Tag Archives: addiction

This thing of darkness I Acknowledge mine

I haven’t blogged in 3 weeks. Yikes! The upside is that my lack of posts has nothing to do with my stick-to-it-tivy. I’m still working my program and have lost over 40 pounds.

I haven’t blogged because I’ve been busy. Can you imagine? No time to sit and write a little creative non-fiction. At first I thought, “well clearly I haven’t blogged because I’m on top of my shit. I have no issues to unpack, and since I promised no asinine recipes or cray photos, the blog can wait.” Then this happened.

Now I am no where in this photo, but someone on an internet forum said the person on the left (an actor in costume) looked like me. Now that’s some bullshit. But the suggestion caused me to get real with myself about perception. How I perceive myself and to what extent I care how others perceive me.

A co-relative yet independent event happened. In the midst of some non-diet related diversity and inclusion training, I had a breakdown. Now I believe that breakdowns equal breakthroughs (work with me on this one), so I’m thankful.

We worked on this pie chart of privilege and I quickly realized that of race, age, gender, nationality, class, religion, ability, sexual orientation, I experience little privilege. Some, but little. We then did the good ole authority, power, and influence game during which I discovered that I play small.

That made me cry.

So back to the picture…I know I don’t look like the actor in that photo (who happens to be a 20 year old young man). But I often FEEL like I do. So I BEHAVE like I do. You know, the “so you think, so you feel, so you do” adage…

When I meet new people I’m a bit reserved. I tell people I’m shy, an introvert, and those that really know me are like “really?” I get it now, I play small. I try to make myself invisible until I have assessed a situation and ensured that it is “safe.” This safety resting in the ability of my humor, wit, or intelligence to outshine my fear, doubt, and inadequacies.

I don’t didn’t think I am was good enough. EVER. F that ish. Imma play like Viola Davis is in my ear telling me I’m kind and smart.

I hope to maybe blog about other more exciting things like the book recommendations I have received since I’ve started this journey. Or the impact I’ve had on a few friends who have started their own weight loss journeys on the WW plan.

French Fries are the Devil’s work

Ok. I know I’m behind on posting. My bad. So I am crawling toward a 40lb weight loss total. I want it so bad. Intellectually. There is some emotional barrier however that has me dancing w/ old habits. I’m a social eater. While everyone else is boozing it up, I’m ordering wings & things. Today it was French fries (which could have only been invented by a sadist). Last week FroYo and home baked cookies. But here’s the thing, for 3 months I did fine. I said no, or ordered water, or perhaps a salad. So the issue isn’t my will power or even determination. It’s fear.

I’m afraid to have the thing I want most. In large part it’s because I don’t believe I’ll ever be thin. I never have been. Don’t even know if its possible. What if I really am a rare breed – the last big boned girl around? So, if I stop in the middle of the road I don’t have to face the disappointment of getting to the other side and not liking what’s (who’s) there. I know how to be fat. I know how to dress fat, shop fat, eat fat, make jokes fat, be single fat, be career driven fat. I know who I am fat, how to behave in social settings, what others expect of me, AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, I know that being fat renders me invisible in the most ironic of ways. And when invisible the stakes are low.

So the more people say to me “wow 40lbs,” the more I stand in the road. The more they see me, the more I am afraid. Afraid that once my amour (read fat) is gone, I still won’t be good enough, pretty enough, smart enough, or talented enough. I also won’t have my golden ticket (read excuse) to ride the this is why my life sucks bus. So I’ve been stalled in the middle of the road. The thing is, the road isn’t a safe place to hang out, and I don’t want to be on fat street anymore. So I’m crossing, but it’s some scary shit. I don’t know if I’ll find myself on skinny street or if I’ll barely get out of the medically morbidly obese woods, but I imagine it’d be a joy to sit in a chair with my legs crossed. I figure my friends will appreciate that we can just go to the bar not need to search for the last open kitchen on earth on one of our after hour adventures. And if the truth is that I’m not something or the other enough, then it’s time I got to work on that narrative.

Thanks for reading

Fall Back, Spring Forward

A few years ago, the mysterious powers that be decided that the Daylight Savings period of the year should be longer. This sun worshipping California native with a thing for mood enhancing vitamin D was thrilled. I don’t much follow the science of it, but I know once a year we fall back and once a year we spring forward.

