Monday, November 24, 2014

What did you learn about yourself?

Those were the words my massage therapist asked me when I told him I ran a 5K the previous week.

It was a response I didn't expect and one I haven't gotten. And one that made me think.

I've had a few experiences over the past month that could make me ask myself that question.

The Arbonne Experiment

I went two weeks with no dairy, no wheat, no gluten, no refined sugar, no artificial sweetener. It wasn't that hard. I learned to be more mindful -- again -- about what I put in my mouth. To answer hunger queues and not eat according to the clock. I ate real foods and tried to not be afraid of certain foods because they were high in fat, good fat, but fat nonetheless (like walnuts and almonds) or high in carbs (like fruit or the bad-reputationed starchy veggies).

While the whole FB challenge is going on through November, I was happy to get back to a more balanced diet after two weeks. I met with a nutritionist on Friday and put a plan in place to focus on calories in and calories out, and not so much about the protein to carb ratio. And for the most part, managed to do just that this weekend.


He texted me at the beginning of the month, that he missed me. I was immediately annoyed. And hour later, he texted again that he was rereading all the cards I wrote to him and balling (sic). [Yes, it bothered me immediately that he spelled bawling wrong.]

Maybe I'm a bitch that my initial reaction was annoyance. And that my reaction didn't change 12 hours later when I finally responded to him. I learned that I don't need a boyfriend. I want one, but I don't need one. And I think in those last few months of our relationship I was afraid to end things because I didn't want to hurt him, because he was comfortable, if not boring, and there wasn't anything really wrong, just unsatisfied.

And he was the one who broke up with me, because he had too much going on in his head, as he put it. I thanked him a month later, thanked him for having the courage to end it because I hadn't realized how unhappy I had been until I was on my own again, I didn't realize how one-sided the relationship truly was, and how much he was not meeting my basic needs, even when I asked for them. A back-handed compliment, but one that I truly and sincerely meant, not as a slight, but as the truth.

And so when he texted me out of the blue, having no clue as to where I am in my life -- I could still be pining for him or I could be in another relationship -- I felt that it was unfair, that he was once again being selfish and putting his own needs ahead of mine. I texted back that I was annoyed, that he fucked up and he gave up and it's too late, that I wasn't sure of his intentions by texting me at this point but it was unfair to pull this emotional bullshit on me.

It took me a few weeks -- and some Catholic guilt -- to learn that I had come through for me on that one. That I was authentic with my feelings and expressing them. I can't do "what if" but I wonder if I had come through for myself more like that in the relationship if things would have changed. I think the only thing that would have changed was that ex-boyfriend would have gained that status much earlier than he did.

The Rocky Run

I didn't really train for it. Some interval running, but no long times on the treadmill of sustained running. I was ready to be happy with a time around 40:00, knowing that if I didn't run at all I could finish in 45:00, but also knowing that I would run some.

And so at 7:30 a.m. on a very cold November morning, I channeled Rocky running through the Philly neighborhoods and ending at the Art Museum.

I ran the first mile in a solid 10:59; I ran the second mile in 11:41. I lost some steam and walked the rest, but still finished in under 37:00.

To quote A.A. Milne in Winnie the Pooh, from all of these experiences, I learned that I'm braver than I believe, stronger than I seem and smarter than I think.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


I love this.

25 Famous Women on Childlessness

"There are women who are born to be mothers, women who are born to be aunties, and women who should not be allowed within ten feet of a child."

I thought I was in the first category, but I now know that I'm in the second. And I cherish every minute of it.

Monday, November 17, 2014

"You don't have to be perfect."

I feel like I've had a lot of therapy in the past week.

I saw Terri on Thursday and then yesterday morning joined the ladies form my former gym for a walk around Peace Valley Park and walked the whole 6.2-mile loop with one of my former trainers.

Great conversation about where I am almost 18 months out of the gym. How I let ex-boyfriend sway me with his bad habits, how I used food to fill the emotional void toward the end of the relationship, and how scared I got when the scale hit 199.

And she said something very profound.

"You don't have to be perfect. You just have to do better."

I think that's where I've been living and possibly why I've seemingly been failing. I've tried too hard to be perfect. Tried too hard to lose those 15 extra pounds all at once. Threw my hands up in the air and said "fucks it" and proceeded to eat Hershey miniatures like they were m&m's.

