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You Can’t Spell Beast Without E-A-T

12 Mar

During my brief stint as a Religion teacher at Paterson Catholic Regional High School, when I got angry and/or crazy my kids would say “You beastin’ Ms. G.” Well, I was beastin’ this weekend.

I’ve been going through a lot the past few months: I’m out of work and looking for a job, trying to lose weight, and dealing with some difficult and often perplexing relationships. I’ve been trying to sort things out – figure out which issues are related (likely all of them) and which are controllable. I’ve started to connect the dots between my new birth control prescription (changed to be more affordable) and my lethargy, massive case of dry eye, and possibly how hard it has been to lose weight. I’ve also realized that not having the simple activity of going to work, walking around the office, and generally expending energy 8 hours has made an impact on my weight…oh, that and getting older.

At any rate, this weekend The Beast made an appearance and wreaked havoc. It’s “That Time of The Month”, or Shark Week as I like to call it, and my hormones are running wild. Starting Friday all I wanted to do was eat. This had nothing to do with hunger, nor was there a specific craving I was attempting to satisfy – I just couldn’t stop eating.

The truth is that over the past several weeks I’ve been relatively uninterested in food. That’s not to say I wasn’t hungry or that I didn’t eat, it’s just that nothing was sounding particularly appealing. I’m a big fan of Geneen Roth’s suggestion that you should ask yourself what you WANT to eat, give yourself time to consider, and then eat that – even if it means a run to the store – as a way to prevent yourself from grazing and tasting and nibbling to find the satisfaction you’re looking for. It was working really well for me until the day that I asked myself what I wanted to eat and there was no answer. I pressed myself asking “If you could eat ANYTHING at all, regardless of fat, calories, or Weight Watchers points, what would you want?” There was still no answer.

For weeks now, I’ve been unsatisfied because I can’t think of anything I want. When I’ve defaulted to my usual treats and cravings – like pizza – nothing has tasted as good as I hoped it would. So here I was, alone all weekend , all issues present and accounted for, waiting to hear about a job I interviewed for on Tuesday and knowing that I wouldn’t until at least Monday, and full of rampaging hormones. I tore through my kitchen like a Tasmanian Devil. I ate everything but the Cascade dishwasher tablets. Thank goodness I hadn’t been grocery shopping recently.

While I was on this tear I knew I wasn’t hungry but I couldn’t stop – I was bingeing but it wasn’t making me feel any better and I was berating myself the entire time.

It finally stopped when I got an unexpected call from a friend from New York who happened to be in the area and wanted to meet for coffee. I have a lot of AMAZING and supportive friends, but she was just the person I needed at that moment. Not only has this friend lost a tremendous amount of weight over the past year, but she understands what it’s like to be CONSTANTLY working at it. She is calm and understanding and chock-full of actual useful suggestions. She let me dump all my issues and worries onto the Starbucks table between us and helped me sort through them. I needed someone to hear me out, get where I was coming from, and not dismiss any of my feelings or challenges and magically she appeared.

I’m still tired and stressed. I’m still awash in hormones. I’m still not particularly interested in food. None of it is GONE, but I’m calmer and more in control.  The lesson I learned from this is that my binges are trying to tell me there’s something I need that I’m not getting and it rarely has to do with food. What I learned this weekend is that my friends are like a baseball team and each player has specific strengths and purposes. I’d never ask Derek Jeter to pitch, so why was I asking friends who don’t have the skills or experience with my issues to handle them and give me an MVP performance? I need the right man for the job.

For now The Beast is being held at bay but I know I’ll see it again; at least now I know what it takes to put it back in the cage.

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Bloated, Bothered, and Bewildered

11 Feb

Well, after a week of exercising and eating my points and no more, I weighed in this morning. While Fantasy Lisa would have lost 5 pounds and received a little star sticker that excites all us Weight Watchers as much as a kindergartener, Real Lisa gained a pound.  A pound is a funny thing – it’s nothing when you consider normal hormonal fluctuations, the difference in your weight after you drink a couple glasses of water, or the added weight of a sweatshirt, but it’s celebration-worthy in the Weight Watchers meeting room when you take it off. 1/2 – 2 lbs a week is considered normal, healthy weight loss. It’s not so much the ONE pound that bothers me, it’s the others that should have melted off after all the work and water and carefully measured food.

Wrapped up in all this worry and disappointment, like the cream in a cannoli, is the beauty of Weight Watchers meetings. As I walked away from the scale, looking like I just lost my puppy, my WW leader, Davida, zeroed in on me and said, “How are you doing this week?” I looked at her dolefully and said “Meh.” I explained that I had started an exercise routine that included yoga and cardio on the elliptical trainer, had eaten my Points, not used my Activity or Weekly Points, and had been drinking all my water but still managed to be up a pound. She looked me right in the eyes and said “Good.” She told me that this is to be expected, that my body needs to adjust. She told me to keep on program, keep racking up the Activity Points but not eating them, keep drinking my water and that next week I’ll see the difference.

