Sunday, October 2, 2011

Let's Talk

So, remember, way back when, when I started a blog, then promptly stopped writing in it? Yeah, about that.

Anyways, I guess I felt like I had exposed so much of myself, at such a fast pace, that I needed to slow down. Which then translated into stopping.

Also? I might have ran out of things to write about.

So fast forward to three and a half months ago. Following my very specific and controlled life plan, I got pregnant. YAY! I had visions of healthy eating, minimal weight gain, drama free pregnancy that included working out until the day I gave birth, and looking super hot while doing it.

Have I mentioned that I like to be in control? And there might be something about unrealistic expectations mixed in there too, but whatever. I was going to have the most perfect, healthy pregnancy ever in the history of the world. No carbs! No sugar! Meat and veggies and exercise and PERFECT.

So, yeah. Let's begin at 4 weeks 4 days pregnant. For those of you who don't know, the first two weeks of pregnancy you're not even pregnant. They are freebies. The next two weeks, you're "pregnant," but you don't even know it yet. Then, you miss your month visit from Aunt Flo and BAM! You're pregnant, you know it, and the rainbows and unicorns unite into a field of happiness and minimal weight gain.

So, ANYWAY, back to me at 4 weeks 4 days pregnant. I had know at this point for exactly 4 days. I hadn't told a single soul, except my hubby, obvi. Everything is going perfectly, just as I had imagined. I hadn't even gained any weight yet! This pregnancy was PERFECT.

Then I started bleeding.

It was a lot. I wouldn't even call it bleeding. Technically it's called "spotting," but, in truth, it's blood and it's scary as hell. But, I remain calm. It's just a little bit. It will go away. I think it's less than last time I checked. It can't be anything bad. So I mostly ignored it.

Then I started cramping.

Oh crap.  So off to the hospital we went, and many, MANY hours later we found out that everything was "probably" okay, and that I should follow up with my OB/GYN ASAP. So I did. He said "All we can do is cross our fingers. You need to stop all heavy lifting and doing anything stressful."

Um, what?

Am I still pregnant? Is everything okay? Come back in a week, he said, we'll know better then.

So, for a week, I did very little. I went for walks drank lots of water, and prayed. The day before my appointment, it happened again. My blood work came back fine, but again, my doctor said no heavy lifting or doing anything that would stress my body out.

So now I'm two weeks out of exercising, but at least I'm still eating healthy, right? So it can't be too bad. As long as the baby is okay. Well, baby made it's presence know at 6 weeks 4 days (something about that plus 4 might really click in there!), when I began puking my brains out.

I was overcome with a sudden urge to puke constantly. CONSTANTLY. If I wasn't puking, I was thinking about puking. I also was constantly tired and yet, unable to sleep because of the constant urge to puke. The weirdest part? My doctor said these were good signs. Um, yay?

So I tried. I really did try to eat healthy. I choked down some eggs, only to promtly puke them up. Finally, I gave in. Dry crackers might help? Fine. FINE. I try it. Gatorade might stay down longer then plain water? Please, PLEASE let it help, because I'm so dehydrated! After about a week and a half of sustaining on nothing but cereal, crackers and ginger ale, tacos sounded appetizing. TACOS? Whatever, I haven't had protein in longer then I'd like to admit, I'll try it.

And to my surprise? They stayed down. I slowly added in a few more things, some to VERY bad results, but most to moderately okay results. But paleo? Healthy all the time? Certainly not. But at least now I can try.

The spotting continued though, and so exercise became sporadic at best. I try walking, I tried rowing, I tried kettlebells. But everytime I started, something knocked me on my feet again.

BUT, fast forward to now. I'm 14 weeks 4 days pregnant and out of the "red zone" where a lot of the risks of miscarriage lie. The baby has a healthy heartbeat, and so far everything looks good! And finally, FINALLY I'm feeling good again!

What that has meant though, is that I'm constantly hungry now. Sigh. I went from keeping nothing down and being secretly excited that I wasn't gaining weight to gaining 8 pounds out of nowhere. And of course freaking out about it. I don't look pregnant. I look fat. Excercise is still sporadic because I'm still so tired and work as been nutty, and I have a hard time being healthy all the time. I'm not paleo, I've added back gluten and whatnot, but still pretty healthy Monday to Friday. But then the weekend comes and all I want is mac 'n cheese and french fries. Which is not healthy for me OR the baby.

