Last Post Here

This will be my last post here. I haven’t posted in awhile, and I the reason is that I feel the blog is too narrowly focused on my weight, the weight loss program I did, etc… I am more than all that. I wanted to make it very specific because I wanted to help support people who are working through a fast for weight loss, or people interested in learning about the process. As I have worked through the program and losing weight, I have enjoyed sharing my process with you – the technical side of things & the personal. Fasting can bring out a lot of emotions and old baggage to process. Thank you for coming with me a long this journey. Soul work is life long, and I will never be finished. However, I am ready to close the chapter on this blog and start a new chapter of work. I may start a new blog, when I am ready. love to all of you!

Before leaving all of you, I wanted to give you an update. I had some physiological stuff going on that was creating a lot of symptoms of anxiety. I took this as a clue to listen to myself better and practice more self-care. I actually considered treating myself with medicine, but I opted to not do that. I am doing very well at the moment. I am feeling lots of peace and self-acceptance. I am learning to balance and regulate myself better. I am yielding more and not struggling with myself as much. I am loving and accepting others where they are at; the same kind of love I am giving myself. I am choosing to use more healthy coping mechanisms out of love for myself, and I am having grace and understanding for myself and others. I have grown, and I hope offered you some piece of myself. I offered my authentic vulnerability. I offered my nakedness, my ugliness, because I know everyone can handle the pretty side of things. I wanted to share to gain humility and release pretense. We are not all beautiful all the time, but there is such beauty in unbridled authenticity. Everything we find off-putting about others is usually a reflection of ourselves, our own shame or insecurities. I wanted to share to call others to the same level of vulnerability. It is my hope, that in reading, you will go forth and be a catalyst for change in this world in a small or a mighty way. We are in this together.

Peace be with you.

So…..

First, I want to weigh in. Last I checked I’m at 170, and it is moon time. (In case you’re not a hippie: that means I am menstruating.) So, that part of things is good. I am maintaining my weight, and I am comfortable at this weight. I still have curves, and I am light enough to feel energetic and fit into regular clothes that I like. That is the short version, about my weight. If that is all you’re interested in, feel free to stop reading now.

The real shit that is going on: I totally have body dismorphia. I have irrational thoughts about being fat. I look at my clothes and feel like I won’t fit into them, they look small to me. Then, they fit. I see myself in pictures and it’s hard to believe it’s me. It looks like me, I remember the photo being taken, but it doesn’t feel real. It’s weird. I know, I am weird. I am just trying to be honest with myself about how I am processing having this new body.

Another thing: I have just BARELY resumed my workouts after what seemed like a ridiculous hiatus. I has so much sickness and other workout-blockers happen, working out was the easiest thing to put on the back burner. So, I still feel my fitness has suffered, slightly. Although, I had a very strenuous workout yesterday and I only feel slightly sore. What I noticed about not working out as much is that my body/mind/spirit’s reaction to stress was crippling anxiety and increased insomnia. So, needless to say, I’ve been a slight basket case.

Some things I am proud of: I have been making the effort to be more social. I have made a few new friends. I have been attending events/gathering that I have been invited to. I have even hosted a get together, and it was fun. Also, I have been practicing my photography and working (a little) on promoting my business as a photographer. I have been inspired to do a project photographing women breastfeeding their children and it has been received well. I gained some recognition for one of my images on a photography website. I’ve written a few new poems. All good stuff.

About my self-care: I won’t lie, it has gone to shit. I have not been taking care of myself the best I can. I need more of nurturing that only I can give myself. I am such a food addict, and I know this about myself. I guard against going back to my old ways of eating. I am not sure why, but that part has been, surprisingly, doable. I have had indulgent day, as I am sure most regular people do (not sure what I mean by that). I have had days with poor nutrition, as I am sure regular people do (there I go again…). However, I don’t feel the need to overeat often. On a daily basis, I probably don’t eat enough (lately). My appetite has been down. The ironic part is that I usually eat more during stressful times, and I have been eating less, even with through-the-roof anxiety.

