Monday, January 31, 2011

Counting Down!!!

A ridiculously mere TWO weeks from now I'll be just getting back from my first hike at *The Ridge* (nickname for the resort). And I know I'll be suffering and in pain - I'll be grumpy and cranky and wondering why the hell I signed up for this. And as weird as it sounds, I'm actually looking forward to it! 

A motto of the Ridge is:


It's a biggie - and I hear that the trainers and hiking guides say it a LOT. It means physical discomfort, obviously - but really it's talking about emotional and mental discomfort - and I know this is what I need. The life I've created for myself is very unhealthy on many different levels, but it's also very comfortable. And although I'm tolerating a lot of thoughts and habits that are negative, they are also familiar and feel safe. But tolerating just isn't cutting it anymore - I know it's destructive and will lead to nothing but more sadness, disappointment and some very scary health risks.

So, crazy as it sounds... I'm excited about getting out of my comfort zone and pushing my self-imposed limits and seeing what I'm able to accomplish!  


I'm SO excited :)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Giving myself away!

I was talking to one of my favourite people :) the other night, and had a little epiphany.... she was telling me how wonderful I was and how everyone loved me (thank you!) and I know that's how people feel about me, but that's because I think I present the nicest, best part of me to the rest of the world. Deep down, I know that that nice person is who I feel I REALLY am, but it's not the person that I see on a day to day, hour to hour basis, and I know Marius will attest that it's definitely not the person he experiences everyday!

I realize that I give the best of me away. I shower friends and family with love and kindness and gentleness, always wanting to ensure people feel at ease, comfortable, happy, having a good laugh when they're with me... but I don't do the same to myself.  I seem to have decided that other people deserve these things, but not me. My kids get this nice person too, but of course I can't keep it up all the time, so they see glimpses of a miserable person – the one who shows her face when tired, grumpy, hungry, hating herself. Marius knows the unhappy me quite well and truth be told, I hardly ever shower him with love and kindness! Fortunately for me, he promised to love me no matter what :) but I realize it's not so fun to live with me at the moment, so although I want to get better for myself, I know it can only mean good things for him and our relationship. He's the person who has to bear the brunt of my bad moods and so it stands to reason that he's fully behind anything that would help me feel happy!

I know I am overly hard on myself. I always admit that I'd never treat someone the way I treat myself. I'd NEVER say mean things to my children or my friends, or anybody really, so I'm not sure why I think it's OK to say them to myself.

I think I have figured part of this out – I think my bad mood and my negative thoughts have become a habit and something I've just come to tolerate - and I plan to write a whole post on why this is. In the meantime it's been interesting to at least NOTICE how I act, and I'm working on bringing out that nice inner woman and seeing her more often, both around the house, and inside my head! 


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

the *Plan* (with a capital P)

Before I begin my spiel – thank you all SOOO much for your emails and comments. I really am so lucky to have such supportive people in my life!

So as I was saying as I ended my last post: Here I am. Trying to figure it all out. Actually trying to figure out HOW I'm going to figure it all out!

I know how I want to feel
I know how I want to eat
I know I want to be active
I know I want to an active participant in my life AND my kids' lives
I know I want to be a good role model
I know I need to make my health a priority

Obviously I KNOW a lot of things.... I must be VERY wise :). But knowing isn't doing, and it's the doing part and following through that trips me up every time. Oh I make lists. I make lists that cross-reference other lists. I have spreadsheets. I have word documents that outline what I want to eat and why. I have books. I've tried many diets. I have inspirational quotes. I read success stories and blogs by other people who have been successful losing weight and feel very inspired. I know a LOT. I consider myself quite educated in the field of weight loss, in fact I probably have a PhD! But it hasn't helped. I have the best intentions and have started - and *failed* - more times than I can count. I sabotage my efforts every time, and no one's more frustrated with me than me.