This has been a major rollercoaster. How do I come to terms with gaining weight, not eating 100% healthy all the time and sporadic exercise? And the thought that it will only get worse once the baby comes scares me too. This whole thing scares me. Disorder eating and pregnancy is not an easy road.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tiger Blood

Why do we judge each other?

Why is it, no matter how far we've come, or how much we've accomplished, or what we've overcome, we still will judge each other? We like to pretend that we, as a society, celebrate accomplishments. But even award shows are really just an opportunity to judge what everyone wore.

I hate to say it, but I think women are even worse than men, at times. Or maybe we are just more open about it. There's a reason "Oh Honey, NO" is a catchphrase. There are dozens of shows on television based only on judging other's clothing, or looks, or decisions.

I'm an attitude judger, mostly. "What's up her butt?" and "Who does she think she is?" are common thoughts in my head. But I'm not immune to judging clothing either; or weight gain; or life choices.

Life Choices = Awesome
Of course, my judgement of others is simply a defensive mechanism. I judge others so that they don't judge me. I'm terrified of other people judging me first, so I knock them off their higher position before they can look down on me.

As a teacher, I am constantly being judged by my students. You try standing in front of 34 high school freshman and then try and tell me you're not being judged. My clothing, makeup, shoes, hair, even my personal hygiene are under constant attack. It can be hard to break down the defenses and allow others in.

In class yesterday my students began a project where they will create a visual representation of themselves using text, pictures and graphic design. I created my own version, which included working out. After seeing my example, one of my students yelled out "Then why are you fat?"

I've never felt a stronger urge to binge and purge in my life. This was not the Do NOT Eat Urge, or the Excercise for Hours Urge. Nope. This was the Evacuate My Lunch Urge.

He's just a kid, I told myself. He has no idea about my issues, or what his statements do to me and my Disordered Eating. He simply wanted to call attention to himself and prove his worth to others. He wanted to knock me down, judge me first, so we wouldn't notice his faults, I told myself.

Sound familiar?

Judgment is often just looking in a mirror. We see ourselves in others, and we don't like what we see. So we protect ourselves, put them down before they can look back into that same mirror and judge us first.

Today I'm going to try and put that mirror away. I want to see others for who they are, not for what I see of myself in them.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Let's Pretend I Know What I'm Talking About

I've had a few requests to talk about relationships. Apparently being in two long relationships in my entire life makes me an expert? Not even a little bit. But I do happen to have a pretty awesome marriage, so whatever, I'll write about it. It's my blog, right? I'll do what I want to.

Great relationships celebrate the little things. Like white wine.
The hubby and I have been together a little while. Eleven years sounds like a long time. And I guess it is. But it hasn't felt like it. We are in no way perfect. Not even a little bit. And every relationship is made up of different elements and different people and different needs and different wants, etc. In other words, everyone is different. What works for us might not work for you. But whatever, you asked, so I will tell.

Here's what works for us:
1. We are best friends. Sure, he's my husband, and before that my boyfriend, but above all else, we are best friends. All those things you do with your best friends? We do them. Eight hours of sitting on the couch playing Super Mario Bros? Check. Wrestling for the last chicken wing? Check. Dancing in our living room wearing huge sunglasses while listening to Justin Bieber? Check.  Atomic Wedgies? Check.

2. We don't define ourselves by our relationship. This is a tricky one, especially for us, because we meet when we were so young. It is very easy to get caught up in the "relationship" aspect of being with someone. "Me" becomes "We" very easily. I fully admit that I agree with my husband on a lot of things, and I like hanging out with him a lot more than hanging out without him, but we also have our own lives.

3. Despite being our own people, we are also a team. I know I can handle something on my own, but I also know I don't have to. If you cannot rely on your husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend to help you out, then what's the point? In turn, be someone they can rely on too.

4. We laugh at ourselves constantly. Dude, don't take yourself so seriously. You're probably a really big dork, and no one should know that better than your spouse. Tease them, let them tease you. You only live once. Why so serious?

"You are a big dork." "Yeah, but so are you."

5. Sit on the couch, say nothing to each other, and watch a bad movie. Relationships have to move into reality at some point; it can't be constant communication and love and kissing and blah blah blah. Eventually you have to sit in silence and just enjoy a really bad movie together. That level of comfort is awesome.

6. You know those five hour marathon talks you have at the beginning of a relationship? Every once in a while, move beyond the "how was your day, did you pick up the milk, what's for dinner, did you start the laundry, where's my shirt, want to go to the gym?" and have a marathon talk. Even if it's about nothing all that important, spend a solid afternoon just talking every once in a while.

