A Present and Resolution

This time of year is typically dedicated to getting things for others as a way to show appreciation for having them in your life.  It’s also to mark the occasion of the wheel of the year turning yet again, and spinning us back towards bright, sun-filled days (up here in the north, anyway).  It’s often when thoughts about the New Year are filled with promises to one’s self.  This, for me, has always been true, at least.  I know I set personal goals at my birthday (my Personal New Year), but I also set and/or re-set my goals as January approaches.  For me, it’s just a good way to start things.

This year, I gave myself a holiday present.  I bought 12 weeks worth of coaching on Fitocracy.  The plan I paid into – No Cardio Fat Shred – is a foundational reformation of how I approach food and exercise.  The coach, Jason, seems really nice.  He’s started us off on a real back-to-basics training with our relationships to food.  He’s  In the past, I’ve gone whole-hog into calorie counting, or whole-hog into “clean eating” (nothing processed, mostly “paleo”).  Each one of these diets has left me craving, and in the end, I’ve fallen back into old ruts that are doing absolutely nothing for my waistline, or my self-esteem.

This plan that I’m doing now, along with a number of others from all over the place, including my friend Andy from back in Denver, is all about meeting specific nutritional targets, or macronutrients, all while doing moderately intense activity at the gym.  Immediately after reading the intro to the program, and before shelling over any of my money, I realized this was exactly what I needed:  A way back to “eat right and exercise” advice that made sense.

On days that I’m exercising, I have set target macros.  For me, for now, it’s 200g of protein, 175g of carbohydrates, and 40g of fat. On days that I’m not exercising, I cut out the carbs and eat a little more fat.  I get all the “freebies” I want – vegetables of mostly every sort (except the starchier ones like potatoes).  The workouts aren’t too awful.  It’s about 45 mins at the gym three times a week – also very doable, and no cardio, as the name suggests.  That said, when the weather finally clears and I want to go out for a walk, I’m going to do just that.  I don’t need to do it out of punishment, or turn it into a 10-mile run.  I can just enjoy the stroll.  Just like I can enjoy my food in a reasonable and responsible way that nourishes my body.

Today was day one of the twelve weeks.  We had all of last week to get amped up for the program, and to start thinking about the planning and life shifts we all need to make.  For me, with my work schedule being what it is, meeting the exercise and dietary goals shouldn’t be a huge issue during the week.  At the weekends, when I’m behind the wheel of the bus, might prove to be a little more challenging, but I’ve got to figure it out.  I’ve got a team of people holding me accountable, not to mention my coach, and myself.

My biggest reflection today, as I sat down to enjoy some baked chicken and potatoes, was that I’ve always been ashamed of my body.  I’ve always, always, always hated it, and treated it awfully.  Whether overdoing alcohol, or smoking too many cigarettes, or running miles and miles on an empty stomach, to retching into the toilet just to get rid of anything in my belly, or downing a box of laxatives to “clean out” my insides, I’ve had a horrible, horrible attitude towards my body and form.  I need to relearn how to treat my body with dignity.  Now that I’ve cleaned out the nicotine addiction, and now that I’ve got way more control over the food that is available to me, it’s time to be an adult about it all.

I’ve made this promise and resolution to myself far too many times in the past, only to fall off track time and time again.  I’m done with failing.  I’m done with the shame and guilt of a broken promise. I am adult and it’s time I start treating myself like one.

Diet, Food, and Privilege

For the last three weeks, I’ve been embarking on a new way of eating food.  Well, it’s new to me, and it’s going to sound like a massive fad-diet, which is embarrassing for me to admit to, but it’s working.  I’ve done it before, and had massive results, but as I let myself slip, let myself fall back into old habits, the weight came back (duh).  I’ve cut out the carbohydrates in the food I eat.  Like before, I’m seeing massive weight losses already – something to the order of 12 pounds as of yesterday – and I feel amazing.  I have lots of energy, I’m feeling balanced throughout the day, and I’m simply not feeling the bloat and lethargy that came with gorging out on stuff I used to eat – like pizza, peanut butter sandwiches, bread of any sort really.

