Sunday, April 27, 2014

Behavior and Emotional Patterns - April 27, 2014

I can't get yesterday's post out of my head. I keep thinking about all of the negative encounters I've had over the years, encounters that never really registered with me in my conscious mind. My conscious mind was always hyper focused on my parents and male members of my family. They too were a threat. There was always the threat if being exposed to illicit behavior. I don't know what it is like for boys, the way things are I would image it's equally as bad for boys as it is for girls. There is little safety from predators whether they are known or not.

There are so many negatives around us that we see as normal, but they are not or at least they should not be the norm. There was a post on face book a few weeks ago. It was a picture of a beautiful woman and a caption. The caption talked about how girls are almost never exposed to women having a positive self-image. No truer words have been said. When I think about the adult women in my childhood, there was never talk of being happy with any part of their body. Something was always wrong. If those women had access and resources to fix everything that they thought wrong with them, they would have ended up being completely different women. Their negative self-image was also reflected on me and my weight gain. Never mind, what the root cause of my weight gain was...lets point out everything that is wrong with this little girl. How many times have I heard, "You have such a pretty face, if only you could lose weight."

Negativity can come from any and all sources. I have had friendships where we did nothing other than smoke cigarettes, drink pepsi and talk about all the terrible things that happened in our lives. We did this daily. There are countless aunts and cousins that took great pride in telling me what all they thought was wrong with me and my personal style. Then there's my cousin, who was my best friend. I talked about her in yesterday's post. Why am I bringing this up? Because we...and I'm really preaching to myself right now...need to be aware of the negativity that we absorb or have absorbed on a daily basis. Being aware of this will help to identify many roots to our own behaviors and thought patterns.

There is something to be said about being raised in an environment where one feels wanted, loved, safe and nurtured. I personally don't know what it's like to be raised in this sort of environment, but my son does. When I look at him I see so many similarities and yet so many differences. Our similarities are linked by general behaviors and some character traits. Our differences are more noticeable; when my child simply moving about the house, I see that he has a sense of belonging, even a since of ownership in his movements. I did not have this level of comfort in my childhood home. The home belonged to my parents. I was a dweller, not an owner of anything. My son moves through the house with such certainty. He feels comfortable in his own skin and participates in life without judgment. He knows there are consequences for wrong behaviors, but it's not the end of the world. We will talk and if necessary a restriction may be applied. Despite a punishment being in place he knows that he is loved and he continues to move through life fearlessly. I still weep when I think about it. Why couldn’t I have had a life like that? I don't know if these are things one would typically notice, but do try noticing your child's natural behaviors. Think about your own natural behaviors when you were their age. Are there similarities? Take note of the differences and similarities in your life structure and the life structure of your children. Life structures create patterns. Patterns can sometimes repeat themselves and patterns can be broken.

With young children, patterns are evident. Nothing is hidden even if we think it is. Patterns are part of our natural behavior. Teens are different. It's best to capture their patterns when they are unaware of you watching. Teens tend to be extremely self-conscious and shy. I get that. It's an awkward stage and sometimes they don't want to be noticed. That's typical. My son hates when I video record him doing tasks. It's unfortunate. I'm so proud of his accomplishments and want to share them with the world. Perhaps he will become a little less self -conscious with age.

The reason I am bringing up the subject of patterns is because our patterns play a huge roll in how we learn to see ourselves and how we relate to ourselves and others. We must know the structure of our problems in order to break the structure down and dissolve or resolve it. Emotional patterns can heavily influence our relationship with people, food, alcohol, sex or anything used to self sooth or self-medicate. It's all connected. Finding our way to a healthier view on life and lifestyle is like playing connect the dots. There is a starting point and a pattern develops. It's often not recognized until things come full circle and the picture is revealed.

If we examine our earliest memories conscious and otherwise, we begin to see how our patters develop. In other words, if we are surrounded by negativity, unfortunate occurrences, abuse and the like or surrounded by all things positive, our behavioral and thought patterns will reveal whatever it is we've been exposed to. It's not possible to hide a negative past forever, even if we work diligently to do so. The patterns are too deeply embedded and they will rear their ugly heads in one form or another. My past loaned itself to a lifetime of negative self-images and hurtful behaviors. I'd become an expert at hurting myself and being in complete denial about it. This pattern is identical to the behaviors my parents had. They hurt me and each other and remained in complete denial about it. See what I mean? We do not own our negative behaviors we've learned and borrowed them from past experiences.

One thing that has helped me tremendously is to recognize where the blame lies.

I am not to blame for the things that my parents chose to do and say to me.

I know it's hard for some of us to believe that we are not to blame. It's hard when we’re constantly being told that we are to blame. I've been told on many occasions that the bad things happening in my family were my fault. I mean, my goodness, if a pet died, it was my fault.  My parents blamed me for everything. If my mom got sick it was my fault. If I almost pass out from an Asthma attack it was my fault. If something was stolen from me it was my fault and so on. Even if I was wrongfully beaten it was still my fault because I would have more than likely done something to earn that beating later on. Do you see how damaging that can be? I am thankful that I had the ability to see beyond their lies. It saved my life on some levels.

Remember the one who told you it was your fault is most likely the one who hurt you. If another adult said such words to you, it may be because they did not know everything you were going through. Nonetheless, those words are lies. It was not nor has it ever been your fault. 

I may talk more about negativity being a disease, how it's like a cancer that spreads and can completely engulf you. Yes, I do think I will revisit this subject. For now, I'm going to get myself some lunch. Breakfast was 11am. I had eggs with cheese and leftover veggies and a cup of water. For lunch I will have hummus and pita bread. Dinner is still undecided.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

I Have a Right to Feel Good - April 26, 2014

I had a very interesting conversation with my cousin today. We're both about the same age. We have our health issues, eating issues and abusive pasts, but we are not equal when it comes to the journey towards wellness.

