Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Day 12 - Practice Hunger Tolerance

Day 12 of the Beck Diet Solution.  This is twice as far as I've made it in my previous attempts.  (Attempt? Am I even remembering this correctly?  I might have only started BDS once before.)

Anyway, Day 12 is scary.  The task: skip lunch.  The premise is that you allow yourself to feel hunger so that you learn that you can tolerate hunger.  You learn that hunger comes and goes and therefore it is not an emergency and you don't have to eat as soon as hunger strikes.

Dr. Beck asks at one point if you're concerned about being hungry.  Heck yes!  I've had occasions in the past where going for too long between meals has caused headaches and nausea.  Not to mention some serious cases of the grumps.  So yes, I'm concerned about being hungry.

There are two tasks to be completed throughout the day.  First, create a discomfort scale.  On a scale of 0-10, identify times that have been uncomfortable in the past.  Here's my discomfort scale:

 0 lazy Sunday
 4 month end close
 7 when I broke my toe
10 dry socket

The next step is to use this scale to rate your discomfort level (not hunger level) hourly from what would be lunch time until dinner time, as well as the range of discomfort over the previous hour.  Following are my hourly notes:

12 noon discomfort = 0, last hour range = 0 - not at all hungry, but finished breakfast around 9:30 and don't usually eat lunch until after 1
12:53 discomfort = 2, last hour range = 0-2 - not really hungry, but this is the time I'd be thinking about lunch and I think I just want to eat because that's what I'm supposed to do now.  And the fact that I can't is making me angry.  I expect I'll be pretty hangry (hungry + angry) in the next hour.  I'm putting on my sneakers for now and taking a walk.  Haven't visited Central Park in a while.
1:50 discomfort = 3, last hour range 0-3, I don't feel super hungry still, but I do feel annoyed that I can't eat. I'd like to eat.  Got handed work just after last hour and didn't get to go for my walk.  Now it's time for a meeting.  That should kill another 15 minutes.
3:00 discomfort = 3, last hour range 0-3, Still don't really feel super hungry.  I'd like to eat, but I don't have to.  I can tough this out.  I'm starting to feel less belligerent about this experiment.  Hoping to leave work in 2 hours, so I should be home and cooking in about 4.
4:15 discomfort = 0, last hour range 0-3.  I've been drinking a lot of water, so maybe that's why I don't feel very hungry?  But seriously, I don't even feel angry anymore.  I'm surprised I haven't gotten to the point of hangry.  Ok, Dr. Beck, I get the point.  Hunger fades.  It's not an emergency.  Can I eat now?
4:30 so I know it's only been 15 minutes, but I felt the need to check in and let you know I'm feeling surprisingly chipper for someone who hasn't eaten since 9:30 this morning.  I'm leaving work in half an hour, I'm just barely hungry now.  But not uncomfortable at all.  I just feel like dancing and frolicking and singing.  
5:19 discomfort = 0, last hour range = 0-1, leaving work, only slightly hungry, also tired, ready to go home, can't decide what my dinner should be...burrito bowl, maybe.

It's now close to 11pm.  I'm just checking back in to report that I made it, and I didn't even get that cranky or belligerent.  I was hungry when I got home, but I prepared a normal dinner and ate pretty much like normal.

So yes, I got the point.  There's no need to rush to eat something totally off plan to satisfy hunger when I can just wait until my next on plan meal.  I guess it was a good lesson to learn.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Back to Beck

Oh, hey there.  I know I'm a week late, but I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving.

Do you see that?  That was my feeble attempt at distracting you from the fact that I stopped doing my balance evaluations.  You know, the ones I was supposed to be doing for 21 days?

Why did I stop?  Eh, not sure.  Some ideas:
  • I got bored.
  • I got distracted.  
  • I didn't want to fess up to the gross overindulgence that was the entire Thanksgiving weekend.
  • I felt it wasn't really doing what I set out to do.
Those are all probably true to some extent.  That last one is key.  What do I really want to do?  What is my ultimate goal?  I know I said it was finding balance, but I think what I really, really want in the long-term is to think like a thin person.  So I decided on a new 21-day goal: Follow (and finish) Beck Diet Solution

I pulled the book out of a drawer earlier this week and dusted off the cover, and much to my surprise, there were these big letters on the (beautiful, hot pink) cover declaring that the book would, in fact, teach me how to think like a thin person.  It was meant to be!

 In all honesty, the fact that this is what it claims to do was probably buried in my subconscious, drawing me back to the book.  But it's been a while, like 6 months, since I last picked it up, so my conscious mind definitely did not recall that yellow claim. 

I debated not reading the introductory 4 chapters.  After all, I had read them before.  Did I really need to read them again?  Couldn't I just dive right in?  Well, I'm glad I read it, because it just confirmed that this is the right path for me at the moment.

Some key points from the opening chapters:

"The Beck Diet Solution teaches you how to avoid cheating; how to resist tempting food, even if it's on the table right in front of you; and how to cope with hunger, cravings, stress, and strong negative emotions without turning to food for comfort. You'll also learn how to motivate yourself to exercise, even if you're not naturally inclined to do so. You'll discover how to do all the things you need to do to diet successfully - by changing the way you think." (pg 17)
 Sounds good to me!  I definitely need to change the way I think.

"The Beck Diet Solution teaches you how to get yourself to eat the way you're supposed to eat. It shows you how to talk back to the I don't want to, I don't have to, or I can't voice in your head." (pg 19)
Is this chick in my head or what?  How does she know about the I don't want to, I don't have to voices?  She's clearly been reading about my recent severe case of the IDGAFs.

"Thin people have faith in their ability to make good decisions about what, when, and how much they're going to eat - and to follow through with these decisions." (Pg 39)
Okay, she is in my head!  First of all, that's totally want I want.  To make good decisions about what, when, and how much to eat, and to actually follow through.  Secondly, I have come to realize that I can trust myself.  I don't recognize signals that I'm becoming full.  I don't trust myself to stick to my plans.  I keep telling myself I'm great at making plans, but not so great at executing them.  (I probably need to change that story!) I've come to even doubt that I'm making the right decisions about what to eat.  I need to reset my mind!

"...most thin people restrict their eating to some degree... They accept these limitations without too much struggle... You, however, might frequently reflect on how unfair it is that others can eat what they want but you can't. Truth is, not only do you underestimate how much others restrict themselves, but also you overly focus on the injustice you feel because you have to limit yourself." (Pg 39)
It's true.  I do think it's unfair that I can't eat fast food 5 times a week.  She included  a transcript with one of her clients who was talking about how it was unfair that other people could eat pizza and donuts.  Those are my traditional binge foods, so it seem she's not only in my head but in my... stomach?  No, that's weird.  Shopping cart. 

"Readiness is more complicated than simply wanting to change." (pg 46)

I just really liked that.