What I've come to realize or admit is that because I've tried and *failed* so many times, there's a part of me that just doesn't believe I can do it. That part of me, or inner voice, has been there for as long as I can remember – always telling me I wasn't good enough, but over the years I've allowed that voice to become louder, and now it's a very negative and very powerful voice in my head. And unfortunately I tend to listen to it. A LOT. Somewhere deep down, I DO believe in myself, I DO believe I'm worth it and I DO believe I deserve it, but my actions seem to be constantly proving the negative voice inside that it's right - that I can't. So I need to make my REAL and TRUE voice louder and the voice of authority.

Along the way I also lost touch with me and what I want. This started long before becoming a mother, but having kids spurred this along and gave me a great excuse not to deal with my issues. I've had a baby in the house for basically 6 years and it's been a great distraction! As most mothers do, I've made my kids THE top priority and convinced myself that they are what's most important, choosing not to acknowledge that they'd probably like to have me around for a long time MORE than they need me making sure everything in THEIR life is perfect. Taking care of them has been a convenient distraction and an easy excuse as to why I didn't take care of myself. I now need to figure out what I want, what makes ME happy, and who I want to be. Being a Mom, even if I'm a great one, isn't enough. I've been so lucky not to HAVE to work outside of the house these past 6 years (maybe if I had, I wouldn't feel so out of touch with myself?), but these little munchkins are already starting the separation from mommy and I'm the one with the separation anxiety.....and mostly because I'm not sure who I am or what I am without them!

So I need to reconnect with me. I need to bring out that inner voice and make her strong again. I need to prove that I'm strong and capable and worth it. And to do this, I'm doing the unthinkable! I am choosing, with the full support of my hubby:

To go away. For a month. By myself. To a fitness resort. In Malibu. 

For those of you who didn't know, please pick your jaw up off the floor.

Seems selfish? yes. Seems indulgent? yes. Seems it would be hard to leave my kids for that long. HELL YES! Do I need to do it?

Yes, I do.

I will have a whole month to focus on myself. There will be no kids to distract me, no excuse that I don't have time today - that I'll start thinking and doing *tomorrow* (a tomorrow that never comes by the way). All I'll be doing is eating (calorie-controlled meals so I don't have to make ANY decisions in that area and can stop obsessing), working out (basically ALL day) and sleeping (a LOT!). And thinking. I'll be doing a lot of thinking.

Thankfully I have a wonderfully supportive husband who is going to take the month off AND is going to even babysit the kids I currently look after most afternoons. We have decided that NOW is the perfect time for this and although expensive, we see it as an investment in my emotional, mental and physical health. Which will impact EVERYTHING. In a good way. I really do consider this a once in a lifetime opportunity and I'm jumping on it.

I leave February 13th. 

Obviously there are few questions and concerns associated with this plan - how can I leave my kids? what will people think? how can we afford this?  And as I'm sure you can imagine, I wrestled with the decision. But I chose not to for long. 2 days after Marius suggested this might be good thing, and I opened my mind to the possibilities, I went ahead and booked it before I could talk myself out of it!

I know the biggest hurdle will be transitioning back to my life. Obviously I won't be able to work out 7 hours a day once I'm home and I'll have to make lots of decisions about food. How will I NOT come home and fall back into the same bad habits? But I'm not going to live in those moments of fear. I'm hoping that this adventure will jumpstart a new lifestyle and mindset, and that I'll create a momentum that I'll WANT to continue to move forward once I'm home.  I just know that I can't seem to make myself a priority and pull myself out of my unhealthy physical and emotional habits while I'm IN my so-called chaotic life. 

So I hope you'll join me on this adventure! I plan to write WHILE at the resort to continue my *writing therapy* and to share my experiences! In the meantime I'm going to write out as much *stuff* as I can here in blogland before I go.

In case you're wondering, I'm going to The Biggest Loser Ranch at Fitness Ridge. Yes, just like the TV show, and no, I won't be on TV – I'm not THAT crazy!!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Journey Begins......

Welcome to my blog! Isn't it pretty? I figure since I'm going to be here for a while, I may as well make it a nice place to hang out :) 

SOOOOO, if you're reading this, it's because I've invited you to follow a journey I'm embarking on... a journey that I've already started, but am about to push into overdrive! I'll tell you all about it, but first I have something to tell you:


There I said it! And I know you`re thinking, *uh, yeah - we know this, Leslie*, but I bet I've never actually talked to you about it before. I've always been extremely private about my weight struggles, and have only ever opened up to a few people, and then it's usually been a one-time out-of-the-blue thing :) I think I've always thought that if I treated it like a non-issue, then I could pretend it wasn't true. Not surprising, then, that I've come to realize I've been living in denial about my weight - and a few other things - for a long time now!

