Random Thoughts of a Disordered Mind


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Living in Stressful Times

StressedI’ve been reverting to very old habits as the weeks have passed with more dreadful economic news every time we turn around.  I know it’s not healthy but there is comfort, albeit shortlived, in eating candy and salty stuff instead of making a healthy meal or taking a walk at lunch time.

We are facing budget cuts of 7.5% this year with another 5% next year and I’ve been spending my time canceling things that have been part of our library’s collection for years.  It’s not completely bad:  this careful review of continued spending obligations is giving us a chance to really decide what the collection of the future needs to look like.  But the short-term is very hard, as is the increasing awareness that there will be personnel adjustments as well.  No knows what that will look like and that’s the hardest part, the not knowing.

I’m not sleeping well, not eating well, not exercising at all, and generally feeling pretty crappy.  And yes, I know that all of this is connected.  The problem is pulling myself out of it.

My former WW leader used to tell the story of a friend who was facing an assortment of problems involving medical, financial, and family issues.  Yet she was able to stick to her WW plan through it all.  When asked how/why, she replied that her food was the only thing she COULD control, and controlling that one thing made her feel better about dealing with everything else spinning out of control around her.  At least one thing was being managed.

I need to pick one thing, even one little thing, and make a firm commitment to it.  I don’t think I’m ready to say I can do that with food.  But I will commit to drinking 8 glasses of water.  Maybe starting with that one small step I can start to pull my way back and keep my world on an even keel.


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Let’s Try This Again

funny-pictures-kitten-and-stuffed-animal-make-a-punLast night I wrote a blog post on being the fat one.  But once I had it out of my system, I saw how overly whiny it was, not to mention self-absorbed.  My friend Phyllis calls it navel gazing and she’s right.  I deleted the post this morning.

So let’s try this again.

I had an epiphany of sorts last night (though this is Advent, not Epiphany, so maybe it needs a different name).   I just agreed to chair the program committee for my national association’s annual conference in 2011.  It will be a ton of work but also a lot of fun.  I’ve served on the committee before as a member and certainly have attended most of the conferences since joining years ago, so feel pretty prepared as to content.

But I do have a previous experience chairing a national conference for a different organization.  When I finished that year and stood up in front of the gathering to talk about the program, I was at my highest weight in my life.    I had allowed the program committee work and stress to take over and I ate and ate to help me deal.  When I came down from the podium to my seat, I vowed that I did not want to feel as bloated and uncomfortable the following year when I chaired the entire conference.

That was my turning point.  I joined WW within two months and had lost 67 lbs by the following spring when I went to my meeting.  The motivation wasn’t to LOOK better, though certainly that was part of it.  But really it was about how I felt and dealt with stress.  Eating better and getting regular exercise (what a concept to pair those up!) made a difference.

So now I’m facing the same type of situation.  Because they are so similar, it’s easier for me to look back and say, hmmm, remember then?  remember what you felt and said and did?  Why not try it now, too?   My goal is to lose 10% of my current weight by July 2010 when I have my first “stand up in front of people to talk about program” activities, with the bulk of the stress coming after that point.  I want good but not obessive habits back in place and a realistic plan.  I think I found it.


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Recommitting to Weight Watchers

Weight Watcher ChickensI’ve been seriously debating whether to stop paying for Weight Watchers meetings since I don’t seem to be very focused on actually following the program. On the one hand it feels like a waste of money – and on the other hand, I know that if I had abandoned the weekly weigh in, I would have gained back every pound already.

So I guess that’s a no-brainer.

The ideal solution is for me to find the focus again so I actually do the program. It works if I follow it and it gives me flexibility and options. Right now I’m operating on “emotional eating” mode, something I’ve perfected in my quest to fill pain and stress with comfort food. How’s it working for me? Not very well, actually.

My former WW leader Arlene used to tell us a story about a friend of hers who was dealing with a confluence of crises in her life, and yet was able to stay on program. When asked how she did it, she said that the only thing she could control in her life right then was food. Everything else was out of her hands. So she controlled what she could and it helped her with some structure and kept her from careening around, hammered by all the other stuff happening to and around her.

Eating whatever I want isn’t helping me with the stress currently on my plate. Neither is turning into a couch potato. I can control my food even while I’m dealing with some stress points. I can add in some walking, especially now that the time has changed and there’s more light at the end of the day. I can drink another bottle of water while at work instead of another bottle of Diet Coke.

I think I’ll put on my walking shoes and get dressed for work and put some of that into play today.


