Game of Life…

0acb2bdd8b9687e21a0f4984aeefcc19Ok, I have been distracting myself from writing this post for some time now and it is time to step off the hamster wheel. Yes…. I have not written for a few days now, no I did not completely fall off the wagon of eating, despite brain’s attempt to make me believe I am a lost cause lol.

Life happened and I am using every tool I am learning to work my way through the emotions of this game. I took a short solo trip over to the Island to get a tattoo, I was out of routine, I didn’t plan accordingly or ahead, however you’d like to look at it. I found myself getting quite frustrated until I realized that this is what happens. I spend so much time trying to plan things out, account for ever detail that I miss the beauty that is around me. I ate when I was hungry, I looked around for healthier options and despite there being a 7-11 store outside my hotel and my deep love of those giant sour keys, I didn’t go through that door. I wandered around Victoria and enjoyed what a crazy beautiful city it is. Despite my best attempt, I didn’t manage to hit my goal of 15,000 steps on my Fitbit, but it is on my target list for this week! I also managed to sit through 3.5 hrs of pure pain while my spine was tattooed!

I find that I have to keep reminding myself that it isn’t about doing it perfectly. Nothing I, or anyone, does in life is ever going to be perfect, despite what society tells me, or us, it should look like. Am I trying my best? At the end of the day can I put my hand over my heart and say, “I did everything I could and I am happy with that.” That is my goal. If I can’t then what can I do differently next time, what can I learn. It is so easy to get wrapped up in what society thinks I should be doing, or what my friends or family think I should be doing, that sometimes I lose what I want to do.

In my mind I had it that fighting for myself was just about fighting for my health, making that the priority, but I am discovering that it is so much more than that. I am fighting for my life and what I want from it. I have spent so much time just….existing. Sometimes it feels like I am waking up for the first time, speaking my voice and figuring out what I want in this life of mine. It is both a terrifying and exciting feeling.

Fat 2.0…

PhotoWowie….wow….wow….

I have some sore legs this morning! I headed to the gym after getting my vote on yesterday and I amazed myself with my ability to do 1000m on the rowing machine. This was after 45 mins on the elliptical and a few other full body exercises. I loathe the rowing machine, that is why I am forcing myself to spend some time on it. A few months back I attempted 1000 meters on the rowing machine and gave up at the 10 min mark. Yesterday I finished 1000 meters in 8 mins and 37 seconds. Now, I am not heading to the Olympics or anything, but it was a great moment for me. Now the goal is to improve on that. I also cleared 14,000 steps on the ol’ Fitbit. My goal is to crack 15,000 before the weekend in over. I have not cracked 15,000 steps in over 8 months, so it is going to happen!

I am not weighing in at Weight Watchers this Saturday because I am heading out of town for the night. Want to know how the week normally goes when I know that I am not weighing in? It tends to go a bit sideways. I am not as strict with tracking what I am eating so points tend to go higher than normal. I don’t hold myself as accountable as I would if I was weighing in. Want to know how this week is currently going? The polar and complete opposite of that. That moment when you realize that the only one you are hurting is yourself. The lady who writes down the number in the little book, isn’t attached to whether it goes up or down. The fluctuation of that number is only a gage of the activities I have been participating in and I am the only one that is attached to what that number is. Being attached to the number is something I think I may always struggle with, to some degree. I have to keep reminding myself that even if I have a great week and the number goes up, there are so many reasons why and it isn’t a sign of failure. I just need to keep my focus on the habits, break the binge eating cycles, focus on exercise and don’t worry so much about what the number on the scale says because it will follow.

I also wanted to touch base on my use of the word “fat.” For a couple weeks now, I have been using that word more. We were adjusting our chairs, for ergonomics, in the office the other day and I said “These chairs are not fat girl friendly, booty be damned!” The look of horror on my co-worker’s face. I asked her what was wrong and I got the typical response. I smiled and shared with her that fat is just a word that I am trying to take away the stigma for myself. It is a descriptive word that carries a lot of weight and meaning for a lot of people, but for myself…. Yes, I have fat, but I also have hair, teeth and toes…doesn’t have any bearing on the kind of person I am or weather or not I think I am beautiful. I still struggle with it, when you are walking down the road and someone makes a comment or your dating pool becomes infinitely smaller because you live in a city where the focus is more on how your behind looks in a pair of Lululemon pants versus your personality and character. But…..I am getting better and better with the word and the definition of that word for me.

