Ommmmm

Monday, January 30, 2012 Permalink

And no, I’m not channelling Edina Monsoon here (for those who are familiar with the BBC series Absolutely Fabulous and Eddy’s habit of adopting a new religion every time it proved convenient or took her fancy). And I’m obviously not dissing Buddhism or any other religion, being the non-controversial, non-judgemental, fence-sitting blogger that I am. Rather, the title of today’s post is signifying nothing more than the fact that I’ve made a skerrick of progress in one aspect of my life. For now, anyway.

Ommmm

You will recall that over the past month or so I’ve been talking about MODERATION – particularly as it relates to fitness programs and routines. I’ve also made some discoveries: although I managed almost-daily walks while away over the Christmas break, I stressed a bit about the necessity to do so each day; realising I was far more comfortable in group workouts and classes than HAVING to force myself to exercise. I also realised it was okay NOT to run given that I don’t like to run…. all of which has kinda helped me become a  bit more zen-like in my approach to working out.

And over the past few weeks, I’ve pretty much settled into my weekday classes-at-the-gym routine. It’s meant that I don’t HAVE to exercise on weekends (having decided that 5 days at 45mins is okay) and my exercise is now just a regular part of my day.

However… naturally like love (apparently!), life does not always run smoothly.

For various reasons last week (work training session away from my workplace, public holiday and day off), I had no access to my gym for three of the days on which I’d usually exercise.  In addition, we’ve had heavy rain for a number of days, making outside walks difficult.

Exercising with Good Housekeeping

Now I realise that if I was more diligent or dedicated I would, in fact, have undertaken an indoor circuit or found SOMETHING to do. I have some equipment buried somewhere in my garage; or I could easily have whipped up my own program and done some push ups, lunges, squats, triceps dips and abdominal work. Easy Peasy. But I didn’t. And you know what – and this is the good bit – I didn’t get all angsty about it either. Perhaps I should have. I know a lot of hardcore trainers would be disappointed that I didn’t rush outside during a break in the rain, or fling myself about my lounge room to ‘smash’ some calories out. But you know what…. I didn’t and I’m okay with that.

I had my mother staying and at one point I wondered aloud if I ‘should’ head out during a dry spell, though finally said to her that I realised it wasn’t the end of the world. Good god. NOT. THE. END. OF. THE. WORLD. This from the all-or-nothing thinker! So, despite knowing that others may judge me for NOT stressing, I was able to rationally  recognise that I wasn’t going to suddenly become unfit, having skipped 2-3 days of exercise one week.

The big achievement for me was I didn’t spend the days I didn’t exercise staving off the niggling sensation of guilt over my inaction. And I didn’t become angry at myself because of my perceived slackness. “It’s just 2-3 days,” I said, “next week I’ll be back into it again.”

I know that may not be a big deal to some but moderation doesn’t come easily to me. I usually react in one of two different ways: I feel I’ve been so slack I’m tempted to throw the towel in completely; or I find I am unable to do anything else or enjoy anything else because I’ve not done something I’m SUPPOSED to have done.

chill outAnd do you know what… as the working week drew to a close and I was feeling zen-like about my lack of exercise, I (in fact) decided to break out of my comfort zone (yet again) and do something different. After spending a wet day off on Friday blogging and reading and generally veging with my mum, I vaguely recalled that the only local Zumba class was held on Friday evenings. Following a brief Google I confirmed that a session was held in a nearby community hall and at 5.30pm, I ventured off to try my first proper Zumba class. There was no obsessing beforehand, it was just a notion and everything fell into place and the timing suited. Had I been stressing about my lack of exercise, I might have felt I HAD to go to the Zumba class; it all would have become a chore and I would have obsessed about it; dreaded it; and rebelled by not going.

I have no days out of the office this week, so all should be back to normal; and yet I realise, things will never ALWAYS be normal. There will always be something which might interfere with my training. I might need to take a day off here and there; work may be busy; I may be sick or injured. And I’m finally realising that’s okay. As long as I do what I can, when I can… all will be well.

*Big contented sigh* Ommmmmmmmm……

Guest post III – why we binge-eat

Friday, January 27, 2012 Permalink

Today I bring you the third and final guest post in my series. You may have noticed that I have taken the opportunity to share with you, some of the inner-workings of Schmiet’s mind. She’s currently a bit gun-shy and fears she’s been over-sharing, so I’ve taken the initiative and thought that I’d try to decipher for you what’s happening in that twisted little mind of hers.

You don't LOOK like...Last post I talked about her binge-eating behaviour, which continues to plague her many years after her ‘eating disorders’. It occurred to me recently that she sees it as a defined time in her past… as if she could rule a line under her anorexic and bulimic years. However, her recent re-focus on weight loss and meagre success has meant she’s become increasingly self-conscious about her binge-eating and mindset issues and fears she may never lose the weight she needs – or maintain it – until she battles some of her inner demons.

