Monday, November 30, 2009

Anti-progress or Fear of Success?

"Overdue Business Part 2 - the second award", will have to wait until tomorrow because I have other fish to fry here today. God, is there no end my food metaphors!? Maybe my eating/bingeing defect really is an entity physically embedded in my brain, given how everything I say seems to contain ladles full of food words! See? There it is again.

I got on the scale this morning to survey the damage sustained by my body during the 6 day trip to Chicago that was peppered with several binge days, 2 clean food days, and one marginal food day. I expected it to be bad. I even told myself I may have lapsed back into the land of 2s - hundreds that is, but didn't really think it possible, as I was 193.7 the morning of the day we left. But I was preparing myself for a worst that was surely impossible, so when the number was bad, (but not THAT bad), I'd be relieved. Does that make sense? Well, hold onto your hats...

Here it is: 201.4. I've had been in onederland since... (long trip back through my archive to discover when it was I officially left the 2s "for the last time")late August. Boy, the reality of my situation is unfolding for me as I sit here typing. Not just for this return to the larger century (which I expect will turn around overnight or in 2 days at most if I keep on track now), but also the jolt that though I have been 192 at the lowest, for most of the 3 months since dipping into onederland I've been between 195 and 198. So this reflects virtually no real progress. No continued movement in the right direction. A lengthy plateau clumsily crafted by repeated bingeing, or on my better "bad" days, simple overeating. Bottom line - what the fu*k am I doing?

I've glibly posted about the self-designed plateau many times, always determining to blast through with steely determination and hard work. But when it comes to those attributes, I've missed the boat. Hell, I haven't gotten to the pier. Please don't tell me to not beat myself up about this. I'm not beating myself up. I'm facing the stark reality that when it comes to enduring the uncomfortableness of food obsession and compulsion when it hits, I cave about 3/5 of the time, or 3-4 days a week on average. My brief dips into the lower 190s that happen when I have just a few sane consecutive days clearly illustrate that I CAN lose weight. My body performs well in this realm, when given the chance.

I saw a comment Vickie (from Baby Steps V) wrote today on Diane's (Fit To The Finish) blog about 3 questions she asks herself when moving through the world trying to eat and live sanely with food: 1)"What do I mean to be doing?" 2)"What am I doing?" 3)"Is it working?" These are fantastic questions, and what comes to mind is that what I am doing works when I work it. But I have to work it, do it, stay the course every day. Not 3-4 days a week. In AA literature there is a statement, "Half measures avail us nothing." Damn straight, and the textbook object lesson of that statement is evident in reviewing my status since late August. Half measures = no, or at best, marginal results.

I freaking want to stop this bullshitting around. Right now I want to stop it. I won't have a food obsession today most likely, and if I do I know I can get through it because of what the scale revealed to me today. But that pattern of eating to the scale has plagued me, and been written about a lot by me, for months. I have to stop it. I want to stop it. The harsh scale reading calls me to determination and strength of purpose today. But a couple days in, the scale goes back to acceptable territory and I start getting fuzzy again about what I really want. To be lean and healthy, or the Tastykakes that are screaming out to me from the grocery shelf. WHY??!! I truly don't feel I have deep dark pathologic secrets buried within that make me psychologically unable to persevere through tough food obsessed days. But I can't seem to do it over the long haul. At least not yet. I'm sick of confessing this shit over and over and then doing the same things over and over, necessitating more confessing...what an ugly and scary conundrum in which I find myself - again.

Is if fear of success? Fear of the unknown? Weak will? How many times have I asked myself these questions on this blog? I feel like the poster child for "DON'T LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOU". I HAVE gotten through tough food-obsessed days. Why not every tough day? I really wonder about my motivation and determination. When I read other blogs, it seems other folks are doing this, and with gusto. With excitement and enthusiasm that sustains over the long haul. Longer than over the 2 days it takes to knock off a few pounds from the last "episode".

I'm up for suggestions or even tough, mean love. Or tough mean like, if you don't know me that well. What am I missing here? Referring back to Diane's blog again today (Fit To The Finish)(, she writes about "How did you decide"...regarding not just what plan to use, what program, or book, or method, or brand of elliptical trainer, but also how did you decide to finally do it? Lose the weight. Once and for all. And stick with it. Maybe I haven't done that yet. I feel like I have, but when I decide to eat 2 scones from Starbucks and a grande pumpkin latte in one sitting (in the car on this recent trip), where only my husband is there to notice, though if he does he doesn't say anything, being the good Alanon-er he is), fully aware that I'm choosing to go "out of control" for the rest of the day; I have to think that I really haven't "decided".

For the 17 trillionth time, I'm saying this is it. Today is the first day of the rest of my better self who acts on her own behalf and always with her well-being at the forefront of all decisions and actions. I want it now. I'm just starting to wonder if I want it later.

Sorry for another ever so slightly toxic brain elimination. One thing for sure, I feel humbled by my seeming powerlessness about this, even though my heart of hearts is crying out to me that I'm not powerless. And I'm humbled by all of you who are doing it each day, and bouncing back after backslides. I guess in that sense, I'm doing it too; but it seems I'm backsliding way more than stepping ahead. So I must keep my focus on this day only. No despairing thoughts to the food laden month ahead. My AA sponsor says to me that even Christmas is just another day. Of course it is, so why self destruct for the entire month, and beyond. Each day is just another "one day at a time", and will bring unknown delights and struggles. Victories and defeats. Disappointments and happy surprises. And sometimes just mundane work-a-day stuff.

Once again I say, Heaven help me.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Overdue business! Part 1

We're home after a 15 - you heard me - 15 HOUR drive from Chicago to Philly in post holiday traffic. 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. The first 9 hours were a breeze - no traffic, nice conversation with hubby, some reading, knitting and listening to Shanghai Girls on CD (which is great so far!). Hubby definitely humored me with this particular book on CD, which I'd already started listening to before the trip. Anyway, things on the highway went slowly downhill (figuratively ONLY!) once we hit the PA turnpike, which was an essential parking lot for several hours, and midway through traversing the parking lot portion of the drive, the dog threw up in the car! Total groan and ugh. At least we had pulled into a service plaza, so were able to exact paper towels and extra water for cleaning up as best we could. Eventually the highway logjam opened up, and the last 2 hours were smooth sailing. We ate what I prepared, plus a few extra things like some pretzels and string cheese I got at a rest stop. Again, I thank Vickie at Baby steps V for the suggestion to prepare ahead. I feel so much better after the trip home than I did after the trip there! I'm glad to be home and feel ready and enthusiastic to resume my best weight loss efforts.

Over the last month, 3 different bloggers gave me awards (2 for the same one), and I've been very lax in addressing these awards, passing them on, and expressing my gratitude.

The first was given to me by Lori-ann at Amazon Runner, and Katie J at Katie J Is On Her Way, and is this:

I'm so grateful to Lori-ann and Katie J for including me as a recipient of this award. As best I can tell, it is for those who love to craft the written word in blog form; in other words, most of us who scribble our thoughts and words and hearts out in our respective cubicles of blogland. It is with pleasure that I describe it and pass it on to other deserving bloggers. Here are the rules:

Each recipient must pass the award on to five other deserving bloggers.

