Thursday, 27 December 2012

I am my own knight in shining armour

Losing Weight:

It has been quite the busy week!! I hope everyone's Christmas was awesome and that everyone had a great time spending it with their family and friends :)

This past week, I was reading this one girl's blog. I am not going to link her blog because she is not a blogger that I follow, she is someone my husband follows, and some of her posts are quite... er.... risqué :p lol 

But one thing I read of hers was her life story. About how she fell into a heroin addiction and hit rock bottom. She was in the same place as I feel that I am now. At least with my disorder and health. I feel I am very close to changing my body past the point of 100% recuperation. I don't know if I have diabetes, a heart problem, or a cholesterol problem (I have a doctors appointment scheduled for Jan 2nd, so I will find out soon). Some of these are fixed with a healthy lifestyle, but some aren't and honestly I don't know how many years I have shaved off my life with this, and whether I can get those years back by getting healthy. 

One thing this blogger said is, as she sat at her rock bottom she wondered when she was going to be rescued? When will someone care enough to come and take her problems away? Well that is how I have felt my entire life. And slowly without realizing it, I have rescued myself bit by bit. Reading her blog I realize now that the champion I have been looking for to fight my battles has been within me this entire time. I AM strong enough to do this, I CAN change my life, and I WILL make sure that when I come out of this on the other end I will appreciate my worthiness to live a happy and full life. 

I feel like now things are much more clearer than they have ever been. The curtain of idealism that I have blanketed everything in, where I convinced myself that things were as I thought they were, happy and loving, when in actuality they were filled with tension and sadness, has been lifted and I see things as they actually are. To repeat what I said last week, I need to surround myself with supportive and positive energy. I need to remove judgement and negativity from my life. I have spent so long thinking that I had to live with all of that, but now I realize, hey! I am 30 years old. I am definitely old enough to say what should and can be a part of my life. If something is hurting me I have the right and the strength to remove it. I can be my own knight in shining armour that I dreamed about when I was young. And that is an awesome feeling :)

The only thing that has stood in my way since I made that realization was trying to convince myself that I was worthy enough to be rescued. And then I came across this picture.

This is me at 12 years old (and yes I did Instagram this picture :p LOL). Look at how pretty this girl is, how innocent and I know it must sound weird for me to say this of myself, but look at the kindness and positive energy she exudes. I can also see the pain and the insecurity behind the eyes, but that is because I have the same memories of this girl and what she was going through at the time of this picture. But I look at this picture and I find someone worthy to rescue. I will rescue who I am now for this 12 year old girl. She shows the promise of who I could have become, and I will win that back for her and for myself. 

I am a big believer that we go through things because they shape who we are, and I am pretty darn happy with who I am on the inside, besides all the damage, the anxiety and that neurotic brain I live with. If I look into myself and see my personality, I am so damn proud of that. And this picture of me at 12 reminds me of that personality and how beautiful it truly is. It is flawed but even then, I love the flaws. That is the one part of me I truly love about myself. It's just all the damage that is in there as well that I hate and want to change. And what I went through to get that damage? Well lets just say that I do wish it never happened, it didn't help shape who I am, only took away from who I could have been, and if I had to go through it again, I would never do it. I want to change/remove the parts of my life that feed into that damaged part of me. I deserve to live my life at my full potential and I will not let those factors that try to tear that down do it anymore. 

I will be that knight in shining armour for myself.  

I also promised a list of plans that I want to do once I have lost the weight. These are my incentives:

  1. travel to Europe (I can barely handle a 5 hour trip in those cramped airplane seats, extra cramped for me, let alone the flights that are double that or more to get to Europe ).
  2. dance! I need to dance again, I have this expressive dancer within me and this shameless performer that needs to get out there and move again. 
  3. I plan to do a boudoir shoot :) I want to celebrate my healthy body when I get it. And oh YES I will be posting those pictures!! :p LOL
  4. I want to save my wedding dress, and when I lose weight get it tailored down to my new size. Then I want to wear it in a photo shoot, and maybe my hubby will join me :p LOL, and I want to get the wedding pictures I dreamed I would always have :) me looking foxy in my wedding dress :p lol
  5. I want to do YOGA!! because of my girth there are too many positions that I cannot do, and also right now at the weight that I am, my joints cannot truly support me. So one thing I definitely want to do on a regular basis once I lose weight is yoga.

