Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A month of ups and downs.....

I've been home for FOUR WEEKS!! And wow – these last couple of weeks have been a time of great learning and illumination for me. I feel REALLY REALLY good… like a newer improved version of me… or like the real me that’s been clambering to unzip the fat coat and free herself has finally started emerging! I’ve been receiving compliments on how good I look… and I haven’t really lost any more weight since being home (which I’m absolutely fine with), but I know I LOOK better…. I’ve heard *glowing*, *radiant*, *happy*…. all amazing adjectives, especially since I honestly feel all of these things. I felt them while at the Biggest Loser Resort, and then lost them for a couple of weeks once home, but the feelings are back, and if possible, I’m feeling even better than I did while away because I’m proving to myself that what I learned while in the *bubble* I am able to actually implement here in the real world. I even SOUND different… to others and to my own ears. Happy is coming through in my voice… and I can’t remember the last time I heard it - authentically anyway! The past month has been difficult, overwhelming, disappointing, frustrating and confusing, but it has also been full of revelation, hope, love, pride and understanding.

The biggest thing I’ve learned about myself is that I KNOW that all this IS doable and that I AM going to do what I need to do to live my best life… (oh Oprah, I wish you hadn’t coined this phrase – I feel so hokey when I write it, but it just describes what I want to do so perfectly!!). Gone is the helplessness and hopelessness I felt in those first weeks back (and the feeling that we just wasted a whole lot of money!). I am feeling really powerful, or empowered, or positive, or optimistic… whatever you want to call it. I also know that this is a PROCESS and will not happen overnight, but slowly but surely I am seeing positive results of my efforts, and I am feeling excited.

Not to say that everything is going perfectly or to plan…. and I definitely don’t want people to think everything is all rosy over here, because it’s not (just ask Marius!) :)  And I’m trying not to even plan that much… I’m just trying to be present in my day and life and being aware of the choices I’m making. I’ve done away with a lot of my list-making and as a result, I’m feeling a lot less overwhelmed and anxious and stressed about what I’m NOT achieving everyday :) I believe I’m still worried about disappointing people (this is a deep-rooted feeling and is a hard one to overcome), and I think have avoided posting here because of that, but I know that I really do have to get over it. I’ve actually been writing a lot (but not posting) but trying to listen to myself and not push it…. if I don’t feel like posting, then that’s OK… but I do want to make time for it….and I’m sure I will.

So, I feel REALLY good about a lot of the areas I’m working on. The big ones are:
  • food and eating
  • improving my fitness level
  • my relationship with Marius
  • being present with the kids
  • finding balance
  • changing how I talk to myself
I feel I’ve been making great headway on most of these…. the biggest and most difficult is obviously and definitely going to be the eating, but I’m seeing a great therapist who specializes in eating disorders, and I can feel it helping. So I’m hoping that by putting tools in place to set myself up for success, and by dealing with all the other areas I want to improve on, that I WILL be able to change how I deal with food. I know changing my eating habits will happen more slowly, but it WILL happen. Things are improving already, and I’m just trying to be patient and not expect my disordered eating to improve overnight.

I'm not sure if I'll continue to post here. I know I *should* because it's a way to keep myself accountable.... I guess we'll have to see!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Doing away with the *bubble* and living in reality!!

Ok people, time to get down to business…. I’ve been MIA too long and I’m ready to get back to writing!! Today is my birthday, and posting this is my birthday present to myself :)

Soooo…. last time I posted, I was.... how did I put it? OVERWHELMED? Yeah. That. Feeling overwhelmed soon turned into feeling like this whole thing was impossible. Felt like there was no way I was going to be able to fit the new me into my old environment and I could feel, hear and see all the old sinister habits sneaking their way back into my life and I felt helpless to stop them. It was NOT a fun first 2 weeks home. 

But here I am, home for 17 days (feels like 50) and I'm feeling like I’m in a much better place. I have been avoiding posting, I think, because I felt I’ve had nothing positive or uplifting to say, and some of the things I’ve been dealing with since home are private, and I didn’t feel like dancing around them here in blogland. Without going into details, some of these things revolve around my relationship with Marius, something I never really thought was a factor in all this, but discovered or realized once back here that it actually was having a profound impact on me being not feeling able to move forward and find a new *normal*. I soon realized that I need him to be on the same page as me and be able to roll with the punches as I try to figure things out. There's been a lot of changes, and it’s been rough, but it’s also been a really positive time. I’m now all about being honest about how I’m feeling, and I haven’t been holding back in this area (lucky him!), and so he and I have talked about US and discussed our feelings more in the last week or so than we have in our whole 11 years of being together. So it’s been hard….more so for him than me, as he’s just trying to keep up with my ever changing needs and light bulb moments these days – but it’s also been good. The goal is to move toward a better relationship, and with that in our sights, I’m hoping things can only get even better for us.

So besides all THAT, here’s what else is going on….

I have started exercising again…. and what a difference this has made!! When I returned home and wasn’t able to keep up that momentum (because of my knees), I felt deflated and derailed. In my mind, the exercise part of my *plan* for coming home was a tangible way to continue feeling the same physical empowerment I felt while I was at the ranch, and without it I felt, ohhhh, I guess *HELPLESS* describes it pretty well! Last Friday I'd had enough and I marched into the new gym I was always going to join once home and just signed up. I've been 4 times in the past 6 days and so far it’s been fantastic. The strangest thing is that my knees stopped hurting THAT DAY - the day before, they were still really bothering me, but they felt fine after I jumped around and did squats and lunges for 45 minutes. Go figure.

So anyway, the gym I’ve joined isn’t the traditional kind... you can’t just go and workout on a machine… instead it’s based on the way professional athletes train. It's basically personal training in a class format. You warm up with 2 or 3 minutes of cardio (like jumping jacks, or mountain climbers or running in place with high knees – doesn’t sound like much but 3 minutes can feel like a VERY long time!) to get your heart rate up and then you do a circuit of about 10 stations for 45 seconds each….all based on body weight and plyometrics, then you rest for a minute, do 2 more minutes of cardio and then the circuit again, and then you repeat the whole thing one more time (3 times in all). There's 3 trainers at all times helping and encouraging you on, no class is ever the same as they switch up the exercises every class, and I'm really enjoying it. I’m there for 45 minutes, work my ass off, sweat like a maniac and burn a heck of a lot of calories. It’s only 5 minutes from home and I joined on a 10 week program where they are tracking my progress – so it sort of feel like it’s an extension of what I was doing at the ranch… definitely not in terms of how long I’m working out everyday, but definitely in terms of intensity and how great I feel after.

I’ve also started to see a new therapist who specializes in eating disorders – met with her yesterday and she seems great. Once I filled her in on what’s going on (which basically took the whole hour!), she was able to tell me that I’ve already done a lot of work figuring out WHY I do the things I do and how I got to this *place*, but I still need help figuring out my new normal, how to find balance, and how to practically overcome my addiction. BINGO! So we’ll see how it goes, but it definitely felt great to talk to her and it also felt great to hear myself talk and realize how much I DO know about how I got here and what I still need to do.

So things are looking up. I’m both excited and anxious, and feel like I’m in a very vulnerable place, but also a very powerful place. I know I can’t go back to where I was or who I was before I went away (and nor do I want to!), and I can’t stay where I am, as I’m definitely in a tough transitional place, so the only option is to move forward…. it’s scary and I know it may get harder before it gets better, but I really do believe that it’s possible, and I will conquer this. I just have to be patient, give myself a break, and keep making little decisions every day that move me closer to my ultimate goal: to be healthy and be an active participant in both my life and my kids’ lives.

So I guess that somewhat sums up where I'm at! As always, thanks for all the AMAZING and continual support, thanks for waiting patiently for me to start posting again, and I’ll see you here again soon!


Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Bubble Burst

Well, there's no point in sugar-coating it - so far it hasn't been pretty here on the *outside*.... I've been feeling extremely overwhelmed and am fighting the negative self-talk at every turn.

But let's go back a couple of days shall we..... I had a great overnight visit in Vancouver on Sunday... visited cousins, aunts, an uncle and my grandmother all in a 4 hour shot - always feel like my visits in Vancouver are whirlwind-ish! I was at the airport by 7:30am on Monday morning and spent the entire day on one WestJet flight.... enduring 2 stops along the way in Kelowna and Toronto (I didn't get off) and was best friends with the back flight attendant by the end of it!

It was absolutely wonderful to see my husband and kids... and my dad, stepmom and friend Erin and her daughter, Chloe, were at the airport to greet me too - so it was quite the homecoming! It was hugs and kisses all around and it was great to tuck the kids in that evening and just hang out on the couch with M. I decided to take it easy on Tuesday and just spend it hanging out with the kids - didn't even go online. I'm definitely right back in the thick of being a Mommy - even more so because the kids are on March break this week, and so home ALL day and I'm up to my eyeballs in books, puzzles, Dora and My Little Pony. It sort of feels like I was never away.... feels like those 4 weeks were a dream!

