Tuesday, April 30, 2013

We're movin' right along!

Date: April 30, 2012
Time: 12:29 pm
Current state: agitated and impatient
Location: My soon to be former residence
Weather: flipping GORGEOUS!

Today's Menu: do my best

I'm doing today's post quick and dirty folks, because it's MOVING DAY! Again! I counted it out the other day, and I have moved 9 times in the last 4 years. I'm moving from the semi-slums of Columbia city to the beautiful urban suburb of West Seattle. I couldn't be more excited. 

I'm currently sitting on my front porch and waiting for the movers, who are 33 minutes late so far. I'll just enjoy my time in the sun. In the mean time I'm contemplating excuses. When things are crazy or stressful, I find myself making excuses for why I shouldn't eat healthy. "I'm too busy/tired to cook", or "I have to work late" or "I'm moving for the third time in a month". I suppose there's always a reason why we can't take the time to take care of ourselves, but aren't we worth the time? 

What challenges do you face when it comes to finding a balance between your busy life and your health? Hit me in the comments section.

Summer out.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Can't win for losing

Date: April 29, 2012
Time: 10:33 am
Current state: Caffeinated
Location: Work
Weather: Bipolar(sunny, cloudy, warm, cold)

Today's Menu:
Cheerios, skim milk
Coffee w/whole milk and Equal
Mixed nuts
Frozen lunch from TJ's
Bowl of carrots
Whole wheat pretzels
Whole wheat pasta with pesto, artichoke hearts, spinach and tomatoes
Red wine
Square of dark chocolate

I have to start out by thanking everyone that has reached out with words of support and encouragement. It's an important reminder that while even though I am responsible to make a change in my life, I'm not alone. If anyone reading this is thinking about making a change in their life, be it weight-loss, quitting smoking, or taking up the trapeze, surround yourself with a community of people who will support you. No wo/man is an island.

Yesterday a friend on Facebook posted this comic by Paige Hall (original work can be found here):

My reaction to this comic spans across several areas. The first is how we see and compare ourselves to others; be it someone in our everyday lives, or in the media (movies, ads, fashion, etc.). Second is how we feel others see us. Third is unrealistic expectations set by both the male and female gender. I would like to quickly touch on all three:

I would like to say I'm above comparing myself to others, and I would even like to say that I'm above judging others on what they're wearing or how they look. I wish I could say that I don't, but I do. Whether it's judging someone's outfit, or even their weight, I find myself drawing comparisons. It's almost like some sort of evolutional pecking order: the perceived beautiful pick on the less perceived beautiful, and the less perceived beautiful pick on the even less perceived beautiful; otherwise how are we supposed to feel good about ourselves if we don't perceive ourselves as more beautiful than someone else? To that I say: f*ck that sh*t. It's a pretty simplistic approach but an affective one, I feel.

I think back to my 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Carter. I was crying because the kids were teasing me. I told her that the other kids hate me because I don't look like them. She looked at me and said, "That's right, you don't. You're not supposed to! You are exactly the way you are supposed to look, and they are the way they are supposed to look." Wise words, and easily forgotten. My wish for my fellow women is to embrace that ideology: you look the way you are meant to look. You are not supposed to look like Linda Carter. You're not supposed to look like that Victoria's Secret model. You are supposed to look like you. Take care of your body, but also love it as it is.

Summer out.*

*Do you ever find yourself judging others? Reply in the comments section.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Starting over, again...and again...and again...

Date: April 28, 2012
Time: 1:57 pm
Current state: Mildly apprehensive, hungry
Location: Oddfellow's Café, Capitol Hill, Seattle
Weather: Partially cloudy with a cool refreshing breeze

The other day I was perusing through the music catalogue on my Zune (yes, I have a Zune, and I love it), and I stopped on an album I haven't listened to in years: Lit's A Place in the Sun. I started playing "My Own Worst Enemy" and I burst into tears. "It's no surprise to me I am my own worst enemy/'cuz every now and then I kick the living sh*t out of me".

Over the course of my life, I have slowly learned to hate my own guts. "I'm not smart enough." Idiot. "I'm not very beautiful." Ugly. "I'm fat." Whale. Monster. Pig. Glutton. I am literally in hate with myself. When it comes to my health and body image, I am my own worst enemy.