I have been strongly considering going back on anxiety meds, but I REALLY don’t want to do that, so I probably won’t. Whoa. That was probably poor grammar, but I don’t care right now. So, I have been very determined to start some kick-ass self care. I have already started a few weeks ago doing guided mediation every night before sleep. In addition, I am getting my ass back in the gym. Also, I have been inspired by a new friend to make a self-care box – a sort-of emergency kit for de-stressing and loving myself when I need it. So far, I have a fresh bundle of sage and some lovely essential oils that I am going to put into this box. I am racking my mind trying to think of more things to add, but the whole point of making it is to de-stress, so I am trying not to stress over it. Other things I am thinking of adding are a silk scarf, some kind of putty or stress ball, a scalp massager, a Wilbarger’s protocol brush, a notebook and nice pen, a nail file, something furry to pet, some photos of beautiful things

Sometimes, I just have to read what I write, and laugh at myself. This is one of those times.

Well, I just had several more paragraphs of amazing inspiring shit that got erased, but I don’t feel compelled to re-write it at this time. Check back later to see more of the “resolution/conclusion” of this post, if you feel like it. Until then, c’est la vie.

 

 

 

Have you missed me?

Regular life has taken over and I haven’t been making the time to blog lately. However, here I am!

I had to make the tough choice to not continue with my maintenance classes because my eldest daughter needed to start weekly therapy and the only time the therapist could see her was during my maintenance class. I guess I could have tried to transfer to another class, but I didn’t. After attending a few sessions, I found that my time would be more productive spent elsewhere – like the gym.

So, I was doing really well using the My Fitness Pal app on my phone until we went on vacation. That was about a month ago. I decided to allow myself a break from logging while on vacation. I think that is what started a pattern of not logging. So, not logging lead to more denial about what I am eating. When we got back from vacation, there was spring break. My daughter got into some big trouble over spring break and it feels like the whole family has been in crisis/chaos ever since. In addition, I had to have a minor outpatient procedure done that was very painful and prevented me from exercising. Then, I got a nasty virus. So, I’ve been in a shitty cycle for awhile.

All of the above, plus regular life has caused my eating and exercise habits to regress. I know I am human, so I forgive myself. I am actually shocked that I haven’t gained much weight. I am only 1-2 lbs over what I was when I stopped the diet. However, I KNOW I have lost a lot of fitness. I was getting so fit there for a minute! I have lost muscle mass and replaced it with fat. That is certainly not the direction I would like to go.

So, self-care. Yes. That. I need to do it more consistently.

That is all for now.

On Radical Self-Acceptance

I’ve been wanting to write for awhile, but I’ve had so many thoughts whirling around in my head… I am trying to make sense of all of them. This is my attempt.

First, I am so grateful for all of the people in my life that have been causing me to think lately. I have been gaining more empathy for others as I realize so much about myself. Since I have been working on letting go of my addictions, I feel like a fog has been lifted. I am seeing more clearly when I look into the mirror, and when I look at other people – and other people really do serve as mirrors, if we allow it. I feel like my awareness has been heightened.

For the past week, I have been fighting this new level of awareness because it has caused an internal struggle – it has reveled a some insecurities and self-loathing that I was, apparently, in denial about. I have been forced to dialogue about shame and inequities that I can no longer deny. I have seen my flaws in my children and realized that I am not fully loving them as much as they deserve. I felt a conviction that I am holding back because I am not loving the parts of them that are like me. Sadly, I could see the parts of them that are like my husband, and find those characteristics endearing. However, when I would see bits of my personality emerge in them, and it would bring up feelings of frustration- the same goes for other people in my life. Isn’t it ironic?

So, I have been forced to examine why I don’t want my kids to be like me, and I am grateful that my husband has been helping me process this because I usually need to process things externally – which means he’s had to listen A LOT. So, I have realized a few things: I blamed my shitty childhood, abusive relationships, and various other traumas for a lot of my struggles in life. Many people that know me, know that I have been through a lot of shit. (Who hasn’t, really?) So, I think I have used these things as reasons/excuses for my personality flaws. What I have come to realize is that I think that, even if I had a problem-free life (which doesn’t exist), I would still have most of the issues that I have. It’s just how I was created.

