Friday, April 20, 2007

Stress, Depression and PMS!

How do I know I was suffering from those three things yesterday? (starting from the day before actually)

1. I was in my pj's all day.
2. Two nights ago: Showing a picture of Mum and Dad to Alaskaboy, of them holding my newest second cousin, and wishing the baby was ours. And getting all misty over it.
3. Missing my family in general. Worrying whether christmas trip to Aus will eventuate, specifically.
4. Doubting my ability to do anything with any level of competence.
5. Black and white, be all or end all, thinking.
6. Running a bath last night and whilst in the bath, sobbing to the point of almost puking... several times over. (Realising that admitting feelings and feeling feelings are a whole different kettle of fish!)
7. Sleeping for hours on end two days ago.
8. Worse than usual hormone/stress-related facial dandruff. (that pesky orange rash that shows up once a month)
9. Craving far too many slices of grilled cheese on toast.
10. Finally browbeating Alaskaboy into sitting down and working out with me our bottom feederline for the cost of a houseloan.
11. Shaking in fear and emotion reaction, during and after Number Ten, as I blurted out the whole story of how I'd been feeling yesterday. And bawling once more about everything in general.
12. Resenting that a friend didn't call me back for several days in a row, when I'd called specifically so I could blubber all over the phone at her. (Hormones that were speaking babe, not me! They've stopped now though.)
13. The whinyness. oh the whinging and whining! Yuck!
14. The miasma of doom, gloom, failure and despair that I was wallowing in.
15. The inner voice that was saying, screw everything else, Let's have a baby!
15. Hello, major life upheaval = moving house!! And it's a whole house, not just my itty bitty part of a household, like the times I've moved before.

Good news is, after blabbing about it in text, then blubbering over it in the bath, and talking it over with Alaskaboy, and of course more crying, I feel much better today. That was the worst PMS I've had in the more than twelve months since I've come off the pill. One bad month out of twelve is pretty damn good I reckon!

Today I'm gonna pack some more boxes, do aerobics and ignore craigslist completely for 24 hrs. LOL We have an appointment at 9am on Saturday to potentially buy a condo, and one at 1pm to possibly rent an apartment month-to-month. So, any further looking I'm doing before then is kinda pointless really, until we know for sure if we're going with either of those options, or not.

Off to have some breakfast. Am starved after that emotional purge last night.


Thursday, April 19, 2007

All you need is food?

Trying to live without comfort eating means I have to live with my emotions. And I don't much like my emotions at the moment. Which would explain why I've been noticing a tendency to eat more than I need at each meal I've eaten recently. I'm still sort of eating intuitively; I don't eat again until I'm hungry, but due to eating larger quantities at each sitting, that means I don't eat with any regularity. Same goes with exercise. So far this last month I've exercised maybe once a week.

I don't like this wishy washy feeling, and I certainly don't like that my body is losing tone and gaining fat. (I'm maintaining but there is a ratio change going on, I can feel it.) I loathe this uncertainty about our living situation. Sure, the landlady has agreed that we can move back in here once the renovations are finished, but that could be 3-6 or more months from now. Will we find month-to-month affordable housing? How much stuff should we be packing to take with us, and how much to put in storage? Will we be in shared accommodation or a studio/single apartment? Will we be back here in time to go to Australia? Are we better off buying a condo? Will we be able to afford to go to Aus if we do so? Can we really afford it anyway, if we're serious about saving for a house? Will the current landlord get off his arse and give us a rent referral? Will it be a good one?

Then, no matter what our living conditions will be there'll be interviews and looking for a part time job. I've been unemployed for five years. I think out of all of this stuff, this is right up there as one of the scariest prospects.

Not being able to drown my emotions behind the binging and subsequent moaning about my dieting failures and discomfort from too much food is forcing me to deal with my life.

I'm so proud of Mum for losing how much weight she has. For at long last being able to stop taking her blood pressure medications. And for how fit and happy she is now that she's discovered the healthy lifestyle that suits her and Dad.

