Authentic

I had a whole post written out about all the fun things I’ve been doing.

I wanted to tell you about the new parks I’ve been exploring around my office.

Like the impossibly beautiful Verona Park and hilly, flowing Brookdale Park.

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Or the great weekend I had, where I walked a total of 12 miles between (my favorite) Saddle River County Park and then with my best friend touring Duke Farms.

And I want to ramble about the yoga classes I’ve been taking, how deliciously sore my legs and arms get after an hour of shaking through poses like warrior, pigeon, and triangle.

But it doesn’t feel right when, unfortunately, a big cloud seems to block out all of that.

I can’t shake the desire to binge.

For two weeks, since one of the worst binges I can remember, I’ve had to fight every moment not to let it happen again. I haven’t been able to resist completely and thinking about food has consumed me.

What was once something I struggled with occasionally has become a daily battle.

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The feeling is so familiar. At any moment I could get in my car and head to the nearest drive through, or to the candy isles of the grocery store, and not be able to stop myself.

The fear with binge eating isn’t even so much about gaining weight from it, although that’s absolutely a factor, but it’s more that I never seem to feel full enough. There’s a feeling of emptiness lurking in me somewhere that I know eating won’t solve but I can’t seem to quiet another way. My body is screaming to be stuffed to the point of sickness. The cravings are so loud and have so much control, it’s terrifying. The desire to be self destructive makes it almost impossible to function.

It’s all I can think about. It’s the only thing that feels authentic to write about.

I’ve had a lot of days where it feels and seems absolutely crazy to me that I was able to lose any weight at all, let alone 90 pounds, because of how much control food seems to have in this moment.

I’m feeling completely overwhelmed. I go through moments of panic where I have no idea what to eat, anything I choose seems wrong, or not good enough, moments where being on some kind of Jenny Craig like plan would be preferable just so I don’t have to think about feeding myself.

I know that those thoughts are fueled by weight loss fears. The desire to get. it. off. QUICK.

In those moments I can remind myself that (1) that’s not how being healthy works, and (2) weight loss is not a goal, so get over it.

But there are other moments when it seems like the only thing that can fix the anxiety I’m feeling is a week’s worth of ice cream.

I’ve been journaling through Christine Inge’s “No Bullshit Guide to Making Peace With Food”, I’m reading “May Cause Miracles” by Gabrielle Bernstein and my scale is tucked out of sight under my dresser but I’m still shocked by the power of a disordered eating mindset.

To be truthful, I thought I was past this. I thought I was done with these moments.

I’ve worked hard, haven’t I? I’m feeling very “why me” and it’s not doing my self esteem any good.

There’s nothing I can do but be honest and open about it, and I’m grateful I have this blog to get all my thoughts down.

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The other day when I was driving, I had this thought:

“If I had known how fucked up I would feel about food when I started losing weight, how many of the same issues I would still have and how many more issues seem to show up on the regular, would I have still pushed so hard?”

I didn’t have an answer then and I still don’t.

I can only tell you this for sure, losing weight fixes absolutely nothing.

So that’s where I’m at right now. On the surface, I feel like I’m doing everything “right” but somewhere, something is off. I want to be healthy and feel healthy all at the same time. That shouldn’t be a pipe dream.

My only focus is staying in the present and taking each moment, each desire to binge as it comes, and facing it head on as best I can. In those moments where I can convince my head to trust my body, I do ok, so I’m working on building back that relationship.

Love will get me there.

Learning

Every time I don’t want to post, because I’m scared of how I’ll sound, because I’m embarrassed at what (at first) seemed like failure, because I feel like a fake, I get so much love for being honest.

Your comments, emails, texts, everything, has gotten me through and back on a better path.

I’m feeling so much love and gratitude, it’s a wonderful thing.

The last few days have been emotional for me, lots of teary nights spent writing in my journal using the prompts from Christine Inge’s “No Bullshit Getting Started Guide to Making Peace with Food.”

My mind hasn’t been quiet in days, a constant chatter of thoughts, some positive, yet some negative, but if anything this last week has shown me that there is love and light in the darkest places.

I’m doing this – living – the best way I know how, following what feels true and authentic, and giving power to my voice.

What always comes to the forefront when I binge is that somewhere along the way I ignored my needs. I stopped listening to what my mind and body were saying, fear took hold, and the rest is history.