I’m also not spending my money on convenience foods.  Our break area at work has vending machines stocked to the gills with grab-and-go foods that are “perfect” for the bus driver job.  What they also are full of, however, is preservatives, chemically altered ingredients, and lots of other nasties that, simply put, my body just stashed away in the form of fat.  I’ve “cleaned up” my calories, so to speak, and am reaping the rewards from it in terms of vitality and overall goodness.

I’ve been here before, lost 25 pounds, and remember feeling spectacular.  Of course, I was also still a smoker then, and it was prior to my moving in with Raymond (a stressor that brought about the comfort-eating/weight gain).  Now that I’ve gotten rid of the smoking, and we’ve settled in quite well with each other, I can get back to me, to my waistline, and the goals I have set for myself.

Again, this is all well and good, and I’m pleased with my results, but what I’ve been paying further attention to this time around is the procurement of food.  On my last go-round with these eating changes, I was putting money into the household food pool with the fellas I lived with, and making a go of eating better out of what was available in the cupboard and fridge.  I didn’t have to hit up the grocery store, and thus didn’t have to experience what buying food was like.  In fact, I hadn’t bought groceries or gone on a proper grocery shop for a very, very long time – something like two years.

One of the pillars of this food thing (I’m still not calling it a diet – a word I rather hate), is eating as close to the source as possible.  Single-ingredient foods, actual cooking, using real ingredients to prepare meals and such – all of the ways in which making food has been done for thousands of years until very recently – are fundamental to this plan.  It also strongly suggests buying as organic/natural as possible, which I’ve done for the most part, and which leads me to the reason for this post in the first place.

I’m having the time of my life learning how to cook again.  I’m really, really enjoying the preparation of food that is nourishing, honest, and wholesome.  I love following instructions (akin to why I love buying IKEA furniture or those little plastic model cars) and achieving results that are pretty decent.  What I’m realizing as I do this, though, is the cost of all of it.  On average, for myself, I’m spending about $100/$150 week on groceries.  That sounds like a lot, and feels like a lot, to me, but when I look back at bank statements that show what I was spending on vending machine food and gas station treats, the cost is about the same.  Still, this is for one person on a decent income.  That’s about $400-$600 a month just to eat right.  That’s a lot.  A lot, a lot.

What I keep thinking about, as I shop, is why food that is better for me, closer to the actual source, and minimally/not-at-all altered by humans and science/chemistry, costs so damn much?  Furthermore, why do I feel like eating healthy and doing right by my actual body has become a privilege, and not a basic human right?  Why, because of my income level, am I afforded the ability to procure food that is life-sustaining and vital, but the person making less than me, or who is reliant on assistance to simply survive, has to then also make do with sub-par food?

I refuse to shop at Whole Foods.  I struggle with even going near Trader Joe’s, or our own locally-run semi-step-down from Whole Foods called New Seasons.  The feeling of classism and entitlement washes over me every time I enter those places.  I go to my local bigger (Kroger) grocery store because it’s not only super-duper close to my house, but because I do need to find stuff on sale/reasonably priced.  Also, it should be said, I feel like I’m shopping among my peers.  I don’t feel the arrogance that I can almost smell on the air when I do happen to pop into a Whole Foods.  I don’t feel like I’m “in the way” of some obviously more important person than I when I’m comparing items on the shelf, or whipping out my calculator to see what my running total is for the food shop while I’m at Kroger.  I’m just a blue-collar working-class schlub getting his food bag on the best way he can for the amount of money that he has.

What remains, though, is this gross pit in my stomach as I wonder why I need to spend more money on food that is actually healthier for me, rather than have that be the industry standard for all food, and made available to everyone at every economic level.  Why can’t a piece of chicken just be chicken, and not “chicken breast meat with salt, preservatives, added fluid, and some chemical that I can’t pronounce, etc?”  Why do I need to go out of my way to get vegetables that aren’t sprayed with goddess-only-knows-what, waxed, or chosen for looking “perfect?”

