Sunday, October 24, 2010

Count Me In!

I'm realizing lately how much I've counted myself out of. I've found myself saying I couldn't do this, couldn't be that, ought not to try the other. I've told myself I'm too fat and/or too old. Isn't that sad?

Yesterday I sketched out a list of all those things I've said "no" to (at least most of the time) "because" of my weight or my age. Here is the list:

  • Looking pretty
  • Feeling pretty
  • Dressing nicely
  • Running
  • Exercising intensely and regularly
  • Keeping my hair bleached blonde
  • Short hair cuts
  • Showing off arms or legs
  • Dancing (seriously? I LOVE dancing! Why don't I do it more?)
  • Jumping on the trampoline
  • Playing nearly any physical game
  • Thinking well of myself
  • Treating myself well
  • Eating well
  • Being able to eat just one of something
  • Thinking I can ever change
  • Being a model for my kids
  • Being able to achieve this goal, or most goals
  • Feeling sexy
  • Dressing sexy
  • Acting sexy
  • Sitting on most seats without worrying if they'll hold me
  • Being comfortable on airplanes
  • Being worried about fitting into amusement park seats
  • Being "normal"
  • Believing people like me just as I am
  • Thinking I can be like most people (size-wise - I kind of prize my weirdness)
Well, no more. I cannot change my age. I might not be able to change my weight as much as I would like (although I'm working on it). But I can change my poisonous thinking, starting today.

What has brought about this strong desire to permanently eradicate this mindset? First it was taking care of my face and wearing a little bit of make-up again. I didn't really initiate those things so much on my own; they're a result of a neighbor starting up a Mary Kay business, and me wanting to support her. And of having her say she thinks I'm prettier than I let myself be. That was kind of eye-opening to me. And what I'm learning on the days when I actually "do my face" - either just cleaning it well or adding make-up to it - is that I DO feel prettier when I take care of myself. Duh.

I'd read a few years ago about a woman who decided to love herself unconditionally, large girth and all, and started by rubbing lotion into her legs every night and praising them for all they did for her. That was it. Every night, loving actions and loving words toward herself - and apparently she lost more than 100 pounds. I'm experiencing a little bit of that self-love when I take care of my face. Now I just need to do it every day!

As for my body - yes, I have had hurtful things said to me. Most from my childhood, though, if I'm honest about it. People have made judgments about it, and I've certainly felt the sting of rejection from being too big. But NONE of those words, judgments, or rejections have been as harsh or as frequent as what I've done to myself, and still do to myself daily. That will stop. I wouldn't want my daughter or son to talk to themselves in such a way, so why would I think it was O.K. for me to? And self-criticism and condemnation rarely bring about positive change, they just bring about punitive, destructive behavior. I don't want that anymore.

I may never get to a size most other people would consider normal, but I can get to a better size. I will not get any younger, but I can take care of what I have and show it off to its best potential.

There are days when I will do better at this, and days when I might not. That's O.K. But when it comes to my own life, from now on: COUNT ME IN!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

And I Ran... I Ran So Far Away...

O.K., not really. It was more like a slow jog, and it certainly wasn't far - maybe a third of a lap at a time, sometimes half. One whole one at the end, just to prove I could. And I did. I ran.

For most people, this is probably no big deal, especially such a short distance at a time. For me, it's huge. I'm not a runner. I've never been remotely interested in running. What I mostly remember about running in childhood is being embarrassed that I was always the slowest one in the 600m gym class race (which I usually ended up mostly walking). So embarrassed that I've HATED running ever since.

My husband's a runner and has been so for years. He claims he doesn't like it, but I just don't buy that someone can really dislike it that much and still do it for 3+ hours a week, every week. I enjoy watching HIM run (*insert eyebrow waggle here*), but have always figured it was not for me. After all, I'm a Big Girl. Big girls don't run. Do they?

Lately I've been mulling over trying to run, just a little bit, but when I'm thinner, of course. Maybe when I'm under 200 pounds. I certainly can't do it now. Right? But this morning at the gym, I don't know what happened - I walking along just fine, at the beginning of my 3 mile walk, and suddenly felt like running. It took me 3 more laps to get over my self-consciousness; the track at my gym goes around all the fitness equipment and the aerobics room, so people can and often do glance at those of us using it. I didn't want people watching me run. I didn't want them noticing my butt bouncing up and down, or the weight on my back moving in rhythm to my music. I didn't want anyone making fun of me for only jogging a little bit at a time, or for jogging so slowly.