Mindfulness…

PhotoWell….today you get another 2 for deal!

The last two days has been an exhausting …literally. I do not know what is going on, but sleep is all I have wanted. I got 7 hours of sleep Sunday night and it was all I could do to keep my eyes open yesterday. Then I did something I swore I would NEVER DO…I fell asleep on public transit, I couldn’t help it. I sat down and then next thing I know I am opening my eyes and the bus is pulling into the Skytrain station. Then last night I was snuggled in my bed and asleep by 8:30PM. Even this morning I am still feeling a little sleepy. However, today I feel more alert that I did yesterday. I am not certain what is going on, but I am listening carefully.

I had one of those really great Sunday’s where you do just what you need to do, like laundry and a little cleaning. Then the rest of the day was spent doing things that I wanted to do. Had breakfast with one of the besties, went for a walk, took a nap, did a little writing, some reading, some meal prep for the week, painted my nails and dealt with an eyebrow situation. I was calling it Self-Care Sunday and it was delightful.

For about ten minutes Sunday evening I felt a little guilty about what I had eaten and that I wasn’t tracking. When I realized any thing I had eaten wasn’t done out of avoiding a feeling or trying to escape something. I ate it because it was freaking tasty and I enjoyed eating it. I didn’t binge eat or over eat and I realized that for the first time in a very long time, I had an entire day where I ate mindfully. It was a unique experience for me and it made me smile.

Yesterday was a typical Monday at work, always busy. I was on point with my eating, which included a sandwich from Subway and even a little bag of chips. That is one of the things I love about Weight Watchers. You can eat whatever you want, never leaving yourself feeling deprived or like there are foods that are “off limits.” It all boils down to choices, moderation and balance.

Today I am returning to the gym after I do one very important task…..VOTE!

Ugh…

9c1ba1181d4be272404ae56f16dfb53bOk, no one said that this journey was going to be all spring flowers and rainbows, but yesterday was one of “those days.” Life was definitely lifing. It was fire after fire, this person needed this, that person needed that and they needed it yesterday, because it happened the night before and they didn’t tell anyone till last minute….UGH! I start work at 6:45am and normally finish at 4:15pm and then tack on a 90 min commute each way….yes, you read that right, an HOUR AND A HALF and already I have some long days. Yesterday I didn’t leave till after 5, got home just after 7pm…you can do the math for how long I had till I had to go to bed, to get at least 7 hours before getting up and leaving for work again.

I was starving by the time I left work because I hadn’t planned food for staying that late. By the time I was on the Skytrain for the last stretch of my journey, I was cranky and all I wanted was food to stuff my face before climbing into bed. I was standing at the stop and there is an A&W right there, I could smell those french fries…..ugh “not going to make me feel better” was the thought that I had. So, I made my way home where I promptly had a salad with some chicken. As I sat on the couch all I was experiencing was frustration and disappointed that I didn’t get to do yoga. As I flipped through social media for a few minutes before bed, my disappointment turned to pride. I had controlled the things I could, the big one, being food. As someone that is and has been an emotional eater, I stuff emotions, I don’t experience them. I didn’t grab the fast food, or indigestion inducing protein bar, I went for the salad.

I keep having these old cliché sayings run through my head “Rome wasn’t built in a day” or “You got to learn to walk before you can run.” I have to keep reminding myself that I am not going to be perfect 100% of the time. This isn’t about perfection, this is about learning, growing, embracing and loving.

Let’s see what today brings….

It’s Not Easy…

2014_rosie_the_riveter_flexing_her_arm_muscles_we_can_do_itWOW! This is the only word that I can think of to describe this past week and a bit.

Last week I climbed into a taxi at 6:30am Sunday morning experiencing a level of pain I thought was going to kill me. I had gotten zero sleep the night before and no amount of Tylenol or Ibuprofen would touch the pain. The taxi driver was so sweet, he helped me walk into the ER at Royal Columbian Hospital where I spent the next 5 days high on a lot of pain medication and antibiotics, waiting for the surgery to have my gallbladder removed. To give you  a bit more perspective on the pain….I was in a room with 3 other people and talking with a lady who just had HER SPINE operated on and has given birth to 5 children said ” I would rather give birth, with no drugs, again or have this spine surgery a million more times than go through my gallbladder again.”