This year has been a catalystic (I don't think this is a word, but it works for me!) one for me... I think it started with moving here to Ottawa and having to confront my Mom's death *again*. I was back to the scene of the crime, and memories surrounding her death flooded back. Of course I always miss my mother, but living in Vancouver allowed me the luxury of being separated from her actual death, and I'd gotten to the point where even on the anniversary of her death, I'd think fondly of her and carry on with my day. The first May 19th I was here, I had what you'd call a mini emotional breakdown, but in the months following I came to see it as a breakthrough. All the feelings I'd been repressing came flooding out and I was overwhelmed with the grief I felt. It took me completely by surprise having, I guess, convinced myself that I had *dealt* with her death! But, from this came the acknowledgment that I needed to talk about some things with my Dad - things I'd been holding in for... well, for about 15 years! As things turned out, and for a variety of reasons (mostly because I don't think I made it known to him how important it was to me), I did not talk to my Dad about these issues for another whole year. At the time I felt quite resentful about this, but it actually turned out to be a good thing, because I spent that year really digging around and figuring out what I was REALLY angry and upset about. There was a very angry and upset 25 year old inside that had a few things she'd never felt able to express. I had many many conversations in my head with that 25 year old that year, and so by the time my Dad and I did talk - a 3 hour dinner date on the next anniversary of Mom`s death last year - I was clear about how I felt and was able to lay it all out there on the table. We had an amazing talk - both able to explain how we had felt 15 years ago and how we were feeling now. It was a hard thing to do, but probably the best thing I'd done for myself in a long time...... and it started something. I realized how great it felt to finally say what I wanted to say, and how much lighter I felt not carrying all those unresolved feelings around. And so I slowly started to explore other areas of my life where I knew I was holding myself back.

Fast forward to today and here I am. And as cliché as is sounds, I've done a lot of soul searching these last 8 months. I've talked to therapists, I've talked to some of the amazingly supportive friends and family I'm blessed to have in my life - including my husband - and I've forced myself to admit some things - things I never thought I'd admit - to myself, and certainly not to anyone else! Here they are..... drumroll please!
  • I have an eating disorder.
  • I have a food addiction.
  • I have some unhealthy emotional habits and methods to cope with stress - both of which worsen and enhance the aforementioned eating disorder.
That last one was the hardest, but most important acknowledgment to make. I'm a person of pride. Too much pride. An unhealthy dose (that in itself was hard to admit!). I've always been very independent and felt I SHOULD (a word I hope to remove from my vocabulary) be able to  do things on my own. It's backfired in many ways these last 20 years or so, but I never seemed to learn from my mistakes. Preferred to just chalk it up to me being a failure and learning instead not to believe in myself. Healthy, eh?! By not asking for, or accepting, help, I created a very isolating way to live, which in turn, compounded the emotional eating habits that packed on the pounds. This subject deserves its own post, however, and I'll talk about it another time :) For now, I am happy to say that *I NEED HELP*. I feel liberated saying it, and am now willing to accept to from wherever I can get it!

I have a LOT I need to work out in order to heal, and the best and most therapeutic way I know how to do this, is to write it out (I would make a list, but it wouldn't read well!). Sooooo, I should warn you that although my BLOG may be pretty, its content sometimes won't be! 

To all of you who are reading, I am so so so appreciative of the unconditional love and support you have all given me. I am so lucky to be surrounded by people who believe in me and only want the best for me. My mission now is get to a place where I believe in myself and believe I deserve to live my best life. I am VERY excited about this next chapter in my life and happy to have you to share it with :)

Tomorrow I will share my plan to jumpstart my new outlook on life.  Some of you already know what it is, and I thank you for supporting me. For those who don't know, stay tuned - it's BIG!!