It’s a great gift to be able to fit in by acting/pretending, but it is also a lot of work. So, I am going the easier route and working on letting go of acting/pretending to be normal and embracing my eccentricities and quirkiness. Most of you already think I am authentic, and you are right. I have been. I have been as authentic as my level of self-awareness. Now I know more.

What I am learning: Everyone has struggles. Mine are mostly anxiety related. And, you could make the argument that I have reasons to be this way, given my history. However, I do feel like it’s just the way I am wired. Some people are more resilient, I am highly sensitive. In the past, I have worked very hard to supress my vulnerabilities, to be “strong.” I am not. I am delicate and sensitive. I do believe resiliency can be cultivated, and I am working on that.

I also have processing issues – my brain doesn’t work the way I want it to sometimes. Instead of looking for a reason why and trying to pretend that I have it all together, I am working on accepting that my brain doesn’t always cooperate. This means, I forget a lot. I forget names and places. I have no idea where I am going sometimes; I am horrible with directions. I do a lot of things at once and forget many details. I do have the ability to hyper-focus, but I rarely do because I know it means I am shutting everything else out. As a parent, I don’t get that luxury often.

I have sensory issues as well – thank you to my daughter who has helped me put a name to this struggle. I have a very high need for physical input. I used to frustrate me that my children are constantly touching everything, and realizing that I am the same way has helped me not be so judgmental. I need to touch (smell, and taste) everything too. I also need lots of affection and tend to by hyper-sexual. My husband has his hands full over here. On a therapeutic note – exercise helps me self-regulate so much. In addition, I got myself a weighted blanket and I find it very soothing. I wonder how many over-eaters are closet sensory-seekers. I believe it could be a revelation for many people with a food addiction.

These are just a few of the things that have been on my mind; I am working on accepting my struggles and working on them – instead of being in denial or frustrated about them. Now, you may ask, “What does this have to do with your weight?” If you have to ask that, I am going to yell at you: EVERYTHING! read on…

I really want to maintain my weight loss. I am so motivated to become the healthiest person I can be that I am willing to examine everything that could possibly hinder my goals. I must accept myself. If I don’t, I will struggle with the need to constantly bury what I am feeling and who I am. Denying who I am is what leads to unhealthy coping mechanisms (for me, that means an unhealthy abuse of food.) So, there you have it. That is how self-acceptance is related to weight loss/maintenance. Conversely, loving myself allows me to be less frustrated with how I am. I feel more freedom and less anxiety just releasing this into the universe.

C’est la vie.

I would love to hear from you. Have you looked at the internal struggles that may hinder personal growth? What do you think you need to accept about yourself?

 

Just keepin’ on keepin’ on…

So, what’s been new with me? I have been trying to live life like a “normal” person, not so consumed with my weight. I have been working out, meditating, praying, loving myself, loving people and doing the perfunctory daily tasks of this thing called “life.”

I have made a major decision to not be so focused on weight now that I am in a somewhat healthy weight range for my height. I am choosing to stay focused on fitness and sticking with that!

I have been gaining more peace by just being. I feel very free lately. I feel free from a food addiction, but I also recognize addictions are the type of thing that can resurge at any time, if you let them. I am contentedly keeping mine at arms length – I know it is a risk factor for me, but I am determined to never again let overtake my life.

Self-care has been huge for me.

What does that look like on a daily basis? I will tell you. I plan out what I am going to eat. I take time to lovingly prepare healthy nutritious meals for myself because I am worth it. I spend a good amount of time planning and preparing meals for myself and my family. I serve myself appropriate portions because I love myself and want to nurture myself appropriately with healthy food to satisfy my body and keep it in tip-top shape. There is so much self-love in all this process. (Yes, and I am still logging my food intake which is around 1500 calories a day.) And, I eat good food that was lovingly prepared for me by myself. I enjoy my food. I take time with it and appreciate all the work I have done and I appreciate that the food is good and nurturing to me. I deserve this kind of food. I deserve this kind of time, attention, and love; it’s something that only I can do for myself. And, I do it and it makes me love myself even more because I am proud to operate my life this way. There is dignity in knowing I am doing right by myself.

