When I wrote, 'Continue blog' on my to-do list yesterday, I had no idea that I hadn't written anything since 2014! Holy missing blog posts, Batman indeed!
Why have I been adding things to my to-do list? Why did I decide to blog again? Why the cheesy superhero reference? Glad you asked. Brandon and I bought the entire 1960's Batman series for Peyton's birthday, and the kids are obsessed. We watched 4 episodes tonight. It is a riot!
Many of my past posts concerned my weight-loss journey. The last weigh-in I posted after Peyton was born was that I was down to 142.6 pounds. Then I stopped blogging for a few months and came back to say that I was starting over. That was almost two years ago.
Now I weigh 193 pounds. And I'm 5 foot 1. With shoes on.
So, naturally I picture myself like this:
Not half bad, really. Just bigger than I need to be.
Anyway, I've tried a variety of theories, methods, practices, what have you, in trying to become healthier. I rejoined Weight Watchers. But then I stopped paying for it, because budgeting. So, I started to count my points on my own. Except, I'm a big cheater and wouldn't keep track of everything. And I just could not, for the life of me, figure out why the numbers on my points tracker looked, well, on point, and the scale just going up (reread that sentence with sarcasm, if you didn't catch that the first time). I've made promises and broken them, made plans and foiled them on purpose. I bought an exercise bike and rode it while I watched TV, but then realized that I was only breaking even if I ate Pop Tarts while I rode (Yes, this really happened. Ask my husband), I even read a book called, "Made to Crave", where the premise was to pray or read scripture whenever I felt like eating junk food. It worked great, until I finished the book. It went on the shelf, and Snickers went back in my belly. And here I am, over 50 pounds heavier than I was over two years ago.
Two-and-a-half weeks ago, I traveled to North Carolina with my parents for my cousin's wedding. Immediately when we arrived, snow began to fall. I rode to our hotel feeling like I had not entered Durham, NC, but Bedford Falls. Merry Christmas, you old building and loan! We feasted on Oreo truffles instead of grooms cake (EXCELLENT choice), and nearly every time we entered the hotel, I grabbed another snack from the lobby's snackery (This is a word. I have just made it such). You know, Muddy Buddies, Twix, M&M's. All things chocolate for me, because if there's one thing I can't get too much of, it's chocolate.
Except, my throat started hurting as I scarfed down my beloved M&M's. I endured the pain, because, chocolate. Are you understanding my love affair? It goes deep. I flew from Raleigh/Durham to a connecting flight in Orlando, where I bought some chocolate fro-yo to help ease my throat pain, which had gone from annoying to throbbing. I arrived home in Houston hours later, and since my --mind *always* goes to worst case scenario, I actually had throat cancer and needed my tonsils out also. I had never felt such throat pain in my life. I check in the mirror, and there it is: a huge, yellow canker sore. ON. MY. UVULA. You know, the little dangly thing. Yes, I know you had to go reread the word. No, my woman parts are in ship shape, thank you very much. But my throat was another story.
I immediately gave myself permission to get a Whataburger chocolate shake, which is, undoubtedly, the tops when it comes to milkshaking. Then I got an urge to do a little googling to see what else might benefit a canker sore in literally the worst place in the mouth possible. It was then that I read it. The most likely cause for canker sores on tonsil tissue? Allergic reaction.
Background information: I never drank milk as a kid, because it's super gross, but I loved chocolate. I loved ice cream, but not vanilla ice cream, because it tastes like milk, and milk is super gross. Do you follow? I never liked butter, sour cream, or cheese.
I'll give you a moment to let that sink in. I never liked cheese.
I even went through a phase starting in maybe 2nd or 3rd grade when I didn't like pizza, then I was like, "Wait a sec- who doesn't like pizza?", so I tried it again around 6th grade and loved it. Fast forward to summer before junior year of high school, and I get sick as a dog during the busiest summer of my life. Stress surely played a part, but that didn't hide the facts from my food journal. I only got sick when I ate dairy products, so I laid off them and got better. Best I can figure, all those foods I didn't like as a kid probably made me feel sick at one time or another, but chocolate never did, or at least I never noticed enough to stop eating it. The past few years, dairy hasn't been a huge issue for me. I still don't like cheese, but I love me some pizza. I felt like I was becoming a little more sensitive in recent months, and then BAM- M&M's give me throat cancer. Not really, but they probably helped cause the sore.
