Tag Archives: hoarder

The Writing Diet

I can’t believe it has been three months since I have posted. That is absurd. I suppose that is what happens with some dieters, we lose our motivation, or life kicks in gear and focusing on the weight loss isn’t the number one priority. Well I am happy to report, that I am still going strong on my weight loss journey. Down a total of 53.8 pounds after 36 weeks on weight watchers. I am still writing down everything I eat. I am still cursing donuts, french fries, pizza, and ice cream (especially in the form of the oh so innocent milkshake). I’m still wearing two activity monitors all day everyday. But I’m not blogging as intended because honestly I thought I could lose the weight faster. I thought I would be immune to life hacks. I thought I was the rock star of weight loss. In the beginning I set all these arbitrary goals: lose x by this opening night, then x by summer, then another x by this friend’s wedding. And none of them happened.

When I couldn’t meet those little goals I had set for myself, the shame set in. Never mind that I have had 29 losses, because all 36 should have been losses. Never mind that my average weekly loss is 1.5lbs, because I should be miraculously losing 5lbs every week. I stopped blogging because I wanted to show off, and all I had to show was a real life up and down ordinary weight loss struggle-tale.

Struggle-tale, not fairy-tale. No I just ate less and exercised more and viola I am now super skinny and everyone adores me, but a this is the body I live in today and it’s kinda cool because it carried me from 298.2 to 244.4 and fits in a large t-shirt now and my thighs still kiss but I kinda think thighs are meant to kiss and hey there is some extra strap left over on this seat belt on the plane now and wait I think I actually feel full and who the heck knew kale tasted so good or this roasted red pepper humus dip type stuff that you couldn’t have paid me to taste just 38 weeks ago is like magic happening in my mouth kinda tale. An all this while living, working, parenting in three states and two time zones story. A writing, directing, teaching, loving, laughing, crying, starting new, saying good bye to old, losing and longing story. It is not about miracles, it is about possibles. And it is all mine to tell. Sorry to have kept you waiting. More sorry to have kept myself hiding.

So I am still working on a new body, just probably not by tomorrow. Not in time for your wedding or a cousin’s graduation. Not in time for our weekend get-away, or probably even when the next bikini season rolls around. But I’ll get there. In the time it takes.

I’ve started Julia Cameron’s “Morning Pages” again (many people know these pages are the key component to Cameron’s The Artist Way program for creative recovery, I am following her similar program called The Writing Diet), so I am writing everyday friends, and I plan to share here more often.

Thanks for reading.

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

Moment of truth

Ok right to the point. While with my ex, I developed some pretty bad habits. The obvious, I packed on the pounds. This happens in a lot of relationships. But for me it wasn’t about “we’re comfortable” or “I eat to keep up with him.” Nope. Not at all. I ate & ate & ate to make myself unattractive to him & anyone else that might’ve been lookin’. Why? you ask. Well because I didn’t want him to touch me. I subconsciously yet intentionally (can you even do that?) wanted to be unattractive to keep him away. But guess what, he didn’t care about the weight.

I stopped focusing on my appearance at all. Proclaimed “I’m low maintenance.” But anyone who knows me knows I’m pretty uptight about a fair number of things. I’m the only person on earth who thinks I’m low maintenance. So no makeup, no nice clothes, I stopped wearing skirts and dresses altogether. I became a jeans and t-shirt gal, wearing pajama bottoms like it was my job, and became queen of all things elastic waistband. I tried to render myself as undesirable as possible.

The end result.

I convinced MYSELF of all those lies. Now I’m stuck trying to undue all the damage I did to my own self esteem. It’s almost humiliating except for it is kinda karmically perfect. I made myself unpretty and then believed it. So here’s hoping that it works in reverse. That I can let down the walls and not hide behind fat. I might even buy a dress & put on some lipstick & mascara.

Woah…did I say lipstick…that has been a long time.

Here’s to bringing sexy back.

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.

Answering the call…a hero’s journey

I took a little time thinking about what I wanted my first post of the new year to be. Did I want to rattle off resolutions that by March will only serve to make me think of myself as a failure? Or did I want to be the anti-resolutionist, and avoid being specific in my goal setting so I can let myself off the hook for bad behavior?

Truth is, I am resolved. Resolved to change my life, for the better, one day at a time. To achieve this, I DO have specific goals. The first goal is to love myself more. My next goal is to share my courage and laughter. I have an abundance of each. After that, I want to radiate positivity and surround myself with positive people. I want to grow toward the light. Be the light. Be in the light. I want to LOVE.