Anyway, I'm ready.  It's time to really make these changes.  I've completed days 1 and 2 so far.  My Advantages Response Card (the reasons why I want to lose weight) can be found on the Why? page.
For Day 2, we're asked to select 2 diets.  A primary diet, and a back up.

My primary diet (surprise, surprise) is Weight Watchers Points Plus (and I hear there are some exciting new changes rolling out this weekend).  I like it because it's flexible, encourages nutritious choices, is reasonable, and has worked for me in the past.

My back up diet will be the Mediterranean Diet.  I don't think that's surprising, either.  I chose it because it also encourages nutritious choices, is fairly flexible (though, I don't think they'd approve of my recent Wendy's escapades), and encourages eating real, wholesome foods.  Also, I could probably stand to eat more fish and less beef.  Oh, and it's totally cool with some red wine at dinner.  That's super important.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Day 9

Yesterday, I was hungry when I left work.  So I had an actual snack: a handful of almonds and a Skinny Peppermint Mocha.  When I got home, I wasn't hungry.  I also didn't want the leftover cacciatore.  So I stopped at the store and picked up some eggplant and sausage and made a new sauce.  But I also picked up cinnamon raisin bagel chips and ate them all.  But that was my only indiscretion of the day (even though I really wanted french fries and a milkway), so I think I'm doing a little better than the weekend.

Menu 11/20
B - oatmeal with brown sugar and strawberries
L - potato soup garnished with Greek yogurt, shredded cheddar, and bacon crumbles
S - handful of almonds, Skinny Peppermint Mocha 
Random - a whole bag of bagel chips
D - spaghetti with sausage eggplant bolognese and fresh mozzarella, 2 glasses shiraz

Real vs. Processed: a good balance of real and processed.  I'd say the only processed stuff was the sugar free junk in my Starbucks drink and the bagel chips.  I'm going with a 3

Emotional Eating: I don't think so.  Though, if I was listening to hunger signals, I probably would have skipped dinner, so there was some "I should eat dinner because bagel chips are not dinner."  But I don't think there was any emotion-induced eating yesterday.  (But a big IDGAF on the bagel chips.  Which were amazingly delicious, btw.)

Overall balance: 4.  Not a 3 because I ignored hunger signals.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Day 8: "I think I recognize you."

Let me just get this out of the way right now: Yes, I went to the Wendy's drive-through after all my talk yesterday about car-eating.  However, this one was premeditated as I was not going home between the 2nd job (what we now call the temporary day job) and business training meeting.  I wouldn't be home until 10pm, and I didn't plan ahead by bringing food, so I planned ahead to have a burger and fries.  That is not the point right now.

The point is that my post yesterday was 100000% right.  And not in a good way!

I'll also say I've only been to this particular Wendy's once in the past months, which happened to be last Tuesday in a similar didn't plan ahead scenario. 

Anyway, it was about the same time.  And I'm saying to myself, "Man, I really hope it's not the same guy taking money as it was last week.  What if he recognizes me?  How embarassing!"

Really, can you think of anything more embarrassing than being remembered by the drive-thru guy? How about having a conversation very similar to the previous week and the drive-thru guy saying, "I think I remember you.  You were the one saying you were stuck in all that traffic."

Oh my freakin' - I don't even know how to finish that because I was so stunned nothing seems to be an appropriate ending.

Not only am I the chick the drive-thru guy remembered, he remembered me as the chick who complains about traffic! Good thing I decided to stop doing that yesterday.

And now I also have to stop going to drive-thrus.  Wait, I think I decided to stop doing that yesterday, too.  Well, now for real, I guess.

Also, I inhaled the rest of the brownie bites on my way home from the meeting.  I left them in the car thinking I'd take them to Boyfriend's on Wednesday.  I should have known better.  Rest in peace, delicious brownie bites.

Menu 11/19
B - poptarts
L - chicken cacciatore over polenta, apple, cherry Coke Zero
Afternoon - hot chocolate
D - burger, french fries, diet Coke
Car - brownie bites galore
Followed by a late evening glass of shiraz

Real vs. Processed: 4.  I made a valiant effort with lunch, but a little better planning for breakfast and dinner would have gone a long way toward a better balance

Emotional Eating: No, not really.  Not emotional.  Just stupid.  I ate what I did because I didn't plan ahead, and because it was there.

Overall Balance: 4.  It's not pure gluttony, but as I mentioned 18 times already, a little planning could have gone a long way yesterday.

Monday, November 19, 2012

One Week!

Well, this completes my first week of self-evaluations.  It was less painless than I was making it out to be.  So first, an evaluation of Sunday.  And then, some things I've learned over the past week.

Menu 11/18:
Breakfast - coffee (bad Stacey, but it was a lazy Sunday morning in bed)
Lunch - potato soup garnished with sour cream, a sprinkle of cheddar, and some crumbled bacon (really, garnished, not a ton mixed in)
On the road grazing another eggnog shake, more French fries (What part of 'occasional treat' don't I get?  It must be the 'occasional' part, because it seems I'm pretty good at the 'treat' part.)
More on the road grazing too many (delicious from Trader Joe's) brownie bites
Dinner - chicken cacciatore (with tons of veggies) over spaghetti, with some garlic bread, glass of wine

Real vs. Processed - I'm going with a 3.  It was about evenly between the real foods (lunch and dinner) and the crap (on the road).

Emotional Eating - Again, not identifying any specific emotions.  Maybe it was just a huge IDGAF, but I feel like there's some anxiety lying within me as well.

Overall Balance: 4.  I can't say it was perfect balance (3), because of the penchant for car snacking, but I didn't blow of my the dinner that was waiting in my crock pot and replace it with (even more) fast food like I so desperately wanted.

So what have I learned?

Eating in the car seems to be a MAJOR problem.  It's when I'm mostly likely to forget about what I truly want, a healthy body and balanced mind.  Sometimes, it's not even eating in the car, but just being in the car.  If I'm in the car, I have options.  I can stop at the grocery store to buy a pizza to eat all of it.  I can pull through the drive-thru and get a giant-sized "value" meal.

I think it is all (currently) boiling down to anxiety over my job. I'm not really happy.  I don't really enjoy it.  And the commute is making me a whiny bitch.  A friend recently said to me that she was sorry I was also dealing with the awful commute, but glad to have someone to commiserate with.

Can we take a look at that word?   



Are you seeing what I'm seeing?  I see misery in there.  And we all know the old saying, "Misery loves company."  Cliche?  Maybe.  But cliches become cliches because they're based in actual things that happen and have been observed.  Misery loves company so freaking much there's that they came up with a distinct word for that cliche: commiserate.  

