Thursday, September 20, 2012


...And so the journey continues.  I had almost given up on it.  On myself.  Again.  But somehow I made my way back into that ongoing venture towards health.  As in any journey, you have to take definite, decisive steps towards health or you will wander aimlessly until you lose heart, or you lose interest.

I didn't go to my 5K race.  My son had his soccer pictures at the same time as the start of the race, and his first game immediately following that.  My group went and did really well, one of the ladies I run with, the head of our group, came in first in her age category.  I was disappointed to be missing the race that I had looked forward to, but I knew I was in the right place.  My son needed me there to cheer him on, to support him.  I don't regret my decision.  It was just a difficult decision to have to make.

Two different situations happened this last week that made me realize I had to keep going, that I had to stay motivated to lose the weight.  A couple of my friends and I went out for a run on Monday night.  Nothing too complicated just some speed drills along the track for 30 minutes.  I had a hard time of it though, and when we finished up for the night, one of the two runners looked at me and told me that I was not ready, nor would I be able to get ready for the 10K I was moving towards in October (20).  While I couldn't be upset with him for speaking his mind, and I couldn't doubt his friendship with that kind of brutal honesty, it was still a slap in the face.  Not that he said it, but that he felt compelled to do so after we had been running.  It stung, and continues to smart a little bit.  I've worked harder this week to redeem myself than I have yet in this last year of attempting to lose weight.  And I've decided not to do anymore group runs until I feel I can adequately aid my fellow runners and not slow them down.

We had our insurance salesman from the Knights of Columbus out to the house.  My husband recently joined and he was helping us review our options.  He told me that my rates would be lower based upon my health.  When he asked for my weight and height, I could not even make it into the "average" category.  I was still 20 lbs above the highest weight.  And that was blow #2.  He couldn't change the chart, and it was obvious he wasn't trying to hurt me.  Just two different jolts of reality at two different points in my life to spur me on to get healthy.

What a nasty cycle its been.  This journey towards health has had me chasing my own tail!  I finally figured it out...I would gain weight.  Then I would beat myself up for being overweight and unhealthy.  Then I would beat myself up to lose the weight.  Then I would lose the weight and reward myself by letting myself get out of the routine of healthy eating and exercise habits.  And the nasty cycle would start all over again.  Enough!  Time to break that cycle!  Time to lose that routine!  As part of my healing with food, I need to look at my innermost needs and desires and to figure out what food has been helping to hide in me.  What has food helped me to satisfy, though not completely?  This is the question that I'm going to ponder as I continue along my journey.  The negatives to my eating habits must be replaced by the positives that have come upon me, through revelation and discernment.  I must make each pound a choice, a postive habit or thought must replace each pound that I have lost.  I think that's why weight loss is so hard.  Because it is so complex and intimate.  98% of weight loss is mental.  Because we're all afraid of letting go.  Of recognizing the enormity of change.  But I must change.  For the hurt I felt over being lovingly rejected by one of my peers is nothing compared to the hurt that will soon face me when I'm told I won't be able to have anymore children.  The anguish I feel in not qualifying for life insurance will be nothing compared to the feeling I have when insurance will no longer my obesity related illnesses (thanks be to God I don't have them...Yet...)  I must look for ways to replace the hurt, to heal those internal wounds that have affected me deeply.  To make my weight something other than a handicap.  To let my innner self image be more truly reflected in my outer appearance.  It's not enough that I can hide from the world through this plus sized clothing.  That I can put off other people's opinions simply because "they don't understand".  I don't want to hide anymore, because in all this time, I've only been hiding from me.  So please, my dear readers, bear with me as I hijack some of my blog space to really work through this area in my life right now.  I will travel through some deep hurts, some self projections, some hidden deep dark secret caverns of the heart.  Pray with me, walk with me, and help me to see that I'm better than what I've allowed myself to become, that I can heal and be whole.  That I can find that inner child and coax her back into the light.  I can regain what dignity I know I deserve that I inherited from a loving Creator.  That I can reclaim my role as child of God, and live in the fullness He wants for me.