Each Superior Scribbler must link back to the author and the name of the blog from whom they received the award.

Each Superior Scribbler must display the award on his or her blog, and link to, which explains the award.

Each blogger who wins the Superior Scribbler award must visit the page noted above and add his or her name to the Mr Linky List. That way, the originator of the award will be able to keep track of everyone who receives it.

And finally, each superior scribbler must post these rules on his or her blog.

I'd like to pass this award to:

Bethany at The Great Reduction
Jodie at The Overweight Life
Karen at Mom,Me and Alzheimers
Vickie at Baby Steps V
Tammy at From Fat to Fab

I try to read a ton of blogs, and all I read are inspiring and heartfelt. I always feel everyone who's blog has helped me even one little time, in other words, virtually every one I read, deserves an award. Please feel free to retrieve this for your own if you're not a recipient. I also tried to give it to those who don't already have it!

It's now 11 p.m. and I'm bushed, so the second award will have to wait for tomorrow. It's wonderful to be home after a lovely visit with one of our sons. And it's wonderful to anticipate getting cracking on 266's Christmas Challenge for which I signed on. Monday, bring it on. I'm ready and determined to have a good week.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Wouldn't know normal if it kicked me in the A$$!

Yaaay! Back to blogging, at least for a little while here. Being away so much and having limited internet access is driving me up the wall, which means everyone around me is being driven up the moi. Blogging on a daily basis really helps me destress, debrief, and de-crazy myself. It's part of the routine that has worked pretty well for me since June when I began this journey down the scale towards health and wellness.

It feels like I've been out of synch from that routine for the whole month of November, and looking ahead I see that isn't likely to change, given the month of December and all it brings! And what will it be bringing this year (besides the obvious)?

1. Arthroscopic knee surgery for me on the 4th, which I'm READY for because my knee is getting more jacked up by the day! The sooner it's fixed, the sooner I can get back to my REAL workouts, which are essential for my body and also my wacky head! It has occurred to me in the last few days that one of the big changes I've faced in the last 6-8 weeks is having to severely curtail my workouts due to my knee pain. Of course that has effected my mental and emotional status, given how many hours I was exercising each week.

2. Our youngest son, 21 year old Mark, will be returning from his fall semester that he spent in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He'll get home December 12, and be there until he returns to Atlanta for his spring semester back at Emory University, in mid January. I absolutely can't wait to see him and have him home. He's a great kid, with a wicked sense of humor like his mom. We spar constantly, driving my husband slightly nuts. It wil be wonderful to have him home, but a big change for my empty nester self.

3. Already several holiday parties are on the calendar, including one I'm having for my AA women friends. Good stuff, more challenges.

4. Daughter Jean comes home from the DR for Christmas on the 24th, and Stephen (who we're with in Chicago as I type) will get home probably the same day. The nest will be packed to the rafters like it was a few years back. It will be great and action packed. And not exactly peaceful...but in a good way. And a stressful way.

5. Christmas itself, with all that encompasses throughout the month. And also challenging to my "routine".

I put "routine" in quotes because at the beginning of this post, I noted that mine had been interrupted and altered due to circumstances for awhile. Well, apparently my new normal is going to be interruption of routine. As in "not normal". All this weekend in Chicago I've been saying to myself, "Hang on...we'll be home Sunday night and it'll be back to normal!" HAH! There is no normal because life is uncertain, busy, messy and rich with, well, life. I have to adjust to the prevailing winds - they are natural forces which I can't change. What I can change is myself and how I adjust my sails to the endless shifting of currents around me.

I wrote in my last post about having some bad eating episodes since getting in the car to drive to Chicago. The bottom line is that I had a 3 day relapse with some of the craziest eating I've had in a long time. Tuesday. Wednesday. Thursday. With each mouthful, my thinking and mood got darker and suckier. I really contemplated just giving up the whole diet/exerise effort until January - "when things got back to normal." But blogging helped me YET AGAIN. This time not just from being 1/4 honest about the extent to which I'd backslid, but from the comments I received. Mainly people telling me to hang in there, and to keep posting, and even to have a good time with my husband and son! In my small miserable space of self hatred over eating, I had sort of forgotten that! I wasn't being all miserable with them, but I wasn't my usual upbeat self, either. My world had shrunk back to "poor destined-to-be-fat-forever me" in 3 short days.

Also, Vickie, from Baby Steps V suggested that I pack food for the drive home (all 13 hours of it!) - not just snacks...meels too. Long car rides have historically been bad binge triggers for me, out of boredom and the delayed gratification of having to wait all those hours to get where I can't wait to be. Or something. Who knows the deep psychlogical reasons? And if I did know, the knowledge would avail me nothing if I didn't take action anyway. I thought Vickie's tip was excellent, and I'm going to do it. I have all the stuff to put together food for the journey for hubby and me. He's thrilled, because this will likely save us a few $$!

Friday and today have been good food days, and I'm feel my equilibrium returning. My vision of and desire for a leaner healthier Leslie is coming back into focus. But for those few days, I had lost sight of my dream. And I see that it happened not before I started caving in to overeating, but as a result of it. The onslaught of sugar, carbs and empty calories muddied my thinking and my goals for myself. Almost like a biochemically induced self diminishing. It's pretty scary to see that happen; but I hope that the clear knowledge of how the food changed my thinking so substantially and in such a short time will become another weapon in my arsenal against the innerbinge-er, who apparently still thinks she's gonna win this battle! Well, you're on notice, binge-bitch. You're goin' down, and the sooner the better.

Finally, I've recently been given 2 lovely awards from wonderful blog friends. I will address them in my next post, which will be from home Sunday night. I'm so grateful for them and want to give them the time they deserve. But for tonight, I needed to rant and rave, and confess, yet again, my transgressions against self. Sure wish this would be the last time I'd have to do this! Thank you all again for the endless presence, support and wisdom.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving meanderings

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! My husband and I are in Chicago with our 22 y/o son
Stephen, who happens to be the only one of our offspring who is currently residing in the United States. He had to work last night, and will also have to work at 6 a.m. on Black Friday morning, so it made sense that we travel to him on the holiday. We'll be having Thanksgiving dinner with a cousin of my husband's and his wife at their home in Oak Park, a close in suburb of Chicago. It should be nice, relaxing and quiet, all of which work well for me.

I haven't posted for a few days because we've been on the road driving to Chicago, plus my laptop has been totally messed up in the keyboarding realm. That obviously is not conducive to stream-of-conscious blogging. I spent an hour on the phone with Dell this morning getting it "fixed", and it still isn't quite right. I've only had this laptop 7 weeks and it's been one frustration after another. Makes me nervous and unhappy after such a large investment of time and money. There's clearly more phone negotiating underway.

