Saturday, November 29, 2008

Get Back Up

Happy Saturday morning, people! Are you recovered yet from your holiday craziness? I am feeling good. Back on track. Dropping the holiday poundage! But this week was not an easy one for me. In fact, last Wednesday, I wrote a long post about my strugglings, but I didn't publish it on the blog. I decided to hang onto that post so I could publish it later, as part of a bigger picture: the bigger picture of the struggles *and successes* of losing an enormous amount of weight. It's a tough battle, people. But most of you who are going through it know that. I just want you to know that a struggle does not mean failure. You can always get back up and keep going. So here it is, my post from Wednesday. I share my struggles to encourage others to NEVER GIVE UP, and to tell the world, being fat is hard. Losing weight is physically and emotionally draining at times. But it can be done, with persistence. It's a holiday weekend, so hopefully you have time to grab a cup of tea and settle in to read this novel of a post.

What the heck just happened?

I was in my groove, cruising along, eating healthy foods and the right number of calories each day, biking every single day, losing weight. It was getting easier because I had a plan and a schedule. I biked when I could in the daytime, and when I couldn't, I biked at night when my 3-year-old went to bed. Everything was going smoothly and I had not had a binge all month.
Yesterday things went badly. My cart was upset, so to speak.

Many of you longtime readers know that my husband and I live apart most of the time. Things aren't going that great between us. On Monday he flew in for the holidays. He is going to be here until January. Whenever he comes back after a month or two of absence, I am filled with hope and dread. Will it go well? Won't it be nice to have someone to care for the toddler while I take a long hot shower or ride the bike? Won't it be lovely to have a warm body in the bed with me again? Or will he be withdrawn, cold, unavailable? Is he just here to see the kids, or does he care about me?

I picked him up at the airport on Monday. I was nervous all day, and that's when the poor eating began, almost unconsciously. I had a nice healthy breakfast, but then an hour before I was to pick him up, my daughter was clamoring for McDonald's. We used to haunt that place often, but lately, of course, I've avoided it. But Monday we went. We got chicken nuggets. My Healthy Brain was saying, "NO. Do not eat that crap." My Obese Brain was saying, "Have a Big Mac Meal, yum!" I ended up in between, having a 6-piece nuggets and a sugar free iced coffee for my lunch.

Dinner was not much better. By the time we all got home and settled in, I was mentally exhausted. My husband was going out, and it just so happens he was driving past a favorite Indian restaurant. I asked him to pick up dinner. I ended up having a plate of rice with chicken curry. Again my Healthy Brain was saying, "Woman, STOP. Eat some vegetables!" and my Obese Brain was saying, "Butter that naan! More sauce! More rice! Yum!" Again I ended up in the middle, having a half piece of naan bread, and just ONE portion of rice/sauce, focusing on the chunks of chicken breast. I drank water. No seconds.

All in all, Monday was not that bad. The food choices were less than stellar, but I ended up at 1670 calories, which fits into my calorie budget just fine. I was able to do that mainly because I watched my portions, said NO to extras, and did not snack. Instead of snacks, I drank green tea.

Now, all this would have been ok except that I was a bundle of nerves. I was trying to get the house all clean because we had company coming on Tuesday for Thanksgiving. I wanted to bike, I NEEDED to bike, but it didn't happen in the daytime. No problem, I thought. I will do my usual: put the toddler to bed at 7 and bike at 8pm. I was really looking forward to it. But the toddler had other plans. She, like her mother, does not do well with change. Not seeing her father for weeks... sometimes months at a time... and then having him pop back into her life, is difficult. So my daughter, instead of going to bed at 7, ended up not falling asleep until 9:45pm. She was fussy, she was too excited to sleep. Then she got tired and started crying and saying, "he's going to leave us again!" It was grueling. I sat with her, sang to her, played music for her. But there is really nothing I can do to completely reassure her, because she knows that indeed, he IS going to leave us again. And who knows when he will be back.

Needless to say, the biking didn't happen that night. On Tuesday I was DETERMINED. I would bike for an hour instead of just 30 minutes, to catch up. I told my husband I would need to bike and do some other things when I got home from ballet with the toddler, and he said he would watch her. But when I got home, he was gone. Out shopping. The biking didn't happen. Then, the company arrived... family staying until Friday. No problem, I thought. I will bike at night. Surely the toddler will go to bed nicely tonight. And she did! Imagine my dismay when I realized that my husband set the company up to sleep in the room WITH MY BIKE. Not only was my bike pushed into a corner, but there were people in there, changing their clothes and getting ready to sleep. I would not get to bike.

