Wednesday, February 28, 2007

...and now for something completely different

Think of this as a commercial break of sorts. I was reminded this past weekend of how very, very lucky I am to have such a great husband. I wanted to tell anyone out there who is having marriage difficulties about a program called Retrouvaille.

In the summer of 2002 I was 5 months pregnant with C and my husband T told me he didn't think he loved me anymore. I felt blindsided and completely devastated. He was miserable about it and told me he didn't want a divorce, but just wanted to fix things. We went to counseling, things seemed to improve, and by the time C was born in October, T was again telling me, "I love you". Along we went, seemingly okay, until January 2005. T was acting rather odd, but I had found out I had skin cancer on my eyelid and had to have some serious surgery, so I sort of attributed it to that. Unfortunately, two weeks after my surgery, T told me once again that he wasn't in love with me. He loved me, but wasn't "in love" with me. Part of me wanted to slap him and tell him to grow up. He seemed so incredibly miserable, however, and I felt lost. We started counseling again, but really felt as though we were treading water.

T became so unhappy that he moved out in early February. I'm pretty sure I never cried so much in my life. I completely lost my appetite and my clothes were hanging on me within weeks. My MIL, who worked for the Catholic church in their Marriage Tribunal office, gave T a pamphlet about a program called Retrouvaille. We'd never heard of it, but after looking it up online, I had hope that it might help us. I didn't really see how, but the website promised miracles. T and I were pretty much willing to try anything, so off we drove to our Retrouvaille weekend.

Let me tell you, our Retrouvaille weekend was a profoundly moving experience. We are not particularly religious -- until our daughter made her first communion, we hadn't gone to church more than a few times a year since we were teenagers. But we got a miracle that weekend. We started talking to each other in an honest way we had never done before. We truly rediscovered each other. T moved back in three months after our weekend. Today we have a “normal” marriage. We share our feelings, resentments, and daily happenings with each other. We disagree, but aren’t afraid to ask for what we need from each other. We enjoy each other’s company, socialize, and take joy in raising our daughters together. I feel as though something incredibly precious, once lost, has been found.

T -- a man who NEVER EVER wants to volunteer for anything, wanted to get involved in the Retrouvaille program after we finished. We are the registration couple for our community and we had a weekend this past week -- which is how I was reminded of what a great husband I have. Rather than giving up on his marriage and "moving on", he chose to work on saving it. We've been writing an "introduction" in preparation for presenting talks for Retrouvaille, and I was very touched by what he wrote at the end of his part of the intro:

"I finally felt she would accept me back home and when I asked, she said I could come back. I was as happy as when she said she would marry me. We continue to work on our marriage through CORE and I try to be vigilant in my efforts to keep S happy. The often say that true love comes but once in a lifetime. For me it came twice. Thanks to the miracle of Retrouvaille, it was with the same woman both times".

Isn't that the sweetest?

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

On the Weigh Down -- Month 3

Weight: I have no idea. My husband was in the bathroom this morning. He actually knows pretty much what I weigh, but I still feel odd weighing myself in front of him. Besides, it was 5am and the dog was agitating to go out. I will say that I'm pretty sure my weight is about the same.

I had some really good days and some really bad days over the past two weeks. I veered between restricting and bingeing and just plain overeating. I finally decided that I needed to go back the The Appetite Awareness Workbook by Linda Craighead and actually DO the exercises, rather than simply reading them and nodding my head at how sensible they are.

The first step is to monitor your appetite. Each day you try to eat three meals and two snacks, eating whatever you want but stopping when you are moderately full. The idea is not to get too hungry because it is then very difficult to eat mindfully and stop when moderately full, so you eat when you feel moderately hungry. You record not what you ate, but how hungry you were when you started, when you finshed, whether or not you ate mindfully, and whether you felt any positive or negative feelings about your eating.

It has been interesting tome to see how OFTEN my feelings about what I ate are negative! It's also been very difficult for me to eat when moderately hungry. Sometimes my schedule doesn't allow it and I'm STARVING by the time lunch arrives. More often, however, I'm attempting to wait because I feel that I am hungry "too soon" after eating. I can totally see how this kind of behavior leads to overeating at the next meal, even if I overeat vegetables. I'm so hungry that I look around for what else I might eat after finishing my lunch, even though my tummy is rather full.

It has been rather freeing to eat whatever I want, but quite scary. I have so many black and white and should/shouldn't thoughts about it. It is definitely the case that recording this way is much less binge-inducing than keeping track of WHAT I'm eating or how many calories I'm eating. When my automatic calculator pops on, I immediately try to shut it off.