This will be short, but I wanted to post something since it's been so long. My food has been pretty bad the last 2 days, because I fell into some old bad behavior of eating while on a long car trip. It's been totally out of boredom, and with awareness that I'm treating my body like a garbage pail. Lot's of junk at every gas and rest stop. I can feel the gradual building of a sugar fog, and even feel kind of doughy in the middle. I have no idea of my weight and can't imagine I've done too much damage in just 2 days, but I hate feeling out of control. It feels scary and familiar in a way that I want to stop as soon as possible. I have no idea what to expect of the Thanksgiving dinner we'll have today, though I'm sure it'll contain less calorie and fat laden content than what I usually prepare! I love cooking this traditional holiday meal, and have certain favorites my family consider command performances. It's probaby just as well that another cook will be at the helm today. I intend to enjoy today without guilt and try to start where I am tomorrow.

I mainly want to wish all my dear blog friends and wonderful holiday, including those of you who don't celebrate Thanksgiving! I feel incredibly blessed this year, even though it is the first one since we've had kids where the 5 of us aren't together. We're all healthy and in good places, and we will be together for Christmas in a few short weeks. Bless all of you abundantly! Sorry this isn't as brimming with gratitude as I genuinely feel. I know my underlying negativity today is a function of my out of control eating an I don't want that attitude any more than I want the physical effects of overeating. Back on track as soon as possible, even at dinner today, which is where we're going right now! Take care, eeybody!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Avoiding temptation vs. accepting and dealing with it

Monday morning finds me glad that it's Monday...TGIM! Part of the reason is that this weekend afforded me way too many opportunities to eat too much. I wasn't crazy, but there seemed to be lots of good food at every event and locale I attended. There's even a certain AA meeting that I decided last week I have to stop attending because they always have a smorgasboard of sweets, and no matter how determined I am prior to walking into the room, I end up having something, which often leads to something else. It wouldn't have to lead to something else, but with me it does. I know this about myself, accept it, and therefore can take necessary action on my own behalf IF I CHOOSE TO. And I do chose to.

Amy H, of No To The Deuce, had a great post about this today that got me thinking about it all. She even mentioned an alcohol connection where a friend of hers in early alcohol recovery didn't attended a certain function because there would be alcohol served and many folks would be drinking. I know all about this, given my 18+ years of AA recovery. Especially in the early days, or even years of giving up booze, an excellent tool for staying sober is to avoid situations where booze is part of the mix. Even if fellow attendees are having but one drink or so, it can be a real trigger for someone trying not to drink. Besides just seeing people loosening up over the hours after a drinky poo or 2, an atmosphere with alcohol is a potential hotbed of conflicting confusing temptations and emotions for a recovering alcoholic. It's a wonderful tool to simply stay away if one is feeling vulnerable. "When in doubt, leave it out." Some events are command performances, like weddings, funerals, retirement parties, office holiday gatherings...the list is endless. If you have to show up, have an escape hatch, like one's own car in which to get out of dodge if one starts feeling squirrely. Very smart strategy.

Amy points out that it's different with food. Do we really have to stay away from parties and events because there might be something good to eat? It's such a good question, and again brings up the importance of knowing ourselves and our tendencies, or addictions in some cases. It rather sucks to think that there are certain events that are essentially food based, whether originally intended to be or not. Sad but true that Thanksgiving has taken on this dubious distinction. I need only walk up the hall of my work place and see bulletin boards decorated for the holiday that don't mention Thanksgiving...they say instead, "Happy Turkey Day!" Yeah, and happy stuffing, yams, casseroles, breads, gravy, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, creamed onions and assorted pies and cakes day.

I hear myself speak about this as though viewing it from a place of sanity and possible sad judgement, "Too bad society has bastardized a holiday about gratitude and family by making it all about food. Tsk, tsk". Let me assure you, plenty more than just holidays are essentially all about food in my life, else I wouldn't have a weightloss blog, a 25 year history of eating disordered behaviors and dimpled thighs! But obviously it isn't just parties, special occasions and holidays that fall prey to the "about food" designation".

For the food addict I am, anything over the course of a day can become about the comfort, warm fuzziness, the softening of harshness of tough feelings, and blunting of emotions and serious living issues that food so readily provides many of us. Booze IS different. You don't ever have to drink a drop again and you will not only be fine, but your life will unfold in miraculous ways that are unimaginable to a newly sober person. But we have to eat to exist. We don't have to abuse nutrient empty calorie and chemical dense food, but we have to ingest nutritional substance in order to be healthy and well and function optimally. The beast must be let out of its cage 3-5 times a day (depending on your food plan!)

And so it is that wrestling with addictive or emotional eating is at its core a head game. There are no failsafe tactics with which to deal with a sudden craving or the unexpected appearance of our favorite junk food item. Each day presents its own challenges. Some days are easy - feelings of gnawing empty stomach hunger are bearable, even embraceable. Just saying no to the first compulsive bite is (sorry) a piece of cake. Other days it seems that food thoughts prevail over all reality and each non-bingeing moment is a struggle from the moment we open our eyes. On such days, if a food situation looms ahead (like an eatin' meetin' as they call it in AA), I can decide to stay away so I'm not faced with "to eat or not to eat" as a question. But generally speaking, I'm not likely to avoid events because I "might overeat". Maybe I should? Sometimes I do, if it's a dispensable situation.

It does get tiresome at times. I wish I could just be normal with food. All the time - not just when I'm visiting the DR, or when I'm under the influence of general anesthesia. I wish one bite of a savory morsel could stay just bite; rather than morphing into the equivalent of the first drink of alcohol where all bets are off as to the outcome of the indulgence. This is what I mean when I talk about making peace with food. In the DR, I several times drank freshly made fuit juice with sugar in it. It was delicious, and I could have drunk 5 gallon containers of it left to my own devices. But given the circumstance where a glass or at most 2 were offered, and then we were on our way, the juice didn't set off that reaction of total obsession in the mind to GET MORE OF SAME OR SIMILAR. Nor did I worry about that happening, nor feel guilty about enjoying it. Because I experienced that so recently, I'm still wondrous over it as it was such a departure from ye olde default setting!

Two years ago, I attended a 12 step program for eating called Food Addicts In Recovery. I lasted exactly 2 months with them, because their strategy was extremely rigid in all aspects, from meeting attendance to every morsel put in one's body. You had to call a sponsor every morning and talk for 15 minutes about your feelings. You also had to list all your food for the day ahead. If you ended up dropping an apple during the day you were going to eat on the subway platform and it was crushed by an incoming train, necessitating you to instead eat an orange, it was considered a relapse unless you called your sponsor first to report and discuss it. When I asked why such rigidity, my mirthless lifeless orange-haired sponsor said, "We keep the food black and white so we can live our lives in color." Oh, really? Well that's f'ed up, so bye bye. It has to be the gentle head game of making the best choice in each moment of how I'm going to treat my body, mind and spirit. There's no perfect abstinence with food, so patient progress and learning to stop beating myself for my imperfections will have to be the way.

