Sunday, May 29, 2011

Old Habits Are Hard To Break

I am a creature of habit. Most days I embrace this because it brings me comfort. I find satisfaction in my routines, especially eating routines, as long as I get to cut loose once a week or so. Lately, though, it has been a lot more than once a week, and it is wreaking havoc on my goals.

I am also a creature of habit in terms of the people in my life. This is both good and bad. Good because I truly care about the wonderful people who surround me on a regular basis, and because it makes me work at maintaining healthy friendships instead of retreating to my cave, which is often a temptation. Bad because I have trouble cutting people out of my life when they are no longer healthy for me. I certainly have done it, but usually something extreme has to happen for me to firmly terminate a relationship. It also helps when I do not have that person as a part of my day-to-day activities.

On Friday I fell back into an old habit. It was my own fault. I should not have emailed him the photo of one of his favorite restaurants, one of the places where we had an amazing date, as I passed it on my way to meet some friends for drinks. I knew better. And I should not have continued the communication when he responded to me about it. I knew better then, too. But the wine made everything seem so different, and I did what I wanted to do instead of what I knew I should do. And I probably would have anyway, wine or no wine.

And I *never* should have responded to his texts. Or agreed to talk to him on the phone at midnight. Or driven to his house at 1:00 AM. My poor decisions compounded, and I chose to do what I wanted in the moment instead of focusing on what was best in the long term. I allowed myself to be weak even though I knew better, just because it felt good... or made me feel something with depth, good and bad.

The positive side is that I know that it means nothing about the "future" of our relationship. We don't have a future except as co-workers and people who shared an intimate past. And I know that... and I finally accept that. Our phone conversation was the same one that we have had so many times in the past, about how he doesn't want to hurt me because he cares about me, and how the fact that we work together really flips him out, and that the risks are too great. That is his truth, and I accept that.

My truth is that I am getting to know another man who is a good man, who is emotionally and physically present, who makes me feel special and makes me feel that *I* am the one that he wants to be with... and I like him. I have no idea if things will work out with him, but I am enjoying the time that we spend together now. And I am not willing to trade this to go back into a habitual situation of emotional push and pull that has no potential for a happy future.

So I consider Friday to be my last hurrah with my co-worker. I enjoyed the hell out of it for what it was because I *knew* what it was, I went in with no inhibitions (which is a first with him), and I left on my own terms. Now I am done because I want to be done. I am breaking this habit.

So much of this parallels my eating. When the emotions kicked in, so did the binges. Thursday night, Friday night, Saturday night, and even this morning. I see the parallel. I get emotionally aroused with strong feelings and I try to quiet them and soothe myself with food. I blindly go into a binge to temporarily block out my thoughts. But this never works.

That is the other habit that I am breaking. Binging is a habit... a compulsive habit, much like smoking two to three packs a day used to be for me... but it is a habit. I quit smoking cold turkey in January 2000, and I am going to quit binging cold turkey in May of 2011. Two of the worst habits that I have/had. No more.

There are better options. I will choose the ones that don't destroy me. In all areas of my life.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Knock on Wood

Things have been good these past two weeks. Like "knock on wood" good in a way that makes this (usually non-superstitious) woman want to avoid jinxing it.

My third online date was a success. I like him. He seems like a good man, and we have a lot in common. Thursday night will be our third date, and he has already asked me to go to a concert with him in July! I have a really great time with him, and I am looking forward to seeing him again. So far, so good... and we are taking it slowly. Time will tell.

This has made things at the office a bit easier, although not easy. But I have felt happy more than sad, and that in and of itself is a HUGE blessing

I also had a fantastic visit with a friend last weekend, and it felt like a vacation. I felt like a tourist in my own city, in the best way possible. His visit raised my spirits and renewed my sense of fun. It helped me find parts of myself that have been missing since last September, and showed me just how important a visit with a friend can be.

I have been in maintenance mode in terms of weight loss for awhile now. I have not stepped on the scale in weeks, but am going by the fit of my clothes now. And honestly, I am spot on with my eating and drinking on the days that I do not go out... but the progress is undone on the days that I do go out. So it is a break even thing for now, and I am kind of okay with that... but not for long.

I am going with"Life is Good" right now. That makes me happy.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

A Heart Full of Hope

I did well this week. I followed my food plan every day (except for a planned night out last night, and the eating was moderate). I worked out at least a little every day, even if it was just a quick up and down the 12 floors of stairs at lunch at work. I had my first therapy appointment. And I went on a first date.

