Off The Wagon…On The Wagon

No lifestyle change comes effortlessly but it doesn’t have to be hard.

My greatest enemy is my own negative thoughts about myself.  The catastrophic events I imagine in my head are much worse than reality. Feeling fear is much greater than experiencing the very thing I’m afraid of.

A month ago, I fell off the wagon hard.  Further off than I have been in 3 years.  Shortly after celebrating my 3 year “sobriety”, sweets entered my diet regularly again.  Once a week, then twice, then 4 or more.  I went to that deep, dark hopeless place where I am powerless against temptation and there is no way out.  I was imagining there was no one who could help me.  No thought pattern that would work.  Failing was my fate.  Then… I emailed my trainer about it.   I admitted to not logging, as if not taking a picture would somehow mean it didn’t happen.  I shared my inner thoughts, even though when reading my words I felt insane.  She wrote back words of encouragement.  She told me about her struggles and her tendency to compare.  She revealed her insecurities about knowing someone smaller (this from a 5’2 solid rock of a beautiful lady with arms that put Michele Obama’s to SHAME!).  She suggested thinking about how I wanted to feel and asking myself if that particular food would truly make me feel good instead of weight or size.

Somehow, being honest and sharing with another trusted human being helps.  I felt better after sending the email and improved even more after reading her response.  I know that healthy body image comes from inside, not out.  She was another good reminder of that fact.

After only a few days of being back on track, my mood was better, my workouts consistent and my weight was on a downward trend.  I have been told you have to embrace the “process” in recovery.  Such a concept is very difficult to grasp for a performance based workaholic stress addict.  Yet, I see that it works.  By being more concerned with the process, everyday choices, and practicing being aware of thoughts, feelings and experiences in my world RIGHT NOW, I am happy.  I dont’ try to be happy, it just happens.  If I wasn’t attempting to be so aware, I might even miss it because it comes so naturally.  Things just work out.  I can’t explain how but they do.  The disappointments aren’t paralyzing.  The bursts of anger aren’t an unforgiveable death sentence.  They just are what they are. I try to learn from what happened and aim to make a better choice next time.

Today, I ran a 5K as part of a sprint triathlon relay.  My teammates are incredible, hard working, free spirited survivors.  They lift me up, give me strength, and fill my heart with love.

The great thing about completing triathlons as a team is there’s no competition between friends.  It’s not even possible to compare a run time to a bike time or swim time, each are their own sport.  When part of a team, somehow “my best” gets better.  Although ability may always be there, there’s something about knowing that someone is counting on you.  A race is just another workout without people to cheer you on.  I am grateful for the volunteers, friends, and, most of all, my husband who came out to cheer us on today!  You help keep us going!

If you have a desire to race but something is holding you back, sign up for a local event and start training.  Just do it.  Make an attainable goal and accomplish it.  No matter how slow you may go, you’re still doing laps around anyone on the couch.  You are worth it!  Don’t listen to any little voice inside that says “I can’t because…”, you can!

 

From my heart to yours,

Thanks for reading

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Lessons from Children

My husband and I had the chance to perform for SouthSider Studio’s entry in the  711 Theater Project Friday night.  One of our props was a lighted green lantern thingy attached to a headband (my husband had a “red” one too).  I was a good sport and wore my thingy like I was directed even though I wasn’t exactly a fan of the prop.  After our performance, a boy (7 or 8 I’d guess) looked up at me and said “I wish I could have one of those”.  To which I replied, “Do you want mine?”.  His face lit up and he beamed with pride wearing the same prop I’d perceived as dorky.  I find out later his father had told him earlier he couldn’t have it because it was part of the play.  The boy didn’t command me to give him the object.  He didn’t expect he’d get it.  He made a wish and the wish came true.