In addition, I exercise several times a week. Some days I work out very hard and it feels so cathartic to work with great physical intensity and to feel the sweat pouring down my body as I push it to it’s limit. Other days, I allow myself time to rest and recover. I stretch every day because it feels good. I massage my sore muscles daily too. I think I may have more soreness because I am gaining so much fitness right now. That is why rest days are so important. I have been doing some gentle yoga on my “rest” days too.

I am feeling happier about myself and this makes me feel less inclined to attempt to control everything around me. I see now, that a lot of my dissatisfaction with myself was projected onto other people and things in my life. Operating in more of a peaceful place allows me to be more accepting of everything from quirky/difficult people to piles of laundry that never end. Difficult things will always be present in life, but I don’t have to allow the difficulties to throw off my equilibrium. I am not perfect, and things still do upset me, but I know there is peace available if I want it. I have to chose to find it – even if just a tiny piece of peace during a hard time. It’s there.

I breathe. In and out. I just keep doing this all the time – deep into my belly. It is amazing. Everyone should try this. (wink, wink)

I am keeping fear out of my life. It tries to sneak in. It tries to tell me that I can’t succeed, that I can’t be free, that I need to worry… But I don’t give those thoughts the time of day. They are all lies! What is success anyway? It’s ongoing, just like life – it’s all an ongoing process. I can do anything I want! I can be free from anything – including fear. Worrying will not add a single hour to my life, but it can consume me, if I let it – and I won’t!

I function. I have more time and energy. It’s ironic that I have more time since I do spend so much more time doing things to take care of myself. It’s because I have reprioritized things putting first things first.

I enjoy being alone more because I love myself. I think I may alluded to this in a previous blog, but it can’t be said enough because I do love myself that much! And, out of that love for myself – that deep love that has grown – I feel like I have gained more insight/perspective and empathy for others. What a beautiful thing self-work does…

Maybe this is not concrete – I know a lot of it is not. I can’t fully explain what has happened/what is happening to me because some of it is a spiritual transformation. I can tell you this: A beautiful thing happens when you let go of addictions and when you replace them with healthy things. Suddenly, more peace can come in, more love can flow in and out of you. You gain confidence as you become more competent at functioning in a healthy way. You blossom.

I am blossoming. Again, thank you for joining me in my journey.

Here is a poem I wrote about this process, just in time for Spring:

Equinox

What would happen if
I learned to love you
Like you deserved?

What would it look like
To birth a new life
Leaving everything I thought I needed behind?

What if all those things I assigned value to
We’re meaningless;
What if I knew this already
And denied it?

I can’t look you in the eye and say “I love you” anymore
If I don’t give you the respect you deserve
I thought I knew you
I thought I knew what you needed

Filled with things
Fleeting pacification
Immediate gratification
Deep guarded emptiness

An untouchable person

Needing a God
Needing a mother
Needing a lover
Needing a friend

Now, I sit with myself
In my nakedness
I can be born
Like a baby
Into my own arms
Into arms of True Love

Once again
My life is in my hands
To give and receive my own love
My heart is opening
Bright light once poured into me
Is now pouring out of me

I am listening
I am hearing a gentle whisper
Of love poems written
Just for me

I am feeling the tender embrace
Of being pulled into the present
Fully aware of my flaws and weaknesses
And blanketed in love and acceptance

I begin
Again
I will never quit on you
My love,
I will never quit on you

 

 

 

 

Happy Birthday to me!

Today is my 39th birthday, and I am spending some much deserved quality time with my blog, and all of you! Don’t you feel loved? I know I do because I am LOVING MYSELF right now! Here’s the update on my weight: I’ve lost about a pound in the last 6ish weeks, since transitioning into the weight maintenance phase of this diet. I am now 168, but I do see daily fluctuations. I know this is normal and it is, surprisingly, not causing me too much stress.

