Monday, April 20, 2015

A Short Break . . .down

Today the dam burst and I let it out. The emotional pain has been building up for a long time. Several times over the past two weeks I have thought to myself 'I need to get alone time so I can have a good cry.' - I kept putting it off, putting it off.

Finally today I broke down and cried. My adult daughters had to sit and watch mommy crumple up and sob uncontrollably as I repeated over and over again "I can't, I can't I just can't take IT anymore." They let me get it out.

What is it?

It is nothing and everything. Nothing in particular on one side; dirty floors, car repairs, travel plans, shopping, unknown entities and well known situations on the other. The tears flowed and with them came out the truth: I have been trying to juggle, balance and control too many things. The tears helped me accept the truth. Not only can't I keep all the balls in the air at one time, the balls are not all mine to control. Somewhere I took a little too much upon myself and kept adding to it until I ran around frantically trying to do more, give more, sacrifice more and all the time I was depleting what I need to keep myself whole.

Thank God for a good cry, a good therapist and a few good people to share things with. The balls are all on the ground tonight. Tomorrow I will pick some up, but not too many. some I will brush aside and leave for someone else to claim. Others may have to stay on the ground because no one else wants to take care of them. That does not mean I have to make them part of my balancing act. Not anymore.

On the glorious plus side I am still food sober today. The act of overeating or sampling any of my binge foods did not play any part in today's drama. That is my miracle of the day. It is the ball I hold on to no matter what.

Tomorrow will be a better day.


Thursday, March 12, 2015

Marion's Post on Being a Food Addict and a Thought on Support

Marion wrote a blow-me-away post on being a food addict  that is a must read for the simple honest truth of what this disease is for those of us who have suffered the disease of compulsively overeating and obesity. 

Something else I was thinking with this subject: people who see our results sometimes think we don't need the support that people need when first starting out. Sometimes I forget that without support I am going to go full circle and gain 200 pounds, eating  my way back to 385 pounds or more. 

If anything I think I have to accept that I need even MORE support now. The further I get from the pain of compulsively overeating and obesity, the less likely I am to respect how agonizing the pain was so I can stay away from the foods and behaviors that will take me there again.

It is more than just offering help to others. Just working with others and seeing the pain they are currently experiencing is not enough to keep me from taking back the food myself. If it were, there would be no relapse along those who work with others. 

I have to remember that I-me-Jane am only one bite away from living that pain again. Everyday I have a choice. I can make the choice that keeps me well, happy and free of addiction or I can make the OTHER choice: the choice that will ALWAYS lead me where I don't want to go. 

So, if you are reading Marion's blog, or my blog, or the blog of anyone else who you think has this thing nailed - PLEASE remember that we are just like anyone else. We fall, we hurt, we bleed. We need support each and every day in keeping the pounds off. 

If I forget this, it can kill me. 

Are you reaching out for the support you need today? 


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Holy Crap! I have a Personal Trainer!

Once upon a time, eons ago, in the 1990's, a would go to the gym at the YMCA and work out on a treadmill and use their weight machines. There was a snooty-nebish looking guy there who was a 'personal trainer.' People paid him to tell them exactly how to work out on the machines. I write that he was snooty because he was very impatient when someone (like me) was using a machine he wanted to get his client on at that very moment or else. I write he was nebish because he resembled a cross between a young Woody Allen, younger Fred Armisen and younger Joshua Malina. Slight build, walked around carrying his briefcase (to physically train people?). He wore his pants too high and he did not have the look of someone who know what they were doing in a gym. But I digress - 

Three years ago someone I know won three sessions with a personal trainer and did not want to use the service. She offered me the prize. I said thank you and she promptly lost the certificate somewhere in her overstuffed home office. Fast forward to this January: she found the certificate and saw that it expired in 2013. So she called the trainer and he offered to honor it now. Then she gave it to me. (Thank you Nancy). 

The trainer has been in business over 35 years. He is about 65 but looks younger and he is in really good shape. His manner is very friendly, as is the atmosphere of his training facility. He is extremely knowledgeable. He has already secured his reputation as a trainer and is not trying to finance his retirement by selling me a long term commitment or anything else. He is very willing to work with my physical limitations. He is not trying to sell me on a membership to the gym itself. He is not pushing supplements or vitamins. He suggested I buy some elastic bands on Amazon ($12-$15) as a way to further my workout at home.  He offered to break up the three sessions over two months so he and I can evaluate my progress and tweak where necessary. 