Friday, November 20, 2009

A New Strategery (thanks SNL)

I'm jumping on my first blog related band wagon, by signing on for's Christmas Challenge. Never one to blaze or even find my own trail, I stumbled upon this at Amy H's post today, where Amy declared her intention to take this challenge put out by 266, and decided this is just what I need to help myself stay on track and continue with my weightloss during the food-laden holiday season.

Since my post yesterday about not turning back on this journey, I've been thinking about goal setting, and stating said goals on the blog. I did that once a month or so back, but then didn't really follow through on most of my plans. I kept on doing what I'd been doing, which consisted of having 2 or 3 clean eating days, and then an evening or 2 of bingeing. Our trip to the DR and the normal eating that ensued for those 10 days really broke something lose inside me, and I'm ready to continue. So if you're interested, check out the link (which I don't know how to do, so with my blog you have to copy and paste it).

This challenge is going to run from Saturday Nov. 21st through Saturday December 26th, and basically you state your goal of where you'd like to be by G-day, and stay accountable throughout the time.

My goal: today I weighed 193 pounds. Don't know why up one from yesterday, but that's life. Anyway, on December 26th I want to weigh 188. If I'm less than that, I'll suffer it to be so! Knowing my body, if I stick to my program and don't binge, I can easily lose 10. I'm lucky that way, even post-menopausally. This ultra slow weightloss I've been experiencing has everything to do with my shoddy eating habits, not a sluggish constitution.
Also, I am going to do something physical each day during the time, either upper body aerobic, or strength training/Pilates type movements. I have the knee surgery on December 4th which will likely slow my walking and elliptical efforts for a bit, though the doc says the more I do (within reason) the quicker I'll heal and get back to my pre-injury status.

Those are my goals. I'm going to post them on the sidebar somehow under the Challenge Badge and update them weekly.

Next I want to briefly say that after my perky cheerleader post of yesterday (GO LESLIE! LOSE IT! MOVE IT! DO IT! RAH RAH!), I've been having a lot of food thoughts today. Maybe because it's Friday, or because I have 2 consecutive days of no overeating. Maybe because I get scared when I really put my desires, intentions and truth out there as I did yesterday. But at 11:45 this morning, one of the classrooms was baking something that smelled heavenly (this happened last Friday, too) and I started thinking, "I just need a day to eat what I want." Then came the mental mudiness that so readily emerges when eating thoughts start to percolate..."Yeah, I'm ready, but one day won't really matter"...and a thousand similar ones that so easily knock me off my square and muck up my clear intentions and desires to lose this weight and get where I want to be.

Today I employed Nancy's Reagan's First Lady Anti Drug strategy to myself, saying, "Just Say No." I paused to see what was going on in my wittle heart that was making me feel food-ish. I pondered how happy it would make me to shove a bunch of sugar and refined carbs into my mouth - happy for about as long as it would take to masticate and swallow. And then off to the races I'd go. I'm not doing it today. NO MATTER WHAT. But isn't it interesting that with all the determination brewing yesterday, the old instincts pop right back up? It's easier to stay binge-free than get binge-free. And I only have to do it today.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


I'm feeling much better today, in all the realms that were running on empty about which I wrote on my last post. I had a great food day yesterday, a good venting of negative mind murk via the blog, and many kind, friendly and supportive comments to said post. My head feels blessedly clear and calm and I'm renewed with motivation, energy and anticipation of continuing this journey to improved body, mind and spirit. My weight was 192 this morning, same as when I returned from the DR last week. I'm satisfied, as it was bouncing up as high 196 after the binge-y weekend. This is the lowest I've weighed in about 22 years, and after beaching myself in the mid to high 190's for several months, I'm at last sensing a readiness to venture into lower territory. More on that in a moment.

This morning, I didn't do my usual routine of getting up by 5 and out of the house by 6:20, entirely ready for work, to go to an awesome daily 7 a.m. AA meeting that is a regular haunt of mine. I decided to stay home, have a slower paced awakening, and putter around the house with husband and dog before work. It was so therapeutic and afforded me an extra 2 hours of space. I definitely tend to be an activity junkie, flitting from one thing to the next over the hours of the day. This is yet another way I avoid stumbling into the surprise of stillness in which my thoughts and feelings become much more available and apparent to me in the present moment. Like drinking used to be. And eating for other than nourishment has always been. I don't want that avoidance of self anymore. But old habits (and addictions) die hard.

Back to my spacious morning...with no plan, I walked into my closet after breakfast and started removing items that no longer fit. Pants that now look like clown pants that I've been reticent to take to Goodwill, "in case". Tops that are sacky looking. Things I haven't worn because they make me look heavier than I am. At the end of 20 minutes, I had a large Macy's bag stuffed with "escape hatch" clothes that no longer make the cut to be in my closet. In my past efforts at weight loss, I dared not recycle the inventory because I knew I'd need to have them when the inevitable weight gain that followed every loss attempt happened.

Not this time. I'm not going back. If I never lose another ounce, I'm not going back. I'm in this for the duration, and not only am I not going to do the scale creep up again, I'm going to continue on the downhill path. And this is where my thoughts are today.

A blog friend commented to me via email recently that it seemed a real change was occurring in my psyche regarding readiness to venture into the unknown of a new self image and identity that doesn't include Leslie as a fat woman. (I expanded on what she noticed in my posts following the DR trip.) She's right. On the surface it's a no brainer that Fat Girl Wants To Be Thinner. But all the emotional, mental and life-issues baggage that have accumulated over a lifetime and dwell within complicate the picture. Yes, I have wanted to lose weight. And yes, at a very deep level I've known that there were significant emotional obstacles to be met and negotiated before the weight was really going to stop serving me in some way.

I've abused food since I was able to go to the corner store at age 6. I would have a quarter, which afforded me the capacity to buy 5 separate candy items (like a Hershey bar, Reese's Cup, snickers, gumdrops and maybe a pack of lifesavers) and on the walk home, I'd eat every bite of every piece I'd bought. And these were full size candy bars/packs that in 1960 cost 5 cents a piece! The friends I "shopped" with never ate more than one of their stash, if even a whole unit. Being an active kid, the weight didn't get to be a problem for a long time - even through nursing school and beyond. But my eating capacity was legendary from my earliest days. Once at a family-style mountain restaurant in Dahlonega, Georgia, a man sitting next to me commented, "You shore do eat a lot for such a little thang!" Yup.

Drinking came along during nursing school that further enabled me to keep life baggage and feelings of not fitting into the universe at bay. A life strategy of stuffing my essence before it reached up and pulled me under. Marriage, kids, busy life, nursing in the fast line spent frantically avoiding pitfalls within my soul that I didn't understand were even there.

At age 38, I started going to AA and ultimately got sober, and that has very slo-o-o-o-w-ly set me on the path of heading toward the light, rather than away from it. Where I am today is a direct result of beginning the sober journey and finally growing up and daring to face myself. At a glacial pace, but always with progress. Putting down booze was a cakewalk compared to ending my eating disordered patterns, and stopping drinking was HARD. In AA, they say that the only "thing" you have to change is "everything". Long, slow, hard, endlessly rewarding. Layers upon layers slough away with the sanding tools provided by the 12 steps of the AA program and other suggestions of the program that surface over time.