...And so the journey continues...

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Requiem of a fallen city...

Emotions have their narrative; after the shock we move inevitably to the grief, and the sense that we are doing it more or less together is one tiny scrap of consolation.
Initially, the visual impact of the scenes - those towers collapsing with malign majesty - extended our state of fevered astonishment. Even on Wednesday, fresh video footage froze us in this stupefied condition, and denied us our...
profounder feelings: the first plane disappearing into the side of the tower as cleanly as a posted letter; the couple jumping into the void, hand in hand; a solitary figure falling with a strangely extended arm (was it an umbrella serving as a hopeful parachute?); the rescue workers crawling about at the foot of a vast mountain of rubble.
In our delirium, most of us wanted to talk. We babbled, by email, on the phone, around kitchen tables. We knew there was a greater reckoning ahead, but we could not quite feel it yet. Sheer amazement kept getting in the way.
The reckoning, of course, was with the personal. By Thursday I noticed among friends, and in TV and radio commentaries, a new mood of exhaustion and despair. People spoke of being depressed. No other public event had cut so deeply. The spectacle was over. Now we were hearing from the bereaved. Each individual death is an explosion in itself, wrecking the lives of those nearest. We were beginning to grasp the human cost. This was what it was always really about.
The silent relatives grouped around the entrances to hospitals or wandering the streets with their photographs was a terrible sight. It reminded us of other tragedies, of wars and natural disasters around the world. But Manhattan is one of the most sophisticated cities in the world, and there were some uniquely modern elements to this nightmare that bound us closer to it.
The mobile phone has inserted itself into every crevice of our daily lives. Now, in catastrophe, if there is time enough, it is there in our dying moments. All through Thursday we heard from the bereaved how they took those last calls. Whatever the immediate circumstances, what was striking was what they had in common. A new technology has shown us an ancient, human universal.
A San Francisco husband slept through his wife's call from the World Trade Centre. The tower was burning around her, and she was speaking on her mobile phone. She left her last message to him on the answering machine. A TV station played it to us, while it showed the husband standing there listening. Somehow, he was able to bear hearing it again.We heard her tell him through her sobbing that there was no escape for her. The building was on fire and there was no way down the stairs. She was calling to say goodbye. There was really only one thing for her to say, those three words that all the terrible art, the worst pop songs and movies, the most seductive lies, can somehow never cheapen. I love you.
She said it over and again before the line went dead. And that is what they were all saying down their phones, from the hijacked planes and the burning towers. There is only love, and then oblivion. Love was all they had to set against the hatred of their murderers.
Last words placed in the public domain were once the prerogative of the mighty and venerable - Henry James, Nelson, Goethe - recorded, and perhaps sometimes edited for posterity, by relatives at the bedside. The effect was often consolatory, showing acceptance, or even transcendence in the face of death. They set us an example. But these last words spoken down mobile phones, reported to us by the bereaved, are both more haunting and true.
They compel us to imagine ourselves into that moment. What would we say? Now we know.
Most of us have had no active role to play in these terrible events. We simply watch the television, read the papers, turn on the radio again. Listening to the analysts and pundits is soothing to some extent. Expertise is reassuring. And the derided profession of journalism can rise quite nobly, and with immense resource, to public tragedy.
However, I suspect that in between times, when we are not consuming news, the majority of us are not meditating on recent foreign policy failures, or geopolitical strategy, or the operational range of helicopter gunships.
Instead, we remember what we have seen, and we daydream helplessly. Lately, most of us have inhabited the space between the terrible actuality and these daydreams. Waking before dawn, going about our business during the day, we fantasize ourselves into the events. What if it was me?
This is the nature of empathy, to think oneself into the minds of others. These are the mechanics of compassion: you are under the bedclothes, unable to sleep, and you are crouching in the brushed-steel lavatory at the rear of the plane, whispering a final message to your loved one. There is only that one thing to say, and you say it. All else is pointless. You have very little time before some holy fool, who believes in his place in eternity, kicks in the door, slaps your head and orders you back to your seat. 23C. Here is your seat belt. There is the magazine you were reading before it all began.
The banality of these details might overwhelm you. If you are not already panicking, you are clinging to a shred of hope that the captain, who spoke with such authority as the plane pushed back from the stand, will rise from the floor, his throat uncut, to take the controls...
If the hijackers had been able to imagine themselves into the thoughts and feelings of the passengers, they would have been unable to proceed. It is hard to be cruel once you permit yourself to enter the mind of your victim. Imagining what it is like to be someone other than yourself is at the core of our humanity. It is the essence of compassion, and it is the beginning of morality.
The hijackers used fanatical certainty, misplaced religious faith, and dehumanising hatred to purge themselves of the human instinct for empathy. Among their crimes was a failure of the imagination. As for their victims in the planes and in the towers, in their terror they would not have felt it at the time, but those snatched and anguished assertions of love were their defiance.
© Ian McEwan, 2001