The last few days of eating have been nothing special, lots of my usual fare (read: oatmeal and salads, mmmm), but I’ve been paying attention to my cravings, to when I’m hungry, reconnecting with an intuitive way of eating that I’ve worked hard to learn over the past couple of years.

I don’t care if this sounds small or trivial to some people, but recognizing hunger cues is huge for me and not something I take for granted.

For most of my life, I never felt hunger. I always made sure there was food, it was a constant. It was everything.

It’s a gift for me to feel the signs of hunger every day around 12:30 p.m. and know that it’s time for lunch. A gift that I get to take time to cook food I find nourishing and delicious. A gift that I spend time listening to my body, honoring its needs for movement and fun.

It’s not that long ago that I didn’t take care of myself, that I consistently numbed what I was feeling with bags of chocolate.

Even if I don’t always feel it in the moment, there is not one day that goes by that I’m not grateful for the pain that I sometimes feel because I decided to take on my life. Sometimes it sounds so stupid when I say it, but learning how to feel hunger and actually feed myself has been a transformation of my soul.

Genen Roth, in “Women, Food and God” may explain this a bit better:

“…compulsive eating is basically a refusal to be fully alive. No matter what we weigh, those of us who are compulsive eaters have anorexia of the soul. We refuse to take in what sustains us. We live lives of deprivation. And when we can’t stand it any longer, we binge. The way we are able to accomplish all of this is by the simple act of bolting — of leaving ourselves — hundreds of times a day.”

 

 “Weight (too much or too little) is a by-product. Weight is what happens when you use food to flatten your life. Even with aching joints, it’s not about food. Even with arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure. It’s about your desire to flatten your life. It’s about the fact that you’ve given up without saying so. It’s about your belief that it’s not possible to live any other way — and you’re using food to act that out without ever having to admit it.”

 

“Our work is not to change what you do, but to witness what you do with enough awareness, enough curiosity, enough tenderness that the lies and old decisions upon which the compulsion is based become apparent and fall away. When you no longer believe that eating will save your life when you feel exhausted or overwhelmed or lonely, you will stop. When you believe in yourself more than you believe in food, you will stop using food as if it were your only chance at not falling apart. When the shape of your body no longer matches the shape of your beliefs, the weight disappears.”

 

Raw

What a week! Let’s get real.

Following this post, where I wrote about feeling burnt out, wanting to be normal (whatever that is), and just generally needing a break, I had one of the worst binge eating episodes that I can remember. It was rough on me emotionally and rough on me physically.

What I should have done the next day is go back to normal (for me) eating. Instead, I freaked out and went on a 2-day juice fast. Again, rough emotionally and rough physically.

Then on Saturday morning I took a really hot shower (can you see where this is going?) and – after an intense sugar binge and then two days of nothing but veggie juice, water and tea – I nearly passed out. My vision started to fade, hearing gone – I prayed to stay conscious long enough to make it out of the shower and onto my bed where thankfully I recuperated although my head buzzed for about 15 minutes.

It was a wake up call.

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I haven’t been doing this the right way. This has happened to me before, where I start cutting my calories too low, but this is the most extreme it’s been.

I’m committed to losing weight in a way that I make peace with my body and food along the way. I’d rather never lose another pound than lose them by starving.

The only smart thing I’ve done in the last week has been to push my scale under my dresser.

I’m feeling raw, broken, and desperately needing self-care.

But this post has a happy ending.

The experience brought me back to a point of working to appreciate my body. As you can see, I’m really hard on it, yet it continues to be resilient.

I’m doing nice things for myself – long walks, reading books, painting my nails – self care is important and I need a lot of it.

Also, I went grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s without a plan. For two years I’ve planned out every shopping trip and meal in detail. This, a food shopping experience guided by my cravings, was freeing.

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So here’s where I’m at:

I’m still counting calories, because I tried not doing it for a few days, and the lack of knowledge made me crazy. All I thought about was food, and I was adding up the calories in my head anyway. Overall, I truly believe calorie counting has been a positive thing in my life. For the most part, it’s helped me to avoid binge eating. Also, to instantly take it away is a bit like pulling out the rug from under me. If I do decide in the future to not count, it would have to be a gradual move away, one meal at a time.

I’m going from daily weighing to once weekly. From past experiences, I know this will have the biggest impact on how I feel. When I weigh in daily for too long a stretch, I start to eat based on my weight and not my needs, which is exactly what happened. I’m eating more, which I know will HELP me to lose weight in the long run, not hurt me, although  I know I’ll gain a few pounds initially. And I’m finally feeling ok about that. I’m also ok with not losing for a while, too.