I have one more session and then I will be paying him $65 an hour whenever I want to tweak/evaluate, be it four, six or eight weeks apart. He even offered to have me work with one of his other trainers at $30 an hour if I wanted to pay less. I want to work with him. He is closer to my age and understands (via first hand experience) the issues concerning aging knees and weak spine. 

I have enjoyed the first two sessions very much. Okay, the first one was a bit intimidating because I did not know what to expect. He even gave me a second 'first session' so he could evaluate my physical condition before a workout session. 

So now, in addition to the Biggest Loser DVD from seasons one and two, the Curves circuit in my garage, the hand weights, Bosu and kettleball in the house, I have elastic bands and a series of exercises printed out to do each day. 

My aim was to work out with the weights every other day - three times a week. My trainer (John) suggested I aim to work out with the weights every day and then when things come up (as they often will), I can miss a day and probably still get in four workouts a week.

I'll report back on this in a few months as I see progress to report. If I crap out and stop going for any reason, I will report on that, too. 


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Daughter's Leg Update

Vickie asked for an update.

My darling girl is wearing a huge space boot right now. Huge as in it makes her foot look like she is wearing a size 18 shoe (Shaq-attack). She is allowed to put 50% of her weight on her leg so she can use it to stand and maneuver single, short steps with a no-wheel walker but she is not walking on it - yet. She uses her knee walker to get around from place the place in the house and outside.

In two weeks she is having surgery to remove the bottom two screws. The other seven will remain a part of her. A few days after surgery she will be starting physical therapy. Once she can climb multiple staircases and walk without additional support she will return to New York City. She hopes to be back to her apartment and commuting to work by her birthday in early May.

The bone position is good. and the bones appear to be healing well. Time and effort will tell more.

You can feel the heads of the bottom two screws through her skin. It is kind of weird to feel hardware inside her leg. 


Friday, February 20, 2015

12,000+ I am surprised

I had the Fitbit at 10,000 steps a day and my mileage goal at five miles a day. When I reach 10,000 steps the wristband flashes and vibrates to 'say' "congratulations for reaching your goal".

 I have to use the Fitbit App on my phone to determine when I have reached the five mile mark. All this week I have hit the 5 mile mark so I have raised the step goal to 12,000.

If I start to feel I am struggling to make the goal and adding undue pressure to my day I can adjust it down later on.

I am sure once the Florida heat returns I will adjust my steps down accordingly but for now, with this delightful Florida winter weather, I am happy to walk without drenching sweat oozing from every pore.

Where I came from in New York today's temperature is seven degrees Fahrenheit with a wind chill of -14. No thank you. If I still lived up north I would never leave the house in the winter.

How are you keeping warm today?


Monday, February 16, 2015

I'm Doing 10,000+ a Day

Not Calories - steps. I got a Fitbit for Christmas and started using it on January 1. With a Fitbit my wristband vibrates and little lights flash and twinkle when I reach my step goal for the day. I set a goal of 10,000 steps a day, thinking that easily doable. My goal was a little out-of-sync with reality during the first 31 days of the year.

It turned out that 10,000 steps was 'easy' if I had time for a very long walk. It was easy on a day when I had work that had me walking around the parks several times in the course of a day. Not so easy if I was working in the office/house/car. I had to be aware of that and take a bit more care to reach it those days. That was a learning and practice curve.

Along with the step goal, I also set my mind up with a goal of 100 miles in January and visions of 1,200 miles for the year. I pushed very hard to reach the goal during the last few days of January. I reached the 100 mile goal on the 30th and decided I would not push myself to do 100 miles in February - the hell with thinking about 1,200 for the year. Instead, I would concentrate on the steps - stretching myself to achieve 10,000 steps a day.

Notice I wrote 'stretching myself.' The mindset is positive. I am moving into it. I am not pushing myself, forcing myself, berating myself into doing more, more, more and liking it less, less, less. Instead, I am enjoying the process and seeing progress.

Here we are at the half way point in February, I have  hit 10,000 on 11 of the first 14 days but I had 10,000+ steps on 11 of the 14 days. Surprising to me:  I am already over the fifty mile mark and on track for doing 100+ miles this month. I have four or five friends also using Fitbit. I am not as active as some of them. I average 11,000 steps a day and a few of them average 16,000-18,000. We cheer and encourage each other. There is a 'taunt' button. None of us use it. Positive encouragement only!

So for today: I am doing 10,000+ steps a day. Finding ways to get the steps in on the more sedentary days is easier than I originally thought. I give the dog an extra walk, take a few extra trips picking up things around the house, park further away from the store and get up from my desk more frequently during the day all add up and encourage me to hope on the treadmill instead of sit in front of the television in the evening.  I'll let you know how this goes over the next few months.