The point I’m trying to make here is this:  I am fortunate and lucky enough to be in a situation where I can afford to make choices about the quality of the food I eat, and that quality can be quite high, if not the highest available.  I know for a fact, though, especially since food-stamp approved food is clearly marked these days, that not everyone around me is as fortunate.  I know that everyone deserves the right to healthy, real, nutritious, body-positive food, but what I don’t know is why this isn’t so.

In my slow-cooker today is a piece of beef that smells just like the beef I remember having as a kid.  I seared it with salt and pepper, and added beets, carrots, onions, and celery, along with some beef broth that I made earlier this week, and have it set to cook on low for 8 hours.  I cannot wait to see how my first pot roast comes out.

That beef, though, cost me a pretty penny.  It is from grass-fed/pasture-raised cows.  It’s certified organic.  It’s also flown in from Uruguay. It cost me $23 for 2.5 pounds of meat.  I bought it knowing I was splurging, but I can’t seem to understand why this has to be this way.  I mean, I understand the economics behind feeding an exploding population, but surely there has to be a better way, both for the animals that are raised for food, and for the people consuming animals for food.

Step 2

I’m on Step 2 of the Nicoderm CQ nicotine replacement patch plan.  I stepped down just a few days ago.  So far, this is what’s it’s like:

  1.  I’m an emotional wreck for half of the day.  I’m irritated, agitated, twitchy, and just downright snarky to be around.  One of Ray’s coworkers likened it to “being on your period” for women.  Since I don’t have a frame of reference for that, I’ll just agree with her.  It seems about right, minus the blood.
  2. I am still coughing up crap from my lungs.  It seems like a constant stream of ill-flavored mucus is making it’s way into my mouth from the depths of wherever inside me.  I know this is a sign of health and healing, but man-o-man, it’s disgusting.  I keep drinking water to wash away the flavor.
  3. I cannot wait to be done with this silly nicotine addiction.  I’m ready to move beyond this constant, nagging, annoying craving.  I have a month left.  I can do this. I have to.
  4. I never, ever, ever want to smoke again.  No, it’s more than that.  I don’t want to be addicted to anything like this again, especially something so mind-altering and unhealthy.  Were that I was addicted to running, or yoga, or gardening, or fresh air…

I’m doing okay, all around.  I can smell and taste unlike ever before.  I know that my clothes don’t stink, and I also know that the tar stains in my mustache and beard are finally gone.  My lips aren’t coated with a brown film of cancer-causing tar.  I know this is how it all should be, and I’m committed to keeping things like this.

I’ve also put on weight.  Over the past month, I’ve watched the scale creep upwards, which is why, starting today, I’ve re-committed to getting back on track with a healthier diet.  I’m back to cutting out the overindulgence in carbohydrates, no more processed anything, and most-assuredly no more convenience foods – like the kinds I’ve been getting at work, especially.  I don’t need all of those chemicals and preservatives and added weirdness getting into my system.  I need to eat clean, I need to treat my body better – especially as it heals from the damage I brought upon it from smoking.

My last round of going low/no-carb resulted in a massive weight loss over a short amount of time.  I felt great.  I was doing well.  Then, as I needed to move house and deal with the anxiety and stress of adjusting to a new home and new life, I found myself reaching for the sugar and alcohol and cigarettes.  The fact is, I can no longer do any of those things.  I’m at that age where acting like that is both adolescent of me, and not healthy in any manner.  I *know* better.

Ray is backing me on this as well.  He knows my weight and overall health is a source of anxiety for me.  He knows what I’m capable of looking and feeling like – I was so damn fit when we first met – and he would love to see that smile and ability back on my face and in my body.  I would too.

Besides, focusing on my diet will help take the pressure off this constant, nagging, ridiculous craving for nicotine that I’m going through these days.

Eating Differently – An Update

It’s been nearly three weeks now since I started eating differently.  To be honest, this was just going to be a week of a trial-effort.  I never expected it to have lasted this long.  So far, though, I can see this sticking, so long as I make some tweaks sooner rather than later.

