I want to look this good while jogging.

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I blatantly stole this image off Facebook, because I want to be this woman.

I look at her legs and her flat stomach and I want to be her. I want to look like that.

A stranger in a Facebook group for entrepreneurs told me I was beautiful after looking at the photos on my website, and my first inclination was not to be flattered or say thank you, but to explain it away… Great makeup guy, good lighting, and photoshop.

I’ve been doing OK lately, really. I’ve been exercising consistently, and not as any kind of punitive measure or even as any kind of “I’m going to trade exercise for food” game.  I’ve been not dieting and not really bingeing. Much.

OK, I did make those things where you put peanut butter cookie dough in a mini muffin tin and then press a Hershey’s kiss in the middle while they’re warm, and I ate like six of them.

But other than that…

(That’s actually a scary thing I haven’t faced yet: being responsible/normal/in-control around foods I normally binge on. One step at a time…)

I realized I’m not ready to count calories. I may never be. I’m trying to be OK with that.

I am writing down what I eat and weighing myself as the book says to do. I need to focus on that for another week at least — maybe until the holidays are over — before I move into swapping out other activities for bingeing. But I feel like I’m making progress.

I’ve been pruning and curating the media I consume. I’m getting rid of traditional women’s magazines and even food magazines. I’m replacing weight loss feeds with recovery feeds on my Facebook.

But one I haven’t got rid of yet is the Whole30 people on Facebook. That’s where that pretty girl up top came from. In her testimonial, she talks about how great she felt doing Whole30, and how it shaved minutes off her 5k time.

And she admits that she doesn’t normally look like that while she’s running.

But still, I want to be her.  I want to look like her. I want to feel happy and excited about running instead of just being proud that I dragged my ass out of bed and made it to the gym without falling asleep or forgetting my pants.

And so I’m going to unfollow Whole30 today.  No offense, Whole30.  It’s not you.

It’s me.

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I ate mac and cheese and a cookie today, but it wasn’t a binge.

I’m reading “Overcoming Binge Eating,” and it’s kind of terrifying and awesome in the Old Testament sense.

It is extremely sobering to see yourself in the examples given in a scholarly text about eating disorders.

Like, I knew I had been diagnosed with an eating disorder.  Two actually.  The first therapist said “disordered eating” which is like general or not-otherwise-specified fucked up, and the second therapist said “binge eating disorder.”

But I thought I was kind of on the cusp. Like maybe I was just dipping my toe in the eating disorder waters.  I’m not that kind of eating disorder person, no, no.

Except I totally am.

I have not had a binge where I ate an entire bag of Oreos or chips or whatever since I was a teenager.  (Go me!) But my therapist and this book have pointed out, it’s not about the amount I eat, or the foods I eat, but the feeling of loss of control.

And I feel that  a lot.

So anyway, I’m reading this book and it’s pissing me off pretty royally.  And scaring me.  A lot.  (Who knew that showering in the dark was a symptom of a body image problem?? I thought it was just relaxing, but I’m now thinking it’s a symptom of something bigger.)

I discovered that Weight Watchers almost made me bulimic trying to get to my goal weight and then trying — desperately, flailingly — to stay within 3 pounds of that weight to continue to work there.  (You cannot even imagine the shame I felt when I got a letter from the regional supervisor that I was on probation for being 4.2 pounds over my goal weight.)

And I re-discovered the fact that diets are a big part of the problem for me.

*queue ENORMOUS sigh*

I am heavy right now. There’s just no two ways about it. I am 20 pounds over a weight I am OK with and 40 pounds over where Weight Watchers says I ought to be.

And I am really frustrated with the fact that the book tells me that I probably won’t lose any weight even if I successfully complete the self-help program and start to overcome my disorder.

Because — and this is like rubbing salt in the wound — people with binge eating disorder tend to binge on top of general overeating.

And I’m not supposed to diet or restrict because that can lead to a binge.

WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK, BRAIN?  How did we get ourselves into this situation? I’m seriously angry about this and am considering filing a complaint with someone. Maybe God’s West Coast Rep.