I was discharged late Thursday afternoon, with my irritated organ still intact. I was not allowed to eat or drink ANYTHING from the minute I walked through the ER doors till Thursday morning when the decision was made to release me and schedule the surgery for a later date. That’s what happens when you are placed on the emergency general surgery list. Nothing to eat or drink because you can go into surgery at any moment. I kept getting bumped. Wanna know what happens when you put a fat girl in the hospital, where a majority of humans are at their most vulnerable and take away food, her one comfort…. She discovers a new layer of strength she never knew she had.

There were days that I laid in that bed and just cried. The nurse would come in and ask me what was wrong and I would look at her and just say “I’m feeling overwhelmed, scared, frustrated, sad, etc” Whatever emotion was there I would say it. There was nothing they could do to help me, it was like an unintended session of extreme Exposure Therapy…..but I survived. I survived one of the most painful experiences of my life. I learnt that people that I previously would have bet money on coming to visit, didn’t and won’t. Also, people that you didn’t think would notice, call or text you everyday or they start calling every hospital till they find you once they find out you are in the hospital.

I learnt that I am one helluva strong woman that is loved, cared for and appreciated. Sitting on my bed just now reflecting on the past week and all of a sudden feeling that strength run through me, it made me smile.  It made me happy.

Our Parents…

My DadI was having a conversation yesterday regarding parents and our struggles with them.  I was compelled to write this….because I….feel like this is a topic that carries a lot of shame and embarrassment.

My father passed away last year. For most of my life he was absent. He lived with us, he and my mom shared a bed, we all had dinner together, but for the most part he went to work, came home, had dinner, drank a few beers, slept on the floor before climbing into bed. My father was an alcoholic. He was never violent or mean, he was just absent. He was never at soccer games, parent/teacher interviews or school functions. He dealt with his demons the best way that he knew how…he drank. He didn’t have the easiest childhood, but that was how he chose to deal with life, he drank and it is ultimately what killed him. He was deceased for approximately 5 days before he was found. He hit his head, and because his blood was so thin and his body was in the last stages of shut down, from the drinking, he bled out.

Over the years both mine and my brother’s relationship was up and down with my father until we both finally got one very important thing. My father’s drinking had NOTHING to do with how much he loved us. He drank to cope with life. He was a grown man capable of making his own decisions. He didn’t need me to save him, he just needed me to love him no matter what, and I did. I set boundaries, so did my brother. Towards the end of his time it was really bad, he was drinking from morning to night. He tried to drink away his demons and he couldn’t, but I loved him regardless. It took me a long time to forgive him and I miss him every day. I struggle with anger at times, “Why couldn’t he see all the great things he had going for him?” “Why was he so blind to all the love?” But it was his choice. Whenever someone would ask me about my dad I would get embarrassed, change the subject and I had a lot of shame around having a father that couldn’t stop drinking long enough to sit through my high school graduation. Now I can talk about how much I love my dad and how there are parts of me that are so much like him…I am my father’s daughter in quite a few areas.

Why am I telling you all of this? I have had a few friends confide in me their struggles with a parent that drinks and here was what I can say. Their issues and abuse of alcohol or drugs, has NOTHING to do with you. They are not doing it because you were bad, or you didn’t love them enough, or you didn’t tell them enough. The drink or take those drugs because they don’t know how to cope with life, with their reality. THEY LOVE YOU! No matter what, their love for you is there and unwavering. You may not be ready to hear that yet, but get there before it is too late. My father and I had some really great conversations in the last couple years when I finally got that and I could let go of my anger towards him.

If you are reading this and you are the person that is drinking, taking drugs, or maybe a combination of both. I get it. In your mind your reality is so messed up that it is the only way you know how to cope, how to escape from having to deal.  Your children love you, despite the words that are coming out of their mouth, they love you. They are just angry with the decisions you are making. They can see it, but are having difficulty understanding it. Sit down with them, share with them your reality and as a family let them support you to get well.  If you don’t want to change, let them know, but be prepared to deal with the fall out and that they may not be able to be in your life. Everyone has boundaries, we had set them with my father and your family may have to set them with you.

Carrying around all the anger will do no one any good. Let it go and enjoy what life has to offer, don’t waste it because you never know when it will be gone.