Naturally I’ve been trying to convince her that it’s not necessary. And frankly I think she was fine before she started losing weight. I mean, going through life alone and feeling unhappy as a big fat failure really isn’t that bad, particularly with food to comfort her. And I’m still trying to convince her of this fact.

Last weekend she was reading a blog post from Chubby Girlfriend, of Boyfriends Make You Fat fame, about binge-eating… which has led to her (and therefore my) pondering on the issue this week. The article from her blog (below) which I think is from Shape magazine here suggests four reasons we may have a problem with binge-eating.

Chubby GF said she could relate to the first two. Schmiet and I looked at the list and said, “Well, 2 and 3… obviously. They’re no brainers,” but then she read the title of last one and I noticed she was a bit gobsmacked. Because the heading for number 4  is basically saying YOU BINGE BECAUSE YOU WANT TO BINGE. Well, sort of (when in fact it refers to the oft-discussed emotional eating).

But firstly back to numbers 2 and 3. Number 2: Anyone who’s read her blog knows she regularly confesses to ‘black/white’ thinking. I suspect she blames me for this – as if I am a little pitchforked devil sitting on her shoulder competing with an angelic creature on the other, resulting in her either ‘dieting’ or ‘not dieting’. This may *ahem* well be the case and… as a result, her all-or-nothing approach means that she can (at times and which comes as a surprise to me) be ridiculously stringent… naturally resulting in subsequent food blowouts as soon as I am able to convince her she needs some ‘relief’ from her fastidious way of life.

As for number 3: readers would also be aware that guilt is the bane of her life. She goes on and on about it. I come down on both sides of this argument. Guilt-free living has its advantages, that’s for sure… (I mean, HELLO, living life without repercussions!) but sometimes when I really fuck with her mind the guilt become so overwhelming food is the only thing that quells the gnawing anxiety.

And, now to number 4. As we noted, the article is essentially referring to emotional eating. Yep, sure… even non binge-eaters can be emotional eaters, but the thing that struck her as she read down the page was the heading: …You’re feeling the need to binge.

OvereatingShe’ll usually say that she’s out of control when it comes to her binges (usually leaving herself in my capable hands). I encourage her to literally inhale thousands of calories of food until she’s beyond full. She barely tastes what she eats and with little consideration of the consequences. (Naturally I let her think that tomorrow, she’ll get back on that dieting wagon; and encourage her to just keep going with the binge-fest because she’s already had a calorie blow-out and so she might as well keep going and make the most of it!)

But…. damn this article! It made her realise that they’re planned. A slight ‘a-ha!’ moment for Schmiet as she decided the heading was right. Sure HER motivation is emotional (usually anger in her case) and sure she’s wanting ‘comfort’ from SOMETHING – but I plan our binge. I look forward to our binge. I often fantasise about our binge. “How many bags of corn chips will we buy?” we wonder. “Will two 250g blocks of chocolate be enough?” we ask. “No? Okay, we’ll get two blocks of chocolate and a bag of caramello koalas. Oh…. and maybe some hot chips. You know… just case everything else isn’t enough.”

Sure there are other times when we prowl her kitchen and search out whatever’s on hand… and many a year passed when she could not keep flour or sugar – as I would convince her  that a faux cake batter-binge would be sufficiently fulfilling. But I no longer have QUITE that hold over her. It seems.

zipitSo Schmiet realised, while her binge-eating is mindless, they are usually meticulously pre-conceived. Even if it’s us in the supermarket throwing things into our shopping basket. I often remind her that, sometimes, eating (and not just eating meals, but over-eating or binge-eating) is the only thing that gives her pleasure in her day. She’s tried the self-help article suggestions: spoil yourself with pampering baths; take the time to read a book. Blah blah blah. Frankly it doesn’t cut it. It’s not fulfilling to me so it’s not fulfilling to her.

So where does this leave us. Her and I? For a change I’m not exactly sure. As for her… she’s wondering if she’s clinging to her binge-eating ways like a drowning man to a life buoy. She’s wondering if it’s not just the food itself that is the emotional crutch, but also the binge-eating habit as well. Just when I think I know how ‘we’ think, feel and act, Schmiet learns something new about herself – often something over which I have no control. And… she’s hatching a plan. I can feel it in my waters…. as Schmiet’s great aunt and my namesake would claim.

As for what’s next, well… she’ll have to fill you in.