In keeping the pounds off, how are you keeping your steps up?


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Bartering for Something Else

Mindfulness is becoming aware. It is awareness with acceptance. Mindfulness does not include assignment of shame or guilt. That said - 

Mindfulness has made me aware of a behavior. That behavior is the bartering system of eating that I now recognize in both past and some continuing actions on my part. 

Cannot have sugar? Okay then, I can have pizza. 
Can't have flour? Okay then, I will have something else.
Cannot have cheese? Okay then, I will keep cream in my coffee.  
Can't have the half and half?  Okay then, give me something else. 
Cannot have dessert. Okay, then I will guzzle more diet soda. 
Can't be satisfied unless I have. Okay, then I will have SOMETHING so give me something else! 

Can't have works its way to okay to have. Substitutes are not acceptance and awareness. They are poor trade offs. They work against the peace I want in my way of eating, which I call my food sobriety. 

Sobriety begets Sober Living. Sober is not somber. Sober is fun and free and joyful even in the presence of disappointment and pain and even loss. Sober is worthy without the the need for substitutes that prop open the space left after removing the (name your particular 'alcoholic foods) 

When I take away - do I look for something to fill it? I have been looking for balance and symmetry so yes, I do. 

But so much in nature is better because it is not even and symmetrical. 

It's not that I can't have. It is what I want to have want to enjoy today: freedom from the obsession and the gifts of living differently than I did with food. 

I hope I will never barter the freedom and gifts away for something else. 


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Chocolate Cigars

Why am I writing this. I have no idea. For some reason I had a post in my DRAFT folder named Chocolate Cigars. No post, just a title. I do not know why I thought to name something chocolate cigars. Why did I ever think that chocolate cigars was a good idea?

Why did anyone ever think buying chocolate cigars was a good idea?

When I was pregnant with my first I told my husband (neither of us ever smoked) that he should buy a box of pink or blue chocolate cigars after the baby was born so we could hand them out at the hospital. I had a girl. We had seen them in Hallmark one day and I thought it was a cute idea for the visitors.

Baby arrives and we had our first daughter: He bought the pink foil wrapped chocolate cigars. The baby and I were in the hospital for 6 days; ample time for many people to visit. I remember handing out the cigars. We needed a second box. I don't think I ate more than one or two myself. I was breast feeding and to this day, daughter #1 is not a big chocolate fan.

Three years later I was in the hospital having baby #2. Same direction to husband except this time I had him get two boxes at the start. Baby and I were in the hospital five days. I handed out one box but ate the entire contents of the other box in those five days. 24 chocolate cigars. I was breast feeding.

Is it any wonder that my daughter is a chocolate lover and hot cocoa aficionado?


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Five YES Words Work for Work

Today I am following up on my previous post about the absolute YES word/concepts for my life in 2015, as per the book Life Makeovers by Cheryl Richardson. The author suggests that the exercise can also be adapted for business practices.

I determined my five absolutely YES words for business this year are:

  1. Respect (it goes both ways)
  2. Organization (always needed)
  3. Gratitude (show clients you appreciate them)
  4. Compassion (It is not all about the money)
  5. Enjoyment (love what you do and you will never work a day in your life)

On this last (Enjoyment), I recognize there are a few things I do in my business that I don't love. I am not talking about paperwork (hate it but necessary) and phone calls (hate them but necessary). I mean things that I offer that I just do not like doing. These usually stem from clients making a request over and above what I provide and my detrimental habit (some say character defect) of people-pleasing. I appreciate my clients and work diligently to provide the best events possible in order to exceed their expectations (where possible). Overreaching is dis-organizing. I am really going to practice awareness on this and examine my expectations and motives, pausing before agreeing and setting healthier boundaries with compassion and respect. - See how I can tie these concepts all together? I love this already.

I own my own business. I created it. I direct it. Sometimes it is a 60+ hour a week concern. I bring my goal of keeping the pounds off into all things, even work. This is why I stopped providing food as part of my events in 2014. It was a healthy boundary for me. It makes sense to bring other healthy practices into my work environment in 2015.

What helps you at work? What challenges you at work?


Sunday, January 25, 2015

Club Med. . . . ical Center

I have been steadily removing things from my home as I identify, organize and simplify our home with the goal of making it peaceful and welcoming to positive energy. The process has been easy in some ways and slower in others. The medical equipment is something that is getting me down because there are so many things and they have to be moved around all the time. Some days I feel as though everywhere I look in this house I see something medical: wheelchair, syringes, prescriptions, crutches, knee-walker, standing walker, grab bars, shower chair. . . 