So basically, when you combine my miserable commute with the fact that I'm enduring this commute for a job with which I'm completely unhappy and unsatisfied, what you're getting is a cranky, whiny person taking solace in food and the fact that at least others are miserable along with her.

Yikes!  Did I really just describe myself that way?  I did.  It's right there in black and white.  I don't know if anyone else would describe me that way.  Which means either I'm really good at hiding it and/or I'm only starting this conversion.  Either way, I need to reign it in.  Pronto!  

We know these two things:
  1. I'm unhappy with almost all aspects of my job
  2. I act out by eating, usually in the car

I'm so glad to have stumbled upon these things!  Because I can change them.  And I've been saying I wanted to make a job change and make my business a real, full-time, completely supports my lifestyle business instead of a hobby for quite some while.  It's countdown time.  I leave for a cruise April 11, 2013 (the day before my first 29th birthday).  I will not be returning to my corporate job when I return.  And while I'm traveling in my car, I will be listening to training and motivational CDs/mp3s designed to help train me to build my business.  Perhaps if I'm listening to those, reminding me that the work situation is only temporary, I can also ease the anxiety that puts my car in auto-pilot and sends me en route to the closest drive-through.

It's time to stop sharing misery and start sharing success, happiness, inspiration.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Weekend Catchup, Days 5 & 6

Well, looks like I've got 2 days to catch up on.  I'm not finding my balance in the past 2 days.  Friday was just slightly leaning toward gluttony, with a smattering of emotional eating.  Saturday was… well, I ate and drank whatever the fuck I felt like eating and drinking.  It was a high-alert, junk food-only, exception-not-the-rule kinda day.  The kind that does not support weight loss and general good health efforts.  The kind that must be kept to a minimum.

In the effort of honesty, I will document my "menu."  Be forewarned: it's not pretty.

(To recap the grades, on the Real vs. Processed Scale, 1 = all real foods, 3 = about equal, 5 = do you even know what food is?; on the Overall Balance Scale, 1 = too restrictive, 3= BALANCE!, 5 = completely gluttonous)

But we'll start with Friday.

B - Greek yogurt with blackberries
L - chili with whole wheat macaroni and a sprinkle of cheddar cheese, too many cookies, a piece or 2 of chocolate
Random - hot chocolate, another cookie, popcorn
Dinner - went out to a BBQ restaurant - shared a plate of delicious nachos, had half rack of baby back ribs, some cole slaw, and a side of delicious mac & cheese, plus a few bites off Boyfriend's plate, and a cocktail

Real vs. Processed: 4, breakfast and part of lunch were fine, slippery slope from there

Emotional Eating: For sure.  Another case of I'm not living the life I want to be living right now.  (That post coming soon.)

Overall Balance: 4, because I started the day off pretty well.  After that, it was the perfect trifecta: too much processed or unknown foods, emotional eating, lack of respect for hunger signals

And Saturday only got worse.

No particular meals here, 'cause I'm not sure there really were.  It was an all day grazing food fest:
cappuccino muffin
ham & cheese omelet with homemade home fries
french fries
eggnog milkshake
2 candy bars
an entire thin crust 4 cheese pepperoni pizza (12-14")
another candy bar
3 glasses of wine

Real vs. Processed: 5, the only real food in there was the omelet and home fries

Emotional Eating: I wasn't identifying the emotions, but I'm sure it was probably more of the same, combined with a lot of momentary IDGAF.  The calories of the eggnog shake were listed on the menu. They made me paused.  I stopped and said "Nah, I don't need that."  And then I said, "But I want it.  I'll just drink half."  And then I drank the whole thing.

Overall Balance: 5+++

Plan for Sunday: Well, I skipped breakfast (unintentionally, but it's after 11 and I'm just getting hungry) and have a potato soup in the crock pot.  Once the soup is done, I think I'm going to make some kind of chicken. Healthy real food lunch, and then a healthy real food dinner getting ready to go.  I will be spending 4 hours in the car this afternoon/evening, so maybe I should take some time to think about some healthy snacks I can have to tide me over between lunch and dinner.  I likely won't be home until 8ish.  And get back on the Beck Diet Solution kick.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Day 4

Are you bored of this yet?  I've still not find for an actually contemplative post, but it's on m to-do list for this weekend, so a little variety is coming your way.

Menu for 11/15:
B - Starbucks Bacon, Egg, and Gouda Sandwich, Skinny Vanilla Latte
L - Cosi Signature Salad with chicken, and a piece of their amazing bread
Happy Hour/Fundraiser - 1 glass of wine, 1 cocktail (smallish in size), thin slice of roast beef cheddar sandwich, about 1/2 cup pasta with pesto sauce
D - 2 more glasses of wine, cheesy polenta

Real vs. Processed: I'm going with a 3 here, some questionable items, but some that are totally actually food

Emotional Eating: Is tipsy an emotion?  Because that's the only reason I thought more wine and polenta were a good idea last night.  I think I probably could have been satisfied just fine after happy hour.

Overall Balance: 3-4, it wasn't too bad, but I wasn't planning on going to the fundraiser, and I probably could have made better choices without it.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Balance Evaluation, Day 3

And so it continues.  Another brief post today.  Maybe I'll get some time tonight to really write out what's on my mind.

Yesterday's Menu:
B - bagel with cream cheese, coffee
L - chili with whole wheat macaroni, apple
S - hot chocolate, 1 piece (crappy) chocolate with raspberry filling
D - spaghetti and meatballs, about 1/3 - 1/2 cup Ben & Jerry's Late Night Snack

Real vs Processed:  Most of what I had was pretty real, with a few indulgences, I'm going with a 3.

Emotional Eating: I did not eat emotionally!  I didn't even really eat impulsively.  (I almost got a milkshake on my way home, but when Boyfriend had Ben & Jerry's waiting, and a flavor he picked because he knew I liked it, I was glad I didn't overindulge for no reason earlier.)

Overall Balance: I'm going with a 4.  Real vs Processed was good.  No emotional/compulsive/impulsive eating.  I listened to hunger signals, and think I was even on the lower end of satisfied when I went to bed.  But, I pretty much only ate carbs and red meat all day, so there was no variety of foods, and the only veggies was the spinach in my chili.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Balance Seeking, Day 2

I was going to write something fairly in depth regarding the past year and the coming year, but it's not happening today.  But I have to keep up with the balance-seeking blogging, so here's what happened yesterday:

B - 2/3(ish) cup fat free Fage with 1/2(ish) cup blackberries
L - chili with whole wheat macaroni, apple, 1 miniature 3 Muskateers, 1 piece of Bliss dark chocolate
S - Auntie Anne's cinnamon sugar pretzel
D - Wendy's - single hamburger, fries, diet coke, chocolate shake

Real vs. Processed - in # of meals, pretty balanced: 3; in volume of food, B&L were pretty light, so more of a 4

Emotional Eating - eh, not really.  The pretzel was more impulsive, and Wendy's was because I was on the road.  I could have made better choices, but the choice was fueled by emotions.