Yet, I'm also insanely jealous of her for the exact same reasons.

I'm so happy that I've been given another chance to try out for an anthology. Proud that my writing caught the editor's eye enough that she was willing to give me a second chance.

But, scared as all shit that this'll be my last chance and that I'm gonna blow it. I love the story idea I've got, but I don't know if I'm up for the task.

Happy that we are finally getting down and dirty and clearing out the mountains of junk that are hidden in all the crooks and crannies. 11 yrs of his, and 4 yrs of my accumulated junk.

Completely overwhelmed by the whole thing. Again the uncertainty of the where we're moving to is not helping with this. I hate fiddle faddling. I like to think things through, make up my mind, then go to it. I LOATHE uncertainty.

And that is the crux of the matter. I'm feeling all alone, uncertain and scared. And bored. Yet, frenetic at the same time. And put upon. And whiny. And pms-ey.

I've been relentlessly trawlling the classifieds and craigslist, looking for places that are suitable, or even passable, but so far there's always been just that one or two things that are off. Time is wrong, price is wrong, parking is wrong, they only want one person, it's too far away, sharing, or they are 420 okay (apparently that's slang for grass use), the area's dangerous, they want minimum lease terms that are too long for us or maximum terms that are too short, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

Last night I scrubbed the stove for hours. Managed to remove all the baked on gunk from even before we'd moved in!

In between I've been pacing the floor, dealing with other stuff, researching for both the story and for tasks that need to be done before and after moving out, researching which'd be the better option, buying or continuing to rent.

And my glorious escape mechanism no longer works. I've read a few short stories recently, and eaten bigger meals than I've wanted to, and each time there's been this little voice in my head. No. Not that one. Not the Low Self-Esteem Demon.

Not... the... LSED?

C'est impossible! (said with a very bad french accent)

Believe you me, it's all too possible.

Instead of the LSED urging me on to eat my troubles away, I have this eminently sensible voice telling me to take a break, eat the food or read the story and then when I'm finished to get right back into whatever I was doing. I've been trying my hardest to ignore it and go back to Food Coma Land, but it's not working.

I eat the big meal and then I just feel uncomfortable, and my emotions are still there, politely asking me to pay attention to them. The special effect has been revealed, and all the magic is gone. Food is just food, not a magic trick to make me feel better.

And I hate that.

With all that I've been doing and how I've been handling the situation, I feel like a fraud. I'm not an adult. I don't want to be grown up. I'm still waiting for a parental figure, or someone!, to come and rescue us. I'm muddling along in life and it's shocking to realise that just about everyone else is doing the same thing, muddling along as best they can. There is no perfection. Diets promise magic and perfection. But life isn't about perfect, it's about doing the best I can each and every moment. So, here I am, with PMS and my uncertainty, and my hopes, fears, dreams, and loves.

Worrying is okay. It doesn't cripple me anymore. I worry, I cry, I pick myself up and keep going.
Uncertainty is okay. It's a part of life.
Jealousy is okay. It doesn't consume me like it used to. I feel it, accept it, then move on, leaving it behind.
Whinging about the things I do only makes me feel ashamed once the whinge is over. I have so much in my life to be grateful for, and I am truly grateful. Sometimes my inner Veruca makes a break for it though. And that's okay too.

I don't really have a point to this post really other than to say I'm feeling uncertain and that the Magical Dietary Tour is finally over.

Oh, and that I miss yas all!

OH! And I just remembered. This week I did the Susan Powter Burn Fat and Get Fit workout... with the four inch step! I modified the shit out of the strength training and aerobics arm movements, but I did it with the four inch step. I felt useless and like shit when I had to modify, but then that sensible voice showed that it can be uplifting as well as annoying. It reminded me that I used to do the workout in the exact same way, and feel just as buggered...but on the flat floor!

I think I like this new sensible voice. It may not always be a barrel of laughs. But I'll take uplifting and thought provoking over comforting yet deceitful, every day of the week!


