Saturday, June 30, 2012

Caturday: Independence Day Edition

It's almost July, so Independence Day is just a few days away. Here are some thoughts for the folks who fought for our independence and those who are still serving for it today...

This pic was taken from a cat fan page: Love Meow

It says: "This photo was taken in Tarawa in November, 1943. The little kitten “crept out from beneath a wrecked” tank. The U.S. Marine soldier, name unknown, offered water to the little one."

And also, 'cos this one is too adorable...

I'm sorry, I don't remember what site this is from, I should have credited it. But, Happy Fourth of July, sir, and I hope that wherever you and your little friend are, that you are safe.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Thought for the Day

I haven't been able to do my regular posts again this week. My father passed away on Saturday and we've been gone for the funeral and such. We just got home tonight, so regular posting should begin again starting tomorrow.

For now, please enjoy this placeholder!

Friday, June 22, 2012

One in Four Girls, One in Six Boys

I found a Slate article I wanted to share, from Emily Yoffe, who writes the Dear Prudence column. It's called My Molesters. I should say, WARNING: Trigger Alert. I think that this article will hit home for those of us who are what I call the In-Betweeners - we think our stories aren't "bad enough" to be painful, but they are.

We aren't alone. One in FOUR girls have been molested in some way. Look around your workplace. How many women is that standing around you right now? How many men?

Not the Doctor

Before adding to the not dieting any more conversation, I ought to say a couple of things... One, I am not a doctor, a nutritionist, or a therapist. I am not trying to give anyone medical or therapeutic advice. Honestly, I’m just here to share what I’m going through and hoping that it will touch other people in a way that is helpful. If my journey is at all familiar to you, I wholeheartedly encourage you to get professional assistance - your primary doctor, a therapist, or a nutrition counselor. I have all three, along with a select few other incredibly supportive people who form the core of my support team. Though I am the one who has to take the lead, this is not a journey I could take alone. I cannot beg you enough, whoever is out there, to get the support you need.

Two, this “no more diets” approach that I have taken did not come out of a vacuum. I did a lot of reading on my own before I got the courage to talk to my doctor and find a therapist, and a lot of reading since then. Do the research! No more diets is more than just a license to go binge myself into a coma. It isn’t a giving up of responsibility, it’s just a different kind of responsibility. There are still rules, but the rules are about paying attention to my body, to my needs, about being kind and respectful of my body, about treating it with love and health. It’s about abandoning fear and deprivation and torture.

There are many wonderful resources out there. Here are some of mine...

I read at least a few of Geneen Roth’s work just this past year: Breaking Free From Emotional Eating, Why Weight?, and When You Eat At the Refrigerator, Pull Up a Chair

Also, many, many years ago I read Intuitive Eating by Tribole and Resch, then read it again several months ago on the recommendation of my therapist. (I am about to read it again, now that I am moving on to the next level of my relationship with food.) Last week I read another Roth: Women Food and God (excellent). These are good ones to start with to introduce yourself to the idea of intuitive eating/no more diets. And there are many MORE Geneen Roth books out there, though several are pretty similar in content so check them out to see which ones move you.

Beginning intuitive eating is scary. Even though I had been working for a number of years on the general principle that anything was okay in moderation, I still had an internal list of “bad foods.” Foods that I would have to pay for with deprivation. Foods that would make me feel guilty for even thinking about. And beyond that, I had no concept of the idea that I really could eat as much as I wanted, whenever I wanted, and whatever I wanted. And initially - yeah, I gained weight. I was terrified and revolted and I thought my therapist and nutritionist and Geneen Roth and all of them were just... nuts.

And it takes so long! I’ve been doing this for about a year (minus a four month vacation from sanity for a family emergency this past winter), and I’m the fattest I have ever been in my life. I became the Queen of the Cheeseburger, and consort of the Ice Cream King. I haven’t been able to imagine that this process is helpful for my health...until recently.

See, there’s a bit of a progression with the intuitive eating thing. The books mentioned above helped me get used to the concept. My nutritionist gave me some assignments to do and the hunger scale (some of which can be found in Geneen Roth’s books and Intuitive Eating). I figured out what I really love about food and eating (I like crunchy texture, savory flavors, the smells of the aromatics, the tang of sauces) and found ways to make sure I ate stuff that I really loved instead of just stuffing myself with anything. For instance, I always choose a good cheeseburger place over fast food burgers. They are more satisfying and I don’t feel sick afterward. Same thing with taco joints.