That's all I got for now :) if you have plans to change your life, I challenge you to list at least one incentive, one thing you dream to do, that you can only do once you have met that goal to change your life, in the comment section below. 

Finding Tranquility:

My plan for finding tranquility is to de-clutter my life, and my hubby is right on board with me on this.

I am going to get rid of/throw out/donate my clothes, extra plates, extra appliances, etc. I want tables in my house to have nothing or only one thing on them. 

I want to stop weaving through the boxes that are in my hallway. I want to come home and think, "ahhhhhh... I am home...." as opposed to what I think now which is "ACK! where do I sit???" :p lol 

So once I have completed the editing I need to finish I am going to work with my hubby to de-clutter our lives. I see a chance of some pure tranquility in that :) 

****Also if you would like to follow this blog, I now have two ways you can follow it, through email, or by google friend connect, so feel free to follow me :)

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Tough night

So tonight was a rough night. I was faced with some serious negative emotion, and I binged. The feeling is failure, that is for sure. I was not expecting that writing this blog was going to be a magic cure to this, but its just harder when I am so focused on it. It's like watching the whole train wreck, not just the aftermath of the crash, like it has always been before.

I felt so depressed and ugly tonight, until my husband said to me that I need to believe that I am worthy of helping myself and I need to not be so mean to myself. Because who wants to help someone they hate. I have heard this said in so many different ways but this way really resonated with me tonight.

I felt that my direction and purpose was gone. The positive beautiful life that I want to build for myself was once again out of reach. I felt that once again, I was the bad guy and not worthy of happiness. Its amazing how easy it is to fall back into bad habits.

But talking with my hubby tonight (while he tried so desperately to play his video game, but would stop to console me in my stupid crying fits) really made things clear to me once again. I am doing this for me, and I need to stop letting the influences that helped bring this on affect me in such a huge way anymore. I need to build walls and protect that fragile part of me, like a construction site is protected by those white walls in the shopping malls. I need to take care of myself. I have spent too much of my life, caring or worrying about what others thought of me, and defining my worth against their harsh words. I am deserving of that life I am trying to build for myself and I think by focusing on making myself better is the key to truly enjoying that life.

I will not let anyone take this away from me. It is about time I fight for myself.

**added: I just read another blog and was reminded of what Aristotle says: we make ourselves into who we want to be. I need to stop thinking that someone will save me from all this. I need to rescue myself.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Liking Food Too Much or Something Deeper?

This week for Losing Weight:

So this week was interesting. I first want to thank all of you who reached out to me and commented on my posts last week or my Facebook link with your support. It honestly means the world to me :)I feel that there is a need for clarity here, I need to get something off my chest seeing as there has been some well-meaning comments that show me that there is still a lack of understanding of my situation. A friend of mine (very close friend) read my post and told me that they are worried about me, oh heck so am I lol that is why I am doing this, but it makes me feel bad that I worry others, I know that due to some health complications I have had with this weight gain, that my husband is worried he will wake to me lying beside him dead of a heart attack or stroke. It really sucks. And I want to get better so that I can stop causing worry and anguish in the lives of people who love and care for me. But how? Well my close friend said this to me: "Losing weight is easy. Exercise + eating right + water + rest = weight loss. The problem is psychological and until you deal with that I don't think anything will work... I think you can do it. I think you just have to figure out why you like food so much."