1/2 Marathon Mania

As I mentioned earlier, I'm running a 1/2 marathon in May. Probably a better way to describe it is I will be attempting not to die as I crawl over the finish line, hopefully before the course closes after 3 hours.

I'm not so much with the running. I decided to run because it has always haunted me. Swimming, no big deal. Biking, sure, no problem. Running? Good God, NOT RUNNING!

The first week of my training went really well. I ran three miles at a time, which took me around 30 minutes. I was feeling good. Running? I think I can handle it.

Then the first "long" run came around. I say "long" because it was only supposed to be 4 miles. But I had never run longer than three miles. EVER. In my life.

But whatever, I had run three miles. What was one more?

So I set off. I had no real plan, I just figured I would run for an extra 15 minutes than I normally ran because in my brain, that made sense. I normally run about a ten minute mile, so I figured 15 minutes extra would probably add about another mile.

Not having a plan was not a good plan. I sort of just randomly ran through a bunch of neighborhoods, up a few hills, around some new corners, etc. I noticed I was getting closer to home then I should have been at only 30 minutes into the run, so I made a right instead of a left, crossed the street ahead of a car, noticed some random kids in a park and ran faster so I didn't look like a chubby girl running with no purpose.

Then I finally looked around. I had no idea where I was. None. I had never been in this neighborhood before, and nothing looked familiar. I could have been on Mars. Well, crap. Now what? I couldn't just turn around. No, of course not. What if those kids saw me? What if someone looked out of their window and saw me pass in front of their house twice in the last ten minutes? The entire town would clearly notice and obviously make fun of me. (I might not have been thinking clearly at this point. Running does that to me)

So, in the grand tradition of being lost, I just continued forward on the wrong path. This street must cut through straight to my house, right? Every road eventually reaches a place I know, right? Turning around is a sign of weakness!

So I ran. And ran. AND RAN. I saw the water tower that I can see from my house, and ran towards that. I eventually hit the train tracks, and decided that there MUST be a place to cut across. There wasn't. I finally came to an apartment complex that looked vaguely familiar, so I ran towards that. Apparently that apartment complex hates runners, because the entire parameter is fenced in. I now know that, because I ran around the entire thing. Then exited out the same way I came in.

I had never ran this long before. Not even close. "I'm WAY over the four miles I was supposed to do today," I thought. "I'm going to die. If I lay down in the middle of the street, will someone call 911 for me? Because, seriously, I might die. I hate running. I hate this neighborhood. I hate every person who is walking their dog and smiling at me as I wheeze and stumble past them."

Finally, FINALLY I came back to the street where I took that wrong turn. I have never seen a more beautiful street sign in my life. I traced my steps back to my house, tail between my very sore legs.

I sat on my front porch, exhausted. I couldn't believe I had just run that much. "Getting lost sucked," I thought. "But at least I know now I can run more than 4 miles!" I woke up the next morning wanting to die. My calves were on fire. My knees were achy. I just wanted to sit and do nothing. But I was satisfied that I had done it.

I figured I should probably find out exactly how much I had ran, so I could brag correctly at work the next day. "Oh, I ran 6 miles this weekend. No big deal." I couldn't wait to tell everyone that I had gone above and beyond my training schedule and that this marathon was going to be my bitch come May. So got in my car and drove the route.

Exactly 4 miles.

This marathon is going to suck.

Put him on the Shelf

Though he denies it, I have a trophy husband.

But I have proof:

Example A
There are some differences between us, most noticeably our looks. He's 6'5", I'm 5'1". He has "abz." I do not. Super toned, adorable face, pretty eyes. Quiet, confident and controlled. Pretty much everything I'm not. Especially the quiet part.

I'm loud, obnoxious, demanding and pushy. I'm not one to step down, ever, from a fight. A few people at my CF have started calling me The Pitbull. Which, of course, is horribly embarrassing. I've always wanted to be The Swan. Or The Butterfly. The Pitbull? Seriously?

Part of me is proud to have landed a super hot guy out of my league, and part of me is hyper conscious of our differences and what people must think when they look at us.

Our entire 11 year relationship has been pretty amazing. We've never had any big issues and have never broken up. But every once in a while Jealously rears it's ugly head, and I feel horribly inadequate.

I mean, it's really not even fair.
Of course, he thinks this whole thing is crazy (not to mention embarrassing. Whatever, I've got to level the playing field somehow.). He thinks we are equals, in the same league, blah blah blah. I'm not blind. But I guess it's better than him thinking he's better than me.