Firstly, I’ve lost way more weight than I thought I would by now.  I started off at 240 pounds.  Now, when I step on the scale, I’m down to 225.  That’s a fifteen-pound loss in three weeks, ten of which came off in the first week or so.  Now that my body is adjusting to the way I’m eating, weight loss has slowed up, but is still progressing towards the weight I should be at.  I will admit that it sure feels nicer to step on the scales and see the numbers getting smaller, rather than larger, as they had been for the past year and few months.  More importantly I’m able to fit back into the jeans that Ray bought me last summer, which means I’m about 1.5″ smaller around the waist than I was at the start of this.  Ray also commented that he was seeing weight loss in my face.

Secondly, my housemates and Ray have been super supportive about this dietary shift.  Bil made some off-hand comments to start, but after reporting the results so far to him, I think he’s come around to seeing this as a good thing.  Ray knows of some decent paleo-friendly restaurants around town which I’ve enjoyed trying.  Dick’s Kitchen, for example, will get more of my money.  Grass-fed beef over greens?  Yes please.

Ray has started taking my dietary needs into deeper consideration when we do go out to eat,  which has caused us some nonsensical friction.

At first, I told him not to worry about where we grab a bite – I’m a big boy who can find something to eat pretty much anywhere, and this is not a dietary restriction of his food.  When we went to a new sushi/Japanese place here in our neighborhood, though, I made the mistake of saying “I’m not sure what to order” while we were looking over the menus.  He got quiet, and replied “we can leave,” which is not at all what he wanted to do.  I immediately felt bad, and found two appetizers on the menu that had the least amount of blacklisted food, and proceeded to order them.  Soy sauce is off the menu, but the dishes I had contained some.  Same goes for sesame seeds (a grain).  Still, the bulk of what I did manage to order was fine, and while I did notice an up-tick in bloating and gas the next morning, it wasn’t completely uncomfortable.  Ray got whatever sushi/rice he wanted, and as the meal finished, I told him how sorry I was for making it awkward to go out to eat, apologizing for my diet, and that I never expected him to make any changes to suit my personal needs.  He looked at me, smiled, and explained that he wants me to be able to enjoy a meal with him, and that his only concern was that I wasn’t able to get enough to eat to be satisfied.  I told him that being satisfied with food isn’t why I go out to eat with him – it’s the shared time with him that I most enjoy.  He grinned and blushed, and I thanked him for his concerns about my new diet.  He can see that I’m pleased with the results so far, and he is being supportive in a way I would have never expected from a lacto-ovo-vegetarian who’s diet is based on bread, rice, beans, and milk.  Once again, my boyfriend is amazing.

The biggest hurdle I’m having, though, is what to eat when I finally do get hungry.  Because my cravings for food have changed, I can go hours in between meals unlike ever before.  That said, when I do finally realize it’s time to eat, I find myself searching for something quick to make.  I need to be better about planning and prepping my food for the day.  I’ve got breakfast down pat – eggs and spinach/greens, or a green smoothie.  Lunch is usually a piece of fruit and some nuts (breakfast seems to last a lot longer in my system these days, leaving me full and satisfied for much longer).  At dinnertime, though, is when I falter.  My housemates enjoy all food – “paleo” and not – and as it’s a shared food situation (and they outnumber me 2:1) there is one meal made that is shared.  Sometimes, it’s all things I can eat, like last night’s baked chicken and fresh steamed green beans.  Other times, it’s stuff I have to avoid, like Friday night’s pasta bake.  On those nights when the meal isn’t going to fit me, I need to have more options.  I need to take more initiative there.

I also need to incorporate more exercise into my week.  I typically get about 10,000 steps in a day, with more on my days off, but I need to up that.  Walking, or even running, is going to help me shed even more weight, plus it’s great for my cardiovascular system and fights off a number of bad effects from having a sit-down, sedentary job.

I’m going to nail this down, in time.  I’ve learned that paying attention to the signals my body is sending me is crucial, and now that I’ve cut out the sugar and junk, it feels like I’m hearing the signals a lot clearer.  I am happy with the way things are going, and I know I’m doing the right thing for the body that I’m inhabiting.  I feel like, perhaps, this is the first time I’ve felt like I’m treating my body with the dignity it deserves, and that makes me feel at peace.