I was looking at myself in the mirror while talking to my cousin and glanced up to read the words that I taped there several weeks remember the words...'When I say I love you, I mean that I'm committed to working to love you even when it's hard'. I'm still committed to working to love myself. It has been hard. There are days when I don't even like myself. On those days when it's hard to love myself or even like myself, I accept what I am feeling at the time because it is only temporary and I know it will get better. My dislike for myself is a product of my past...the vision of myself through my parents eyes. It's time I see myself through my own eyes. I did not come into existence disliking myself. I came into life filled with love, a love that was soon taken from me by the hands of those who were supposed to love and protect me.

Back to the conversation with my cousin. As she talked I began thinking about the words I just read and what they mean to me. It hit me, I've really come a long way in a very short period of time. It's amazing how one can change negative thought patters into something more positive. Feeling good about the healing that has taken place and looking forward to receiving more healing, I blurted out, 'I feel good today!' Before I could help myself I also blurted, while smiling really big, 'And I feel kind of cute too!' Before I could inhale, my cousin began her negative stent. She went on and on about how she was not cute and how she wished she could feel cute and so on... I'm telling you...when an epiphany moment comes, it comes real hard. I was constantly surrounded by negativity on all sides, my parents, my cousin who witnessed much of my abuse, extended family, friends and my broken heart. It's no wonder that I fell out of love with myself. It's no wonder that I felt guilty for thinking anything positive about myself.

"I've had enough of hearing your stinking thinking!" That's what I said to her. I actually stood up for myself. I told her that I had the right to feel good about myself without being dragged into her pity party. It's not fair. She's never celebrated any of the few times that I've felt good about myself. As a matter of fact of those rare occasion I can only remember seeing her tears as if I were not allowed to be pretty...sound familiar? My dad did not allow people to tell me I was pretty. Interesting...Wow! That was a first for me. As I said...I've come a long way in a very short period of time. I never thought that I would feel the way I feel today. I REFUSED to feel guilty for feeling good about myself and I said it out loud for the first time in my life.

It  never dawned on me that there were others who contributed to my state beyond my parents. It wasn't just the negativity of my situation. Negativity was the common thread between me and all who were closest to me. We fed off of each other.

Next time you look into a mirror or maybe before you look into a mirror try to remember what your state of mind was like before the damage settled in...if you can. Remember, were not born to hate ourselves or anyone...hate, dysfunction, discord, misery, all of that is learned behavior and borrowed emotions. Give that crap back!! Press reset and start a new. 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Back From Break - April 25, 2014

It's good to be back! I have just had the most wonderful, peaceful, restful break. I hope everyone had a lovely holiday weekend and Spring Break.

I cooked most of the time while we were on break, but I will report that we did get take out 3 times. It was good and so was I. I did not order extra foods for binging. I tried to order foods that were healthy...a whole meal if you will. I purposely avoided sandwiches for myself because that would only be a tease and could trigger a binge. There was one night when I had two handfuls of vanilla wafers. That night was my only weak moment...pretty good, eh. I wouldn't really call that a binge because it had been several hours since we ate dinner. We ate around 5:30 or so. I had not eaten anything else until the cookies. I count that as being pretty good.

Breakfasts are much easier to deal with. Now, I will say this...there were no stresses over the break period. We started to have company, but I found it to be a little too stressful having to get ready for guests. Besides, having company does not equate to taking a break, especially when breaks rarely occur. No company this go 'round. Not having stresses made it much easier to stay on task. The scheduled eating time is really working for me. My mind is much more receptive to accepting time as opposed to sensation. There are not excuses when it comes to scheduling times to eat.

It feels good to write again. I'm so glad to be sitting here writing in my blog again. There were moments when I was tempted to write, only because I miss talking to you guys, but I made myself stay true to myself and adhered to my own wishes for having this break. I needed a break from everything.

It won't be long before having my therapy session. I plan on talking more in depth about the letter to myself. As I stated before, an emotion came up from a pivotal point in my life that I need to take time to address. I usually like to process things of this nature, having all my pros and cons in place before discussing it with my therapist. When I do that, I feel like I'm giving her a complete thought as opposed to something random. We only have an hour and I like to make good use of the time.

My plan is to resume writing my letter or at least asking more questions and answering them without thought to see what comes up. That's pretty much how things happened the last time. I posed my question and an emotion poured out without thought, which was startling, but a revelation too. The emotion that emerged gave me reason as to why I made the decision I made and why I've been carrying a looming feeling of nothingness. I hope more emotions emerge this weekend. I ready this time... And if it doesn't happen, that's okay too. I'll just keep writing.

I'm also glad to report that I have not had crackers as a meal for some time now. This was not a decision of mine, it sort of came out of necessity when I found that my son had eaten the rest of my crackers one night. I freaked at first...wondering what to do. My initial thought was that I would have great difficulty eating anything other than my crackers. Lo and behold, the crackers may have been a bit of a crutch. Once again, appeasing my mind which made me believe that I could not tolerate eating anything other than crackers first thing in the day. That theory has been proven wrong. I can eat other foods, just small portions. So I am still eating eggs for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch and then dinner. I usually don't have an evening snack nor do I eat a late night snack every night.

