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.

June 16, 2015

Home again

Not much new to report from the homefront. Noah and I made it safely back to South Carolina a few days ago, and I got right back on track with eating healthy and chugging water. At three 32 oz. Nalgenes a day, I'd say that one day's drinking is more water than I drank the whole time I was in Connecticut. We made a very healthy menu for the week, made a trip to the grocery store, and have been doing fairly well so far (not yet back to the gym, we had a dentist appointment yesterday and today ... I'll write about that later). I weighed in when we got back (yikes), and while I'm sure I will still be up from my pre-trip weight, I'm hoping to at least put a dent in it before my official weigh-in on Friday.

There were a few days when we got out and did a few fun and active things, which was good. We loaded up the jogging stroller and went with my dad to a state park...

... took my mom to a rose garden in Hartford, and even went out on my mom's boyfriend's boat. I wasn't going to do it, because I was self-conscious about my size. (I thought I would sink the boat. It's an actual boat, not a canoe or a kayak. Completely illogical, but that's disordered thinking for you.)

It's funny how things have changed in the last few years. I visited them right before I found out I was pregnant, and didn't think twice about getting into a bathing suit, slipping on a life vest, and tubing behind the boat.

I saw a great quote a while ago: comparison is the thief of joy. And it couldn't be more true. I compare myself too much, not only to other people and their stories, but to my past self at varying stages on my unique journey. I'm not at my smallest, but I'm not at my biggest either. I get mad at myself for the former, when I should be motivated by and proud of the latter. I'm in transition in a lot of ways, and even though I know it's counterproductive, I keep letting myself be discouraged by self-directed anger and regret.

Overall, the trip wasn't what I had expected, and not really in a good way. It was really kind of exhausting, both physically and emotionally. Besides the usual family stuff, it's just a lot of traveling for just me and a very rambunctious two year old. I know my family has other considerations that make it more difficult for them to travel, but at the same time, I'm frustrated by having to bear the burdens of travel every single time.

And: it was hard being there without Matt - as much as he always made it difficult in his own way, there were enough good times to make him feel missed this time around. I ended up breaking my own rule of limiting our texting (he's notorious for overdoing it with texting, and when he left last month, I asked him to respect my need to heal privately for a little while), and he even called me one day when I was particularly upset.

So, for a lot of reasons, I'll be staying in South Carolina for a while. I love my family so much, but something that made me successful with my weight loss the first time around was a commitment to what I called "healthy selfishness." I made choices consistent with my goals, regardless of what was more fun or more popular. I stayed home a lot instead of going out to dinner or to a bar after work. I went to the gym, even when the weather was terrible. I made the best possible food choices, even when what I craved was something unhealthy. In South Carolina, I cried myself to sleep over eating PB&J for dinner - but in Connecticut, I don't think twice about saying yes when I am offered dessert after an already heavy meal. Something about that place makes me completely forget what I want for myself long-term. I make some good choices there, but not consistently, and right now, that's what I need, badly. I need to be consistent in my efforts and I need to have a strong foundation of progress before I head back into those tempting situations.