How apropos that tomorrow we spring forward, when this past week I felt like I fell back. I fell back into a few old habits, I fell back into pizza, mozzarella sticks, hot fudge topping, bread, and Malibu & pineapple juice.

Here’s the thing that will prompt your “ain’t nobody got time for that reflex,” last week I lost 1.4 pounds. On the program I’m on (weight watchers) it’s recommended that we lose between .5-2 pounds a week, so I’m at the higher end. Great! Also WW, being an accountability program, not necessarily a food restricted diet allows me to spend my daily & weekly points pretty much however I choose (the program operates on a point system blah blah blah). I did not end the week in the red. I still had a handful of spare points. But it felt like a close call. I felt like I failed.

All week I felt like I was fighting against myself. Temptation felt ever present and more than once I fell. The weight loss is good…who am I kidding, it’s frickin GREAT! And yeah I did it in a week when I had froyo, booze, fried cheese, and my arch nemesis pizza. That would have made a past version of me so happy, “I can still eat the foods I love…” But I don’t wanna love those foods anymore, I don’t wanna play Russian roulette with the shit that got me to this size in the first place. I just felt like I was somehow beating the system. Like I was cheating and if I didn’t reign it in I would spiral out of control.

I know people say everything in moderation, but for some of us that isn’t true. Some of us have to give up certain things, say goodbye to a vice maybe even a friend. So on my excel spreadsheet last week was a success, but emotionally I fell. It was scary, I was scared, standing in the quick sand of “if I order that second slice…”

I’m tired of feeling out of control or at the mercy of food. So that was my one fall back for the year (positive thinking people). Here’s to springing forward this week.

Thanks for reading

Stay Here

I don’t believe in coincidence. I think everything happens for a reason. Now I often don’t know or understand the reason, but I know there is one. That there is some lesson for me within every circumstance. So to my curent circumstances:

Losing weight is bringing up all sorts of issues. And it isn’t the losing weight – yet – as much as actually trying to deal with the things that have kept me fat (because I still have 123 lbs to go, so for all intents and purposes, I’m still fat – for kids following along at home, I started at 298 and I am trying to get to 145, the last time I was 145 I was 10 years old). I am learning to let go of anger. This is a BIG one. It is hard. I want to be right. ALL THE TIME. I want other people to admit I’m right ALL THE TIME. This is because, I was never the pretty girl, but always the smart one. Always praised for my intelligence, so it’s my point of pride, and if I am wrong then what do I have? You can’t be dumb AND ugly. I must say though, that I am pretty cute. Perhaps one of those “oh you have such a pretty face” type of cutes, but cute none-the-less. The truth is, I am wrong a lot. A lot. Clearly. I didn’t get fat exercising sound judgement. More than anything I have been wrong about myself.

I thought I was low maintenance, didn’t care about my appearance, that I didn’t like wearing dresses, that I was unattractive, that I wasn’t good enough, that I was just meant to be fat…the list really can go on. So as I set out on this journey for the umpteenth time, I am committed to making it the last time. This means I gotta dig a little deeper…so

So I’ve been feeling very emotionally raw lately. Trying to understand, why and how my self-esteem got so low, and how I can have it back without the need for external validation. I am starting to understand the tremendous need for human contact that I have ignored and completely lied to myself about. See when I’m home I can hug my daughter a bazillion times a day. We cuddle and snuggle and it’s great because I am getting affection all the time. Unsolicited. Unconditional. And in large amounts. But right now, I am on my own away from home. I am craving touch. I realize how my body issues (and they are MINE) keep me from human contact. And I’m talking a hug here…don’t even get me started on good ole fashioned S…E…X…

So here I am working hard to have the body I want but also wanting to feel good about the body I have, because 123lbs is a loooong way aways and I don’t want to feel untouchable for one day more. It’s such a conundrum. So on to everything happening for a reason and being in the exact right place at the exact right time in one’s life – here I am working as part of a team developing a new musical. A musical about people dealing with addictions and abnormalities and trying to survive their worse nightmares. And it is all hitting a little to close to home. I feel like a character in this play. One of The Unfortunates:

“I’ve been unfolding, hoping and pleading.

