February 22, 2016

Preparing and planning

A few weeks ago, one of my former students reached out to me. She's an Exercise Science major, and last semester we'd talked a little in my office hours about my history with running. She had said she would be taking the Personal Training class the next semester, and that she'd love to work with me. I'd agreed, but didn't think I'd hear from her again. So I was so excited to get an email from her! First, that she'd remembered talking about it with me, and second, that I'd have this great opportunity to work with a personal trainer for free for six weeks.

The Exercise Science department asks for volunteers every semester, and I volunteered about a year and a half ago. It was a great program, but I was so stressed out at home and was binge eating so much that despite doing hundreds of squats, running and walking on inclined treadmills, and holding planks for several minutes at a time, I ended up gaining four pounds.

I want to do better this time.

I need to.

The class will start right after spring break, which is good. My family is coming to visit over the break, which I am looking forward to, but I am also a little anxious about - mostly because of food. My mom is very loving but also not terribly understanding about some of the frustrating situational specifics for my weight loss struggles. She has already told me I won't be cooking while she is there because my healthy cooking is "gross." She says it often, and as a joke, but it bothers me a lot.

I remember, the year when I lost the weight, she and my brother came to visit, and one day we went to the French market in Chicago. She took this picture of me:

I was holding a macaron - this perfect, delicate French cookie - and mentally trying to assure myself that one little cookie wasn't going to cause me to regain the 135 pounds I had lost at that point.

For a while, I was good with having a small treat and not letting it throw me off. Now, it feels really fragile a lot of the time. When you struggle with disordered eating, a cookie is rarely just a cookie. Sometimes it's a drug - a sedative, something to overdose on so I'll fall asleep and be distracted from my bigger issues. And sometimes, it feels more like a single bullet in the barrel of a gun - never quite sure if I can be okay with "just one" or if it will end up triggering a relapse into my binge eating habits.

Which brings me to this upcoming visit, and how anxious I am already about the food situation. Knowing there will be meals out, knowing I might not be as active, knowing there will be treats ... I'm already a little overwhelmed. I'm trying to not think about it, trying to let them plan so I can just go with the flow and adapt my own needs, but it's tough.

The good news is, I suppose, I'm on my home turf. I know the restaurants, I know what "better" options there are. And there's always the option of not eating out, just making my own food at home. But that's never very well received. I tried that the first Christmas I went home ... I remember, they all ate dinner at a fast food place and I came home and made chickpea and pumpkin soup. I didn't mind what I was/wasn't eating, but my mom did. I think maybe she feels offended, because (now and always) for her, food is love, and it's how she feels she takes care of us best. And when you're working towards recovery with a "food is fuel" mindset, there can be big clashes of opinion.

My challenge is in compromising my needs and her wants, and my wants and her needs. Finding happy mediums. Finding balance. I know it can be done.

I know that even if I do perfectly well that week, I'll be ready once they're gone to get back into a healthy routine, so having the class to look forward to will help a lot. I've also got another goal for myself: the University is offering Parent and Toddler swimming classes, and I've got a few of my friends to sign up together in May. I bought a cute bathing suit at Torrid last year that is about 20 pounds away from fitting ... I want to make consistently good choices until then so I can hopefully wear my suit and enjoy doing something active with my son.


Wii Fit & A Bet said...

Family is hard, my own mother is the same way food=love. You can do it, I will tell you I usually last 3-5 days before losing my will power. Best of luck!

Glo said...

I think your plan of choosing places that you know have healthy options is great and will be really helpful for you. You've got this!

Vickie said...

My kids are now 18, 22, 26. Only one is still home. The older ones are back with assorted family. We have friends who stay with us often. I cook for a lot of different needs (vegetarians, vegans, carnivores, all ages) and what I do is cook things seperately and make a variety. (Honestly I would not try to feed other people pumpkin and chickpea soup. That is probably an acquired taste.)

So I basically cook meat and veggies and regular type starchy veggies and grains so there is sort of something for everyone and we have leftovers. Baked chicken, sweet potatoes, green beans, asparagus, fish, roasted root veggies, lentils/quinoa (if they are used to it) etc. I do not stock my house with junk just because we have company. We always have a lot of fruit and yogurt and eggs and cheese available. We drink water.

We almost never eat out. I do not explain what I eat to anyone. I do not explain what I stock the house with either. It is whole foods with a lot of variety. I do not need their approval nor understanding. And it is not up for discussion. (And what I fed my kids/what my kids ate when they were little was not up for discussion either.)

My mother has never and still does not understand trigger foods. She also does not understand that type2 diabetes is now cultural (not genetic for most families). She also does not understand that her definition of healthy so is not mine. And a lot of other things. She can think whatever she wants. What I need to do for myself and my family is still not up for debate. And it is not up for "just kidding" or snarky or passive aggressive comments either.

There is ALWAYS food in my house that anyone can eat. I do not cook anything (when we have company) that is an acquired taste.

Valerie said...

Mary - Been following your story since near the beginning, and even though I seldom comment, I am always here cheering you on. Your voice is so strong, positive, and hopeful lately, don't let anyone take that away from you, not even your loved ones. You got this. I'm sure of it!

Vickie - Great advice! I actually used to read your blog years ago - believe I just about read it front to back. Although I seldom commented, I loved reading your no nonsense wisdom. I was so sad when your blog went private and I couldn't find a way to reach you! Any chance I could get an invite to your blog so I can read along once again? No worries at all if you are keeping your blog to just friends and family. All the best to you!