When I realized this, that's when I lost it. The feelings snowballed and I just went on autopilot, which, unfortunately, is *not* healthy eating. (I have to work hard and focus EVERY DAY to eat right and exercise. It is becoming a habit, but it is still not my default mode. It is WORK.) I had to run to the store for dinner ingredients, and while I was there, SO many times I picked up cookies and candy and chips, and put them back down. Over and over. When I finally checked out, I had a small sampler tray of baklava and a small bag of chocolate pretzels in my cart. "For the company," right? After all, it's a holiday. (No, actually it's not... not until Thursday.)

When I got home, between making dinner and chatting up the company, I was sneaking to the cabinet and snarfing pieces of baklava. I made a rather un-healthy dinner (white pasta, lean ground beef, low fat sauce, low fat cheese, but all in all a caloric disaster) and a vegetable. After eating 2 large helpings of that, I broke into that bag of chocolate pretzels for a handful. Over the course of the evening, while fretting about not being able to bike, I ate the entire...... bag. Every... single... pretzel. A small bag, yes, but that was definitely binge behavior and not helpful in any way.

Did I mention that my breakfast yesterday was healthy, but I stopped for a small latte while I was out? Did I mention that my lunch, while out, was a Wendy's bacon cheeseburger, fries, and Pepsi? Again, a battle between the brains: Obese brain shouting, "Get it supersized! Eat it all!" and Healthy Brain saying, "It's not to late, get out of here. Leave the drive-thru line. GO HOME." In the end, I threw out part of the burger, 3/4 of the fries and almost all of the Pepsi. A small victory? Or a classic failure?

Last night (Tuesday) was awful for me. Not only was I stressed, I felt alone. And I felt like I could easily spin out of control with my eating again. I was scared and upset because I could not bike, but why didn't I think to at least strength train? Too cold for a walk, but I could have lifted weights. I didn't have to eat all that crap. In fact, I felt trapped, and felt afraid, and coped in old ways.

Today (Wednesday) I have a sugar hangover. I am still trying to figure out how/when I can bike, but I am GOING to find a way. I need to sit down and calculate the damages (in calories) from yesterday and decide what to do about it. I weighed in this morning, and I am up one pound. I intend to eat healthy and closer to 1200 calories today. I'm just going to do the best I can. I don't want a trip-up to snowball into a colossal failure.

Update: I went downstairs, removed the wet towels from my bike-turned-guest-towelrack, pulled it out of the corner, and rode this morning (Weds) for 30 minutes. I ate a healthy breakfast and a healthy lunch. Suddenly after lunch I found myself mindlessly inhaling baklava! When my brain turned on and I realized I had a bite of Piece #2 in my mouth, I dashed to the trash, spit it out and stuffed the piece down under the cereal boxes. Sometimes I really wonder where my head is. But, crisis averted, I will be ok.

I calculated the damages from Binge day. 3,679 calories. And people, that is WITH eating a low cal, healthy breakfast, no snacks, and throwing out half of my Wendy's meal. The more I count calories, the more I am amazed that I never weighed 400 pounds. Or more.

Which brings me to today. I already blogged about Thanksgiving Day. Yesterday was halfhearted. I ate healthy, then snacked too much, then healthy... and did not bike. It's difficult to get back into the habit once I'm out. But today I'll bike. I want to.

A fine woman over on the 3 Fat Chicks support boards often says, "Don't throw yourself down the staircase if you stumble on a step." How true. You're on a journey. You'll trip up once in awhile, but just keep going. No reasonable person throws themselves down the staircase just because they tripped. If you mess up, correct course and keep on going.

Make the most of these last two days of November! Every day counts. Every single one. Be well, correct your course, and enjoy your day.


Martha said...

I just wanted to let you know how thankful I am that you share your life with us. Your blog & some others have helped me shed 33 lbs. since May and I have about 50 more to go. I know we will both succeed one day at a time. I have a quote on my laptop that says "The Lord Is My Shepherd I shall Not want" and that has helped me control myself. The best always.

Squishy ! said...

Thanks so much for the post, Lyn. It takes a lot of guts to tell people when you misstep. I found myself doing that same thing on Wednesday. I didn't have pastries, but I ate my way through a few awesomely unhealthy cookies. (I shouldn't keep cookies in the house. period.) I ate too much on Thanksgiving day, but started my "Recovery" as soon as I got home. I felt much better after plenty of water, and some miles logged on the exercise bike.

*hugs* You have done a great job in being nicer to your body. Think of all the freedom that you now have, compared to how you were confined at your high weight. Whenever I think about that myself, it helps to put at least a small smile on my face. One day may not be the best "diet" day for me, but so long as I concentrate on making changes to increase my happiness (instead of decreasing my pants size), it helps me to do better. How about you? Where does your head have to be for you to feel optimistic and therefore achieve more? :)

Lynn Haraldson-Bering said...