It's time to take a serious look at exercising. I'm really going to need it now for two reasons. I am eating at my optimum and want to increase my metabolism, especially since I'm giving my body enough fuel to do so. Exercising regularly will also help me deal with stress better. I'm thinking that I will need to do some stretches and deep breathing exercises at first. This should help me cope with the emotions that I'll have to face while writing my letter. I am at a critical point. My eating seems to be on track and steady. I am feeling hunger in the morning and my body is getting used to having the calories. At this time it is key to find and maintain ways to deal with stress. Stress in the number one cause for my downfalls; after stress comes the depression and finally guilt. By then my eating is off track and I have to start from square one again. I don't want that to happen. Everything has been really good so far. One tiny step at a time...One day at a time.

It won't be long before I've reached 30 days of eating well. Should I count the cookie thing as a mini binge? Maybe for argument's sake I'll hold off on claiming 30 days without binging. I want it to be solid. I'm satisfied with the way things are now and look forward to many more good days and nights.

Friday, April 18, 2014

April 18, 2014

It's Friday everyone! I'm so glad we made it to the weeks end. I've had a pretty good week and I hope the same for you.

Last time I posted, I shared concerns about my having strong cravings for sweets, late night. All has gone well with that. It seems once I recognized that I had a sweet option (pears in extra light syrup) everything was okay. Like a sedative, my mind instantly calmed and I did not have strong cravings that night or last night and I still have my pears. I guess that's what you call mind over matter.

As a whole, I think that I'm doing fairly well. I'm having some stressful issues, but not so bad that I'm messing up on day time eating.

Do holidays trigger you to eat differently? Fortunately for me, I don't engage in traditional holiday practice, so holidays rarely influence my eating. I just know not to allow free access to foods that may trigger binging.

For the last couple of days I've had eggs and cheese for breakfast, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch and for dinner, some form of chicken with brown rice or wheat pasta and veggies.

This weekend I'll be working more on my vision of self. I heard a saying from someone, can't remember who. They say if you can envision yourself smaller than you will get smaller. I doubt there's any merit to that. If there were, there would me more thin people in the world. Oh how I wish I cold think myself thin. Anyway, I'm wanting to try exercise again, so I will, but I won't make any promises to myself...not just yet.

I would really like your input on something. In many of my posts, I have noted what foods I've eaten for that day. I'm not sure if this is a good thing for you to read or not. On other sites, I notice that they ask people to be sensitive about what they post, especially numbers like weight and calories. I wont be posting any weights and I don't measure my food. That is a big for me. Measuring and weighing foods will send me careening back into starvation mode. Anything resembling a diet is no good for me. My question to you is...does it bother you when I share what I've eaten that day or do you find it helpful to know or does it matter at all? Just wondering...

I'm not planning on posting this weekend.

Happy Easter! I hope you all have a safe and pleasant holiday weekend.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

April 16, 2014

Today is Wednesday. I continue to feel empowered by my decision to create an eating schedule. It is working well for me. I won't say it's perfect, but I'm so much better than I was. I'm eating more regularly during the day, getting in 2 to three good meals a day. I'm eating actual meals and not just packs of crackers. Yes, I'm managing to eat eggs for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch and then dinner. Some days I even eaten a small snack early evening. That's quite a feat.

As usual, when I've started to conquer one area another area of weakness wants to appear. I've been having cravings for the past 3 nights. Not too bad the first night, but last night was a doozy. I roamed feverishly around the kitchen in search of something sweet. I couldn't find anything so I ate a small serving of a leftover rice dish. It wasn't what I wanted and my mind continued to roam. I went to my computer to surf Youtube for a while until I felt sleepy enough to go to bed.

I hope tonight will not be as bad as last night. I did manage to find a can of pears in extra light syrup and set them aside in case the urges get strong again. I fear they will be strong tonight. I'm craving right now and it's only 9:22pm. I'll probably spend more time at my computer tonight. Maybe eat the pears then, not right away. I'll surf the web for awhile and if I still feel the urge I'll get the pears. Yeah, that sounds like a good plan. 

The bouncing back and forth is to be expected, I guess, but I wasn't prepared for this. What can I say, I was too busy enjoying my new strength and feelings of empowerment...and I still am. It's just now the cravings are back and stronger than ever, even to the point of desperation. I'm holding on as best I can. Maybe it's a good thing that we are almost out of snacks...then again, maybe not. I'm supposed to go shopping this weekend. I'll really need strength then.

Onward and upward as I continue to hold on the faith as if my life depends on it...because it does. This is my life, I've got to make this right. Staying strong...

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Painful Image

I've been trying to write this post for two days. The subjects of body image and self-image are touchy subjects for me. I'm not one who likes to think of my image. I'd much rather hide in the shadows or blend in with the background.

That being said, I'm still not sure where to begin nor do I know where it will end. I must have started and deleted this post two or three times and I'm still struggling. I sure do use the word struggle a lot. Crap! This is complicated. Anyway, here it goes...

How does one begin to describe themselves? Which vantage point is better? As they say, there are two sides to a coin. Both sides are different, yet work in unison to create one complete coin. So, what happens when both sides are so different that they don't make a concise unit? In other words, what happens when one's body image does not match one's self-image? 

What's the difference between body image and self-image anyway?


A subjective picture of one's own physical appearance established both by self-observation and by noting the reactions of others.


dʒ/ The idea, conception, or mental image one has of oneself.

In my personal opinion, I believe we all come into existence with a clear idea of who we are and what we are meant to look like. A prime example of this is a person who feels they were born the wrong sex. They recognize this at a very early age. Clearly they have an understanding of who they are, but when they look in the mirror they don't see themselves. Instead they see someone else. They know what they see is real, but it's not right. 

My situation is different, but similar. It is not a question of identity by sex. I was born a female and know that I am supposed to be female, however, there is and always has been an image in my mind as to who I am and what I should look like. I have yet to see that image in the mirror. Therefore, I've never felt that I was fully myself. I'm more of a creation, pieced together by circumstance which making me a bit of a Frankenstein. I can't help but think of a small excerpt from one of my poems. It all makes sense now.

