Sunday, May 28, 2017

Today, I am Sad

Today, I am sad. I'm not so sure why, but I am. I have been sitting here in front of the computer for over an hour trying to figure out what to write this week and nothing has really come to me besides this overwhelming feeling of sadness. As I sit here at my desk looking out the window, I have a view of the pond with the fountain, some nice big trees and lots of green grass. The sky is that perfect shade of light blue, with white fluffy clouds floating in the air. It is in the mid 70s today, and is quite nice now that the rain has moved on.

I met up with a friend Friday afternoon and we talked a little about finding some way that I could make a beginning at being more active. She wanted to "do the math" and figure out how many steps a day I'm getting in so that I can set a goal to strive for. I hem-hawed around that one, embarrassed to acknowledge how few steps a day I really get in. She offered to be a walking buddy sometime and as I sat there listening to her say those words, all I could think about was how I used to power walk four miles a day after work and now I can hardly walk 100 feet, and I felt crushed beneath my weight.  Again. This morning I went to church with my parents. I was out of breath. Not just a little out of breath, but huffing and puffing out of breath by the time I went up my six stairs and walked  down the sidewalk to get into the car. I try not to make it so obvious that I'm winded by trying to breathe deeply, in through my nose and out through my mouth, but there is no quiet way to "suck air".

I wish that I could be out there, enjoying the fresh air, walking through the grass with my dad's dog Max, watching the geese at the pond. I feel as though my world is closing in on me with each passing day. My life is quickly passing me by. I feel trapped inside my body, limited by what I can no longer do. I wonder how I must look to others, even though I "shouldn't" and I want nothing more than to be able to shrink down in size or fall through a crack in the Earth.  I'm becoming more and more socially isolated because I now have to consider whether or not restaurants and theaters and coffee shops will have chairs that I can sit in. And if I fit, will it hold me? Picnic season is upon us and lawn chairs are not designed to hold someone who weighs 408 pounds.  I can't even sit on the porch swing at my mom's house right now.

I know that I have people out there rooting for me and supporting me. But right now, that doesn't change the fact that I feel so helpless and alone. I think that it is important for me to acknowledge my sadness and to allow myself to feel it, rather than trying to push it away or minimize it. I am hurting, and that is okay. I am now acutely more aware of all of the things that I took for granted when I was smaller (like fitting in a chair or putting on my shoes) and it stings and I'm going to have to work through that. I just wish that hurting wasn't part of the path on my journey towards healing.


Sunday, May 14, 2017

Pride Goeth Before the Fall

Let me start off by saying that I hate grocery shopping. I absolutely hate it! First of all, there is the arguing with myself over what I am and am not going to buy to eat for the week. After all, if I don't buy CRAP, I won't have CRAP in the house to tempt me, right? So, I stick to the perimeter of the store, forgoing the Froot Loops and the cinnamon raisin bagels in favor of the spinach, kale, and fresh raspberries, all of which I do just so happen to like anyway to begin with. So what is the problem, you may be wondering? Well, you see, I'm lazy. Sloth lazy. With Froot Loops, you just open the box, dump them in a bowl, and drown them in milk. Voila! Dinner is served! Creating meals with fresh "ingredients" takes effort and I don't wanna do that. I like the end result, but don't want to put forth the effort to get it. If it sounds like I'm whining, I'll admit it, I am. And I struggle with valuing myself enough to invest the time and energy into becoming a healthier me. But I'm getting there.

Last Wednesday I was unloading my groceries. Again, because I'm lazy, I was determined to carry them all in from the van in one trip. I loaded up my arms, shut the back end with my back end, and headed for my apartment. I knew that I was off balance but thought I could make it up the three steps to the landing okay. I was wrong. I fell forward and to the left, landing in the bushes, on top of my groceries. Dammit to hell! Yogurt had exploded. Strawberries and raspberries were smashed. My knee was throbbing. And there I was, lying there on the ground, huffing and puffing, feeling like a giant lard ass.