I have to think about why I’m eating, about what hunger feels like, where hunger lives in my body (sometimes it’s just behind my eyeballs, kind of an itchy feeling in the sockets), what I’m doing while I’m eating. How did I feel before the meal? How did I feel while I was eating? How did I feel when I was done? And not just physically, but emotionally. What emotion makes me want to gorge on potato chips and what emotion calls for Ben & Jerry? And then I get to write it all down because this is a learning process. If I had a binge or just overate, I wrote it all up and I pulled it all out in front of my support team so they could help figure out not only why but maybe how I could deal with it in a different way next time. And, over time, it has begun to work.

In the past few weeks, things have changed. I know when I’m full. Sometimes I still eat past that point, but not very often. Less and less all the time. For the first time, just a couple of weeks ago... I can’t believe I can say this, but I FORGOT TO EAT. (I used to want to smack people who said that.) I don’t obsess about forbidden foods all the time anymore. My upswing in weight has stopped, stabilized. I am willingly adding salads or fruits or veggies to my meals, when I can. I try to avoid restaurants that only serve french fries as a side, because I don’t like the way they make me feel. Hello - I would rather eat a salad or fruit bowl than a plate of fries! (I still eat cheeseburgers, but less frequently, and only really, really good ones if it can be helped.) I did have a binge recently, but it was the first time in weeks, and it helped me discover a trigger that I haven’t dealt with yet.

Once I was on my way a bit with intuitive eating, my therapist recommended Health at Every Size by Linda Bacon. I’ve mentioned this briefly before. I still don’t know how I feel about it. I appreciate the idea that I don’t have to hate myself for being fat. I appreciate the idea that I don’t have to be thin to be worthy of life, love, and the pursuit of happiness. As for being able to be healthy at my current size... well, we’ll see what happens. I know that I am not healthy right now. I’m not entirely convinced that I will be if I don’t eventually lose some weight. I don’t feel well, often. I can’t breathe well. I don’t move well. Things are starting to ache - back, knees, feet. I don’t need to be thin, heck, at my age I don’t even want to be thin; I can accept that I will always be some kind of fat. I just want to feel better.

In truth, I know that I will always have food issues, to some degree. Maybe I’ll forget to eat mindfully for a few days, maybe something big and upsetting will send me screaming for the ice cream aisle, maybe I’ll gain weight on a vacation and try to do “just a little dieting” to get it back off. Who knows? All I can do is keep moving forward and learning as much as I can.

P.S.: If you are interested, Health at Every Size is only $1.99 at the Amazon Kindle store right now...

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Thought for the Day

Found on Facebook. Thanks, D!

The Wagon Only Goes in Circles

The problem with dieting is that it doesn't actually get you anywhere, at least not for long. On the wagon, off the wagon, whatever, it doesn't matter because the wagon isn't really going anywhere – it just goes round and round and round in the same circle. A few pounds up, a few pounds down; up, down, up, down, round and round and round she goes...

So the next hardest thing I had to do in recovery – after the “love yourself” thing, which I'm still working on – was to walk away from the wagon. Not just get off of The Diet Wagon (no problem, I've done that a thousand times) but turn my back on it and leave it behind.

Wait... No more diets? Ever? That's crazy talk! How am I supposed to lose weight?

Well, come to think of it, have you ever actually “lost weight” on all these diets you've been doing? I mean, really lost it, gone forever, never to be found again?

Ummm.... no. Haven't you noticed, I do weigh almost 300 pounds. Diets aren't helping me. They are, in fact, having exactly the opposite effect of what I intended. I'm fatter. Every year I just get fatter. Perhaps it's my fault. I'm a failure, weak. I can't stick to a diet.

Really? What about all that “love yourself” stuff you've been going on about? You're strong, capable, you have a successful marriage, you finished your degree, your employers love you because you work hard and exceed expectations. Your friends and loved ones know that they can count on you because you do what you say you will. Straight A student forever (except for that pesky Astrophysics thing). You get shit done, girl.

Yeah, but....

Nope. I ain't buying it. You could handle work, school, home, homework, and still went to the gym three times a week for two hours a day. What really happened?

What happened? Pain. Pain happened.
Sadness. Unbearable sadness. Hate. Anger. Fear. Emptiness.

Ah... emptiness. How do you fill the void? Dull the pain? Drown the anger the hate and the fear? What do you do, what have you always done?

I stuff it. I fill it up and cover it over with food. Until I can't feel it, until I can't move. Until I don't care.

Until you don't care about what?

About how I look. How people treat me. The things strangers say, like they have the right. About how far I still have to go, how fat I still am, how fat I'm gonna get. About how miserable I always feel, and hungry and frustrated and angry and scared. About how no matter how much weight I lose I'm never going to feel good again, I'm always going to be ugly and weird and frightened inside.