Signing out for now with love and kisses (and a few caramello koalas)
Myra

xxxx

Guest post II – amateur hour

Wednesday, January 25, 2012 Permalink

Today I feature the second guest post by Myra (aka my inner critic; or as I like to call her… my resident mind-bitch). I’ve asked her, however, to write as an independent observer on this particular topic… rather than the manipulative cow she most-often is.

Source: calorieking.com.au

I’ve noticed that Schmiet’s been thinking more and more about binge-eating of late. Now, you would know that this is something close to her heart and something she still struggles with over twenty years after her battle with anorexia. Before that she was – perhaps – an occasional over-eater, but nothing more. She’d sneak the occasional chocolate or eat too many biscuits in a sitting (TeeVee snacks and chicken drumsticks being a particular favourite of hers), but it wasn’t until she lost a lot of weight that her eating became secretive and obsessive.

Many years later she confessed to her parents that she’d miss parts of school to go home and eat homemade biscuits from the freezer, sometimes just eating parts of many, and having to bake more to avoid being caught. (She also skipped school to head to her nearby basketball courts to do endless suicide / shuttle runs as well!) I suspect her parents knew some of what she was doing but were worried about saying something that might upset the precarious balance that 16 year old Schmiet was struggling to maintain for most of her final year in high school.

Fast forward twenty-five years and she’s still struggling. Having (at one point) reached almost three times what she weighed back in her late mid-late teens; she’s still battling those eating-related demons. Many MANY people don’t get it. She had a visitor last week who witnessed her purchase of a bag of caramello koalas (I believe I mentioned the downward spiral she’s been on since stepping onto the scales to witness a lack of weight loss), “Surely you couldn’t eat all of those,” her houseguest said. Even I chuckled at that. Her guest himself is quite frugal on the dietary front. He allows himself ONLY two squares of chocolate each night with his pre-bed coffee. He would never DREAM of eating even a row of squares. Let alone an entire block. Or two or three. Like so many other non-binge-eaters, he doesn’t understand how someone could engulf massive amounts of food that they don’t even enjoy.

Schmiet’s heard it before, as have I: from her parents and from her friends. “How on earth can you eat one kilogram of chocolate in a sitting? Don’t you feel sick?” we are asked. HELLO, sometimes that was fucking point – it’s way easier to purge if you already feel sick, I’ve wanted to say… but Schmiet never let me confess such things. Of course now she doesn’t purge. At all. Ever. I sometimes suggest it to her. “Oh. My. God,” I say. “You’ve just eaten three days’ worth of calories in one sitting you fat weak fucking bitch! You’ve ruined EVERYTHING! But…. you DO know how you could make it better…”

Surprisingly she is stronger than that. Yes… that amazes even me!

Her visiting houseguest recently lost some weight. “I was just eating so much,” he said. “I was dining out all of the time, and eating too much cheese.” I observed Schmiet as she nodded knowingly and sympathetically at her houseguest while thinking: WHAT. THE. FUCK?! And unfortunately she refused to let me slap him around the head. 

I can tell, though, she envies the weight loss amateurs like her visitor. You know the type… those who haven’t spent their lives on every diet under the sun, or who are able to recite the calories in any food they are about to eat, or can offer the pros and cons about Zone vs Atkins vs Paleo ways of eating; those who do not understand the urge or ability to eat anything and everything in sight without consideration of the implications.

A brown-haired Schmiet with her dad, circa 1994

Schmiet’s dad was one such person. At one point they undertook a diet together, even though he only needed to lose a small amount of weight, which he carried around her belly (though a non-drinker). “Do you know that a little chocolate bar has more calories than an apple?” her father would ask wondrously. “Did you know how many calories are in butter?” She’d eye-roll and wonder how on earth he didn’t already know these things! He’d listen eagerly as they were told about proteins, carbohydrates and fats and received demonstrations as to how their plates should look (this was in the mid 1990s before the low carb-regime took hold).

Funnily enough though, it was her first experience with a dieting debutante. Weight literally dropped off him, even though she was eating less and doing more exercise. It was one of the first times she wondered what years of anorexia and bulimia had done to her metabolism and contemplated the all-or-nothing approach she had to dieting. I naturally told her that ‘it served her right and was entirely her own fault’.

She already knew then, however, that her father (like many others – and quite often men!) didn’t understand the mindset side of things. When she was anorexic they often fought, “Just eat!” he’d say. Not understanding that doing so would cause her to literally die a little inside. He couldn’t understand that it was a mental illness, not just physical.

The weight-loss amateurs, or those without a long history of eating disorders (like her recent houseguest and her father) seriously have NO IDEA. Schmiet isn’t proud that she DOES understand. I try – as much as possible – to have her remind people of the fact. I believe it gives her an excuse to remain stymied in her weight loss efforts…. you know… “I’m fucked in the head and so can’t diet…” Etcetera. And you’ll be pleased to know that I often get through to her… and I’m sure you’ve read many-a-post here in which she’s bemoaned her weight-watching history and used it as an excuse for having a screwy mindset or struggling with motivation.

