Random Thoughts of a Disordered Mind


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I’m Not in a Very Good Place Now

Buddha on the rocksIt’s been hard for me to read most of the weight/diet/exercise blogs these last few weeks.  Although you are all writing about yourselves and your own lives, I read and feel judged and lacking – and realized today that it was because (duh) I was judging myself against your successes and ripping myself up inside for not measuring up.

I am morbidly obese.  I’ve gained and lost pounds so many times and am just so sad that I’ve gained back enough that I finally gave away four winter coats in smaller sizes – so that other people can stay warm and so there’s room in the closet for something that covers me.  My knees are bad and I drink too much diet soda.  I don’t exercise as much as I should.  I’m in reasonably good health, all things considered, but it could be better.  I don’t expect to live as long as the thin women my age, and frankly, that’s okay with me; but I want the kitty to be cared for, so that’s a motivator to take care of myself.

I’m not saying this because I want your pity, your sympathy, or most especially your advice.  I could write the book on how to lose weight because I’ve lost it so many times.  I just haven’t found the *click* inside that lets me keep it off.  I hold myself to ridiculously high standards of perfection that set me up to fail, then feed myself comfort food to feel better.  Yes, counseling is a good idea.  I know it, and you’ve told me a dozen times.  Please don’t tell me again; we’ll consider that advice already given.

My Christmas trip to visit family, which should bring joy, has me tied up in knots.  I know we’ll have the Weight Conversation, the Diet Conversation, the Health Conversation, and of course the Church Conversation – and, given the election results, probably the Political Conversation.  The morbidly obese non-churchgoing liberal Democrat is on her way, crying inside that the people who most understand me aren’t related to me and won’t be part of my celebration.

But it’s not just about me.  Christmas is about family and tradition and being there for them in their lives, even if being there stresses me out.  I can deal with it for a week and come home to my small world, my routine, my solitary-ness, my kitty.

I’m a good person, a good friend, an excellent librarian, a loving cat-mama.  I’m smart enough to work at Yale and if I’m old enough to belong to AARP, I’m old enough to make my own choices.  I just need to own them.

I don’t want to diet. I want to eat sensibly in moderation, to enjoy a variety of food, to ease the stress on my knees, to be comfortable in my body and with myself.  That may be mutually exclusive.  All I can do is try and take things one small step at a time.

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My Clothes are Hopeless

Much as it pains me to admit, I’m back to wearing fat girl clothes, mostly badly fitting pants, big shirts and non-clingy sweaters. I don’t have any real idea of what fits and what doesn’t, other than that the pants are looking ridiculous.  The ones that more or less fit me looked like clown pants by the time I got home.

It’s discouraging to be very round and short, with a hanging belly that puts my waist lower in front than in the back – because that means that pants with zippers just do not work.  Given that, finding pants that are comfortable but still look even moderately appropriate has been impossible.

I’m too big right now to fit into the things I wore last year, and haven’t been able to find things that I could actually wear out of the store.  So I’m shopping mostly online, waiting until packages arrive to try things on and then returning the things that don’t fit. I don’t want to spend a lot of money to get clothes in my bigger size, even if I can find them.  But I do need some pants that don’t make me look or feel stupid.  And hopefully that will be even warm, because the colder mornings are upon us and winter is just around the corner.

The problem is that most if it fits weirdly.  Even I know that clown pants are not in for the well dressed librarian.  I can’t bear to have things be tight on me because I feel fatter, but I also know that loose clothing makes you look bigger than you are.  It’s a conundrum.

But I don’t know how to find a look that will work; the best I can do is get good pieces, usually sweaters that “float away from the body at the hips” — which is a lot easier to describe than it is to find when you are in the really big sizes.

I’ve watched Stacy and Clinton for years and see them pull outfits together all the time.  They just don’t do it from my closet or the clothes that are readily available.  I’m always stumbling at trying to figure out what I have that’s appropriate, that isn’t too hot or too casual, that I can change easily with a scarf or some other snazzy accessory.  Those aren’t sitting around the house because I’m bad at figuring them out, too.  I’ve never been good at or particularly interested in girl stuff.

Although I don’t want to be subjected to the shredding that happens to people in the 360 mirror when S&C tear their existing clothes to pieces, I really could use someone to help me how to make it work for ME, at my current size. It’s hard to not be able to go into stores, or even buy from catalogs, and have things fit well.  But for me to really know if they do, I guess I need to understand what that means for my body.

I need someone to tell me all this with honesty and caring, while not also saying, “you know, it would be a lot easier if you were thinner.”  Because I already know that.  And I know that gaining weight or just redistributing the body shape is the answer, but that isn’t going to help me find pants for right now that don’t look like clown rejects. I wish I had a magic wand to make Tim Gunn appear and “make it so.”


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Shopping and Other Heavy Thoughts

I’m having a hard time right now living in my body.  My knee hurts a lot and I actually bought a folding cane this week to have in case I need it.  I’ve been aware of my size and feeling uncomfortable physically but also in my head as I see myself in a mirror or think about the fact that finding clothes that fit and actually look pretty is usually an exercise in futility.

Today’s outting to do that ended in a little mini-meltdown at the Avenue over a display of sweaters that were too long, too ugly, and not in my size.  I’m not desperate enough to buy just something to cover me – but I do need some new things because the clothes from last fall are snug around the hips.

The right solution is to magically adhere to a food plan, watch the weight drop off, and skip happily into the future as a thin person. But that’s not happening.  Right now I’m hanging on by my teeth to staying in one place on the scale.  The idea of working the WW plan just seems to have a reverse response in that I start sabotaging myself as soon as I try.  So I’m not.

