Monday, June 30, 2008

And We're Off!

My 10-year-old has finally learned to ride a bike with no training wheels! I never thought I'd see the day. We rode 6 miles together a couple of weeks ago and the wheels were knocked askew during the ride. After 1 1/2 miles of crying and frustration, she seemed to catch on. The next day T adjusted them so they were totally off the ground and she rode 7 miles without wobbling much. So the next day he took them off all together. She took off right after this picture and we rode 13 miles together without any major mishaps. Yea! The bike is really too small for her, so after our vacation, we'll go out for a larger one.
I've been biking a lot lately. On Friday I rode about 12 miles to breakfast with my friends and back. Riding on the streets is a heck of a lot more difficult than riding on the trail. The hills were killers, and I arrived at breakfast sweaty and red-faced. On Saturday, I rode 22 miles -- to my inlaws' house and back. For the first time since my accident three years ago, I had the leg strength to stand up and peddle on my bike. That gives me hope that I can still build up some muscle even after all this time.
In a couple of hours, we're leaving for a week of vacation. I should be packing right now. We're headed to Mackinac Island for a couple of days, then driving through the U.P. to Wisconsin. Sixty-two aunts, uncles, and cousins will be meeting for a reunion over the weekend. I'm feeling anxious enough that I have begged my dh to pack my bike in the van. I need an escape route. I like all of these people quite well, but I have a feeling I may start to feel suffocated after a while. "See" you when we get back!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Walking (or Riding) Around the Hole in the Sidewalk

There's my home sweet home on top. The house had white shutters until last fall when we had them painted blue. The color turned out a bit brighter than it looked on the sample, but it has grown on us. The other photo is the wild bunch from R's sleepover. They all seem like very nice girls, though some are definitely more high maintenance than others.
Yesterday morning we had our family picture taken for the church directory. We were given the option of ordering prints for ourselves, and went ahead and ordered our Christmas cards for next December. I dithered a bit, thinking I looked quite fat. What if I were skinnier next December? In the end I decided that was idiotic thinking and I'd have less stress for the holiday season if I just went ahead and ordered the cards. After the photo session, the girls and I visited the farmer's market. R begged me for cinnamon swirl bread and I gave in and bought a loaf. At home, we ate pieces of it and I immediately started feeling guilty and wanted to binge. Instead I went out for a bike ride. I ended up riding 22 miles, and felt 100% better by the time I got back....with the exception of my backside, which is still protesting.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Climbing Out of the Hole

I saw my therapist today and shared my setback of last week. I spent 4 days last week alternately doing fine and overeating. Finally, on Sunday, I sort of mentally pulled myself up by my bootstraps and said, "HEY! Yes, you are going to be fat your whole life because you are behaving like someone who WANTS to be fat! Maybe you are meant to be this size forever unless you starve yourself. However, you will never know if you don't stop overeating and eating when you're not hungry!" I've been okay since then. I even started bringing a snack to work to eat between meals when I get really hungry, rather than trying to wait until it's "mealtime". It made me very anxious on Monday (I brought two snacks), but yesterday and today it's been fine (I only brought one snack -- baby steps, you know).

I talked to the therapist about weighing myself and whether or not it's a healthy thing to do. I haven't been weighing myself more than once every few months. All of the books on healing binge behavior say to weigh yourself once a week. She pointed out that they are talking about healing only binge eating and emotional eating -- they aren't dealing with people who've had past issues with anorexic behavior or overexercising. Good point. She pointed out that surely I can tell whether or not I've gained or lost weight by the fit of my clothing, without risking the possible trigger of using the scale. I suppose she is right.

She gave me a really neat piece of writing that has apparently been around for a while. I think this woman has been inside my head! I think I'm working on Chapter 3 -- sometimes I even get to 4.

There's a Hole In My Sidewalk : Autobiography in Five Short Chapters
by Portia Nelson.

Chapter 1
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost...I am helpless.
It isn't my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter 2
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in again.
I can't believe I am in this same place.
But it isn't my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter 3
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall's a habit...but my eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault. I get out immediately.