So it's been with the eating, and obviously still is for me a lot of the time. But I'm feeling a major growth spurt underway, an emotional seismic shift that assures me that who I am today will not be lost if I lose some of the physical armour I've been hiding in. I will be able to live into whatever comes up for my perusal about the state of my personal union using the many resources available to me in all areas of my life.

I've been thin and clueless - totally unevolved and unaware.
I've been thin and drunk and all the above.
I've been fat, and all of the above
I've gotten sober and begun evolving into my truest best self - fat
I have been given an amazing rich full life - fat.
I've NEVER been a together adult with an amazing life at a healthy and fit weight.

I'm ready, and believe it's time. For me, this is first and foremost a spiritual journey, and essentially a headgame. I'm here for the long haul. And I'm tickled pink about it.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Running on fumes

Today my emotional, mental and spiritual resources feel stretched and thready at best. Full of holes. I'm sensing a "poor me" post brewing, and ask your forgiveness and patience at the outset. My wonderful blog friends always extend much grace, support and kindness to me under any and all circumstances; but I think it only fair to issue the warning as means of a disclaimer because when I'm in a funk, I feel bad about myself and that I don't deserve to take up air time with whiny bullsh*t.

First, I have a headache that started yesterday afternoon. It's not bad, and I know it's related to the sinus infection for which I'm still on an antibiotic and a taper of Prednisone. Ahh, just dawned that I'm at the lowest end of a gradual decreasing dose of Prednisone, which is likely smacking my psyche around a bit. Steroids'll do that, big time. Second, I'm still endlessly frustrated about yesterday's lost words. WTF? Why did this bother me so much? It's ancient history that will effect not one iota of anything ever. Believe me, I'm trying to let it go.

Third on my laundry list of the Poor Me's is that I found out this morning that a good friend in AA who's a couple years older than me has squamous cell cancer at the lowest end of the colon - similar to what Farrah Fawcett had. My friend is in a good place for now about it - waiting to get CAT Scan results to see if there is abdominal involvement. So far they think they have discovered it very early. Just writing about this makes me cry - partly because of what my friend is facing, and partly over judging myself for being funky about the minor little annoyances in my life. I know and would tell anyone else that on any given day, your stuff is your stuff and you feel how you feel. Judging oneself harshly for feeling how one feels is just not productive. But my friend would happily take my headache and lost post over what she's dealing with.

Fourth is that I saw the orthopedic doc yesterday and set up my L knee arthroscopy for December 4th. I'm not really worried or upset about it, but there are a million things I need to do before - like get pre-op clearance, an EKG because I'm ancient, and some simple bloodwork. The doctor's office gave me instructions in a way that clearly evidenced their total disbelief in my ability to follow through with the requests. I'm a freakin' nurse for pete's sake - I know the drill. Why do health care workers have to be so miserable and talk down to patients? With God as my witness, I never treat patients or friends like that. The woman doesn't know me from Adam but her pre-op spiel for me was literally dripping with contempt. Hey - it just dawned on me that maybe she just found out a good friend has cancer or something. Maybe I should extend a little grace her way?

Finally, though in my post yesterday detailing the one that got away (the brilliant-er post that is) I noted that at least I didn't feel myself slipping into my default setting of Binge When Life Not Fair...well, I ended up overeating a lot yesterday afternoon and evening. Maybe not a binge (oh yes hell it WAS), but over the top consumption of food and sweets - that accomplished nothing. What I needed could not possibly be supplied by cake, nuts and chips. But my inner binge-er's cage apparently got rattled from the minutiae of the day. Recall that I had a bad eating weekend about which I groused on Sunday. I had a clean Monday, but once that inner binge-er has asserted her influence even one time, she thinks she's calling the shots again. She's an opportunistic little wench that sits on my shoulder doing push-ups, strengthening herself for my weakening. And the weakening - the mundane challenges of day to day life, even the heady successes - do come and can contribute to my vulnerability. The weakening.

There's a saying in AA: "It's easier to stay sober than to get sober." This has endless relevance for all recovering alcoholics, but especially those in early days of new found sobriety and peace after the heaviness of an alcoholic existence. Things are going well, and then something happens: a wedding, a death, a loss, a work issue, or even just a sudden desire to drink that comes from out of the blue. Many folks do relapse a few times before this adage sinks in, and find that once a relapse happens, it gets just a little harder to do it the next time. Stopping drinking the first time is almost always easier than stopping subsequent times, because the mechanisms of obsession and compulsion get more firmly entrenched and resistant to change. And that's definitely the same with food addiction and bingeing.

I had those 12 or so days of sane and peaceful eating while on vacation. It felt great. Upon return to my real life, a few stressors (and a good potluck!) found me letting the tiger out of the cage "just a little", and once the first round of overeating went down, the next became more likely. NOT INEVITABLE. But more likely. Tuesday's petty annoyances primed me for further bad choices. And I hate the way bingeing makes me feel in every realm. Physical. Emotional. Mental. Spiritual.

Today I feel strong and am strong. I'm not going to overeat or undereat. I'm writing down what I eat, I'm striving to let go of baggage that isn't that heavy in the first place. And I'm telling on myself, yet again. I want to feel clear headed, light and peaceful. I want to be useful, loving and connected. I want to feel my feelings and come closer to my truest self. Bingeing obliterates all that.

I just read Tammy's (From Fat to Fab) post for today about her heading a binge off at the pass - before it began but definitely after the instinct to eat had hit. She was feeling grateful for the insight and determination and hard work that enabled her to see the compulsion through without acting on it. I've had that happen, though it didn't happen yesterday. But it's there for me and taking hold in ways that feel new and different. The newness of purpose and motivation I've felt of late were part of my lost post. But the attributes didn't go with the post. Things are changing within my interior for which I'm really grateful.

So writing this out has restored some of my equilibrium...a virtual recalibration, if you will. Thanks to all my blog friends for your support, wisdom, kindness and occasionally calling me on my crap! I need every bit of it.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Trying to Retrieve the Essence

This is not my original post for today. I have tried to redo what already was germinated from within my noggin, heart and soul to no avail. I feel wrung out, empty, and cosmically wronged by the techno-marvel that is my desk top computer at work. Even worse, by my own wanton carelessness. Let me explain.

Something just happened that hasn't before since I've been blogging. I had just finished a long post that I felt fantastic about, one fueled by raw emotion and inspiration that my writing process occasionally (and thankfully) affords me. Thoughts and phrases came up from my core and out through my fingertips I had no idea were present or simmering below the surface. My muse was engaged in her easy chair and had granted me access to some of my finest writing to date (please recognize subtle tongue-in-cheek delivery here, while knowing it all feels true!). And then I hit something on the keyboard, and it disappeared. The whole brilliant post. GONE. After a frantic 30 minutes searching for the post in every nook and cranny of this #%$&*@!ing machine and all it's many niches, I had to give it up. It feels big - like I'll never retrieve those words that expressed my heart so accurately. How can I go on?