Look at it!
Hideous, monstrous…grotesque,

 A real life Frankenstein.

People will run and scream.

This is how I feel and at times that was my experience.

The image of me that lives in my mind is beautiful. I'm tall and voluptuous with long locks and flawless skin. I have a peaceful expression and a wealth of love that radiates from me. When I look into a mirror...I see a body ravaged by pain, patchy skin color, dim eyes, massive girth serving as a wall to keep people away, but also doubling as an ill fitted band aid. A poor attempt to cover my wounds. I see a void, a huge nothing. I feel nothing for myself. 

It is the effects of abuse that molds me and makes my image askew.

I grow angry when I think of what I perceive as should have been, as opposed to what is. I grow even angrier when I think of all that I could have been or at least have tried, but didn't because I had no support nor did I have anything left after warding off my parent's evil. Life is but a mist. I don't know how long life will be for me. I want to make the best of the time I have left. I grow weary thinking of how much time has passed and how much of that time has been wasted on survival. I haven't even begun to really live yet. I’m so very tired...

Enough with my image issues for now. I'm going to focus a little more energy on my letter to self. By the way, it's coming along well. I'm not in a place where I feel comfortable sharing the content of my letter, but I will keep you abreast of the progress and any epiphanies that come of it.

I will share this much with you today. While I was working on the letter yesterday, I began asking myself questions. I asked a particular question and answered it immediately. Only thing, it wasn't my 48 year old self that answered. It was me at the age of 4 year who spoke up. That was totally unexpected and shook me completely. I'd never heard the voice of my 4 year old self before. It wasn't an actual voice, but an internal voice. She wants to be I'm going to listen and write.

Dear God, please be with me, that I be able to withstand what I am about to endure. I've never had an experience like this before. I know that I've been trying to get inside myself and here I am. I am ready, but I am also afraid.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

April 12, 2014

It’s Saturday afternoon. The weather is perfect, 80 degrees, blue skies and low humidity. I'm feeling pretty good today. I've been eating well over the past few days, sticking close to my eating schedule. I didn't eat breakfast today. Nothing's wrong, I woke up early waiting for the lawn people to come. While waiting I fell asleep and did not wake up again until after noon. I'm okay about that.

Lunch was eggs and cheese with a cup of water. Snack time was around 5pm. I ate a can of pears in extra light syrup. Dinner was a little late, right at 8pm. I ate a few pieces of smoked turkey sausage and a serving of steamed potatoes with onions and peas.

Yesterday, I stood in front of the hall mirror and took a good look at myself, a rare occurrence. My clothes looked loose on my body, but I'm still huge. I can't tell where any weight, if any, has been lost. Weight loss is not one of my current goals. Not just yet. I'm still trying to work out eating as I should during the day while keeping a close eye on night time eating behaviors. So far, so good. I could get on the scale, but I'm not quite ready for that. Maybe I should...then again maybe not...

If only it were as easy as just eating right or exercising enough or even having a healthy self-image, but it's not. There are too many layers. With every turn or epiphany there's another layer revealed. It's never ending. Am I frustrated? No, but I am intrigued. I think I'm starting to see why things of this nature can take so long and take so much effort. I never knew healing was so complex. However, on the other hand, I welcome the complexities because I'm learning a lot about myself, my abilities, and my strengths. I'm seeing my own process step-by-step as I write it out in this blog. My ability to reason things out is one of my strengths. It’s my most valuable coping mechanism aside from disassociation.

I'm thinking about doing a post on self-image. Inspiration comes from the video that I posted yesterday. I hope you guys enjoyed. I found it to be profound, a simple concept that changes lives…how ingenious. Believe it or not, I'm also still looking for inspiration as I begin working on my letter to self. One thing did come to mind. If I'm not yet able to communicate with the child self, perhaps I should approach communicating with my adult self, ultimately working my way back in time. That's doable. It will be easier this way, because I am learning to love and appreciate myself in the now so that I can feel love and compassion for myself in the past. Makes sense? Moving forward...

So what did you guys think about yesterday's post? I know it's an advertisement, but beyond that it was an inspired and inspirational concept. Seeing one's self as beautiful is simply a state of mind. Brilliant! If you did not take time to watch the video, please do and share it also. I think more women need to understand that we have to learn, even be inspired to see our own beauty. The beauty is there, even though we can't see it. Seeing our own beauty is not something that comes naturally, because we've more than likely not been around women who've projected healthy self-images. Most of our self-image issues are learned behavior. As you can see from the video, learned behavior can be undone, it's just a matter of how.

It's getting late and I'm going to watch a little tv. Tomorrow I'll continue working on my letter to self and processing my thoughts on self-image.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Happy Friday Everyone!

I've just come across a very interesting video that I want to share with you. It's short and sweet. Please take a moment to watch the video and share any thoughts you may have about it. Thank you.

Please click the link below:

What do you think of your own beauty?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

April 9th, 2014

The war continues. Yesterday I was triumphant in my quest to eat 3 meals at appropriate times. Today I struggle. I'm not throwing in the towel or anything like that; I'm just's particularly hard today. I ate breakfast just after 9am. I started preparing my lunch around 1:30 and stat down to eat just before 2pm. everything seemed okay until a few bites in. I've managed to eat half of my food, but can eat no more. Did I do too much when I decided to add a piece of chicken with my eggs? I didn't think about it because I've done it before. I'm not going to read too much into this. It could be a good thing. My stomach is actually full and I need to stop eating. It won't be a problem salvaging the remainder of my lunch for a later time. I'll revisit it around 4:30pm and see what happens.

