I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends

friends_cast_004aSo yesterday was a truly craptastic day that ended up OK thanks to friends (hence today’s image of choice :))

It started off awesomely, with my first bowl of oats this fall (I’ve been eating overnight oats with Greek yogurt and was totally ready to make the switch with the cool weather).

I was in a great mood — loved my outfit, my “feel-hot” jeans, knew I had plans to meet with blog-reader and friend Cathy for lunch … it was gonna be a kick-arse day.

Then at work, everything went downhill. As PR manager, I’m  responsible for planning two big events at work each year for our clients and prospects.

I had been planning our big event since the beginning of the summer, and it was finally coming together. Thursday was the day invites were going out and I was so darned excited to see it all coming to fruition.

All my ducks were in a row, all my T’s were crossed and I’s were dotted – I  was extra-careful as could be to make sure things went smoothly, felt confident.  Continue reading “I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends”

The Girl Who Cried Wolf

gray_wolfEven when I was at my goal weight in 2004/2005, I still wasn’t satisfied.

When people told me I looked great, I’d shrug it off , embarassed, and say, “Aw, thanks … but I’m not there yet!” I was afraid of admitting this was “it.” (What if there was more to lose?!)

Some days I’d say I felt “fat” when rationally it was just not so; I just “felt” that way. 

Having never been thin and having nothing to compare my body to was a sucky situation to be in. I didn’t know where I was “comfortable” — except that it “had” to be X lbs.

X lbs., that sounded like a nice, good number. In my head.

I suffered from total body dysmorphia, but didn’t know it at the time. And, no surprise, I never got down to X.

That should have been clue #1 that I was aiming for the unattainable/unmaintainable for myself. Sure, it seemed reasonable, but it just wasn’t. Not for me, not for my build. Not without starving myself. (And if you know me, you know there was no way I was going to do that. I might have been restrictive/choosy for a while there, but I could never deprive myself of food. I love it too much).

Then when I saw the scale go up a little, I’d freak out and over-react and go into “I’m fat mode” again in my head … which, naturally, did nothing but put my anxiety into overdrive. Continue reading “The Girl Who Cried Wolf”

Are You Your Own Biggest Advocate or Toughest Critic?

426669529_d40ab95808I thought I’d pose a question to my readers today and open the floor for some discussion.

Are you your own best advocate or toughest critic?

I ask because I tend to come across as a pushover.

As a Libra, I tend to see both sides of every single situation, which means I have trouble standing my ground. And I don’t often advocate for myself, which can appear to be a lack of confidence.

The irony of this is I am a PR practitioner; focused on communicating and promoting the people and work of my agency to our various audiences, when I ought to be using those same skills to advocate for myself, as well.

While this naturally to me at work, doing it for myself (prior to blogging, especially) doesn’t. Continue reading “Are You Your Own Biggest Advocate or Toughest Critic?”

Buy or Lease?

Car ShoppingHaving both bought and leased in the past, this weekend I found myself rehashing the pros and cons of buying versus leasing a new car.

Because of how my brain works, it got me thinking about health and weight loss and how relevant the buy vs. lease notion really is.

Confused? Promise I’ll explain. But first, a little back-story that leads me to today’s theorizing. 🙂

Back in 2004, I leased my first new car, a 2004 Honda Civic, which I adore. I bought this car with my dear friend Jason.

He’d just bought a new Accord, and so we’d gone to “look” for me, since I’d been in the market for wheels. I never needed them living in DC, but I was living in Arlington and was about to move to Silver Spring … grocery shopping is tough when you’re without a car.

February 28, 2004, I took the Metro to meet him at the Greenbelt station to go to Owings Mills, MD … and found myself driving home in my new car! (I-95 and the Beltway is scary when you’ve never driven them … !)

Anyway, the salesman brought out Black Pearl (my car) for me to drive and it was love at first sight/first drive. The car was mine. I called my parents and my now-hubby, who was still living in El Salvador, to share my news before I signed any papers, got her insured, and was on my way! Continue reading “Buy or Lease?”

A Bit of a Winter Rut … But Grateful for the Good

winter20forest1Therapy has helped me understand that many of my disordered eating issues stem from (or are manifestations of) anxiety.

In other words, even though I am not necessarily thinking of the current source of my anxiety at 2 a.m. in the kitchen, or in my car, or whenever/wherever … my subconscious has a way of getting in my brain and leaving its proverbial mark.

And for me, I take it out in one of two ways:

1) Over-exercising (pushing myself physically to distract my mind from what is really going on)
2) Emotional eating (as in, eating when not hungry; not a binge, but eating something to seek comfort instead of facing the problem — I’d count many, but not all, of my “midnight incidents” in this category).

Blog reader and friend Cathy shared this insanely relevant exercise she found via a Bob Greene/Oprah podcast. You lay out the following areas of your life and pick the ones that are harming you emotionally the most, and you explore ways to change them … or improve them if they can’t be changed. It’s a way to home in on what is stressing you, to dig deeper into the depths of anxiety. Continue reading “A Bit of a Winter Rut … But Grateful for the Good”

Making Lemonade Out of Lemons

lemonade12So it’s no secret that I’ve gained some weight this fall/winter; I’m about 5 from where I was last summer and about 10 from my comfortable weight.