Instead of getting that zen-restorative feeling from a good home reorganization, I feel like I am in a disorganized rundown hospital. 

The funny thing is that I have always enjoyed a good hospital setting. Organized, clean, bright - full of caring and nurturing professionals. I am one of the weird people in life who actually become energized by a hospital stay. I never wanted to be sick - I just liked the atmosphere of country club-type hospitals where I candy striped as a teen, where I had my children and where I had my hysterectomy 10 years ago. I was blessed to never need a massive city-center facility. 

Now I realize what I really liked was the cleanliness and care I witnessed or received. 

Now I am the caregiver and I cannot keep up with the high level of work, stress and attention to detail needed for that restorative environment. In the past there were many hands involved. This is mostly me. It has been eight weeks and I think I need a day to myself to re-charge. 

What does this have to do with keeping the pounds off? I am NOT looking to act out with food or eat over any of this. I want to recharge with a peaceful day of relaxing with nature. I want to swim, read outdoors, hug a tree. These are all good things. 

I can't take a whole day. I have too much to do and too many responsibilities to take a whole day right now. My solution is to give myself two hours a day each day this week until I either feel healed or until I can give myself a full day. 

Do you actively strive to make your home peaceful, inviting in positive energy? What do you do when life has other plans? 


Friday, January 16, 2015

Five Words 2015

I started out 2014 working with the book Life Makeovers by Cheryl Richardson.  Then around week five on 2014 I relapsed and put the book on the shelf so I could concentrate on my recovery and not drive off the road trying to correct everything in my life at once.

Today, a few days shy of eleven months of clean food sobriety. I picked the book back up again and started where I left off. Week five is where you pick five absolute YES concepts for your life and put the words on cards throughout the house (strategically placed) to remind you of them. There is a whole activity that leads you to choosing the five concepts. This blog is not a review of the book so I am not going to detail the activity. 

Here are my 5 absolutes YES concepts for my life today (and the reasons I picked each one)

Mindfulness (which envelopes prayer, contemplation and meditation)
Simplicity (such as keeping it simple, easy does it and one day at a time - does not mean easy)
Self Care (as in putting on my oxygen mask before trying to help someone else)
Relationships (the ones I have, those I want and those to be released)
Organization (creating a clear pathway for positive energy, thoughts and actions)

I am looking forward to seeing how these five absolute YES concepts play in my life this year. 

Anyone have YES concepts for this new year? 


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

One Month Post Op -

Today is one month post op. Everything is going well with the exception of getting her foot to neutral. The doctor in NY positioned my daughter's foot in a ballerina toe-point when he set her leg and cast it. - this is something that should be avoided at all costs unless it is medically necessary. It was not.  It remained that way until the hour we saw the doctor in Florida. At that point her leg had 13 days in a poor position and her tendon had to be slowly stretched back toward neutral.

They got it half way from hell to neutral when they cast the leg after surgery, 1 month ago. 

Two weeks ago they changed the cast, did imaging tests to make sure there were no blood clots, removed the staples and had her do a stretching exercise for her foot and tendons for 20 minutes before re casting the leg. This photo shows the stretching exercise. It is her right leg from the left side. See the line of wounds going up the leg - they were there when they removed the NY cast. Lauren does not know where they came from. The lower two are deep. The coloring on the leg is not shadows. That is bruising and was taken 30 days after the initial injury.

The right side of the right leg has the incision with 24 staples. 

She got closer to neutral but still not perfect. 

They had her come back last Monday to stretch it further. While the cast was off this time I was able to shave her lower leg and slough off all the dead skin from the ball of the foot to the ankle before recasting. They got close to neutral but still not 100%. Here is the cast now. She allowed me to choose the color and decorations.

She goes back on the 29th and they will bring her all the way to neutral and give her a walking cast.

In the meantime, today she gets her knee walker. If it works with her body type and she is comfortable,  it will provide her with the ability to be more independent while still remaining non-weight bearing and when she is weight bearing it will be useful in situations where there is extensive ground to cover. She can walk around a store instead of sit and spin her wheels.

How am I? I had a few days where I had cheese, flour and butter all on the same day. Not the best choice for me on any given day but the behavior has abated. No binges. No insanity. Chocolate is not a vegetable.  Still refraining from sugar - thank God. Maybe best of all is a willingness to pause and allow that I do not have all the answers. Respecting the viewpoints of others is a gift that came with my recovery.

I got a FitBit for Christmas and made my marathon badge quickly. (not a real marathon, just a total of 26-point-whatever miles). If I can walk 100 miles in January I will be happy. If my daughter can walk one mile she will be very happy.

It's all a matter of prospective.