{{lyn}} Just letting you know I'm thinking of you. We're an awful lot alike in many ways. It's why I keep coming here :) Hang in there, babe.

SunflowerDaisies said...

Its amazing what puts a person into a tailspin. I went jeans shopping on Wednesday and that wasn't the best solution for my self esteem. It had to force me into realizing how much I've been eating lately and thinking that it wasn't going to catch up with me. It always does. Thanks for your post. Even though I'm not married and don't have kids, I can still relate to your feelings.

Hanlie said...

Bravo! I think it's so important to be honest, not necessarily with your readers, but with yourself. We devise so many white lies over the years to make ourselves feel comfortable, but you have overcome that and it will stand you in good stead on your way to success.

I totally get the emotional upheaval. Good luck, I'm thinking of you!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post. It's hard to remember that you don't have to be perfect every single day. Like you said, it's a journey, and sometimes you might make wrong turns or get a little bit lost. I just recently started reading your blog, and it's honestly been so helpful to me so many days. Hang in there, and we readers will too.

Barefoot Pixie said...

Thanks so much for this post! I love that quote about the stairs. I'm realizing that my whole life is made up of these little moments and I'm trying, like you, to face those moments with honesty and make the choice here and now to be different. I love your blog!

Tamzin said...

Thank you so much. This might seem like crap - but I cried a little reading this. I've heard that voice so many times.

I know others will say it, but you put into words what I go through and have gone though for most of my life. The struggle against that mad voice that tells you to take the easy road that is well well traveled.

I really appreciate this post - especially since I'm starting out the begining and trying to start a journy that will be successful in the end and not a total failure...even if there are little mis-steps along the way, thats no reason to give up.

elife said...

Your blog helps me so much. I got tense reading of your frustrations over all your obstacles to working out, because I hate that powerless feeling. When I feel that way, I immediately want to pull up a chair to the fridge.

I know the next few months will be challenging; hang in there, we are all pulling for you.

Vickie said...


MizFit said...

love the steps analogy! I used to ask my clients if, they found their house on fire, would they toss water on OR gasoline?
same thing---theirs is better :)

check in w/me if you think I can lend a hand. Im chock full of relatives until tuesday night and have decided working out etc just isnt in the cards until wed.

please nag me on wednesday :)


Deb said...

I appreciate so much the way you share your struggles. It is so easy when we see people losing weight to think they've got it all together and it is easy for them. You are helping me to realize that the struggle will always be there. This is good to know because I tend to feel like if it's hard I must be doing it wrong. No, this is just hard. Period.

Paula said...

I know you don't want to hear this, but it's painfully obvious that you went off the rails because your husband is there and not acting the way you'd like him to ... He has you in this "limbo" and anybody would be confused. I know we can only depend on ourselves, but he doesn't seem to be trying to help you.

I've been with my husband for 35 years and I don't even tell him when I'm dieting, cause the watching and remarking is too much for me. Unless they've had a weight problem they just don't get it.

moonduster said...

I am so sorry you had a rough week, and your daughter's tears about daddy must have been really heartbreaking for you.

Pandora said...

Lyn, I've given up guilt and self-loathing. I try to focus on my victories, and, your story has plenty of those.

At each point where you did less than perfect, you did better than your history. You bought less, ate less, stopped part way. You never just threw in the towel and said "well I've done this much might as well finish it all" or "I'll start again tomorrow/after Thanksgiving/New Year etc. I count those as huge victories!

I am also amused by your unhappiness with your Indian meal. Sure veggies are great, but chicken, rice and a half piece of naan bread is hardly a binge!

You found a way to exercise several days, okay not as much as you had hoped or planned. You know now that when you have guests you need to make another plan, weightlifting perhaps, or moving the bike or dancing to music. Whatever. You also did not let that turn into an excuse to binge.

I am so impressed that you took the piece of baklava out of your mouth. I've never had the self-control to do that, I have stopped myself from eating more, but not while I am chewing. (In fact when in a restaurant if I have cut a bite of meat and realize that I am done and will take the rest home, I always seem to finish that last, cut bite.

This was a difficult post I am sure, but you had lots of victories, celebrate them!

Karyn said...

I'm so proud of you Lyn!

That kind of emotional stress, the obstabcles to riding the bike, and then the little stumbles could have sent you spiraling - but it didn't!!!

First of all, you actually minimized the infractions, then you picked yourself up, dusted yourself off, and now you are on your way again!!!

Way to Go!! I'd say this was a major victory for you!