I can see it in pictures, in the mirror … it’s there, and there’s no denying it.

So before 10 becomes 15, I would like to capitalize on my hardwiring as an anxious person and use that anxiousness to make lemonade out of lemons.

I’m still a loyal online WW member and have been since 2004 … which is even more perplexing as to how I’ve gained without going over my Points — the only culprit I can think of is the wrong choices within my points, since I am still working out the same and not even eating those APs I earn.

But I digress.

I’m not here to ressurect the past, only to look ahead to what can be done going forward. Last winter/spring, I lost about 7 lbs. by continuing on WW and also journaling on Sparkpeople.com, a free weight-loss jounaling site that actually shows you the nutritional breakdown of your foods in terms of calories, fat, fiber, carbs, etc.

Now, this summer I quit Sparkpeople cold turkey because I was journaling there, plus counting Points, plus keeping a spreadsheet that would make even an accountant cringe, it was that nitty-gritty.

It was obsessive to the extremes, and it just made me more fixated on food. Continue reading “Making Lemonade Out of Lemons”

What Holds You Back?

sunsettandemI’m the first to admit I’m not much of a risk-taker.

Unlike my younger brother who lives for endorphins as he sky-dives, surfs, and mountain-climbs, risk-taking for me is much calmer. You could say my risks have been big statements, yet on a much more subtle scale.

Going to college in DC (a far cry from rural Vernon, NJ), studying abroad where I lived with an Argentine family who spoke no English, climbing Huayana Picchu, enduring a 5-year long-distance-international relationship with my then-boyfriend (now-husband), relocating to Michigan and leaving behind a steady job and all my friends and family on the East coast for our future together in a new place …

Each of these things were arguably risks I’ve taken, but when it comes to putting myself out there in the sense of being a confident, assertive person … I haven’t yet gotten there just yet. Continue reading “What Holds You Back?”

“Profiting” Off My Hardware

My husband is really good with money. I don’t mean to say we have a lot of money, just that he is genuinely “good with money.”

Growing up in a third world country where he didn’t have much, (but appreciated everything he had) he has been saving since he was a little boy. He made many sacrifies to buy special things or travel internationally, bought a house in his home country and even bought our house here in the U.S. before we were married–all on his extremely modest home country government salary.

I, on the other hand –for all my glorious fixations on food and exercise, which have helped me maintain my physical shape for the most part — am (shudder!) not the world’s best budgeter. And while our joint finances would receive a clean bill of health, my personal savings account…let’s just say it could use some major workouts!

Shocking, I know–here I am Miss Type A, perfectionist…treasurer of my sorority at one time (elected during my semester abroad, what were they thinking?!) … but I’m just being honest; I’ve never been that good with money.

I have always worked, but as my dad says, money burns a hole in my wallet. Since childhood, I spent what I earned–selling candy or lemonade in the neighborhood for a profit with my friends at age 9, babysitting when I was 12, working at resorts in high school, waitressing during semester breaks throughout college…

I was a hustler, and would work hard to save for books, a laptop, meals out, concert tickets, travel… but I still didn’t leave much, if anything, in the bank. Continue reading ““Profiting” Off My Hardware”

Learning to Live in Shades of Gray

Note: I didn’t intend to blog about all of my therapy sessions, but I realize now that they have been/will continue to be a huge part of my journey. I fear keeping them out of this blog would take away some of the authenticity and transparency I am trying to maintain. I hope you, as readers, don’t mind!

Last night was my second therapy session, and something we talked about was the tendency for anxious people like myself to see the world very black and white, versus embracing the world’s many shades of gray.

Though as humans we want to make a simple choices of, “Yes or No,” really, life isn’t quite so simple and is lived in that in-between shade of gray.

But for someone with anxiety disorder–or someone who is OCD like me (I got the billing last night that I am blessed with both!) it’s very hard for us to live in the gray.

For us, there’s right and wrong. Black and white. Gray? Um, that’s reserved for the color of my favorite Ann Taylor dress pants!

One of the cognitive behavioral therapy exercises we did last night was she had me walk through my midnight eating incidents and my thought processes that occur when it happens, to identify rational and irrational thoughts so we can sort through them. Continue reading “Learning to Live in Shades of Gray”

Accepting Your Hardware

I had my very first therapy session last night, and I’m happy to say it went really well.

I was naturally a little nervous at the very beginning, but over the session, we gelled and I really liked both her attitude and approach. She made me laugh, and of course see things I didn’t see before. I am sure as time goes on, I’ll see so much more. But I am confident now that I am taking the right steps.

Though I didn’t find out until the middle of the session, it turns out that within seconds she had (quite correctly) diagnosed me with having anxiety. We had a chuckle when she shared that; I’m that easy to read, huh?!

(I guess given her therapist title, she’s pretty perceptive; she also guessed I was an ESFP per the Myers-Briggs Personality Test; though last time I took it I was an ENFP, I think I’m actually more closely aligned to the ESFP type).

Apparently, she thinks anxiety is actually what is likely behind my disordered eating; that the disordered eating behaviors are not so much a food issue as a result of my nature as an anxious person. It’s just manifesting itself in weight issues now, which makes sense, whereas it was evident in other facets of my life previously. So anxiety is what we will be exploring and coming to terms with. Continue reading “Accepting Your Hardware”