I agree with all of that. Except for the statement that I need to figure out why I like food so much. It is not so simple and that is what I am trying to explain to everyone who actually cares enough to listen. If it is as simple as exercise + eating right + water + rest, I would be well on my way to losing weight and a healthier lifestyle. Do you think that I enjoy eating the junk and crap that I eat? That I enjoy the nasty feeling afterwards? Or when it makes me sick to my stomach? The only times I feel good about eating psychologically and physically is when I eat a healthy light meal. Trust me! Even chocolate doesn't have its magical hold on me anymore, (except when its the monthlies, totally NEED chocolate during that time lol). But it is not as simple as figuring out why I like food so much. There are two things I want to discuss about this statement:

1. It hurts. I spent this past week figuring out if it hurt because it was true or if it hurt because it wasn't. This is in no way pointed towards the person who said it, they are not the only ones who have said this to me, they are just the most recent person to say it, and I know they meant well, so this is just between me and that statement. It hurts because it is not true, it is only a symptom of a much more complex issue. And it hurts because I know that this is how people see me, as a person who just loves food to the point that I don't care about what it does to me. It says that I have an obsession with food and eating brings me pleasure. This is not the case. I feel like a statement like this takes away from the personal anguish and actual depression that eating like this gives me. I hate looking at pictures of myself, and I hate looking at myself in the mirror, because I don't recognize the person there. This is not brought on by me liking food so much. It is a thousand miles deeper than that. And I wish that people would stop trying to use logic to show me how easy it would be for me to get out of this highly emotional mess. But that is what this blog is for :p lol to try and express exactly what is going through my mind about this. 

2. I have an eating disorder. It is called Binge Eating Disorder. I have been diagnosed by a professional with this disorder. Here is what Paychology Today says about the symptoms of this 

binge-eating disorder is marked by recurrent episodes of extreme overeating not accompanied by compensatory behavior, so those with the disorder are usually overweight to obese. 

Symptoms include: • eating much more rapidly than normal
 • eating until feeling uncomfortably full
 • eating large amounts of food even when not hungry
 • eating alone because of shame or embarrassment over eating behaviour
 • binge-eating occurs at least two days a week for six months or more.

They say that disorders like this are linked to depression and anxiety. Hence this blogs sister focus, finding tranquility. I would like to acknowledge at this point that my husband is the only thing standing between me and a lot of binges that would have happened if he were not around. At times the need to not disappoint him is greater than the need to binge. But a lot of times more than not, the need to binge is greater. Also I should state that there were days this semester that I got to go home from school earlier than him, and at those times, 9 times out of 10 I binged. And I may have lied about it after or just not mentioned it to him. This only adds to that rotten feeling of being an utter failure. Moving on. 

On its causes Psychology Today states this:

Biology is a factor: Appetite control and the regulation of food intake is very complex, with many hormones in the brain and the body contributing to signals of hunger and satiety.Culture is thought to play a significant role, as women, especially, are pressured to fit an ideal of beauty that is increasingly defined by the sole criterion of body weight. 

(this is something I am actually not totally affected by, I don't want a model thin body, I just want a healthy body, my husband finds this one sexy - who knows why lol - so any weight loss on that account would just be a bonus. But I do want to acknowledge that my weight has caused a lot of discrimination as well as acts of actual prejudice towards me, and it is then that I feel the pressure to lose weight come from society and not my own need for a healthy lifestyle) 

Families contribute, too; parents who emphasize looks and/or dieting or criticize their children's bodies are more likely to raise a child who develops an eating disorder. 

(this is something that was prevalent in my pre-teen and teenage years unfortunately, punishment in the form of exercise probably contributed as well).

Other circumstances figure in, too; the conditions can be triggered by stress, social difficulty, loneliness, depression and other unpleasant emotions, or dieting itself.

This disorder is just being recognized as a separate and unique disorder like anorexia and bulimia. How does it compare to just general overeating?

