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