May 1, 2015

Goals: May

I can't (and also can) believe it is May already.

My semester has ended as far as teaching goes - just grading, exam proctoring, then final grading, and I'm free for at least a few weeks. My summer classes will likely get canceled, which I have decided I would be okay with - as much as I could use some extra money, it would also be nice to have some time this summer to just breathe and try and get my life back a little, fully recover and recuperate before classes start for the fall.

My son is going to be two years old on Wednesday. TWO. How did he become a kid so fast? It feels like yesterday he was my squishy little nugget...


... and today he's this active, hilarious, curious, creative, smart little person.


Every mom I know says "yup, that's how his whole life will feel to you." I miss the little squish, but I am loving where he is right now. He's really so much fun, and I am excited to see how we both grow and develop over the next year.

And - my husband. He's leaving - exactly two weeks from today. I have so many thoughts about it all, and they change from day to day. Sometimes I am nervous and scared, sometimes I am angry, sometimes I am frustrated and stressed, sometimes I am sad. I'm never happy about it, just neutral at best, even though when I step back and look at the bigger picture, I know it's the right choice. It's just a difficult situation, and I'm sure I'll be exploring it more as I embark on this next huge chapter of my journey.

I've been in a difficult place mentally the last few weeks. Completely bipolar, really - extreme highs and lows like I haven't experienced in years. I told Matthew I wanted to separate and dropped a ton of weight in one week - then we started arguing about every stupid little thing, and the weight crept right back on. Right now, I'm where I was on January 1, and I'm trying not to beat myself up about that. I'm about 20 pounds heavier than I was when I delivered Noah two years ago, and I'm trying not to beat myself up about that, either. I was healthy for a while, I was stronger than my addiction. But for the last year or so, I have relapsed. I wouldn't be mad at a friend who relapsed - I'd be supportive and do everything I could to try and help him/her. So I need to show myself the same kindness and mercy.

One bright light in the darkness that I've felt surrounded by for the last few weeks has been going to church, and this past Sunday, I had a very spiritual experience that I will write about soon. I've always tried to keep religion and politics off of this blog - it can be very polarizing and alienating, and that's not my goal here. This blog is my life and my journey to health. I'm not here to preach, just share my experiences. But the experience I had directly relates to my weight loss, and so I'm going to expand upon that in the next few days.

May is going to be ... insane, really. Just completely huge for me. I'm trying to put goals in place so that I don't use my stresses and frustrations as an excuse to fall apart and fall back into my addiction.

  • Track my food on MyFitnessPal - no ifs, ands, or buts.
  • Drink at least 64 oz. of water a day. (I always say 96 and then feel like a failure if some days, I can't finish a third Nalgene.)
  • Work out at least 4x a week, at least 30 minutes each.
  • Blog at least 2x a week, plus a weekly weigh-in. No more hiding.
  • Make a binge jar so that I have alternative activities for when I am tempted to binge.

Nothing that isn't do-able, just need to put in the effort and stay focused - be determined, even when I am not motivated, as they say.

What about you? What are your goals for May?

April 29, 2015

Dreams

Something perhaps a little strange, but also probably not, is that after I lost my weight, I realized that I didn't dream as much. Or maybe I did and didn't remember, which would still be a big change: at my largest, I dreamed in incredible detail, and would wake up to hastily scribble down notes and process it all when I was more conscious.

I'm not terribly smart about science, but I always assumed that the dreaming had to do with what happened to my body at night. At my largest, I would eat a lot, then go to bed - so while my body rested, it was also still working to digest an incredibly high number of calories. My theory was that because my body was still working so hard, my brain kept working too, filling my mind with incredibly detailed thoughts and images while I slept.

The theory was tested as I started to lose weight - my binge eating stopped, and so did the late-night eating. My life was incredibly regimented - breakfast at 8, lunch at 12, snack at 3, gym at 5, dinner at 7, blogging, and then bed. And the dreams tapered off and then ended almost entirely.

Now, as I hold tight to the cliff and try not to entirely free-fall back to rock bottom, the dreams are back, in as much detail as ever.

Last night, after the latest in a series of arguments with my husband as we try to settle our business in South Carolina before he relocates in two weeks, I sat down in front of the TV with cookies and milk, which sounds normal until you start to consider quantities of each. I watched my show, quietly shoveling the food and wondering what it will take for me to stop doing the things that I know hurt me. Then I cleaned up the mess (or, cleared away the evidence) and got myself ready for bed.

I was jolted awake shortly after 5 a.m. with tears in my eyes.

In the dream, I was in a birthing center - however, I was laying on a doctor's examination table in the position I usually sleep in (kind of on my belly/side). I had a large pregnant belly under my hospital gown. I was laboring, and as bizarre as it sounds, I could feel it - I felt the pain in my back and urged the man with me (unknown - but it wasn't Matthew) to hold my hand, that I was having another contraction. A doctor came in to take a heartbeat, and said she can't find one, that we were going to have to go through with delivery, but that the baby was no longer alive.

That was where I woke up, and I'm grateful that my brain gave me the message without the imagery that could've been paired with it. No birth, no grieving or mourning. Just the doctor's news, and then - awake.

Having studied literature in college and graduate school, I'm usually the one my friends turn to when they need a dream interpreted. The interesting thing about dream interpretation is that our brains dream the same way authors of fiction tend to write: full of images that represent greater ideas, actions that have meaning beyond what we see on the surface. Our brains are creative, but not terribly unique - sometimes the meaning of a dream can be personal, but often, the symbols and images are fairly standard, and you can interpret them the same way you would if a character in a book or movie was to see them.

So what, then, does stillbirth mean? For me, right now - a lot. It's me, nurturing something, carrying it close to my heart, and then seeing it be unsuccessful and not come to fruition at the moment when I expected that it would.

It's my marriage.

It's my weight loss.

It's a lot of things that I am grieving right now, even if I didn't see that part of the process in my dream.

I don't want to keep eating poorly to induce these dreams, but I don't want to let go of them, either - at least not to their meaning. I want to listen to what my subconscious is telling me. When I sleep, when my mind is allowed to roam and rest where it knows I need work, dealing with what is most important, this is where it goes.