The benefits:

1) My clothes fit me better after a good week back on plan.
2) I feel in control of my eating right now.
3) I got some "homework" from the therapist and am actively working on creating some emotional distance between me and my ex (yet still current coworker).
4) I had a great time on my date and have found that spark of hope that lives in my heart.

All of these things have made me a happier mother, daughter, friend, and coworker than I have been in recent weeks. Feeling in control of my eating really does set the stage for other things running more smoothly in my life.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Just One Thing - Day 2

Thank goodness that I was in better spirits today. I really was at the end of my rope yesterday.

Let me think about the things that I did well today:

1) Followed my eating plan (and got in more calories than yesterday, but I still need to up them)
2) Took a 1.5 mile walk at lunch and enjoyed every minute of it
3) Dressed up a in a new outfit
4) Treated my co-worker with respect and as much positivity as I could manage in a very difficult situation
5) Treated myself to a pot of tea after work instead of hiding out by myself at home
6) Added value to the board meeting that I attended this evening
7) Found a place inside of me that is not romantically dead and responded to a "possibility" email
8) Made an appointment to talk to a therapist later this week - BIG +++

I beat my goal of five good things for today. Some of them seem small, but all of them took serious effort on my part because I am not feeling like myself. I'll call this a good day, too.

Onward to Day 3.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Just One Thing - Day 1

I did one thing right today. I followed my eating plan. I will admit that I did not eat nearly enough calories today, but I will do better with that tomorrow.

I actually did two things right today by working out. I walked a mile at lunch, and then spent 20 minutes at The Exercise Coach on the strength machines.

And, if you count enjoying my daughter after I picked her up from school, then I even did three things right. And this one made someone else happy, too.

I think I am going to go out on a limb and say that I did four things right. I delivered a performance review to one of my team members and was able to give her a nice (very nice... very very nice) raise, and it made us both very happy. So I am claiming that as the fourth thing that I did right today.

So, even though I cried my way through most of the day, and despite the fact that I did some things very very wrong today, I can recall four things that I did right. I am going to go to bed on that high(ish) note.

And I am going to try to do at least five things right tomorrow.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Just One Thing

I am struggling. With every single thing in my life. I have been crying since Friday, and even typing this is making me cry again.

I feel overwhelmed by everything, and I just want to run away. Or go hide in a cave, curled up in the fetal position.

So for this week, I am going to focus on doing one thing well. I am going to follow my eating plan. I have canceled all of the lunches and dinners out and nights of drinking with friends that I had planned so that I can pull back in for a week. I shopped tonight so that I have everything that I need for breakfast, lunch and dinner on hand for Monday through Friday.

Even if I continue to cry my way through the week, I will do one thing right.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Sign Me Up!

Wait... I already signed up this morning!

My second half marathon will be the Aurora Half Marathon. Bring it.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Fresh Start

If you have made mistakes, there is always another chance for you. You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call 'failure' is not the falling down, but the staying down.
-Mary Pickford

I have made mistakes. So many mistakes, big and small, and I continue to make them every day. I pay for the major ones that I made years ago even today, and I expect that pattern will continue for the rest of my life.

I find that my mistakes can compound if I let myself live in the guilt that I feel afterward. I cannot tell you how many classes I dropped in college because I would miss a class, feel guilty for missing a class and then miss a second class, and then feel too guilty to go back after missing so many classes that dropping it seemed like the best solution. I have been falling into that bad habit again, all of these years later, but now it is with my eating.

I overeat or eat something that I normally would not, and then I feel guilty and I compound it by making a day of it. Then I feel guilty about that day of overeating, and one day becomes two. Which becomes a week, and most recently the better part of two weeks. As the time goes on I become more compulsive about it, and it becomes binge eating. I was making this mistake again, even though I know where it takes me (and I *do not* like that place at all).

I have been eating my emotions. I have been letting stress manifest in overeating. I have been self-soothing with food, and sometimes I have been gorging myself just because it feels good to eat so much and the food tastes good. And all of this makes me feel very guilty, very fat, and very ugly (inside and out). It makes the rest of my life so much more difficult, so much more draining.

So I am starting fresh. Not tomorrow morning, or next week, but right now. I have not "ruined" anything by this diversion. I can still wear my clothes and I still look decent in them. I have not gained a significant amount of weight back. But I am choosing to start over, to let go of these recent mistakes and get back up, to do what works for me and what makes me feel good about myself. I am going back to class, and I am going to learn the material this time.