Whoa Nelly! Talk about an attack of EGO in it's basest form! Yeah, I wrote a post I liked. It was fine. But it didn't contain the key to ending global warming, the formula for the ultimate cancer cure, or a proposal to end world hunger. Truth be told, my plan to take over the world (ala Pinky and the Brain) wasn't even included. But my reaction was of UTTER DEVASTATION. HA! Somewhere in the 9th Step of the 12-step program of AA (and its many offshoot groups) is the phrase "errant nonsense", that refers to our screwed up notions about ourselves and life and all therein on any given day. See the previous paragraph for textbook definition and object lesson of "errant nonsense".

After this sequence of utter frustration and resultant pissed-off-ness by me (translate anger), I figured I'd just have to do a rewrite - hoping for some of the magnificence of the previous effort. Yeah - more errant nonsense. I stared at the screen, retyped the brilliant title, and nothing came. The emotional dissonance that often precedes and then prompts decent writing from yours truly had already been dissipated by the original exercise of typing it all out as it flowed through my channels. And I'm left (or really you guys are left, tee hee) with this tale of abject loss.

Good news - I didn't feel like eating a cake over this. Not even a bag of fritos. I'm learning to not take myself and dumb luck, good or bad, so seriously. That isn't my default setting, to be sure. But learning to just accept what is does lead to a more peaceful day to day existence through the minutiae. Becuase after all, "it" already is what it is. There's only so much controlling of the universe I can exact as one woman at any given moment.

So today's post was going to be about changes - deep changes, that I feel are at hand in my psyche. What it turns out to be about can be best summed up by my favorite piece of AA wisdom, the Serenity Prayer:

God, grant me the Serenity
To accept the things I cannot change...
Courage to change the things I can,
And Wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as the pathway to peace.
Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it.
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His will.
That I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with Him forever in the next.

Attributed to Reinhold Neibuhr

Wow - even if you don't believe in "He", this is powerful brain fodder. And maybe
today's lost brilliance will revisit me in a dream and present itself for further exploration. But it already is what it is, and will unfold as it will. It always does.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A binge unfolds

Wha-a-a? That's a crazy title, huh? What it means is that over the last couple of days, I've felt myself slipping back into some disordered thinking, and worse, disordered eating. Upon returning from the trip and finding myself at a new low weight on this journey, not to mention writing about the relative peace of normal eating on vacation, I found myself starting to restrict my food intake. Just a little the first day back, then a little more on Thursday, and by Friday I was feeling quite depleted and empty. EMPTY and tired.

At the crux were a couple of things:
1) I was ready to fast forward this weight loss. Eat less, lose more. Eat next to nothing - even faster. I dabbled with anorexic eating many (28+) years ago, as well as laxative and diuretic purging. Believe it or not, I never became bulimic because I couldn't make myself throw up. Of course I'm glad about that now, but back in those days my eating was screwy in many and varied ways different from its screw-up-ness of today. Yet those restrictive notions were working on me this past week.
2) I knew I had a party a friend's house Friday evening to celebrate a gal's 1 year AA anniversary, and I realized I'd been planning to tie on the feed bag in a major way for the event. This group of women can cook some good food, and when I got honest, it was clear I'd been eating too little for a couple of days in preparation for major consumption of mass quantities of all not nailed down during and after said party. Stupid crazy behavior that I know doesn't work, and generally am able to avoid in my current incarnation.

So here is the Friday sequence that unfolded into my first binge eating in several weeks. By lunch time Friday I was ravenous - truly empty-stomach hungry. I had brought a sane lunch, which I ate, but it didn't "do it" for me. In a couple of the classrooms, the staff had done cooking projects yielding some decadent sweets, which I staunchly resisted and declined. Until I didn't. And finally, about 1:30 in the afternoon, I wandered down the hall to one particular room and asked if they had any of their confections left...I had one small 2 inch square of something, and the switch flipped. The rest of the afternoon, then on into the evening at the gathering, and even after I came home, I ate. Healthy delicious dishes alternating with heavy desserts, handfuls of nuts...on and on. A bona-fide frenzy of out of control eating. Interesting is that during the party, friends who hadn't seen me for a while were commenting on how they could see I'd lost even more weight! "Ha", I thought - "and I'm in the process of packing it back on in this very moment."

I woke up Saturday feeling surprisingly okay given the onslaught of food my body had sustained the night before. I felt the episode was over, and the binge "out of my system". But again, I restricted my food all day (attempting to compensate for yesterday's iniquities is rarely a successful venture), keeping intake very bland and austere. After a sane dinner, I started making repeated trips to the kitchen foraging for anything with which to concoct something tasty. I keep no junk around anymore. So in order to do too much damage, I'd have had to either get very creative, or go on a food run. Thankfully I was feeling too lazy to go out, but I did manage to eat too many nuts, some toast with butter and Trader Joe's Pumpkin butter ('s amazing!), and a piece of cheese. It was not a bad episode because of the limits provided by empty cabinets and lazy self.

I wasn't going to confess all this bullsh*t because I want to sound better and saner than I feel. But again, what good does withholding my truth do me? I think I'm okay today - I've gotten in 2 walks (despite the achy knee...I figure it's going to be surgically fixed in a matter of weeks, so resuming some walking is safe within reason) and have eaten sanely. No crazy restricting. But the thoughts of not eating keep popping up. Damn! I'm sick of having an eating disordered mind. I've just written about what eating too little led me to over the last 2 days, and still I'm tempted to try and not eat.

The biggest reason I'm writing about this is that I want to keep this day sane. Eat healthfully. Resume my short-lived truce with food of the last couple of weeks where we peacefully co-existed. Just this day. It's back to one moment at a time for now. But hopefully I will note tomorrow on my blog that I got through yesterday (today) without falling back through the binge chute.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

I'm feeling a little Dominican!

Thought I'd use the weekend posts for putting up some pictures from our trip. This first batch is mainly our first couple of days of flying in, seeing Jean and her apartment, and meeting some of the locals who have literally adopted Jean (and subsequently us) into their circles of family, hospitality and love.

Above, first siting of official Dominican Republic terra firma!

First view of Jean - looking very Peace Corps chic with her cotton skirt. When I commented on it, she said, "Mom, I wore this because I knew you'd think that!" She knows me well!

Mom and Jean after lo-o-o-n-g happy hug. Tom was seeing to the rental car.

Jean and my first grandchild, Wally, having a brief love fest on her mosquiteroed bed.

Wally exercising anti-malarial strategy napping under the mosquitero...
A close friend of Jean's, along with her two daughters stopped in to meet the parents during our first hours at Jean's apartment.

