The next best thing.

Last week my counselor gave me this language to describe this over arching thing most of american’s are going through “Weight loss culture” and it struck a chord with me.

I maybe have touched on it before, but I don’t think I dived into the depth that I was ready for yet. I’ve actually had something saved on my google drive for about a year that is titled “The next best thing”. The next best thing, for me was whatever the new thing was for me I would follow, to accomplish the weight loss goals I was after. The goals, of course mean weight loss.

I talked about the unrealistically about this previously. But the bottom line is, no matter what you do, or how much you do it, and or how much weight you’ve lost.. You may never be satisfied with how you look… We are obsessed with this idea that we are NOT GOOD ENOUGH AS IS. We are trained to think that way, and get stuck in this weight loss culture obsession and get sucked into the “next best thing” or trend.

For me these trends would be the end all to everything: every eating problem I’ve ever had, every weight loss issue, everything and all of it. I WOULD BE CURED.

Here I am, 227lbs, highest ever 279lbs and I KNOW those trends don’t work for me. I have fallen for Weight Watchers, Solutions (a weight loss clinic), Nutritionist, Fitbit, My Fitness Pal, other running apps such as C25K, a personal trainer, HTC (for a hot minute), juicing, joining and dropping out of gyms several times a year, paleo, vegetarianism, and more.

Some of these ideas I’ve catered to briefly but have not fully fallen into their trap. Some, I’ve committed to for a significant amount of time and have had a lot of success with. Either way, I understand the commitment piece, the HIGH of accomplishing goals (weight loss), being rewarded for it, and then when you are no longer loosing, the disappointment and let down of being unsuccessful long term. I understand the BATTLE to stay committed, the mind games… and other things that go along with this addiction.

I read recently that Americans have spent 60 billion dollars over a year on gym memberships, weight loss products, trainers, apps, programs and more… If 75 million people are working towards loosing weight that’s an average of $800 a year! This culture is such a misconception. It has been a way for people to feed your insecurities while making a profit. If it works for them, then it will work for you! Plus, they know they can make money off of it. THEY KNOW PEOPLE WANT IT, SO THEY MAKE YOU FEEL LIKE YOU HAVE TO CAVE INTO THEIR RESULTS, to make a profit. Poor fools like me (probably you too) fall for it every time.

What we don’t focus on is, what works for us? What works for you? What does your body want now? How do you want to treat yourself? How do I want to treat myself, and what works for me?

Always, more to come!

 

The little voice that begs to control my brain again and again.

I’m writing a short post from my phone… 

I just want to say it’s beautiful outside (because my energy is up), I got off early and I haven’t worked out all week and knew I had to tonight. I mean, I don’t have to do anything really, but I didn’t want to go another day passing with our doing it. I didn’t want to make a habit of not doing it. 

I got home, I put my work out clothes on and I laid on my bed feeling super unmotivated. The wheels were turning in my brain. I did not want to work out and the little monster inside kept telling me not to. 

Well, I did it anyway. I found a new video, which was 45 min, the first part of it was 15 minutes, and I was checking my Fitbit every 5 minutes to see where I was at. After 15 min, I switched to a different video that was 22 min long. I did that one too, and when I was done my energy had shifted! I feel so much better! 

I just have to say that when the little negative wheel was turning in my brain I talked to myself, I closed my eyes and just did the work out. I said it’s okay if you don’t look like that person. It’s okay if your moving slow, the point is you are doing it. Before I knew it, I was enjoying myself and it was over! 

Have a good weekend ya’ll.

Snow day!

Remember when you were a little kid and you prayed and prayed for a snow day? Once it started to snow you would sit by the window, and watch it fall, or go outside and run around, make a snowman out of hand fulls of snow that barley even covered the ground. Or… Stayed up late, watching it fall, and praying for school to be canceled. Only to wake up and there is more snow on the ground and school actually has been canceled!

That’s like me today, big kid snow day!!! YAY! And I’m using it to my full advantage. I laid in bed this morning, so tired from staying up the night before, fully taking advantage of the not having to wake up early for work thing. So it was 9 am when I blinkingly opened my eyes. I groaned a bit, and closed them, wishing to be sleeping again, but said NO RACHAEL.

Backing up a bit, I’ve been watching Glee re-runs. I know I know, cheesy right? Well, after the last year I’ve been sitting on the couch a lot, playing video games and watching TV. I’ve been running through re-run after re-run of the same old shit, and well… Glee makes me happy. So I started to watch it, and I started to get excited with all of the dancing and movement that takes place… So before going to bed I googled some youtube beginners dance videos to prepare for the next day, well… I wasn’t sure if I was going to actually do them, but I knew I had to at-least start somewhere.