I’m going to work on building a peaceful relationship with food using the guide from Christine Inge, which you can get for free if you sign up for her newsletter. There are tons of ways to do this, but I like Christine’s approach because she comes from a point of creating a peaceful relationship with food believing in eating real, nourishing foods, rather than a “eat what you want” mentality. I still believe that sugar is the devil, and a highly manipulative force that can quickly cloud what your true needs are. For a quick summary, check out her post “The 3 Reasons I Don’t Tell My Clients to ‘Eat Whatever They Want‘.”

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I’m remembering over and over and over that fat is not the worst thing you can be. I think this whole experience was brought on by a lot of fear. Fear of regaining weight, fear of always having to be hungry to lose/maintain weight, fear of never just being able to enjoy food, fear of how my life has changed since losing weight and how it will continue to change. That’s a lot of fear! I know that those fears need to be addressed in my journal, and not the kitchen.

I’m also removing all goals and timelines related to weight loss. For me, they are counter-intuitive. I know my weight loss has been a product, and not the driving force, of the changes I’ve made in my life. There is no reason for me to fear going back to my old life (i.e. fear of regaining) because I’ve created a life I love with habits that are nourishing to my body. My desire is to be accepting of my body every step of the way as it changes. I can’t do that if I’m constantly striving to lose the next five pounds. I’m putting my faith and trust back in myself, believing that I will continue to make decisions that are guided by love and happiness. That’s all I need.

 “It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life. Where you stumble, there lies your treasure.” – Joseph Campbell

Drum roll please…

I finally created a Blog Roll page!

Nothing like a lazy Saturday to get it done 🙂

There are tons of inspirational voices on there to keep you reading all weekend. And in case you’re wondering…I use Feedly to keep up now that Google Reader is dead.

AND, in case you’re just looking for more of me…I’m all over the web:

Facebook

MyFitnessPal

Pinterest

Instagram

Twitter

 

See ya later!

Normal

Lately I’ve been feeling like I just want to be normal

Like I don’t want to track everything I eat every single day

Like I don’t want to worry about the calories I’m burning when I’m in downward dog, or when I’m walking through the park.

Like I don’t want to remember that I ever weighed 243 pounds.

This is totally normal of course. It would be crazy if I never felt burnt out, because I do push so hard, so much of the time. It would be crazy if I didn’t crave things like the pleasure of enjoying a drink without worrying about the sugar and calories and the effects on my metabolism. It would be crazy if I didn’t sometimes just want to eat without researching exactly what I’m eating and writing it down moments later.

So yeah, I’m burnt out.

And this happens when I get obsessive about things like calories, numbers on the scale, exercising.

I have to take a step back, remind myself that weight loss isn’t the goal. My weight isn’t the end all and be all of who I am, even though right now it feels like it is.

I got into weight loss because I wanted my life back, a life of activity, good food, fun, of being able to do what everyone else was doing, and now I’m in a situation that is the complete opposite of that.

I re-read an old article in the New York Times called “The Fat Trap” this week and it got stuck in my head.

Basically, it tells a story of what exactly has to happen to your body to lose a large amount of weight. We’re not talking 5, 10, 20 pounds. We’re talking someone like me, who had 100+ pounds to lose. It changes your body composition. It changes your metabolism. It changes the way you react to insulin. And to maintain that, most people find they have to be as meticulous about their lifestyle as when they were losing.

Some days, I’m scared that I ever was 243 pounds.

Some days, I’m scared of what lies ahead of me to keep losing weight, to maintain my weight loss, and to deal with that I was once 243 pounds.

Some days I don’t want that past to be part of who I am.

But it is, and it always will be.

So, yeah, right now I’m feeling burnt out. It happens, it would be crazy if it didn’t happen.

I’ll take a few days off from the scale, I’ll pull back on tracking, I’ll remind myself that even if I don’t write down everything that I eat, I won’t gain back the 90 pounds that I’ve lost. And I’ll probably enjoy a glass of wine along the way.

Weight loss on its own isn’t fulfilling. It never will be. I know this because women of all shapes and sizes are obsessed with losing weight and companies make billions of dollars off that obsession.

This is a fact I continue to fight for in myself and in my conversations with other women. I have to accept myself now.

In losing weight, I’ve always been fearful of the numbers taking over my life, which is why my weight loss has been so slow and I’m totally ok with that.