We talked about the guilt associated with our food issues and how it's not just the physical discomfort that comes from over-eating (I've talked about the carb hangover), but the mental beatings we give ourselves. And that's when she said, "I finally figured it out, that I'm allowed to have another glass of wine or a cookie. Because I'm not perfect and I don't have to be. But tomorrow, I have to be better than I was today."

And she's right, and once I finish my detox and slowly re-introduce food back into my daily diet, I have to remember that I don't have to be perfect. I can have a couple Christmas cookies, and then the next meal, I have to be better."

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Week 1 in the Books

So I've been doing the Arbonne detox for more than a week now. Since last Friday, I have not eaten any dairy, gluten or wheat, sugar (except for the occasional Altoid) or artificial sweetener.

I haven't noticed any difference on the scale, but they assure me it's coming.

I'm not really craving anything. The hardest part is trying to get enough calories in my day. And I do worry that with all of the cardio I do, that I'm not eating enough carbs. But it's only a few weeks and if it gets my head in the game, especially heading into Thanksgiving, I'm all for it.

I've been told that there's in a difference in my face. One person told me -- she can see that it's thinner, another that my coloring is better.

I feel more present and aware of what's going in my mouth. I was making a pan of lasagna for my neighbors and as I finished with the last dollop of ricotta on the last layer, had a fingerful of cheese "thisclose" to my mouth and suddenly remember, no dairy.

And I didn't feel deprived and I didn't feel sad and the world didn't stop spinning because I didn't eat something that I previously would have done so mindlessly.

I've never been a big fan of vegetables. But I'm putting spinach in my morning smoothie and having salad at least one meal a day.

Yesterday I ran a 5K. I did not really brian for it. But call it muscle memory or give some credit to a body eating real food -- I ran the first mile in under 11:00, and the second just over 11:00. I had the absolutely lowest expectations of this run, just wanting to finish in under 45:00. I finished in under 37:00.

So I move into week 2, with the promise to my Arboone challenge leader that I will not step on the scale until next Sunday. (I'm a weigh myself every day kind of girl when I'm weight-loss mode.)

I'm anxious to see and feel the changes in my body over the next week. And I know even now, that with just a .2 weight loss since starting the detox, that the benefits have been to more than numbers on the scale.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Cleaning House

I was dusting the other day and noticed some papers poking out of my birthday book. It was an article from Self magazine, December 2006. Why had I saved it? There was nothing written on it, not passages marked. It was just folded in half and stuck in the front of the book.

The title of the article was "Done with Dieting," and while that is certainly a topic that would be of interest of me, I typically don't save stuff like that.

 I started reading it and almost threw it away. It didn't seem applicable. And then of page 2 of the article, I realized why I saved it. 

The author, an obsessive dieter, was meeting with a professor of psychology.

I was sold by the experts' arguments and vowed to swap my dieting addiction for a less extreme approach. No restrictions, no obsessive daily weigh-ins. She liked that idea but warned me that it would be a challenge. "You are what psychologists call a 'restrained eater'" she explained. That sounded good to me. "Not really," she said. "It's a sub clinical eating disorder, an anxious state where you want or you're always watching what you eat. If a restrained eater finally gives in and eats what she is craving, she generally gets out of control. Many chronic dieters are restrained eaters, depriving themselves and then binging, over and over again."

I asked if ther was a psychological term for a person who aimed to make healthy choices, wasn't worried about every forkful and could have a piece of cake without feeling horrible about it. "That's healthy, normal eating," she responded. "More specifically, 'normal' is being able to to be flexible and eat a variety of foods in response to hunger." I told her I didn't know anyone like that. "In our research, we do have a hard time finding women who are normal," she conceded. "Most don't come close."

It was the cycle I have been on for at least the last 10 years, straddling between normal and restrained and somewhere in between. When I was first diagnosed with my eating disorder, it was never quite explained in this way. Obsessive. Afraid of food. Exercise bulimic. Net negative calories. Those were the buzz words.

But I never was able to work with someone where I could have a good relationship with food, where it wasn't my enemy, it wasn't my support system, it wasn't my reward, I didn't think about I all the time.

A friend from Baltimore, who leads fitness challenges on FB (I love that this has become this decade's version of the side businesses of sex toy parties of the 2000s or Tupperware of the 70s), wrote something pretty amazing to me today. She posted her planned meals for the week. I, of course, asked her how many calories, what was her ratio of protein to carbs to fat, etc.

Her response was as profound for me as finding that article from 2006. 