Overall Balance - 4 - too many processed food, not enough advance planning, could have made better choices and listened more closely to hunger signals

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

ISO Balance

It’s no secret I love my Weight Watchers message boards.  I’ve been posting on a thread aimed at setting goals since the summer.  The rule is this: You pick a goal, stick with it for 21 days in a row, and complete the cycle.  Then you choose a new goal (or the same one, or add on to your existing one), and start a new 21-day cycle.  

I rocked the first cycle.  The 2nd I restarted several times.  I’ve now restarted the 3rd cycle more times than I can count.   I’ve tried various goals, mostly focusing around staying on-plan (OP), but seem to be not following through on most of them.  Most recently, my goal was to follow the Simply Filling Technique (a twist on the typical WW Points strategy).  My reasoning behind this was that I wanted to eat more real foods, less processed foods, and focus on my hunger signals.  The results: I wasn’t really listening to hunger signals, and still eating things that were non-filling foods and going way over my Weekly Points Allowance. 

So last Tuesday, I checked in with the thread and said I wasn’t sure what my goal should be.  After a lot of back forth on that and other threads that day, I had an epiphany.  This is what I posted on one thread:

 I want to eat more "real" foods/less processed foods. I want to feel satisfied, not stuffed.

In other words, I’m looking for balance. I want to be able to eat what I want, but not go overboard.

So I decided my new 3rd cycle goal is to evaluate each day’s balance, to really take a good look and do an honest self-evaluation of whether I was eating more because of emotions or if I was able to find balance in what and why I was eating that day.  I decided this blog was the perfect place for my evaluations.  And it only took me a week to get started. 

My plan is give my menu for the day and evaluate the following:
  1. Did I eat more real foods than processed foods?  I will assign a grade for this: 1- all real foods, 2 – more real than processed, 3 – about equal, 4 – more processed than real, 5 – do you even know what food is?
  2. Did I eat emotionally?
  3.  How was the overall balance between what, why, and how I ate?  This is another grade one: on a scale of 1 to 5, 1 being too restrictive, 3 being perfect harmony, and 5 being Return of the Binge Monster

And we’re going to start right now, evaluating yesterday.

Breakfast – None. I got stuck on a 3.5 hour bus ride/4.5 hour commute to work and didn’t get to work til about 11:30.   Since I usually eat breakfast at work, that just didn’t happen.
Lunch – miso noodle soup, 9 Schezuan chicken dumplings, cherry Coke Zero
Random – 3 miniature chocolates, 1 fun size Milky Way
Dinner – 3 Stouffer’s French bread pizzas (1.5 White 5 Cheese , 1.5 Extra Cheese), ¾ of a long Bavarian cream donut, 1 Kit Kat bar, 1 package Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, skim milk

Real vs. Processed: Let’s give that one a big ol’ 5.  The soup and dumplings were from a local place and probably made with quality ingredients, but not entirely sure what went into them.  Everything else (except the milk) is clearly junk.

Emotional Eating: Yes and yes.  Poor me, I had such a rough commute, why did I ever think working NYC was a good idea? I’m way too tired to think about making food.  (Never mind there was homemade stuff in the freezer I could have heated as easily as the pizzas.) Yes, I ate emotionally.  And then I ate some more.  Because it was available and I didn’t care.  Then I suffered from some pretty bad acid reflux at 2:44 am and kept waking up all night afraid I was going to throw up in my sleep and die a miserable death by suffocating on my own vomit.  Why don’t I remember things like this before I overeat?

Overall Balance: Going with a 5 here, too.  I clearly overate and it was definitely emotional.  Although I was completely aware of what I was doing and probably could have stopped myself, I didn't.  I completely ignored hunger signals, to the point of making myself sick.  There was zero real food to balance all the junk.  At the very least, I can say at least I recognize what I was doing incorrectly and rectify it today.

Friday, September 28, 2012


When I first started this blog, I was working my way through a book about ending overeating.  The second chapter discussed the Costs of Overeating.  One of the costs I wrote about was the lack of Self-Trust.  I just re-read my post, and I realized I can really add on to it.

It's not just about trusting that I'm eating the right things.  It's about trusting my feelings.  I know it sounds a little weird, so just hear me out, please.

Yesterday was Day 2 of no binging.  I had my day pretty well planned, but I was skeptical about dinner.  It was something that I had made previously and frozen, but the portions were small and I didn't know if it would satisfy.  I finished my dinner and immediately felt like I needed to eat more.  But I was completely conflicted.

Was I actually hungry?  Did I just feel like stuffing my face?  (The answer to that one is almost always yes, regardless of what else is actually going on.)  Did I just think I was still hungry because I had told myself my dinner was too small and wouldn't satisfy me?  Or maybe it was because I semi-burned my dinner in the microwave and it wasn't flavorful or texturally pleasing?

So many options, but only actual hunger would be a reason to eat more.  I was watching TV, so I told myself that if I was still hungry when the show was over, I would have some more food.  40 minutes later, the show was over, and I still felt hungry, so I ate.  But I wasn't starving, so I can't help but wonder if I actually needed to eat more.  Or if I could have stopped eating earlier, rather than eating everything I served to myself. 

One of the major costs of overeating is the distortion of hunger signals.  Or maybe it's more accurately a deafness to hunger signals?   I definitely have to find a way to tune back into what my body is telling me.  I guess I just have to start slowly.  And really, really pay attention.

In other news, thanks to this amazing site, I now what I pet baby pig.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

I Want to Care

It pains me to admit this: I have fallen back into old ways.  It's weird how it sneaks up on you (or on me, at least).  It starts small and I don't even notice it, until one day I'm almost in tears while being completely ragey that the lady at Burger King messed up my order, and the next day I have to go back to get the right food, but to a different location, lest the first lady realize I'm a super secret compulsive binge eater.

That's right, I've said it.  I've fallen back into my secret, compulsive, binge eating ways.  The new culprit: Fast Food.  I've been getting some sort of fast food two to three times a week for the past month.  It's gross. But it's sooooo delicious.  And the more I have it, the more I crave it.

When I realized that, it was a lightbulb moment.  I'm a strong believer in the Law of Attraction.  You know, what you think about, you bring about.  The idea that the more you focus on something, the more of that something you bring into your life.

And as I was walking to Port Authority yesterday (I may or may not have been gobbling down a Mr. Softee cone at the time), I had this thought: What if you think about that a different way?  Apply it to your body.  If thinking about something manifests more of that in your life, would feeding your body something just make your body want that something even more?  Hmm... (I won't even go into the depths of the fact that I keep focusing on needing to lose weight, and so I'm probably just attracting more weight problems.)