I’m not going to BS you and say that I’m not bummed out anymore, but I DO feel better. It’s great to have someone who has been there tell you it’s ok – that your body is doing what bodies do, that you’re doing the right thing and it will pay off. When I got home, my friend Emily reminded me that this will happen when you’re turning fat into muscle…and I believe everything Emily says…dude, it’s science…she’s got a PhD….plus, she takes honest-to-God boxing and could kick my ass.

Today is a rest day and I went to my beloved Hobcaw Cafe to get a coffee treat. I have water in my glass and a healthy dinner defrosting (beef stew with lots of veg – yum!). I’ll probably nap in front of the TV. I’m just going to be kind to myself and get some rest and stay on track. Today I may be bloated, bothered, and bewildered, but next week will be better.

Emotional Eating Poster Child

22 Sep

Ah, good intentions!

From my last post you can probably tell I’m going through a slightly…turbulent time. While it’s true that I’m focusing a lot of energy on keeping positive, there have been some situations that have had the same effect on me that kryptonite has on Superman…that is, if Superman reacted to it by putting on sweats and eating macaroni and cheese….in bulk.

The job situation, despite my best efforts and intrinsic charm, has not resolved itself.  While I have a phenomenal support system, the people who can’t see beyond their own noses are taking center stage and pushing every hot button I have. Yesterday the combination of some bad news and a migraine sent me into a tailspin that drove me out of the office at lunchtime and straight to the grocery store. I filled my basket with every comfort food I could think of and then drove home to hole up for the rest of the day.

There was carnage my friends. There was salt and fat and carbs. There were cookies. It ended with a faceplant/nap on my couch that lasted til about 5pm, followed by a fog that didn’t want to lift.  If I ever had a single question in my mind about the connection between my emotions and my eating it exists no longer.  The hardest thing to reconcile, especially as I climbed on the scale this morning to welcome back 4.5 lbs, is that all this “comfort” is doing nothing but hurting me.

I felt so disgusted with myself today that I didn’t want to eat anything but last night’s overindulgence kicked my metabolism into high gear. My stomach was like something out of Little Shop of Horrors; growling “Feed me Lisa! Feed me!” I fed it a turkey sandwich that made me simultaneously overfull and sleepy.

The irony of all this is that I KNOW not to do it. I KNOW how I need to eat to be healthy and knock off the pounds. I SHOULD be eating a nutritious breakfast to keep the hunger and cravings at bay. I SHOULD be eating vegetables and moderating carbs….but I’m worn out and my logical self and willpower have decided to sound the retreat and lay low until I get my shit together.

So I obviously have to get my shit together…and fast…before that Chris guy from Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition starts ringing my doorbell and asking me to weigh in on the loading dock. Which reminds me, how IS it exactly that these people are too heavy to weigh in on a regular scale and then three months later can get on a scale that this dude carries in his Jansport backpack?  But I digress…

I know they say “We plan. God laughs.” but I need a plan. First, I need to REST this weekend. That may mean shutting off the phone and watching too many episodes of Dance Moms and Toddlers and Tiaras. Next, I need to get back to giving my body actual FUEL. If I eat right I have more energy and I won’t feel like couch potato-ing my way through the next couple weeks or months.  Starting Monday, October 3 daily gym visits are back on the schedule. Yes, I’m delaying the gym a little, but I find from my own experience that if I give myself a week to re-adjust to a healthy diet and drop a few preliminary pounds I’m uber-motivated to get into the gym.

I need to re-establish some control and there’s a limit to the things I CAN control. Maybe while I’m at it I can try to convince Fitness, Shape, or Self that they need a chubby on staff. Think about it, they could reach a whole new audience…road test workouts on someone who is in…less than optimal physical condition. They could have “real life” editorial input (a.k.a. “No, I would NEVER eat lawn clippings for lunch no matter how much Minka Kelly raves about the results.”)  There! I have a new pet project….one that keeps me from eating a pint of ice cream while watching The Biggest Loser.

Boys and girls, there’s always going to be a time when things suck and you just-don’t-wanna…those are the times when we have to summon our inner parental voice that says “Do it anyway. It’s good for you. Ok, do it because I said so.”

Caps Lock to EMPHASIZE MY RAGE!

16 Jun

I’ve been watching a lot of old Biggest Loser episodes lately and what really struck me last night is that season after season Jillian and Bob push the contestants relentlessly until they spill the beans about their issues. For some it’s a crappy childhood, others have never felt good about themselves, some are mad at their parents, but all of them have a reason that they got fat and stayed fat for so long.  It really got me thinking that there’s a HUGE difference between recognizing your issues and dealing with them and/or letting them go.

I’ve always considered myself pretty self-aware. It could be because I’m one big mass of neuroses and I tend to over-think everything so how in the name of Neil Patrick Harris could my issues be exempt?  I’ve always been overweight with a propensity for putting on weight easily and quickly. I was a chubby kid. One of my thorny issues is that certain people (including family members and mean-spirited contemporaries) hassled me ENDLESSLY about it. I hadn’t even hit a growth spurt and had people riding me for being fat. What made it worse was that when I actually thinned out in high school I was 5’5″ and about 135 lbs (a perfectly normal weight) and they STILL told me I was fat. So many days I wonder “If everyone had just left me alone would I STILL be struggling so hard with my weight?” Obviously, I think not.

