Monday, December 6, 2010

Eavesdropping on a conversation

I had a complete mixed bag of a weekend, but one thing I can say for sure is that I'm back on track with eating, tracking and staying within my calories each day, for today.  Ever since I read a comments dialog yesterday, I've felt better about my process and the nature of how on again/off again it has been for the last year.  More on that in a sec (translate: many paragraphs...come on, you know me by now).

It's literally been a year.  December 4th was the one year anniversary of my first of 2 knee surgeries (arthroscopic, but still big deals in the big picture of my losing weight process) that signalled the slow but precipitous decline in my fitness and weight loss efforts that had begun in earnest in June of 2009.  I was working out at a gym, following an eating pattern that was giving me a very steady and satisfying 1-3 pound per week loss, and feeling positive.  Feeling like the years of struggling were miraculously OVER.  (If I could have typed "over" in a glittered font, I would have - that's how real and relatively easy it was.)  I'd gotten to my lowest weight in 15 years of 192 and was in hot pursuit of the 180s.  I was loving working out.  It wasn't hard to eat sanely.  IT WASN'T HARD. 

The surgeries, one in December, the next on the other knee, in February - did slow me down substantially in the work out realm, but in the beginning didn't derail my eating too much.  Last year's holidays did that, but I still managed to keep the weight below 200 until late January of 2010.  Once I burst back into the dreaded 2nd century of weight AGAIN, I haven't escaped from it.  It's been a steady struggle - good days, bad days.  IT GOT HARD AGAIN.  Feeling absolutely determined every single morning that THIS IS THE DAY I STICK AND STAY on plan.  More often than not, the STICK AND STAY has lasted until late in the day when resolve crumbled and I either binge-ed or garden variety overate.  Truth be told, I feel relieved I haven't gone above 210 other than for a day or 2 over the last months - using the scale as the ultimate "DECIDER" about my eating behavior for any given day.

Whatever I had from June 2009 through last January has been unattainable since.  I've been doing this stuff enough years to know the old adage "it's not what you're eating; it's what's eating you".  My history of substance use to either fill a hole in my soul or tamp down pain of fill-in-the-blank variety is an open book for the long recovering woman I am.  But knowing this is a head function.  Sensing its truth and feeling the impact of my addictive nature is a matter of the heart.  And it's a long 12 inches from head to heart sometimes.  I keep at it and will never give up.  But the crazy making aspects of what this does to my self concept and esteem are always present.

Enter the aforementioned dialog.  It's on Chris' blog, and the link will take you to the post of hers where in the comment section a wonderful discussion ensued between Chris and Deb of DebWillBeThin.  Please read it if you haven't because it's excellent.  Chris posted about this journey to fitness and leanness, and the struggles that we all have from time to time finding our motivation and tenacity to stay the course, but how ultimately we make a decision and then stick to it.  STICK TO IT...easier said than done.  Chris has had amazing success with weight loss losing over a hundren pounds and still counting.  What I didn't know was that she's struggled for a few months but has recently gotten back in her groove of continuing down the scale.  (She's close to "there", imho!) You can read it for yourself.  I'm not the first person to be writing about it after having read it.  It was real, and honest, and helpful.  And did I mention REAL?  I think I'm going to print it out because both these wonderful bloggers said such important, honest and real stuff.  Very normalizing for this blogger here who feels wackier and crazier thatn the rest of humanity most of the time when it comes to food issues.

The elusiveness of the mind/body/spirit connection I had back in 2009 baffles me no end.  I had it, I know I can do it.  Why not now?  Well guess what, Leslie - the same thing has happened and is happening to plenty of other humans.  Weight loss superstars and plain folk like me.  Yes, I need to make a decision.  I made it long ago.  Now what?  Don't give up.  Get honest with self and maybe others about what is eating at me.  Find a way to make peace with the reality of who and how I am and work within my parameters to optimize my efforts at moving more and eating less.  Never give up.  And most of all, at least for this blogger, the SHAME MUST BE JETTISONED OFF.  Shame avails me nothing and actually adds to my burdens.  The luggage of my ages that I carry with me, literally, wherever I go.  I am not the only one with this issue.  I don't judge others for it.  Why judge myself so harshly?  Do you know I'd been tempted to stop reading Chris because of her endless success?  How's that for a plan?  "It's easy for some people who don't have MY issues....".  What a crock of sh*t I sell myself.  We're all in this together.  When one person is having success and positive mindset, some else is struggling.  All of it can help me on my own journey, and most of all remind me I'm not alone.