So - overwhelmed. Yeah. I can't seem to find a balance here. There's so much to do.....and I'm trying to not go back to my usual MO where I feel everything NEEDS to be done, and instead I'm trying to concentrate on what I WANT to be doing. I'm really trying to focus on what it is important to me this week and ignore the pull of domestic chores and the need to get EVERYTHING done NOW. So... these are the things I want to do: I want to spend time reflecting on myself, I want to firm up my goals, I want to plan and track my food, I want to exercise... all important stuff, but I'm feeling the pull of being back in this environment with all the usual triggers that used to send me wandering over to the fridge just wanting to snack... or over to the pantry looking for something to distract me from feeling stressed and unproductive.

My knees continued to hurt once home which has been disheartening, and I know it has contributed to feeling down and a tad deflated.  I had hoped to jump into an exercise regime this week, but have had to postpone that plan. Fortunately, they do feel a lot better today, so I'm going to stick to my plan to rest them for the next couple of days and will start going to the gym on Monday. Again, trying to avoid that *if I'm not doing it perfectly, I may as well not do it all* mentality.

Eating has been OK. Not stellar, not horrendous... I've come to realize I can't have anything in the house that's going to tempt me (especially in my current mood) - it just SUCKS not to be able to trust myself. I hate that I feel so out of control and that I still don't feel able to rise above the cravings and emotional pull to food. I KNOW I've worked through a lot and I do feel I have a lot more insight into what's going on inside, but I guess I'm feeling disappointed that I'm not as far ahead as I had hoped I would be. I know I'm in a *transition* period, and most of what I'm going through is probably quite normal - I knew it would be anti-climatic coming home - but I definitely need to work hard to be positive through this week, and perhaps next week, and resist being pulled down.

Anyway, I apologize for this rather depressing post! But I have to be real... and honestly I was avoiding even coming here to write as I feel once again that I'm disappointing people. But this is where I get to SEE what I'm thinking, and it's always interesting and sometimes therapeutic to read back what I've written. I told you in my first post that it wouldn't always be pretty here in blogland... hopefully it's all just part of the process and better times are still to come :)

Thanks for listening!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Day 27 - my last day!

Sooooo surreal..... so hard to believe that this time tomorrow I will no longer be living in this comfortable and safe bubble, and will be out there in the *real* world, trying to incorporate the *new me* into a life that hasn't really changed. I'm both excited and nervous... and ironically that's how I felt when I arrived here! I was ready to take the time and space I needed to figure out who I was, what I was capable of, and to sort through some emotions and behaviours that have kept me from living my best life. I feel 4 weeks was the perfect amount of time for me, and I truly feel like I've absorbed what I've needed from this place. I've proven to myself that I am VERY capable of being physical, and unveiled some old athletic abilities that I haven't seen in many many years. I've also shown myself that there is absolutely no excuse for not being active... that I need it and WANT it to be part of who I am and a big part of my life. If you remember, one of the biggest reasons for me coming here was to be an active participant in my kids' lives - I want to be able to go to Disneyland and waterslides and ski vacations... and not be a bystander. I can't wait to do these things!!

So at the end of the day, here are my stats after 4 weeks of hard work (well except for these past 4 days where I took it easy due to my knees!):

  • I lost 17 pounds
  • I lost 4 inches off my chest
  • I lost 5.25 inches around my waist
  • I lost 2.5 inches off my hips
  • I lost 2.5% body fat

  • physical strength and personal empowerment
  • a new found belief in myself and my abilities and what I'm capable of
  • a new love for being active and pushing myself physically
  • lifelong friends
Day 2 - 1st beach hike!

Day 23 - last beach hike!
I want to thank my husband and my kids for supporting me on this journey. I wouldn't have come here without Marius as it was his suggestion that I do this, and it was his willingness to take over our family while I've been gone that gave me the peace of mind to be able to leave for such a long period of time. I am also thankful to all the friends and family back home who have supported both me and him this past month. 
I also want to once again thank EVERYONE who has sent me a message, email, comment, phone call, card, post on facebook, hugged me, however you've reached out..... I have been completely overwhelmed and humbled by your love and support – and this journey wouldn't have been as enriching and gratifying without all of you. I especially thank the amazing friends I've made here... those that have already left during my stay and those I'm leaving behind.... I had so much fun sharing this experience with you and admire and am inspired by all of you! I'm looking forward to continuing on my journey at home, as this is just the start of a long haul for me. I have a long way to go, and I'm sure I'll have many hurdles and speedbumps to overcome. But I now feel empowered to get through the tougher times ahead and am going home knowing that making me and my health a priority is the greatest gift I can give myself.... and my family.
So please continue to stay tuned... I will still be posting here once home... as I've said before, writing has become part of my therapy and I know there's LOTS more to write about!! I am flying out of here tomorrow and am actually flying through Vancouver. I haven't mentioned it before because I unfortunately will not be able to see anyone except my grandma and my White Rock family as I'm only there for a couple of hours and leave early on Monday morning. I'm sorry I won't be able to visit with any of you on the West Coast – but hopefully I'll be back soon!
I probably won't be posting for a few days as I travel most of the day tomorrow and all day Monday.... but I'll be back soon enough! 

Leslie xo

Friday, March 11, 2011

Day 26

Well hello there...... how are YOU doing?!

I'm doing great!!! Today I worked out on the Jacob's Ladder with a few friends... we took turns going for 2 minutes each... killer!! Picture proof below :)

Then my friend Mindy and I went to get our hair done. I got mine cut and blown out straight - it was a real treat! I spent the rest of the day organizing my room - will pack up tomorrow.... unbelievable - it really feels impossible I've been here 4 weeks. A friend of mine commented that she'll be sorry to see my biggest loser posts ends, and so will I. Writing here has become part of my therapy, and has definitely enriched my experience. I don't think I would have gotten as much out of this place if I hadn't been writing every night. And I'm so thrilled that my posts have had such a positive impact on people - it feels great to be helping myself AND others at the same time!! I've been told a couple of times the last few days that I seem so happy and *together*.... and I was called a *calming influence* among the new guests this week... isn't that great?! I take it as a great compliment. It's wonderful to both FEEL so great and then to be able to help others on their journeys....

On to the physical..... I've been told that the problem I'm having with my knees is probably NOT due to an injury to my MCL ligaments... as the chiropractor told me it takes a big trauma or hit to hurt these, and it is extremely rare that both are affected at the same time.... SOOO he thinks it's bursitis, or the formal name is *Pes Anserine Bursitis*. When I looked it up it describes my pain perfectly and it's caused by either overuse or too much impact due to being overweight especially when running... ding ding ding..... sounds like me! The bad part is that the only cure is staying off them and icing. I'm worried because I DON'T want to get home injured and not be able to exercise, and it's not like I can totally stay off my feet over the next couple of days, but oh well, I'll do the best I can and hope for the best. It messes up my exercise plan I'd formulated for my first couple of weeks at home, but maybe I'll postpone my gym program and stick to core training and pilates, strength training and stretching for the first week or so.

Tomorrow morning I get weighed in and measured.... I'll post up my *numbers* here tomorrow with a recap of my 4 weeks..... exciting stuff!!

Good night!
Leslie xo

Day 25

DAY TWENTY-FIVE! I can't believe it!!

So..... working out... yeah, I'm not doing much of it! But I'm totally fine with that... it's been so beautiful here and I've been taking all this extra time to write out a bunch of stuff.... my goals for when I get home, my nutrition plan, identifying the hurdles and speed bumps I know I'll encounter when I get home and how I plan to deal with them... just a lot of introspective stuff.  So I'm treating these last few days here as a mini-vacation.... just sitting around in the sun and focusing on me... it's a treat!

Tonight I had a session with the life coach and we firmed up my goals and plans for returning home.... and she was impressed with how much I'd changed from our first meeting... she's pretty confident I'm going to do fine, so I'll go with that! I do feel very at peace about where I'm at and am excited to get home and start putting some plans into action :)

So... just wanted to write about something I've come to realize about myself.... it's something I've always been aware of, but never really delved into WHY I do it..... I think I do know why now, and so why not write about it!

