February 26, 2016

Back at it

I am SO happy to say that I re-lost every ounce of the five pounds I regained last week, plus another half a pound. I'm proud of how I was able to get back on track after a lot of challenging days this month, and I'm excited to finish out February with another overall loss.

Despite a rough spot in the middle (Noah's daycare was closed Wednesday for impending bad weather that never arrived - I had exams scheduled for all my classes so I had to find a babysitter from 7:15 to 4:15), this was a much easier week. First, because that insane urge to eat everything under the sun was gone. Also, work slowed down again, thankfully, and I was able to catch up on some big projects. And: I stopped counting calories during the day. I'm still tracking what I eat, just not measuring/fixating on small differences.

I have a habit of slipping back into disordered eating patterns - fixating on numbers, binge eating and then restricting to "make up for it." I am eating generally the same things every day - yogurt for breakfast, Lean Cuisine for lunch, plus morning and afternoon snacks - there is no need to get anxious about 10-30 calorie differences between one day and the next. If I'm hungry, I eat - to satisfaction, not fullness. I was at the store feeling anxious because they didn't have any 240 calorie Lean Cuisines, only 270-320, and it made me realize I needed to stop and step back and reevaluate what I was setting myself up for.

Seeking balance has been the greatest challenge of my life the last few years. My transitions have been so extreme. Couch potato, then a gym rat. Super obese, then extremely active. Ate with reckless abandon, then found myself cutting pieces of broccoli in half to make sure it weighed only a certain amount for dinner. Trying to find peace between my extremes is my goal now - health all around, mental included.

My family gets here in one week, and I'm feeling less anxious already. I know I can enjoy an occasional treat without going overboard. And I know I can always find on-plan things to eat out, and if not, I am not going to starve to death if I wait until I get home to eat something. My family doesn't have to approve or agree with what I eat, and I'm going to try to be strong in the face of possible confrontation.

Also, last year when my youngest sister came to visit for Spring break, I ordered us half marathon virtual race medals, and we walked a little every day to make our week-long goal of 13.1 miles. We did it, and she loved it - and my brother was excited about the medal, so they both already asked if this is something we can do again! So that's a fun goal for us to try and reach that week. It may not seem like a lot, but it's a big thing for me - I am so excited to be active with them.

What about you? How are you rounding out this short month? Any active weekend plans?

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.