Back in January I decided that I had let myself go too far, and it was time to start living again. I had gone on a trip with my family to Hawaii, and found that I couldn't do a lot of the things that I wanted to. For instance: walk. Walking from our room to the upper decks was physically spending for me, and I hated myself for it. "You're in Hawaii! You should be able to kayak and swim and run and play! Instead you're sitting by the pool icing your knees because walking is too hard. Whale." My weight was a constant topic of discussion, with my well-meaning family providing tips on what I can do to start losing weight. All I wanted was for the earth to open up and swallow me, so I didn't have to feel like I was a monster anymore. When I got home from Hawaii I had resolved it was time to start over...again.

As far back as I can remember, I haven't gone a single day in my life without thinking about my weight. Every time I take a bite of food I think, "Is this right? Should I be eating?", even if I am hungry. Every time I walk through the office or a public space I see people stare, and I feel embarrassed and angry. I even catch the people I care about staring at my gut.

I have spent a large sum of my life feeling like a circus freak. That is until a couple of weeks ago.

After resolving to take better care of myself after coming home from Hawaii I had started exercising more. I would walk around my neighborhood, go to the pool and do water aerobics, and I was eating better. I was starting to feel good, but my knees weren't. They were progressively getting worse; even when I was sitting or laying down, they really hurt. It had gotten to the point where I couldn't stand without my knees buckling, and I would fall down again. I started walking with crutches so I could still be mobile. When my new insurance kicked in, I finally went to the doctor who looked at me, without even taking an x-ray, and said "You'll feel better when you lose weight." I had weighed myself when I arrived at the doctor's office and found that I had actually lost 30 lbs. since the beginning of the year. I told the doctor that I knew I needed to lose weight, but I can't walk and I'm in pain. She sent me to a specialist. The specialist looked at me, without taking an x-ray, and said "You'll feel better when you lose weight." I burst into tears. I told him that I was trying, that exercising hurt, and that I was in so much pain I felt like I was losing my mind. He gave me cortisone shots, told me to lose weight, see a physical therapist and sent me on my way. I sat in my car and cried for an hour after that.

I had a lot of questions for myself. "How can I lose weight if I can't even move? How did I even get here? How could I let myself get this far? How do I live with myself? Monster. Pig. Whale. Glutton." I had brunch the following week with my cousin, K, and told her what was going on. After that we decided to email each other every day what we were planning on eating. The idea behind it was if I couldn't move, I could at least start being thoughtful about how I am eating, and that could be a start. She even packed snacks for me with times written on the baggies to eat healthy snacks throughout the day.*

One morning when I emailed her what I had for dinner the night before, I was saturated with guilt. I had Burger King for dinner because I worked late and I just wanted a burger. She wrote me back and said two words that completely upended me. "No guilt." What?! No guilt?! I'm not supposed to beat myself up until I hate myself again? That's when it occurred to me: I have spent so much time going on "diets", failing them, and giving up. Diet, fail, give up, hate myself. Diet, fail, give up, hate myself. I have been on a 32 year old downward spiral to where I was: obese and in hate with me.

I spent the rest of my day thinking about the concept of "no guilt". We are trained to beat ourselves up when we deviate from the path or expectations we have set, which almost always leads to a sort of "falling off the wagon". I ate fries, I may as well eat a whole pizza. For me, the concept of "no guilt" means: yes, I tripped up, but that was yesterday, and this is today. To dust off an old colloquialism, "Don't throw out the baby with the bathwater."

Since then I  have started to reconcile with myself. I am neither monster, whale, nor pig. I am who I am. No guilt. That part of my life is over; here begins a new journey. It's not going to be easy, and there will be times that I will stumble, but I'm not going to beat myself up.

This blog is not just a diary of weight loss; my hope for this blog is to become a guide towards self-acceptance, and maybe if I gain some readership, a guide for others as well. Every day I will post my menu and thoughts for the day. I would love for readers to ask questions via either the comment section or Twitter (@summerwaldo). Follow me on this journey, and maybe we'll learn something.

P.S.--I feel like this blog was super heavy today, so I would like to end it with a joke: Two strands of DNA were walking down the street. One says to the other, "Do these genes make me look fat?"

*I love you K.