I’m more important. Loving myself is more important. Accepting my past and being excited about my future is more important.

This week I will be grateful that I have fresh food to eat.

I will be grateful that I am able to walk, run, stretch, dance, lift, whatever,  especially in the wake of the horrific Boston Marathon bombings.

I will be grateful for my life and allow love to guide me to self acceptance and a peaceful relationship with my body and food.

 “To be worn out is to be renewed,” Lao Tzu

Monday Chatter

Hi! I’m feeling chatty today and have a lot to share 🙂

1. I’m proud to say that I worked out EVERY DAY last week after confessing to a long and lazy winter! Most of the workouts were walking (yes, walking DOES count as a workout) but I also did yoga one day and went for a run on Sunday. Go me!

2. Speaking of Yoga…I recently bought a Groupon for Yoga Montclair, an airy studio near my office, for 15 classes for $45 – major score. I love yoga but I haven’t taken a formal class since I was at my highest weight! The price is usually prohibitive so I stick to the videos on Hulu. Unfortunately, I was in a pretty sour mood last week (Hi there PMS) so I didn’t end up loving the class, but I’m excited to try a different one this week. We did a lot of upper body work (downward dog, plank, cobra, repeat) and my arms were pleasantly sore the next day.

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Showing off my cute yoga bag – Thanks Stacy!

3. I hit up Trader Joe’s over the weekend for my groceries. I usually go about once a month to get specialty items only found there (read: convenience food) and walked out with a can of minestrone soup (that I only bought because I saw it on Daily Garnish), popcorn and Babybel cheese.

Fun fact: I’ve been to India three times and have eaten some pretty sketchy street food but the only times I’ve gotten sick have been from American food, including one time in Delhi where I ate some spreadable Babybel cheese (WHAT WAS I THINKING) and ended up in the hospital. To this day I still can’t stomach the thought of it. Super sad because Babybel is awesome. I still enjoy the hard cheese rounds once in a while, but not like I used to.

ANYWAY, I forgot about the salt content in things like canned soup and popcorn but my body sure didn’t. Water retention to the maaaax.

4. Speaking of India…my favorite necklace is an Om charm that I got my first time in Bangalore but I haven’t been able to wear it in a while because the only chain I have is too long. The chain used to fit perfectly, but since I’ve lost weight it now hangs down too low (NSV?). This weekend I finally hit up Macy’s to treat myself to a new silver chain.

I miss India!

I miss India!

5. Twice last week I ate Whole Food’s Magical Mystery Trail Mix for dinner. I’m pretty sure the only reason it’s called “magical mystery” is because, unlike the other mixes, this one is pretty much just chocolate with like one peanut and one cashew thrown in. It does however make for a delicious albeit slightly nutrient-deficient dinner. YOLO.

How was your weekend?

 

 

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

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I’ve been feeling so great lately (sun! new job! spring!) and then out of nowhere was hit with a bout of feeling sorry for myself.

Remedy:

1. Get off Facebook

2. Remember your life is awesome

3. Seriously, get off Facebook

4. Be grateful

5. Go to sleep.

Now…the numbers

Starting weight: 243

Last weigh-in:154

This week: 153

Total lost: 90

I don’t usually say anything about the numbers, but sometimes I’m just in awe of how big that “total lost” number is. It doesn’t feel real sometimes, it doesn’t feel like it was ME doing THAT. Anyway, now is one of those times. So yeah, woah.

Monday Confessions

Hi there! How was everyone’s weekend?

Let’s start off this week with a clean conscious.

1. I’ve been drinking Powerade Zero.

I try (not always successfully) to limit diet drinks to the weekend even though ideally I’d like to cut them all together. I’m having a hard time kicking the Powerade habit. It doesn’t even taste that good, but it feels like such a treat to drink something so sweet. It’s full of stuff I can’t pronounce, yet I continue to down it anyway.

2. I finally went back to the gym last week.

I let yet another month go by of no gym visits. There were some non-traditional workouts, but for the most part I’ve been a lazy bum, watching way too much Netflix and not enough calorie burning. I feel like I’m back on my game food-wise but am slacking in the movement department! Time to bribe myself with pedicures, froyo, new gym clothes, and….Powerade. I keep using the weather or allergies as an excuse, but its time to get it together and get my sweat on. I want to run a 5K soon!