In some ways I guess it's a compliment to me. Women constantly flirt with him. CON.STANT.LY. Literally right in front of me. For the most part I just sit back and let it happen because I know he loves me. But it's still annoying sometimes to be the chubby girl who landed the super cute husband.

But I've decided that there must be SOMETHING about me that he finds attractive. Maybe he likes pitbulls? Whatever it is, I'm going to embrace it. I'm tired of apologizing for having an awesome husband.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Coming in Last

Why do we put ourselves last?

Actually, I think the real question here is: Is last place the worst place?

I will often panic during competitions when I think I might come in last. I will fight and claw my way to any other position OTHER than last. Second to last? Fine. As long as I'm not DEAD LAST.

Last January my workplace had a Biggest Loser competition. Perfect place for a girl with Disordered Eating, right? Apparently I thought so too, because I was first in line to hand in my entry money.

"Weight loss competition? I got it. Please. These people are amatuers. I've been dieting since I was eight! Not a problem." So I handed in my money and got excited for the first weigh in. "This might be fun," I thought. "I'll happily take my coworker's money."

Week One came. Everyone weighed in privately with a non competing coworker, who recorded the weights and was going to let us know who was in the lead. Everything was private, and I didn't really have any concerns. After all, even if I didn't win, it's not like everyone would know if I came in last, right?

Wow. I couldn't have been more wrong. Next day I walk into the Teacher's Lounge and hanging on the wall is a 3' by 2' POSTER with every one's results. HOLY. CRAP. It had a space for the entire 8 weeks of the competition, so every week everyone would be able to see who had lost weight, who had gained, and who had stayed the same.

Also? Who was in last place.

I guess it could have been worse.

I actually won the first week. Like I said, professional dieter over here. Need me to not eat for a week? No problem. But sustain it? For eight weeks? Not gonna happen. Add the pressure of not coming in last place? I don't think I could DESIGN a more perfect storm of binge eating and excess stressing.

Weeks Two and Three came. I stayed the same, not a single ounce lost. Everyone else was making good progress towards their goal, and I sitting in a corner in the fetal position, messing up any chance I had at winning because I was so worried about coming in last.

Week Four. I gained a pound. And guess what? DEAD. LAST.

Over the next four weeks of the competition I stressed out and exercised myself into exhaustion. I didn't think I had a chance to win, but I just didn't want to end up in last place. ANYTHING but last place. Ended up second to last, with a five pound weight loss and a loose grip on reality.

I made myself sick just so I wouldn't be at the bottom of the barrel. Why? Why is coming in last the worst possible place to be?

Mr. Muggles doesn't think so.

At Crossfit, I'll look at the Whiteboard at the beginning, middle and end of a workout, just so I can estimate where I'll end up compared to everyone else. If I sense it's going to be last, I panic. I'll whine. I'll push. And if there's no chance? I'll give up. Because apparently just getting a good workout isn't enough. Nope, I need to not be in that last position. Nothing else is good enough.

I often walk into a room and look around. Am I the fattest one here? The ugliest? The dumbest? Why must I compare myself to others for self worth? Why do I have to be "better" than someone in order to be "better" in my own mind? Why can't I just be my best ME, regardless of anyone else?

Who cares if I'm dead last? I'm still first in my own race.

Disordered Eating

Let's just get this out of the way:

I have an eating disorder.

I have never actually said that to anyone other than a therapist before. My husband is aware of it, of course, but I'm not even sure he's aware of the extent of damage.

More specifially, I have Disordered Eating. My therapist once told me that an Eating Disorder is a diagnosis, which people assume can be cured, where as Disordered Eating is a journey that needs to be constantly monitored. I have ranged from anorexic, to bulemic, to binge eating, to obsessiveness about where my food came from and whether or not it met an impossible standard of health, to a complete disregard to anything health related as my "rebellion."

My Disordered Eating is my earliest memory. It was Christmas, and I was maybe 4 or 5. I was wearing a red plaid dress, and eating potato chips non stop. We never, NEVER got potato chips at home, and this was an unbelievable treat for me. I was unable to stop. Literally. I ate and ate and ate and ate the entire day. My Mom told me to stop eating so much, so I proceeded to hide the fact that I was eating anything unhealthy from her for the next ten years. (I guess I tend to be extreme when it comes to eating) I ate potato chips until I threw up that day, and discovered the release that came from the binge and purge. Thus the dangerous cycle began.