Despite her many (many) faults, Schmiet tries to not judge others who lack sympathy. I try to convince her otherwise as much as possible. I mean, can she not see that they are BASTARDS for NOT understanding what it’s like for someone who binge-eats or over-eats; or not understanding what it’s like to keep cramming food down although you feel full and know you will regret it later; or who even think you may (in the moment) have some control over the situation?!?!

I know Schmiet dreams of a day when her biggest slip-up is that akin to her houseguest: over-eating when out with friends; or partaking in too pre-dinner nibblies… rather than taking my advice and relying on food to give her the love, satisfaction and comfort that’s not forthcoming from elsewhere. 

It’s an ongoing battle that she and I are continuing to fight. (But… more on that in my final post later this week.)

Myra

Guest post I: Myra

Monday, January 23, 2012 Permalink

I read somewhere, that to increase readership (etc) one should feature guest posts. So… as part of my 2012 goal to focus more on my blogging, I thought I’d feature a series of guest posts this week from someone who’s been itching to speak to you all. She’s an old ‘friend’ (in the loosest sense of the word), but only recently recognised. Ladies and gents…. I give you Myra, my inner critic.

As you can well imagine I was just stoked that Deborah (aka Schmiet) FINALLY let me out of my box… so to speak. She *ahem* really doesn’t keep me in a box. No… really. Well, in all honesty I suspect she’d like to, but has – so far anyway – failed. Anyway, in our airtight guest-posting contract, Schmiet has little say over the content of my posts so I can feel free to share some stuff that she has recently balked at. Quite frankly, between you and me, the woman really has no ‘staying power’. A bit of negativity has her running for the hills!

Source: Fitnessthroughfasting.com

You’d be aware that my good ole’ buddy Schmiet, recently restarted her ‘healthy eating plan’ (aka diet). I sat by and smugly watched as she powered through her first week, dropping about 2.5kg of Christmas weight. With a bit of help from Yours Truly she got through her second week… and I made sure her expectations were sufficiently heightened so that – as expected, when no weight loss on the scales ensued – she ‘lost the plot’ / ‘dropped the ball’  (and similar analogies) – big time. However, she surprises me sometimes and I almost lost control there for a while. Her resolve returned… ‘Onward and upward’ she said (or thought; because I am privy to the convoluted workings of her inner mind) and planned her weekly menu and workout routines, resolutely determined to remain ‘on track’. I was a little nervous that she might – indeed – win this round, but fortunately I had some assistance on my side….

My secret weapon lives in Schmiet’s bathroom. It looks innocuous enough – all silver and shiny – but it has the power to bring Schmiet to tears. I watch her step on, expectantly, each and every time. (Wouldn’t you think she’d learn?!) She holds her breath and poses in a way that I guess is meant to lighten the load as much as possible. And then either a smile and a bounce in her step; or several more attempts and a few visits to the loo before she throws herself down on her bed and sulks.

Of course, that’s when I can help. When she’s feeling blue. I console her, “It’s really not worth it,” I say.

“Why put yourself through this torture,” I ask her, “for so little results?” And I remind her, “Life is SO much better when you can eat and drink whatever you want. At least then you are getting SOME joy out of your dreary existence.”

I wait for the argument about instant gratification she’ll get from food versus the long-term benefits of losing weight. Blah blah blah. But with my secret weapon – that shiny judgemental object in her bathroom – I can always win. Sometimes my victory is short-lived and – of late – that has been increasingly the case. I notice that she’s getting better at picking herself back up, sticking her fingers in her ears and ignoring my advice. But – I always return. She hasn’t gotten rid of me for good. Yet.

I notice that she’s been reading some blog posts from others and contemplating the notion of hiding the silver scales. I haven’t yet decided whether that’s a good or a bad thing. I’m conscious that (just this last time) she was going well, until she saw the numbers and let them discourage her. Perhaps without the numbers ruling her life she could focus on the journey and NOT the destination. Then again, she has such little confidence and faith in herself perhaps I can convince her that she’s spiralling out of control without any tangible numbers to hold on to. She’s actually not stupid (although regular readers may indeed wonder about that), so I know she’s thinking the same thing. I’m sure one of us will let you know what she decides.

Signing out for now…. (although I’ll be back with my thoughts on binge-eating in a couple of days, so stay tuned for that one.)