**added after initial posting** - As I was thinking about the whole addictive eating issue, I recalled a therapist I saw for awhile who dealt with eating disorders.  She talked about how so many overweight women literally "wear" their distress, like a garment.  She herself had lost 80 pounds and had it off for years when I was seeing her - she noted that she sometimes thought of her extra weight as "this dress" as metaphor for "distress".  I think of that often when I survey my own "distress".

Reframing my thinking is essential.  I need to start talking a bit about what's really nagging at my heart and soul.  Because that's where the little girl who wants to binge is and it's going to take a lot more food to keep her silent if I don't start listening to what she has to say.  And that will send me in a direction I don't want to go.

Once again, the blog community provides experience, strength and hope.  I thank every single one of you for that.


  1. I hear you Leslie. It's so hard sometimes. I try to remember how I lost 100 pounds before and I can't figure out what was different then. I get bits and pieces from friends who say I ate dry toast at the Waffle House and no cheese on my pizza. I wish I knew where to find that motivation again. I think that the blog is essential and WILL keep us going!

  2. Wowza, Leslie. That's one deep post. I am going to check out that dialogue.

    I have been dreading looking back over my year and writing about it. I had really expected to be in a very different place now and I am not sure that I want to talk about the place that I AM in. I can say that, like you, I had thought it was over, that I had finally ended my yo-yo-ing, that I had "figured things out" and for a while I was cruising along so easily.

    Yet here I am again. Do I also need to reframe my thinking? Heck if I know. But I sure have to do something!

    I am so glad that I met you during this journey of mine and that I have your company on the way.

  3. Chris calls it cleaning out your chicken coop...when you get down to the nitty gritty about "what's eating you"....nasty, but necessary. Big Hugs my sweet friend...wish you were here!! :)

  4. Hi Leslie,

    Glad to hear that you're back on track. I just commented to that effect on Dr. F.'s blog also. I know that it wasn't the occasional celebration that made and kept me fat--it was not knowing how to get back on track That's a pretty important life skill, and I have lacked in that for my entire life.

    Also, my last post was about "what's eating me," in terms of how it creates a cycle of displaced anger that leads to binging. These weight issues are not just about the weight--you are so "right on" in your take about that. Have a great week and take care...

  5. Hm. Yeah. I think reframing is what I've been doing for the past two years myself...and I'm here to say "it works." And I love the "distress" image. It's so true. I find that the more I accept "what is" the better I feel. I tend to be a resister, but resistance they say...futile. Two books I have found very helpful are Women Food & God (by Geneen Roth) and A Course In Weight Loss by Marianne Williamson (I just started this one, but love it so far).

    I think there's something to be said for taking a little of this and a little of that, finding our own solutions and trusting ourselves, versus looking everywhere else for answers.

  6. And just when I am all complacent about having a sparkling clean chicken coop, the wind changes and I get a whiff of stink! And lo and behold, there is more sh*t to deal with!!

    Yes, the post by Chris and the ensuing discussion really helped me, too.

    And your post here just added to the richness of it.

  7. Yes, "distress". When I think of all of the stuff that pains me, the word "distress" has become my label for it.

    We have to decide,alright, and I've come to the conclusion (for this moment, anyway) that my decision must be to: 1. face my distress and it's sources and 2. deal with them WITHOUT FOOD. I can decide to be in pain & NOT eat about it. :o Really?

    As I write that, the thought crosses my mind that I can decide to walk to Philadelphia from PIttsburgh barefoot, too, but it's not likely to happen. :) The difference, of course, is that while I cannot follow thru on that decision alone--God will help me, if I let Him.

    Ahhh, it's the letting, isn't it?


  8. I continue to be amazed by the wisdom in this community. The love, support, smarts and energy is amazing.

    I'm beginning to get a little bit of insight into why I am struggling right now. Low and behold, anger is a part of it. As I've said - I think I get "through" something that I am OVER it (in that same sparkly font). Turns out, it comes back wearing different clothes and I pick it right back up.

  9. Beautifully written as always Leslie. I read in Dr Phil's weight loss book that our weight is managed not cured. I know for me that is true.
    When I am in the right Zone it is so easy to manage and make good choices. But like you something can happen that rocks my boat and when I fall out of the zone I hit hard!

    If only we could figure out how to stay in the zone, bottle that feeling up and douse ourselves in it when things start to waiver.

    Reframing your thinking, yes indeed that is a big one and I keep working on that myself.

    Thank you for the wisdom you share.

  10. hey, I liked your comment over at another blog. I didn't know how to put the disconnect I sensed and you did great. If anyone thinks they have the whole t hing bagged up out of the gate, they are either fooling themselves or are sans mental/emotional issues. We'll get there.