It's my need for attention. I'm always looking for validation.... from everyone. I WANT to be noticed, I want to impress people.... in fact I like to be *discovered* doing something impressive, and have actually set myself up in a situation hoping to impress someone..... sounds silly as I write it, but I DO IT. Like the other day, I didn't go on the hike, and so decided to do my own little workout in the aerobics room... I set out my mat, a physio ball, my stretching strap, and put on some music... and then started my exercises. I set myself up in front of the door so that anyone walking by would see me.... and I found myself hoping someone would see me at any moment, and be impressed I was in there by myself working out, and even hoping they'd be impressed with my music selection..... SOOO ridiculous! And what's more ridiculous is that even if someone WERE to come in and exclaim *WOW, you're amazing - look at you exercising without being told to.... I am SO IMPRESSED*, I wouldn't be able to accept it or believe it. Because even though I want people to notice me, I don't know how to take a compliment. I feel uncomfortable being the centre of attention, and I always greet a compliment with a *thanks, but.....* and downplay whatever they complimented me on.

Soooooo, the *why*.......I believe this all comes down to me being kinda desperate for external validation because I don't give any to myself. I've looked to others to find me wonderful because I've had such a low opinion of myself. And I think that's why I can't take a compliment gracefully, because what other people think of me doesn't mesh with how I feel about myself, so I just can't take it at face value...for me there's always a *but*. It feels awfully immature and sad. And I'm going to really try to not do it anymore. Not to care SO MUCH about what other people may think about me. That the only opinion I should be caring about is mine and I should be more aware of how I talk to and treat myself, that I don't really need to impress anyone but me.

Reading this over, it all sounds so silly.... but it's been part of who I was and what I did to make myself feel validated for a long time. But no longer. One of my goals is to continue to figure out who I am, what I like, who I want to be...... to identify my authentic self without relying on anything external to influence and lead my thinking.

OK, that's it for the brain dump! Night!
Leslie xo

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Day 24

Hey there.... nothing too exciting to say today... I'm TIRED!!

We did the beach hike today.... it was my 4th time, and it was SOOO beautiful out... a quintessential California sunny day. I took my time and just enjoyed myself as I'm sure it will be quite a long time before I can stroll along a coastal beach in the sun!!!

I did a stretch class (my fave!) after the hike, and then my friend and I had a private training session with a trainer. It was Sam from the Biggest Loser show, and he kicked our butts! I was interested to see how I'd do with someone pushing me waaaaaay beyond where I'd usually push myself, and it was really cool - I thought I did very well! If I had done this session during my first or second week, I know I would have been throwing up in the bushes! He started out by warming us up... Mindy on the Jacobs Ladder for 12 minutes and me on the treadmill.... started out walking fast at an incline of 5 and went up an incline level every minute until I hit the highest level - 15... I wasn't allowed to walk below 2.8mph, but I actually didn't go below 3mph, so I was pretty impressed.... at the end of the 15 minutes I was drenched in sweat.... and couldn't believe that Mindy went 12 minutes on that ladder.... I totally got the easy warm up! We then did a whole bunch of upper body work - walking up and over a bosu ball on our hands while in a push up position and then switching it so that our feet were on the bosu ball and we walked our hands around.... we then alternated between pull ups, chin ups and a working with the big ropes... which are like fire fighting hoses, and HEAVY!! He then had us go outside and shadow box with him... giving us punching sequences while he moved away from us so we had to keep up... and THEN to finish us off, we had to do some boxing sequences, then a burpee and then do a sprint... we had to do this combination 5 times... on the pool deck IN FRONT OF EVERYONE! It wasn't pretty, but we did it and and felt great afterwards. The sprints did my knees in though, so I took it easy all afternoon (did a pool class).

So, that was my day.... just a little different than a usual day at home!! It was sort of fun to be pushed so far out of my comfort zone and to be so close to throwing up.... don't remember when or if I've ever felt that physically exhausted!

Here a few pics of my hike....
Night :)

PS: I don't think my pictures (slideshow) show up in the email that's sent out when you have subscribed to my blog... so if you do want to see my pictures, you may have to go to my actual blog (which I believe you can do by clicking on the title in the email).

Day 23

Hey guys!! I got a lot of great feedback from last night's post - thanks seems insufficient, but thank you anyway :)

So today..... today I chose NOT to hike... my knees have both been really hurting in the afternoon and evening, and the pain actually woke me up this morning. I've determined that it's my MCL on both knees - which is a ligament that helps stabilize the inside of the knee. It's inflamed, but feels better if iced and I take an Ibuprofen. I thought I'd give it a break this morning, though, so didn't hike. I did workout for an hour doing some core strength training, weights and stretching... sort of practicing for when I get home!! I took a stretch class and then did all 3 classes this afternoon, icing my knees between classes.

I didn't even want to walk on the treadmill during our Interval Training class today, so instead I worked out on the Jacob's Ladder.... have you ever seen one of these?! They are TOUGH and I have been very intimidated by it. But I made it a goal to conquer it this week, and I did! It's basically a ladder on an incline, it's self-paced and very intense. I was able to do it twice for 2 minutes, once for 90 seconds and twice for a minute. I was dripping with sweat every time I got off - even after just a minute! It's the best cardio workout in terms of bang for your buck and is considered to be one of the best full-body workouts out there. I was so proud and impressed with myself - I KNOW I wouldn't have been able to do it my first week here! Here's a picture of it (ahem, that's NOT me!) - my goal now is to increase my time on it.

Speaking of exercise, I've grown to really LOVE stretching and yoga... we don't really do yoga here, but our stretch instructor likes to experiment a bit, and I really enjoy it... I like how centered I feel, I like how tuned in to my body I feel, and I love seeing how I can stretch further every time. I've never felt comfortable signing up for a class because of how big I feel, I can do so much more these days because my stomach has gone down, and so this will definitely be something I will look into once home.

So.... I've experienced a couple of other successes this week.... all the workout bottoms I brought with me are now loose... and they actually feel uncomfortable.. I'm used to my workout pants being skin tight... they are made with spandex after all... and now that they're loose, they feel weird and baggy. Not complaining of course, but I don't know how much longer I'll feel comfortable wearing them!

When I arrived here, I would take my resting heart rate at night.... it was usually around 100 beats per minute... which is HIGH!!! Now, it's closer to 80 - an amazing improvement! It also takes a lot more for me to reach my maximum heart rate, and even when I do, it takes a lot less time to recover.

I can hold a plank for a whole minute! For those of you who don't know what a plank is, here's a picture... when I got here, I couldn't even get up on my toes (had to do it on my knees), so I made a goal to be able to get up and do it properly.... and today I held it for a minute.... so great! Because IT IS HARD!!!
Probably the most significant result of my weight loss is that I can now - after more than 6 years - wear my wedding ring again! I've been able to wear my engagement ring for most of the 8 years Marius and I have been engaged/married (except during each of my pregnancies), but after my pregnancy with Maya (and gaining weight), I've not been able to get my wedding ring on.... well, not without cutting off the blood flow to that finger! I brought that ring with me, hoping to be able to wear it home... and now I can!

So, it's been a good day.... and I can't believe I only have 4 of them left! I will go on the hike tomorrow and then I think I'm going to have a training session with one of the trainers here during lunch..... and I know I'll get my ass kicked. I'm training with a friend of mine, and I'm excited to see how well I do! I'm hoping by icing my knees, that I'll be able to finish off the week strong. I DON'T want to increase the injury to these ligaments as I don't want to arrive home injured and unable to exercise, so don't worry, I will listen to my knees and take it easy if necessary!!

Good night!! (Sorry, no pictures today!)

Leslie xo

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Day 22

So... my *secret eating*.....this one's a doozie (and long)!!

I've been thinking and reflecting a lot about this part of my food addiction and eating disorder. I've also talked to a lot of people here who experience the same feelings and behaviour around hiding what they're really's been amazing to share our experiences and to realize I'm not alone in my battle.

I know I definitely have a propensity to the physical addiction to processed carbohydrates and sugar. But on the emotional side, I believe, for me, it basically comes down to food deprivation. It started when I was young as my parents controlled what I ate, but ultimately became what it is today, which is something I impose on myself.  I remember having this feeling of being deprived quite early, but it really came into play during junior and high school. I remember not being allowed to eat junk (my dad called sugar *white death*!), and when we DID have it, it was a TREAT and had to be literally counted out so we all got our share, as there was a fear that if I didn't get my share right away, that it wouldn't be around later. This started a habit of having to eat any treat very QUICKLY and possessively in order to make sure I get *mine*. I still have that perceived fear... I can't have cookies or chips or anything else *junky* in the house, because it CALLS me... I obsess that it's in the house and I feel the NEED to eat it right away... like I'm still afraid it will be eaten by someone else. I think my brothers may also share some of these feelings, although at a much milder level, and I don't believe they developed the bad habits I did or had the same crippling self-esteem issues that led to an emotional dependency.