Myra

Comfort zones and Absolute beginners

Friday, January 20, 2012 Permalink

I have a terrible habit of going off-track when I am writing a blog post. Usually I’ll have thought of some (obviously amazing!) topic and as I start writing I’m struck by all of these other (obviously equally amazing) ideas and find myself going off on a tangent. If I’m really strict, I hive off the tangent for a separate post. But sometimes I’m overcome by my need for instant gratification and I want to publish whatever it is I want to say then and there…. so the post loses its focus and becomes either convoluted or long. Or (usually) both.I apologise in advance, because I can already tell today is one of those days.

comfort zone signRegular readers will know that in August or September last year I joined a little gym near work and have been diligently visiting for the past few months. Some of the classes have been on hold over the holiday period however, including my beloved Zumba (which may well not be traditional Zumba, as it happens – which is actually a complete aside and is actually NOT the tangent!). As a result, AND because I’ve shelved my running program I’ve had to alter my gym program a little since the Christmas/New Year period.

But mostly I’ve been doing the same classes for a couple of months now… slowly adding in those which were originally scary, as I’ve felt braver and fitter. And this week – in order to mix things up a bit – I started to think about trying something new. And as I pondered on this I was reminded of a post I’d read on my commute into work that very morning.

Blogger and writer, Karen Anderson was talking about her comfort zone. Well, actually it was about her discomfort zone and the fact that she’d have to push some boundaries if she really wanted to make some changes.

I commented that – for someone who can be so risk averse, set in their ways and big on the need for comfort and control – I’m often ‘up’ for new things. WITHIN REASON: I clarified. I won’t do anything which might embarrass me (too much). I won’t do anything which will make me feel like a huge failure. But… if it’s something that I might not be good at, but shouldn’t necessarily HAVE to be… then that’s a whole other thing. (Although I will generally offer some self-deprecating disclaimers before I start.)

As it seemed the planets were aligning and giving me a message of sorts…. I trudged off to something called Cardio-blast. I knew nothing about the class other than that it MAY involve some equipment and MAY include aerobic moves to get your heart rate up (I’d emailed the gym to ask about it!). I must say, despite not knowing what to expect, the class wasn’t at all like I expected. The instructor threw in some strength work, some step aerobics, high impact aerobics and the like. By the end of the class I was opting for the low impact moves and could barely gasp for breath. I changed my shirt (and applied more deodorant and perfume) after the class to avoid apshixiating an entire trainload of commuters and noticed that my face was as red as the clean, dry shirt I donned for the trip home.

I don't need it to be easy,  I need it to be worth it.The next day dawned along with some soreness. I was scheduled for my usual ‘Pump’ (weights) class, but got a message that a daytime class had been changed to a ‘resistance circuit class’ aimed at “toning and strengthening our lower and upper bodies and our cores”. Why the hell not? I decided and switched my plans for the day. Different movements to my usual weights classes, meant that I worked muscles usually left to their own devices. And a day later my calves, shoulders, quadriceps and almost every other body bit was aching. Which would be fine, if I didn’t need to walk, move my arms or you know… breathe at all!!!!

But despite the soreness I’m pleased with my decision to try something new this week. I’m not sure I’ll be a regular cardio-blaster, but I’m thinking about going occasionally. Although I hate gasping for breath when attempting to run on the treadmill, I don’t mind it in a class and this week I really had to push myself. I was out of my comfort zone but happily so. And it was certainly worth it.

And I realised that it was something I wouldn’t have attempted over six months ago. I mean, my fitness still isn’t great, but I’m confident enough in classes that I can adapt the exercises to suit my needs, or I can push myself knowing that the pain will be brief.

Earlier this week I bought into a Facebook exchange between some participants on my old weight loss program. Someone was scouting around to see if there were others in her category (140+kg / 308+lbs) who may be interested in gathering for group exercicse.

A few of the old timers suggested the girls attend existing sessions, saying that others there would be fully supportive etc. But… I could see where the newbies were coming from. It’s easy for some of us to forget where we were just months or years ago. There is NO WAY IN HELL I would have dreamt of attending one of the outside bootcamps when I first joined the program. I couldn’t walk without getting shin splints, so eased my way into it by just using an exercise bike at home before eventually signing up for regular boxing classes.

I did, however, (quite early on) attend another group class but despite my ‘I’m not very fit’ explanations, the first thing we had to do was run… just for a warm-up. As you do. I could have walked, but no one else walked and I felt I needed to try to run. So I did. I survived, but I didn’t enjoy myself. I felt kinda cheated.  Deceived.

All of this was quite timely as blogger Skinny Emmie also had some pointers for new exercisers in her blog earlier this week, which again served to remind me (as I said), that it’s easy to forget where we started. Hell, I’m almost still there… struggling along, but I’m getting there. Slowly.