There’s a difference between being fat and accepting that you will always be fat even though there are health and other issues associated with it, and being fat and trying to change it.  I’m somewhere in the middle between them right now, I think.  I’m really really tired of defining myself as my body size.  And I also want to be able to accept myself in this body size without turning that into a decision to stay at this supersize forever.

Many of you have suggested/recommended/advised that I get some therapy help.  And I do understand where that comes from.  I am making the choice not to.  Twice before when I asked for help from someone in a therapy role, I was abused, once physically and once emotionally.  I’m not going there again.  Instead I’m going to listen to my friend Amy in Hawaii, who is the most positive person I know.  She’s focused on living her dreams, not dwelling on the things that get in the way.

I don’t even know what my dreams are anymore; I’ve been too focused on my body and not my heart.  It’s time to pay attention and ask myself some questions.

UPDATE — Head over to Beula’s Dear Ethel site and read Friday’s post on Self Respect. Great list!


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Let’s Get Real

Wakeup ButtonWhen I eat too much and exercise too little, the inevitable results will be weight gain. With a few rare exceptions, that’s what’s been happening to me since I moved in June. As of tonight’s weigh in, I’m higher than I’ve been in a long, long time. Something about recracking a particular ‘decade’ number made me wake up and pay attention.

I haven’t been working hard at weight loss or taking it very seriously and it shows. I’ve let the portions get sloppy, my food choices become unbalanced, and my exercise practically disappeared. What did I think would happen? That I had some invincibility and could eat whatever I want and have it not show up attached to my hips with superglue?

I was actually pretty shocked tonight when I got on the WW scale because the scale at home, which usually at least lets me have a heads up on the official weigh in, didn’t indicate that this was coming. I stayed for my meeting and we talked about winning outcomes. Specifically, how to manage to get through December and reach January having achieved the outcome we want – whatever it is.

I have no illusions that I will lose weight between now and New Years. My real goal is to lose one pound and break back through this unhappy place where I find myself. Frankly, staying basically in one place will be an accomplishment.

Losing weight takes a lot of energy and I haven’t put much into my process since I moved. It’s not that I don’t think it’s important; I do, and I know that I would both feel and look better with even 10% of my current weight gone. But I haven’t cared enough about it to do the work that’s felt more like punishment at a time when I was already scrambling to learn a new place and establish a new life.

I’m not giving myself permission to be lax. Being “kind of on program” shows me that just letting go completely would mean regaining it all, as I’ve done before. I just can’t go there again. I’d rather stay fat but smaller than risk gaining it all back and then some, which is my usual pattern.

For now I’m holding on by the skin of my teeth. I’ve planned my food for tomorrow and will try to get in some extra walking, though my knee gets very unhappy when I do that. I haven’t been to water aerobics in six weeks “because the water was too cold” which is a pretty stupid reason, although the water really was freezing. I don’t promise that I will go to class tomorrow but I will be back at the pool within the next two weeks because the water exercises were the only things that helped without pain.


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Anne in Feathers and Beads

I came back from New Orleans with pretty silver earrings from the French Quarter, a crystal jar and a plaque for completing service on the board, two pounds of Mardi Gras beads, swollen feet – and an additional five pounds. I knew it even before I got on the scale this morning at Weight Watchers. At least it’s marginally better to know there’s a gain without having that come as a shock actually on the scale.

And really, what did I expect? I ate dessert more often than I’d planned, and bread and cookies because they were easy and transportable. I had a few glasses of wine and one cocktail (some amazing Brazilian margarita thing that I can’t spell or pronounce) but that was really not much for being at a conference near Bourbon Street. There wasn’t a lot of fruit around and I found myself craving vegetables and salad, which is unusual for me who usually complains of eating salad until I turn green. I did eat lots of blackened fish and chicken and the flavors and tastes were wonderful.

Making the food choices was really hard. I was consciously aware in some cases that I was eating things that I was going to regret. Sometimes I ate only one instead of a handful or was able to push away the plate after being satisfied. My system isn’t used to a steady stream of this much sugar. At a conference we essentially work from 7am-bedtime with programs, meetings, and always networking. There’s pressure and tension that comes with that, as well as the fun, and it was so easy to reach for the handy carbs rather than seek out something better. Especially with feet so swollen that walking became a problem.

I have to not beat myself up for it. But I gained 4 lbs even before I went away and am discouraged to realize how damn fast I can gain what takes forever to lose. I need to make an appointment with my newly assigned primary care doctor here in my new health plan and am already bracing myself for hearing the “you need to lose weight” lecture (nothing like thinking positive, huh?).

In the last two years, I’ve been playing around in the same ten pound range. That’s actually pretty good for someone who has been morbidly obese her whole life. I know I have a lot more to lose to feel better; I want so badly to be under 200 lbs. But it’s no small potatoes that I’ve been able to keep from regaining everything, which is my usual pattern. I’ve done that over and over and over and I’ve been terrified that it would happen yet again.

I’ve restarted over and over again but it’s been difficult these last two years to get enough of a grip to refocus and really make progress. Maybe I’m just afraid of it. I’ve thought about not going to WW since mostly I seem to be maintaining but know that, for me, the consistency of having someone else weigh me is crucial. If I stopped going, more than just my feet would be ballooning.

I can’t promise forever. But here’s the plan for this week: Journaling. Planning meals out the day before so I know what to prepare and eat. Bringing lunch at least three days instead of eating out. Drinking one more bottle of water. Walking the mile between the parking lot and office at least one way, at least three days. The fridge is stocked with fresh fruits, veggies, and protein, and my swollen feet are fitting into walking shoes. I got weighed today so it’s a clean slate.