Two people saw me fall. One was my neighbor from the apartment next to mine. I'd put her in her mid twenties. She watched me fall, then stepped OVER me and kept right on going, laughing as she walked past me. The other was a young man, probably in his thirties, who lives upstairs. He was so kind to me! After asking if I was okay, he rebagged my groceries for me and carried them to my door. Then he helped me get up off the ground. He again asked if I was okay. I was brushing myself off, mumbling about how embarrassed I was when he said the kindest thing. He said "there is no judgment coming from me".  I was so much more worried about how I looked lying there on the ground than I was about my knee and he wasn't even judging me!

It took me several minutes to collect myself once I got into my apartment before I could sort through the groceries and assess the damage and put everything away. As I was putting things in the refrigerator, I started to laugh. It dawned on me that salad mixes, fresh fruit, and meat broke my fall. Not Froot Loops. Not Ding Dongs. But kale! I wasn't at all embarrassed by what had spilled from my bags. In the past, I would have been worried about being judged for what I was eating. But I had made good choices at the grocery store on Wednesday. I let my pride get the best of me when I decided to try to haul all of those bags in at once, all by myself. I let my pride get the best of me when I was lying on the ground spewing self-disparaging remarks at myself for having fallen down. I was so flustered that I don't remember my kind neighbor's name but I'll never forget how he treated me with dignity and respect. And I'm going to keep right on doing my part by making good choices for myself and holding my head high!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

I Can't Breathe

I'm just getting back in town from a weekend away at a women's retreat. It was so wonderful to get away and spend some time with 60+ women all walking a similar journey together. I was a little, okay, a lot!, anxious as Friday afternoon rolled around and the time came to go to Camp Tecumseh. Even though I've been to these retreats before, I'm never fully prepared for all of the feelings and emotions that might arise during the course of the weekend,

The opening night activity was just sort of okay for me emotionally and I was having a hard time envisioning how the theme of the retreat was going to connect for me as the weekend progressed. I think that part of my "problem" was that the theme was tied to the Wizard of Oz and I really do not care for that movie. But, I went along with it. I muddled through the small group activities and free time on Saturday afternoon and I found myself feeling, well, just sort of meh. I toyed with the idea of going home early, but this little voice inside me said "Stick it out", so I did.

The Saturday evening speaker's story was powerful. Her words reached me in the depths of my soul. She spoke of fear. I know fear. I'm introduced to someone new and I'm afraid that they're judging me by my fat before they even hear me say my first name. I'm walking to my mailbox and I get so short of breath that I can't breathe and I'm afraid that I'm going to have a heart attack and die in the parking lot. I'm afraid that my obesity is going to shorten my lifespan.  I'm afraid that I'm dying. She spoke of looking at her reflection in the mirror and seeing dead eyes staring back at her. I have those eyes. Hollow. Empty. Distant. Cold. And as I sat there listening to her speak, choking back the tears, I was fervently praying "Please tell me that there is hope. Please. This can't be it!"

And then our speaker got to courage. Courage to give up the fight. Courage to let go and let God. Courage to ask for help. She got to compassion and I heard her say to allow others to love me as I am, and to keep loving me even when I don't love myself. Finally, she spoke of wisdom, wisdom to make the right decisions and to do the next right thing with guidance from God and the love and support from all of the people placed along the path to help me. And then it happened! I got my lightbulb moment. I'm suffocating because I'm still trying to do this on my own! I'm not allowing God to love me and I'm not allowing you to love me because I don't love me. Once I realized that, I was able to begin to breathe again, through my sobbing. My story doesn't have to end here. Tonight, I'm making the choice to take care of myself. Tonight, I'm making the choice to breathe!

