Thursday, July 26, 2012

processing

I worked through some things with my therapist this afternoon around the whole food/weight thing, and I feel like I need to get some thoughts in print before I forget the key points.  Some of those therapeutic aha moments lose their potency a few days after the session if I don't try to capture them somehow.

So...I have these two competing forces at work in my head: the goal-oriented me and the anti-goal me.  The goal-oriented me knows that I can accomplish so much if I'm focused and hard-working and consistent.  This applies to much more than food/weight.  The goal-oriented me thinks about my job and school and my physical activity and personal life and who knows what else.  That part of me feels like if I work hard and stay focused and meet my goals, people will respect me and my accomplishments.

The anti-goal part of me feels like I shouldn't have to work hard and achieve achieve achieve in order to earn respect from people.  When I think about other people and how I feel about them, I don't make acceptance and respect contingent on behavior or accomplishments.  The mere fact of our existence as humans, the fact that we all go through our lives trying to find some small happiness for ourselves, the fact that we just are who we are--that's enough for me.  And because I believe that about other people, I want that to be true for me as well.

Standing back from those two points of view, I realized that I am the one making goals for myself.  Other people don't care.  Well, people care.  But I'm pretty sure that the majority of people I encounter in my life accept me as I am, for the same reasons I accept them as they are.  No one is making goals for me.  No one is telling me "lose 15 pounds, leave the ice cream in the freezer, get out there and run." And yet I act like people are bossing me around all the time, and that's when the anti-goal voice shouts "you're already good enough.  Don't do anything they say!"

But...it's all me.  I get to decide whether something is goal-worthy and whether I want to work on it.  Me.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

letting go of the frenzy

Here's what consistently happens when I start thinking about monitoring my food intake: one side of me pulls hard toward restriction, and then other side reacts by pulling just as hard toward freedom.  And with both sides pulling hard, I end up stuck.

I want to be relaxed about food.  I want both sides to disengage and just let me exist in the middle.  And  in my rosy, best-case-scenario world, when I relax about food I'll magically end up at my preferred weight.  That's how it works, right?  Maybe.

What I've learned about myself is that I don't do well when I approach weight loss head-on.  If I set a goal and announce my intention and get all purposeful, that other inner voice starts to rebel.  I need to have weight loss in my peripheral vision but not my direct line of sight.  And to be honest, I'm kind of tired of this tip-toeing around, this dance I do where I pretend I'm not really thinking about losing weight.  A long time ago I used to eat well because it felt good, because I wanted to be a healthy person.  Now, after so many years of thinking about food and being unhappy with my size, eating well comes with a lot of baggage.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

sigh

I'm going biking with my nieces this afternoon, and then we're having ice cream at one of the yummy ice cream shops in our neighborhood.  A perfect way to spend a lovely summer day.  I just called my sister-in-law to arrange the time, and she asked me to watch what my oldest niece eats because "we're watching her weight right now."  What?  My oldest niece is going into 3rd grade, and she is normal sized.  She's tall for her age, making her look more like a fourth grader, but there is no reason to watch her weight.  If that weren't bad enough, I'm pretty sure my niece was in the room when her mom said this to me on the phone.  Poor kiddo.  How horrible to feel shame about your body when you're only 8 years old.  I am not surprised that we're already in this place, based on what her parents were telling her when she was a toddler.  Not surprised, but so sad.

Monday, July 9, 2012

self-talk and stories

Nearly every time I pass a mirror lately I think to myself "boy you have meaty arms."  Part of me is moving past arm issues...I now wear sleeveless shirts in public even though my arms are far far far from  toned or shapely.  But my head still thinks "thick, large, meaty."  Isn't it lovely the things we tell ourselves?  My mindfulness practice this winter taught me a lot about separating thoughts from being, as in "I am not my thoughts."  I can recognize the meaty arms comment as a thought coming from some outside judgmental place, but I am having a hard time letting go of the emotion that I attach to the thought.  How about not even having the thought in the first place?  That would be great.

This week it occurred to me that my struggle with food is perhaps a perpetuating cycle, a story I've somehow decided is about me.  Hello, I have food issues.  I don't react well to restriction.  I like sugary treats and don't like vegetables.  I have a near constant fear of climbing right into my diabetic family tree.  I accept all these things as truth, but are they really?  What if I think they're true and use them to keep telling the same story over and over again?  What if they're not true?

I'm in yet another stuck place and looking forward to hashing a few things out with my therapist later this week.  