But I digress....  so we just didn't have candy and such in our house, and I remember wanting it, and I remember spending my allowance on it. The closest thing to junk I remember having in the house were chocolate chip granola bars that we were given for our school lunches, but Mom counted those, so they were un-sneakable. I remember coming home and just wanting sugar. I'm sure some of this came from an emotional need to fill a void I was feeling... probably due to normal teenager angst, but I was on the hunt, and I had to get creative. I remember taking unsweetened cocoa and mixing it with icing sugar and then taking it to my room and eating it dry with a spoon... that was my after school snack. Or I'd pour maple syrup on cheerios. So I was already eating in private back then. I remember babysitting and rummaging through pantries looking for snacks... the best was when they left stuff for me, but even if they didn't I'd search until I found something!

So I think I have a predisposition for becoming dependent on unprocessed carbs and sugar, but I also know some of my behaviours were learned. I remember finding wrappers from things Mom ate in private and knowing she was hiding food. Not her fault, but these 2 factors – the carb/sugar sensitivity and learning from my mother, combined to create some behaviours that I hid from people and because I didn't deal with whatever was driving me to eat my feelings, the behaviour ended up snowballing as I grew older. I remember my roommate in university would buy a big bag of chips, and to my amazement, she'd open the bag and take a few for a snack and then put the bag away... sometimes that bag would last a WEEK!! I would be in awe. I would never buy a bag for myself because I knew I couldn't be trusted NOT to eat the entire bag in one sitting, but I remember lying in bed at night obsessing about those chips.... they called to me... and once I remember even eating them all and then having to buy a replacement bag - all without her knowing. I remember feeling so amazed that she could just a eat a few, and then of course beat myself up because I knew I couldn't do that.

Fast forward to today, and here I am – in a cycle of deprivation, feeling weak and hating myself and then binging or eating crap to make myself feel better.

The whole process goes something like this:

THOUGHT: I am fat, and therefore I SHOULD NOT be eating junk food. If someone sees me eating crap, they will judge me and think badly of me. Plus it will be disappointing to the people who either know I'm trying to lose weight or who are hoping I finally get my act together and lose the weight.

ACTION:  I DONT usually eat junk food in front of people due to the thoughts above.

THOUGHT: I feel deprived and angry that I'm not *allowed* to eat what I want.

ACTION:  I eat what I want in private.

THOUGHT:  I'm weak and hate myself and my actions. And I chalk it up as another failure.

ACTION: I will usually continue to eat crap since I have already CHEATED and FAILED....  and this almost always leads right into the next....

THOUGHT: .....since I've already sabotaged any effort I was making, I may as well keep on cheating and failing, with the PROMISE that I will stop and try again come tomorrow, or Monday or whenever, like I am going to become a magically different person on THAT day!!! I always know this promise of starting anew is a lie (because I've never been successful). But pretending to believe it makes me feel better, and gives a rationale or excuse as to why I SHOULD eat everything I want now, because as of this upcoming MAGIC DAY, I will NEVER EAT THIS FOOD AGAIN (and so, while I'm at it, I'd better eat a lot of it!).  Really, I'm just giving myself license to eat, which was probably my subconscious goal from the beginning.

ACTION: plan my new day: MONDAY.... start the day well...... maybe do well for a couple of days even.....

THOUGHT: start getting a craving.... maybe physical, maybe emotional, but I start the obsessing and have trouble not letting it get a stranglehold on me.... thoughts start entering my mind like:

“it's ok, just one won't hurt..”
“you've had a hard day, you deserve it..”
“you've done so well, you deserve it!”
"it's not fair that you can never eat that again"
“you know you're GOING to cheat at some point, why not now...”
and so on, and so on....

I start feeling deprived.... ANNDDDDD before you know it, we're back to thought #2 above and back into the cycle.

My hope is that what I've written above helps people understand how this all works. It takes up a LOT of energy and space in my head, at times rules my life, prevents me from being authentic and feeling like I have integrity because of all the secrecy and deceit, and cripples my efforts for TRUE transformation. And I'm tired of it!!! When I went out hunting for food and ended up buying and sneaking it last weekend, I made a big change in my behaviour by owning up to it, but I think the real breakthrough for me will be in NOT depriving myself. Not labeling anything as something I'm NOT ALLOWED to eat, but instead creating an eating plan and lifestyle wherein I CAN eat anything I want, as long as I account for it.

This is something that is really encouraged here – they call it the 90/10 rule... where you eat healthfully 90% of the time, and eat for PLEASURE and ENJOYMENT the other 10% of the time. They follow that here in that we get a dessert every night after our dinner..... it's a low calorie dessert, but the point is, we all get to eat something sweet and yummy every day. It's out in the open, it's PART of the meal plan, it's accounted for, and it's meant to be savoured and enjoyed. Here, I DON'T feel deprived and I'm not in the usual *all or nothing* mentality.... where I flip flop between allowing myself to eat nothing and feeling the need to eat it all. You can also look at this 'all or nothing' idea in that I expect myself to follow my deprivation diet PERFECTLY, or else I label myself a failure and don't follow it at all.

One of my main and REAL motivations to fix this is because it would devastate me to pass my behaviours along to my daughter (or my sons for that matter). Knowing that I have this physical sensitivity and knowing what I learned from MY mom (something I'm sure she would have hated), I know there's a real chance that Maya WILL learn from me... she's old enough to notice things now, and although she eats healthy foods, and we talk a lot about being healthy and how I am trying to lose weight so that I will be more healthy (ALWAYS in a positive light!), I know the best thing I can do is be a good role model for her. I want her to have treats and not feel deprived, and I don't want to always control what she eats – I want her to be able to make her own decisions about what she puts in her mouth. Obviously I want her to make healthy choices most of the time, and hope she is able to eat treats without feeling the need to eat all of them, but I know there's only so much I can do to control this, especially when she's older....and that the best way is to SHOW her by my own healthy actions.

Anyway, this is all leading to a new way to interact with food once I'm home and having to make decisions. I'm feeling empowered to make a change, and have high hopes (not expectations!) for myself.

My new approach will be CONSISTENCY, NOT PERFECTION.

I think it sums it up perfectly!!

As always, thanks for listening!! It is LATE... almost 11! so off to bed.....
Leslie xo

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Day 20 AND Day 21!

Ummmm, sorry about not posting yesterday - after graduation a bunch of us went to a movie and didn't get home til almost midnight.... ie VERY LATE, and I was too tired to post! Nothing too exciting happened this weekend, so I thought I'd lump the 2 days into one entry. It's funny - I've gotten quite a bit of flack for missing a day!

I'm happy to report that although I left the Ranch to go to a movie (Just Go With It - TERRIBLE, with a capital T!!), I DID NOT eat anything while out, nor did I buy anything. Wanted to, but didn't..... and I don't know if I ever WON'T want to, but one day it would be nice to enjoy popcorn while watching a movie; but it probably won't be anytime soon. I always overeat and it's too much of a carb fiesta and therefore a big trigger for more eating. Maybe when it feels OK to get just a small one, and not the huge refillable ones just because it's more bang for your buck (and I get to eat more). ANYWAY, this weekend was good.... I did a lot of thinking and writing about how I want my life to look when I get home, I created a menu for the 1st 2 weeks, and I started thinking about something I can use to ground myself when I feel like I want to binge or eat crap.... sort of a mantra that gets me through the moment and reminds me WHY it's not a good idea!! It's something I'm supposed to start doing NOW, every time before I eat, so that it becomes ingrained in my brain and I associate it with healthy eating and healthy/positive self-talk. And then hopefully it will distract or deter me enough to get through the moment of WANTING and/or NEEDING and/or CRAVING.

It was another lovely day..... a day to relax, and I hope my knees will feel good when we start ANOTHER week tomorrow!! It's like *Groundhog Day* around here! Or I guess Groundhog Week :) and it's hard to believe this is my last... the last 3 have just flown by. But I'm getting excited to finish this part of my journey and continue the rest of it at home. This week will be spent preparing to leave and transition back to *real* life.... I have another appointment with the life coach, and have been tested for my RMR (resting metabolic rate) so that I know how many calories I burn just by existing, which in turn tells me how many extra calories I need to burn everyday to effectively lose weight. I will have all the tools I need; it will then be all up to me to make sure I use them effectively!

We welcomed all the new guests tonight... my last orientation! Again, it's great to hear where everyone is from, and it will be fun once again to see how everyone transforms from the nervous newbies to feeling relaxed and empowered by the end of the week!

I hope everyone had a great weekend - thanks again for all your support!!!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Day 19

Well, THIS is more like it! It was 21 degrees this afternoon, the sun was out, people were lounging around the pool after lunch, it was like FINALLY - it feels like I'm in southern California!! It was a beautiful, perfect day.

