Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Sorry summer

Thanks all, for the suggestions about the Blogger issue.  I tried unclicking that "remember me" box and it worked - but of late I don't even get that option.  I'm going to keep at it, and if I have a comment I can't resist passing on, I email to the person if the address is available.

I just want to ask a question...what the hell has been going on this summer???  I'm seeing, both in blogs I read as well as in the comments on those blogs, that a lot of us have really struggled this summer - often resulting in regaining some hard fought off pounds.  And seeing others' courage in reporting, I will throw my hat into this rather dismal ring by noting that I too have gain back about 5-7 pounds in 6 weeks.  Not the worst I've read, but bad enough to jolt me.

Part of me takes comfort in the fact that I am clearly not alone in this.  But if I take too much comfort, I can keep these newfound old pounds and add more.  In a New York second.  And it's puzzling, because usually I drop a few pounds in the summer without trying because I'm so much more active.  This summer I haven't been - I quit the gym to save $, and it's been hotter than the hinges of Hades until the last 2 weeks when earthquakes and hurricanes have made their presences known in places they don't usually.

Hey!! Maybe that's it...deep, cosmic, preternatural forces have aligned or collided to get in the way of us earnest bloggers' efforts to lose weight and get fit!  That just came to me as I'm stream of conscious-ing here, but methinks it doesn't hold water.  At least not about myself.

I have had many desires to eat sweets and highly processed crap this summer - and rather than wait out the urges, I've succumbed with the intention of just having "a little", or "one", or "just this one last day"...knowing it's a crock of horse manure to think I'm going to stop at a moderate amount.  I've talked over and over on this blog about the nature of addiction, linking my ideas to what I've learned in my long term sobriety in AA.  But I have been struggling with the desire to lose weight and get fit.  I want to eat less and move more, but when push comes to shove, it seems I don't want it enough to do what it takes to get it.  So I desire to desire to be willing to be willing...  you get the point.

It's really hard to stick to a plan when at the most basic level I'm not feeling desperate enough to follow up my plan with action.  (Do I really need to feel desperate to want to be healthier and more fit?)  For now, I'm praying for willingness and desire to get on track and stick with it when I want to eat cheez-its and other assorted junk food when I get home from work when the going gets rough.  Resisting cravings and sitting in the discomfort of not responding to my food thoughts is like having a muscle that is atrophied from lack of use.  It hurts to move it, but as you begin to exercise it in little ways, it gets stronger and less painful.  My muscle for resisting extra eating is not only atrophied, it's practically dead from lack of action.  But it can be strengthened - I know because I've done it before.

With the atmosphere evidencing early vapors of autumn, I'm feeling more optimistic that I can and will begin more walking, more exercise DVDs, and less mindless dependence on the virtual groaning board that has become my pantry this summer.  Also I've mentioned before that I think I need to join a new (and less pricey) gym, just to get back into the discipline of showing up most days after work and at least doing some elliptical work and strength training.

Motivated by more courageous bloggers than myself, I'm coming clean to admit my sorry summer of sloppy self care.  From 205 in early May, I was 212 on Sunday morning.  And that is with eating plenty of fruit, vegetables, lean protein and low or no-fat dairy products.  Obviously they are not at the core of my current status.  I can't blame having a 23 y/o son home, because he doesn't eat most of the junk that someone I bring into the house.  I'm not quitting.  I'm in it for the long haul, but it's already been long enough!

Monday, August 29, 2011


I've been out of pocket for a few days due to no electricity (thanks Irene) (it's back as of 2 a.m. this morning) and no cable sevice no internet access at home (still not back - thanks Irene for your gift that keeps giving).  So the last hour here at work was the first time I've been reading blogs and a problem that had been brewing for awhile seems to be getting worse.  I don't know what to do and need HELP, advice, a computer overhaul (though I don't comment as much at home on my laptop so not sure if it's worse on the work computer...).

The problem is that I cannot comment on any blog powered by Blogger now.  When I try, - get the following screen:  http://www.blogger.com/comment-iframe.do .  At first it was only happening on a couple of blogs, but now it's on every Blogger blog.  I don't know what to do.  Has the entire blog kingdom blocked me?  Even I'm not so paranoid to think so!!!  My settings don't appear to have changed but I have no idea what to do.  I appreciate any help, suggestions or sympathy you all can muster. 