Thursday, September 6, 2012

I have to pass on the...

We had a nutritionist come and give a talk last night at our "Big Losers" meeting.  It was a great talk, and I must admit it could not have come at a more needed time in my journey...

I've begun running (I'll give you a minute to pick yourselves up off the floor to continue reading...)  I began doing the Couch to 5K program about a month ago.  One week into this program I was talking it up around a campfire with my friends and the help of some red wine.  My friends turned the discussion into their own training, for a half marathon.  I proclaimed how much I would love to do that, and one of my friends pointed out that marathons are typically run outside, in front of other people (I had been running on my treadmill up to that point).  I came home that night and realized that I wanted to do it.  I was further fueled by a very unfruitful attempt at encouraging other homeschooling parents to join me in starting a running club.  Wouldn't that look great?  To have run a full marathon on your resume?  The parents looked at me blankly and said "my kids play volleyball at youth group.  They don't need sports."  Very unfruitful...

So I continued on and approached my running friend again.  She was so supportive and encouraging.  We started a page on Facebook and have been organizing group runs for the past week.  My husband is running too, and is hoping to run in the half marathon as well.  I can't believe how much I love it, how stress relieving it is, and what a boost its been to my weight loss journey.  My half marathon training is using the Jeff Galloway running program.  It's challenging, but easy to maintain (you run on average 3 times a week, perfect for this homeschooling mom)...

...My challenge has been this...I am becoming overwhelmed.  I have a structured running regimen.  I have a structured diet regimen (1200-1500 calories a day).  And now that school is here, I am trying to implement a structured schedule too.  I am easily overwhelmed by that much structure taken on that quickly.  The nutritionist we had last night talked about Intuitive Eating, a way to get back to basics, to listen to your body and respond to it.  Every body is different, requiring different nutritional needs, that is why there is no one diet that works for everyone.  This way of eating (its NOT a diet) works by listening to your body's signals and responding to it.  Basically you discern when you are hungry and what you are hungry for, and then satisfying those requests.  One of my fellow weight loss attendees hearkened it to "eating like her toddler".  TRUE!  Kids won't eat when they're not hungry.  They won't eat what they don't like.  It's only as adults that we suppress those instincts, and as a country we're showing the devastating effects of that in the name of obesity.  I'm sure I wasn't the only one in the room last night who was both relieved to hear this talk and yet a bit overwhelmed.  We're a competitive weight loss group...Like the biggest loser...and here we are listening to how we need a gentle, affirming approach to our body's nutrition.  It's like telling a public school advocate about unschooling.  Or telling military personnel there are no more rules.  Yeah, it was a huge concept.