With that premise, I eat some fried chicken and french fries, and I just want more.  It seems totally logical, because that's what's happening.  I find myself in this completely dysfunctional relationship with food, again.  Specifically with fast food, but this could also apply to candy, junk food, desserts, etc.  I was listening to one of my new favorite songs, One More Night by Maroon 5.  I'd kept listening and relating it to my friend's rocky relationship with his semi-ex-girlfriend.  But yesterday it clicked, that's the way I relate to food!  

But baby there you again, there you again making me love you
Yeah I stopped using my head, using my head let it all go
Got you stuck on my body, on my body like a tattoo
And now i'm feeling stupid, feeling stupid crawling back to you
So I cross my heart, and I hope to die, that I'll only stay with you one more night
And I know I said it a million times
But i'll only stay with you one more night

Trying to tell you no, but my body keeps on telling you yes
Trying to tell you stop, but your lipstick got me so out of breath
I'd be waking up, in the morning probably hating myself
And i'd be waking up, feeling satisfied but guilty as hell

I mean, maybe that part about the lipstick doesn't really apply, but as for the rest of it, it's spot on.

The thing is, I don't want to stop.  I mean, I don't want to suffer the consequences of continuing, but I don't really want to stop.  I semi-enjoy the food bender I've been on.  Why can't I just continue eating whatever I want?  Oh, because I don't want to gain any more weight.  I had maintained between 165-170 (which is still overweight on my 5'3" frame) for so long eating whatever I wanted that I thought it was my body's "happy weight" and I wouldn't gain any more.  And then I got to 185.  And 195.  And now I'm at 211.  Not coincidentally, this is the same weight as when I rejoined Weight Watchers in April.  I've been attending my meetings regularly, but I haven't been really following the program at all.  Of course not.  How can you stay within points when you're eating garbage all.the.time?

The fact that I don't want to stop scares the fuck out of me.  Seriously.  Because I don't want to gain any more weight.  I really don't.  Where would it even go??? 

 I guess it comes down to this: I just need to stop.  Stop making excuses.  Stop justifying.  Stop saying tomorrow. Stop stuffing my face with fried chicken, apple pie, and peanut butter Snickers.  And perhaps start going to OA again.  All I know is I can't keep doing what I am currently doing, because all it is bringing about is more problems.  It's time to focus on the solution.

And just for funsies, this is me this morning.  Weight: 211, BMI: 37.4   I guess we'll call this the new before picture. (Please excuse the messy, unmade bed in the background.)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

I Am Naked

I'm naked.  I just bared it all.  Or so it feels, at least.  (Figuratively speaking, of course.  I'm at work and my clothes are fully in place, I promise.)

Anyway, since it's been a while, here's a brief update, before I share about absolute nakedness.  (And I keep saying "naked" because it's more fun than "vulnerable.")

I re-joined WW 13 weeks ago. I'm currently UP 6 lbs from when I rejoined.  Faboo!  I just can't get my head in the game on a consistent basis and I've been yo-yoing all over the place.

Because if I'm going to yo-yo, I might as well be badass about it.
Source: kirby.wikia.com

A few weeks after my WW re-debut, I made all these goals.  How am I doing with them?
  • Beck Diet Solution - made it to Day 6 of 42.
  • Lose 10 lbs in 6 weeks - gained 6 in 13.
  • Complete C25K & Run The Color Run- ha, I never really made it past week 1, and I'm not sure what I'm going to do about TCR

A few weeks after that, I fell off the face of the Earth.  Not really, obviously, but I've been wanting to write, have a couple of posts started, but could never find words. Here's what happened in a nutshell: During a conversation lovely fellow WW boardies about binge eating and compulsive eating, etc., I got fed up.  I visited OA.org, found there was a meeting in 10 min just a few blocks from my office, and I attended the meeting.  I felt like I definitely belonged there and I was finally going to deal with my issues.  Though I didn't say a word.  I admitted to my Mary Kay mentor that I was having these issues and finally addressed them and I thought it would help to deal with all the issues.  I'd magically no longer eat compulsively and be devoted and seriously dedicated to my business.

Not quite what happened.  I attended 2 more meetings in the next week, and then stopped.  Because I didn't feel like it.  But last week, I had a light bulb moment.  I was driving and chowing down on Cheez Its.  I pulled into my boyfriend's driveway and promptly stashed them in the backseat, lest he find out I was trying to eat a box of snack crackers right before we were to go out to dinner.  Well, that was a fail.  He smelled them immediately and tasted them on me when he kissed me.  (He thought they were Goldfish, but same thing really.)  Ate the box in 3 days.  I thought I could have a serving at a time, but I just kept shoving them in my mouth.  That's when I realized, "Ohhhhh!  THIS is what they mean by 'taking that first compulsive bite.'"  And I decided I should go back to meetings, but I'm waiting for the one I like on Friday.  Maybe I'll actually talk this time.

Now, here's the nakedness.  I had already told my boyfriend about OA and my binge eating, etc after my first meeting.  He had a very neutral response.  He didn't really get it, but I didn't really expect he would.  Other than my Mary Kay mentor and my boyfriend, I hadn't mentioned this to anyone.  I've held off on scheduling my physical, which I'm usually quite prompt with, because I dreaded going to my doctor and him seeing how much weight I gained.  But a recent swelling issue put me in his office last night.  He mentioned the rapid weight gain (I was 50-60 lbs lighter when I saw him last year), and I quickly started rambling.  I told him about the binge eating and that I'd joined OA and WW and was "working" on getting it off.  In the end, he addressed the issue for which I was there, and breezed over the weight since I "seemed to have that under control with the diet and WeightWatchers or whatver."  Phew!

But, in addressing the swelling issue, he decided to send me to the E.R. for an ultrasound to make sure I didn't have any blood clots.  I called my mom on my way over, not because I wanted her there, but because she'd probably freak out if I didn't call her immediately and she found out later.  (Especially since her sister works at the hospital, was on duty when I was there, and I definitely contacted her.)  My mom's response falls somewhat into the category of I Told You So.  She basically revisited the conversation we had months ago where she tried to accuse my birth control of causing my weight gain (out of the blue, and quite a blow to my feelings, mind you), and then proceeded to project her medical history with birth control and blood clots onto me.  Naturally, I started spouting off and telling her (which I didn't when she brought up my weight months ago) that the weight gain was not caused by the change in birth control, but rather by my tendency to sit down on a regular basis and stuff my face with pizza and donuts to numb away the stress.  She actually seemed unfazed by this.  In fact, she tried to insist that it was still somehow related to the birth control.  Whatever.  The point is not how she reacted, but that I actually put that information out there to her.

