Freedom of choice

Not sure, but I wanted to start this blog post with Hi, how are you, as if I was writing a letter to someone. Writing this blog, has been a way to capture moments in my life and share them with people. This specific post, perhaps is mostly for myself.

I have had this topic turning over in my head the past few days about jealousy. I’ve almost cracked open my laptop several times to write about this jealousy I had been having about other women and their bodies. Today… Perspective hit the fan and the wheels wouldn’t stop moving.

I work with homeless youth ages 18-24. A lot of them are from very poverish families, and even more s have very intensive and complex histories of trauma. Some of the things we are asking of them: Get a job, pay rent… are really far from their scope. Their idea’s of normal, are so wrapped up in anxiety and are consistently living in survival mode. —in many different forms. My co-worker was talking about this with me as she was reflecting on a youth who was making a lot of excuses about why she couldn’t do something. The crappy part is, at the end of the day, despite the complicated levels of trauma, they have to do it.

With this example, just touching on the surface of the real issues… and going back to my own life. I recognized this level of privilege I hadn’t seen before. It has taken me nearly 12 years to get to this place, and on-and off counseling. But… It is a privilege to say that there are a lot of consistencies in my life, and I don’t feel so crazy all of the time. Until the last few years, I’m not sure I would have been able to see that. I have lived in a very dark victim world, where I couldn’t see positives, I’ve been “lazy” as people may call it. ALL of my past choices perhaps have been due to overcoming past trauma.

Because I have put in work to un-due all of the shit I was taught to believe about myself, I’m in a better position to make choices. I have the power to do, or not do. The youth’s excuses to not do those things, she has those choices to do… But her brain isn’t anywhere near where mine is, and her excuses are far more out of trauma and learned behavior than mine. She has the power to do or not do as well… As any of us does. But until she accepts she needs mental health help, she may never get of of living in a victim mind set.

My excuses for not working out, are fucking stupid. We don’t work out because we like it… (well some people love it) We work out because we know it’s good for us, we also know that in the long run it will make us feel better.

Just interesting to put it in perspective… Is it hard? Yes! But we do it anyways because if we don’t, we spend a lot of time being jealous of other peoples lives when we are able to make changes ourselves (if we can). Did I work out after writing this blog post? No way! Will I tomorrow? Maybe? —What I learned is, It’s okay if I hate exercising…Like really okay if I hate it, but I could find ways to make it more fun, and more engaging so I don’t totally hate it. Either way, I’m making a choice, and I know that I can work out if I wanted to.

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3 Christmases ago I hit a deer

It was 5 in the morning, and I was driving to my job to help make breakfast for the youth at the shelter I was working at on Christmas morning. It was dark, and all I remember was there was a deer and it ran in front of me and then hit the side of my car. I remember staring him or her in the eyes and then it ran off. It was a moment that I will never forget and try to tuck away. I mean I hit a deer, on Christmas morning, while I was trying to drive to work to do something nice for some people. There was no damage to my car, and I was okay, well besides the anxiety of it all.

Well today, I walked around the block, well, several blocks, for about an hour and on my way back, in the exact spot I see this woman pulling something tan from the road… In the exact spot I had hit the deer 3 Christmases ago. I walk closer and I notice it’s a fawn, it didn’t quite have any spots anymore, but it definitely was little and it was breathing. I watched her, and there was this younger guy that walks up. He was the one that had hit the deer, and he explained it as the deer hit him. Which in this day and age, lets get realistic, I mean… The deer probably hit him.

I didn’t tell him about my story, because I didn’t think it was appropriate, but I did say that I was sorry that it had happened, patted his arm, and asked if he was okay. After he let me know that he had called someone and he was okay, I walked away. I didn’t really think I needed to keep standing there interacting.

I mean what else can you do? And what did it all mean? I mean I had this amazing walk where I was listening to someone’s story about their life, and I was feeling pretty good about myself, and then I walk into this literal deja vu. WTF?

Shattering effects.

I smashed my scale a few weeks ago, on the pavement in my driveway with a sledge hammer.

What I learned from this experience was more than what I anticipated. I wanted to do it as some sort of relief, and ritual in order to finally stop the worry and get rid of the thing in a way that was more fun than just throwing it in the trash. If you decide to take on this endeavor, I suggest put it in some sort of container before you actually do it, wear long pants, and goggles.