It started with going on the Zuma straight through hike.. I did this LAST Friday, and enjoyed it, regardless of the driving wind and rain. Today I could really appreciate it as the views were breathtaking and I could see what I'd accomplished (7 miles and a ~2700 feet elevation gain!). I really enjoyed myself on it, and once again feel like I've *finally arrived*... I don't know if I would have believed that I would ever really ENJOY the physicality of hiking... knew I'd be able to get through it, but it feels wonderful to be able to enjoy it.

I've had some amazing conversations with friends here this week, which has made this experience so much more enriching. It's always great to talk about what I'm going through with the food addiction, and the negative self talk and the craziness that accompanies it, with people who really understand and KNOW what I'm talking about. It's amazing how similar our stories are... we may have different triggers and reasons why we eat, but our underlying psychology of how we deal with our emotions and the way we abuse ourselves with food is the same. It's inspiring to see people change, and I know I've also helped inspire others here too, which feels REALLY good. I'm thinking maybe I will try to find a way to help others who are dealing with food addiction and body image when I get home. hmmmmmm

I've also come to the realization that I really TRULY don't care what the scale says while I'm here - and even when I get home. When we first booked this trip, I was doing the calculations in my head (if I can lose X amount, then I will be a success). But now, this journey has become about things that are not scale-related, and I KNOW that while here and once I'm home, that I will be successful if I can keep on this healthy path with both eating and exercising, while continuing to build my self-esteem, positive self-talk and identity - that the scale will move down on it's own. Without me obsessing about the number on it or letting it define my success or dictate how I am going to feel about myself. The scale IS a great tool, but it can't be the first or foremost method of gauging success.

I'm looking forward to this weekend - relaxing and sitting in the sun and working through some personal stuff. I don't think I'll be leaving here as I don't know anyone here who has a car! But even if I was leaving, I THINK I'd be able to withstand temptation and not buy any crap. It feels funny to say that, as my whole last paragraph was about how strong and healthy and empowered I feel. But we are dealing with an addiction here, and it's easy to feel *safe* here in the bubble. I know I will be tested EVERY DAY (and sometimes EVERY MOMENT!) once I'm out of here, but hopefully I will have built up a good foundation for success and will have the tools I need to avoid old habits.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!
Leslie xo

Day 18

Ok, not to be a broken record or anything, but today was a great day as well!!!

We went back to Solstice know, the hike that KICKED MY ASS last week... the one on which I cried, no sobbed, when I got to the bottom because I didn't feel I did as great as I SHOULD have.

Well, today I killed it on this hike...  this is the hike that is straight UP for about 1/2 hour right off the bat. It's brutally steep and not really that fun! 2 weeks ago, it took me about 35-40 minutes to make it to the top, last week, it took me about 30 minutes, and today it took me 18 minutes! EIGHTEEN! Never stopped once and felt healthy (aka not huffing and puffing) and strong. Amazing. I even did the bonus hill just because I knew it would feel good!

Up until today, I was still feeling that panicky feeling in the pit of my stomach when I woke up - not knowing what hike we'd be doing, and then feeling anxiety when the hiking coordinator announced where my van would be going. When she said *Solstice* this morning, my first feeling was fear. But I was also sort of looking forward to revisiting where I'd had my little breakdown last week and proving that I HAVE progressed. After today, FINALLY, I don't feel any anxiety about where we hike tomorrow, because I know I can do it, and do it really well!

I say goodbye to that fear and anxiety I've been feeling, and am hopeful that I will be able to cross this over to other areas of my life where I let my fear hold me back!

Still not doing any kind of running, but so far my knee is fine while hiking and walking.... and my knee LOVES the pool!

And as for the pool, I received another compliment today... someone said to me after we'd finished a relay race, *wow - you're so fast - you must be a swimmer*. My answer was *no... well, I USED to swim but that was in my teens*. It strikes me that there are a lot of attributes and skills that I am being complimented on here for things that I have not done for many many MANY years. I think of myself as an athlete and swimmer in almost a whole different life - I USED TO BE THESE THINGS, but it was so long ago, and even then I don't think I ever believed in my potential. But it seems these attributes are making an appearance this week. I feel so STRONG and in my element in the pool, and it seems to come very naturally to me. Someone called me *fish* today! This doesn't really surprise me, because I know my Mom and her family were strong swimmers, although I never really SAW Mom swim as she never got into a bathing suit! But I heard all the time what an amazing athlete and swimmer she was. It makes me think that these skills and attributes are a real part of me. A part that I've either been hiding or not wanting to even think about because I just haven't felt comfortable in my own skin for so long or just didn't want to believe in my strengths.

It feels good to get back in touch with these things that obviously make up who I am. It feels a bit weird, too, because I'm questioning myself in different ways these days. Am I an *athlete*? Am I a *swimmer*? What does this mean for me?! It does help me out though, as I think about my identity and who I want to be :)

Leslie xo

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Day 17

I had a GREAT day!!! My hike was a hard one but it felt *easy* for me today!! The last big push was a big uphill climb and I speed walked (sped walked?) up that baby! I had another girl with me who likes to go fast and she was behind me, and I decided to go as fast as I could without stopping... I really feel I could have run up that hill! Heart rate was high, but breathing was regular and my legs felt *normal* - cant tell you how wonderful it felt!

After lunch I took kickboxing - which I've learned I absolutely LOVE... love punching and kicking that bag.... and the sweat just pours.... you burn a LOT of calories in that class.. but maybe I just like to punch out all that pent up aggression and frustration :)

I then took 2 pool classes back to back (my knee is still hurting a bit and I didn't want to run or even walk on the treadmill today).... I love the pool class, as although it's easy to slack off in there, it's also really easy to push myself and really get a great workout. 

I was also told TWICE today by 2 different people what a great athlete I am.... ATHLETE!!! ME!!!! In my mind, I was once an athlete... like a million years ago.. well, maybe 22 years, but really, since I stopped playing soccer, I've never felt athletic. I've always been competitive, but my weight has held me back from enjoying a lot of activities, and especially sports. I remember playing Ultimate Frisbee in my 20s, but I was crippled by my lack of belief in my abilities, and always felt I was just there because they needed the numbers, and not because I was a good player.

Anyway.... it feels really great to get back in touch with this part of myself, and feels really REALLY great to feel so powerful and strong. A different person even commented today *wow, Leslie, I don't think I ever see you rest!*.... it was a great compliment!

So, a great day. And just for icing on the cake, I've made some great friends this week... this week's group has a completely new vibe to it. I really miss the laughs and camaraderie at the mealtimes that I had with the group of people I started here with, but I've found a few kindred spirits who are here for the same reasons I am.... it's funny how I can pick 'em out of a crowd - the keeners who really do want to change - like me!!

Here are a few pics from our hike... it started raining again today - I'm kinda getting used to it!

Leslie xo

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Day 16

Had another great day today... it was sunny and warmish - warmer than it's been the last 2 weeks anyway! My van is a fun van this week (yay) and we went to the beach. Was happy about this as I felt like doing something where I could really see my progress. And I have REALLY progressed... obviously the THIRD week is the time to gauge improvement! I walked the beach both ways (most people choose the road on the way back), I went up the stairs an extra time just for the hell of it and I did the *bonus* hill FOUR times!! And the best part was I was able to do all that and never felt out of breath - amazing!

I sat out by the pool after lunch during the stay-over guest's *free time* and had a lovely power snooze.... whoops!

The only unfortunate thing that's going on is my right knee is really hurting. It started yesterday while I was running during cardio, and so I stopped. It felt fine hiking, but I decided to try running again this afternoon and now it REALLY hurts. Damn! So, I guess no more running for me. Which, surprisingly, sucks! It was a great way to push myself and see tangible progress. Oh well, I'll just stick to walking for the rest of the week and use the incline to push myself instead of speed.

OK, time to relax... but I'll leave you with this:  did you know that McDonald's now offers oatmeal for breakfast? Read this article to find out why it's NOT a healthy choice!!

One of my favorite lines is:
A more accurate description than “100 percent natural whole-grain oats,” “plump raisins,” “sweet cranberries” and “crisp fresh apples” would be “oats, sugar, sweetened dried fruit, cream and 11 weird ingredients you would never keep in your kitchen.”
YUCK - don't eat this crap!!

G'night :)

PS I've been getting lots of feedback about my blog, and it's now being listed on the Biggest Loser Resort blog!

Day 15 - here we go again!!

Soooo weird to be doing all this AGAIN for the 3rd week!

I had a great hike today.... felt really healthy and I was keeping up with all the fast people! Not that that REALLY matters, but it still feels good :) I've put myself in the same *fast intermediate* van for the week.... we'll see how I feel about moving up to *fast* next week!

This new group of guests has a great vibe and I've met lots of people who are here for more than a week.... so I'll know a lot of these guys for the rest of the time I'm here... feels good!

