Monday, July 27, 2009

This just in from Funkville

Monday morning finds me in a bit of a funk. The terrain I travelled this weekend revealed obstacles, ruts, and dangerous neighborhoods, even though I didn't venture more than about 4 miles from home. There were no tornadoes or earthquakes that fractured the ground under me or hurled boulders into my path, but inside my head the skies were ominous and threatening, and my foundation shook. I was back dwelling in the land of crazy eating, obsessive thinking, and self sabotage to such a degree that I was mourning my lapse back to wanton eating and sitting-on-my-ass-on the-couch olympics that hadn't even happened but that I was essentially planning. I literally feel wrung out and emotionally hung over this morning, and I know writing about it will help me recalibrate my meter and reclaim my progress and my process. I've already begun reflecting about how I got myself into such a lather and see that it happened over the course of the week prior.

Last Saturday, the 18th, I had an appointment with the trainer to get a new set of measurements and body composition readings since it had been a full month since I started the Healthy Inspirations program. All my "stats" had improved a lot: weight loss of 12.5 pounds, BMI down to where I'm almost just overweight instead of obese n(yay?), percentage of body fat down, percentage of lean mass up, and loss of actual fat pounds 9.6, with a range of 6-10 lbs right at the top of that range. I also lost a lot of inches spread over all the measured places. This was all good news and I was psyched!

Then...rather than keeping doing what I'd been doing (that was clearly working well) I decided to ramp it all up by eating a little less, exercising a little more, and generally putting the pedal to the medal on this journey to better body and health. Dun da dun dun DUN!!! (read with dramatic melodic emphasis) My crazy obsessive mind decided it's plan (okay, MY plan) was better than the plan that was working, which smacked of sensible moderation and reasonable, sustainable life changes rather than the crash and burn methods of my (up to recent) past. I ate less during the day, exercised more and longer, and then feel bingey at night, which I wasn't able to CONTROL. With each day last week I felt a little achier, a little hungrier, more out of control and less hopeful and optimistic. By Friday night, after really eating too little all day and working out hard, I capitulated to full out binging, resulting in a 2 pound overnight gain (fluid mostly due to salty crap ingested). So Saturday I was going to clean it all up, and while I had a better food day, I walked a 5 mile route near my house that's quite hilly, forgot to bring water, decided to try some interval jogging...and totally burned myself out physically. Yesterday (Sunday) my extra pounds from the day before were gone, BUT my left knee was killing me, I was aching all over and I felt entirely depleted. From there it was a short mind trip to, "I knew I couldn't do this so I'm just not exercising and I'm eating what I want, and I guess this run of healthy living is over". The respite from activity was fine - in fact the sanest action I took all week. But I overate in crescendo fashion during the course of the day, starting out moderately and building gradually to handfuls of cookies and ice cream and several South Beach bars in the evening.

As I write this, I'm acutely aware of my tendency to self-deprecate in a very bad way. I'm thinking of myself of fundamentally flawed, crazy, weak-willed, and disgusting. But I've learned that I don't have to believe everything my head tells me. I'm none of those things, any more than anyone else is. I've worked hard this last month to move more and eat less. The net result to date is excellent progress, and I'm not throwing myself and my progress out with the bathwater because I had a setback this week. I'm still in this and I'm not giving up. I'm going to talk to the trainer at my program today about my aches and tendency to overdo, and I'm going to talk to one of the counselors about my struggles this past week. I'm going to go back to following the guidelines of the program so that patient progress can resume, rather than the jolting stopping and starting and binging and restricting of the past week, and alas, of so much of my life in this arena. To abandon myself and my healthier plan because of one rough spot makes as much sense as starting out on a cross country car trip and quitting when I'm low on gas...just not going any further. Refill, replenish, renew, and move on down the road. I don't have to go back to square one (i.e. regain weight, fat, pounds and inches) in order to stay the course.

This is all intuitive for most folks. Makes plain sense. It does to me too when I remember to check in with myself and see where I really am. Last week, culminating in this past weekend, I was really teetering on the brink of despair and shooting myself in both feet and other essential body parts. Having given up drinking a number of years ago with the help of many friends has given me zillions of life lessons and nuggets of truth. Giving up emotional overeating is a huge deal, like giving up alcohol was. Going for awhile without my default crutch (food now, booze then) is bound to cause some upheaval of my interior landscape, even if I'm not aware of that at first. Habitual continual eating kept me pretty out of touch with what I was feeling at any given moment. The freshness and immediate rewards of my new program gave me a focus for awhile, but as it became a more routine, some squirrels got loose in my brain and started stirring up feelings and thoughts I hadn't experienced for a long time. I expected it, but when it happened I forgot it was likely and I rebooted to that default of shoving in mass quantities of mass calories. But I remember now, and I'm going to be smarter the next time. And at least my emotional eating consisted mostly of better quality stuff!

All the experiences of my life bring me to this moment, and that continues as long as I'm breathing. I'm fortunate to have (in my history) freedom from another devastating and powerful addiction, as well as a huge reservoir of resources and tools that helped me obtain (and receive gratefully!) that freedom. It's all helping me now, as long as I remember to pick up any of the many tools that are there. I can truly say nothing lost, much gained.

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