BTW - otherwise I'm fine :), but I miss my ability to share my extremely sage comments with my peeps!  Thanks for any wisdom or tech assistance you can provide.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The big reveal - and keep your expectations low

Attention young and fair-haired bloggers:   this post will likely bore you to death = be a major snooze.  But it is a cautionary tale that most, if not all, will relate to at some point while on this side of the filmy membrane that separates us from living now and the next realm.  So maybe skim through and file it for when your bodies start to remind you that you ain't the gals you once were...snicker snicker.

I doubt anyone will be shocked to learn that my big reveal is not that I have secretly lost the 50 pounds I've been trying to lose since Hannah was a pup and fooling you all with "woe is me" posts about overeating and such.   There will be no cream puff shots of me in slinky clothes and big hair, proudly displaying my willowy new body.  Maybe someday. 

When I mentioned yesterday that I was going to share something new, what I really meant was that I'm going to embrace more fully something old that isn't new...me.  Something I've been wanting to do for a couple of years - something I encounter every single month - actually every 3 weeks nowadays, and at age 58, you know I'm not talking about that special Aunt Flo who used to come around at about the same intervals.  I sent her packing about 5 years ago (or did she leave in a huff?).

To start, Martin Luther once said, "The hair is the richest ornament of women".  Not sure why such a noted religious pioneer was concerning himself with women's ornaments, but he was, afterall, a man.

Yeah, I'm talking hair.  As of now, chemicals used for the purpose of dying hair will no longer touch mine.  I'm done.  DONE.  FINIS. CAPUT.  I actually can't remember how long I've been dying my hair, but it's been at least 15 years.  Interesting to note that I started when I had just the first wisps of gray around my temples and the rest was its usual medium blonde.  But along the way, the gray advanced in its ruthless pursuit for dominion over my head, and quite frankly won the battle long ago.  The appointments with the colorist increased from every 6 weeks to 5, 4 and so on to where even the hoity toity Aveda product used now will only hide the gray for 2 and a half to 3 weeks; so I spend a couple weeks - every month - determining I'm not going to color it any more, only to succumb when things start looking pretty unkept and stripey. 

But this time I'm positive.  I'm ready.  I've done research, actually found a blog about going gray that's GREAT, and in preparation for writing this post even looked up some quotes about hair, and grayness!  It's happening, and with my short do, it shouldn't take too long before I can get a cut and be rid of the remnants of the dyed tresses.  So I thought I'd take a few pictures of where it is now, and then follow with progress shots every few weeks until I'm offically a gray lady.  Or white, or silver, or whatever.  I took the photos of my own head this morning with my iPhone, so they aren't that good, and as I'm wearing no make up and haven't tweezed the brows in decades, I decided to wait until this transition is in the can before doing a full frontal shot of face and hair in decent light.  You're just getting muted tones, and scalp shots for now.

So there you have it.  The graying of Leslie, begun many years ago, will soon be made not only manifest, but visible by all.  The worst thing that can happen is that I'll look awful, but I've never been a very vain person, thanks to certain self beliefs I've had for my whole life (thanks Mom), so I think it will be fine.  I actually think it's going to be more than fine, and I'm really excited about it - finally.  It feels like I'm upgrading my image and embracing fully exactly who I really am.  My affair with dying hair, and paying exorbitant fares for dyed hair, is over.  It's just me and Mother Nature from now on.  Hopefully she'll help me get some pounds off too.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


It doesn't happen everyday that you suddenly see your computer screen, keyboard, and other objects on your desk start to shake back and forth!!  Especially here in suburban Philly.  We had ourselves an earthquake!

Actually it was Virginia that had itself a small earthquake, relatively near Washington D.C., but apparently it was felt as far west as Michigan, and in Boston, CT, and North Carolina.  And here in Swarthmore, PA, where I work.  Very strange.  Suddenly the most common phrase to be heard in the halls of my agency are, "Did you feel that?"  The forces of nature are remarkable and powerful.  There is little info on the internet yet as to whether buildings or utilities were affected, much less whether there were any injuries or worse.  Hopefully not and that this will be a reminder to us all that we really have very little control over much of anything, other than ourselves.  Anyway - can't wait to see the news later this afternoon to get the whole story.  Any bloggers feel the shaking and trembling besides moi?