Soooooo...... at the top of my blog on the yellow banner you see a link to a page called About Me, right? Well, I put that there when I first created this blog - fully intending to write something..... but I never have, and I think that's weird, but I think it's because I don't know what to write! Oh, there are lots of things I could say ABOUT me.... but something I've come to realize (with help from the counsellor) is that I don't really have a true identity for myself. And I don't think I ever have. I've sort of defined myself through my ROLES - and we all know how I don't feel like I'm fulfilling those! I know I'm a good mother, friend, daughter... etc etc, but I don't really know who I AM. It's like my identity is crippled or something. Maybe that sounds weird, but it was a lightbulb moment for me..... I think I've been searching for who I am for a looooooooooooooooooong time. Like, I mean elementary school. I have always been very easily influenced by others and their likes and dislikes, and have always tried to be LIKE the people I admire or adopt the personality traits I wish I had. This has rarely worked for me, especially since some of the personality traits don't mesh with my own personal values or self. Like being good with confrontation or being aggressive with my beliefs. I think I DO know what my values and beliefs are (and certainly these have become more clear to me as I've gotten older), but I think it's time to write these down, determine WHAT is important to me, and finally acknowledge who I really AM. Independent of who I think I SHOULD be, or how I think others perceive me.... just who I AM. Without knowing this, I think it will be impossible for me to really conquer this negative voice inside me. I need to know what I stand for and what's important to me, and create a way to help these things ground me when I start questioning my self-worth.

I can think of several ways I have held myself back due to not really knowing who I am. Although I can trace not knowing who I was back to childhood, obviously my identity was a work in progress back then and I know it was *normal* to question myself and who I was. For me, though, I think really feeling lost began with my Mom's illness and subsequent death. In some ways I feel *stuck* at 25... a young woman still trying to figure out what to do with her life and who desperately wants and even needs mothering. To this day, I still feel like that very uncertain girl who had just graduated from university and didn't have a clue who she was, what she wanted or who she wanted to be. There are many times I have to REMIND myself that I'm 40 - NOT 25! as I often feel intimidated by people my age or younger who have achieved any kind of success, and I feel inferior, not as mature, definitely not as wise or smart and I'm afraid of someone discovering I don't know what I'm talking about. All this has probably contributed to my shyness. Yes, I'm shy!!

I really do feel that in talking to my Dad last year that I was able to give that angry, resentful and hurt 25 year old a voice. But now I think it's time to let her go. My life didn't stop when my Mom died, but somehow my emotional self got stalled and it's like I've been waiting for some sort of mothering to help lead me into adulthood.

Geez that last paragraph came out of nowhere! - there are lightbulbs going off all over the place here for me - the more I write - the more I realize!

Ok, I'm going to stop now though, as I need to get to bed. If you had told me a month ago (when I was going to bed no earlier than midnight) that I would look at the time and think *oh my, it's late!* when it's only 8:45pm, I would have told you you were crazy!!

Good night!!!
Leslie xo

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Day 14 - 2nd day of rest

Hey everyone,

Well, here I go again!!! Going into week 3 and I THINK I'm ready. Looking forward to my assessment hike tomorrow and will be glad to get back into being physical again... it's a great distraction! Not that I think distraction is the best thing right now, but I want to get my head back into an empowered state!!

My HURDLE yesterday. It's almost like I was waiting for it to happen, and after being able to process it, I AM glad it did. If I didn't experience any big struggles here, it may have hit me a LOT harder once I experienced them at home. The important thing I'm concentrating on is that the aftermath of the sneaking/eating of food was different. I admitted what I had done, and I have to move on with that.

I also took everything I didn't eat last night and threw it out this morning as soon as I woke up. This was instead of having junk to *enjoy* all day today with the thought of starting new on Monday. I decided to start new today. Another first!

I spent the day cleaning and organizing and just relaxing - read a magazine by the pool in the sun (albeit under a towel because it was so chilly!). Tonight we welcomed all the new guests.... there are 2 new guests from Canada – woohoo! But it was a little bit of a letdown that most of the stay-over guests left before orientation to watch the Oscars, so there were only 5 of us left to welcome and give advice to the new people. I thought that was a little lame. There are a bunch of 2-weekers this week, so hopefully I'll get to know them as they'll be here for the rest of my stay!

Ok, off to get all my gear ready for the hike tomorrow and to write out some goals for the week.

Thanks for all the positive response :)


Day 13 (a little late)

This is the hardest post I've had to write so far..... and I wasn't going to write it, but I'm really trying to be open, honest and authentic (to myself and to the people in my life) while I'm here and really, if I'm not going to be honest here, then why blog at all? I can't pretend I'm perfect and things are all happy and rosy when they are not.

So remember when I said on Thursday that there's a lot of personal/emotional/mental work to still do, that I'd be trying to use my free time these next 2 weeks to work on ME and that I had an appointment with the counselor on Friday morning that I'd hoped would help spur me along in this department? Yeah, well I guess this is a case of *be careful what you wish for* as things definitely got spurred along!

I think my meeting with Essara (counselor) on Friday morning started some emotions swirling around in my brain that I hadn't been in touch with much during my first 2 weeks here (I was a tad distracted with all that hiking and working out!). We talked a lot about being authentic and how I don't feel I have a true identity. And after my great hike that morning (after my meeting) things seemed to go downhill a bit in terms of how I was feeling. All afternoon and into Saturday morning, I lacked motivation, didn't want to exercise (skipped most of the afternoon classes and the Saturday hike), and generally just didn't want to do anything. Well, that's not true, I wanted to eat. That voice was back.... that voice that has been relatively silent here (except on that hike where it made me question my ability, and a few times when I've felt the cravings in my room at night), that hasn't really been that dominant. Well yesterday, that voice was LOUD. That part of me was making an appearance in a major way... and she wanted to EAT. Not the good stuff here, but crap.

She got her way.

So. this is what I did. I went to the mall with a friend yesterday (Saturday). Because I wanted to buy postcards to send to my kids. Yeah right. Postcards. The WHOLE time, and I mean almost every minute, I was thinking about how I was going to be able to buy food without my friend seeing me. I took my big purse so that it would be easy to hide whatever I bought. There weren't a lot of options, but I knew I'd find a way, and my chance came when she got in a line up to buy a coffee. I told here I was going to look for some *postcards* and off I went. The only option I had was the food court, and I couldn't buy anything hot or big, so I walked around quickly, conscious of time, and there I saw them – bags of chips at a sandwich counter. Perfect! WOOHOO!! I bought 2. Soooo excited!!! We then proceeded to Subway where we both got a sandwich for lunch. This was ok, because we'd planned on this and even with the sandwich I would still be within a *normal* calorie intake for that day.... but I made sure she went first and was already sitting at a table so that when I was paying I could sneak in 3 cookies (because 3 were cheaper than 2!). The chips and cookies were eaten while watching TV that afternoon, and THEN I went to supper.

Unfortunately it doesn't end there.

I was then asked if I wanted to go to a movie with a bunch of people. And I did want to go.... but the main reason was so that I could get more food. We found our seats and then I made the excuse of having to go to the bathroom, and off I went – with my BIG PURSE. And I bought candy. Couldn't eat it there of course, but couldn't wait to get back in my room to eat it. And that's what I did. I felt the comfortable feelings I usually feel when pigging out like that. The autopilot I go into where I don't even notice I'm eating or how MUCH I'm eating... and it didn't even really taste good. But it wasn't about the taste, it was about filling something up. I don't know how many calories I ate altogether yesterday with 3 meals, a sandwich and all that crap, and it's really not that important. What's important is how I felt about myself the whole day and how it all fed into a feeding frenzy and then, as usual, we moved onto guilt. My best friend, GUILT.

Guilt, because this behaviour feels SO shameful to me... but I know also that this SHAME is all part of the cycle.... and the shame is what keeps me secretive, AKA lying – to myself and also to my husband. He's the only person I've really ever admitted my *secret eating* to – and when I finally told him... probably 6 or so months ago, it was HARD.... but I DID tell him... and then promised him I wouldn't do it anymore.... and I really did want to keep this promise, but I never did. When I talked to Marius today I was dreading telling him what I'd done yesterday (how could I cheat, how could I binge, how could I lie when we've spent so much money for me to be here), but I also knew I HAD to tell him or I'd be following the same destructive path I've always followed. AND I AM HERE TO CHANGE. I HATE leading this double life, and I HATE lying, but I hate disappointing the people I love more, and so it always felt easier to lie. The shame has kept me from being truthful. But the lying is also a big part of the vicious cycle and I think it FEEDS it.... because the shame gives me another reason or excuse to do it again; because when I feel the shame or disappointment, I want to eat to make myself feel better.