On another topic, I went shopping this morning, which was not very fun. I was looking for a top to wear to a party we're going to on St Patrick's Day -- something maybe a bit sexier than the mostly dull sweaters in my closet (that now fit me -- my sexy sweaters are rather...tight). I tried on about ten tops and bought one. As is the case every single time I go shopping, I get into the dressing room and flash back to the day I finally decided that my size 10s were falling off me and I needed some new clothes (this was spring or early summer 2004). I had an absolutely delightful time buying a raft of new capris, pants, and tops. I actually sank to the dressing room floor and broke down in tears when I found that size 6 after size 6 fit me absolutely perfectly, and I kept having to return the mediums for smalls. I had never in my life worn a size 6 and I was thrilled beyond belief.

Does it make me incredibly shallow that I loved, adored, and cherished being a size 6? No, it didn't solve any of the problems in my life, but I had one less problem since I wasn't self-conscious about my body every time I went out in public. I didn't constantly remind myself to suck in my stomach. Everything in my closet fit -- and more importantly -- looked just fine on me. I didn't have to wonder if my butt looked big or my arms looked flabby. People say that losing weight won't REALLY change your life. People lie.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Okay, yes, two in one day

I already posted this morning, but it was rather negative, and some good things have happened over the past two weeks also. My older dd has shown some interest in cooking -- finally. Of course, the first few things she wanted to make were -- natch -- desserts. My heart fell to about the level of my shoes when she wanted to make Hot Milk Cake last week. However, being the supportive mum that I am, I assisted with the cake on Thursday and it turned out rather well. I had only a couple of pieces last week, and it wasn't actually gone until Saturday (it was 8x8), when C ate the final, rather stale, piece. Then she wanted to make brownies. Then Lemon Dainties (my all-time favorite cookie made at Christmas by my mother). Oy, the torture.

I did okay -- better than okay, I'd say. I never ate more than two (tiny) brownies in one day, and I think I even skipped a day somewhere in there. I just kept telling myself, "You are not dieting. You are not going to diet. You can make brownies every single day if you want to. You can eat brownies whenever you want. Brownies are not special or forbidden...", etc. I had many fleeting "diety" thoughts, but banished them to the frozen tundra outside.

We went out to eat on Saturday after attending the golf show downtown (I am so excited -- I bought red golf shoes!). I ordered a burger, fries, and a chocolate shake (made with REAL Breyer's ice cream, no less). I very slowly and mindfully ate my burger and skipped most of my fries. They weren't that great -- and I can eat fries whenever I want, right? Of course, in all honesty, I must confess to eating at least a dozen of R's onion rings, but I did share my shake with her. If I had truly eaten mindfully, I'd have stopped sooner because I was quite full by the time we finished. The dog had a longer than normal walk that evening.

I'm excited to try golfing again. I golfed twice with DH -- then broke my leg into 40+ pieces. That was 18 months ago, and I'm hoping this summer I'll be able to give it another go. DH said I actually "wasn't bad" when we went before. Not bad is high praise for someone who bowled a 30 a few weeks ago at our bowling league. Yes, a 30. My average *was* 68, but something tells me it is going down after that performance. Oh well, my handicap will only get better. I wonder if there's an upper limit on handicaps?

It's 10:45am and I'm not hungry!

You have no idea how odd that is. As I've whinged about previously, no matter what I eat for breakfast, I'm starving by 9am. My 9-year-old dd wanted some gigantic cinnamon-raisin bagels this week and I bought them, cringing at the 290-calorie count of each. They did have 10 grams of protein each, so I figured they weren't all bad. I ate one this morning with some peanut butter (sassing the diet police the entire time). Oh man, was it good! I hadn't had a bagel in months. So with the pb and the cream in my coffee, I probably ate a 500-calorie breakfast. I usually eat a 300-350 calorie breakfast and then find myself needing a 200-calorie snack at 10am. So, I ate a bagel (which I thoroughly enjoyed) and use the same amount of calories. Woo hoo...though I do still have 2 hours until lunch.

Anyway, I've had an odd couple of weeks. I had a bad binge and felt that old desperate feeling that I will never be normal around food. I swear -- for years I've waffled back and forth about whether I can truly live in our food-laden world without weighing 170 lbs or whether I have to restrict and go hungry to lose weight. I guess I still don't know the answer, but I'm tired of the whole damn thing. I feel like a failure for being overweight, yet I know that my friends and family love me whether I'm a size 10 or a size 6. I just wish I could love me as a size 10.