While Out Walking

It’s been far too long since I posted an update on my fitness.  There’s a perfectly good reason for that.  I’m embarrassed by it.

I stepped on the scale last Sunday (about six days ago).  240 pounds spun up on the dial, and stared back at me as I leaned forward, looking over my belly to read the numbers and count the dash marks.  The red indicator dash aligned squarely at 240.

240.

This is precisely fifteen pounds less than I have weighed at my heaviest ever – a weight I carried during my first year of college.

I stand at about 5’9″ tall.  This, according to all scales and charts, puts me in a spot that is not one I ever wanted to be in again.  I am, official, obese.  I know, I know…charts and scales are not the end-all-be-all of a measurement of health.  I get that.  I also get, however, how I’ve been feeling over the past few months.

When I left Caleb’s house, just over a year ago, I was hovering around 170 pounds.  I was on a very, very restricted diet (because I couldn’t afford to buy food – I had no job), and spent my days sleeping or running to deal with the anxiety of the situation I was living in.  As soon as I had a job, though, I also signed up for the gym at work, and for a bit of time, it was exactly what I needed.  I hit the gym every other day during the week, and went running as often as I could.  I also moved into a new home, where nutrition and food to eat was readily available.  For the first month or so, I ate anything I could.  As long as I was going to the gym, I kept my weight at a manageable level, but more importantly, my clothes fit better than ever.

I met Ray shortly after moving and settling into this new life, and at first, he met me right as I was transitioning into this new life, new home, and new job.  He was attracted to my activity level.  Back then, he was also hitting the gym a couple of times a week, and had a decent yoga routine that he loved.  Neither of us were what you’d call athletic, but we were making the effort.

Sometime over the summer, and for reasons I still don’t know, we both focused more on eating well and camping and staying in with each other, rather than being as active as we had been.  For him, his workload increased a lot – working two restaurant jobs during the summer here in Portland means you’re always at work.  For my part, I simply sat behind the wheel and drove my bus, but continued to eat as though food was a precious commodity.  Then, I stopped going to the gym, as my schedule shifted from a structured Monday through Friday routine to one that was more all-over-the-map.  Instead of one garage, I began to work out of all of the garages in the metro area.  Some days I worked ten hours and had zero time/energy to get to the gym.  Other days, I just wanted to sleep.  On days off, Ray and I spent our time grabbing bites to eat, camping, and the occasional hike – but nothing too strenuous.

Through all of last year, the weight crept on.  Slowly, but over time, my waist expanded.  My work uniform grew tight.  I needed larger shorts.  My strength was waning.  Headaches.  Neck and muscle soreness and stiffness.  When I did try to go running, five miles seemed like a monster goal, when only a few months prior I  was doing seven to ten miles per run regularly.  I simply didn’t have the energy or drive.  In fits and spurts, I’ve tried and tried to restart the engine of me and keep striving to my Fit By 40 goal.  Instead, I reached for a slice of pizza, another peanut butter sandwich, a nap, a glass of whiskey – anything I could to feed this weird craving of always being hungry.  For his part, Ray never said anything to me about it.  He saw me getting pudgier, but as he was also growing softer – I coined the term “love pudge” to explain what was going on – we both agreed many times that something needed to change.

That all came to a head last Sunday, and it’s when I did something I’ve been meaning to do for a while now.

I’ve gone paleolithic – mostly.

I have done diet research for quite some time now.  I even bought the book “It Starts With Food.”  I have read countless articles about this kind of change in my approach to food, and while it all sounded great on paper, when the rubber met the road, I still found myself using cream in my coffee, along with lumps and lumps of sugar.

I still found myself reaching for bread and peanut butter when I needed a snack.

I still snacked constantly when I wasn’t sleeping.

I was still raiding the fridge upon coming home every damn time, no matter what time of day it was.

I still felt hungry.  I still felt run down.  I still felt more weight going on my bones.

