I've been participating in a 10 week Mindset Makeover through JillFit Physiques (click here for Jill's website). You might think, "Uh, Clara, you've been at this for 4 years, why do you need a mindset makeover?"
Part of me was a bit skeptical and wondered if it would all be just review. But it was worth the $50 investment to find out. Because no matter how long I've been at this, sometimes it feels like I've had as many failures as I've had successes on this journey. I take 5 steps forward, and 3 back. I know the math, it still ends up putting me ahead, but why do I continue to step, fall or trip backwards?
I've described the hard, challenging times I've faced as dealing with "Mud Mountain." That this journey is all about my desperate climb to the top, and the days I somehow stick my face or tater back in the mud and slide down like I'm a kid at a water park with no lines. While Mud Mountain is a great metaphor for this weight loss and overall health journey, it almost simplifies the root of why I keep finding myself clawing my way up rather than confidently scaling it a little too much.
I have the experience, determination, and proven results over the last 4 years that I should be more confident, self-assured and DONE with fat loss, securely in maintenance phase. So why am I not "there"? Why haven't I arrived?
I'm going to just preface this, probably unnecessarily, with the simple fact that I feel the need to be brutally honest and transparent on my blog. Being honest about my failings I hope will allow someone else to look at themselves as closely, and hopefully grow in the same way I have, or in some way be better. I would not be the Christian I am, or the person I am trying to be, were I sugar coating this journey and pretending it's been a breeze.
If you've followed me for any length of time, you know, it's NOT so simple.
I won't give Jill's program away, but will share that one of her daily emails hit me square between the eyes, smack in the middle of a binge. She was asking me to name my struggles. Put real, honest names on them. And the timing couldn't have been better. In the center of a supreme, super-sized binge.
I say binge, because I need to be completely honest about what happened a few weeks ago. I saw 179 on the scale. The LOWEST weight I've been since 1996. Yeah, that's 17 years ago (and yeah, I used a calculator - haha). I was ecstatic!
I had planned to "offroad" a little that night, not really to "treat" myself, but I guess to celebrate in some way. I began using this term once I turned into this Whole 30/Paleo lifestyle. Because I need to offroad some and not call myself "Bad Clara" when I wanted to eat something off plan. I need to offroad some and every now and then enjoy a "treat" and not call it a "cheat." I need to be able to not call this a "diet" but a lifestyle and in order to truly make it a lifestyle, it has to be realistic.
But me? I am given an inch (or a nice word to label bad behavior) and I take a freaking 5k instead of a mile. I crash and burn faster than someone can suggest a restaurant or two.
That morning started off as per usual. I enjoyed my healthy breakfast, then took Elizabeth to a BBQ in the next town where she and her dance team were performing. Stephen met us up there and after Elizabeth went off with one of her friends, Stephen and I decided to sample some BBQ. We each had some fried potatoes which were ok, but I could taste the grease. They were fresh cut which had caught my interest, not frozen or bagged. Then I had some ribs and beans and cole slaw. Not a ton of any of it. Felt a little ick, but generally ok.
Later that evening we went to an Italian place in Dublin that I love, Deano's, and usually I have a grilled chicken or grilled shrimp salad there (you've seen pics of said salad). Instead, that night, I decided to have their brick oven pizza. We ordered one with spinach and bacon. The crust was pretty thin. Also had some fried zucchini and some bread with dipping oil (that was probably my favorite part). Still felt ok, but a little weird. And maybe turning just a tad out of control, but I was "offroading" so that is ok, right? Truly, none of the food had the flavor of my favorite foods now (w30 style tastes good to me!).
We stopped next at the Frozen Yogurt place for Elizabeth and her friend to have yogurt. I considered not indulging, but decided I wanted to. They charge you based on how heavy the yogurt cup is. Guess who's was heaviest? MINE! It was loaded down with yogurt and just as many ounces in toppings. I practically licked the bowl.
The next morning I felt like CRAP, seriously, sluggish and puffy and quickly went back to my eggs and snap peas. At church, in two separate conversations, friends approached me to ask if I was ok, I looked unhappy. Well, no, I wasn't OK but didn't realize it, I had a food hangover, and it showed on my face and in how I felt. Huh. Emotionally I was ok, but my body had taken a beating.