And then today, I joined HealthyWage's 10% challenge.  I paid them $100, and challenged myself to lose 10% of my body weight in 6 months.  If I succeed, they will pay me $200.  Can't say there's anything wrong with that.  Especially since it averages out to less than 1 lb per week.  But, you get extra $$ if you refer people, so I shared it on Facebook for all the world (except my mother), to see.

I have bared myself in front of my doctor, my mother, and all my Facebook friends.  I feel... "naked."

Monday, May 14, 2012

C25K: Week 1, Day 1

I did it!

I've only been saying for, oh, forever that I was going to get up early and workout.  (Where early equals 5:15 am.)  And for, oh, forever, my morning has looked like this:

5:15 grumble as alarm goes off
5:20 cat's crying obnoxiously, get up and feed cats
5:22 climb back into bed and settle in for another hour of sleep, set new alarm for 6:30
6:30 phone alarm vibrates - hit snooze
6:40 snooze again
6:50 snooze "just one more time"
7:00 "Ugh, I'm so tired but I need to get ready for work!"
7:05-7:10 force self out of bed and into shower, end up late for work

Not anymore.  I started seeing a chiropractor about a week ago.  I've had only 3 adjustments so far, but immediately after my second, I noticed something that had previously seemed unfathomable: I woke up well-rested! Okay, so well-rested just once, that's fine.  But it continued.  It's now been 5 well-rested wake-ups in a row.  I'm utterly amazed.

And delighted, because it means when my alarm went off at 5:15 I was awake enough to actually stay out of bed.  So I completed Day 3 of The Beck Diet Solution and then I started Couch to 5K.  In case you're unfamiliar with C25K, the idea is to ease you into running by alternating walking and jogging, until you build up to the point where you can run for 30 minutes, or a 5K, straight.  I'm completely proud of myself for starting!  But I didn't quite fit in all the jogging.  My asthma started up a little bit (not awful, just a little wheezing) and I clearly didn't stretch enough.  I still did the jogging portions, just not necessarily for 1 full minute at a time, and I might have walked through some jogging sections all together.  But that's okay, I'll get there. Even if I need to repeat Week 1 next week.

Total time: 30 minutes
Distance: 1.78 miles
Pace: 16:39 min/mile
Calories burned: ~240 (I stated my HRM a little late)

Color Run, here I come!

Friday, May 11, 2012


Remember when you were a kid and Mom would make you a sandwich and whatever condiments were used ended up in a smiley face?

Yep, I just did that with my hand cream.  And I gotta say, it made me smile!

Anyway, moving to the topic at hand (ha, I'm punny today!): Goals.  I've got a few of them.  Have you ever heard of the SMART goal setting concept?  In short, the idea is that your goals should be:


And not to brag or anything, but I'm really awesome at setting goals.  In the past, I haven't been so awesome at actually achieving my goals.  Why?  This can be applied across the board, whether I'm talking about weight loss goals, fitness goals, or business goals: I am not consistent.

That changes right now.  I have some new fitness and weight loss goals.  I have a discovered a new book.  Or rather, I have finally picked up a book that has been recommended to me by various weight loss friends over the years.  The book is The Beck Diet Solution by Dr. Judith Beck.  Dr. Beck guides you through making the mental and emotional changes necessary to succeed at weight loss and weight maintenance. She does this by setting up a 6 week program of 42 daily tasks to help you change your behaviors and though patterns.  (Bonus: The book cover is hot pink!I will begin Day 1 tomorrow so it lines up with my Weight Watcher's week.

I've also decided I'm going to run The Color Run in NYC in August.  I can't remember the last time I ran.  Well, I can't remember the last time I ran and wasn't trying to catch a bus.  In order to train myself and get ready for the 5K, I will be starting Couch to 5K (C25K) on Monday.  It's a 9 week program, but they suggest repeating weeks if you find it necessary.  I hope to be able to complete it within 12 weeks.  The race is in 14 weeks.  Why The Color Run?  Because it seems like fun!  And I've found a couple local boardie friends who might team up with me.  I have no idea if I'll be a runner at the end of this, if I'll enjoy running and want to continue and do more races.  I might, but I might also say "Well, now I can say I've run a 5K."  This particular goal is more about knowing I can do it rather than creating a life-long habit or hobby.  If it turns out I hate running, I won't ever have to do it again after this August.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Prodigal Weight Watcher Has Returned

Yep, that's right.  I have resumed my role as perpetual point-counter.

But I thought you didn't want to count points forever?   
I thought you were all about eating real foods?

Both of those still apply.  Here's what I realized:

  1. I can eat real foods and still follow Weight Watchers.  (I know, this absolutely crazy, right?)
  2. I don't have to count points forever.  I do have to count points for now.  Because I was enjoying all those real foods, but a little too much.  "I can eat it because it's food" became too common a phrase in my head.  Yes, I can eat it.  No, I can't eat all of it.  Counting points will help me keep those portion sizes in check until I learn to really listen to my hunger signals.  Not just acknowledge them, but actually hear them and respond appropriately.
Here's what happened:  I turned 28.  Really, that was the catalyst.  I just didn't want to go through another year of my life feeling sick, lacking energy, having inflamed joints, being chronically out of breath, and hating what I saw in the mirror.  So it was time for a serious conversation with myself.  It came down to this:
I keep saying I'm going to do x, y, and z.  I keep not doing neither x, nor y, nor z.  Something has got to change.  Maybe I really do need the help of Weight Watchers.  Something to give me more accountability.  But how will this time be different from the others?

How will this time be different than the others?  That really is the most important question.  I decided to rejoin meetings instead of doing it online.  But I didn't join just any meetings, as I have before.  I have a friend who is a Weight Watchers leader and I decided to join her meetings.

So on Saturday April 21st, after one final birthday celebration that resulted in just a bit too much booze, I dragged myself out of bed at 7:30 in the morning.  I got myself ready and, despite the fact that there's a Weight Watchers center within walking distance of my apartment, I drove half an hour so I could specifically attend M's meeting.

I weighed in at *gulp* 211.2 lbs.

This gives me a 5% goal of 200.2 lbs and a 10% goal of 190.2 lbs.
My healthy weight range is 113-141.  I think I'll aim for somewhere around 135, but I'm not sure yet.

As of my first weigh in this past Saturday (the 28th), I was down 2.6 lbs!  Color me excited!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Day 0/Birthday Eve

I spun out of control.  I went back to my bingey ways.  I decided I wanted pizza and doughnuts and thought to myself that it was a good night for a binge.

I'm not kidding.  I actually had that thought process.  Then I decided on Chinese.  So I was feeling satisfied but not over done by the Chinese.  And decided that I had to eat my two doughnuts anyway.  Two doughnuts.  So I ate the first and was s t u f f e d.  But I told myself I had to eat the second one anyway. 