Jean and her friend Freddie (Frederenka) from Germany. Freddie is in Janico for a year doing a volunteer project with a water management effort. She and Jean comprise the entire blonde caucasian population of Janico, and have become wonderful friends. Freddie's English is better than mine!
First morning, Jean jumped up a cooked us a big pot of Dominican oatmeal. Delicious! Much better than Quaker :D

Jean in front of steps that lead up to her casa. We were setting out to watch her teach an ESL class at the high school.

Heading off to the liceo through the streets of Janico.

Lots of vistas of rooftops everywhere, due to extreme hilliness of the terrain.

That mountain peak was climbed by the 3 of us the next morning, and yielded some lovely pics!

Jean in front of the school. She was greeted by numerous students who seemed to know her well.

Little nuclear family at the school.

Classroom scenes...where Jean goes - Wally goes. Note him sporting a bolero that was given to him by one of Jean's students! (It was a little tight for his Dominican physique.)

More class activity...

and note the attentive student with the long tail at the head of the class!

In addition to ESL, she also teaches Computer skills in this lab.

Jean with her slightly vertically challenged holst mom Esmeralda (black top) and her host sister, Fanny. Jean lived with this family for the first 3 months in Janico. Their hospitality and generous spirit was exceeded only by the love they also extended to Jean's padres (us!)

Jean and Daniella, her host niece (Fanny's daughter) - an adorable sprite with a deep twinkle in her eye. She and Jean are BFFs!

The first meal prepared for us by Esmeralda - amazing local fare of rice, beans, chicken, salad, avacado, corn cakes, broccoli and cauliflower fixed some Dominican way. These folks would have fixed every meal for us if we'd have let them.

Neighbors of Esmeralda, and another "surrogate" family of Jean's.

On the way home after our feast at Esmeralda's, we had this chance encounter with some amigos playing Monopoly!

Typical sidewalk views while walking through town.

Common Dominican flora - Plaintain trees!

That's all for now. I'll try to put up a few photos sampling some mountain views and countryside, but the more I look at my pictures, the more I see how inadequate their portrayal of the beauty of this country is! Some of it will just have to reside in my memory.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Oh My Achin' Knee!!!

"Get out of town!", I said to the doctor when he told me in the last half hour that I have a torn medial miniscus of the left knee. No wonder it's been hurting! I'm glad I pushed for the MRI, but have to admit I wasn't expecting something so KNEE-ish. I was expecting that maybe I'd need some PT for a strain, if even that; but the doc said it needs arthroscopic surgery! If I knew how to insert a frowny face, this is where I'd put it. I don't think it will be a big deal, but won't know the full scoop until I go for an appointment next Tuesday to get the details and find out what kind of time I'll need to carve out. Unexpected, but in the general scheme of things, I know this is small potatoes. It is my potatoes, however, and so will need some acceptance and reasonableness on my part to negotiate it all without undoing all the good I've accomplished with weightloss and exercise to date.

I really put the knee through some rigors on the DR trip, and it held up pretty well under the influence of Ibuprofen 600 mg 3x/day. Now I'm on Prednisone for a bad sinus infection (along with an antibx), so the knee feels close to normal...steroids rock for their general inflammation busting properties. But I swear, since I hung up from speaking with the doc, it's hurting. Mind over matter is a real thing!

I'd had plans to try and walk my beloved Ridley Creek State Park 5 mile loop this weekend, but now think I'll back burner that plan until I know if it would be prudent to do long walks prior to surgery.

So, that's my story, and I guess I have to stick with it! Details to follow...and the first round of trip pix.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Re-entry into the ordinary life - Weight update too!

Finally I'm sitting down to get off at least a brief post to get back in the groove of blogging. I've been missing my daily fixes of writing and reading in blogdom and have been itching to get back, but have felt so emotionally, physically and mentally overwhelmed that I haven't known where to begin! It's around 12:30 p.m. Thursday, and we've been home since 6 p.m. Tuesday. The last few days of our trip found me feeling okay but tired, with very little voice, and not sleeping well for any number of reasons including not being able to breathe through my nose at all and coughing for hours at night! It was hard to say goodbye to Jean, though Tom and I were both looking forward to getting back to civilization as we know it, as well as to friends and routines that serve as the matrix for day to day existence. Life has been rich, full, and at fast tilt and it will take time for me to internalize and process the amazing journey from which we've returned.

Anyhoo - I spent yesterday doing laundry, getting groceries, going to the doctor (and happily getting 2 big-gun prescriptions to treat a rauchy sinus infection), picking up the CD of my knee MRI done just before we left to take to the ortho doc so he could look at the images before talking to me about it, getting back to my dear AA...just a zillion errands and details and reconnections. I didn't sleep much at all the first night home - excitement, sick, who knows why - by yesterday I was so blurry minded in my activity junkie mode that I couldn't remember Tom's work phone number! Eventually it came to me, but it was at that point in the afternoon I realized I probably shouldn't be driving around anymore because I might take a wrong turn and end up in east Jepip.

Today I'm beginning to feel like myself. Better physically, clear-headed, more rested, and my hair looks the best it's looked since we left for our trip! I'm back to work, and was greeted like a beloved family member returning from war - they were glad to have their nurse back, and I was/am glad to see everyone and be here. I've started loading pictures into the computer, and will probably post some in my next post. I take pictures like I eat potato chips - one is not enough. Neither is the whole bag. About 270 pictures, I think. Don't worry, I'll only post some key ones here, but Facebook may have to increase their web strength to house the many phases of DR albums I'm posting!

Given that this blog is first and foremost about my weightloss journey to fit-terness, I do have some news from the food front. I posted from vacation that while we were eating lots of delicious local fare, we also were walking, hiking, up and down hills, and at no time overeating. No bingeing during my time in the DR - no nighttime eating (the bane of my existence) or snacking. I didn't try to restrict my intake or say no to fresh made juice because it had - da dum!!! sugar in it. I just enjoyed what was served. It was effortless - I wasn't scheming and conniving ways to stockpile coconut patties and Dominican junkfood to consume in clandestine fashion while the family's backs were turned. There's no other way than to just say this: I ate normally. Food was a pleasure but not the focus. Pretty radical.

Over the course of the time, as my number of binge free days added up, I intuitively knew I was on solid ground, and taking up a couple less pounds of its gravity. I felt it somehow, though my clothes didn't change their drape or fit. On the day we flew back - I did end up eating some salty crap during a 4 hour layover in Miami, and then had cookies at an AA meeting that night. Yesterday morning when I got up I saw that my socks (to keep my wittle toes warm in the night) had left a light impression in my ankes so knew not to get on the scale due to fluid retention. But I had a clean food day yesterday, made an amazing beef and vegetable stew for dinner with a big salad, and when I got up this morning and hopped on the scale, it said 192 pounds. That's the lowest I've been. WOOT! When I left for the DR on 11/2, I was 194. I expect another clean day may rid my body of even more accumulated water weight. So I feel really good about dropping a couple more pounds without really working at it. I also feel very motivated and enthusiastic to get back to my routines of food prep and exercise. I should find out the scoop on my knee today or tomorrow, but it felt pretty good the whole trip. Now that I'm on prednisone for the sinus infection (I know, water retention can result), it feels perfect. Ahhh - the miracles of anti-inflammatory agents!

