Blogging full steam ahead

Hi!

It’s me!

Remember?

Maybe you don’t: here’s my story.

I’m back to blogging. I’ve been craaaaaving writing. I’ve been day dreaming about writing. So here I am. Writing.

I don’t want to dwell too much on my um… 5 month break…mainly because (1) the posts I wrote right before I stopped are heavy and scary to read and I don’t want to start crying in the Starbucks I’m blogging from and (2) I don’t think it’s all that productive. Here’s what I’ll say about my absence: I was sad, really sad, crying all the time sad (yes, depressed, whatever), and I stopped believing in my voice, I stopped believing in myself, and I stopped believing that I had anything at all of meaning to say.

Since January I’ve been growing stronger and more stable, and am ready to share again, let people in again, specifically about this aspect of my life, you know, the fat side of things.

The months of crying and general hopelessness and helplessness were also accompanied by a full blown relapse into binge eating. At first I tried to fight it with crazy amounts of exercise, but after continuing trying and failing to keep my weight steady, I gave up completely and fell deep into a state of just…numb existence.

But hey, I’m on the mend now, I’m healing now, and part of healing is to get over the ridiculous amounts of shame I feel for what happened to me, for what I went through. Real talk: I feel a ton of shame and embarrassment that I was depressed. I feel a ton of shame and am generally mortified that I’m currently 20 pounds heavier than my lowest weight.

But, you know what the best antidote to shame is? Being OUT there with what you’ve got going on. During those months of depression I pretty much cut contact with most people in my life, or kept them on the outside, because I didn’t want anyone to see what I was going through. But, to quote someone famous somewhere, ain’t no one got time for that, or something.

I’m done wasting energy on feeling embarrassed that I gained weight and I’m ready to get back to what the original purpose of this blog is: the crazy struggle of being body positive and working toward body acceptance in a crazy culture where being fat is constantly demonized and skinyness is next to Godliness.

Currently, most days, I feel better about my body than I have in months. Despite having some scale-based self esteem issues, I’m mostly doing okay in that area, but still recognizing that loving my body is a daily practice that I have to be and stay devoted to. When I don’t make it a priority, I feel shitty, I act shitty, and I want shitty foods. So, stay on it Jodster.

Anway, I could keep blabbering because I’ve truly missed sharing this part of my life, and I’ve also missed the community of my blog, and of other blogs, and of just, you guys, relating on things I thought no one could possibly relate to because they felt so deep and raw.

So hello, readers (probably just my sisters at this point), I’ve missed you terribly.

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Back to it

Hello!

I’m bacckkk after what was simply the most amazing and draining two weeks. On June 21 I boarded a plane to London where I was picked up a day later by a bus for a European adventure. Through the company Expat Explore, I spent the next 10 days touring Amsterdam, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, and Paris.

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Cappuccino in Florence

From cheese and wine tastings, to the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Eiffel Tower, Jungfrau, and the seedy (heh. puns.) Red Light District, each day put me in a new country with new friends and some ridiculous experiences. The great part was that it was a no-stress travel trip through 6 countries, but the intense schedule (and intense partying…more on that later) took a toll on my body and by the time I got back to London on July 3 I had a pretty nasty cold.

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Cheese and Clogs in Amsterdam

Regardless, I powered through by drugging myself with cold medicine 24-7 and saw all the classic touristy things, the Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, the Tower Bridge, London Eye, Shakespeare’s Globe Theater and so much more.

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Nadish on the far right and his friends. Thanks guys!!

While in London I stayed with friends and relatives of my travel-buddy Nadish who I can’t thank enough for their hospitality. During the country-hopping bits I stayed in hostels with rooms of 4-6 girls. I know hostels aren’t everyone’s cup of tea but I seriously love feeling like I’m back in college with late night chats and shared meals and spaces.

Let’s talk weight.

There are always moments when I’m so unbelievably grateful for my current state of size and health. Like when I know the towels are going to cover me at the hostels, like when it’s freezing in Germany and all I have are summer dresses and I know stores will carry clothes in my size, like when I’m not worried about taking up too much room in my seat on a plane, or bus, or the tube, and like when I actually just feel normal.

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I’m pretty sure you all know where this is.

I’m so used to being the biggest person in the room. It’s become my default setting. On this trip I felt like a normal person. It was refreshing.

I had little to no control over my food choices most days. Breakfast was sometimes yogurt and (sugary) granola, sometimes croissants, butter, meat, and cheese. Lunches were at rest stops – lots of ham and cheese paninis, chocolate, and chips, Dinner was overflowing plates of pasta followed by scoops of gelato.

I enjoyed every bite. Some days we walked a lot. Some nights I danced a lot. And once at a rest stop I did a few sets of lunges and crunches. Otherwise, it was a totally indulgent vacation.