Friday, July 6, 2012

shuffling back

I've been writing in an undisclosed online space for the last month or so, mostly because I feel like I've rehashed the same things over and over here and it all sounds like blathering.  Sometimes it feels like I wallow in my issues.  But...oh well.  Why pretend like I have things solved, or hide away in a secret space?  No need for embarrassment or shame.  I'm not perfect.  I want to be perfect, or at least super above average.  But apparently my wants do not translate into reality.


Today I tried a few things on at Target, and those dressing room mirrors were a reality check.  It's easy to think I'm all well and good and "average" when I spend most of my days by myself at home, with just the cats and my husband to give me feedback.  They haven't said anything about my size :)  But the mirrors said otherwise.  I step on the scale once a week, and it never moves beyond a pound or so from the weight I've been hovering at for the last year, but now I wonder if perhaps it's broken.  The visual data from the dressing room mirror does not match the numerical data I'm getting from the scale.  Grr.


So I'm in this place.  This place where I keep telling myself "I'm going to lose (blank) pounds by the end of the summer."  "I'm going to start following WW religiously."  I'm going to this, I'm going to that.  And yet I'm not listening to myself.  Or it's more like I am listening, and I'm saying right back to myself "you can't tell me what to do."  I can do whatever I want.  Which translates into eating ice cream and snack cakes and drinking cocktails.  I have been here before, and I feel like I figured a way out of it once.  I can't remember how I did it though.  I have a couple trips coming up at the end of July, and I really wanted to feel comfortable and confident about my size on those trips.  Each day I wake up thinking "what are you doing to get thinner for your trips?"  But setting timelines never works for me, and usually I end up rebelling and getting heavier and feeling worse about myself.  A big old "so there" in my own face.  Pretty much that's what's happening.


I'd like to think the dressing room mirrors are a turning point.  A short-term kick in the pants.  But I know better.

Monday, January 30, 2012

tasteless

Mindful snack: My taste buds are still mostly dulled, but I did spend some time noticing the fizziness of the ginger ale I've been sipping.  Very fizzy (which sounds like something Buddy the Elf would say).  I noticed a tiny bit of sweetness on the sides of my tongue, but mostly I noticed how very effervescent it was in my mouth.

My brain was busy during sitting meditation this evening.  Lots of thoughts about work, but I very diligently redirected myself to my breath.  And then thought about work again, and then redirected myself.  Over and over.  It's early in this whole meditation process for me, but sometimes I wonder if all that mental redirection is in itself mentally exhausting.  It seems like a lot of work to notice only breath.  Silly, isn't it?  A lot of work to notice something that we do without giving it any thought all day.

Unpleasant event...hmm.  Maybe feeling run down at the end of the work day today?  That certainly wasn't pleasant, but I just took it as a sign to go home and rest.

Pleasant event: so many of my pleasant events involve my cat :)  So I'll stretch for something different today.  I left school today tired and run down (that's not the pleasant part) but done with my paperwork!  Midyear progress notes are due this week, and today was a clerical day to get most of them done.  I've been working diligently for the last three weeks, spreading out the work a little at a time, so that all I really had to do today was print out the copies.  It feels great to leave work with something big finished instead of feeling it hanging over my head.

Other random thoughts...
I tend to go on autopilot during my get-ready-for-work morning routine.

I'm trying to be consciously mindful while I follow my facial cleansing regimen.

Part of this week's homework was identifying what we most don't want to look at in our lives.  Heavy stuff, and if I don't want to look at it, even glance at it or acknowledge it, I'm sure not ready to share it in this group of people I barely know.  It will be interesting to see how our instructor handles this assignment with us.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

attack of the killer sinuses

Mindful snacking...Well, this was interesting today.  My sinuses aren't cooperating with me today, and although I can breathe through my nose (mostly), I can't really taste anything.  I had a chai this morning, and I could feel that it was warm and creamy, but that's it.  And I ate a bit of banana bread, but I could only feel the texture and not actually taste it.  So, I snacked mindfully, and realized that it's weird to feel food but not taste it.

I did our prescribed yoga sequence followed by fifteen minutes of sitting meditation.  My sinuses were pounding the whole time and I kept noticing that instead of my breath.  I imagined how tough it must be to live with chronic pain (my mom), trying to breathe through the pain.  My sinuses are nothing compared to the pain so many people live with.

Unpleasant event: the hour between the last dose of Tyenol Sinus and the next dose.  Ouch.

Pleasant event: the warmth of steam on my face in the shower this morning.  Good stuff.