The hardest part about this is forgiving myself. Because in my mind it feels unforgivable.... it FEEDS into my insecurities and dislike for myself. I usually tuck it back into the mess of *failures* I keep a record of in the back of my mind, and then try to pull myself out of the sadness, and move on... but I never forgive myself. I've always just conceded that this is just part of what and who I am, and I have to live with it. But I know it isn't who I really am, and if I truly want to move on to a healthy state of mind and have a healthy relationship with food, I need forgive myself, but I also need to stop the lying and deceiving, as this is one of the ways the *voice* controls me.

The counselor also suggested that part of *addiction* is the adrenaline rush or excitement I feel when I *get away with* sneaking food, so maybe if from now on my new MO is to TELL someone what I did, then some of the thrill of getting away with it will be gone. Regardless, I'm glad I still have 2 more weeks to figure some of this out... I know it all won't be fixed by the time I go home, but I hope I will have some tools to keep it from continuing to happen, and I hope I won't do this again while I'm here. I'm definitely scared about going's almost easier to just stay on campus and not have ANY temptation.

If anything, this has shown me how important this part of my battle is. And how important my integrity is. I have never felt I had any (integrity) because of all this secrecy and hiding, which is a hard way to live!! So in by coming clean about my actions here, at the very least I can reclaim a little bit of that. Even if it's after the fact.

So..... I hope I've been authentic enough. I've had tears in my eyes a couple of times while writing this, because in those moments of weakness I felt that I wasn't just letting my husband down, but all of you out there reading this. But I know none of YOU expect me to be perfect and I know that of course I'll hit speed bumps and hurdles throughout this journey. I can also say NOW (the next day) that it was probably good that this DID happen, as it's allowed myself the chance to change a behaviour by telling someone about it, and I'm going to pick myself up and move on. 

Thanks for listening everyone :)

PS: I never did find any postcards

PPS: I saw *The Fighter* and it was an AMAZING movie... go see it

PPPS: I lost 9 pounds these last 2 weeks!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Day 12

Oh my, this has been a hard day!!

It started off great..... I did the Zuma Straight-through.... which means we did the Zuma hike I did last week and then added on 4 miles of uphill - with a van picking us up on the other side. So we hiked almost 7 miles and our elevation change was a total of 2900 feet - in 2 hours! And I did great!!! Even though it was raining, windy and freezing - I don't remember the last time I was so cold. I got back, had a long hot shower, went to Stretch and then lunch and then I just felt BLAH. I was probably tired, but I just felt *done* for the day. I went to one afternoon class and then slept the rest of the afternoon!

I saw the life coach this morning, and it was a great session.... she was able to illuminate some things for me - things I hadn't realized. I need to go through these and process them a bit, and then will write about them here.  I honestly just don't feel like doing it today... as I said I feel blah. First time I've felt that since I've been here, but I'm just going with it. Luckily, I don't have access to any food, as I KNOW I would be eating right now if it was possible. Instead, I'm going to go to bed early so that I can't obsess about it.

I think I'm also feeling a bit down because I'll be losing a bunch of friends tomorrow and Sunday. I knew I'd meet good friends here, but they really have become my support system, and I have so much fun with them. And although I do know a lot of the *new* people, it's funny how it seems harder to bond with them... they are all bonded in the excited nervousness of being here for their first week, and I'd say 90% of them were only here for one week anyway. So it will be interesting to see how my next 2 weeks will go.  I really have come to rely on these great friends for the laughter and support we give each other.

OK, enough of Debbie Downer here!! I'm going to go and sleep this off and hopefully will feel refreshed and differently tomorrow.... oh, and for those people who were jealous of my sunny vacation in southern California, DON'T BE!!! It's supposed to be about 3 degrees here this weekend and it may even snow!!! The warmest article of clothing I brought was a hoodie. Hmmmm - perhaps the crazy weather is contributing to my mood today!

Hope everyone has a great weekend!!!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Day 11

So I'm taking stock of how I'm FEELING today....

PHYSICALLY....I am feeling:
  • tired - but GOOD tired.... physically tired and not emotionally/mentally drained tired
  • strong... I always considered myself strong physically, but these 2 weeks have proved it - and I just keep getting stronger!
  • fit.... I feel more and more FIT everyday... I can hike faster and longer before feeling exhausted and I am running faster everyday. My legs no longer hurt (although I do stiffen up between workouts) from overuse and I can feel my heart getting stronger - I don't run out of breath as quickly and I recover from over-exertion quicker than 2 weeks ago.
  • healthy.... I feel like I've gotten rid of a lot of toxins and crap that was being stored in my muscles and I know as I lose fat that there's a lot of toxins being released there too. I can feel that my blood sugar is level and consistent and I feel comfortably full after eating and nice and comfortably hungry when I sit down to eat. I DO still have cravings, but I know these are more emotional/habitual cravings than physical ones.... I know this because I know from experience when I am OFF sugar, that my physical cravings really do go away. I really don't ever feel physically hungry here.... my body is really responding to this healthy diet and is doing great with the number of calories I'm eating.
Most of the above points go hand in hand with my emotional well-being, because really, they are SO intertwined... at least for me! So.....

EMOTIONALLY... I am feeling:
  • for the most part, happy. I don't really like to use that word, because what does it really mean?! Maybe content is a better word. I am happy to be able to have this time to really focus on me, while feeling no stress or anxiety. Just happy to be able to experience what I'm experiencing
  • a lot more connected (thanks, Lori!) to myself and although I know there's still work to be done, I feel a lot more in tune to my thought process - both positive and negative.
  • confident.... I'm growing more and more confident in both my physical abilities and personal strengths and potential.
  • cravings still. As mentioned above, I KNOW these are emotional and habitual cravings instead of physical ones... and really, I don't really believe they are even emotionally related here, as I feel pretty good about myself.  But they are definitely habitual. I only get them at night once I'm alone in my room, and it's something about it being the end of the day and *my turn* - which as I've mentioned before has evolved into equating to *my time to eat*... my *fun time*!!! These are the cravings I will definitely need to address once home.
  • a little nervous about the work I still have to do on myself emotionally, but that's really what the next 2 weeks are for. I sort of feel like these first 2 weeks were more about challenging myself physically and proving that I can push myself beyond what I thought I'd be able to do. I feel really confident in that area and know I'll excel at the physical part by the time I leave here, but there's a lot of personal/emotional/mental work to still do, so I'll be trying to use my free time (which I actually have quite a lot of these 3 last weeks) to work on ME. I have an appointment with the life coach/counselor tomorrow morning and am hoping that will help spur me along in this department!
So really, all is good and how it should be. I had a great hike today... supposed to be one of the harder ones, and I did well. Meaning I was able to keep up (albeit in the back, but I've LET GO of that and got over myself already!) and I felt really strong on it.... tomorrow I believe we're doing the most challenging hike you can do here. I've done half of it before (Zuma - the 2 1/2 miles UPHILL with a 1200 foot elevation gain), but tomorrow we will continue going up and will be picked up on the other side by a second van. So basically, it's 7 miles uphill. I'm feeling positive about it though, and it will be a great way to end my 2nd week.

OK, so one more thing I want to delve into here before I'm off to's something I've really tried to be conscious of while I'm here, and that is how much I WORRY. I seem to worry about a lot of things.... and most of those things are things I have absolutely not control over, and even if I DO have control over them, I still worry about them, and I'm tired of expending unnecessary energy on this!!! I worry about... oh God, so much....being late, whether people will like me, whether there will be a seat with my friends at meals, whether I'm holding up the group, whether I'll get to the airport on time, whether whether whether, if if if, worry worry worry... and it causes me a lot of anxiety. I seem to always be trying to project into the future and control what MAY happen... and then worry about future events which may not even occur, and of course beat myself up over what I was NOT able to control or foresee. I was reading an Oprah magazine on the plane out here, and one of the questions in the article I was reading was *Why Worry?* And beneath it was written

"These 2 words, considered sincerely, can radically reconfigure the landscape of your mind. Worry rarely leads to positive action; it's just painful, useless fear about hypothetical events, which scuttles happiness rather than ensuring it. Some psychologists say that by focusing on gratitude, we can shut down the part of the brain that worries. It actually works!"

This really struck me....I'm realizing I *live* in fear a lot. Of what MAY happen, of what MAY not happen, and I really do try to control uncontrollable things. Like what people may think of me, for instance. If I know I'm a good, nice person, why worry about how other people might judge me or think about me? Why does this matter so much? I can only control how I act, not how other people might react to those actions.

I'm also realizing that this goes part and parcel with *living in the moment*, which is almost impossible when you're focused on or worried about the future. When I hiked today, I really tried to concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other and not look up to where I was going, as this usually leads to a moment of panic or a negative thought where I decide in my mind that it looks *TOO FAR* or my old standby *I'LL NEVER BE ABLE TO DO IT*. It's amazing how fast and easy that uphill climb was today when I just concentrated on each step and not where I was going. Deep stuff, huh?!!!