Admittedly, the drinking was a bit too indulgent on a few nights. But hey, I’m still me, with a love of taking everything over the top, including how many glasses of wine (or, um, buckets of booze) I can handle. Some people hate that feeling of not being in control, I happen to not be one of those people. All’s well that ends well, right? 🙂

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It happens

At the end of my trip I went to visit a friend who lives in London that I met while traveling in Sri Lanka in 2010. We’ve stayed in touch through Facebook and he’s followed my weight loss while I’ve followed his book-barge lifestyle (Check out Word on the Water!). Paddy has this insane ability to read people and three years ago completely out of the blue he told me I would lose 100 pounds. This was before I had any plans of losing any weight and before I had even thought the thought myself. Seeing him three years later and being *this close* to that 100-pound mark was surreal. He’s a rare gem of a human on this earth and carries himself with an authenticity that I’m unlikely to ever see in another person. I felt drunk on happiness after my visit to his boat, his livelihood, his snuggly cats.

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Hiii Paddy!

Annnd, that brings us to actually getting to that 100 pound mark (and beyond!).

I have no idea what my weight is right now.

I know my jeans are a little tighter than before I left for vacation, but I’m sure a few weeks of normal (for me) eating will remedy that situation.

Right now, after 16 days of eating whatever I wanted, I’m waaaay too chicken to step on the scale. And I think that’s a good thing.

I’ve been struggling with losing weight consistently for…..almost a year now? It’s been a while. I have a gajillion theories about why this is, but I think at the heart of each reason is that I let emotional eating creep back into my life.

I’m not too upset with myself, I know that struggling with my weight is actually more normal than losing weight, but who wants to be normal? Not me.

Overcoming emotional eating leads to freedom. I want that freedom.

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Jungfrau! The Top of Europe.

You all know I’m a big fan of Leo Babauta over at Zen Habits. However, for a few weeks now I’ve noticed some internal resistance to reading his blog. Super interesting right? It’s like, reading it would force me to confront that I knew I wasn’t living in a way that made me happy.

Emotional eating for me is self sabotage, it disconnects me from what is really going on and allows me to not address what I’m actually feeling.

That. has. to. stop.

But it’s not enough to say it. A declaration is not action.

I’m going to focus on the things I want IN my life, rather than the things I I’m trying to avoid. Ya know, flow with the Universe and all that jazz.

I want:

Daily (!!!!!!) activity.

Balanced meals.

More quality time with friends and family.

Daily gratitude journaling.

There were some moments during the long stretches of bus rides between countries where I was really grateful that I made a commitment to myself to live differently. It was such a nice feeling to just stare out at miles of land and just feel content. I felt like I had some real moments of inner peace that I’m proud to say I work hard for.

Those habits above are what I know got me to a place of contentment and that’s what I hope to make this blog (and my life) more about over the next couple of months. There have been a lot of words here but not much action.

I started this blog to talk as much as I wanted about all things fat, but it’s also helped me stay accountable to honoring my voice, and that’s exactly what I need right now.

“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” – Dalai Lama

On Not Reaching Goals

A few months ago I wrote this post: 100 or bust.

The plan was from Feb. 1 to now to lose 1 pound a week for a total of 20 pounds.

The plan also was to move out of my current apartment.

Neither happened.

And though at first I wasn’t happy with this, all I can do is trust that where I am now is where I’m meant to be.

The truth is, I love my current apartment, I love the area that I live in, and I get along fantastically with my roommate. Still, I wanted a change. After a month or two of looking, however, I realized a change just wasn’t in the cards for me financially. My roommate and I happen to have a beautiful, sunny, spacious apartment that we pay a ridiculously low rent for in N.J. standards (ridiculously high for everywhere else in the country) and staying wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t what I had planned.

As for the weight, well, that’s more complicated.

As of right now, my weight is hovering around 155 pounds. That’s a total of 88 pounds lost. I’ve stopped calorie counting, I’m only stepping on the scale once a week, at most.

I’d be lying if I said this has been easy to accept. The sudden and scary return of binge eating has made it near impossible to have any control over my weight, but it’s also forced me to stop caring about my weight and start caring about my health, both mentally and physically.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, it mystifies me that I’ve been able to lose this much weight. Truly and totally astounds me.

Wanting to lose more and struggling so much to do it (and still not losing) is hard, sure, but how could I possibly be disappointed in myself?

Tomorrow I’ll be boarding a plane for a two-week adventure around Europe. As I was packing, I found these passport photos that were taken in 2009 in order for me to get a cell phone in India. For comparison’s sake (and because it really is that hard for me to see change) I quickly snapped a selfie and put the two side-by-side.

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There are no words to accurately describe what it feels like to look at those photos.

It’s overwhelming to the point of being uncomfortable. I don’t know what to think when I see my younger, fatter self. I’m just, astonished.

The last few weeks have really been a process of understanding that while my body is different, the thoughts in my head aren’t. Some days when I look in the mirror I think I get scared because I’m not sure how living this way actually works. I have to remind myself to breathe, and to take it one day at a time.

Losing weight has forced open other parts of my life that are really tough to deal with, parts of my life that I didn’t have to deal with because the fat gave me a pseudo-barrier against all of  it. It was my excuse to keep most things and people at a (chubby) arm’s length.

Losing weight has forced me to be honest about my past, about why I gained the weight, and has led to some uncomfortable conversations both with others and with myself through journaling.