O.K., in reality I know no one is really interested in me enough there to do any of those things. They're all concentrating on their own bodies. And hopefully if they saw me running, they might momentarily think, "Hey, good for her, she's trying to run!" But boy, was it hard to break through the nerves. Britney helped me, though. Who, you ask? Britney Spears, of course. "Toxic" came on my mp3 player - one of my favorites from her, but one whose beat is too fast for me to walk to. So I ran!

And for several more laps, I alternated running when I felt like it and fast walking. I have to tell you, I felt so awesome! I don't know if the beta-endorphins were from the jogging or the joy of having overcome my own self-consciousness, and I don't care! Because I felt wonderful! Powerful! Capable!

I started fantasizing about running an actual mile. Then I started daydreaming about a half-marathon. Then I laughed at myself and realized the goal for now is one foot in front of the other, one step at a time.

We'll see how my knees feel tomorrow. But right now, *I* feel great.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Out of the Mouth of Babes (In this case, Eleanor)...

Ellie and I were driving on South Main Street in Harrisonburg today when suddenly she yelled, "I want dat house!" Looking around and seeing mostly businesses, I asked, "Which house?" "DAT one," she said excitedly. "The one wiff da pink and da BARBIE on it!"

Bwah ha ha. She was referring to Pamela's Secrets. The somewhat run-down white house with pink trim on it, with a sign that features, yes, a rather Barbie-doll looking blonde woman with big hooters. It's an "adult novelty" store.

Oh, Barbie. If you only knew. It cracked me up completely, I have to say. Although Ellie couldn't quite comprehend why I was chortling with glee.

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Ain't That A Kick In the Head? (Everybody Sing!)

This has been a rough week. I've been sick all week with an extremely nasty head cold that has me wishing to run away, and 2 children who are cutting me no slack and lending me almost no empathy. Yes, they're 4 and 9, so I know they don't really "get" it, but c'mon - does mommy really need EXTRA fits and behavioral issues this week? And O.K., yes, I admit I've been reacting to them much more than I've been parenting. I haven't behaved much better than they have on some occasions. But it's just made it such a crummy week and I just want to hide and run away. 

Usually, since I can't *really* run away (at least not without risk to my marriage and the chances of Child Protective Services getting involved), I run figuratively and escape - into food. This would be the kind of day on which I'd like to drown my sorrows in chocolate. Or ice cream. Or donuts. Or whatever else is around. It gives me 5 minutes of escape, 5 minutes of release. It lets me stuff down all these uncomfortable feelings, even if just for a little bit. And of course it lets me move the focus of what's really eating me (kids I can't stand, the realization that many times I just don't want to be a parent, even though apparently I have to since I birthed these kids out of my own body. Stupid me. Etc, etc.) onto what I'm eating - or at least the familiar feelings of the food cycle - binge, feel happy, feel full, feel guilty, feel angry, focus all the bad feelings on my body, blame the body, etc). 

Yes, it's all textbook. Yes, I've read it all before. But I know today that escape cycle is true - because it's NOT what I'm doing. Instead of going face down into the food, I'm left floating in these very uncomfortable feelings. And I don't like it. I don't like being angry at my kids. I don't like resenting them. I don't like wishing I weren't a parent. I don't like wanting to escape from everything as if I *were* a kid. I don't like that I feel as if my kids are selfish entitled brats, and then wonder if the same title couldn't be applied to me when I feel as if it's O.K. to escape the situation, the feelings, the what-have-you. 

So there's where I am today: really, really, really wanting to drown my sorrows in food. But somewhere, somehow knowing that doing so just drowns the rest of me, too - in unneeded calories and, eventually, in unwanted fat. So I guess I can't do it today. 

The other kick, the smaller but funnier one in the face of all of this, is I lost less than a pound this week. As if I should expect more, when I've been sick as a dog and not exercising. When I've lost 10 in the past 3 weeks, a sign it's about time for my body to slow down. As if it should matter - aren't I in this for the long haul? Don't know I know it will take time? That some weeks I may lose more, some less, but I just have to keep on keepin' on? Sure, I know it all logically. But instead I find myself angry at the scale today. A week like this, and all I get is one measly pound? The attitude *should* be one of gratitude - a pound? Really? During a tough week like this? Wow, I'm lower than I've been in 3 years! 