So dieting doesn't make you thin, and it doesn't make you happy. In fact, it makes things worse. It makes you FEEL worse. You keep getting on this wagon and going off full speed, trying to hang on, but then you fall off and you're still in the same damn place. It's like it always drops you off at the all-you-can-eat binge cafe, no matter how long you managed to hold on this time. No matter how far away you try to get on that wagon, you always come back.

Maybe it is time to turn your back on the wagon and face the real problem. Stay on your own two feet, keep your balance, and begin to deal with these things you are afraid of. Food doesn't do it. Diets don't do it. Only you can do it. So fuck the wagon... stand up and fight!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Caturday: Father's Day Edition

I have been away for a week, coincidentally to be there for a family emergency concerning my father. Regular posting to recommence this week.

So, Happy Father's Day to the dads and those who love them...

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Stark Naked Man

And now that I have your attention, I'm sharing something wonderful I found on Facebook today... (Please note, that link is very NSFW.)

Here's a sample:

"I will not get into the things I’ve done out of self-hatred and shame and fear over the past decade or two. I will not repeat the deflections and lies I’ve said to women who’ve told me my body is sexy. You either know most of them already, or you don’t. Some folks will say I’m not fat enough to be doing this. Others will say I’m too fat to be doing this. Both groups can feel free to go piss up a rope. I’m not doing this for them, I’m doing it for me. And maybe for you."

You go, mister!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

They Have No Power Over Me

So, after a brief break, let’s get back to daily affirmations and the fear of losing the things that I care about. Below is a journal entry from last year, actually from exactly a year ago, minus one day. Funny that, because just this past weekend I was learning this lesson again, but better.

I went to visit my mother and we talked, however briefly, about the pain of my childhood. She is also filled with regret and pain for the past, though that is not what I really wanted for her. I wanted her to be aware, I know that, but I didn’t want her to suffer as I have. I tried to tell her - and you know, I didn’t even realize that I believed it until I said it out loud - that the past is done and gone. That pain has no place in my life any longer, I have finally let my past fall away. Now I get to move on and work on my future and enjoy my present. The past and its monsters are no longer in control of my brain, my emotions. I no longer need to REACT to my past - I may simply ACT in the here and now to take care of myself.

Here’s what I wrote about this one year ago yesterday:

I had a lot to think about after yesterday’s (therapy) session and those affirmations I chose. Last night, while trying to sleep, I kept thinking about why I’m afraid of my feelings, why I think that I will always lose what I love.

But the truth is, that stuff is no longer of any use to me. And as a defense mechanism, it sucks. There is no one now who can hurt me, no one who will use my emotions against me, and no one who can take away the things - the people - that I love. As a child, I was trapped. I couldn’t get away from my mother’s husbands or from the bullies at school. Now, as an adult, I have the power to excise those kinds of people from my life. Like the Goblin King (from the movie Labyrinth), they have no power over me.

I don’t need pain or numbness to blunt my emotions any longer. I don’t need to hide my fears, my anger, my pain, or even my joy. I don’t need to hide in the shower to cry anymore. There is no one left to hurt me - I have left them all behind.

All I will allow in my life are people who love me. I deserve that.


I THOUGHT that I deserved this pain, but I don’t. 
I deserve good things as much as anyone else. 
I give myself permission to ENJOY. 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Sunday Brunch: The Help

Wow, so many people really dislike The Help because it was written by a little white gal in stereotypical black vernacular while none of the white girls spoke in typical southern vernacular. They accuse her of trying to write the next great southern novel of racism, and failing miserably.

Just set all that aside, I think. This is a novel from a white girl, raised in a certain way in the south, left with some unresolved feelings about that childhood, which she chose to explore through fiction. It's just that and nothing more, but engaging and pretty good for all that. No, the dialog isn't perfect. The black women talk like she remembers black women talking and - surprise! - the white women don't have accents because the author talks like that (or at least, once did) and everyone knows that *we all* don't have an accent but *ya'll* do.

Also, I didn't get the impression that the book (or even the movie) was all about "the white woman saves the day again." Skeeter faded out of importance very quickly for me, other than an occasional reminder that she was the one typing up the manuscript. The real story was about Aibileen and Minnie - their lives and the real danger they were in for sharing their stories. Skeeter might have gotten the ball rolling, but she wouldn't have had a story at all if not for Aibileen. Skeeter was just there as a way to connect the real author and the novel with white readers. Did you ever see this many white women running around carrying The Color Purple and forcing all of their friends to read it?

I enjoyed this book immensely. It kept me up late at night, it transported me to another place and time, and made me care about the people there. It did what it was supposed to do - provided an escape - what more can you ask of popular fiction?

Caturday: Super Late Monday Edition!