I've had a GOOD last 2 days - 4 mile walks and sane eating.  So far so good today, as well, but I know to take it an hour at a time.  Or a minute, when a food thought or compulsion to eat or binge arises.  I'm grateful for every bit of sanity and peace with food that comes, and pray that more is possible if I pause between the impulse to stuff something in my mouth, and the actually stuffing.  It worked yesterday...to just stop for a few moments and reflect on the notion that once I put a bite of something off plan into my mouth and swallow it, dollars to donuts more will follow - and the more may include the donuts!  Or other garbage.

I've heard it so many times, but the other day I read something written by a blogger (for the life of me I can't recall who) about how she treated herself like a garbage receptacle, and it really jolted me.  More like a dumpster in my case.  Seriously - how can I treat the only body I'll ever have with such wanton disregard and hatefulness?  It, and I, deserve better.

I've been writing a post in my mind for a few days that maybe I'll actually get into the virtual world tomorrow.  It's about a BIG change I'm itching to make and coming very close to doing...and that I've mentioned in this blog at least a couple of times over the last 3 years.  I'm feeling excited and anticipatory, and am reading up on this particular upgrading of my image (so to speak).  So stay tuned, and in the next day or so I'm going to talk about it.

In light of the shaky events in the last hour, I'm compelled to say that it's okay to have your head in the clouds, as long as your feet are on solid ground!  (excerpted from The Big Book of AA - where else?)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Pickle anyone?

I had a really nice weekend.  I took a sick day Friday and spent much of it with my almost 23 (at the end of this month) year old son - having lunch out, then hitting the local going-out-of-business Borders (so sad to see that company have to fold after 40+ years) to see if the REAL markdowns have started happening (they have!), and then a romp through Tar-ghay for countless items we didn't need but couldn't live without. 

Saturday I got lots of exercise - in the form of a 5 mile walk and then some CD led Pilates in my den.  By Sunday, my abs and other assorted core parts were achy in the best way - I really felt like I'd done something constructive for my body, and that made me more determined to keep it up and get back on a regular exercise schedule NMW (no matter what).

Saturday afternoon I went with some girl friends and saw The Help, which was wonderful.  Such a great story - only slightly altered from the book.  It was a movie that included laughing and crying - my favorite kind.  Wonderful performances, great period costuming and sets (cars and buses from the early 60s).  Highly recommended.

Yesterday we had torrential rain all day long, to the point where our back yard had so much water that it was looking like the Everglades, minus the gators.  It was a perfect day for watching mindless Lifetime and Hallmark movie channel movies and reading, which is what I did.  Sometimes days like that can make me want to graze all day, but I did pretty well staying on track with good food choices.   I did end up have 2 ears of fantastic corn on the cob with dinner rather than the one I'd planned, but that wasn't too heinous.  It was the bicolor corn from a local farm and it was like candy - sweet, succulent and delish.

I want to talk about something that I think I may have posted about a couple years ago.  As is often the case on my blog, this notion is inspired by something I learned about in AA, which I'll get to in a minute.

There are many of us in the blog community striving to either lose weight or maintain weight loss, as well as to get as healthy and fit as possible.  Many folks have lost weight and done great maintaining for years, and find they can successfully adopt the intuitive method of eating once they reach their goal weight and strike a good balance of eating and exercising.  Then there are others who've found weight loss and fitness but quick to say  that they will always have to work at staying in their desired range - that the tendencies to turn to food in times of emotional turmoil or other stresses remain long after the weight has vanished.  In other words - for some, the fight is over once they "learn" how to eat healthfully and move enough to burn fat and tone muscles.  For others (most?), maintaining will always be a fight challenge.

