This morning when I rolled out of bed my first thought was coffee.
When I came downstairs, groggy still, I auto piloted through the making of a new carafe.
As is my ritual, the next thought was breakfast.
Usually I’d go for my Greek yogurt concoction, or a measured bowl of cereal, maybe some Ezekiel and peanut butter. I had to remind myself of the smoothie challenge I began just yesterday.
A cup of kale and banana and berries was not what I wanted.
It got me thinking about habits; good habits, bad habits, auto pilot habits, and make life easier habits.
When the coffee was ready I poured it into my sunny yellow cup and added skim milk. Then I waited, taking a few minutes to think about the challenge and why I was doing it.
I took yesterday’s second kale portion out of the fridge and gave it a good whirl with a spoon.
Having just drunk it down I can honestly say that it was good. I feel satisfied and full despite the fact that there was no chewing involved.
Habits are hard to adjust. They take thought and work and in the case of yesterday’s trip to Target I was able to avoid the toy buying habit, but fell victim to the children’s pleas for checkout candy (I caved and I can admit it). Rome was not built in a day.
One habit I am not ready to break is my fairly regular visit to Lululemon.
This week’s upload showcased a whole lot of dots. From what I’ve seen, I’m not a fan, so the girls and I will visit the store today to check them out in person.
Of course, I will let you know what I think.
What habits are you working to change? What are some of your rituals that you do on autopilot and take concentration to do differently?
Julie Armer; young, long red hair, Birkenstock wearing, wise and able to call me on my chit.
We started meeting when I was on the tail end of a semi nervous breakdown. At twenty-eight and with my life far from where I wanted it, I needed help to sort stuff out.
My coping mechanism was food.
At night I’d curl into bed with a bag of Teddy Grahams. I’d watch t.v. and devour the bag until all that was left were bear legs and bodies; tiny body parts crumbled against the bottom of the metallic bag.
Julie and I had long talks about the Teddy Grahams. Why did I do this? What compelled me to keep eating?How did I feel once they were finished and expanding in my belly?
The conclusion we came to was that I was filling up my stomach in an effort to control something in this uncontrolable world. What I really needed was to fill up my heart, not my gut. I know it sounds sort of ridiculous, but she was onto something. Eating to the point of fullness left little room (body and mind) to dwell on the emptiness elsewhere.
Her solution? When being pushed toward a tryst with Teddy Grahams I was to go and hug my nephew who happened to be living upstairs from me at the time. Filling with love would quell the urge toward food as a love replacement.
There’s a lot of talk online and amongst friends about losing weight, calorie control, and diet management.
I very seldom read about the emotional aspect of food as a drug, as a coping skill, as a way to manage feelings.
On Wednesday I ran into Whole Foods with my girls and a short list.
Sophie had requested the organic Blueberry lollipops we like, Grace wanted some animal crackers and I needed apples and greens.
We left with our bags filled, but instead of traditional animal crackers chose two bags of 100% natural, made by Barbara’s since 1971, Snackimals Animal Cookies in vanilla and chocolate chip.
On Thursday, after a few really stellar days for me in the healthy eating department, I went searching the cabinets for a snack. I picked up the cookies and portioned them out in a pink plastic bowl. With them I poured a cup of milk.
My intentions were pure. I was still on the straight and narrow.
When my bowl was empty I stared at it feeling blue. They tasted just like Teddy Grahams, if not a little more crisp. They crunched the same, melted on my tongue the same, tasted just the same.
Without thinking, I started to eat them out of the bag until they were gone. And then the next bag. Gone.
As if something had triggered my good sense, my managed eating habits earlier in the week had vanished from my being.
Like an alcoholic might fall off the wagon after succumbing to the pull of a little sip, I spent Thursday, Friday and Saturday in compulsive eating hell.
Unable to feel the food that I consumed, I ate more. My head knew what was happening, my alter ego (I need to name her) didn’t care. I was aware that I was spinning, but continued to find more to fill myself up.
When Brian came home with a huge lemon cake and chocolate covered Oreos it didn’t take long before I was going at the cake with a fork and eating the cookies without even checking the calorie content and fat grams on the back (130 for 2 and 13 per serving I now know).
My stomach hurt badly, so I’d give myself a break. And then start up again. A cycle of pleasure and pain and exhaustion and energy.