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Stress Eating Peanut Brittle

Peanut BrittleWhen I am stressed, I eat. I have a difficult conversation coming up with someone that I’ve already had to put off several times – for good reasons, mind you, but the delay is just making me more stressed. Though the Friday and Saturday snow days were really a treat and did rest my spirit some. And I had those scones at home already.

My food is complicated by the fact that I’m going away on Thursday for a few days in Chicago. Part of my pre-travel eating involves making sure I don’t have food going bad in the fridge so I’ve learned to be very careful about buying fresh foods or making copious quantities of food I won’t be here to eat.

This doesn’t excuse buying peanut brittle or eating the whole box, though it did take me 3 days to do it. I love peanut brittle and haven’t had it in a million years. It’s nothing but pure sugar with some nuts which is why it’s so yummy. And will rot my teeth. Good thing I finished up all the decent size pieces – those little nibbly bits with peanuts got tossed.

For a brief minute this morning I contemplated signing up for a trip to China next fall (until I woke up and realized that it was too much money for something I never really thought about doing and can’t afford to do anyway). But I do admit that one bit that loomed large was the problem of stuffing myself into a plane seat to fly for some 24 hours to get there in the first place. I drank water while I contemplated rather than eat sugar. And I decided not to go, but not because of the plane part.

I admit, though, that I really hope the conversation happens tomorrow so I can move on. I have WW tomorrow night after work and before packing which should help me see the consequences of my stress eating and wipe the slate clean before the trip.

Thanks for your concern about my foot and my knee. I don’t think anything is broken or infected – I’ve had these pains before and did some research. The foot is probably because of pronation and the need to wear my orthotics to keep the foot properly aligned. The knee pain is the result of degenerative joint disease and the joint warmth and stiffness are a result, especially after overdoing. Or walking funny because the foot hurt. Or both. In any case, I see my primary care doctor a week from today for a physical and both will be on my discussion list.

Back to American Idol. The boys are singing tonight and the pitch problems are driving me crazy. I would much rather listen and critique than imagine being up there singing but still, it’s entertaining even when it hurts the ears.


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Weighing In After Christmas

Tessie with Empty BoxesThe bad news is that I gained 2.4 lbs this week. The good news is that I went to Weight Watchers and got on a scale knowing that it would probably be up 3 lbs. Considering how much I ate this week, it’s not a surprise. I am a stress eater and worrying about my mom has been majorly stressful, plus I’ve been sticking close to home because I wanted to stay near the phone. FYI, she’s doing better and we think she’ll be heading home this weekend.

But let’s get real — I haven’t exactly been hanging out at the gym even before Mom went to the hospital. And I haven’t walked much at work because the sidewalks have been covered with ice and snow because the good people of New Haven don’t shovel or plow particularly well. And I haven’t been to water aerobics in two months because the water was so cold. Well, that’s a pretty stupid reason and who’s to say that they didn’t warm it up when we started wearing coats?  Not in the pool, of course, but still.

I have, however, been faithfully going to my Weight Watchers meetings and collecting the new materials. Every year they reinvent the program slightly (sometimes hugely) and get ready for the swarming hordes who repent the pounds gained over the holidays and, armed with new year’s resolutions, set out to Lose The Weight.

We know how hard that is to do. But it IS doable. The hard part for me is not so much following the program I’ve chosen but in remembering my motivation. It’s easy to slip into “I’m fat anyway so what does it matter?” and then it’s easy to eat the extra cookies or skip the chance to walk an extra 15 minutes. To feel deprived and then entitled.

The Shrinking Knitter had a great post a few weeks ago on “living as if I was already where I wanted to be” that I haven’t been able to forget. Erin had another valuable post on Just Being the After. I recommend both to you heartily as food for thought about ways to approach new year’s resolutions and refocusing motivation.

This last week, if I was actually living as if I was already where I wanted to be, I would have eaten a little of everything I actually ate but in very moderate amounts, with more vegetables and fruits. Walked some and gone to the gym once or twice. Been more self confident in my own skin and happier in the clothes I put over that skin.

But I did and do and will love my family and my friends. I did and do and will enjoy selecting presents that speak to who they are and what they like. I did and do and will celebrate Christmas and love my cat and yak on the phone with people who matter, just because.

This week’s assignment is to reclaim my motivation for my physical self. I wrote down reasons for why I want to lose weight back in September and most still apply but I want to think about this and really get focused in a realistic way. Not only why but what I’m willing to do to accomplish it.

2007 is almost over and I’m in a very different place in so many ways than I was last year at this time. Another year older and wiser, with a new job and a new state and a new cat, and only 10 lbs heavier. It could be worse. It will be better.