Chapter 4
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

Chapter 5
I walk down another street.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Thrown for a Loop

On Wednesday morning, R, very enamoured of her new digital camera, snapped a photo of me while I was making her breakfast. It was a photo of the back of me. I looked at it and was immediately thrown into a deep pit of despair. Okay, perhaps I exaggerate a bit, but not much. Wow, did I look awful. My pants looked too tight, my shirt looked too snug, and I looked quite chunky. I went upstairs and changed, and tried to talk positively to myself. I told myself that it was just the clothes -- and even if it wasn't, so what? Being fat isn't the end of all happiness. I'll just buy clothing that fits better and is more flattering and I'll like my rear view better. Yeah, that didn't really work.

I spent the whole day alternately planning to go on a diet; wondering if I could after all do the South Beach diet; thinking about how much weight I could lose by Christmas....and reminding myself that diets make me crazy; I have worth no matter what my weight; and no, I really shouldn't be eating all of this chocolate at work when I'm not at all hungry. I was really shocked at how upset I was. Here I thought my self image was improving, but I was back in the "it's hopeless so I might as well have a brownie" rut. I took R out for lunch after their "Fourth Grade Celebration" (they move to middle school next year), and managed to leave part of my lunch behind because I was full, but arrived at work and ate too many treats. I went out to dinner with a friend and had just a bowl of vegetable soup and a piece of bread because I wasn't very hungry, but went home at 8:15pm and ate a piece of pizza and a piece of cake! Just before bed I filled out my eating diary and resolved to get over my backside freak-out. So far, so good, though my mind still occasionally wanders into diet territory.

At group on Monday, my therapist gave us a great list of affirmations to post on the fridge. I won't post it on the fridge because of my girls, but I want to share it:

  1. My worth as a person is not diminished in any way by my body size or my eating patterns.
  2. I will love myself no matter what my eating patterns are.
  3. I will judge my days not by what or how much I eat, but by the accomplishments I have made and the love I have given.
  4. My life is a gift, and I will not let my enjoyment of it be diminished by feeling guilty over my body size or how much I eat.
  5. I am finished blaming others, situations, and myself for the way I eat. I will take action minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour, and day-by-day until I can eat normally again.
  6. My eating disorder is a temporary condition in my life.
  7. There is a normal eater within me. I will let her take over my life more and more each day as I am ready.
  8. I can imagine a life without having an eating disorder.
  9. When I feel stressed, I will close my eyes and picture how my all-powerful, normal eater would handle the situation.
  10. I believe I will be a normal eater again. I know I will be a normal eater again!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Different Outcomes Require Different Behavior!

I got my new gel shorts in the mail and put on a pair to go for a 19-mile bike ride on Sunday evening. They didn't quite have the cushy fabulousness I was hoping for, but I think my nether regions are less sore than they would have been in regular shorts. The bugs were unbelievably horrendous. Much of the trail is in leafy shade, and I had at least 500 bug corpses plastered to my t-shirt by the time I got home, along with 1 in my eye, several on my cheek, and even one inside my bra. Ewww. I can't imagine how many would have been stuck in my hair had I not been wearing a helmet. Which reminds me -- why on earth do parents make their children wear helmets when they do not? It's okay if mom or dad dies due to a fractured skull and leaves little Johnny parentless? I don't get it.

I had support group last night and attendance was huge. 18 anorexic teenagers, one middle aged overweight woman, and me. There are some young women there who never say a single word. I have no idea why they come. Maybe just listening to others helps -- or maybe mom forces them to come. During the meeting, one girl said that she's struggling with doing the same thing every day -- starving herself all day and then giving in and bingeing and purging in the evening. She said, "I KNOW what happens every single time I starve all day -- I KNOW it -- yet I tell myself that this day will be different."