Thursday, April 05, 2007

Hello! Is it me you're looking for?

How many times have I heard these words and scoffed over the years? “I was so upset/excited/anxious/whatever that I couldn't eat?”

Countless times have I mocked the very thought of not eating.
“Your body always needs to eat.”
“How can you not be hungry?”
“When I'm upset/excited/anxious/whatever I eat more not less!”

Having felt that squirrelly, nauseous, yucky feeling in my belly for the last few days, I now understand how it's possible to go without eating when anxious.

That feeling before, for me, was a signal to eat. There's sensation in my belly, I must be hungry. Yes, yes I'm hungry. I don't like that feeling, so I'll stuff it down with food. I'm not a cry baby, I'll keep a stiff upper lip and cram my feelings down under food... and then cry later because I'm vomiting up all the crap and I feel awful. Or I'll cry because I'm so fat and miserable and a failure as a human being because I can't stick to my diet when there's a crisis going on. I'll cry, vent, swear, argue over everything else BUT the real reason I'm feeling anxious.

The last few nights I haven't slept well. First because Alaskaboy was sick, and then because I've been anxious about having to move out, and not knowing where to, yet. Every so often I've felt the urge to throw up, but it's just been the anxiety doing it's fight or flight response thing to my body. Fight or flight? Why only two options? Why not stick the head in the sand and hope it all goes away? Because sticking the head in the sand doesn't solve the problem. Only fight or flight does.

Fight? Move out for a few months and fight to be able to move back in when it's all finished? Fight the actual eviction? Fight with my husband over every little thing he won't throw out? Fight with myself over spurious things?

Doesn't sound like any fun to me.

Flee? Back to my in-law's house? To a friend's house interstate? To another friend's house several hours north? Find our own house interstate or in a different part of this state?

None of those sound appealing either. (For various reasons, but especially having to do with the realities of finding brand new jobs for us *both* there.) And, I'm sick of running away!

Oooh look, a fork in the road.

Option one: Buy a house.
Option Two: Keep renting and saving for option one at a later date.

Send the scouts down each path!

Scout one is still dealing with the financial stuff to see if the trip down path one is even worth attempting.

Scout two says that there is options we hadn't even considered until now. Many options.

Hmm... let's wait on scout one's report and if it's viable let's see if there is any thing worth looking at down that path. If the path is still too treacherous, we can always say no thanks and detour down path two.

Expedition leader says. “No more sitting by the roadside in a rut. Procrastination break is over! On your feet, form up, and head on up the road at my command!”

In the short term, dealing with the situation has been very stressful. So stressful that I've not eaten much the last few days. I'll dish out a sensible portion of food, then have to stop eating a quarter or halfway through it. My belly is tied up in knots and it's an awful feeling.
I have those weird moments where I'm fine, and then all of a sudden my face is all scrunched up and I'm crying... and it only lasts for less than a minute. But, in that minute I'm admitting my emotions, letting them out and dealing with them. I'm not hiding them behind a mountain of food. There have been a couple of times where I knew my body was hungry, even though I didn't feel it. So, I'd eat a bite or two of a protein bar, or half a banana or something, just to get sustenance in my system. Usually that would whet the appetite and allow me to eat a little more an hour or so after that.

But, that makes sense. A shaky, exhausted body that hasn't eaten for more then 6 hrs needs something, even if it's telling you “I couldn't possibly.” Sometimes the mental intuition needs to be followed rather than the physical.

Last night I got us out of the house to go and do laundry. It felt awful coming back in afterwards. Usually I love to come back inside after being out and about. Last night, it truly hit me in that moment: this is just a house, it's no longer our home. It has been, but it no longer is. So I had another quiet weep or two over that. We made the bed, showered, discussed our plans for today, then went to sleep.

I slept like a log. Exhausted, but not overly full and therefore uncomfortable, I was able to get the rest I needed. This morning I feel sad. Which is natural, a stage of our lives is ending, but we're moving on to the next!