All in all, I feel remarkably grateful and content in this moment. We had a wonderful visit with our amazing daughter. She's a remarkable young woman (had to force myself to not call her "a kid") who is fully engaged and assimilated to her life in a third world country and is thrilled to be there. She's a fixture in her town, with many friends and surrogate families who also welcomed and opened their homes to us during our visit. She loves and is loved. We know that she is safe and solidly watched out for by many generous, kind people. It kind of makes a mom proud.

Rest assured you will see and hear much more about our visit. But for now, all is well.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

¿An obsessed non-Domincan?

I'm sitting in Jean's computer lab at her liceo (high school) while she does some work, and after horsing around on facebook for a bit and given Jean has more to do, I thought I'd do a quick post.

We're having a wonderful time, and my mind and heart are so full of impressions, experiences and thoughts that it would take months to chronicle even a portion of the total. But given the promised brevity of this post, I thought I´d talk about my food and eating and the related emotional detritus that has unfolded during our time in the DR thus far. This blog is, afterall, about my journey to fitness and weightloss.

My daughter has no scale, and also did not inherit her mother's food issues. She's healthy and lean and has a normal relationship with food. Within minutes of running into each others' arms at the Santo Domingo Airport last Monday, she noted my weightloss and congratulated me. Soon after, (Tom was seeing to the rental car) we asked someone to take our picture, and upon seeing it I whined, "How can I look so fat after losing so much weight?" (I'll post pictures once back in the states.) Jean rolled her eyes but had the good sense to say nothing. Wednesday late morning, less than 48 hours after we arrived and just following an ambitious climb to the top of the highest mountain peak in Janico (Jean's town)and the subsequent descent, I reported to Tom and Jean's uninterested ears that I could really feel the muscles in my hips from the workout. This prompted Jean to say to me, "Mom, I'm not trying to hurt your feelings or be critical, but you are obsessed with food and dieting." Offended (not really), I staunchly replied that my comment was merely noting that my body felt the results of our epic climb and not a commentary about food, weight or dieting. She said, well maybe not this time, but you've talked about it a lot. Harumph! I have not said one more word about it since. Cross my heart and hope to die.

But I have thought about it. (Yeah, she totally busted me.) It's now Saturday late afternoon, and I have not binged at all, in any way since we've been here and it feels great. I also haven't restricted my intake in any way. We've had incredible meals at the homes of some of her Dominican friends where the family members watch closely to make sure you're eating enough. Ahh-mazing food. Lots of fresh avacado, beans, rice, chicken, salad and vegetables prepared in Dominican style, washed down by utterly delicious fresh fruit juices made with whatever fruit is on hand. And lots of bottled water. Lots. We've also had also had a few meals out including one today at TGIFridays (in a neighboring city) to give Jean a welcome dose of American cuisine. We've walked a lot, including a lot of hills. I've eaten to full, but never stuffed. And we've skipped dinner when we had big midday meals and just had some dried apricots or something. So I have no idea of where my weight is, and there isn't much to do but surrender it to the universe. I've been moderate. No eating between meals. It'll be interesting to see the results of normal binge-free eating.

It's just occurred to me that I've just written a blog post essentially about food and eating while I'm on holiday in the Domincan Republic. Maybe I am still a bit obsessed. Darn that Jean for calling me on my sh*t! This has been an experience that has overwhelmed all of our senses, and will provide fodder for my writing for a long time to come. I expect you'll be hearing about it, smile smile.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Hola Amigos

Just a fast post to say we arrived safely and are esconced in Jean's lovely casa in the beautiful town of Janico. Small village surrounded by green lush mountains peppered with palm trees! Worlds colliding in a remarkable way.

I've already taken many pics and it's only a little before noon Tuesday! All is well - beyond well, in fact. My nervousness and uncertainty have been banished by the friendly and welcoming neighbors, friends and students of Jeans that we have met. Jean is wonderful and we had a long teary hug at the airport. Hugs to all.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Be back soon!

This will be my last post before the big departure for the Dominican Republic. I'm as ready as I'm going to be. I have enough reading material to carry me through a Siberian winter. I have a knitting project that is small, lightweight and portable ...socks. The passport is secured in my new travel purse/tote I found for $39.00 at TJMax yesterday. My IPOD is full to capacity of the best music that's ever been conceived or composed. I probably won't read a word, knit a stitch or listen to a song, but it's part of my personal comfort package! Then there is a whole suitcase dedicated to things Jean asked me to bring, plus stuff I've been picking up for her over the last few weeks: Target clothes, Trader Joe's dried apricots, pecans, almonds, organic peanut butter, honey, "American Candy" (requested item), tea, tons of Luna bars, a cheap new yoga mat, air mattress with pump, and assorted other things that have slipped my mind. The fact that all these things are safely packed and not causing the suitcase to bulge at the seams is one of the things that signaled the beginning of my settling down and just being excited about this adventure, rather than worried and fearful. I suspect prayer and surrender helped too. I can be 1)torqued up and angst-ridden, or 2)I can breathe into the unknown of it all and go with the flow. I chose option 2.

I haven't been hungry at all today, and actually made myself eat 3 meals because I know I need to. This is not a usual state of affairs for me, and it's kind of nice. Of course, once I ate dinner and had a handful of almonds, I started feeling like I could eat half a cow. But I'm done for the night and need to go to bed soon because I didn't sleep worth a flip last night. I ended up getting up and catching up on some email - and haven't been to sleep since. We live for the airport at 5:30 a.m., which will come very quickly. So I'm off to night night as soon as I publish this post.

The following is a link sent to me by my friend Laurina, who is in the Children's Publishing industry. She's been following my blog on occasion, and given its content and knowing my love of and interest in writing, she thought I'd find it interesting. I'm posting it now because it will likely awhile before I'm back on line. It's a post from a blog of a woman also in the business of publishing children's books. It is apparently directed largely to authors, and this entry deals with the portrayal of "fat" characters in their writing. I've read posts in other blogs - PastaQueen's comes to mind - about the treatment of "fatness" in the mass media: literature, advertising and film, and the portrayal of characters who are overweight. I know others of you have written about this so may find this piece interesting. Take time to watch the embedded video - maybe fast forward through the first 1.20 minutes. It's pretty entertaining. When I wrote back to Laurina, I speculated on how the video would be regarded and presented had it been the woman who was overweight. Let me know what you think if you get a chance to look at it.

Finally, I rediscovered this poem while browsing for something in My Documents:

God speaks to each of us as he makes us,
then walks with us silently out of the night.

These are words we dimly hear:

You, sent out beyond your recall,
go to the limits of your longing.
Embody me.

Flare up like flame
and make big shadows I can move in.

Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.
Just keep going. No feeling is final.
Don't let yourself lose me.

Nearby is the country they call life.
You will know it by its seriousnes.

Give me your hand.

~ Rainer Maria Rilke ~