I’ve done therapy, complained to my friends, had a special relationship with Jose Cuervo and none of it has actually helped me get over it. I’d just like to say for the record that walking around thinking about how awesome you are doesn’t make you drop weight..unless of course you walk 5 mi. a day thinking about how awesome you are. Either way, just thinking you’re tits doesn’t get the job done.

I had a mini-meltdown this morning because of some photos I saw of myself. It’s been a big week.  Lucy’s graduation party, Kate’s Baby Shower and…well, I accidentally turned 36 so I went out with a bunch of folks to a local bar/restaurant.  All of these events were fantastic and I wouldn’t have missed any one of them but people also took pictures.  I should probably note that I am not particularly photogenic before I tell you that I looked like CRAP in every, single one from every, single event.   I’m telling you right now that I could get a summer job relieving the Goodyear blimp. What was worse than looking that bad was that I kept thinking “I looked in the mirror before I went out – I DIDN’T SEE THAT PERSON LOOKING BACK AT ME.”  I saw one thing but the camera saw Delta Burke (makeup and all!) and Shamu wrestling under a black shirt. I really thought that when you’re dysmorphic you thought you were heavier than you are!

So what did I do? I cried and grumbled…mostly to Eric because that’s always a good choice  (he actually has productive suggestions) and some to Christine (who just gets it). I still feel like crap but I did a little talking to myself and think I have it worked out.  I HAVE NOT let go of any of my issues. On the emotional side: I feel judged and embarrassed and angry. I feel like nobody is going to love me, even though I am pretty awesome, because I’m overweight. I’m mad at myself for not being able to get things in check. I’m frustrated because I AM trying.  Logical Me (and Eric) says: You have to figure out how your body wants to be fueled and I suspect you need more protein. You HAVE TO go to the gym. Working out at home was nice but you KNOW that your body responds well to weight training and cardio on the elliptical and bike. Your energy level is low and as a result Emotional Me is getting the crazy eyes.  Logical Me knows it’s going to be ok…just not RIGHT NOW.  This will take a while.

For the moment, until I can figure out what it takes to deal with my garbage or let it go, I have to be contented with getting back to the gym.  It’s going to take a Herculean effort to get myself back on an a.m. schedule but that L’Oreal lady keeps telling me I’m worth it.

How do you deal with all the baggage you’re carrying around?  Just so you know before you make suggestions: I don’t have a handgun permit or access to cyanide.

 

Crimes and Misdemeanors

13 Jun

Remember last week when I promised I would tell you when I fell asleep in the control tower? This was the weekend. It was an awesome weekend, don’t get me wrong – my beautiful, brilliant, cousin Lucy graduated from high school and had a wonderful party full of family and friends. I co-hosted a baby shower for my equally beautiful and brilliant friend Kate who is anxiously awaiting the birth of her son Tiberius. Ok, his name isn’t Tiberius but I like calling him that. The shower was terrific – lots of fun and funny womenfolk eating, drinking, and generally making merry.

The truth is that I was running around like a chicken with its head cut off all weekend. I didn’t work out and I didn’t have much control over my food options. I also made really good friends with a pitcher of mimosas which was entirely my own fault.  The scale was well aware of my indiscretions this morning….so much so that it didn’t even show my weight – it just screamed.

So, I fell off the wagon for a couple of days….and my 36th birthday is tomorrow and I have less than 60 days til my brother’s wedding.  Here’s the thing – I did TRY to take control of the situations.  I kept my portion sizes small, passed on hors d’ouevres, and drank a lot of water. I think the chief downfall here was sodium (which I couldn’t control) and alcohol (which I could but didn’t).  Thus, I must gather the lessons learned, dust myself off, and move on.

  • I CAN have a mimosa at a party – I cannot have 8
  • Orange juice has a lot of sugar and empty calories, as does champagne
  • I have to make more of an effort to slow down and be mindful of what I’m drinking
  • Drinking more water and going right back to eating right will nip this thing in the bud in no time
  • I’m really fun when I have a pitcher of mimosas in one hand and another pitcher in my belly…but that’s not exactly a good reason to do it
  • Weekends like this happen. It’s done. Get over it.
  • I REALLY need to work out tonight

I really have more important things to dwell on than this weekend’s crimes and misdemeanors…like the fact that my Gyno is asking me if I want to freeze eggs.  I want to bring her a dozen grade A jumbos the next time I see her and tell her to freeze them because I might want an omelet later.  I could also dwell on the fact that driving my rental car (car is in the shop for body work) is like driving a shoebox….or that my maid hasn’t cleaned the apartment, done laundry, or gone grocery shopping in at least a week. I’d slap that bitch around but I’ve been told by leading experts and the Catholic Church that self-abuse is wrong.

And on that note, please refrain from abusing yourselves and try to leave the weekend in the past and start the week fresh. Hope everyone has a great week!

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