I haven't been tracking as much anymore. I've just listened to my body. I don't want to become too obsessed with it, which I know I could if I let myself. I still enjoy food, I just make a conscious effort to grab healthy stuff now, and that's made a huge difference....making sure it doesn't become an obsession was key for me. I knew plugging in those numbers would be. Seeing them in black and white, and then stressing about when I go over. 

I've been told that I'm very aware of my mind set, I know when to make a change, when I need a check-in with my therapist, when it's time to think through a situation. For almost every 
situation in life -- work, friends, relationships, sex -- that is true. Food has always been my kryptonite.

One of these days I will figure it out. I hope.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Thanks, SBA!

As a former Rochesterian (and a former natural history museumer in Rochester), I am very proud of the role the city and its residents played int eh suffrage movement.

A friend posted this to Facebook on election day and I just love it more and more every time I look at it.

I just had to share.

I hope everyone -- especially women -- exercised their right to vote on Tuesday.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


Those who know me, know I love baseball. And those who don't, just look at the title.

Joe Maddon was named the Cubs manager the other day, and one of his quotes really stuck with me.

“I'm gonna be talking playoffs next year,” Maddon said. “I'll tell you that right now. I can't go to spring training and say anything else. You have to set your goals high, because if you don't set them high enough you might hit your mark, and that's not a good thing. We're gonna talk World Series this year, and I'm gonna believe it. It's in our future.”

Set your goals high.

Miles -- I'm closing in on 70 since the middle of October when I saw the challenge one of my FB friends set for herself. I will get 200 miles before the end of the year. And I will hit 1,000 in 2015.

Exercise -- Every day. Thankfully I have a dog who doesn't let me skip that. Even if I don't get on the treadmill, he needs to be in the fresh air for at least two miles.

Lifting is the bane of my existence when it comes to working out. I hate it. But I know I need to do it. So I will set the goal of lifting (or doing a strength training DVD) three times a week.

Diet Pepsi -- none. Nada. Shooting for the the month of November aspartame, chemical and Diet Pepsi Wild Cherry free. (And all soda in general)

Food -- I'm committed to this seven day detox, though it hasn't started yet so I have no idea what I'm in for. And committed to the 28-day challenge to give me momentum into the holidays.

Weight -- I will be 175 pounds by my birthday. Plain and simple.

So thanks Joe Maddon, I hope I get to the see the Cubbies int eh World Series, not only in my life time, but in the next year. 

Set your goals high. Reach for them. Work for them.

"It always seems impossible until it's done." -- Nelson Mandela.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Over and Over and Over...

Day 1...over and over and over again. Sometimes it feels like I'm looking for the magic pill again, like I did through so much of my 20s and 30s (and teens and preteens)!

It's only 10 pounds. Ten pounds to get me where I need to be. 

So earlier this summer, I attempted the 21 day fix. 

I attempted a three day cleanse (nasty stuff). 

I've started and gotten sidetracked I can't even tell you how many times with the way I used to eat when I was going to the ladies gym and working with the trainers. When I was new in town, had no social life and could actually focus completely on me.

But I'm excited and modestly optimistic about the challenge presented to me by an Ithaca friend. So here I go with Arbonne and a 28-day clean eating challenge. First, there are nutritional components to it. There's a detox, but there's also protein, and it's very similar to the way I like to eat when I'm eating clean. I also like that it's really focused on one thing. I've got the exercise thing down -- I don't need a program for that. It's about the food.

It's always been about the food. That statement alone could be linked back to so many blog posts, I'll just leave it alone. I think many reading this can relate that one six-word sentence to their own emotions and issues.

I'm waiting for my package of products....nutritional supplements and protein. So until that arrives, I'll eat the way I was taught, the way I did for almost all of 2013. Today was a good day so far. It's getting to be the witching hour, that time when I'm almost ready to head home.

Tonight, I will work out when I get home and then am going over to a friend's house for pizza, wine and salad. Thankfully I don't like wine and I'm hoping against hope that I can really just stick to the salad and one small slice of pizza. I've planned and it will fit within my carb/fat/protein ratio and under my calorie goal.

I have three full weeks plus until thanksgiving. I want to be strong going into that holiday. So I'm motivated and there's no mindless eating. Lots of turkey, one spoon of sides and save a little piece of apple pie. And then a workout that night.

And then strength the next day at Jill's 40th birthday party. And then I can end the month strong, with momentum and can repeat my holidays in 2013, when I actually lost weight!

So while I wait for the UPS man to arrive with my latest attempt, I'll give myself a little jump start of clean eating, so that detox doesn't seem so abrupt.