I've felt the first glut of anxiety and dealt with it and am now ready to deal with the actual situation to the best of my ability. As I said to Alaskaboy last night at the laundromat, “I don't want to whine about it anymore, I'm sick of being afraid all the time. I want to live how I used to live...There's a problem, it needs fixing, I just wanna fix it and move on down the path.”

“Welcome to adulthood.” was his reply.

Where's the strong woman who took on two jobs in order to be able to afford her first trip to America? Where's the woman who boarded a plane to America, in October 2001? That's right, a mere month or so after that awful day. Just because she knew she had to find out if her true love really was waiting at the other end of the flight.
Where's the woman who's had the courage to move to a foreign country?
Where's the woman who isn't afraid to speak the truth, even when the truth can be uncomfortable or hurtful, to herself or others?
Where's the woman who left one career because she hated it and went after her dream career. Not once, but twice!

She's right here.

I gave away my power for far too long. By letting my past disappointments dictate my current choices. By letting the false comfort of food cloud my judgment. By letting my life slide on by second by second instead of taking an active role in it. I've let fear rule my life.

I moved to a foreign country and my backbone became made of gelatin. Well, guess what? Even gelatin solidifies if left alone long enough.

We're moving house. We're up and out of the rut. Whether we buy a house now, or continue renting and saving, we'll do it. Once we're settled, I'm going to go and get me a part time job. I can work and write at the same time. Two jobs at once, I've done that before and will do it again. I'm an equal partner in this marriage, it's time I started being one!

Goodbye, overeating ostrich. Hello, intuitive eater and self-possessed woman!


Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Oh shit!

We just got back from the doctors because Alaskaboy has had a fever for the last three days with no other symptoms. Detected a gallop in his heart so we're off to get him an ecg tomorrow...

Also, I'm probably gonna be scarce over the next few months, we just got home to the news that we've been given 60 days notice to vacate the house. We have no relatives or friends able to help us in the area, so any prayers or good vibes you could send our way would be fabulous.

Kada - running round in circles at the moment.


The Outfit!

Well, it's taken me a month to have the time to take the photo, but here it is finally.

I am a less firm in the stomach and arms than I was a month ago, but I still like how I look in this outfit. In a word: Feminine.

In many words. Curves. I have my curves back. Hips, waist, breasts, thighs, cleavage. All the things that I used to loathe, but now I find that I love. They used to hide under all that fat, and now they're shyly making an appearance for the first time. No, not shyly, confidently!

I doubt the photo does the outfit justice, unfortunately, there wasn't much light available today. The skirt is a rich, chocolate colour with embroidery that matches the colour of the top. (And no, the top is not tight, it's just clingy.)
Every second panel there is a 2-3 inch split in the hem of the skirt. Flashes my calves as I walk. :) Shoes are suede, also a dark brown.

Okay, enough talk. I give you, the outfit!


Sunday, April 01, 2007

Plateaus: Love 'em or hate 'em?

Last night when I went to bed, I was mentally tired, but not physically. Tossing and turning for nigh on half an hour, I got back up and went through all the latest previews over at apple's website and took a look-see over at the peaches and cream site of Brooke's. All up, it was another three hours before I got physically tired enough to go back to bed. LOL (I didn't do aerobics or any working out because I knew my brain was too fuzzy, thus would probably hurt myself.)

The party over the road was still going, so I got out my trusty ear plugs, and soon enough I was fast asleep. My brain kept waking me up with story ideas, and I'd roll over and go back to sleep. Alaskaboy came home some time around dawn. Poor baby had been awake for 21 hrs straight. (Hooray for overtime!)

I disturbed at 10:30, with a stiff neck and back from sleeping in the one position for the last several hours. Seeing that the intuitive eating group had already started, and I was still tired – eyes, body and brain-- I rolled over and slept for another hour and a half.

Woke up feeling fabulous.

Intuitive eating. Intuitive sleeping. Intuitive exercise, or lack there of. I feel like I've had a good week.