So… This morning when I woke up. I thought about coffee as usual, and a shower, and then I thought.. Well if I’m going to shower today at some point, I should work out, and if I’m going to work out I need coffee. I pulled out my work-out clothes from the bottom of my dresser drawers, and put them on almost unwillingly, took my socks from my top drawer and bobbled down the stairs. I didn’t have any coffee at my house, and assessed the road situation with the snow. (PS it is still snowing) The main road looks fine, but in order to get there I’d have to plow my driveway. PERFECT OPPORTUNITY FOR WORKING OUT… DID I DO IT. NOPE!

I did make some green tea, I did pull my laptop out and set it up for a work out video. I did two-15 minute intensive dance video’s. A friend was writing to me through out the first one, so I took a lot of breaks, and the second one I went right through. I mean 30 minuets isn’t a lot, but it’s a start right?

I also have a small coaching business on the side and at this time I only have one client. She had written back to some questions I had asked her, and I jumped on board with responding, and here I am writing this post.

My short term goal: Work out for 30 min three times this week, or every week at any point in the day.

My long term goal: Get up early, like 6 am early, and work out for 30-45 minutes every morning.

Mindful eating.

This weekend in addition to my painting, I tried being mindful in other ways.

We went out to lunch yesterday and I caught myself in the moment, being in the moment and allowing myself to stay present with my food. Okay, with the chips and salsa, and some with my entree also. We went out for Mexican somewhere we’ve never gone before. They obviously make their own salsa there and it was tasty. With every bite, I stopped and paused, I was trying to figure out what was in it. It didn’t dawn on me for another 5 minutes that I was actually being mindful when I do this. I mean as an obvious lover of food, figuring out what is in food…  is second nature. It was a surprising moment in my day catching myself being mindful

I also spent a few more countless hours painting this weekend, and writing.

Mindful eating is hard for me to do… and It’s something I need to prioritize more over the next few weeks… and years of my life.

This post was short, only because the last one was a bit long and I wanted to include this. Thank you for reading.

 

Mindfulness

I have been challenged to be more mindful lately. IT’s something I’ve been trying to incorporate into my life over the past few years.

Coming from a life that was pretty disengaging, into a more engaging one, is a consistent struggle.

I’ve had moments of mindfulness in my days, and this is what it has looked like in the past 24 hours.

Yesterday I took the day off, after being off most of the week for being sick. I already had the day pre-planned off… I spent the day doing some self care, shopping and getting my hair done. I came home, cleaned the house and worked on a painting. I am including it below, but will describe it and where my mind wandered and how I pulled myself back.

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I had the background of this painting painted, and hasn’t known what to add to it because it hadn’t seemed complete. It dawned on me a few weeks ago, but I had been fighting the urge to do it, and I think it’s because there are a lot of positive words on there I wasn’t sure I was able to own up to.

As I was doing it, I had to look up positive self affirmation words. For someone who doesn’t talk to herself positively, it can be challenging to think of positive words. The words I had a hard time writing were valued, gorgeous, eye-catching, desirable, able and pretty. Those are words I have not practiced saying to myself, or feel true. I felt uncomfortable and embarrassed.  I do have to say, I checked out briefly, I was watching tv, and our cable guy came to fix our cable box.

 

I AM… Whatever I say I am.

Before I even knew what I knew when I wrote the last few blog posts I started changing the way that I was thinking. I mean… Come on, who wouldn’t want to stop that vicious and violent cycle running through your brain?

I started a painting series that is called “I AM”. (Painting has always been apart of my self care, and my own process.) I started creating this series before Thanksgiving and it came to me as I was seeing all of the signs around be say things like “Be Thankful” or “Be Grateful”. I grew up in a church that used affirmations to create change with in ourselves, so if you say something enough in your brain, you start to believe it, and then the goal is you become it. It’s a little cheesy. Anyway, when you read signs like that, it says “be ___________”, whatever that blank line is, it says BE that… Like you are not already that? Or you hadn’t been all along, or you are not right now.

My idea around the “I AM” seriese that I’ve been creating… is that when you read it as “I am Thankful”, it’s more action oriented. You don’t have to be it, you are it. It’s affirming you are “_____________”. I started to play with this a little more as a tool to help change some of my negative spiral thinking.

I had them all over my house for a while, and then I pulled them back and put them in my craft room so I can see them when I enter. It’s like a wall of positive self compliments. What’s better than that? I had some paintings that I painted that were all of the negativeness from my brain and body, and I replaced them with the positive ones. I will post both pictures. 🙂

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Moving on.

Right now, I feel fairly raw and newer in my skin than I ever have.