I just… What am I supposed to do, then?  How am I supposed to FIX this? (Because God herself knows how much I need to fix things.)

OK, ok. I know what I’m “supposed” to do.  I’m supposed to follow the book. Concentrate on beating the binge demon. Create space for that first. Trust that the rest will follow.

I’m supposed to believe that once I am really and truly in recovery from my disorder, that the weight will come off by itself.

I’m supposed to believe that I can love myself thin.

I’m supposed to believe that magical fairies will come and suck the fat out of my stomach and thighs as I achieve enlightenment and no longer crave chocolate chip cookies or bread, but instead feel overwhelming urges to eat raw kale and lentils.

Wait. No lentils. They’re legumes and the devil’s food.

Or, no, wait. Legumes are a good source of lean protein.

But our paleolithic ancestors didn’t eat them. Probably because they were too busy being chased by saber toothed tigers to remember to soak their legumes overnight.

Because God knows, the only way to get nutrition out of legumes or grains or seeds or nuts is to soak them.

Wait, are we eating grains again?  Yes?  No?

Ok, but definitely not sugar, right?  Oh, honey is OK? And molasses?  It doesn’t matter that both of those are pure sugar?  OH I see. It’s only bad if it’s white.

And our flour is rancid. But wait, we’re not supposed to eat flour. So it doesn’t matter.

And don’t even get me started on butter. But lard is OK. Except, wait, doesn’t it contain saturated fats? What about trans fats?

I seem to have gone off on a tangent here…

The point is, I don’t see myself ever overcoming those thoughts. I don’t see myself ever loving myself thin. I don’t believe that will happen.  I DO NOT BELIEVE IT.

And I don’t know how to fix that part of me.

Snow and Pho

It’s a very snowy day here. Woke up to 11 inches (when we were expecting 2–3) and the weather people promise more throughout the weekend.

So I made pho for breakfast.

I have a health coach as one of my clients, and she eats and recommends a Paleo-inspired diet to help her and her clients overcome thyroid, autoimmunity, and inflammation problems. And she eats pho for breakfast every day.

Which really isn’t that strange or unique; millions of Vietnamese do the same thing.

I have found lately that I struggle with breakfast. I don’t know what to eat. I’m usually not very hungry, and the things I have been taught to crave aren’t that good for me. Toast with butter. Waffles with peanut butter. Eggs and potatoes. Each of those things on its own isn’t that bad, but every morning, day after day… Probably not good.

So I tried pho this snowy day. I made cheater’s pho with pre-seasoned pho “base” (carton of broth) and rice noodles. I didn’t have bean sprouts or herbs. I’ll roast a chicken today and have some meat to add to my pho tomorrow.

And it was good.  Different, but good.

If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you always got.

So different is good.

Raw Vegan Militants Need Not Apply

I’m frankly a little afraid of hiring a nutritionist.

I think I know what she is going to say, and that’s pretty much what scares me.

See, I’m not dumb. I actually know quite a lot about nutrition. I’ve read a lot (A LOT) of books on the subject of diet and weight loss. I know my fats from my carbohydrates. I understand macronutrients and micronutrients. And I definitely logically understand the laws of thermodynamics — calories in versus calories out.

That doesn’t mean I apply any of that to myself, though.

I understand. I just don’t seem to be able to make it stick.

If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you keep getting what you always got.

I asked online for recommendations for nutritionists, because my therapist couldn’t find any around here that she liked. Note to self: ask what her criteria were.

In any case, I got a handful of recommendations and started visiting their websites.

I immediately crossed off the list the one who is a raw vegan with a shaved head. That just ain’t gonna fly.

Several people mentioned that I really need to connect with the practitioner, that that is the most important thing. I specified that I wanted someone with experience dealing with binge eating disorder and who relies on whole foods.

(Are there nutritionists out there who would tell me to drink protein shakes and eat packaged snacks? Maybe not… I don’t know.)