I found an article explaining just that, you can read the full article here, or continue to read if you would like my take on certain the important part of the article.

A group of researchers conducted a new study examining a key difference between these types of eating — feeling a loss of control while eating.What exactly does a loss of control over eating look like? The researchers explained it as:"feeling 'driven' or 'compelled to eat,' feeling 'unable to stop eating once eating had started,' or feeling 'unable to prevent the episode from occurring' ” 

This is the difference between liking food too much and what I have. I have had moments when the food that I want has been denied of me and I have a freak out/panic attack. This is a completely different and harder thing to deal with in my opinion. I eat till I am sick. Heck it used to be that I ate till I was sick and then I went to the doctor saying I was sick all the time and I couldn't figure out why. That is how completely unaware of my issue I was. 

My husband just drove me home from picking up food and was talking yet again about me not having to get everything that I want on the list, as in if we go to 7/11 I pick up a pop, chocolate bar and bag of chips. He tries to encourage me to just get one out of the three, or even just two. But I don't think he realizes how much food is on my mind, how much I fixate on it and how intwined it becomes with my emotions, it goes from "liking food too much" to NEEDING it. My emotions and my choices exasperate him to no end. He doesn't want to drive me to get the food and there are times that he announces that he will not even let me get the food. But once I have fixated on the food, I will do everything in my power to get it. Either I will manipulate him into going, or I will end up having a panic attack. Lately I have been trying to avoid binging by not denying myself of what I want, just controlling the portion I buy, so instead of the big cadbury chocolate bar I always used to get, I get the smaller version. This has helped a little, but as soon as stress hits, this tiny bit of self-control goes out the window. 

Another point that has been made to me by a professional in the field, that still resonates with me, is that I use food to mask emotions, to dull them. I feel emotions so intensely that I need to eat to stop thinking about them. I use food to avoid my emotions. I don't know how to deal with them. If I get frustrated, I clench my teeth and need to hit something - the dashboard, the desk, I have even taken to clapping really hard. I don't know how to calmly explain why I am upset. I cry when I am mad or frustrated too. I feel that I need to learn how to properly handle my emotions, and that this is a big piece of me getting better.

 So eating well is not as easy for me. It is not as simple for me as it is for others, or as simple as it is for my friends who mean well but try to convince me that it is. I am dealing with depression and anxiety and food has become a huge part of that. 

My ultimate goal is to get treatment for this disorder, once I have the tools to handle that it will become (hopefully) a more simple quest to just eat healthy, exercise and lose weight :)

This past week I have been sick so it has been a matter of making sure I put myself first and get healthy, which is hard, because it is still my knee-jerk reaction to put others before me, but I forced it. I did not change my eating habits but I still lost 12 pounds from being sick, and in the past two days of me feeling better (despite the loss of my voice haha) I have gained 4 pounds back. I am currently at 359. 

My goal for this week is to get an appointment with my family doctor to get different things checked up on, like the fact that the times that I try to watch my sugar intake I end up getting hypoglycaemic... just hoping that that doesn't mean diabetes. Although I am sure I am right at the threshold. I also want him to check on my other systems and what not, to make sure that once I get started I am doing it in a healthy way that doesn't undo all my work or make me sick. This to me is the next step in this journey. The one that follows that is finding a psychologist that can help me through this disorder. 

I plan to get better here people. I don't like people worrying about me. I don't like this self-destructiveness that has taken over my life. 

Next week I will talk about why this weight loss is so important to me and all the things I want to do once I lose the weight.  So check back then, I am hoping that post will not be so depressing as this one is :p lol.

This week for Finding Tranquility:

As I said above I want to focus on finding ways to cope with anxiety and depression. 