Source: cookiefamilykarate.blogspot.com

And it occurs to me that fitness is only part of the thing stopping us from ‘joining in’. My (slightly) increased fitness is only one reason I’m now trying other things. I’m also able to do it because I feel more confident. I think this diagram demonstrates it perfectly: I’m able to step out of my comfort zone because I know my limitations and have the confidence to push the boundaries just a little… so I am challenged (in the learning zone) but not deterred from returning (in the panic zone).

Of course… perhaps I am just overly fearful about being pushed too far or too hard.
Do you like being pushed outside of your comfort zone? And… is it possible to be pushed too far?

Accountability – and yet again it’s all about me

Wednesday, January 18, 2012 Permalink

Tag - ExperienceIn my last blog post I talked about my reaction to a weigh-in that didn’t go as planned. I’d written most of the post before the end of the week and it was upbeat and positive as I was happy with my food intake and exercise. But, when that didn’t translate into weight loss I dropped the ball. BIG TIME. I hung in there for a while and spent two days sulking and feeling blah. You know that feeling… you’re going about your everyday business but there’s something bad lurking in the back of your mind and every so often it peeks out and you are reminded why indeed you should be in bed buried under a mound of blankets.

When eventually I gave into temptation and dealt with the disappointment as best I know how (ie. over-eating crap food), I felt emotionally sated, though guilty and naturally a bit too full!

And to top this off, I had a half-written post about how well things were going on my diet and weight loss program. ‘Swimmingly,’ I believe I said in the first part of the post.

My big quandary was whether to use what I’d written at all; gloss over the (lack of) weight loss; shelve the draft post completely and write about something else; or write something misery-laden and more in line with my overall mood. Decisions, decisions.

I’ve also become a bit more nervous about what I talk about in this blog, so while I felt the need to confess my sins, I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to own up to MORE bad behaviour. So…. I lay in bed (too full to sleep) and pondered.

Inner voiceEventually I realised I needed to be honest. I couldn’t claim that I was sticking to my 1400 calories/day, if I’d had a huge blowout and inhaled twice that many in 30 minutes. I felt that my readers, ie. YOU, needed to know about my slip-up because NOT owning-up to it felt dishonest. I might have many (many) other failings but I always try to act with integrity.

And, as you’d now be aware (having committed my last blog post to heart), I went with the confession.

But something else struck me as I lay there like a beached whale in my dusty pink sheets (again, not covered in dust, but the colour). I don’t want to delve into the ‘why I feel the need to confess’ thing because I’m sure it’s something that a few years of psychotherapy could resolve (!!!); but it occurred to me that I really was  telling you ONLY because I felt I needed to be honest. I wasn’t seeking absolution (though neither was I seeking recrimination). I just wanted to be up-front.

Because, in reality… you really didn’t need to know. I’m sure other dieters, bloggers and ordinary-folk alike have calorie blow-outs. I’m sure some eat pieces of cake and don’t feel the need to confess to the world at large. Others may eat a packet of crisps or some biscuits. My black/white thinking is such that I’m REALLY REALLY good, or … you know… not. So if I’m being ‘good’, I’m not eating cake or biscuits… There’s still no moderation in my world.

You DecideHowever, the thing that really struck me (and I’m finally getting to the point of this post – in the last paragraph!) was that, for the first time I really thought about WHO I was disappointing; WHO I was letting down. Because it’s not you (sorry about that readers). It’s me. It’s ONLY me. It occurred to me that I’m really only accountable to myself, and I don’t know why I’ve never realised that before. I mean, I knew the buck stopped with me, but I’ve always felt this huge sense of obligation to others. I can understand how having people know that you are supposedly exercising and being healthy is helpful and ‘helps’ keep you more accountable. However, when it really comes down to it, the guilt I carry should only be my own. I’m not failing the world at large. Mankind will not suffer. I need to get some perspective, but more importantly I need to remember who I’m doing this for. And (again, sorry) it’s not you; it’s me.

Just flesh and bone

Monday, January 16, 2012 Permalink

Two weeks into my renewed weight loss efforts and things are still going swimmingly. And I must confess I find it quite perplexing… that one minute I’m behaving so dastardly (eating everything in sight, thousands and thousands of calories in a day and unable to refrain from partaking in the odd caramello koala or 12); but then the next, well… I’m not; it is seriously like someone flicks a switch and I’m ‘good’.

Yes, yes, I know I need to stop the ‘good/bad’ food, behaviour-type language…. but it is essentially true.

It’s not that I’m not tempted. HELLO, I AM JUST FLESH AND BONE (well, possibly a bit fleshier than I’d like)! But my resolve is holding strong.