I am in the process of letting go of all of my knowledge about weight loss and food I’ve ever known, and letting go of expectations of being skinny, weight loss, and how I will get there. I am in a place of uncertainty, excitement and my motivation is no longer about a “how will I look” result.

***on a side bar, my motivation before was driven on this idea that I wasn’t good enough, thin enough, pretty enough… whatever enough… the motivation was always to make myself better, or look better for someone else. . When we get to the “better” state for someone else, there will always be something to continue to change right? Who is this someone else exactly, and what are we trying to achieve here?

I started this Blog (I know I say this a lot), to talk about my process, and what is happening right now. As a place to see the growth over time, as someone puts in the work along their journey.

Rarely do we hear about the process and the journey, and we usually when we see people who are at a different place in their journey from our own we usually see the before and after picture and gather some of the journey, but rarely do we capture how hard it was to transform into whatever their after picture is.

We wish, we hope we dream about being where they are, wherever they are. We drool over their bodies, because we also want the admiration from people. We also want to stop that negative cycle and self talk I’ve talked about so much. Like I said before, we have been conditioned to not like ourselves and we have to be something were not. We are conditioned to believe we are not enough, exactly as we are.

As I step into this new un-adventured part of my journey, I have surrendered in a way. I have not surrendered to a higher power, and I’m not saying I’m powerless against sugar. Because that is bullshit. Seriously, it’s an excuse to not truly take care of myself. (I can say that I do better staying on track when I don’t eat lots of sugar, carbs etc. I tried that several times, I KNOW that if I DEPRIVE myself completely… It doesn’t work.) I have surrendered to myself, and the control, to the feelings of shame, guilt and living in the moment mindfully. Addressing the things, ALL OF THE THINGS.

I am de-constructing years and years of negative thinking based off of what other people have allowed me to believe about myself. I keep saying this statement to my therapist “Slowing it down the process even more” and when I say that I mean really… taking my time through the day and the things that I encounter. Not being willing to budge on my wanting to get better. This looks like… If I feel uncomfortable, instead of ignoring it (which would end up with me eating all of the scones like I mentioned in my last post), addressing it. Speaking my truth, and also talking myself through it in my mind. Giving myself a voice, not only out loud, but in my brain. My goal is to quiet that negative Nancy so much that all I hear is positive self talk when I encounter things.

If I KNOW ANYTHING, everything takes practice. It’s a slow process, and won’t happen over night.

Thank you for reading, I feel more grateful now than ever.

 

Parallels of two

I am not sure If I’ve written about this before, but with this food addiction stuff I’ve always felt like I was two people. The girl, the human struggling to be Rachael, and then the addict, something bigger and almost outside of myself that wants me to stay in this victim, shaming place with food, and my body.

Recently I have found even more parallels between these two that I wasn’t really expecting. Because I’ve been doing these patterns on and off for so long with weight loss and gain, I became really good at understanding what those felt like. It was late one night and I was on lots of cold medicine, but I saw the parallels between how I felt as a kid with my father and how I felt when I was totally out of control with my food and the spiral thinking.

Growing up I was always walking on egg shells and was always trying to make my father happy. I was always waiting for him to get angry, I got good at predicting his yelling, though it never stopped the way that I felt when it happened. I felt rejected, hurt, let down and left always dreaming for more. I quickly learned how to check out, and disassociate. It didn’t matter what you said back to him, he would make it your fault, he would harass and bully me.

I remember one time as a child, my mom was being yelled at, and I jumped into defend her. I remember his yelling switching to me, and me feeling all of those things I just mentioned which I did quite often in that house. I remember going into our computer room, locking the door, and sitting in the closet with my arms wrapped around my knees. My body felt shaky, or anxious and I felt like I did something wrong, or that I was the bad guy. I felt ashamed, I was to blame, and like I did something bad. Which eventually translated later to “I am bad”.

Of my lowest times, when I felt like I hit rock bottom with my food and body stuff… I remember I was about 240-250. I cannot remember exactly how much, and it doesn’t really matter the number, but it wasn’t my highest. I was in college, alone in my room, and I was sitting up against the wall, in the furthest corner in my bed, with my arms wrapped around my knees (as much as I could with a bigger body). I remember feeling full to the brim of food, anxiousness, uncertainty, starving for help, on the verge of a panic attack, scared, stress, fear and… well you know the feelings when you’ve lost control.

Both experiences, all though were different, were similar in how I was reacting. I essentially, just kept this abusive person with me all along with my body and food. I mean he did tell my mom once that I needed mental and physical help with my weight. That didn’t help my perception of myself and my body, at all.