Why did it happen? What was I really searching for? Aren’t I happy? Don’t I have enough love, friends, health, family?
I have heard that food is the good girls’ drug. This is true. It’s not even about the food. It’s not about weight. It’s about control.
Teddy Grahams, those sweet little bears manufactured for children’s lunch boxes are as dangerous to me as crack or heroine or a bottle of pills to another person searching to fill whatever is missing inside them.
Last night after two pieces of pizza, a couple of bread sticks and three ranger cookies I fell into a “food coma” as I put the girls to sleep.
When I woke later in the evening, the mania was done, just like that. I drank a big bottle of water and settled back to sleep.
Today the food mania has stopped completely and I’ve woken up feeling better and able to see the light through the fog of the past few days.
I drank my coffee with skim milk and ate a lemon 0% Chiobani with some blackberries and half cup of Go Lean Crunch.
I sat down to write as I always do and this post came flowing out.
Since I try to speak the truth, though, I figured it might be helpful for anyone else going through a similar struggle. It also might be helpful to people who view over weight folks as food mongers and sloths. It isn’t about the food at all, so try not to judge.
In fact, a hug or a meaningful conversation about something other than food might snap them out of the cycle.
Most importantly, it is helpful to me to be able to recognize the triggers and the patterns and do what I can to avoid such occurrences in my future.
Total control will never be mine. It doesn’t exist. Not for me and not for you.
It’s a new day and I am off to yoga.
My solution. My church. I will Om with the group, get centered, and try not to judge myself or others.
But as they say in church, which will be my mantra for this Sunday, “Peace be with you. And also with you.”
Today we ran one mile before an 80-85% push toward another mile marker.
I clocked my time at @9:15, slightly faster than I’d expected, probably because the last half mile was down hill.
I’m fairly certain that the 10.5 minute per mile group is the right one for me and I felt good (even up hill) with the group.
When I returned home the girls were just sitting down for breakfast with their dad.
I joined them and though probably should have refueled with a piece of Ezekiel bread and peanut butter, couldn’t resist the strawberry pancakes that Brian had already plated. Unfortunately, my fork couldn’t resist the sugar-coated lemon cake under cover in the center of the table, either. It, too, was begging to be eaten.
By the way, as I waited for the run to begin I spoke with two of the ladies from my group; Maria (the pace leader) and Kellie (e?) her marathoning partner. When Maria saw my name tag she turned to me and said, “Are you the blogger?”
“Yes, yes I am!”
She remembered my name from the post I passed on to the WannaBeasts group through facebook .
Recognition for the blog and a fantastic four mile run all before 8:30 a.m.?
I needed to run so badly this morning that had I not gone I would have ended up in the Whole Foods parking lot bingeing on a dozen of their mini cupcakes while crying and blowing my nose on brown paper napkins. Mad can do this to me.
My mad always makes me run faster and so I wore my Garmin to monitor my pace.
My index finger scrolled the iPhone past Britney and Colbie, landing on Eminem. His aggression mixed with my mood made for even faster running and release of negative energies.
Sweating out the mad made room for the glad.
The glad and the happy started to flow as fresh blood was pushed through my heart. It was released through a toothy smile, flying hands and some serious public rear end shaking.
4.73 miles later and I almost felt totally better.
I went to my afternoon meet up with the pre-school moms I love. Sitting on a sunny playground and sharing our lives with honesty and compassion made my hurt feelings dissipate. Shared experiences will do that.
Though the cause of my mad is currently working in his office around the corner from the dining room, unaware that he still must be careful with his words or I might just bite him, my frown has actually been turned upside down.
I still might bite that big meanie if he can’t grab hold of that wicked tongue fighting from inside his mouth, but thus far I have not done any biting of husbands or real cake.
I’ve succumbed to a bit of writer’s block since Sunday. Everything written has been tossed due to its scattered nature and ineffectiveness. I haven’t been able to get it together, though I’ve tried over and over again.
It’s a shame for a writer when the blockage rears its ugly head. There is nothing more frustrating.
I’ve been busy, too, and the abundance of good stories have led me back to the computer for try after try.