Friday, April 28, 2017

The Witching Hour

It is upon me again - the witching hour. I have come to dread this time of day. Eight p.m. rolls around and all I want to do is EAT! I'm never hungry at 8:00. I'm not always even particularly bored either. But my mind turns to food and it is all that I think about. I wonder what I have in the kitchen. I grumble because I didn't buy any of the "good stuff" like cookies and ice cream to binge on. I start jonesing for a Coke. As I sit there obsessing, my mouth starts to water and I begin to get agitated. Then I start arguing with myself about whether or not I should get in my car and head out to McDonald's or Dairy Queen for a quick fix. I find it very hard to break free from that obsession without giving in.

I'm really struggling to fight the battle right now. I have only been resisting the urges to eat compulsively  for a week now so the cravings for the caarbs and sugars are still strong. I no longer watch TV at night so that I'm not bombarded with commercials from Taco Bell encouraging me to grab my fourth meal of the day.  I've been trying to redirect my thinking and focus through reading literature that promotes recovery from compulsive overeating and journaling my thoughts and feelings as they come up. I am discovering that I am full of anger, an emotion that I have almost always denied feeling. As I work at trying to stave off the food obsessions, my anger comes bubbling to the surface and I become incredibly uncomfortable almost to the point of setting off a panic attack. I am frustrated with myself for allowing the food to have so much power over me. Rather than being something to nourish my body, it is a giant monster devouring my soul.

Thankfully, I have a good therapist and support system in place to help guide me through these tumultuous waters. I would be lying if I said that I wasn't afraid of making some changes with regards to my relationship with food. Even though I no longer get that sense of immediate gratification that comes from eating a candy bar, it is my ."go-to"  method to deal with all life circumstances. It is familiar and predictable. I know what happens when I eat; there are no surprises. When I resist the urge to eat, any of a number of things could happen and the uncertainty of that is unsettling to me. Am I willing to ride out the dis-ease? Right now I feel like I'm white knuckling it through the witching hour. This will get better, right?

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Avoidance

According to Google on my phone, the definition of avoidance is "the action of keeping away from or not doing something". I have been practicing avoidance lately. I have been avoiding talking to God about my struggles with my eating behaviors. I know that for me, from past experience, when I pray about a situation that weighs heavily on my mind (no pun intended), it helps me to deal with the circumstances I find myself facing. So why have I been hesitant to go to God with this particular problem? Because there is a lot of shame attached to my eating behaviors and I find myself believing that I should have better control over myself. Certainly God has bigger things to worry about than what I am shoveling into my mouth! Or does He?

I believe that God loves me deeply and unconditionally. I believe that God wants what is best for me and wants to see me happy and healthy and enjoying life. Therefore, it stands to reason that He would take an interest in how I am treating my body. When I'm eating compulsively and to excess, I am miserable. I am frustrated with myself. No, I am furious with myself. And that leads me to say some pretty mean and hateful things to myself, things that I would never even dream of saying to another human being. I start making these ridiculous bargains with myself over what I will or will not eat, when I will or will not eat, "borrowing" calories and carbs from one meal's allotment to be used at another's. I become so totally obsessed with the food that I am not only consuming it, it is consuming me.  And so I sit there, chocolate chip cookies in hand, shoving them into my mouth as fast as I can, almost choking myself on them as I try to chew fast enough to keep up with myself. Where is God in this picture?

This was the scene for me earlier this week. As I sat in the car scarfing down the chocolate chip cookies from McDonald's, I was overcome with an intense sadness, for I could hear God weeping. Not because He was disappointed in me, but because it hurt Him to see me hurting so deeply. I have been trying to avoid acknowledging the depth of my pain, falsely believing that that would make it go away. I have been avoiding sharing it with God, falsely believing that if I didn't speak of it in prayer, He would not know. But God sees what is on my heart and in my mind. He knows. And He stands willing to love me and guide me if I will let Him. He does care about what I put into my mouth because He cares about me in my totality. No amount of food is going to make me "whole". The hole inside me has to be filled with something else. Its time for me to stop avoiding God and allow Him to lovingly fill that void inside my heart.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

No Longer Anesthesized

It has been almost two full years since my last posting on this blog. I think its pretty safe to say that I had abandoned my efforts at achieving a healthier me. I gave up on me. And then I continued to try to numb my feelings through compulsive overeating and binging. Why might I do that, you may wonder? I've spent a lot of time asking myself that very same question over the last two years. The answer I keep coming back to is fear.