Today I will focus on anxiety. I have a fear of: heights, balloons, clowns, spiders, loud sounds, bugs... so many I am probably forgetting some, but trust me I don't forget when I am faced with it :p LOL

But the biggest anxiety I am currently faced with is the anxiety of running a successful business, meeting all my clients requirements and needs, because I put a LOT of importance in what I do. I feel that capturing moments of people's lives is not something to take lightly. And it creates anxiety in me when a client feels I am not working fast enough for them, even though I know I am doing my best. I want to run a business but I have worried that my anxiety will get out of control if I jump in with both feet, but finally this year I have decided to dedicate whatever free time I have on developing my business. So for this reason I want to focus today on ways to cope with anxiety. 

One thing I will do is challenge my negative thoughts. I tend to get lost in the whirlwind of them. One big thing I have many negative thoughts about is my portfolio to Concordia. All I can think of is they only accept 50 students, I need to find a way to not think so negatively about my work and about the feeling I have that I will not get in. I need to get myself to a place where I think that even if I don't get in, it doesn't say anything about my worth or talent. I plan to focus on that for this week. Well that and actually sending off the darn thing as well :p LOL

The other thing I will do to try and cope with anxiety is to learn to relax with the use of breath. I am going to put into my phone an alert to remind me to stop what I am doing at a certain time every day this week, I will turn off the computer, and the lights and light a candle. I will spend 5 minutes just concentrating on breathing deeply. I will let you know next week if this has at all affected my anxiety and stress level :) here's hoping!

Thanks again everyone for reading along, like I said your support is greatly appreciated. You guys are the sweetest and nicest bunch :) Let me know what you think about what I have posted this week in the comments below :) I look forward to reading them.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Hi all,

I have started this blog to truly understand why it is that I am overweight, and why it is so hard to lose it. You can see my first thoughts on taking the FIRST STEP and what the goal of my blog is here.

And following is what I focused on this week to Loose Weight and Find Tranquility.

Here is what I focused on this week to Find Tranquility:

I do not have much for finding tranquility today, except one thing that has been incredibly helpful for me to find calmness in the past. I know it sounds silly but here it is.

Rainy Mood

Play this website over the music you are listening to, or just listen to it. You can just listen to the rain. Rain has a huge calming affect for me. I love the sound of it, and I love the smell of it more. Nothing brings me a feeling of renewal and calm like a spring or summer rain storm. So if thats your thing: Enjoy :)

Here is what I focused on this week to Lose Weight:

I have read a very intriguing article today in my search for understanding this "weight problem" I have. It was very eye opening and is definitely a great first look at the problem. To read the full article click here. Otherwise I will highlight the parts that spoke to me.

The first very telling point of the article and the main reason why I started this blog is right here:

"According to the 2011 Food & Health Survey conducted by the International Food Information Council Foundation, 77 percent of Americans are trying to lose weight or avoid gaining weight. Despite their efforts, nearly 70 percent of Americans are overweight or obese."

This is what people like me who are unhappy with their weight and wish to be healthier are faced with. So this tells me that its not a problem of being lazy or complacent per se, it's a much more complex issue to do with hormones, genes, brain activity, as well as environmental factors like self control, addiction, and emotions, etc.

"Obesity psychologist Jim Keller, Director of Behavioral Health at the WeightWise Bariatric Program in Oklahoma City, asserts that the human body and brain are designed to eat -- thus explaining why losing weight proves so challenging for so many."

Food is one of the most important things that you need to survive! So if you have an issue controlling your eating, its not like you can just abstain from eating, that takes you onto the other end of the spectrum of eating disorders.
"According to Dr. Howard Rankin, an expert on behavioral change, a key part of the problem is that we believe we have more control over our behavior than we really do. Stress, anxiety and addiction can limit the conscious control we have over our choices.

Dr. Rankin asserts:
What drives our behavior is not logic but brain biochemistry, habits and addiction, states of consciousness and what we see people around us doing. We are emotional beings with the ability to rationalize -- not rational beings with emotions. If we are stressed, depressed or addicted, no matter how good the advice we are given, chances are that we will not be able to act on it. The more primitive, emotional brain generally has precedence over the newer, more rational brain."