Baring my soul but barely believing

I could be whole”

It’s been eye opening. Therapeutic. And confusing as shit. There is joy and heartache. And I am confronting my own issues on the daily. The Universe knows me so well, because despite all my fears and doubts, the one thing I am sure of is that like the protagonist of our play “I’m done dyin … Lord says he’s got a new skin for me. Gonna fill it up with brand new wine.”

Thanks for reading

The story of last Saturday night

Saturday night was the worst night of this “weight loss journey” so far. It’s had been 50 days of relative ease. Not easy, but I’m focused & determined so I brooked no compromise. Then Saturday night happened and I belly flopped right in to a land mind of triggers.

This one might be a buzz kill so I’ll try to keep it witty!  I also will disclose that I’m doing weight watchers which operates on a point system.

On Friday night I went out on the town with friends. We had a fabulous dinner and an evening of theatre. I planned for this and indulged just a tad but didn’t really go “off program” in a points/calories allowance sort of way. What I did do was wake up Saturday with the attitude that I was in the red. So even though according to the points, I started the day fresh with plenty still chillin in the weekly reserve, I back stepped into my attitude of lack which is what started this whole hoard food in the body problem umpteen years ago. So that was my first mistake.

Onward with my tale. I ate fine all day, even had my daily hot chocolate (something I imagine will be too point rich down the line but for now I can afford it). Then late evening rolled around and Shakespeare triggered me. Now Shakespeare has always been a force for good in my life. Soothing, like a baby’s pacifier or like the calm of rushing water to others. As I watched the MARVELLOUS PBS special Shakespeare Uncovered I, obviously, started to focus on my career momentum or lack (oooh there’s that word again) thereof. And so the self ambush began. And we all know what happens then…I wanted a hit. I wanted to stuff myself full. I wanted cheese melted on anything, a pizza, or grilled cheese, or cheesy baked potato. You get the idea. Feeling behind career wise, I also felt empty, inadequate, and frustrated cause there’s certainly nothing I can do about it at 8 on a Saturday night.

Here’s the thing though. I didn’t eat. I was done for the day, I wasn’t hungry. So I yelled at twitter, adopted a passive aggressive vague-book approach and got over myself. It was hard, but clear that I’d avoided dealing with my shit like fear and doubt and insecurity and boredom by shoveling food in. And I’d keep doing it til that pleasure sensor was triggered and the euphoria of the food high set in. I don’t wanna be that person. I don’t want to live in denial. I want Shakespeare to be my high, not pizza.

I want to confront what I’m feeling, give myself permission to have those feelings and then move on. I hope the next time is easier but even if it isn’t, I know it’s possible. That’s really the best part – the possibility of it all. Shakespeare said that first right…or something like it…

Thanks for reading.

No, I’m not Tongan, I’m just fat

So as I disclosed in my previous post, I watch a lot of NBC’s The Biggest Loser. I recently finished season 7 again and am now on season 9 again (I watched season 8 last week – my daughter and I re-watch seasons based on the contestants we like/don’t like, so we don’t watch in order). If you’ll recall, season 7 is when we were introduced to the contestants Felipe and Sione. These guys are Tongan cousins and were so concerned about the trend/tradition of obesity in their culture. In season 9 of TBL another set of Tongan cousins, Koli and Sam, shared these same concerns.

 

Ok OMLD, your point? Well here’s the thing, since I was an adolescent, I have been asked if I was Tongan or Samoan. I am *sure that part of the reason for the question has to do with my skin tone or hair or some ethnic marker. I think more than anything though, I was asked because I’m fat. I am not Tongan or Samoan, I’m just fat. I have wondered though, what it would be like to grow up in a household, or community, or even culture where I wasn’t ostracized for my size. Where I look like the women in my family. Where I am not the fat sibling. Where my plate at family functions is not policed. Of course, I know, “the grass is always greener.” I don’t presume that people in cultures where largeness is accepted have it easy, clearly Felipe, Sione, Sam, and Koli wouldn’t have appeared on TBL, but here’s the thing (and in telling you the thing, I will reveal certain identifying markers – “O brave new world…”), it sucks being different from your family. It sucks feeling like an alien in a place that you call home, where love and acceptance should abound.