I am afraid to lose weight. Losing weight would mean that I would be more mobile. I wouldn't get so out of breath with every little task I set out to do. And that means more would be expected of  me. And I don't like that. I've  become rather accustomed to my slovenly ways and have forgotten how good it feels to be able to actually participate in life instead of simply sitting by the sidelines watching the world go by. I no longer know how to interact with the world and the people around me and being a part of scares me. I am an introvert by nature and my weight has suited me well as a means of isolating myself from others. What will I do without my extra crutch? What will I do if I don't have an extra 250 pounds to put between me and you? How will I continue to feel safe around others, without feeling too vulnerable? The thought of intimacy with other human beings (and I'm not referring exclusively to sexual intimacy here) terrifies me and shakes me to the core. What if you really get to know me and you don't like me? I need my fat to protect me!

Only, I'm so very sad and lonely right now. I'm still isolated even within my friendships, at my own doing. I've been trolling the fast food joints like the great white shark in Jaws (and yes, I hear the music playing in the background!), searching for that ever elusive sense of warmth and comfort that simply cannot be found in a strawberry and cream pie or a peanut buster parfait. And yet I keep circling back for more. But now, the food no longer anesthesizes me and I am in excruciating pain, crying inside. Dying inside. I cannot continue down the path I am on. Today, I stand ready to make a change. Please be kind and gentle with me as I tread this uneven path, for I am afraid, but I can't continue to live my life the way I've been living it lately. No more giving up on me.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Excuses, Excuses...

So...I have been avoiding writing any more entries because I have been struggling more than I would care to admit to. This whole journey to a healthier me is not turning out to be as easy as I thought it would be! In fact, it's hard. Damn hard. For every step I take forward I feel like I take two steps back. Right now, if I am to be honest, I would have to say that I feel like giving up - again.

I saw my family physician on Thursday and after following up on some issues, the topic of my weight came up. I knew that it would, so this was no surprise. My doctor has a particular diet that he feels would be best for me to follow and I disagree with him. I have done some research and feel that what he is suggesting would not work well for me. When I said that, he said that he felt like I was looking for excuses not to follow this diet. That comment stung and I immediately felt defensive. I really did not know how to respond. I left there feeling like a giant failure, like someone incapable of change. When I  got home, I cried for several hours before I could calm down enough to call a friend to talk.

Now, why did my doctor's comment trigger that kind of reaction in me? Something that I have learned about myself over the past several years is that if something bothers me, there is something in that situation to take a look at. And, as much as I hate to admit this, if I am to be rigorously honest with myself, I have been looking for excuses. Not necessarily for excuses to not do the diet my doctor is recommending, but for excuses to not do anything at all since I do not know what to do. I am afraid of having another failure so I'm making excuses to "wait until tomorrow" to commit to a healthier lifestyle. I can't exercise because my knees hurt and I get short of breath. I can't compete with his or her workout. I can't drink 64 ounces of water a day because the seal on my water bottle is broken. I can't fix interesting, healthy meals because I'm not a very good cook. Blah, blah, blah.

I know that no one can do these things for me. I'm not real sure where my motivation is going to come from because I'm having a real hard time imagining anything different from the way things are now. I have a decision to make. Have I had enough? Have I had enough of having to lay down on the bed to zip my pants? Of becoming out of breath taking the trash to the dumpster? Of not being able to go to the park or the zoo with my family because I can't walk around without pain? Am I now willing to DO something differently?

At the end of my appointment, my doctor made the comment that ultimately it is my choice as to which type of diet or eating plan I choose to follow and that the important thing is that I make a choice and stick with it because my weight is adversely affecting my health. No more excuses. I can't afford them anymore. I have a paperweight on my desk that says "You can't build a reputation on what you're going to do. Do it now." Good advice, don't you think?