I thought about how I do similar things -- I do things knowing KNOWING what will happen -- yet I still do them. Yesterday was a CRAZY day at work. I didn't get a chance to even get a drink of water until 1pm. We had pizza and lots of treats around, but lunch was fine for me. I ate one piece of pizza, my salad, and a piece of cake and I was really full. The afternoon was so busy and I was still so full from lunch that I didn't even think about food. Yet, when I left work, I took three of the cookies a coworker had brought in and told myself they were "for my kids". Yeah, right. I ate them in the car before I was even halfway home. What was that about? A reward for a busy day? A release of all of the tension -- relief that I was done? Anxiety about my support group meeting? What? Who knows? I think the most important thing for me to admit is that I took those cookies for ME. I didn't take them for my kids or my dh or anyone but me. I KNEW I was going to eat them on the way home, but didn't want to admit it to myself. The only saving grace in it for me is that I ate a REALLY small dinner and didn't eat anything else the rest of the night because I wasn't hungry.

After group I went to TCBY to get a frozen yogurt pie for R's 4th grade graduation celebration dinner (which will be tonight), and I wanted to get a frozen yogurt cone just because I was there and I love frozen yogurt. I didn't get one though. I want to get better -- ALL better. That's not going to happen unless I consistently make good choices. If I'd been hungry, okay. However, eating frozen yogurt last night would have been all about "hey, it's there -- and besides, I already ate three cookies and a piece of cake today. Might as well..." No. No. No. No. NO. I will not be that person anymore.

Friday, June 06, 2008

My's A-Changin'

Here's my wonderful dh T running in a 5K. He's now talking about doing a triathlon, which made me mentally scratch my head. He hasn't been on a bike for at least 8 years and I've never seen him do anything in a pool but play around. I will be supportive if he wants to do it though.

I've been MIA because my life is still rather CRAZY these days. With t-ball twice a week, golf once a week, etc., I've been gone almost every evening for several weeks now. Thank heavens t-ball and school both end next week. We don't sign the girls up for evening or Saturday activities in the summer. I want my kids to have the kind of relaxed summers I had (sans wacky mother who thinks kids are the perfect manual laborers for her gigantic garden and grand landscaping projects).

Anyway, life is pretty good. I haven't had anything I could call a true binge in weeks and weeks and weeks. I've had some days when I've made a bad choice or two, but nothing worse than eating a few handfuls of chips when I'm not really hungry. I saw my therapist two weeks ago and I told her I was really struggling with wanting to lose weight versus trying to have a normal relationship with food. I think my self image has improved over the past several months, as I've stopped bingeing and worked on my destructive and irrational thoughts. However, I'm still not thrilled with my size. I confessed to her that I've realized through using the eating diary that I'm terrible at feeding myself at the first sign of hunger rather than waiting until I'm ravenous. I'm afraid of eating too much if I really allow myself to eat every time I'm hungry. We decided that I really need to trust my hunger and that I may end up eating less because I sometimes realize too late that I'm a bit too full because I was so hungry when I started eating. True confessions here...I still haven't been very good about it since then. There are a few days when I've had a snack at work when I'm really hungry between meals, but it makes me feel really anxious -- and I'm still super hungry at mealtime. So I think to myself, "WHAT in the heck is the point?!?" It doesn't matter what the snack is either -- high protein, high carb, mixture of both, fruit, veg...whatever. I've tried different things, but somehow I am still just as hungry when the next meal rolls around.

We discussed feelings and I told her I still have great difficulty pinpointing the feeling that underlies my anxiety or restlessness. I need to look at my feeling list more often when I'm having trouble. She gave me a really interesting sheet that shows how feelings change into destructive behaviors if you don't allow yourself to feel and/or express them. Anger, for example, changes into controlling behavior (among other things).

She led me through a visualization, which was really neat. I'd never really tried to do it before, but as she talked I really felt as though I was swinging softly in a hammock on the beach under a palm tree, feeling a soft breeze as I read a book. Ironic since I would never relax enough to do that, but she said that I could practice doing visualization to give me a little respite when I'm having a stressful day and can't actually escape. Of course, I haven't yet done it because I forget all about it when I really need it!

I've been trying to work on changing my irrational thoughts by asking myself what evidence I have for thinking _____________ (insert any irrational thought here!). It really calms me down when I take the trouble to challenge my squirrel brain. I have had many mornings lately when I suddenly think, "Hey! I'm not thinking about food!" If I start to have any weird repetitive food/weight loss thoughts, I immediately start reciting a nursery rhyme and my thoughts go away. It seems dopey, but it works.