I've been thinking of ways to incorporate exercise into my day and maintain it. There have been several attempts to do this in recent past. I haven't talked about it directly because it's been so frustrating. In all honesty, it was my inability to commit to exercise that caused me to explore commitment more closely. Everything still worked out for the good. Sometimes you have to go through things to learn things and grow.

What you gain from life depends on how you chose to look at life.

I'll give exercise another try tonight. Yesterday, I visited YouTube and looked longingly at palates videos. There were so many. I loved the abs buster workouts. Most of the workouts were about 10 minutes. I'm not promising that I'll do the entire 10 minutes, but I'm willing to do as much as I can.

I hope my son is busy in another part of the house when I attempt to do my new exercise. He tends to find my attempts very interesting and entertaining. I think he still remembers another time when I wanted to try a new exercise. It was a few years ago. He might have been 6 or 7 at the time. My weight was at its highest and health issues were settling in. I wanted to do an exercise that was good for my core and easy on the joints, especially being so heavy.

There was a commercial about this cool looking exercise ball...huge ball. It looked easy to use and was inexpensive. I purchased one the next day. There were several colors offered, each one for a different weight category. I chose the blue ball because it could hold the most weight. All I had to do was pump it up and begin. Palates seem to be the thing for me, so any form I see is worth giving a try. We came home; I blew up the ball and put on the DVD. There was one exercise that was particularly easy, so I decided to start with that one.

Lying on top of the ball, stomach down and knees bent I push forward with my feet to get the ball rolling. Then I bent my knees towards the floor to make the ball roll backwards. In the meantime, I'm supposed to tighten my stomach, back and thigh muscles...breathing deeply. Easy enough...right? I'm in position and begin pushing forward with my feet. In one sweeping motion everything comes to a screeching halt. There I am...arms dangling, legs dangling...I'm stuck. The ball is wedged between my stomach and my breasts. I couldn’t move forward nor could I move backwards. I was trapped in a death match...woman vs. ball.

I tired myself out trying to get off that monster of a ball. As I lay there wondering what I'd gotten myself into, I noticed my son in the background staring and giggling. Hmph...I will not be defeated. I tried and tried, but to no avail. There was nothing I could do to get that ball rolling. The only other thing I could do was hurl myself off to the side and hope for a soft landing. I was embarrassed, but not as embarrassed as the time I got in a fight with my girdle in the women's bathroom at work.

My loving son, who is a great help most of the time, walked over to me and smiled, then politely removed the ball from the scene and took it to his room. I'll have you know that he still has that ball today. And yes, it is a reminder of what was one of the funniest exercise moments I've ever had. Good thing I wasn't being videotaped. I might have ended up becoming a You tube star.

Tonight I will try something new. Rest assured there will be no props…just me, lying on a matt and a video.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

April 8, 2014

Today has been a very good eating day. One of the best so far. I ate breakfast at 9:47am. Breakfast consisted of 2 packs of peanut butter crackers and a cup of water. Lunch was at 12:29pm. I ate the equivalent of 3 scrambled eggs with leftover rice and a large cup of water. Diner was at 6:30pm. My son wanted chicken so we stopped by our favorite chicken place and purchased a meal. I had 2 pieces of chicken, about 3 tbls of okra, a few fries and a large cup of water. This has been the best eating day for me since my last major backlash just before deciding to revive this blog. I'm still feeling empowered. I can't tell you what an awesome change it's been to stop pacifying my mind. Amazing! Something seemingly so benign has proven itself to be quite harmful, especially if ignored.

I feel the need to begin the process of writing a letter or a series of letters to the little girl inside. I think now is a good time to start. I hope so. I know this part of the process will bring up more memories. I'm ready to deal with that. There may be some darkness developing, but I know the sun will break through and light will shine on me again. Yep, it's time to dig a little deeper. I'm not going to push myself. I just want to begin and see where it takes me.

Onward and Upward! I'm going to take time to enjoy my new found strength and revel in the opportunity to apply the things that I've learned to my life.

Monday, April 7, 2014

April 7, 2014

Hey there, just checking in with a quick note. I didn't post yesterday. Sometimes after breakthroughs or purging of thoughts, I need to take a mental break to fully process everything. It allows time for more memories and thoughts to come to the forefront. I liken it to emptying a large container of water. After a container is emptied, it takes a while to fill up again.

I hope you all are doing well. I'm still feeling empowered from my latest epiphany. My eating is a little better. Of course, it will take time for me to get where I want with my eating. The best part of this is the internal strength that I've gained, not giving in to the whims of my mind or the lies that it tells. I don't have to rely on cues to tell me when to eat. I have times. Time is much easier to focus on. Time does not operate out of emotional pain. Time will not tell me not to eat nor make me feel guilty when I do or don't. Time is just time and nothing else. Whew, a mighty weight has been lifted.

Yesterday I ate breakfast around 11:30am or so. I had two packs of peanut butter crackers. I ate two because I want get used to the idea of eating more and since I'm already comfortable with the crackers it was less offensive to just get another pack as opposed to eating another food. Lunch was a little late, just after 3:30pm. I ate two scrambled eggs, no toast and water. We had company yesterday evening and decided to go out for Chinese food. I ate chicken mei fen, which is super thin rice noodles served with chicken, eggs and onion. It was delicious. I shared some with one of my guests and ate the rest. I also ordered two spring rolls which were lettuce and imitation crab meat rolled up in a rice wrap. I usually go for the fried stuff, but aimed for healthier this time. I knew the mei fen would not hold me all night, so I ate the spring rolls for my late night snack. They were very light and satisfying.