Several of the other options looked OK.  One is having a free webinar next week, so I signed up for that, because I figured it would give me a good idea of what she’s like.

Most of them are from Canada. Not sure what that’s about.

Also not sure why I’m feeling so resistant to this. I feel like it’s going to be a waste of money, like a nutritionist can’t help me. I feel like I already know this shit, and am already not applying it — so how is paying someone $350 to tell me what I already know (eat food, not too much, mostly plants) going to help me?

I know what to do. I just can’t seem to get myself to do it.

This is my issue, not the nutritionists’. But I don’t know how to bust through this block.

Resolve

It’s cold and snowy today, one of the first snowy days of this season, and I am on day three of a head cold. It’s a good day to cocoon, sip echinacea tea, and accomplish small chores that make a big difference, like washing the linens.

I went to bed last night with a strong conviction that it’s time for a change.

My daughter is going through something right now. The divine Miss D is throwing fits left right and center over… nothing.  Well, it looks like nothing to us. I try not to belittle her feelings and remember that it is something important to her. But it is still baffling and frustrating. Yesterday she cried and cried because I couldn’t make her braided pigtails any longer. (Despite her beliefs, I don’t possess that kind of magic.)  The day before, it was a screaming, crying fit because I dared serve her homemade macaroni and cheese instead of the stuff that comes in the box.

There have been a lot of little fits like that over food lately. She always wants a “snack” instead of a meal, which is usually something sweet and carby from her snack box — whether that means a long-hoarded piece of Halloween candy or something slightly healthier like freeze-dried apple slices. She’s also avoiding vegetables more now than ever before. Both are habits I’d like to nip in the bud.

And, while it’s easy to focus on what I want to change about her, I am in at least as much a need for a change.

What I don’t eat (right now).

My therapist and I have been working around the fact that I am an abstainer. She doesn’t use that word, but it’s one I discovered on Gretchin Reuben’s blog. There are moderators, those who can have a single bite of cheesecake and be satiated, and abstainers, who find it easier to avoid the cheesecake altogether than to go back after that first bite.

And, as I discovered during my month doing the Whole 30 program, I am an abstainer.

It really burns my biscuits, but there you go.

I don’t want to be an abstainer, but moderation is as hard for me as abstinence would be for someone else.

So Amy has suggested I have a list of foods I eat and foods I don’t eat. And I have resisted this terribly. The idea that a homemade chocolate chip cookie would be on the “foods I don’t eat” list, because they tend to be a binge food for me, is anathema.

It makes me want to punch something.

We even added the qualifier, “Things I Don’t Eat Right Now,” and it’s only slightly more palatable.

And yet, I know she’s right. (Hate that.)

I need to commit to a list.

Defining my list.

The other big problem with this exercise is that I don’t know what should go on my list of foods I don’t eat.

Crackers, candy, cookies — definitely.

But then what?

White flour? White sugar? All grains? All sugars? Industrially produced oils? Soy? Meat?

The problem (again one that Amy helped me identify) is that I have way too much information, and no way of determining what is right for me.

Enter my mom.

Tomorrow, my mom will go in for a blood test to confirm her doctor’s diagnosis of celiac disease. It’s pretty certain that she has it, and if she has it, Devyn and I are more likely to have it as well:

Celiac disease affects 1 in 133 Americans. The disease occurs in genetically predisposed individuals. That means if someone in your family has been diagnosed with celiac disease, you are at an increased risk for the disease.

1 in 22 first-degree family members (parent, child, sibling) and 1 in 39 second-degree family members (aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, grandparent, grandchild and half-sibling) are at risk for celiac disease. Your risk may double if your brother or sister has celiac disease. Source

I don’t think I particularly have any symptoms, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a sensitivity. It could be latent, waiting to spring on me. And it’s possible that I could be protecting Devyn from future health problems by limiting her exposure to gluten now.