So I went out on a lovely date with my husband yesterday thanks to a wonderful friend! We are so hesitant to leave our children with anyone, especially since my middle daughter has some special needs. In the past, it has just seemed impossible/unrealistic to attempt leaving them with anyone. However, they have been doing great lately and it really was time for my husband and I to get a little alone time after all it has been over 4 years since we’ve gone out together without the children! I felt awkward and giddy at first. He opened the door for me, held my hand and told me some really sweet things. I felt very special. Here is the funny thing: We talked all week about where to go. We wanted brunch so we wouldn’t be leaving the little ones during their cranky time. We looked at reviews for brunch places and really couldn’t decide. The thing I realized is that I didn’t feel peace about having such a food-centered celebration for my birthday. I really didn’t want it to be about the food. I wanted a time to reconnect with my husband. I wanted to be near the ocean. So, we finally decided to just do a picnic at the beach. After all this research and planning, we didn’t organize ourselves and wound up going out to eat anyway. I think it was actually better not to plan anything. We just drove our car to the beach, looked around and found a place = Less expectations and less obsessing in advance.

[I just realized that some of you may be interested in my food choices. Haha. So, I will tell you: I made good choices. I chose a seafood cobb salad and a flight of soups. The soup portions were tiny and yummy, and I had the dressing on the side for my salad. I enjoyed the meal, but listen to my body. I didn’t feel compelled to eat the entire meal, and I felt peace about leaving some behind. It was a very positive post-diet eating experience.]

I promised an update after my Optifast Maintenance group. I have to say, it was a great group. I wasn’t expecting much since I had a mediocre experience with my weight loss group. I think the groups are a good thing, but I needed to be challenged a bit more. I feel like this class my actually cause me to think. I love that. My brain needs exercise. The instructor/facilitator seems very progressive and he has a very positive energy.

Have you ever heard about Mindful Eating? This is one of the main topics we will be delving into during the maintenance class. We will be exploring mindful eating, mindfulness in general and meditation. I have some experience with these topics, and I am excited to learn more and develop my mindfulness skills. What does this mean? Here’s a short explanation from The Center for Mindful Eating:

Principles of Mindfulness:

  • Mindfulness is deliberately paying attention, non-judgmentally, in the present moment.
  • Mindfulness encompasses both internal processes and external environments.
  • Mindfulness is being aware of your thoughts, emotions and physical sensations in the present moment.
  • With practice, mindfulness cultivates the possibility of freeing yourself of reactive, habitual patterns of thinking, feeling and acting.
  • Mindfulness promotes balance, choice, wisdom and acceptance of what is.

Mindful Eating is:

  • Allowing yourself to become aware of the positive and nurturing opportunities that are available through food selection and preparation by respecting your own inner wisdom. 
  • Using all your senses in choosing to eat food that is both satisfying to you and nourishing to your body.   
  • Acknowledging responses to food (likes, dislikes or neutral) without judgment.
  • Becoming aware of physical hunger and satiety cues to guide your decisions to begin and end eating.

Someone Who Eats Mindfully:

  • Acknowledges that there is no right or wrong way to eat but varying degrees of awareness surrounding the experience of food.
  • Accepts that their eating experiences are unique.
  • Is an individual who by choice, directs their attention to eating on a moment-by-moment basis.
  • Gains awareness of how they can make choices that support health and well being.
  • Becomes aware of the interconnection of earth, living beings, and cultural practices and the impact of their food choices on those systems.

This is such an empowering way to live. I am feeling pretty excited about developing skills that will help me live more fully in the present, maintain control over my choices, engage in self-care that is physically healthy and emotionally liberating. I am already starting to feel a more intense sense of satisfaction with my life, as my open my eyes to living more fully in the present. This is, however, a process. I will keep you updated on how it’s going as I move forward with these intentions.

I would to spend more time with you, but I have to get going now. How will I celebrate my birthday today? I plan on enjoying the everyday things, mindfully. I plan on being in the present and gently, lovingly guiding myself back to the present when I find my thoughts wandering where they need not go. I plan on loving the people that really matter, and receiving as much love as I can. What more could I want? I can’t think of anything more than to give and receive love in it’s many forms. Love and well-wishes to all of you today, and thank you for journeying with me!