Do I want to lose weight. HELL to the YES! But I have lost weight only to find more as I back-stepped out of change and into the me I knew and recognized and loathed. This will only work if I embrace the new me. The new me can go out to a restaurant and be social and make new friends and not eat if she’s not hungry. I did that today. The self I am becoming, she can eat chicken wings and pizza in moderation, and not stuff her face as if she’ll never she food again in this lifetime. I did that today. I don’t know her, this person I am becoming, but she seems like a pretty cool chick: smart, and funny, and talented, and compassionate. I don’t know her, but I choose to love her anyway.

So in the new year I plan to make new choices, try new things, be braver, and count it all a blessing. The measure of success is simply a blog post here in about 365 days. In short, my resolution is to show up, and meet myself on the journey.

This is me answering the call.

Thank you for reading.

Just realized I’m a hoarder

SO Saturday morning I sat down to type a blog post about my food victory of the night before. I didn’t finish it before I had to get going for the day so I saved the draft to be posted later. And now as I come back to it, the thrill of the moment in gone. Last night I fell off the wagon. Off the wagon, into a bush. Into a bush right out side of Taco Bell.

So now let me preface a few things as I recount the evenings in question:

I am a professional storyteller. In order to have stories to tell, I must spend time with people, observe them, speak with them, hear their stories. In short, I am social. The twist is I am also an introvert. As a result of my childhood (referenced in earlier post), I have come to rely on food to get me through social situations. I hang around the buffet table at parties, grabbing chips here and there, snagging an extra chicken wing or 3 when I suspect no one is watching. After a show, when friends want to get a drink, I propose someplace that is still serving food because I am feeling “peckish.”

And so Friday night, following a show, we found ourselves at a restaurant/bar and I did something I never do. I shared food. Now of course I’ve shared an appetizer or desert here or there but other than with my daughter, I’ve not shared an entree with another adult while out at a restaurant. We have perhaps ordered to meals to split, or I have finished their food in addition to my own. But sit down, order one thing and split it. This was a first. This revealed to me that I have deep anxiety about being hungry. My friends suggest we share, and I think “I am going to still be hungry” even in the absence of hunger. I am a hoarder. I hoard food inside my body. How awful is that. How CRAZY is that. I’ve never experienced famine, or the great depression, or lack of food for more than an uncomfortable few hours. So why am I anxious that I don’t know when I’ll eat again, or where my next meal will come from? Well anyway, on Friday night I get this wake up call and so I share and it was perfect. I was fulfilled, I was being social, friends were drinking merrily and I was so proud of myself.

Then Saturday strikes. Ya know what I do? I go all day on two bananas and a black tea so when 5pm rolls around I of course believe I am starving to death (I’ll remind you I weigh 298 at last count – I won’t be starving for sometime). So all the fast food lights are tempting me, calling my name, and like the addict I am I can’t resist. BUT my intentions were soooooo good. I was going to go to Taco Bell, make a healthy choice, like one of their new Cantina Bowls (w/o dressing), and continue feeling good about my lifestyle changes. I order the XXL Nachos. It just came out of my mouth, it wasn’t even what I wanted. The food came, and I was miserably disappointed. With myself, with the presentation of my food, with the taste. So I picked at it, feeling the guilt and shame of eating a 1200 calorie nacho platter intended for at least 2 people. I couldn’t finish it. I threw it out, then order the Cantina Bowl I came for in the first place. Problem is, I don’t know how to add up the calories for a partially eaten nacho tray. I don’t know how many chips went in my mouth or in the trash. So now I just feel like I’m eating two meals, the nachos and the bowl. I wanted an immediate do-over but the nachos calories were in, couldn’t reset the counter, but I was convinced “I’d still be hungry” cause I had thrown a fair portion of the meal out.

I am glad for the experience of Friday and Saturday nights because my food anxiety is coming to light. More than insatiable hunger (which is what I’ve convinced myself and others to believe for so long), it’s an OCD type behavior. I’ve known I was this way with beverages for years (that is for another – perhaps shorter blog post), I thought food was different, but now I see the behavior pattern is remarkable similar.

Today I’ll try to eat only to satisfy the hunger/needs of the moment and know that the next meal will come.

Thank you for reading.