Yesterday I Skyped with my eighty-six year old grandmother whom I only met this past Thanksgiving, but whom I love like I’ve known my whole life. I’m learning to see my physical self a little more clearly through my relationship with my biological family. It was telling when Grandma complained about her medicines making it difficult for her to take off some extra weight she’d been carrying. It seems that our weight stickage is a genetic issue for all of us and I will probably continue my own struggle with the scale until I’m an old lady myself (rocking on a porch petting cats, no doubt).
On Tuesday I visited Target with my big girls who were being rewarded for their own tush wiping (finally) with big girl cups (the baby ones are being phased out). It’s a happy day when mothers finally get their kids potty trained. It’s a whole separate party when the kids no longer need assistance in the wiping department. A new sense of freedom all around.
Last night my husband’s friend Neal came over to install a couple of ceiling fans. I popped up excitedly when he entered the house with his daughters’ new husband, who incidentally is from Nepal. Vinod and Alecia met during her first year of college when she was visiting and volunteering in a Nepali orphanage. They fell deeply in love, these two from opposite sides of the world, and I’ve watched their story grow through uploaded images on facebook.
Neal’s daughter isn’t even out of college and yet he and his lovely wife Marcie have embraced this beautiful boy and the marriage of their eldest daughter. When Vinod called Neal, “Dad,” while handing him the proper screw for fan installation my heart melted a little. I love a good love story; a real one not found in a book. What moved me as much as the love story between the kids was the love involving the family. Baring witness to great parenting and the embracing of children’s dreams cannot be pushed aside or ignored. It’s an extraordinary love that when seen must be acknowledged.
It’s funny how the words can flow when I get a grip on what’s been bothering me causing decent writing to get stuck in the deepest corners of my head.
Christine, from Love, Life, Surf posted a piece that I read this morning about being labeled.
This week, I too was faced with one of the labels that I can’t seem to come to terms with.
This is the crux of my issue; the source of the block.
On Monday I went to visit to my doctor who has been there for me through ultrasounds with absent heartbeats, D&C’s, crazy pills and way too many tears. That much history gives someone enough knowledge about a person to have frank conversation.
Needless to say I was anxious about the visit.
That morning I put on mascara, which I never do because it hurts my eyes, in an attempt to look together. This was dumb, because all the reasons that I’m not together were imprinted in my file; proof of my past heartbreaks and medications and the reasons for them all permanently etched in black ink.
Everything was going fine until she went to check my weight.
“You don’t want to know what you weighed a year ago, Martha. My experience with you is that you eat when you’re sad. What’s going on?”
She’s efficient, my doctor, I must give her that.
Without missing a beat I put on my biggest smile in an effort to convince her that I had everything under control.
“I’m not sad!” I exclaimed.
“I ran a marathon!”
“I’m not taking Metformin anymore!”
“Brian and I are getting along!”
“Yes, we’re having sex!”
“Yes, I’m getting sleep!”
“No, I’m not depressed!”
“I’m blogging! I write! I’m doing things that make me happy!”
It all came out so fast; a high pitched attempt to convince Dr. Polly that I was totally A-Okay.
Driving home I was shocked by not only my behavior, but that feeling deep inside that pointed to self-loathing.
Am I a fraud? I blog about healthy living, yet I was just faced with all the ways I’m not.
In my anger I began to repeat the mantra, “I am more than a number on the scale!”
She hadn’t come out and labeled me fat, but the silent judgement rang in my ears.
The more I thought about it, the more anxious and angry I became.
I got home and the typical response to those kind of feelings took hold.
A chocolate chip cookie here, a bowl of ice cream there, a handful of marshmallows have no fat, dark chocolate is good for you, have a little more.
Food as comfort. Dammit. There it is.
Jenny C. may not be happy with me at my weigh in this morning, but it will be good to talk to someone about this pattern that I so easily slipped into in the moment my control of life seemed unmanageable. The moment that it wasn’t shiny and happy and not just perfect.
Perfection. None of us fit that description.
Happiness. It isn’t possible to be so all the darned time.
Managing. Living the best we can and recognizing our weaknesses.
Forgiveness. Believing that we deserve it, even when all signs point to the lack of perfection.
I am a work in progress.
I am more than a number on a scale.
I am a writer. I am a mother. I am a daughter and a wife. I am strong. I run. I care about people. I don’t lie. I am fair. I have worth.