In that 2nd category there is a sub group that are true food addicts...a tribe of which I'm unfortunately a member.  (Hey, I'm not complaining, just stating fact - I could have a lot more serious, limiting or life-threatening diseases!)  And this leads me to the aforementioned nugget of wisdom I learned many years ago when I first started going to AA, which is this:  Once a cucumber is pickled, it can't go back to being a cucumber.  

In AA this relevant because once a person's drinking has become alcoholic in nature, it won't go back to being "normal"  - ever.  I recently shared with you guys that I celebrated 20 years of sobriety.  That's a shitload of sober time.  But it isn't enough, nor will any amount of time be enough, to enable me to successfully drink alcohol again.  Not a civilized glass of merlot with dinner.  Not a shared pitcher of beer with a few friends.  Maybe I could have one glass once or twice, but dollars to donuts, once I put alcohol in my body, it's a matter of time before I'll be back to the races again.  I'm pickled - and no amount of time out of the pickle jar will render me a simple cucumber again - or a simple normal drinker.

The same is true with food.  I've proven this to myself about a quintillion times.  Lose weight.  Feel great.  Add back in certain foods that have ALWAYS sent me back for more - and off to the races goeth I.  Sad but true.  I KNOW THIS.  Maybe that's why I'm so resistant to ultimately power through my cravings and food thoughts and get this weight off once and for all.  Because there is no once and for all.  There's only one day at a time and I will never be able to totally relax and eat the way I'm hard wired to eat.  Knowing that is helpful, I think.  But not helpful for losing the weight.  It's helpful in that it cuts through my denial, and my wishing I was not this way.  It convicts me with responsibility for my own well being.  I know how to live without one of my substances a day at a time.  And I know that if I can do the one, the other is within my grasp IF I REALLY WANT IT.

These are just thoughts - triggered by a couple of blogs I've read lately where people with similar issues to mine are pondering how to proceed on their respective journeys.  I'm just realizing that if I want to get on down the scale and actually get there, it won't be the end.  It will be the beginning of more one days at a time.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


I heard something at my AA meeting this morning that sort of caught me off guard and therefore went straight to my solar plexus - translate:  the truth hurts.  But it also informs, so here it is.

Interestingly enough, it was my sponsor and dear friend Lisa (who continues to defy the odds and the medical profession with her insistance on not succumbing to Stage 4 lung cancer for over 3 years now) who said the words that rang all too true in my ears.  There had been a speaker at the meeting who told their story (of drinking, and then getting and living sober).  Typically after the speaker is finished, there is general sharing from the group for the remaining 30 minutes or so.

The speaker had told about his numerous aborted attempts to stop drinking both in and out of AA.  Now he is on solid ground and seems to "have it", but he talked about how he'd get a few days, weeks or months sober and then the relapse would happen, seemingly out of the blue.  Or was it "out of the blue"?

It's often said that a relapse usually happens long before the actual picking up of the substance.  Maybe it's complacency, or stinking thinking, or a resentment about someone or something that is gnawing at the recovering person.  Also could be thoughts of, "I think I have this licked now...", or just getting tired of doing what it takes to find and maintain sobriety.

Anyway, many people who shared after the speaker told his story seemed to focus on that aspect of relapse and deciding to pick up after a period of time.  And then my sponsor talked about how while she was in the revolving door of early sobriety where she was relapsing frequently, she always noticed how once she decided she was going to drink - either immediately or a few hours later, her entire mood shifted and she'd be starting to feel lighter and happier even before she ingested any booze.  Anticipatory buzz?  Just knowing that it was coming sent the addiction switch from OFF to ON.

Well.  I could relate to that as I thought about my countless attempts at stopping drinking before I finally stuck and stayed in AA.  But more than that, I could identify with this from the perspective of trying to rein in my overeating and bingeing.  Just yesterday (the day after I was feeling pretty optimistic about my process), I was at work, feeling annoyed by myriad things at work that were, well, annoying - and I "decided" that when I got home, I was going to have one napkin full (a good sized handful) of BIG Cheezits that my son bought.  And do you know that once I decided that, my frustrations, annoyances, and irritability sort of melted away and I became the rock star nurse for the rest of the time I was there - funny, visiting the various classrooms to hang out and "work" the rooms with joie de vivre and enthusiasm? 