So, I hit a reset button. I’ve started by doing the basics:  no dairy, no grains, no legumes, no processed anything.  So far, as of tonight (Saturday), it’s been nearly one week on this diet change.  So far, so good.  In fact, I weighed myself yesterday, and much to my glee, I found I’d lost five pounds during my first week of this new approach to food.  After some further research, I learned that 5-10 pounds lost during the first week or two is not unheard of because, it turns out, eating a lot of carbohydrates also means retaining quite a bit of water.

After just one week, I already have noticed that my hunger cravings have changed.  I only feel hungry after going far too long between actual meals.  I’m not feeling a crazed buzz after a meal, followed by a hard crash in a few hours.  I feel more balanced.  I feel like my moods are leveling off too.  Not putting sugar and milk in my coffee means I’m actually sipping my go-juice slowly, and thus not spiking my caffeine levels as high/low as before.

As far as actual meals go, my housemate (who does all of the food purchasing in our living situation), has done a really great job of keeping veggies and fruits stocked.  There’s plenty of the protein I need to eat available, and he’s always open to suggestions for food purchases.  I’ve had to turn down a delicious pasta dish, and instead opted for a massive salad with tuna on it.  Tonight, I said ‘no, thank you’ to pizza – something I truly loved – and had baked chicken and a garden salad.  Getting food that’s on the meal plan at convenience stores is next to impossible, so I am learning to pack better when I do head out the door.  I am, however, fortunate to be in Portland, Oregon, where the food options are plentiful, and every kind of dietary need can be easily filled, as long as I know where to look.

I know Ray is already annoyed with all of my chatter about how I’m feeling, but he’s being super supportive just the same.  Today, our conversation turned to actually going to the gym together and getting back on that fitness horse together, something I’m very happy to do.

I had a glass of wine with dinner on Friday night, which is not on the food list.  Truth be told, it was a decent red Malbec, and while I am used to having more than just one glass, it was all I needed.  Today, I countered that indulgence with a decent walk with Ray in the morning, and a lot of healthy foods all day long.  I’m not ever going to be militant about this – that kind of exactness is not in my nature – but I am going to make a real effort at this.  I need it.  I need the balance, the feeling of health, and to take advantage of my ability to move and be active for as long as possible.

This is a change, but I think, in time, it can just be what I eat, and not some sort of freakish experiment.  Perhaps this, in a way, is an extension of learning the power of the word ‘no’ and taking control over my life again.  Perhaps this, in a way, is me being even more of an adult.

 

 

Progress?

I weighed myself yesterday.

And yes, before you even start, I can see your eyes roll, and I can hear the words “SCALES ARE AWFUL YOU SAID SO YOURSELF I CAN’T EVEN UGH” coming out of your mouth.  Believe me.  I can hear you.

Over the past year, I’ve put on a hefty amount of weight.  I mean, I’m about twenty pounds less than my most pudgy ever.  Or, at least I was before I started this little walking routine.  It’s only been a week, and I’ve also been incorporating a decent amount of fiber into my diet (read: the volume of ‘waste’ I’m producing is up), but when all is said and done, I apparently lost five pounds.

Five.

In my first week.

Of course, I also know that, with any bump in exercise, or change in diet for the better, the first bit often reveals a lot of weight loss.  Water weight, or whatever, tends to dump quickly.  As the body adjusts, according to what I’ve read, I need to keep changing it up in order to maintain a state of flux (and weight loss/muscle gain) about every couple of weeks or so.  I know that five pounds is a lot to lose in just one week, but just for a minute, I’m going to revel in this.

Please, let me.  Don’t be a Debbie-downer.  Or, better yet, be one, but know I’m sticking my fingers in my ears and ignoring you.

I LOST FIVE GOD DAMNED POUNDS AND IT FEELS SO DAMN GOOD.

This week, I’m paying more attention to the sugars and starches, and while I’m certainly not zero-carb at all, even just being aware and making dietary choices that limit the sugar I do intake seems to be helping.  I managed to get through yesterday without too many bumps in the road – though I did learn that the yoghurt that I like has about 45g of sugar per serving (one cup), so that’s a little shocking.  I also have limited myself with the sugar in my coffee, and I’m trying to navigate lunch in a way that doesn’t involve a sandwich.  Yesterday, I will admit, was tough.  Work was super-stressful, but now that I know my runs for this week, hopefully today will go better.  I can plan better.  I can pack a few pieces of fruit to get me through my six-hour shift of bringing people to a mall at Christmas.