What happened: When the sledge hammer hit the glass, it exploded. I didn’t realize until after I had cleaned it up that it had actually hit me, and made my knee bleed. Also, the glass was everywhere, under our cars, in the grass, on my body… everywhere. I did not expect this to happen… But I guess I’m not surprised either.

When I was cleaning it up, it became this metaphor of eating disorders and weight obsession. Anything could trigger me at any point, which would leave this shattering effect on my life (or so I felt). When ever I felt like I had accomplished something (weight loss goal, conquering food goal), things would come up that I hadn’t fully addressed and then more would unfold, and then suddenly I was entrenched in food again and the obsession.

When I was cleaning the glass up with the broom, I would find new patches of glass I hadn’t quite gotten and would find more as I would push it to the main pile.

And after all the glass was swept up, all that was left were shards that were glimmering in the sunshine. Letting me know that the issues will probably always be around in some form or another.

Few weeks, or months later—–I can’t believe that I didn’t actually post this or finish it when I had written it… At this point it’s just this distant memory of shattered memories. Unrecognizable and I’m glad I thought It was something that I deemed important to write about. Smashing it was liberating and super telling. As I moved into my new place, I no longer have a scale to determine my worth. I’m not sure if it’s liberating or if I’m just curious. At this point, I am not in a mind set to be curious. I’m pretty stressed about my weight.

More thoughts:

If you are eating to your diet, you shouldn’t have to worry about weight loss.

I was watching minimalist videos today, and stumbled upon other Youtube video’s and caught myself watching someone’s weight loss journey’s questions and answer’s youtube video. I could only make it through the first 5 minutes or so before I had a reaction.

The questions she was answering were base off of her weight loss. The questions were “what size are you now, what size were you when you started, how much weight have you lost” and finally “how do you get rid of pesky fat in certain areas (like back, leg, etc)”… She started at a little over 300lbs and was in her 180’s. She started at size 18-20, and was presently size 12-14. She started at size 3x top, and ended at a medium-large top.

Her response to the last questions was “I gained weight in different areas at different times and places in my life, and I lost weight in different places at different times.”. I really appreciated her objective answer.

 

My perception is that people see those who have lost a lot of weight, and calculate how they can get there. It’s a pattern I’ve noticed in myself and also with my friends. It’s something to I was starting to notice more and more as I got sucked into the diet culture.

The questions that were asked were specific, superficial and almost irrelevant.

I was going to share my starting weight and sizes, but decided that it was irrelevant also. The point is, our bodies are different, our bodies respond to things differently. We are all different, shapes, sizes and we have no-real control over what our bodies look like. We just have control how we take care of them inside and out, and how we dress them.

Short thoughts:

There was an anti-inflammatory nutrition class offered this past weekend and I went to it. The class itself scared me into wanting to drink more water. It also makes me want to take a larger scale nutrition class. I think with my new mindset, I might be more receptive to it.

When I showed up, I saw someone I had met once before though in a different context. She was my current partner’s ex girlfriends sister. I’m not going to give out any real information, more or less an interaction that we had. After I sat down, she stated she had some health problems and she needed to find new avenues and that’s why she was there. For some reason, I didn’t feel the need to tell her why I was there, also there wasn’t really an opportunity to share this information. I just found it interesting, that being in this space, in the nutrition class, we need to validate our presence.

I was there for more complicated reasons, and I didn’t feel the need to share, or validate why I was there. When it came down to it, I was asked to go, and I felt like I needed to be there. I mean, I’m re-learning how to eat, and take care of my body.

Things I learned: New recipes, malnourished cells vs nourished cells, ways to incorporate turmeric into different dishes, that most of the nutritional value of veggies are in the skin, and also… prepping and more in line with the patience of prepping.

Today

I went to a quarterly, or bi yearly all staff meeting, today. You know the ones, 100+ people in the room, participating in trainings, ice breakers etc. 

I write about it today because I’ve worked in 3 different areas of my organization. Some of the people, actually most of them have seen me at my heaviest, and they have seen me at my lightest and TODAY I walked in 30lbs heavier than my lightest.

What does this mean? Well nothing other than that really. My obsession with it, probably means more than anything. But it feels awful walking into a room with this expectation I should be lighter.. or the idea of the expectation that I should be lighter. But I’m not, and it kind of feels embarrassing, and a little shameful. 