UGH.  It was my anticipatory buzz - and even though I contemplated NOT eating the Cheezits, (because before they were "on board" I still had the choice to not eat them as opposed to after the first bite when the choice was gone because the flip was switched), I DECIDED to eat them, knowing full well that would likely be the beginning of an eatin' evening.  And it was.

Hearing the discussion at the meeting along with Lisa's remarks about lighting up just at the plan of the later drinking hit me right between the eyes.  Yet another window into addiction in general, and my food addiction in particular.  More keeps being revealed.  Good news and bad news.  But I'm not going anywhere and I'm not quitting.

Thanks for letting me share.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Maybe, just maybe...

I had a good weekend with food and exercise. Actually a better 2 consecutive days than I've had in quite awhile. I got 2 long (over an hour each) walks, as well as spending about 3 hot, humid and very sweaty hours doing yard work yesterday. My food was good - not sugar free as I continually talk about trying to do, but with absolutely no overeating.

My vague sense of funkiness and anxiety has also shifted substantially, as it always does, despite my impatience for that to happen. What began the turn was getting to my meditation group last Wednesday evening for the first time in a month. It was so helpful to sit with other folks and just focus on my breathing for the nano second before THOUGHTS intruded, at which point I just returned to breathing. About 30 times in the 20 minute sit!

A friend from AA who has been a meditator for many years actually told me that in the getting still and quiet, she's able to finally observe her feelings - giving them recognition and acceptance that yield valuable information about ourselves, not to mention peace in the present moment. For some reason, I'd been resisting my feelings of antsiness and discontent. You know what they say...that which we resist persists. I've proven this to myself dozens of times - running away from the still small voice within seems to be my default setting, and it never works. I'm grateful that some higher force in the universe allowed me to break through and show up for meditation. The reason it had been so long since I'd been was because I was RESISTING it...out of fear? Dread? Who knows - but the weeks I missed, I had any number of excuses that sounded nothing like the truth!

Not much else from me today. I'm thankful to feel lighter, more content, and more anchored in the world here and now, as opposed to running from the present moment with worry about the future or guilt about the past. It's nice to start the week in a good place.

Friday, August 5, 2011

20 big ones

I'm here to share that today is my AA anniversary.  I am celebrating 20 years of continuous sobriety, and my gratitude and wonder at that fact know no bounds.  I'm darned proud of myself, though I could never have done this alone.  Never. 

While I wasn't an under the bridge drinking from a bottle in a brown paper bag when I was shown the way into the rooms of AA and started the most important journey of my life, my bottom was low enough.  Pretty early on in my sober journey, when I still wanted to drink every day and was holding on by the skin on my teeth, I would say to people in the program, "Maybe I haven't hit bottom yet".  I was hoping against hope would tell me that it would be okay to drink if I hadn't hit bottom. 

Guess what?  Nobody said that to me.  One day a woman responded to my glib and hopeful proclamation about not having hit bottom, "Well, the bottom goes all the way down to death.  But you can get off on any floor you want." 

Sneaky folks, those AAs.  They have an answer for just about any BS a gal (or guy) can sling.  The answer is that there is a solution to the problem of alcoholism that begins with not picking up the first drink.  They don't promise a charmed life, abundant wealth, new cars, jump started careers, healthy happy relationships...the only guarantee I was ever given when I started attending meetings was that I never had to hurt from alcohol again.  And I haven't.  Life is still life - with ups and downs.  But there is no circumstance I will ever encounter that will be improved if I pick up a drink.

I'm status quo-ing along with my eating - no bingeing, and making better choices.  If I can acquire continued sobriety for a day at a time, I KNOW I can find peace and sanity with food as well.  It may be  trickier in some ways, but the basic principles apply.