Funny, how I have to trick myself into doing little things to encourage healthy change. I don't particularly like the idea of tricking myself, but I'm at war. An internal war is going on inside my head. That old familiar part of my mind that has mastered avoiding food is as war with the new and healthier part of my mind that wants to adhere to the scheduled eating times. In the morning, when I first think of eating breakfast, my old mind jumps right in and focuses on something else that has nothing to do with eating. In the past, I could go on for hours before thinking of eating again. My new mind kicks in much earlier. So now, when I find myself busy doing other things rather than focusing on eating my new mind cues in and reminds me that I have a set eating time that I need to maintain. Even if I'm off an hour or so, when I think about my eating schedule I immediately get up and get something to eat. No more hesitation at that point like it is with my old mind. This is a bit of a miracle. That's why I can say I definitely love the new strength that I've gained over the past few days.

I'm still taking baby steps, but my steps don't feel so shaky now.

Today I ate breakfast around 11:30 again. I had two packs of peanut butter crackers and water. I didn't eat lunch because I was busy getting ready for my therapy session. This is not an excuse, just a fact. My appointment was at 3:30 which is a common eating time for me. I thought about eating another pack of crackers, but the thought soon left my mind as I turned my attention to what I wanted to take to my session. I'll have to come up with a better plan on days when I have appointments. I won't have extra things to keep me busy tomorrow. It will be the normal schedule. I think I will do much better then. Dinner was shortly after 5pm. I stopped at McDonald's and bought a fish sandwich with fries, no drink and a meal for my son. I can't really say why I didn't want a drink with my meal. Still haven't figured that out yet. I've always purchased a drink with my meal. It's a treat to have something surgery because I usually drink water. Today, I preferred just having water. I'll consider this another good change. Perhaps one day I'll be able to eliminate the meal all together making it a monthly treat instead of a weekly treat.

As I work on changing my eating daytime eating habits, I must keep in mind to fill myself with healthy calories instead of junk. When I make healthy food choices I crave less high carb, high fat foods. My body actually loves healthy foods, especially vegetables, it's my mind that wants the other stuff.

Well, my break  is over. I have many more thoughts to purge. I'll definitely post again tomorrow. Take care and have a peaceful night or day wherever you are. Remember to work on being good to yourselves. Love yourselves and if that's too hard try liking yourself. Baby steps.

We'll get through this together.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Empowerment - April 5, 2014

Stating my truth from new depths is proving to be beneficial. The moment I openly admitted to pacifying my mind, something opened and strength flowed in. I felt it, but couldn't identify it right away. It wasn't until later that night when I put my foot down and decided to schedule mealtimes that I knew for sure something inside of my changed. I was not going to allow my mind to control my eating anymore. I was not going to pacify it and give into it any longer. In that moment I felt empowered. Yeah, it felt as though I conquered something...that I put it to rest. I'd won.

Could it be...dare I is it that I am so empowered by simply admitting a truth?

By nature I am a logical person, but I am not operating out of a place of logic right now. It's different. I want so much to take out my little pointer, wave it in front of a flip board and say, "This led to this, which caused this to occur. Therefore it is evident that this will be the outcome." But I can't. All I have right now are feelings of a power that I've never felt before. I feel as though I’m freed from one of the many chains that bind me. It’s nice to have this sudden strength.

I didn't hesitate to eat this morning. My son woke me up pretty early, 5:30am. He didn't do it on purpose. He was laughing at something on tv. I jumped up when I heard the sudden noise. Still dazed from sleep, I sat back down to allow my mind a few minutes to clear before getting back up to check on him. When I saw that he was okay I went back to bed. I couldn't go back to sleep, so I began to pray and got lost in my thoughts. It wasn't long before I was consumed with hunger. It's 6:30am. I never eat this early...not even crackers or a piece of bread. I went into the kitchen, heated up a small portion of a leftover rice dish and ate. It's not at the scheduled time, but why wait? I feel good about eating so early and I didn't feel nauseous. It's as if I've reclaimed a part of my mind that had been damaged for a long time. No more giving into the mental masturbation that destructive behaviors often loan themselves to. Am I truly free from this?

Calm down...I've got to calm down and see where this takes me. I don't want to jump to conclusions. It's way too early for that. One day at a step at a time. That is the pace.
I’m going to stand on faith and believe that I can maintain this strength through the rest of the day. I’ll worry about tomorrow when tomorrow comes.

Lunch was at 12:30pm. I ate 2 scrambled eggs with approximately 2 tbls. of the leftover rice dish, just for flavor, and 2 slices of toast. I'm planning on having a snack today around 3-4pm. I think I'll have a pack of crackers. Dinner is still on for 6:30-7:30. Tonight is going to be a movie night, so I am allowing myself popcorn for the event.

Friday, April 4, 2014

A Year of Courage - April 4, 2014

WARNING: This post may trigger sensitive readers.

As I anticipated the good to come in the new year, I was struck by an aggressive attack of Dermatitis, more commonly known as Eczema. It quickly covered about 70% of my body including my scalp. My hair started falling. Everyday more hair lost. I didn't lose it all. What I did lose was significant. I was beyond mortified and heartbroken. Everyday I'd stare into the mirror wondering if I'd lose more hair. Sometimes hair would fall to floor where I stood. I started thinking God or maybe some evil force was punishing me. For what? It didn't matter. I must have done something awfully wrong for this to happen out of the blue...right? That's what it felt like. Could I have been punished because I was beginning to see myself as pretty?

As a young child, even into adulthood I was not allowed to feel pretty or think I was pretty. People would often complement me. Dad discouraged the compliments. He'd say it would only go to my head, but he didn't mind if men thought I was pretty, as long as they were willing to pay.