Ok so I am vaguely remembering something about us having a "newer brain" in my Brain and Behaviour Psychology class last year. Oh I wish I listened more :p lol. But this does make some sense. 

But here is the MEAT of the article (you like the pun there? :p lol)
5 Tips on Loosing Weight:

The National Weight Registry is tracking over 5,000 individuals who have lost an average of 66 pounds and kept the weight off for five years. Insights from their success stories are consistent with these five tips from Dr. Rankin:

1.) Focus on a change of heart, not a change of mind. Losing weight through changing what and how much you eat doesn't happen because you rationally decide to lose weight. You have to have a change of heart; that is, you must get in touch with your deepest, heartfelt desires.
Your motivation may not be positive. Indeed, it may stem from a fear of loss. For example, you may not want to get sick. Or you may not want to be ostracized. To get in touch with your motivation, think about the negative consequences of not changing as well as the positive ones. Getting fit must become a priority and your life must be organized accordingly. Nobody can change you but you, and once you've made the changes, you need to stay focused. Successful individuals keep their motivation in the forefront of their minds all the time.

2.) Practice self-discipline. Self-control is a muscle that, like other muscles, needs exercise and strengthening. Change doesn't happen because you want it to happen. Each time you resist temptation, you are developing greater self-control. Success breeds success. Facing down temptations builds strength for future decision moments. Some of my clients throw away their favorite food as a symbolic act that shows they have control over the food and not the other way round.
Self-discipline is required for behavior change, but does that mean that the lack of self-discipline causes obesity? No. That would be like saying aspirin helps a headache go away, so headaches are caused by a lack of aspirin -- which is nonsense!

3.) Eliminate or reduce sugary, fat-laden foods. Such foods create physical changes at a cellular level that alter how our brains and bodies react. When analyzing your level of addiction, consider both physical dependence (changes at the cellular level) and psychological dependence (the habitual repetition of a behavior in an attempt to satisfy an emotional need). For example, how often do you use a sugary treat to lift your spirits?
What is often misunderstood is that these dependences exist on a continuum. You can be mildly, moderately or severely dependent, and the degree of dependence determines how difficult it will be to change.

4.) Make history your teacher, not your jailer. You can learn from your mistakes. Instead of [beating yourself up] when you fail to keep your promises to yourself, seek to gain self-knowledge so you won't repeat the error. No one is perfect. Be sure to acknowledge what you are doing right, not just what isn't working.

5.) Surround yourself with friends, family and colleagues who will support your effort.Getting fit and losing weight absolutely require others. Although you alone can make the changes you need to make, you can't make the changes alone. Not only in terms of eating, but in all areas of our lives, we are much more influenced by other people than we imagine. One of the most potent forces for positive change is the emotional support of the individuals who surround you.
You must, however, ask for the support you need. Don't assume that others know what would be most helpful to you. Similarly, you need to avoid those people who aren't on the same page as you. Social pressure can work for you or against you. Hang out with the right people.

A lot of this is repetition if you are like me and have researched much about weight loss, but this is from people who have successfully lost weight! I think it's worth a try... I may I have already mastered number 1, so I think my goal for this week is to practice number 2. I am going to fight every urge to procrastinate. I am going to fight the urge to indulge. I will post back next week to let you know how I did. 

But first I will leave you with a last quote from this article:

"Dr. Rankin reminds us that, for better or worse, our core, emotional values will ultimately determine our choices. Once we identify our heartfelt desires, we can use them to create a healthy lifestyle that reflects our best self. Our deepest values can be summoned to keep us on track, especially when we are facing temptations and distractions. They can also serve as our compass when we go astray."

Comment below with your take on the article above. Do you think they are over-analyzing the issue? Or do you think they have hit the nail on its head? I am truly interested to hear your take on it :) so don't be shy!! :)