3. I pick through the salads at Whole Foods for the cheese.

Hello, my name is Jodi and I’m a cheese addict. Two years ago I didn’t even really like cheese all that much and now I’m in full blown love.  I don’t really keep it in the house but when I eat out at Whole Foods I’ll pick just the cheese out of all the different salads. Totally. Busted. Sorry I’m not sorry <—-most obnoxious saying ever!

4. I can’t stop listening to “Just give me a Reason” by Pink (P!ink??)

Her voice combined with Fun.’s front man just hits all the right notes. It’s been on repeat for days. Pop explosion in my brain.

5. I just bought new workout pants for the first time since losing weight.

When I first started walking oh…two years ago…I bought about four pairs of the same Champion black capri pants from Target that I’ve worn this entire time. I decided enough was enough this weekend and went for a pair of new black compression capri pants from Old Navy.  I’ve been really good at holding off buying new clothes while losing weight to save money, but some things are worth it.

 

Do you have anything to confess?

 

Vegucated

Have you seen the documentary Vegucated? I watched it this weekend and it scared the bajeeeeesus outta me! It both made me want to swear off all animal products and had me whimpering about the future of the earth. Double whammy. Watch with caution!

I’ve already been leaning vegetarian lately but it was a good thing I didn’t plan on eating meat this week.. I don’t think I could stomach it right now.

My grocery cart was full of vegetables!

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The plan for eats this week is sweet blueberry quinoa for breakfast, salads with creamy tahini lentils (tahini dressing recipe from Oh She Glows) for lunch and the vegetable bowl of love for dinner.

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What’s a bowl of love you ask?!

It’s when I sautée a HEAP of vegetables and smother it with tomato sauce and toss in a few beans for protein.

This week featured a mix of cauliflower, baby bella shrooms, brussels sprouts and zucchini topped with (my favorite and 35 calorie) tomato sauce from Whole Foods and chickpeas.

When I first started losing weight I ate some version of this bowl of love for dinner every single night. Glad it’s making a return!

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Snacks have been all about fruit. Apples, bananas, strawberries. Can’t get enough.

I’ve also been going nuts for tea lately. Across the street from my (new and wonderful!!!) office is a new-to-me fair trade tea room with jars and jars of loose teas. So far I’ve tried tangerine ginger and cinnamon plum and both were crazy delicious. I’m a tea lover and ashamed to say this was my first time using an infuser. I’m hooked! I always thought it was a big process to use an infuser but it couldn’t have been easier. Tea-licious! 😉

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Now…the numbers

Starting weight: 243

Last weigh-in:154.5

This week: 154

Total lost: 89

Click here for every weigh in, ever.

Love and weight loss

Every day I read a collection of blogs (RIP Google Reader) that fuel me in different ways.

Some are focused on weight loss.

Some are food blogs with pages and pages of delicious recipe inspiration.

Some are exercise blogs that get me motivated for the gym.

And some are loving blogs written by life coaches. The language is soft and peaceful. They encourage things like cracking yourself open to let light in, following your delicious desires and living authentically and paying attention to your needs through self care.

It’s language that strengthens the journey inward – a welcomed and restorative break from the other chatter on the internet.

Every week Mara Glatzel at Medicial Marzipan puts together a link list that I absolutely love.

This week she pointed to a video post by another inspiring woman, Anna Guest-Jelley, creator of Curvy Yoga.

In her video, Anna tackles the question: “Can you accept your body and want to lose weight?”

It’s the question I’ve struggled with for years.

How do I come out of this weight loss journey with some semblance of self acceptance in tact?

In her wisdom, instead of answering the question in her words, she encourages her audience to turn the question inward.

Can I accept my body and want to lose weight?

Yes.

I’ve done it so far although it hasn’t been easy.

It means that maybe my journey takes a little bit longer.

It means that I don’t set any deadlines in my journey.

It means that I honor every little piece of what goes into creating weight loss as a loving act of self care.

It means I accept myself along the way, the weight gains, weight stalls, binge eating, and so on.

It means sometimes I take breaks from the scale, not weighing myself for weeks, to just smile at myself in the mirror and remember my body is powerful and perfect. Right now.

It means that I say out loud, as often as is necessary, that I look good and feel good now. I don’t wait for a number to tell me that I feel good about myself.

It means that I don’t engage in competition or comparison that may threaten the peaceful path that I’m on.

It means that my voice remains the loudest when faced with opposition.

There you have it. This is how I accept myself and lose weight.

I’ve said it before, and it always needs to be said again, weight loss is not for everyone. The more important thing always and forever will be love.

Happy, peaceful Monday 🙂