The next day, I was at a pot luck.  While all the adults were sitting around talking and mindlessly eating, the kids were running around chasing each other.  They ate a little too but were mostly concerned with moving around the yard.  I asked to join in.  The children welcomed me and soon I was the “monster” they were fleeing from as quickly as they could.  It wasn’t long before they established a “base” where they were “safe”.  There was no board meeting to decide what the next action would be.  There was no vote cast as to what the rules should be.  I wasn’t excluded because I didn’t meet the height/weight/gender/race requirement.  Someone had an idea, the best one at the time, and all went with it.  We played some form of chasing game for an hour or more!  When I plopped into bed that night, I felt more tired than after running 20K for Dam to Dam the week before.  Yet, I had no worry about distance covered or calories burned, I was just having fun.

I was reminded of when Jesus said something like ‘I tell you the truth.  Unless you change and become like little children, you will never inherit the kingdom of heaven’.  (Matthew 18:3, I looked it up with a little help from Google)

Heaven to me is a place of utter peace.  No violence, no unrest, just presence.

Children don’t have enough experience to know what’s a “reasonable” request and what isn’t.  They haven’t been burned enough times to feel hopeless.  They just show up.  They wish… sometimes those wishes come true and sometimes they don’t but they don’t close themselves off to possibilites just because something didn’t work out.  Unless some adult who doesn’t know any better has crushed their spirit, they don’t have thoughts like “I don’t deserve that” to keep them from asking for what they want.  They just ask with open hearts.

So, next time you think a kid is asking for too much and being too “wound up”, try letting yourself go a little bit.  Yes, there are times they answer will be “no” and heartbreak is part of life but don’t let those realities crush your spirit.  Don’t lose hope.

Keep asking…keep working in the direction of your dreams, open to possibilites.  Your wishes can come true.

From my heart to yours,

Thanks for reading.

3 years ago today…

Food is my drug of choice.  I can pass on beer, wine, liquors, smokes, no problem.  Ice cream, fries, rice krispie treats (especially the ones with chocolate on top or M&Ms inside), Mike&Ike, Starburst, that’s a different story…

Three years ago today, like an alcoholic recording day 1 of sobriety, I recorded day 1 of my own “food coma sobriety”.  I’d been working a recovery program for about 3 years, was in a great relationship (Still am, thanks, God!), work stress was high but more manageable than it had been, I was starting to worry less about my son…  My sister in law had posted a candid photo of me in an orange and brown flowered dress on Facebook.  I knew what the scale said but I didn’t know I looked like THAT!  I knew I was abusing my body by overeating and also knew that with JUST portion control, it was possible to lose weight (my cat had).  In my journal, I recorded June 4, 2009 as the day I stopped overeating.

Every year since, I have taken time to revisit how far I’ve come, thank God for giving me strength and tools to succeed and celebrating my accomplishments on the anniversary of that day.

This morning, I spent some time reading journal entries from 2004 (first year of recovery journey) and the summer of 2009 (early stages of sustained weight loss).  Common themes back then were self hatred, anger, fear and failure.  Reading some of the entries still brings a heavy feeling in my chest and tightness in my throat.  I was in so much pain.  So conflicted.  So lonely.  So ashamed.  I’m so grateful to have survived all that!

If you are in that place now, I hope my experience gives you encouragement.  You CAN CHANGE!  You DESERVE to be healthy!  Success isn’t just for other people, it’s for you too.

I reached a healthy weight by November 2009 and have maintained that weight within 7lbs since that time.  I am not perfect.  I have eaten more than I need on several days in the past 3 years but not consistently.  I get off track; I get back on track.  I refuse to beat myself up about what I’ve done in the past.  Every minute is a fresh start, a chance to make a better choice.

My philosophy is I workout to live, I don’t live to workout.  I aim to eat more healthy than unhealthy.  I like me.  I accept me…wrinkles and stretch marks too.  I’m not without faults and I’ve stopped trying so hard to be.  I want to keep being a better person.  Tomorrow, I aim to make better choices than I did today.  My best at this moment is enough.

I still see a professional, certified, trainer 1-2 times a month.  I might not forever but I still need the accountability.  I need someone to reach out to for advice that I trust and is educated.  The way I see it, personal trainer bills are cheaper than doctor/medication bills from continuing down a self-destructive path.   The fear of weight coming back is getting less intense although I aim to keep where I have been fresh enough I don’t get over confident and lose my way.

From my heart to yours,

thanks for reading