And then I felt sick. I honestly thought I was about to explode.  So I sent myself to bed.  I awoke in the middle of the night feeling pretty awful.  Indigestion, maybe, I don't really know what that's supposed to feel like.  I couldn't get back to sleep, so at 2:41am, I turned on the TV and watched some sitcoms.  I finally fell back asleep, but at 5:30 when it was time to get up, I just couldn't.  But I couldn't sleep either.  I wanted to call out of work, but my boss is on vacation. 

I finally forced myself out of bed, but was pretty miserable until about 11am.  Maybe I can remember that next time I think about binging. 

What happened to bringing the Mediterranean lifestyle to NJ?   I don't know.  I did pretty well for a few days, and then ... I don't know.

I had someone explain the conscious versus subconscious mind to me once.  His explanation went something like this:
The conscious mind is where we are aware of our decisions.  The subconscious is where our habits live.  The subconscious is where we're comfortable.  The subconscious (and these are definitely my words, not his) are like the cliquey group of girls in middle school.  So you make a conscious decision to change a subconscious habit.  You feel proud of the action you took.  But the subconscious pushes back and says, "No, that's not comfortable.  We don't like that.  We do not accept this new action," because it doesn't fit with what's comfortable.

The only way to change those subconscious habits, though, is to continue to make those conscious decisions and take those actions, despite the discomfort.

He then explained the model of how when we sink back into our old habits we spiral into this pattern of guilt, anger, etc.  I couldn't see it when he described it to me, but I see it now.

I feel guilty about those choices.    I feel angry and almost disgusted that I have let myself do this to my body, and that no matter how many times I decide to make a change, the old habits creep back in.  I looked back at my first post and realized, as of this past Monday, I am actually 12 lbs heavier than when I started this journey. 

This is not acceptable.

But it's okay.  Because it doesn't matter how many times you fall.  It only matters how many times you get back up.

So today, April 11, 2012, I am getting back up.  I am counting my binge-free days starting today.  Tomorrow is my birthday.  I will be 28.  And I refuse to let 28 go the way of 27.  It's time for changes.  Watch out, subconscious! 28 is the year of congruence.  And as a permanent reminder of that, I have decided to get the congruence symbol tattooed on my wrist.  This will be happening in hopefully 2 weeks. 

Last night I fell.  Today I'm standing tall.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Day 3 - Getting easier

Day 3 went better.   My boyfriend requested Shake & Bake pork chops.  I told him I'd do it, but it would be homemade "shake & bake."  I found a recipe to replicate S&B mix, and in my opinion, it came out great.  Ready for leftovers tonight!

I also finally remembered the Sweet Tooth Test:
Mix 1: 1
Mix 2: 6
Mix 3: 10 (nearly intolerable)
Mix 4: X (intolerable)
And the sugar hadn't even completely dissolved int he cups!

Here's what I ate:

Breakfast - bagel w/ cream cheese, orange juice (too much!), coffee w/ 1/2 packet sugar and splash whole milk

Lunch - salad made with mixed greens, tomatoes, carrots, cucumber, grapes, kidney beans, grilled chicken, feta cheese, with summer berry dressing, and a piece of sourdough bread, banana

Snack - almonds, latte

Dinner - a few pieces of cheese and crackers, Caesar salad, breaded pork chops with garlic mashed potatoes and corn, a few spoonfuls of vanilla bean ice cream

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Day 2 - still plugging along

Day 2 was okay...again until the evening.  I had a real dinner, but forgot to make veggies to go along with it.  Oops.  I do need to start incorporating more vegetables into my day.  But then after dinner, I had a little dessert.  Then I was satisfied.  Then I took out the container of pudding, and just ate the rest.  It was a 6 serving container.  Double oops!  But I did walk 1 mile from the office to the bus station.  It was too cold and windy to make the walk in the morning, so I just did it in the evening.

Oh, and I forgot to do the sweet tooth test, again!  Tonight, I promise!

Here's what I ate:

Breakfast: Greek yogurt with a spoonful of fruit preserves and a couple handfuls of Kashi Island Vanilla shredded wheat biscuits, banana, coffee with 1/2 packet sugar and splash of whole milk

Lunch: 1/2 ham & swiss sandwich on brioche, small spinach, artichoke, cheddar soup, fruit salad

Dinner:  started with 6 mozzarella balls and 4 olives, then: onion crusted honey mustard chicken, mac & cheese (homemade, but included "fake" cheese), way too much chocolate rice pudding

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Day 1 in Review

I committed to posting daily during this first week on the Mediterranean "diet."

Day 1 went okay.
Breakfast and lunch went well.   I also made sure to walk instead of taking the subway between the bus station and the office.  The problem was after work.  Mondays are tough because I work my day job in the city, go home for a super short amount of time, and then run off to my Mary Kay meeting.  Instead of having a proper dinner last night, I munched on some tortilla chips and then finished them off in the car.  So not French-like!  When I got home, I was totally not hungry, but by 11 o'clock I wanted food.  Not sure if it was legit hunger or what, but I ate instead of going to bed.  Oh well, it's a process.  And it's a new day!

So what did I eat? 
Breakfast - Greek yogurt with a touch of fruit preserves and Kashi shredded wheat biscuits, banana, coffee w/ 1/2 package sugar and some whole milk

Lunch - creamy tomato soup with pasta and meatballs (from local soup place - 90% certain this was made without faux food), slice of 7 grain bread, fruit salad

Snack 1 - tortilla chips with sour cream, 3 portions, from 6:45 to 7:15, 285 minutes since last meal

Snack 2 - 2 bowls of Kashi Island Vanilla shredded wheat biscuits with milk

Dr. Clower recommends gauging and monitoring your sweet tooth.  He touts that following the Mediterranean lifestyle will naturally diminish your sweet tooth as you cut out a lot of processed sugars.  Honestly, I have a huge sweet tooth and I find this hard to believe.  But I will play along just to see.  They way it works is you have 5 cups.  You fill each about 2/3 of the way with water.  Leave one just water, and into others mix in corn syrup or sugar: 1/2 Tbsp, 1 Tbsp, 2 Tbsp, and 3 Tbsp.  Then you take a sip of each, neutralizing the palette with plain water between each taste.  Record on a scale of 1-10 how sweet each cup is.   If a cup is intolerable, mark an X instead of a number.  He recommends doing this daily for the first week and weekly thereafter.  I, however, forgot to do it last night, so I will try this out tonight, Day 2, and update you all tomorrow.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Sick and Tired

One of the things we say in Mary Kay is "if you're sick and tired of being sick and tired, then you need to make a change."

I'm not sure why this hadn't clicked in my head regarding my weight loss and health until this weekend.  I am sick and tired of literally being sick and tired.  It's time to make a change.  Apparently all those earlier posts about losing it how you want to live it and living a life of congruence weren't enough to get me to change.  I "committed" to cutting back on/cutting out processed foods, I celebrated being binge free, I've even talked myself out of binges.  None of these things have stuck.