This morning’s walk had me daydreaming about my mother’s visit in March.  I am looking forward to her arrival, and am curious as to what we are going to get up to.  I know she’s a cyclist, so we might rent bikes for the week and get out and about in Portland that way.  I also want to take her to the coast, possibly for a hike.  I really think she’s going to love it here, but I need to get physically fit enough to keep up with her.  She’s super-duper active.  I’ve got three months and a few miles of walking ahead of me, so I think I’ll be alright.  We shall see.  In all, the daydreaming while walking is great.  I can feel my thoughts bubbling up to the surface.  I can wrestle a thought while putting one foot in front of the other, and simply let my mind float.  This was something I loved to do while I was running last year, but those thoughts were often dark and angry.  I’m not dark or angry any more.

I’m loving the newness of all of this.  I love this different aspect of my life.  It is something both old and fresh at the same time.  I’m optimistic, as always, and can’t wait to see where I end up with all of this come this time next year.

It Just Dawned On Me

When I was living with my ex-boyfriend, I was starving.  I was not able to contribute to the household groceries, so in that situation, I was basically scraping and sampling a little of whatever was in the fridge or pantry, but never taking more than would be noticeable, or the last of anything, because, by rights, it wasn’t my food.  In this process, I found myself eating far less than I have in a long, long time.  Coupling this with the running I did to combat the anxiety of the situation I was in, and of course, I shed weight like nobody’s business.

The fact is, as good as I felt about how I was looking in the mirror, part of that was my response to the anxiety through control over the shape and size of my body.  I drew pleasure in seeing the weight melt away because it was the only thing I had control over.  All of the triggers had been tripped – with the chaos around me, coupled with it being suggested that my weight/size was a reason for not finding me attractive any longer – of course I turned upon myself and beat myself down in both size and shape.  Why not, right?  I’ve done this before, and it worked then…

The fact is, it’s a total control issue for me.  When things are out of control, I turn all of that worry and teeth-gnashing in on myself.  I stop eating.  I start fretting.  I take to the pavement and run and run and run.  That’s NOT to say that I don’t enjoy the running – I really do.  And I really do like the endorphin rush that allows me to shut off everything else and simply focus on my footfalls.  Still, there is a difference between being chased and running after something.  I think, perhaps, I was being chased by the ball of knots that existed in that old space I inhabited.

Now, as I’m here in this house with a totally new set of expectations and understanding, I’m feeling the weight come back.  I’m feeling heavy and tired, finally having the exhaustion that comes after a trauma – my trauma being that time in that old house under those horrible conditions.  I’ve been eating, though, and feeling myself get heavier, and though I keep reminding myself that going to the gym and such will help keep it all in check and on the right path, it still sends up red-flags of warning with each time I look at the scale, or have to see myself in the mirror.  I know I’m doing the right thing by eating (like actually eating square meals more than once a day), and hitting the weights and such, but I can see myself changing shape and growing in size in places.  I can feel myself taking deep breaths and trying to release the anxiety about all of that.

Today, as I wrote in my journal about this, it dawned on me that somewhere near the core of all of this is control.  I have major control issues with regards to food – but I think I have an idea for how to manage/cope/retrain myself regarding food.  I’m tired of hating myself for eating.  I’m tired of judging myself for indulging in something that I enjoy and that brings me pleasure.  There has to be a way to marry my enjoyment of food with a path forward to help, and I think, for me, it starts with my connection to the food I consume.

Now that I’m working, I can afford to go to the grocery store and purchase food for myself.  I haven’t as of yet because of finances, but with this latest paycheck, now I have a bit of money for groceries.   It’s not much, but it might help me to put together a meal plan and diet plan going forward.  Organization equals control.  Control over what I eat, as I’ve tried in the past, has given me some real satisfaction and calmed some of my nervousness about eating.

I think I may have stumbled on a path forward that might work.

Watch this space.