Most days I’m grateful for this. But some days, it’s just fucking scary.

Despite all the scariness, I am truly excited about the general state of my life right now.

I’m excited about my vacation that starts tomorrow.

I’m excited to return to an apartment that is both familiar to me and that I love.

And I’m excited to have started an honest process of breaking free from binge eating, obsessive calorie counting, and daily weighing.

I didn’t reach the goals I set for myself in February. To be totally cliche, life took some different turns, some sharp curves, and some unexpected detours.

My favorite travel moments have always been the days where I’m exploring without a goal of something to do or some place to see. Where I get to wander in new surroundings. Where I’m allowed to gaze as long as I want at the beauty of something unfamiliar.

That is how I’m trying to live my life right now. After being so restrictive and purposeful for over two years, this isn’t coming naturally, but I’m getting better at handling the discomfort every day.

I could be upset that I didn’t reach my weight loss goals, but I choose instead to focus on the present. To flow easily with life, moment by moment, not tying my current contentment to a past that I cannot change or a future that has yet to be created.

“A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.” – Lao Tzu

 

 

Vulnerable

I stayed up way to late watching YouTube videos of Brene Brown last night. Her and Oprah on Super Soul Sunday? Gold.

I wish I had more upbeat things to say, but I’m feeling very pulled under by anxiety and stress.

The next few weeks I’m going to really make an effort to double down on affirmations and gratefulness – I know that stuff is supposed to come a bit more naturally, but when you don’t have it is when you need it the most.

A few days ago I read a message that went something like this: “It’s not ‘I need to see it to believe it,’ but ‘I’ll believe it so I see it’.”

It’s going to be all about working those affirmations.

I’ll leave you with this:

 

 

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

(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.

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 🙂

Life in love

Maybe it’s because this is my last week commuting to NYC…

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Maybe it’s because when I left work on Tuesday the sun was shining…

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Maybe it’s because I spent the weekend cuddling with my adorable nephews…

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Happy Birthday Ethan!!!

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Maybe it’s because I know this time next week I’ll be in Florida getting some sun with my family before starting my new job…

Or maybe it’s because I’ve been soaking in the wisdom of Gabrielle Bernstein.

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All I know is, the love of the Universe has been flowing through me. I’m feeling grateful and cared for and letting happiness be my guide and I deserve every minute of it. 🙂

Now…the numbers

Starting weight: 243

Last week:156

This week: 154.5

Total lost: 88.5

Click here for every weigh in, ever.

Seeing the spread

Hi and happy hump day!

I’ve been a serious sap lately, trying to appreciate all the good in my life as much as I can. I have an inner critic that tends to get cautious when things are going too well, so I’m trying to shut that voice up and keep on living the good life.

This got me thinking last night about how my efforts to get healthy have translated into my life in so many different ways that I could have never imagined but it all started with a simple: “I’m worth it.” It’s been nothing short of amazing to see how discipline in terms of achieving better health for myself have made so many other parts of my life immeasurably brighter. I don’t take my health for granted, I’m truly appreciate of my body on a consistent basis. I spend time savoring my food because I know all of the effort that went into cooking it. There’s meaning to things I do that wasn’t there a few years ago.

My discipline goes beyond food choices too. Since I started caring about what I put in my body I’ve also been better about things like flossing or wearing sun screen.

My college roommates probably don’t believe me, but I’m also no longer a slob. I  was really, really messy prior to a few years ago and now I love cleaning.

Realizing how small changes have made big differences to my health showed me that taking five minutes at the beginning and end of my day to put things back in their place, make my bed, wash the dishes or vacuum makes cleaning more manageable and not a dreaded task.

Not a day goes by that I’m not aware in someway of how my life has changed.

This is not about some kind of willpower or great motivation that I’ve been able to tap into, but it’s about seeing how small positive habits have the power to transform your life.

When you’re losing weight there’s a big desire to to have it be fast! and easy! but there’s no reward in fast or easy. I’ve found immense beauty in the power of dedication and discipline and in appreciating and honoring all of the things I do every day that push me forward.

My “spark” so to speak, was that at some point I made the switch in my head to abandon fast and easy to take on everything in my life one small moment at a time.

The last few months have been hard. I’ve been stuck in a lot of ways, my weight being one of them. I feel lately though that by doubling down on discipline with what I’m eating, the rest of my life feels more in control. To be honest, although I was frustrated, I was not surprised that my weight hadn’t moved for months. The last half year of my life was a bit of a backslide into binge eating and I’m just now clawing my way back out.

I’m back on my game now. I’m being strict in every aspect of my life. With my food and with my inner voice, where my energy goes and what I let influence me. I’m aware and I’m in control.

Thoughts become things, choose good ones.

“Through discipline comes freedom” – Aristotle

Now…the numbers

Starting weight: 243

Last week:157.5

This week: 155.5

Total lost: 87.5

Click here for every weigh in, ever.

How big change happens

One pound at a time.

One battle with binge eating at a time.

One workout at a time.

One healthy decision at a time.

One meal at a time.

One bite at a time.

One act of self-care at a time.

One breathe at a time.

One step at a time.

One grateful thought a time.