This month has been especially wonderful. I've learned a lot about myself and how I handle pressure when I'm not using food to cope. Yes, there were a few times I did so, but even in the midst of the eating I was aware. There was no mindless binging.

What has this month got me?

A gain of half a pound.. or 200gms.

I'm ecstatic! Before whenever there's been crises I've easily gained upwards of five to ten pounds for the month. This month I didn't need protection. I coped with my life. No. I did better than merely coping, I made progress.

My weight may be have been on a plateau for the last three months, but that's three months that I've had to get used to this new body. New curves, new clothes, new confidence, new emotional and mental maturity. And now I feel ready to move on to the next step. I know those pounds I've lost are gone for good. There is no fear that they'll come back. Why? Because I won't ever go back to being that same scared person I was that needed to hide behind all that fat. I'm learning to live with my emotions.

Last week I joined both a writing critique group and an intuitive eating support group. Face-to-face groups, not on-line ones.

I know. Can you believe it?

According to the dietitian, (one of the authors of Intuitive Eating actually) that a member of the group visits, plateaus are a marvelous thing. They give your body time to accustom itself to the way you are now, and prepare you for the next step ahead.
All of us talked about how in the past we'd always had our methods for breaking through a plateau, and sure enough, because we weren't ready for the next phase of our weight loss, we'd inevitably scurry back to safer ground.

This plateau has taught me to buy clothing that fits me comfortably. To appreciate the body I have now, in this very moment and dress it accordingly.

This plateau has taught me that I can deal with stress without turning to food, and still maintain my weight.

This plateau has taught me that I like to exercise regularly, but there are times when my body, mind and soul need to rest.

This plateau has taught me to lighten up about weight loss. I don't have to be at my goal weight when I go back to Australia. I'm healthy enough to be able to enjoy myself as I am.

This plateau has taught me to look for pretty clothes that I want to wear. Clothes that are appropriate for the season. To quote a favourite show of mine, “I'm loving myself sick” at the moment in all the pretty summer clothes I just bought.

This plateau has taught me that I don't need to exercise like a fiend to lose inches. Feeling fabulous as I did, I tried on some clothes this morning.

I fit back into those 16W cargo shorts this morning. Only just, but they did up. Yet I'm a few pounds heavier than last time they fit.
I fit comfortably into a new pair of shorts that I'd bought during the week that didn't do up at the time. Can't wait to try on a bunch more of the stuff to see if anything else fits.

I haven't exercised all week!

BUT. I have eaten intuitively. I've also eaten less restaurant food than I've done in the prior two weeks. That's not to say I haven't eaten salty foods. I ate a whole bunch of cheese and store bought hummus. But, I concentrated on eating as intuitively as possible the whole week. I didn't eat perfectly. To me that defies the whole purpose of intuitive eating. If I'm concentrating on perfectly eating intuitively... see how that sounds?

Intuition means listening to your body. It means listening to that deep inner sense that tells you to do something. Sometimes it tells you you need to eat beyond full as there is something in you that needs nurturing. Some emotion, some body part.. just something.

If I'm telling myself that I have to always stop the second I'm full.
If I'm telling myself that I must always eat only from stomach hunger.
If I'm telling myself I must... then that's a rule, and I'm back on a diet.

But, what about the challenges? Aren't they rules?

April and May I'll be doing a few exercise challenges with friends. These challenges are not because I enjoy the rules and the telling myself I must do this or that. They're not to beat myself over the head with exercise.
They're simply ways in which I can be social with my exercise. Challenges (at least nowadays) mean that I'm doing my exercise with someone. Rather than browbeating myself into doing the exercise.
That's another thing this plateau has taught me. I need to find ways in which I can exercise socially, I'm bored with doing it all on my lonesome. The streaks no longer work for me because they were about establishing a habit of regular exercise. That is established, now I want the companionship. And since I cannot afford to join clubs or gyms, challenges with my friends via the 'net are my best option.

What are you learning from your plateaus?