My sister on the left, me on the right

My first diet was at eight. Despite my first experience of the binge and purge, I was unable to control the purge (that came later), so I was stuck with the binge. There was a certain comfort in eating until I was uncomfortable. Obviously, I was overweight. My best friend, Nikki, was one of the gorgeous, tan, bubbly girls who being thin and graceful came naturally. I was chubby, had super short hair, and liked to punch boys on the playground. We practically invented the word Frenemies. Of course, it was really only my issue. She was nice, I was the jerk who couldn't stop eating and hated myself for it. At eight years old.

The face of a boy puncher in the making.

So I went on a diet with my Mom. She also has Disordered Eating, fed by an even more Disordered Marriage, and was willing to try and help my habits by addressing the effect rather than the cause. I lost weight, and was secretly wishing my entire life would be different because of it, while still unsure why I thought that. I mean, I was eight. How bad was my life anyways? But I remember thinking, "Great, now everyone will like me better!" Instead, Nikki's mom came up to me after Coffee and Donuts at church one day (where I had just had a 30 minute debate with myself about eating a powdered donut or not) and asked me if I had lost weight.

I was mortified. Terrified. Beyond embarrassed. Everyone was supposed to like me better now, but no one was supposed to know WHY. No one was supposed to notice that I had been chubby in the first place! If they now noticed I was thinner, that meant they had noticed I was fat in the first place! I immediately went home and binged on Oreos. I need the comfort that came from being uncomfortably full. It was my punishment for trying to better myself.

Throughout High School and College I ranged from not eating in front of certain people, to binge eating in my basement, to binge eating in public to prove "that I could." I was unable to disconnect who I was from what I ate, and my self worth was based on how much I weighed and how much control I had over food.

Me and the Hubby our Freshman year of college.

Generally my Disordered Eating was of the binge and occassional purge variety, which led me to be chubby throughout my life. Then my parents announced they were getting divorced when I was 21. I was shocked. During my parents divorce, something changed. I was unable to control anything else in my life except my eating, so I took it to an extreme (surprise, surprise) and just stopped eating. I sustained myself for three years on a single bagel with peanut butter every other day. It was the only time in my life I was happy with my weight. Too bad I was so unhappy with everything else.

As things got better with my family, I lost control of my eating again, and gained weight again. I was even a failure at eating disorders, apparently.

That cycle continues to this day. I have had so many episodes of self punishment I can't even begin to outline them here. Every event in my life, good, bad, whatever, is connected in my mind to food and my weight. What did I eat that day? What did I weigh?

I was 134 lbs on my wedding day, and had an egg and cheese sandwich from Dunkin Donuts while getting my hair done. Ate just about nothing for the rest of the day, though I actually think thats pretty normal.

First day of college I was 152 lbs and ate NOTHING, because I was determined to not be the fat girl who ate too much.

Parents divorce? Thinnest I've ever been in my life, 119 lbs, ate a bagel with peanut butter every other day and not much else. 

First CF party? 139 lbs, was drunk, and a few fellow CFers jokingly convinced me that I had eaten a bite of pizza, so I threw up in the bathroom. That was in November of this past year, but I mostly have had control of that aspect of my life since August, other than that one incident.

The point is not how much I weighed, or that I remember what I ate. It's that it's not a healthy relationship with food. It's full of emotion and guilt and punishment. It's not an enjoyment, even when I'm enjoying the food. And I DO enjoy food. Hence, the Disordered Eating part, not the Eating Disorder. I cannot be cured, but this whole thing CAN be managed.

Friends and family keep me sane throughout.

I'd like to say that CF and Paleo have saved my life, and that I've been able to get full control of everything else, etc. But, that would be a lie. It's probably what I could make you believe. I've convinced people my whole life that I'm fine. My husband, love him though I do, often will tell me to "Just stop eating the chocolate, Babe. You can do it!" His encouragment, though well intended, simplifies the disorder.

 I've actually convinced myself at times that I don't have a problem because I'm not skinny. "Only skinny people have eating disorders!" Paleo and CF became my latest obsession; the newest, coolest way for me to punish myself. "Is that Paleo? Can I have that? OMG, NOT PALEO? I'm not eating it. OMG, I ATE SOMETHING THAT WASN'T PALEO? I'M A FAILURE."

But, I'm not. I'm on a journey, with stumbles and bumps in the road. I'm not even remotely close to perfect. I will never be. My goal for the year is to finally accept this. And be a little more open and honest about my Disordered Eating.