I've had patches of eczema most of my life. The rash developed when I was a toddler. My mom used laundry detergent in my bath water. Tide laundry detergent to be exact. Don't ask... I don't know why regular soap was not sufficient for bathing, according to her. Perhaps she liked the rich, thick lather laundry detergent produced. There couldn't have been any thought to the almost certain harm laundry detergent could do to young skin...could there? She did apologize and gave me bar soap for bathing instead. My skin has never been the same.

I've always struggled to see something good about myself. Never pinpointing beauty per say, but I did have some interesting attributes. I had a nice smile, pretty eyes (if enough mascara was applied) and numerous cool hair styles. That's about it. Oh, and I was told that I had a nice walk. I let my nails grow and wore my clothes tight in an attempt to display curves as my college counterparts did. Weight issues were still prominent, but I carried my weigh well or so I was told. Customers at our store or even family members would say, "You're still heavy, but you carry it well," or "You’re such a pretty girl. If only you'd lose a little weight.  No matter how 'well' I carried my weight it was still not good enough for my parents. I was just under the bar of having an acceptable exterior. As a matter of fact, according to my parents, being heavy or fat was cause for my having to work harder to make friends. Hmm, and to think all this time I thought it was my general misunderstanding of social behaviors and oddball quirkiness. Oh well, nothing about me would ever be good enough for them.

Last year I felt pretty. I'd grown my hair for 8 years, it's getting pretty long and healthier than ever. My skin was clearing nicely and my face glowed. I'd already started losing weight a few years ago and felt that I was on a clear path for success. There are a couple health concerns, but nothing unmanageable. Still not willing to date, but starting to appreciate the occasional stare accompanied by a smile. It was at this point everything changed.

My hair is growing back. I've made peace with the loss. I fear seeing myself as pretty again. It's gonna take time to get over this last episode before I can do that. My skin is starting to clear a little, even though I’m having trouble keeping up my regimen. Don't worry, I'm working on it.

I am thankful that I've gained the courage to look in a mirror and deal with what I see. I have gained the courage to face some of my fears. I have gained the courage to have more than hope for my future, but to actively do something about it. I have gained the courage to be completely honest with myself even when it hurts. And I’ve gained the courage to tell my story no matter how it sounds.


The ability to fight one's own instinct to run or cower by focusing on a larger deed that must be done for the greater good. - Urban Dictionary

Today I had breakfast at 10:37am. I ate two packs of cheese crackers. For lunch at 2:30 I ate 2 scrambled eggs with toast and water. For dinner I made a skillet dish with ground turkey, pasta and tomato sauce. I did not have a late night snack last night nor did I have a snack this afternoon.

My eating schedule is as follows:

Breakfast between 10am-11am

Lunch between 2pm-3pm

Dinner between 6:30pm-7:30pm

Many thanks to my lovelies for calling in reminders to eat.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Pacifying My Mind - April 3, 2014

I can't close this day without being completely honest. As I pushed myself away from my desk a thought came into mind. Trickery. How easy it is to convince myself that I've made an effort to do better most days. Truth...I wasn't making that much of an effort. I just told myself I was to pacify my mind. What I'd actually say to myself is, "It's okay if I only ate a pack of crackers all day. It's because I can't eat during the day. Just be happy that you ate something, that's what tried." This is my cop-out. Truth is, I didn't want to eat and I still don't. No matter how many times I say I want to eat...I don't. I don't! I DON'T WANT TO EAT! But I have to eat to get better. There...I've said it...this is my truth. I'm strong enough to admit it now.

Yeah, scheduled meals is going to make great change...much needed change. No more excuses. No more pacifying my mind.

1...2...3 Swallow - April 3, 2014

Having a new found understanding of my unwillingness to eat sufficiently during the day has given me cause to change my game plan. Up until now, my focus was on eating a little something 3 times a day if possible. On rare occasions I may also include a daytime snack. Those efforts have fizzled for me again. I'm not worried about this. As I've stated before, beating myself up about short comings is fruitless and leads to forbidden paths. It's better to work on maintaining a healthy outlook on the progress I'm making:

1. I am making efforts daily to have a healthier relationship with food.
2. Even though it's difficult, I do consciously eat something everyday, even if it's a small amount.
3. I am not craving night feeds and sweets are almost out of my diet. This is huge!!
4. I continue to fight off denial by being completely honest with myself in that which I am aware.
5. I have assessed my discomfort, a desire to change, purpose of self discover and need for commitment. Not only have I processed these issues in my mind, I'm actively working on them as well.
6. As I purge my thoughts, memories emerge.
7. I am able to identify some of the root beginnings to my problems.
8. I remain patient with myself in moments of self-doubt.
9. I remain humbled by this process and the encouraging comments that I've received so far.
10. I am slowly peeling back the layers revealing a way inside.
11. I have embraced the truth about my not being fully committed to myself in the healing process and making strides to change.
12. In the midst of discomfort associated with embracing myself, I am managing to find ways to show myself love.

To my friend who faithfully comments on my posts. No, I did not realize how well I've been doing until you brought it to the surface. I was feeling as though I were sinking, not drowning, but wondering which way to go from here. Thank you for pointing out the stages of my progress.

1...2...3 swallow. I chew my food thoroughly and then I swallow. There was no joy in eating today. Just the mechanics of chewing and swallowing, sensation of being full...finished. I don't expect to enjoy eating every time. I'm grateful for the times I am able to enjoy meals. It's not often, but that's okay. I'm going to have to tough this out. If going through the motions is what it takes for me to get over this be it. I asked myself if what I've been doing is working for me. No, it isn't. If something doesn't work...leave it…time for a change of plan. Instead of waiting for or provoking physical cues, I am setting a scheduled time to eat. No room for excuses...just eat. At this point it does not matter how much I eat, only that I become accustomed to eating on a schedule. Once I'm able to get my mind to accept the schedule, then I will work on slowly increasing my intake. I believe it will be easier to adhere to a time as opposed to a sensation.