I can never give back to AA all that I've been given.  The most important thing is for me to stay sober and help others achieve sobriety.  Beyond that, anything is possible and things work out as they are supposed to.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Okay - so I was beating myself up

Thanks to all the kind commenters yesterday for the encouragement, support and tough love you extended to me in response to my true confession # 42,346.  A couple folks basically said I was WAS being hard on myself, daring to contradict my protestations to the contrary.  Of course you guys were/are right.  My default setting is to over-own my piece in my own struggle and misery to the point of self pummeling, and that isn't productive.  So thanks again for the wonderful fellowship of support and motivation.  You're the best bunch of bloggees a girl could ever know! :)

I had a much better day yesterday.  Lots of water, a little exercise, no overeating.  Dinner was leftovers of homemade manicotti (of which I had one), low-carb meatloaf (of which I had about 3 ounces) and about 1/2 cup of potatoes and onions sauteed in a little butter.  Talk about ANTI Low Carb!  I need to stock up on fresh veggies which I'll do after work today, so I have no more of that kind of carbo-manic dinner.  While it was not a day of overeating, my dinner could have been saner.  But I had no seconds and very menial portions so that was a lot better than other days of late.

Just coming clean about where I am knocks some of the shame and isolation out of my day, which is where the blog is so great.  I'm still not really feeling OA meetings, and I can't really share about eating at AA (other than in passing), so the blog is a great outlet and I so appreciate people I've come to know and respect telling me when they hear me slinging the BS I'm so prone to conjur up in my wacky brain.

Here's to a good day today for all of us.  It's my intention (there's that word...) to stay more accountable here as to how I'm doing, even if I'm eating 2 cakes and 4 pies every day - which it's NOT my intention to do!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Who am I kidding?

New month, new resolve.  New commitment to honest and consistent reporting.  New accountability.  Weight today - 210.2.  In the last month I was as low as 206.2, and high as 212.

It's not that I've been doing "bad", but I haven't been doing "good".  I read on a blog recently (can't remember which one) that maintaining at a place that isn't where one wants to be is not the victory I can fool myself into claiming it is.  "At least I'm not gaining" is about the sorriest excuse I've heard, and one I've used too often.

That's what I've been doing - maintaining at a too high weight, but still a good bit lower than I used to be.  When I maintain at an unhealthy weight, progress isn't happening.  I'm still eating too much and moving too little to travel in the direction I want to be going.

Can I tell you how sick to death I am of confessing this crap ad nauseum, every few weeks or months?  I'm wondering if I need a frontal lobotomy, except that wouldn't remove the big belly that is out front.  I'm soft and doughy and not happy about it.  I really feel like I don't want to keep blogging when all I do is vow to do better and then do worse.  But if I give up blogging, that will remove one of my best support systems, as well as bringing me closer to giving up and accepting my "fate" of being less than/more than I want and know I can be.  I'm not going to stop blogging, but I sure would like to become a success story rather than a never-ran.

I'm also in a bit of a funk and not sure what is at the core.  One thing I do know is that at some level my stringing myself along with just enough overeating to maintain my too high weight is a strategy that isn't working to ease my anxiety and distractedness very much.  Unless it is...it's occurred to me that if this eating I do is keeping my anxiety and funkiness at bay, what might it be like if I 86 the eating?  Would I be even more antsy?  I really have no idea what my current yuckdom is about, but it will pass.  It always does.  Eating it down only gives me another thing about which to feel like $h*t.

In the meantime, I think my poor decisions about what I'm going to put in my mouth and what exercising I'm not going to do aren't helping at all.  In fact, they are contributing to the funk.  I really know that.  Add that to also not sticking with my meditation that helps me quiet my racing mind SOO much, and you get what you're reading here.  A mish mash of frustration, fear, envy, self doubt, restlessness and irritability.  Don't try this at home as it's very unpleasant.

So I commit again.  I'm writing down my food for today.  Wednesday I can return to my meditation class, though a class is not essential for meditation practice.  Useful tools:  willingness to show up for myself, without tv, music, noise or self sufficiency,  the ability to trust that I'm not just going to be okay eventually but that I already am okay, just as I am today,  trust that the process of regrouping and recharging is as alive and well as always even though I've not been availing myself of them. 

I could go on and on.  You know that.  I'm getting tired of being the poster child for "Don't Let This Happen To You", and only I can remove myself from that picture.  I'm not beating myself up but I am really embarrassed to be posting this kind of stuff.  Again.  For the umpteenth time.  Better to share it than to hide it.  So to myself I say, "Come out, come out, wherever you are".