But instead of that attitude of gratitude, which I truly want to cultivate, I'm sitting here grouchy and angry, wanting the food and mad that I can't have it, wanting to throw a tantrum and run away and basically act like the selfish, overly-entitled child I've accused my kids of being this week. Pot, meet kettle. 

Monday, October 11, 2010


I have been on Zoloft since Ellie's birth in May of 2006 and my subsequent free-fall back into post-partum anxiety and depression - the same mess I experienced after Jefferson's birth in January 2001. (Can you see why I don't want more kids? I and my marriage can't take all of that again!)

Recently I decided to wean myself off of it. Why? I'm not 100% sure. I'm absolutely in favor of people who struggle with anxiety and depression seeking help, in whatever form they need it in - counseling, medications, whatever. Because living with anxiety and depression is no way to live. And I'm in no way ashamed to admit I struggle with those two things or to admit that I take meds for it.

Still, I've been wondering what I would be like without it. After all, I was on Serzone for a few years after Jefferson came along, but chose to go off when we wanted to get pregnant again. I didn't notice a huge difference. My mom said she did. So who knows? But I don't think the effect was as apparent as in the first few months of post-baby panic.

Today marks day 5 of being completely off it, after having weaned down to a half a dose for the past month or so. I haven't had any major withdrawal symptoms, as far as I know. I am cranky and irritable, but that's in part because I either have a cold or allergies right now. But I don't feel as if I'm any bitchier than I was when I was on it. I guess I should ask around. I do feel as though I've been too short-tempered with my kids, but, ahem, I've felt that way for months - so is that the lack of medication, or is that parenting?

Anyway, it's not that I'm not willing to take it. But I want to see if I can boost my own serotonin production through exercising. And in 2 weeks, once I think the Zoloft is mostly gone, I'm going to try 5-HTP, which supposedly helps create more serotonin (rather than just blocking the serotonin from being reabsorbed as quickly, as the SSRI's do), and see where it leads.

Am I nuts? Maybe. I just hope I have the perspective, or others around me do, to figure out if this is a good move, or a bad move. What I do know is that I don't have the high anxiety levels or immense feelings of worry/sadness/fear/hopelessness/anxiety that I had in the 6 months after my babies came along. That's something, right?

But seriously, am I nuts?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Fall Down 7(0) Times, Get Up 8(0).

Whoops. Since starting back to trying to watch my food intake 2 weeks ago, I had my first binge this evening. I am making cookies for a friend in L.A. who won a little FB competition I had. I was going to make pumpkin bread for a local winner (much harder to binge on unless I cut into the loaves), but decided on cookies for Kendra since she lives across the country. Only, duh, cookie dough is one of my major red light binge foods. 

I thought it might not be a problem because I'm coming down with a cold and wasn't feeling particularly hungry. O.K., next time the Queen of Denial needs to admit that's what she was doing - thinking in Denial. Because the minute I got some dough onto my fingers, I ate it. (And washed my hands, no worries for Kendra!) And then I scooped some dough onto the cookie sheets, and some dough into my fingers for me to eat. Dang. I think I ate at least 10 scoops. Maybe more. 

And boy is it hard to pull out of a binge once I enter that nosedive. I saw it for what it was. I knew I was bingeing. But just as quickly, I had the Guilt Devil and the Temptation Devil sitting on my shoulders yelling into my ears: "You blew it! But you've already had some, go ahead and have some more." And as I was trying to convince the Devils that part of the lesson this time around is learning how to get back up RIGHT AWAY after I fall, rather than floundering around in the muck and chocolate, well, their voices overrode mine for the next 3 or 4 scoops. 

And then... And then I stopped. I did stop. There are still mounds of cookie dough sitting on the cookie sheets on top of the stove, waiting to be placed into the oven, and I'm not eating them. Yes, I ate 10. But I STOPPED. I'm getting up. Guilt is still trying to drag me down into the muck, and boy, he's one strong Devil. But I'm stronger. Good-bye, guilt. You serve no purpose. Good-bye, temptation. You beat me for a few minutes, but I'm getting back on the horse. 

Fall down 7 times, get up 8. 

Friday, October 1, 2010

Jeff: "Dad, do you have any money?"
Dad: "Nah, I have nothing in my wallet."
Jeff: "Do you want to borrow some money?"
Dad: "What?"
Jeff, practically with an eyebrow waggle: "Because I charge INTEREST!"

Oh, the boy is a true Tjaden.