All this to say that this was finally a push that I needed. It has been two weeks since I have had any chocolate, save for one chocolate chip that I nibbled off of a cookie. BUT THAT'S ALL. I've lost 4 pounds and have had no more throat pain. And weirdly enough, no real cravings for chocolate either. I feel like Malcolm McDowell in A Clockwork Orange, being now adverse to the thing I once loved so dearly. Seriously. I smell a Reese's cup and feel like I'm going to vomit.
So, I decided today that I'm ready to knock something else out of my diet: fried sides. I can't be totally unrealistic. I will never give up fried chicken. EVER. But fries, tots, onion rings? I can do without those. I can now add fried sides to the new list of 'foods I need to stay away from'.
And then it hit me. Why couldn't I have success before? Why didn't the bike, the book, the points tracking, and all that work? It worked the first time, you say. Yeah, I was nursing that time, so it took NO effort to lose weight. To think, I've contemplated having another child just so I can birth them, nurse them, and get thinner again. SO EASY. But, then I'd have another kid. So... yeah, I didn't go through with that plan.
I realized it today as I was reading my sweet friend Brittnie's book. I read all about her battle with anorexia and search for control, but it wasn't until I read about how the road to recovery starts with baby steps that I got it.
I can do this if I go one step at a time. I've failed to lose weight and get healthier because I get overwhelmed at all that goes into it. It's not simply, "losing weight", it's exercising, it's reading food labels, it's cooking, it's arguing with my kids about making them eat the same food, or else struggling to eat my tofu or whatever when their Bagel Bites smell sooo good. And it's for months. Forever, really, if I want to change my lifestyle and not just diet.
I struggle with eating because I struggle with anxiety and depression. I even have some OCD tendencies that I can (usually) brush to the side, but that sometimes pop up to wreak havoc when everything else has gone to pot. When I have a to-do list that is a mile long, I can't bring myself to pick one thing to do and do it. I just resign myself to failure and take a nap instead. So, when I think about getting healthy, every thought rushes through my head at once: my sweet friends who do Whole 30 and other transformation food plans. The help that you offer just makes me feel inadequate. I don't even know how to pronounce some of the things you cook. The videos with #nevermissaMonday makes me want to cry, because I can't even get up out of bed to shower some mornings, let alone work out. So, I eat. I eat for comfort. I eat because it all feels lost anyway, so screw it. THIS is anxiety and depression, ladies and gentlemen.
Baby steps are the only way to get on the road to recovery. Step one: don't eat chocolate. Wow. Wait, what? Have I actually accomplished something? Seriously? I've gone two weeks without chocolate now. I think I'm ready for a second baby step. And maybe after two more weeks, I can take another, and in another two weeks, another. I will not rush myself this time around, because I know the downward spiral it will cause.
This may seem crazy to some of you, but this is the only way for me to keep all my marbles. I can do this, but I have to be the tortoise in order to reach the finish line.
Even before I had these realizations about my physical health, I recognized that my mental health needed some tending-to. These same principles, baby steps, work with mental health, too, you know. I have always been meticulous about to-do lists. Kept them everywhere, wrote down every little thing I needed to do, crossed them off to feel successful. If I was unable to finish anything on my list, I would write "shower" and "lunch" so I could cross them off. I only felt accomplished if I saw that had been slashed through.
Step one: move my to-do list to my phone. Erasing has a much different feel than crossing through. When you mark through an item on a written list, there are remnants. You see what was there, because it's still there, staring at you from underneath an accomplishment line. Erasing, on the other hand, leaves no trace. My jobs vanish, leaving me no enjoyment from seeing the long list of strike throughs. I struggle vehemently with myself, though I know it is for my good.
Step two: create three to-do lists. One for today's to-do's, one for general things I need to do when I get a chance, and one for odd jobs and projects that I'd like to do if I have time for something fun. See, I used to keep them all together, so things like "laundry" and "cut t-shirts for quilt" were on the same list, stressing me out because there was just too much.
So, how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
I can't do nothing anymore. I can't give in to anxiety, depression, and a food coma. I'm going to go on one day, one bite at a time.