Monday, June 12, 2017

When Did This Become Okay?

When did this become okay? When did it become okay to not be able to put on my shoes and socks without straining and becoming short of breath? When did it become okay to not be able to shower in my own home because I cannot raise my legs high enough to step into the tub? When did it become okay to not be able to reach in the bathroom? How did I let things get to this point? I was suddenly struck by the realization that my normal is no longer "normal" this afternoon as I sat on the side of my bed, struggling to get up. I have to rock back and forth, big time, to build up enough momentum to hoist myself off of the mattress into a standing position, which usually takes me 4 or 5 tries now. Its not a pretty sight. I'm not a pretty sight. When did this become okay?

And as I sat there crying, I had to acknowledge that unless I do something about this, unless I take action, this isn't going to change. I presently do not like where I am. I do not like how I look. I do not like how my clothes fit. I do not like how I feel. I do not like that I am limited as to what I can do by the size of my body. So I have a choice to make. Accept that this is my lot in life or do something about it. I refuse to accept that the way I am living now is okay any longer! I want better for me. I have been reluctant to join a gym out of the fear of what others might think of me or how I look. I'm not going to let that stop me anymore. Today, I made a phone call and set up an appointment with a personal trainer to help establish an exercise program to get me started moving again. I know that this is going to be difficult, but I am up for the challenge. In the past, I always enjoyed working out. I have faith that I can get there again. Is it going to be difficult? Yes! Am I going to curse at the treadmill? YES! But I am going to do it anyway knowing that it is what is right for me.

I am also going to commit to drinking four bottles of water a day. My doctor has been pushing that one for several months now and I have continued to balk, giving in to the temptation to drink pop time and again, even though it does not quench my thirst. I'm not going to wait until I figure out why I keep sabotaging myself first, before adopting healthy habits. Otherwise, I'll never start taking care of myself. I have time to work on that in therapy while I am working on becoming healthier physically. I really have no more excuses to keep putting off what I know I need to do. I'm ready to work on getting back to "normal".

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


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.