Completely unrelatedly, I’ve also been reading about the Weston Price diet and the nourishing traditions kitchens and recipes. One major component of these diets is that they rely on soaked and fermented grains:

One study found that when a sourdough bread was made with wheat (and other non gluten flours) that it broke down the responsible reactors in wheat so that of the 17 celiac testers, none had reactions (though they did react to yeasted bread).  They concluded that fermentation was a “novel” tool (though I think it’s really an old fashioned tool!) for decreasing gluten intolerance. [iv]

All signs are pointing to the fact that I need to learn to avoid gluten. I also know that avoiding refined sugar will help me battle my sugar cravings.

So it seems that those two are going to be at the top of my “Foods I Don’t Eat (Right Now)” list.

The best time to start…

…is now. I learned from years of Weight Watchers that waiting until Monday, or the first of the month, or the first of the year is just a delaying tactic. The only time to start is now.

So I’m starting now. (Luckily, it’s Monday.)

Is it crazy to start this right before Christmas? Maybe. But all my Christmas parties are behind us, except for one I’m throwing Christmas Eve — where I can control the food, for the most part.

Making resolutions.

I’ve never been very good at keeping resolutions.

Making them? Absolutely. All the time. Keeping them… Not so much.

But I want to.  I’m ready. I’m ready to stop feeling so mad at myself all the time. I’m ready to change my habits and feel better about it.

I watched an interview with Pema Chödrön and Oprah yesterday, and she said that self-improvement is a myth; we cannot improve ourselves, only get closer to our true selves (which are already perfect).

I’ll have to remember to tell Amy that she and Pema agree that I’m perfect.

Last week, when I went to therapy, I told Amy that I felt good and that was scary. She told me that I was pretty damned mean to myself all the time and I should cut that out.

And then I had a dream.

I dreamed I was a bridesmaid in a big Catholic wedding, for a bride I didn’t know, and as we got ready, I realized that the bride just had me there to make fun of me and humiliate me — telling me I had to go down the aisle on my knees, and all the wedding party doing a flash mob dance I didn’t know about. So I left, went out of the church, and hailed a cab in the rain. And I think, at some point, I realized my dress was on backwards because they told me the zip went in front.

And my friend Allison pointed out that everyone in dreams is some aspect of yourself, so basically I was being really mean to myself.

Yikes.

But in the dream, I was also done with it. I walked away. I got out of the bad situation.

And hey, if dream-me can do it, so can real me.

It’s time to make a change. I’m not going to rush exactly what that change will look like at every level, but I am going to keep thinking about it. Keep working on it.

And I’m excited to see what I become.

Photos!

Our garden, growing well! Check out how the maché has taken over.

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Here’s our lovely CSA box from last week:

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It had apples, bananas, strawberries, green peppers, carrots, zucchini, broccoli, grapefruit, pears, kale, lettuce, leeks, and tomatoes.

Door to Door Organics

You Are What You Eat

It continually amazes me how conditioned I am to crave foods that are not good for me; chips, ice cream, pizza, ranch dressing instead of fresh produce, whole foods. I didn’t have a good weekend for food. Friday, a potluck at work for Cinco de Mayo was the insighting incident for a weekend of overindulgence. And I did what I always do: I adopted an all-or-nothing mentality and went off the Weight Watchers mentality entirely. I stopped counting my points, stopped thinking about what I was eating and started making poor choices right and left. Before I knew it, it was Sunday night and I was scarfing down movie-theater popcorn and Raisinettes after having pizza for dinner and an all-you-can-eat salad bar for lunch. It’s a slippery slope, my friends. Today, I’m back on the wagon, counting points and eating more healthful foods. I walked to Vitamin Cottage on my lunch break and picked up some more soy crisps (I’m LOVING these things) and salsa, and I also bought some cottage cheese (goes GREAT with soy chips and salsa — I know, I’m weird), and a big box of strawberries. And I sat here thinking to myself, “Why would I choose fatty chips or over-sweet candy and blow my diet when I could eat this entire box of strawberries for maybe one or two points?” The answer? Conditioning. I’m beginning to realize that’s really all it is. My body just needs a little help reminding my brain that the strawberries are what it really craves.