This morning was stressful, but I did manage to eat a pack of cheese crackers for breakfast. Lunch was around 1pm. I had a fish sandwich, fries and an orange drink. I thought about ordering one of those little baked pies, but quickly dismissed the thought. No need for extras. For dinner I had 3 scrambled eggs with cheese, chicken and toast. I ate dinner around 7:30pm, still wasn't hungry, but ate anyway.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Don't Eat When You're Not Hungry - April 2, 2014

"Don't eat when you're not hungry." I've heard this sentence in my mind everyday since the first time it was spoken to me in 1975. I was 10. No matter what I do the words are always lingering. A constant reminder turned anthem.

My parents took me to the doctor. I can't remember for what. I was sitting on the examining table as the doctor spoke with them. He wasn't my pediatrician, but another doctor in a larger place. Everything was bright white and sterile. Even the windows offered little contrast as the glass reflected that awful bright whiteness. I continued watching as the doctor spoke with my parents. I couldn't hear what he was saying. My ears were deafened by the sound of my own thoughts. Inside my head I'm screaming, "Please make them stop abusing me! Please! I don't want to go home." I felt the words rise into my throat, but I dare not open my mouth. I just sat there nauseated as I watched evil play the role of concerned parents. All hope was gone. The doctor would never believe me. He'd never believe I lived with monsters. They seemed so normal and descent. My mother in her silent stance dressed to perfection and my father eager to write a check. They stopped talking for moment, looked at me and smiled, but all I could see were fangs waiting to devour me. I turned away from them and waited for the torment to begin again.

I heard a new word on that day. Obese. The doctor said I was obese. I wasn't sure what that meant, but I knew it must have had something to do with my weight. My weight had become a focal point for my parents for awhile now. I weighed in at 100lbs. I guess it didn't matter that my parents fed me cakes, cookies, snacks and candies from their store, not to mention my night feedings. I wonder if my mother knew. Couldn't she see the evidence of my night feeds? If she did, nothing was ever said, not to me anyways. My weight was the first thing people saw and the topic of discussion...always...even now. I suppose talking about my weight was much easier than seeing the dark circles under my eyes or the look of death and hopelessness in my expression. I see the pain when I look at my childhood photos and I wonder.

I used to look into the bathroom mirror and say to myself, "don't eat when you are not hungry," over and over again. When my parents tried to make me eat breakfast I'd say that I wasn't hungry. If they pushed I pulled out my favorite sentence. It worked every time. After awhile they seemed to be proud of my not eating, hopeful that the extra pounds would fall off quickly. Each yearly well visit would dash their hopes...another 13 lbs. gained. No one could understand it. I think this is when the denial began. Everyone around me said the same thing, "How can she be gaining weight, she barely eats?" I heard it so much that I began to believe it.

Here I am today, 38 years later and I am still telling myself, "Don't eat if you're not hungry." How do I undo a 38 year habit?

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Daytime Anorexia - April 1, 2014

While finishing up yesterday's post I revealed something about myself that I had not given thought to. I revealed that I am actually avoiding eating during the day. For the past 4 years and longer, I've been in denial. My claim was that I "couldn't" eat during the day. It did not dawn on me that my behavior was that of someone who "wouldn't" eat during the day. I remember... There have been times that I felt that I could eat something, so I'd search around for the smallest morsel of food I could find. I'd even chuckle at myself when opening a bag of Lays potato chips because I actually could only eat just one.

Others have witnessed this too, but I paid them little mind. My son used to receive OT (occupational therapy) services. We loved our OT, he really knew how to work with my son and he's also a real stand up guy. One morning, just after finishing working with my son, the OT noticed that I was eating. He was surprised and stated so. He'd never seen me eat anything before and was glad to see me eating something...anything. I was nibbling on a cookie. It had one chocolate cookie and one vanilla cookie with vanilla cream in the center. I'd been nibbling on the cookie for just about an hour at that time. I never took actual bites, but nibbled clockwise around the cookie, slowly making it to the center. How odd that I could ignore behaviors like that. I did the same thing with carrots. Talk about living in an illusion. I would take anything and make it last 100 times longer than it should. One chip could lead to countless nibbles. By the time I finished nibbling the chip I would have convinced myself that I was satisfied. This is behavior associated with anorexia.

I want to be able to say that this epiphany feels great, but it doesn't. It hurts, but it's real and I need to recognized it. If I don't own it, I can't fix it.

Well, now I have an explanation for my difficulty in consuming more calories during the day. I've done very well with decreasing caloric intake at night. Almost too well. I don't want to take my recovery efforts to an extreme and end up on the other end of the eating spectrum. That would not be good. Yet another thing to combat.

Reality strikes again. This is going to be a good thing. I can see my eating during the day is not a matter of can't, but won't. I can eat more food during the day if I am willing. The will to eat will come as I continue working to love myself and be committed to myself. In my love and commitment to myself I will find the desire to devote myself to eating better during the day. Wow! There is so much connected to ones ability to love and be committed to oneself. Amazing!

I'm going to continue giving this epiphany thought. In the meantime, today I had my first meal around noon. I ate two scrambled eggs with chicken and a cup of water. Having water with meals only is not enough. I am going to make the effort to keep water near me throughout the day. If I don't, then I'm less inclined to drink.

I will slowly try increasing my food intake even if not hungry so I can get into the habit of eating during the day.

For a snack I will have a pack of crackers. I may even have a pack for my late night snack.