So to close, I'm including this quote (thanks, Mika!):
"If you want to reach a state of bliss, then go beyond your ego and the internal dialogue. Make a decision to relinquish the need to control, the need to be approved, and the need to judge. Those are the three things the ego is doing all the time. It's very important to be aware of them every time they come up."--Deepak Chopra

Now THIS is how I'd like to live my life!!!

(Sorry - no pictures today as I forgot my camera battery in my room - arggg!!!)

Day 10

So, this will be short... I'm tired!

I was THRILLED to hear that our van was going to the Beach today... I did this hike on my 2nd day here and it's a relatively easy one, and after being psyched out yesterday, it was the perfect hike for me today! It was also a beautiful sunny day (last week it was foggy) and I had a great time. I also did great this afternoon - in cardio today we did *Mountain*, where you continually increase speed or incline for 12 intervals - all 3 minutes each. Hard!! I really tried to push myself again and sprinted my last 3 minute interval.

I also had a chiropractic appointment today and it was fantastic.... my right hip is really tight (has been since my first pregnancy) and he was able to loosen it up.... awesome!

I sat with Brendan from the Biggest Loser yesterday for lunch and got some dirt on the show... if you watch it, you know that the contestants lose a ton or weight (sometimes 30+ pounds) their first week.... WELL, that first weigh-in is actually a MONTH after they start!! After that, they do try to keep to 7-9 days, but the contestants never know WHEN they will be weighed in... they're weighed in in the morning and then that weigh-in segment is taped at night with the *fake* scale. Also, he talked about the extreme lengths the last 3 contestants go to get themselves to their lowest weight for the finale... they are extremely dehydrated and a lot of them go on liquid diets in the weeks leading up to it... and because they were getting so extreme/sick for that finale, the producers changed it so that they actually get weighed in the Saturday before so they can drink and eat and look *normal* for the actual finale and the fake scale... he said some people actually weigh up to 20  pounds more by the time they tape - 4 days later!! There was a lot of other stuff he talked about - I felt bad because I'm sure he gets those questions all the time! He's a really great guy.... says he's just a regular guy who got lucky and was able to transform his life.

Ok, that's it for me - time for bed! I've added some pics from the beach below - I was going to include a video I took, but ALL you can hear during it is my crazy heavy breathing (we'd just reached the top of the cliff)!! Hilarious (and embarrassing!)

Hope everyone is well!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Day 9 - Story Telling

(sorry - this is loooong!)

I've been writing the bulk of this post for a while..... and today seemed like the perfect time to post it since it speaks to the physical/mental/emotional wall I hit today. As I mentioned yesterday, I placed MYSELF in the fast intermediate van on the heels of the success I had on yesterday's hike. Today my van went back to the Solstice hike – I did this last Thursday and I really enjoyed it... knew what to expect and was really pumped up about how much better I was going to be able to do. So we start out and I KNOW how hard it's going to be since I've already done it – straight up for ½ an hour. Well, about 5 minutes into it I just felt zero energy. I stopped to recoup, take off my jacket, take a picture and then started again.. there were 2 people and a guide behind me. And I just kept stopping, which isn't like me, as since I've been here my motto has been *head down, one foot in front of the other and DONT STOP!!!*. Stopping plays with my mind and of course just makes the climb longer!! So I end up at the back – the last hiker with the guide behind me.. and I just lost it! I was so mad at myself for being last and for not being as improved as I should be. Of course, I was trying to keep a faster pace than last week, but I didn't acknowledge that and just felt so disappointed in myself. I sniffled all the way down to the bottom of the canyon where everyone was exploring ruins and then really lost it..... actually sobbing! I went off by myself and just let it happen as there seemed to be a lot of emotion at the surface. I was left alone as we had been told if we see someone *going through something* NOT to do the nice thing and approach and give a pat and ask what's wrong... emotional moments are encouraged here and they'd rather us not be distracted or interrupted, but just to let the emotions flow. So it was good. I hung back from the little bonus climb and just tried to figure out WHY I was feeling so emotional. It was then an easy hike out to the vans and I had a great afternoon where I really pushed myself and got up to 5.6mph running on the treadmill!

So.... this all speaks to how much I expect of myself, how I beat myself up over what I think I SHOULD be feeling/doing, and to the negative self-talk I'm so prone to. I've been trying to figure out WHY I do this, and some of my thoughts are rambled around below....

I started to read a book about 5 years ago called *How to Tame Your Gremlin*..... it was all about ending negative self-talk and began by asking to just IDENTIFY that voice – HEAR it, but don't fight it, don't talk back to it. I read that first chapter and had one of those light bulb moments (oh my god, this is me!!) and then in the next instant got a headache and my neck stiffened up - it really hurt! It was the weirdest thing, it was as if that negative voice had realized it had been discovered and was NOT happy about it! And I have NEVER picked up that book again. It has sat in my bedside table for these past 5 years and I look at it and think *I should read that book* but I don't. And that goes to prove that there IS a part of me – I'll call it a voice - that doesn't want to be gotten rid of.

This voice likes to tell stories. Stories not just about how I should feel about myself, but about how other people feel about me or think of me. I know the stories are untrue, but I tend to believe them anyway, probably because they've become a regular part of of the scheduled programming in my head.

Let's start with the truth. The truth is that I'm a very nice person, people like me, I'm smart, I'm a fast learner, I'm a good teacher, I'm strong, I'm a good mother, a good friend. These things I know, but the voice likes to screw around and try to make me question these things.

Case in point: I've been offered every job I've every interviewed for – I sell them on my skills, my personality, my attitude. But the story my *voice* tells me is *wow I sure fooled them*. This means that even before I started a position, I felt like a fraud, which led to never feeling good enough, crippled my self confidence and made any mistake I made great proof at what a loser I was. I'd believe that I got the job INSPITE of myself, and believed that once hired that my employer would soon learn who I really was and regret the decision. Being the self saboteur that I am, I think I would even do things that would prove that inner voice correct. But I also always felt like I was disappointing everyone. And not good enough.

Case in point #2 - I tried out for, and made an elite soccer team when I was 15 and played for them for 2 years – even went to Nationals and we came in second! But the story I told myself was that really I wasn't good enough and my coach was going to look at me one day and realize I didn't belong there and kick me off. Looking back I never felt I did my best and really no wonder - how could I achieve my best or live up to my potential if I felt I was a fraud – there by accident or that it was a mistake ready to be uncovered.

I don't know when this voice first appeared, but I know it was when I was quite young, as I can remember a lot of *negative* events that happened and can remember how they made me question myself. Nothing traumatic or horrendous, just a bunch of negative moments that got mashed together and seemed to snowball as I got older.

Maybe it's because I was the first born and a lot was expected of me? I always knew I was unconditionally loved by my parents, but I know they also naturally used me as their guinea pig... as every parent does with their first child... is she meeting her milestones? Is she like other kids? We should she be eating? Is she doing well in school? Should we let her drive? What should her curfew be? All those things were worried about with me, tried out, and then as expected, since I survived the parenting experiments, they let down more of their guard with each of my brothers, so that by the time my youngest brother in high school, it was *curfew? Oh yeah I guess we should give him a curfew... oh and here – take the car whenever and wherever you want, check in whenever you want, and while you're at it, here's some pop and chips!* Probably so worried that they'd spoil me.... but I don't think I ever felt like I was the cute one or that I was indulged much. I know with Maya, I expect a lot from her... sometimes too much for her age, and expect her to act quite maturely. I know she CAN, so then I expect it, but maybe by me piling on expectations, I'm creating inner expectations that she will feel she has to meet herself. Maybe that's what happened to me? I just know I never felt like I was meeting anyone's expectations and to this day believe that I should be a better friend, mother, wife, daughter, sister, niece, employee, coworker, babysitter - you name it – I should be better at it!

The voice likes to tell me what I SHOULD be. And it really is crippling to my self-esteem and belief in my capabilities. I would imagine some people would be surprised that I felt this way, because I never wanted others to see how I really felt, so I kept all these fears inside. As a friend of mine said when I told her about all this: “Wow, you're a really good actress, I never would have believed you felt so bad about yourself”! Unfortunately though, you CAN see the results of all this negativity just by looking at me, as the years of *SHOULDS* have contributed to a vicious cycle of deprivation and bingeing which has ultimately led to me being overweight.

Anyway, I've talked too much for today and am not even sure if all I said makes sense! It may be a bit rambling, but I'm just writing all my thoughts down – hoping they will reveal something to me! I've included a few pics from my hike today - most taken BEFORE my little breakdown :)

PS Funnily enough, I recently was told that my Mom also felt she was never good enough, which was surprising to me as I never thought of her this way. Something I need to explore more!