there's a thought that kind of sticks with me or I see a pattern emerging, I take some time to write about 1) when I very first thought that way, 2) what feedback I've gotten from others that back up that thought, and 3) whether or not it lines up with what God says. I've only been doing it for like a week, but the word that keeps popping up most is "shame." More introspection needed.

Unknown said...

Holy sticker shock, Batman! Who pays that kind of money for shorts??!? Not me, that's for sure. So discouraging... I can remember a time when LB was reasonable, and they got a lot of my money because of it.
Honestly, I think your head's in a pretty good place at the moment. It's a good start to building a good foundation...so vitally important to this whole process. Support ain't a bad thing, either...and you've got that in abundance!! :-)

Scooter Hussy said...

Congrats on getting right back on plan. One of my mantras during this whole weight loss/get fit thing I'm doing is "Tomorrow never comes." It's moved my brain away from saying I'll workout tomorrow or I'll make good food choices tomorrow. I thought that way for years, thus why I'm 100+ pounds overweight now. Now it's today. I'm doing the right things today.

Christina @ Love Yourself Healthy said...

I struggle with the negative self-talk too... not as much as I did a year ago, but I still have struggles. Mostly with losing weight I've already lost :/ I'm proud of you for doing what you have to do to take care of yourself.

I've had to take a break from my family as well; they live about 5 hours away, and when we first moved I felt like I had to call my dad at least weekly because it just seemed like something I should do. My therapist helped me realize that every time I spoke to him, it just sent me into a tailspin of depression so she recommended the break. For the last 8 months, I have not initiated contact (except on his birthday) and only talk to him when he calls me... so I've probably spoken to him 3 times, including the birthday call. I haven't seen them in a year. I haven't spoken with any of my siblings either, and it's a decision I had to make for myself and my own well-being... some of that "healthy selfishness", if you will ;)

LovelyDreams said...

I'm really struggling with my BED right now, too. It's so incredibly hard. We can do this, though. We really can.

73551CA said...

Good for you for getting right back at it! Let us know how you like the Enell bra. I've thought about ordering one but just couldn't stomach the price!

Rae said...

I have lived champion bras from kphls. 38dd to 32 d!

Glo said...

I totally understand that negative thought process! It's so hard to break free from and honestly I'm still trying to break free from it right now. I'm so very impressed that you got right back to the healthy decisions when you got back from your trip. It's a lot easier to put things off until "tomorrow" but you're not taking the easy road. Keep at it!

Anonymous said...

I am a massive massive fan of the Enell sports bras - they're like armour!

Thank you for posting through all your struggles. It's inspired me to get blogging again and to recommit to actually living healthy. xoxo