So I'm going to try it out.  One of the things I learned about myself last night is that I am an emotional eater.  I tend to use food to help comfort me when I'm depressed or guilty.  One of the first things I'm going to look at are my emotional triggers (what is causing the guilt and depression) and trying to develop some ways to deal with those emotions without relying on food.  Because even healthy food, when used as a crutch, can be harmful to your body.  Healthy snackfood is still just that: snackfood.

Another concept she looked at was that there's no such thing as forbidden food.  There really is no food that is "harmful" for you.  Even butter.  Even candy.  There are good things to be found even in these otherwise "off limits" groups.  She showed us the bad effects of "conditional eating" (I can't have that or I will be fat"  or "I can only have that as a treat after I've [insert condition here]").  We need to learn to "unconditionally eat", its a sort of way to make peace with food.  I found that to be really revealing.  It was like we were somehow transferring our poor self image into our food choices.  And then when we wanted to combat these poor food choices, we never dealt with that deeper issue of our self image, but rather cut ourselves off from those foods in an effort to change our physical appearance.  But the self image, while poor, was just tossed out.  We literally threw ourselves away.  Change in appearance can not just be physical.  It cannot be just a superficial weight loss.  We need to reconstruct our own self worth, our own self image, our internal appearance.  Not just affirming who we are as people, but coming to really know and love ourselves.  And yes...That's all linked back to food, and to the choices we make, and to the habits we build by eating.  Yeah, I'm not even going to start tackling that one yet!  LOL!

So where do I go from here?  Obviously there was a lot of good food for thought here (pardon the expression:), but I want to take on baby steps.  Journaling every day is what the nutritionist recommended.  Not just food choices but a journal reflecting how the day has been and how I was feeling...I'll start with this.  I also need to figure out what is causing this mental block in my running schedule.  I was running regularly and then all of a sudden this week I just don't feel like it.  I'm wondering if maybe all the stress from starting school, combined with an already hectic schedule is too much right now.  My first 5K (September 15) is coming up and I'm nervous about that too.  I don't expect to win it, not in the least, but I am going to finish it, and I just hope I make good time instead of making a fool of myself.  I know its coming up next weekend.  I know I need to prepare.  Then why can't I get out there and run?  I need to look at that too...

At the end of the day all we can do is the best we can.  That's not relative to anyone else, in any other situation.  That includes the other person of our past, or the other person of our future.  We can only do the best we can, in this moment that we have.  Anyone who struggles with this, or has had to cross this threshold, knows that this is not a cop out.  Every journey starts with a single step.  At this point in my journey I just need to keep moving...

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

And the seasons...

Here it is fall already.  What a whirlwind time in passing it has been.  With the ups and downs of life, I have not forgotten you, my dear readers.

It's been a hard summer.  Mike and I found out that we were expecting this past Mother's Day.  We lost the baby at 8 weeks after a very hard first trimester.  So many questions in my mind.  Such a sharp pain on my heart.  We had prayed after our last miscarriage (last year in August).  We had tried to take care of our health issues, to wait it out until I could heal from my last miscarriage.  We had waited on the Lord and trusted in His goodness to provide for us this new lovely soul.  I was thrilled when I found out that I was pregnant.  Even when I was sick and often found myself in bed, I took it as a blessing to have these waves of morning sickness.  I would lay there and pray over my unborn baby, just happy that he was there, present with me.  My womb is so lonely now...

I've gone in for testing.  I'm hoping for some answers.  I would not feel comfortable trying to get pregnant again without having something more substantial.  If that means in my discomfort I must trust the Lord for a miracle, as no answers are available, well...I'll cross that bridge when I get there.  We continue to try to get healthy as a family.  I've started running, which I never thought in a million years I would do.  What a great release it is from the daily strains of life.  I have a great group of friends, a great support network of loving and faithful people who have desired to see me grow.  It is so hard somedays.  Somedays it is all too easy.  But this journey is far from over...

I'm hoping with the start of this new schoolyear that I will be writing more.  I hope to see you on the blogosphere as well, my dear readers.  Please leave me a note and let me know that you're all doing well.