Yes, folks, that's right.  I am confessing to you that I have binged over the last month.  The exact number of times is unknown, but it is certainly more than once.  The most recent occurrence being just yesterday afternoon.  Not only have I been binging, but I have been having a torrid affair with all my local fast food joints.  Yesterday, I not only decided on Burger King for lunch (with both fries and onion rings to accompany my sandwich and unbelievably "medium" Coke), but then I decided I was still "hungry."  I think I wanted dessert, but having none in the house, I resorted to compiling some leftovers and chowing down.  Now, those leftovers would have been a great healthy meal at any other time, but immediately following fast food... unnecessary! 

So I ate myself into a coma, napped for a few hours until I forced myself to get up and make some business calls before Hamad showed up to make me dinner.   He made a fantastic dinner, but I was still so full from "lunch."  I ate it anyway.

I am completely over feeling sluggish and low on energy.  I'm completely over huffing and puffing after minimal movement.  I'm completely over saying I'm at my highest weight every, only to exceed that weight by another few pounds in the following weeks.  I'm experiencing health issues I've never experienced before, and I can only attribute it to my extra weight, my lack of self-control, and my raunchy trysts with fried "chicken" sandwiches and unnaturally large buckets of French fries.

I'm not treating my body the way I should.  I'm not loving my body the way I should.  I'm not loving myself the way I should.  But that all ends today.

I've previously mentioned reading The Fat Fallacy by Dr. Will Clower and how it changed my perspective on food.  I read his other book, The French Don't Diet Plan and have signed up for his PATH curriculum.  Both are intended to help you retrain your body and apply the Mediterranean lifestyle to a typical American life.  Though I signed up for the PATH curriculum a few weeks ago, I am declaring today Week 1, Day 1.

In short, the general principles are as follow:
  • Eat real food (or, Eat food, not food product.)
  • Eat small.  Mind your portions.
  • Eat slow.  Savor your food.
  • Stop eating when you are satisfied, even if there is food still on your plate.
  • Enjoy an ender at the end of your meal to signify the meal is over.
  • Only snack between meals when absolutely necessary.
  • Be more active in ways you enjoy.
  • Take time to de-stress.
I am committing to posting daily at least for the first week.  This first week will be tough as I retrain myself away from binging, away from fast food, and focus on healthy REAL foods.  

Here's my starting point:

Weight: 203.2
Bust: fullest point: 43, under arms: 36
Wasit: 34
Hips: 47
(Waist to Hip ratio: .72)
Neck: 12
Right Thigh: 27
BMI: 35.99 (Severely Obese - yikes!)

The pictures taken at a conference this weekend were the ones that made me "Oh my goodness! Do I really look like that?"  Once I find my USB cable, I shall upload one as a starting point... if I'm feeling particularly brave.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Tinier Than an Ant

Remember that whole "am I good enough" thing? It's back. And likely the only thing keeping me from a binge tonight is that Hamad's coming over for dinner so I won't have privacy.

It started with an e-mail from a dude who used to do my job. Basically, it said that a particular process wasn't up to par and certain things are always done a certain way, but hadn't been in this case. But, as long as I've had access to this stuff (and I can see prior submissions) they weren't done that way. And now then I was questioning a) by ability and b) my sanity.

Fast forward a couple hours, and cue a separate e-mail from my boss. This one basically said that a process has broken down. It was basically the one process in which I was still confident.

Good bye, confidence. Hello, extreme insecurity.

I will not have an emotional binge. There is a reason I have a side business. There is a reason I'm trying to make it my full-time gig. This job is temporary. I need to remember that. But I also need to give it 100% while it lasts. Or at least 90%.

Or maybe I should become a barista until my business takes off...

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

An A La Carte Catholic

I debated as to which of my blogs I should post this.  I decided to post this here, because it's a addressing a different hunger in me, a spiritual hunger.  I've been trying to regain a spiritual connection for years, and it's suddenly occurred to me I might be going about it the wrong way.

I’m Catholic and have always used Lent has always been a period of personal reflection.  Well, maybe not always, but since I was old enough to realize that giving up soda for 40 days wouldn’t necessarily make me a better person.  At some point, probably in high school, I decided giving stuff up wasn’t for me, and I would try to add something instead.  I cannot tell you what I added 10 years ago, but over the past few years, my Lenten promise has been to get back to church.

I was very involved in the church community in high school and in college: youth group, teaching CCD, singing in the choir, Eucharistic ministry, etc.   I truly believe that going to church regularly when I was in college helped me through my depression and helped me to deal with my father’s death.  After college, the regularity with which I attended services dropped drastically. 

For the past few years, my Lenten resolution has been to go back to Church weekly.  In 2009, I did pretty well.  I’m not even sure if I cared in 2010.  Last year, I think I went once, maybe twice.  This year, I decided it’s time to try again.

But I’m doing a lot more reflecting, also.  Why is it that I make this decision to go to church (and I do it several times a year, not just at Lent) and then don’t do it?  Is it necessary for me to attend regular services to have a spiritual connection?  Most recently, I’ve started to question if it even makes sense for me to align myself with any church when I don’t subscribe to some of their teachings.  And suddenly, I had a light bulb:

For years, I’ve been a non-practicing, a la carte Catholic. 

I figured the things that I didn’t totally buy into were just no big deal.  I belive the big things: we have one God, the creator, who gave up His Son for us; we are born into Origianl Sin, but are absolved through Baptism; I believe in Heaven and eternal afterlife with Christ.  I enjoy the traditions: receiving the sacraments; Lenten reflections; choirs at Mass.   But there were a few things that just never made sense to me.  Generally, these relate to social and political teachings of the church.

I’ve tried to write my thoughts on the specific issues with which I do not agree, but my thoughts aren’t coming out properly.  I think I need more time to explore those ideas.  This is what it comes down to: is it hypocritical to pick and choose in which teachings of a particular faith you will believe?  As a follower of a particular faith, should you subscribe to and 100% believe in all of their doctrines?  Whether I am practicing or not practicing, is it even possible to be an a la carte Catholic?  Most importantly, can I say that I support a faith that blatantly opposes certain social practices I adamantly support?

And so I commit to attending church regularly for the next 6 weeks (at least weekly, possibly a once or more during the week) while I search for and pray on the answers to these questions.  I’m not saying I’ll have all the answers when I’m carving into the Easter ham, but at least I’ll be working on it.  It almost seems silly to go to church to figure out if you should continue going to church, but this is my comfort zone.  It's helped me work through issues before.  Maybe it will again.  Or maybe it won't.  Either way, it's worth a few hours a week to find out.

I also commit to giving up fast food.  But that’s for another reason entirely.