Flesh and BoneMy exercise is still going well. I’m sticking to my weekdays of ‘something’ and feeling very liberated and less stressed after the contemplation which went into my recent Born to Run post.  This week I did two cardio circuit classes, one of which was very strength-focussed which was fine with me; I did a Pump class and even finally increased one of the weights I’ve been using; I did a cardio session of my own involving the treadmill, cross-trainer, bike and rowing machine; and am planning a weekend walk because I was unwell one weekday.

Food-wise I’ve been pretty good. As yet, no junk food has passed these lips. I have, however, indulged in some wine – despite my ‘no wine on a schoolnight’ plan. I’ve included it in my calories however and have continued to skip carbohydrates on the nights I have wine.

In terms of my other goals, I’m trying to write more regularly in my other blog. I’ve got a brief extension at work while they finalise the position I aim to apply for. AND… I’ve queried our Human Resources team about the notion of working four days a week rather than five. I would have to broach it with my manager, but hope to do that in coming weeks. I’ve worked out the sums and losing 1/5 of my salary is quite a big chunk of money. I could request to compress my hours, so work an extra 7-8 hours across four days to get the day off…. but, while it would be financially preferable it’s not keeping with the spirit of my increased commitment to work/life balance.

Finally, the all-important numbers…. Da-dum.

—oOo—

I actually drafted the above post on Thursday evening. I had come home slightly early from work, unwell and accidentally (?!?!) slept for 2.5hrs meaning that I couldn’t sleep when it was time for bed and stayed up late blogging. I’d intended to finish it off Friday evening, after a morning weigh-in so it was ready for posting on Saturday.

“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.”On Friday morning before work I jumped on the scales – which I had been doing throughout the week. Because it was THAT time of the month my weight had been up and down a bit, but… circling around last week’s weight. Naturally I assumed (because of fluid retention) that meant by the time I was no longer walking about looking like the Michelin Man a kilo or two would have melted off my body. But – Friday morning there was no change. Despite the puffiness subsiding.

I knew I still had a day before weigh-in, but the most disturbing thing about it all was that EVERYTHING I’d written above no longer mattered. When just hours before I was quite chuffed with myself for sticking to calories, doing exercise and starting to get back into my writing…. some bloody numbers deflated me COMPLETELY. I sulked about all day at work on Friday, feeling bereft and depressed and ‘blah’. And it was surprisingly confronting how easily I let it get to me and how much it impacted on everything else.

I’ve posted previously about the overimportance of the numbers on the scales, in More than numbers and The scales of judgement, but…. keep hoping I’ve ‘evolved’ a bit. Obviously not. I got on the scales again on Saturday. And they were up! WTF?!  Despite a nice low-calorie day on Friday. Grrrr….. it preoccupied me ALL day and immediately I was tempted to ‘throw in the towel’. Albeit temporarily. I mean, when I thought about it (ie. fought with that bitch of an inner critic I’ve now called Myra) I knew I still wanted to lose weight… so I needed to keep going. BUT the temptation to say, “Fuck it!” and go on a binge was overwhelming. However… I fought with Myra and held strong. Despite coming across some serious danger food while out and about.

And… I was proud of myself. Until Sunday rolled around, and the scales had moved upwards AGAIN. I have no idea how much because the numbers kept changing each of the 12,343,659 times I got on. “Perhaps they’re faulty,” I told myself. Yeah, sure. “It couldn’t possibly be your fault,” said Myra sarcastically.

No ObstaclesI ignored her all day. But wallowed. And wallowed. And wallowed. Myra had me contemplating ALL of the bad things I could eat, because, well because, “Fuck it!” I pondered on chocolate, pizza, hot chips, corn chips and all sorts of foods which shouldn’t be consumed when one is counting calories and attempting to lose weight. Eventually Myra and I came to an agreement: that  I would have chinese takeaway for dinner. “Something I enjoy and feels special, but not too unhealthy,” I told Myra uncertainly. She smiled acquiescently… so I should have known she had something up her sleeve. And, while out picking it up, with nary a second, thought I stopped twice on the way home for extra supplies!

I won’t go into the detail as I think I shocked someone recently when I talked about some of the crap I consumed, so have decided to be a little less sharing on that front. Needless to say just half an hour later I was so full I could barely move and so tired I could barely stay awake.

Naturally some self-loathing ensued and I couldn’t sleep because I was too full and because I’d spent half the day in bed wallowing.

And now… a new day has dawned (here in Oz) and I suspect the scales would deliver an even more dire verdict if I was brave enough for that confrontation. But I’m not. Given my reaction to their recent news the last thing I need is even more fodder for Myra.