And at the same time, I don’t care. I wore the most comfortable clothes I could today because I knew I would be sitting a lot and I wanted to be comfortable. I didn’t try to hide it. I wanted to be okay in my skin right now. So I practiced this feeling of being okay with how I look.

I also know that where I’m at right now is temporary and I’m trying to figure out what  my diet is and taking ownership in that. While doing that I have to learn to be okay with the present moment, and the person I am right now.

Hard stuff.

I don’t mean to brag but…

I’m an extremely good cook.

I’ve always loved cooking, but since watching Michael Polland’s documentary series on Netflix, I’ve tried to explore cooking in a new way. In the last year I’ve also bought several vegan cook books (okay 3) which have allowed me to explore a little bit outside of my comfort zone. I’ve worked really hard to make cooking more mindful and the result has inspired creative deliciousness.

I’ve been following vegan recipes, which have been more complex and over all so much more delicious. Cooking isn’t always simple, it is delicate, complex, meditative, and endures a lot of patience.

My relationship with food is changing. I can see it, and feel it. I do know that there is still a struggle, and that’s why I mentioned it in my past post. The struggle is there when I’m not following my intuition and passion. It’s there when I don’t recognize the present feelings.

But in the last few months I’ve been challenging myself in the kitchen. I’ve been working harder for the food I put into my body. I’ve been soaking cashews, letting dough rest, and baking vegetables in the oven in ways that I’d never tried before.

I don’t cook like this every day. But, I try a few days a week to explore something new.

What it’s done to help with this ED process: It slows down life, creates a more intentional vibe and process. Also, the slowing down piece creates a mind space that is less likely to be impulsive and compulsive.  It has helped me explore my intentional passion for food. I have developed more patience in the kitchen, which has allowed me to wait for things to be done cooking, and cool down enough to eat. I’ve also been able to access my creativity in a new way and try out new things. I’ve tapped into my curiosity and my desire for wanting to try new things just to see if I can do it.

I think it also has inspired a higher level of care of what I put into my body. I’m less and less interested in packaged foods, and more interested in making it. When I make it, I know exactly what I’m putting into my body, and I’ve worked for it. I feel more accomplished, and satisfied.

 

 

Avoiding.

Avoiding anything, especially the inevitable packs the pounds.

My weight spirals because I emotionally eat, I make excuses for my behavior and I spend more time playing video games, or watching re-runs of my favorite shows instead of living my life. Wait, I spend time checking out in-stead of living through the pain, and emotions of life.

I noticed myself doing this recently. I also noticed my teeth grinding increasing. Meaning, I’m not taking care of myself and whatever that means. This time it means, too much caffeine, not enough water, and drifting further away from my dreams than I anticipate.

I am in love with my partner, we have a pretty good thing going. We are fairly balanced, we enjoy doing things together, we make an amazing team in the kitchen, the yard, the house etc. Or at-least that’s my perception. He’s my person, what can I say? He listens when I’m not doing well, he’s patient and kind, cares about my well being, and happiness.

But we have different life goals, and I’ve been avoiding leaving, because the loss of him would be so great and grieving sucks.

I also have a really good thing where I live. I have a whole room to myself where I can paint and I have a garden to grow fresh vegetables and fruit. I feel really blessed to have had the opportunity to live here, and share my life with him.

I’m not serving myself continuing to stay here. I am deserving of something that I’ve always wanted (Marriage and at-least one child) and he doesn’t want those things. Which completely sucks.

I also have really tried not to want those things, which really only affirmed that I want them more. Also, I think what sucks out of all of the thought process I did around being married and having children, is I think my self worth is dependent on it and that If he really loved me as much as he did, he would want to marry me and have children. Which isn’t true. But I’m trained to think that my worthiness is depended on it, and also that because he doesn’t want those things… He believes that I’m not worth anything.

It’s a complete mind fuck of a situation actually. The longer I stay in this relationship (even if I think it is good), the longer I will deep down think that I’m truly not worthy, which only mind fucks my ED thinking and circulates the food intake. It’s pretty messed up.

I’ve been neglecting my writing not necessarily because of this, but it’s been a part of it. I’ve been spending more time disassociating with video games and re-runs than I have been engaging in life. Growing up in a DV home makes you a pro at disassociation, well at least for me it has been.

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.