With the post finally written I’m going for a run.
I feel best when my body is in motion. Somehow when moving the labels have less ability to grab hold and the fresh blood that surges through my body gives me renewed peace and comfort to be exactly who I am.
I had planned on hitting the road this morning for my first run back, but the pollen that poofed from the pine trees in Raleigh is too thick, covering everything living and dead with a coat of yellow dust.
Instead of pushing it and risking a sinus infection, plus the fact that overall I feel a little “spent,” means it’s a good time to take it easy and do a little cleanse.
Cleansing typically means a hiatus from the gunk that is consumed too often. This equals less empty calories ingested overall as the organs moves to absorb the easily digested juices and nutrients from the whole foods that are being consumed (in my case only at lunch). The body begins to reboot by flushing out the yuck that has been festering inside. It’s a process that takes a little while, which scares some people off. I, having done this once before, have seen the benefits first hand and am excited to give it another go.
With less calories being consumed from sources that are considered to be a problem for some (dairy, red meat, wheat, caffeine and sugar), comes what I describe as the lovely day 1 headache.
Instead of complaining or fixating or reaching for the coffee to make it go away, I have spent my morning at Whole Food collecting the good stuff (more chia, almond milk, flax meal, beautiful greens, etc.) and have an afternoon play date scheduled where I’ll spend my time holding a very small and sweet newborn.
Rome wasn’t built in a day and total health will not happen overnight, but every little step is one closer in the appropriate direction.
After careful consideration I’ve decided there are two things more difficult than completing a marathon.
Marriage and Getting Control Over Emotional Eating
These happen to be the two topics I am loath to write about. I never like my posts when I try to touch on them, because both are hard and can easily read depressing.
When I got married I was thirty-two and in love. Then came infertility and twins and lost jobs and new jobs, then sick babies, separate bedrooms, marriage counselors, almost divorce and now a re-commitment to the cause with a healthy amount of eye rolling.
In other words life.
It’s almost a joke how newly engaged people are nudged by smiling married people while being told, “Marriage is hard!”
I was told this often and while hard is a good description, no one gives the actual low down on how much work it is.
Work is good. Family is better. Marriage can be great if both people realize that they are in it together, but it’s a challenge to not want to run for the hills when you realize that you are committed (for the rest of your life) to a person who leaves his socks in the corner of the living room every night after work or whose idea of cleaning is to move all the clutter to another room.
Those little irritations that were kind of cute at the beginning can mean the beginning of the end if things aren’t put into perspective.
One must also remember that men and women truly are from different planets, so rooming with an alien is difficult, for both species. It takes work for both parties to find the respect and gratitude that everyone deserves and is so often the first thing to go as children come along and life gets more complicated. Sometimes the grass seems greener on the other side and for some it is. It’s a very delicate subject; personal and important.
Weight loss is a sore subject for so many Americans because it never quite sticks. In my case I am first to admit that I am an emotional eater. I’m not as quick to admit (but here goes) that I gobbled down and entire box of Cadburry eggs yesterday before driving through Wendy’s for a cheeseburger (the one with all the mayonnaise). I did manage to cut it into fourths when we got home in the hope that one of the girls would take a triangle, but after an hour it never happened and mommy scarfed down the entire thing.
I am the same girl who juices kale and broccoli and likes it. I soak my chia seeds and know the benefits of vitamins and nutrients one gets from their foods. Potion control? I’ve got it memorized. But when you’ve been reaching for cupcakes to soothe as long as I’ve been it’s a tremendous effort to stay on the straight and skinny.
Food makes me feel better. Yucky food makes me feel better quickly. Healthy food makes me feel great, but when the stress hits the ceiling a good handful of chocolate chips or a bag of Haribo gummy bears makes it all better faster.
I have a feeling a lot of people struggle the same way and maybe I can broach the subject and find some lasting answers.
My race ended four days ago and in my quest for “what to do next” and my goal to “live a healthy and happy life,” these two subjects must be addressed.
I’m as nervous about putting this out into the world as I was about the marathon, but it is imperative that I try.
Here is the challenge:
To find the balance and to write about it in a way that is helpful and fun!
More yoga will most definitely be on the agenda, but the next marathon will be the test.