At any given moment you have the power to say: this is not how the story is going to end.I read two other posts on the weekend by those who’d had similar experiences and reactions following a less-than-stellar weigh-in. So here’s where I’m at. I’ve learnt that I’m not as resilient as I’d hoped and my coping skills still need A LOT of work. I’ve learnt that I’m still too focussed on the numbers and they have the ability to negate everything else that’s been going well. But…. I also know I’m NOT ready to give up on this losing-weight caper. I have a long way to go, but I think I am making some progress. I am just flesh and bone. I make mistakes and stumble. But all I can do is keep getting up, dust myself off and try again.

Playing tiggy* here in Oz – and I’m ‘it’

Saturday, January 14, 2012 Permalink

Oh dear… I’ve been tagged. And not in a tagged-and-set-free-into-the-wild kind of way, rather in a way almost akin to a chain letter. Oh, except there are no promises of love, fame or fortune for responding. But then again, butterflies will not die and bad luck will not ensue if I fail in my task. Or so I assume!

I was tagged by Karen, from Waisting Time who was herself tagged by someone who had previously been tagged. And so on and so forth. Much ado about tagging I realise. Hee hee!

Dealing with your inner critic (aka, shut up Mildred!)

Friday, January 13, 2012 Permalink

I supposedly did a year-long writing course in 2010. I say supposedly because it was an online course and our tutor seriously dropped the ball about seven months into the program and a couple of months passed without us hearing a thing. When she eventually returned we all found it hard to re-engage and interest slowly-but-surely waned over the final few months.

My life as a writer...I think the program itself (designed by an author and University lecturer) was quite a good one. I certainly enjoyed most of the lessons and liked the challenges and exercises it offered – many of which we had to share with fellow participants or the tutor. I’m generally loath to let others read what I write (for the purposes of ‘judging’ me or my writing) so I found the concept quite scary, but on the whole received really good feedback as I struggled to draft my Young Adult novel (which stalled seven months and 30,000 words in).

Because one of my 2012 goals is to re-engage with my writing, I was shuffling through my course notes the other day and came across one of the first topics which I realised, is as relevant to dieting, weight loss and ‘life in general’ as it is/was to writing.

The lesson in question focussed on dealing with our inner critic. In a writing sense, it is that voice that tells you that what you’ve written is complete crap; that you’ll never write anything decent; and no one will want to read what you write. I mean, who the fuck do you think you are?!?  A ‘writer’? Hmph!

Don't let anyone ever make you feel like you don't deserve what you want. Go for it!!!In life, the same voice can tell us that we’re fat and we’ll NEVER lose weight; or if we do, we won’t have the tenacity to keep it off. It’ll tell us we’re too lazy to embark on the exercise program at the local gym; or that we’re too unfit or uncoordinated to try a different aerobics class. It tells us we’ll never get ahead in life; never meet the man of our dreams; and we’ll always be unhappy.

Sound familiar? Bloody inner voice!

The suggestion which actually worked for some participants (but I must confess I didn’t actually even attempt – being loath to adopt mantras, recite affirmations etc. Well… plus I wasn’t quite sure how to go about it!) involved providing some innocuous or benign name to our inner critic. Something like Mildred. Or Agnes. Or Buffy. For example. (And I apologise in advance to any Mildreds, Agneses or Buffys out there!)

Obviously the notion was, by humanising (or in my case, stereotyping) our inner critic we were stripping them of their power or influence over us. They were, ostensibly, to become laughing stocks – to be ignored or ridiculed. And their words became, therefore, far less destructive. I might, for example, roll my eyes when risk-averse Mildred tells me I shouldn’t try something; or snigger at Buffy’s idiocy when she tells me I look ridiculous. (Again, sorry Mildreds and Buffys! Feel free to poke fun at my name {Deborah} as required.)

I’m not sure we could ever be successful in completely silencing Agnes or Buffy or Mildred, but we can – perhaps – weaken her hold over us and be less inclined to take her words to heart. Which I guess is the whole point – it makes us pause when some knee-jerk thought pops into our heads.

The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts.I’m still not much of a visual person, so I’m still not sure it will work for me, but I’m going to try. I’ve named my inner critic Myra, after a moaning old great-aunt of mine. My next challenge is picking up on the negative thoughts as they occur (rather than thinking they’re the norm or letting them flow through my mind unchallenged), which is where I came unstuck during the writing course. I haven’t quite figured out how to do this. I’m pretty self-aware (I think), not to mention, modest (obviously), but my pessimistic inner critic is so ingrained that it’s sometimes hard to distinguish its voice from my own. Wait, oh look… that’s it. Myra, you bitch! Shut up!

I’d be interested to know how others deal with their negative voices or inner critics. Do they influence your behaviour? Do you ignore them; or have you managed to silence them completely?