We went to lunch out and I had baked chicken, rutabega and a small serving of broccoli salad. Was doing OK until I also decided to have one of Elizabeth's fried chicken wings, half of her biscuit and a huge slice of cheesecake. I tried to continue to pretend that I was fine, and would be back on track that night.
We went and played tennis for a few hours, returned home, and I ate the leftover 2 slices of pizza from the night before. OK, I'll be back on track tomorrow.
Returned to the fridge, opened the door, and had a HUGE revelation. I was searching for something "BAD." Not something yummy, or tasty, or to fulfill a craving and I was understandably NOT hungry. I wanted something BAD for me.
It was like I wanted to hurt myself. Whaaaa?
That night we ate dinner at Zaxby's and I had fried chicken fingers and french fries. Then a pumpkin spiced latte from McDonalds on the way home with a hot fudge sundae with extra fudge. My family went along with it (somewhat gleefully at first, then they seemed concerned) but I could tell they were uncomfortable watching what was happening with me.
As a teen I suffered from depression and the need to feel loved and approved of pushed me to make some bad decisions here and there in my life. Following a bad breakup in high school I all but stopped eating, getting down to 160 pounds (20 less than I weigh now) and crying every day. I went through counseling and really tried to work on my "issues" at the age of 15, but truly, my compulsive overeating hadn't peaked back then like it would later on so I have never officially dealt with that.
Throughout my life food has been my enemy and my best friend. Always there for me, but always taunting me, judging me, and causing me to feel like I have no self-control whatsoever if the right item was put in front of me.
And there is such a parallel with any kind of addiction with food addiction. We've had this conversation before. We cannot stop eating like we can stop doing drugs or drinking alcohol. So it's almost harder to beat a food addiction, and I can honestly say this as someone who also had an alcohol addiction in my late teens/early 20s and managed to beat that, completely sober for 11 years now with the exception of one poorly executed glass of champagne at a wedding 10 years ago. Someone battling alcohol and having to be around it (work functions, the nature of their job, the world as a whole) also has to deal with constantly declining things that will cause them to relapse. Food is everywhere. Especially when you're involved in a bunch of church and work functions ALL.THE.TIME.
So that 24 hour period of what I would have called "offroading" before was truly not that. It was a full on relapse. NAME THE STRUGGLE. Ouch.
But I have had a revelation about this food issue of mine. And I have blogged about this before. Being a compulsive overeater is something I need to embrace, better understand, and be ok with. And not sugar coat it. My virtual friend Clare at Peak 313 (see Clare's website here) blogged about moderation, and how everyone's moderation looks different. Can I even have any moderation? I think I can. But I think I have to really carefully PLAN my offroading. I have to consider that my moderation will look differently than people who innocently sometimes as me "How did you let yourself get that heavy? Didn't you realize what you were doing or that it was unhealthy?" They have no idea.
With my treats or offroading, I am responsible for making sure I'm really trying to satisfy a craving or enjoy something I love rather than doing what seems like trying to hurt myself.
Because I don't want to hurt myself. As cheeky as this sounds, I love myself. Because God created me and He loves me and accepts me. Scars, bumps, bruises and all. It's my duty to take care of this body, this temple. I need to make that a priority and pray more when I begin to let old feelings and habits take over my brain and push me to make decisions I will regret.
My binge resulted in an 11 pound weight gain in just 36 hours. 11 pounds! Of course some of that was bloating, etc., but I actually saw 190-something on the scale again. It was terrifying!
Yesterday morning I was back down to 180.8, a solid 2 weeks after the most recent "episode." I still have not fully recovered from that crazy binge two weeks ago but I will.
Because "I am MORE than the choices that I've made. I am MORE than the sum of my past mistakes. I am MORE than the problems I create. I've been remade." (Tenth Avenue North really sums it up for me in this song/video You are More by Tenth Avenue North - check it out!)
Thank God for allowing me to be new every morning.
And thanks to you for being with me on this journey and allowing me to be completely real with you! I'll update some more on some fun stuff like my new FitBit, taking a few weeks off of weight training and the new training plan I created for myself to get back up to 10k distance by Thanksgiving for the Turkey Trot. But this blog is already alot to take in. Let it sink in and come back to see me later in the week.