Friday, December 26, 2014

A Bit Better

I'm back from a much-needed holiday break (well, I am still technically on break for another ten days... a blessing I am very thankful for). I needed a little time away from the computer to re-focus a bit, and I am feeling markedly better. Not ecstatic, or energetic, but better.

There's been lots of Christmas excitement around these parts, with parties, a trip to see the Nutcracker ballet, and of course tons of shopping! There is something really joyful about this time of year and all the generosity and giving and shopping for things our loved ones will enjoy. It was also the first Christmas in over a decade that I have been part of a church family, and that added a new dimension to Christmas that I didn't even know was missing. My daughter and I spent time with church friends, went caroling together, and bought presents for a needy child from the Angel Tree (which was very poignant for me, because my sons names were *on* the Angel Tree when they were little... so I know just how much this program can bless a family and how much it means to receive it). My daughter made an advent wreath that we lit each week, and we went to a candlelight service on Christmas Eve. I can tell you that this has healed me in a way I didn't even know needed healing. Some of the sadness is lifted, and I feel the happiness seeping back in. My kids and I decorated the tree, made cookies and fudge and English toffee, and played video games together. We all exchanged presents and it was so great to see my grown boys being so thoughtful about their gifts for each person. I really love my kids, and while I miss them all being little, I am also so proud of how they are as they grow up.

I did something, too, that I have not done in a very long time: I cooked all of our old traditional Christmas foods without trying to make them low carb or sugar free or more healthy or whatever. I have spent the last seven years trying to control every morsel of food that went into my mouth (and thus my family's mouths), whether I was successful or not. I long ago gave up my baking hobby; I used to bake breads, muffins, cakes, brownies and cookies several times a week, and you may remember how pained I was trying to give that up because it felt like a huge part of my identity. This year when I made cinnamon rolls from scratch, I recaptured that peaceful happy feeling I used to get while standing in the kitchen, kneading the dough. It's like a meditation of sorts. I've missed it. I made breadsticks and rolls and candy last week, too. Yes, the kids got the cheesy potato soup with long, soft breadsticks that they used to love as small children. They got the Skor cake I used to make for them every Christmas. My daughter got to lay the chocolate bars over the hot toffee in the pan to melt, just like her brothers used to do when they were small. All the food traditions came back this year... all of them. And while they made me smile and tasted delicious, that wasn't the main point. The point was, as Cloe says, to normalize food. To stop having panic attacks about "omg cinnamon rolls" and just get my hands in there and feel them and touch the sugar and spread the butter on with my hands and see them for what they are: a powerless, simple food. A special treat... something I am good at creating. And then to see that yes, I am also good at creating meals that nourish and are good for us to have daily. I also enjoy broccoli and carrots and Clementines. All of it is okay, none of it is evil, all of it is available to me, and I can choose to eat the things that make me feel best. Sure, my kids can eat a cinnamon roll or a piece of candy and it is just a treat, and they don't crave 500 more or obsess about them. They go on about their day. Me, I still want more and obsess so I know I have to be very careful about what I choose to eat. But you know, it just felt really good to bring back some of those food traditions to go along with the others we enjoy this time of year.

The days are getting longer now, and I've so enjoyed getting out in the sunshine on days that allow it. I've been using light therapy and vitamin D3 supplements along with my prescriptions, and I have this sense of what I can only describe as 'awakening.' Not a sudden, leap-from-your-bed awakening, but a simple feeling that I have been sleeping in the dark and now am stirring and opening my eyes to the morning light. I think that is going to allow me to get back to addressing the weight and fitness issue, because yes, I do still want to recover my fitness and energy, and also re-lose the weight.

I am grateful for the joy of Christmas and thankful for a new fresh year approaching. I'm so thankful, too, for all of you who have reached out to me in the comments and by email. It has meant a lot to me and given me hope in the darkest times. I think things will only get better from here!


Anonymous said...

I'm happy you had a nice time with your family. I bet they enjoyed the food! I love reading about your journey. So happy you are part of a church family now! There is a "God sized hole" in each of us that only He can fill. Hugs and prayers that you are doing better each day.

Susan said...

Heavenly Father
give us hearts that can selflessly deny creature comforts in order to be nourished and refreshed by You. May we delight to spend our time and energy towards that which
renews the mind, invigorates faith, and replenishes the spirit. In this way, teach us to discern between what is worth sacrificing and what is never to be sacrificed.
in Jesus name we pray. Amen.

Karen said...

Lyn, good luck with moderating and normalizing. I know it's what your counselor recommended.

The day I stopped moderating and trying to be normal was the day I entered into recovery, day by day, then a normal weight, while I got my binge brain and food addiction into remission.