Sorry for this long post… I promise I’m almost done. When I decided to stop the dv with my father, I stopped talking to him for a while. Because he couldn’t hear very well, he argued with me in email, IN EMAIL. I can’t remember what I said to him at the time, but it pretty much said “I’m done”. I tell people now that I stopped talking to him because I was tired of being abused as an adult. I was tired of having my expectations of him be shattered all of the time. I was tired of feeling like, maybe this time will be different and then allow it to continue to happen. I was exhausted physically and mentally. I had to change my perspective and approach in our relationship if I wanted anything from it, and of course my expectations. We can’t change anyone but ourselves.

I had attended like 5 alanon meetings, let go of my expectations. I grieved for months, and maybe still do today to an extent about what I would not get from him. It was hard, and since then I have taken the emotional piece out of our relationship and approach things tangibly, and factually. I let him know what is happening in my life, and do not engage any sort of emotion with him. Once, he yelled at me on the phone. I said… “Dad you can be angry, but you do not get to yell at me”, then he told me why he hated talking on the phone. I learned my lesson, while standing my ground at the same time.

A lot of this food and body stuff will shift in time, as I let go of the control and the dv aspect of it. I am seeking a new relationship with myself which includes building on positive thinking, being in the moment more with who I am. All of this is hard, and new to me, and I’m sure there will be plenty of grieving.. And I’m ready for it.

Progress Noted

More progress noted:

I can’t remember the last time I binged.

I haven’t said I’m cured by any means… But, I really truly cannot remember the last time I’ve binged.

I’m not sure when or why I stopped.

(Possible trigger moment, I’m going to talk about what happens when I binge, or why I do it.)

I think I stopped because I’ve been trying to take care of myself better emotionally. I think that binging comes when I feel mentally and physically exhausted, it’s the thing I do, after I’ve done other naughty things all day, usually it’s with foods full of sugar. The only way I can describe it, is that I am so Stressed out and I don’t allow myself to feel anything too deeply. It comes as a progressive thing, and usually starts with mindless eating over the day. It starts with me, eating something,  (more on the line of carbs because that is usually what is available at work most of the week) eating anything really, because something else happened. I believe I do this now out of habit.

I can remember a time recently where there were scones in our office and I was caught in this non-awareness loop. You know the ones… Where we are doing our life, and we are not present with what’s going on, like we check out. What happened was, I was feeling stressed out because of something that was happening with one of the youth I was working with at work.

Side bar: Actually writing this, triggers something I didn’t realize before… Which will tie into my next blog post a lot more (which I’ve already wrote on paper)… Ready for this one? I’m a little shocked myself. What I’m about to write you, is totally live and candid and I wish you could have seen my brain produce it. When I am feeling uncomfortable about a conversation I have to have with youth at work, I tend to check out and procrastinate with shoving food in my mouth. What happens with my body and my mind at the time, is I get so anxious and worked up (hence stressed out), and allow myself to check out of those feelings and use to alleviate them. The interesting corrilation though, is that these feelings that I have at this time, are very similar to the ones that I had as a little girl when my dad would engage in arguing with me. (I will address this more in the next post, I promise.

Going back to the example I was giving before, I caught myself mid scone, okay mid-3rd mini scone, and said… “WOAH, Rachael, what are you doing right now?” and I threw it away, and started to talk to myself positively. I can’t remember what I said to myself then, but I know I started to say things like:”You are safe, you are okay, breathe, and you will get through this. I started to create more of a positive dialogue in my brain about what was happening in the moment. With time, the more we practice, the easier self soothing becomes down the line. Also, if I spend time worrying about what others think, the harder it is to take care of myself right now, in this moment. And, why worry about something you have no control over or, in the real reality… we don’t know how someone is going to react, and worrying about something you don’t know, only keeps you trapped in those spiral thinking mind traps.

Going BACK to the binge piece, because I’ve been able to stop myself more and more in these daily traps, I think the binging stopped. It’s usually that when I allow myself to continuously follow through with those daily traps, that I would get home and be like “fuck it”, or intentionally do it because I cannot cope with what is happening around me at the time.

It feels good to be winning for a while. 🙂

 

 

 

Embarassed

It has become fairly apparent that I didn’t follow through with my week of writing and not eating sugar. I didn’t finish, and I’m a little embarrassed that I didn’t and haven’t been writing.

This embarrassment comes from this feeling of obligation and this feeling of living up to an expectation I have for myself that isn’t really real.

I’m also embarassed because I want what other people have. I want to be skinny, I want to have a family, I want money, and to be able to support myself on my own, by myself. Either way, dreaming of what other people have, prevents me from taking care of myself right now.

Jealousy, only perpetuates that vibrant verbal cycle in our brain.