 

Now to be clear, my mother (she is my natural mother) and I are the same nationality, American; we share some ethnic heritage, English, Irish, Scottish; but we are not the same race, she is white, I am black. The standard of beauty for her race is in many many ways not the standard of beauty for mine. Not to generalize, or over simplify, but certain physical attributes are more accepted in the black community. My mother didn’t grow up in the black community. She grew up with icons like Twiggy.

 

Growing up with a petite, super skinny mom was hard af (as the kids would tweet). I wanted to be like her, but by 12 was taller and much larger than she. She didn’t know how to have a fat daughter. So we fought. I want baggy clothes to hide my fat, she wanted me in the smallest size I could squeeze into (this has not changed). We fought about food, I had to carry the OG slim fast in a thermos to school, and at 14 she put my on Jenny Craig. We fought for control. Of my body. Including piercings and haircuts. Eventually I won. My prize was getting fatter.

 

Now as a *responsible adult I am actively trying to understand my triggers. My mom is el numero uno. I’m trying to understand why when my mom asks me “can you have X on your diet,” I want to eat cookie dough because I can *have whatever the hell I want. Or why when she wants to go to the gym together, do I talk my way out of it, and find myself napping half the day. I don’t have all these answers yet, but I now recognize these triggers and redirect my responses so that I am making positive choices instead of negative ones. AND of course I can’t trade my family in for a community of fat people, where I feel a sense of belonging. BUT I can create that community for myself with people who are not necessarily fat, but whose respect and acceptance create a safe space for me to be fat today and work toward being less fat tomorrow.

 

I had to say it out loud (type? it out loud?)

 

Thanks for reading.

A Blog for Christmas

So right after the holidays millions decide it’s time to lose weight. Gym memberships soar. Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers see their membership numbers increase exponentially. Me, I decide the week BEFORE Christmas to get serious about what I’m putting in my mouth, and even more serious about the thoughts in my head. In doing so, I have really started to identify triggers and my particular compulsions.

Allow me to share two Christmas tales.

Tomorrow I’m going to a relative’s for a big family gathering & meal. In preparation, I asked about the menu. For me that’s a first. In the past I’ve just shown up and eaten some of everything (except stuffing, that I don’t do). Well turns out there aren’t any sound choices on deck for the holiday buffet. So who’s brown baggin’ Christmas dinner? This lady. I’d rather just pack food I know I can and will eat AND enjoy, than sit there starving, cranky, or binge and feel guilty. So hey, victory for me.

It came at the cost of: feeling a bit like a special dietary project, admitting that I am consciously aware of and being mindful of what I’m eating these days, and the risk of insulting the host. These things have caused me great shame in the past. Shame that I am no longer interested in. So my fit and trim host will have to forgive, though I’m not apologizing for, my desire to not gorge on cheesy carbs and fatty meats.

I say no to letting shame or embarrassment cause me to do what I know is unhealthy for me.

Story number two.

Out with family tonight at a restaurant that I did not choose I became increasing frustrated because the nutrition information wasn’t available. I’m on my smart phone and scrutinizing the menu trying to find the one thing I *can eat. I was so frustrated, my inner four year old monster stomped her foot and screamed “fine, I just won’t eat!” And while my family ordered a deep dish pizza I sulked and sipped my diet coke. And then it hit me, I’m afraid of food. I’m.Afraid.Of.Food. The solution for me was to just not eat. That’s not any more healthy than eating everything. I realized that this is why diets don’t work and that I’m not in this to exchange one bad habit for another but to make serious changes in my relationship to food. So I put on my big girl drawls, and opened the menu again. I found a salad and small appetizer that I could eat without with minimal guilt.

In the real world I’ll be faced with temptation everyday. Saying no to a brownie makes perfect sense (not in a logical way but in a sensible adult trying to lose weight sort of way), but I have to eat. So I have to feel empowered to make smart choices even if the calorie count isn’t listed or I don’t know how many grams of fat are in a dang on thing. I can’t be afraid of food. I am the only one empowered to empower myself.

So see, I’m learning. It’s still early. Tomorrow hasn’t happened. But I am teachable.

Thanks for reading.