While photos super trigger me, my disease requires that I don't "hang out" in places that are describing sweets in such detail. It puts me at real risk for lapse and re-lapse. I had to stop subscribing to pinterest boards, Cooking light magazine, and even Paleo sites that promoted lots of paleo cookies and baked goods.

My disease loves your counselor and your Christmas baking! But, realistically, I know better.

One persons cure is another persons illness. If you ever start to cycle through AIP, abstaining from grains/sugar, or a Paleo-ish food template, you know where I blog.

Auto-immune disease, gluten intolerance know no holidays.

Best wishes for your next steps. I'm headed out for my own wellness. There is no one right answer, but there are several things that will work better with genetics, genotypes, already diagnosed phenotypes, cognitive behavior therapy, and support groups.

Safe travels and onward to find your n=1

Betsey C. said...

This post was a pleasure to read! I was just talking to my husband about what a happy Christmas we had, and I am so glad that you had one too!

I indulged in traditional treats over the holiday too. Went to several great parties, had some delicious cocktails and fancy food. I had a large Christmas dinner for family at my house. Now I am relaxing and making a few healthy plans for the new year.

I think 2015 is going to be a wonderful year for us, Lyn!!

Sending cyber love to you and yours,
Betsey in Chicago. Xoxoxoxox

Sean Anderson said...

I loved reading every single word of this post, Lyn. Sometimes, it's really hard to have patience and compassion for ourselves during the dark times, but if we just hold on--if we can embrace our ingrained goodness that never changes--regardless of what the scale says and what sizes we wear...The light will come.
It helps when we're doing things and trying things that promote light---and that's exactly what you've been doing. A pleasure to read, my friend.
I'm overjoyed for you, Lyn. Absolutely, positively overjoyed...Because the type of breakthroughs and feelings you're experiencing remind me of my own path out of the darkness. It does take time, be patient--be well, be kind to yourself... And realize, you're an amazing person on so many levels--and not one of those levels depend on your weight/size.
As you work toward losing weight and feeling better physically, it will only enhance everything else.
We don't know each other personally, as is the case with many of us in the weight loss blogging community, however--the connection through like experiences and the mental/emotional/physical dynamics is super-strong...I get you. I understand.
And I'm always pulling for you. Enjoy the rest of your time off, my friend. My best.

Anonymous said...

You sound so much better! I'm happy for you Lyn. Did you find the sweets and breads you made to be a binge trigger at all? Hope you don't mind me asking.

Lyn said...

Thank you all. Every day seems a little lighter :)


The toffee was kind of triggering, but everything else just tasted too sweet or too doughy to make me want much more. I do notice if I eat sugar like that (say, a piece of fudge) then I want more sugar even if that particular food is not what I want more of. Make sense? So, although I only had one small piece of the fudge, it made me start wanting other stuff, like boxed chocolates and donuts. Thankfully there are no boxed chocolates or donuts in the house. I did enjoy having a breadstick with my soup. The cookies I did not really care for. The toffee though I could have eaten the whole pan of that! But I didn't... small pan, lots of other people wanting it :)

CatherineMarie said...

Good for you! And the triggering will go away as you normalize. That is wonderful. Food is a big part of our celebrations... It sounds like you are really on the right path...

Anonymous said...

I love that you could bring back traditions in moderation and not go overboard eating it all! A bowl of soup and a bread stick is a very normal, healthy meal. It's valuable that you are so aware you cannot eat all of those foods like your family can, but don't have to deprive them. You can possibly learn to be around those foods without eating it all. I'm sure you know this but if you do find that something you cook or bake makes you food-crazy, that's the food you stop making. Best wishes in the new year!

Anonymous said...

Hi Lyn!
When I read "All of it is okay, none of it is evil, all of it is available to me, and I can choose to eat the things that make me feel best," I am happy for you.
I don't want to tell you what will or won't work for you, but you certainly sound more optimistic than you did in November.


Susan said...!/TrimHealthyMama/photos/a.394655747254945.94224.277546472299207/543644169022768/?type=1&refid=12Lyn someone shared this with me today.. read everything under the picture..
a lot of info in short on adrenal fatigue.
I started this today I will let you know hiw it's going after doing this for a bit. I use whey
strained off my yogurt..

Lyn said...

Thanks Marianne! I do feel more optimistic :)


I tried to link to that and couldn't. Can you send it to me on my Facebook (Lyn Escapes) or via email? Thanks!

Amy said...

One of my favorite things about the holiday was my mother's baking. She would turn up her favorite Christmas CD's and bake until she was exhausted. While she was baking Christmas goodies was one of the only times I was guaranteed she'd be in a great mood. Her joy spilled over into all of us. The treats were great, but her joy was the real treasure! So glad you were able to take joy from the simple pleasures! Isn't that truly what life is all about?