Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Day 85: Dear Sean, I Wasn't Trying to Mislead You

You've got to say, I think
that if I keep working at this
and want it badly enough
I can have it. It's called perseverance.
Lee Iacocca
Inspirational Song
A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes

Dear Sean,

I know you've been busy with your play and reaching your own aspirations and haven't been reading posts as much. But yesterday you left a comment on my blog that said, "You're almost to day 100!!! very nice, you must feel incredible my friend!!" And reading it made me feel bad--like I'd mislead you. I don't think I've been deceptive in any way, but maybe I haven't been as transparent as I could have been either. . . so I felt the need to set the record straight.

Yes, I am almost to day 100 since July 4 when I had my Day of Reckoning and decided to get serious again about losing weight. But I have not been on track every day. In fact, more than once I've considered re-setting the "dieting meter" or abandoning the count all together. Because that's how far off track I've been.

But I didn't erase the numbers because this is where I am. And the days go on whether I count them or not. And I still have hope that as I get further in my journey I will be able to have an entry that claims some dramatic amount of weight loss and say, "It took me over 80 days to get refocused, even after I claimed it, but I did, and you can too."

But I don't feel all bad, Sean, and here's why. I have depression. I say it that way on purpose because I'm coming to terms with it being a condition. If I say, I am depressed, it feels much more like something I am to blame for instead of something that just is. And during the last 40 days or so at least, my focus has really been on trying to make my way toward relieving the depression. And I am finally getting some relief so the days have not been for nothing.

And if you haven't struggled with depression, it may not be clear how key it is to be unbound by it in order to focus on other things. My hope that this will not always be true as I learn other skills and ways to cope, and have other patterns to fall back on, but right now it is.

And now, I am trying again to move on. I'd love to take the deep dive that you did--straight in, all the way, focused. But so far it's not happening for me. Instead, I find myself making smaller decisions and insights.

Like right now these are the things on my mind and in my focus:
  • I have a tendency to overeat cereal, which makes me feel like I'm starting the day out wrong. I have this kind of addiction to Honey Bunches of Oats Peach--it says 12 servings on the box, but I swear I'm through the thing in less than 5. Because of this, I'm trying to switch out my breakfasts. This is harder than it seems! It's like brushing your teeth with the other hand. But today, I had a yogurt parfait that I put together at home with a nectarine and some frozen blackberries. Yeah for me.

  • I am noticing 2 times when I feel particularly compelled to eat and working on recognizing them, calming myself, and responding to them differently. One time is when I feel rushed or kind of "put upon." Like when I move from one meeting to another at work, with no breaks, and eating lunch at my desk. This makes me feel like I'm racing and like I want to just cram food in my mouth. I am trying to figure out how to reframe this. I actually think if I could feel comfortable enough to give myself the time to do it that a brisk little walk or stretch even would help.

  • The other time I notice a strong desire to eat is when I feel this hole inside me. A disconnectedness. It can be a similar feeling as the above--being put upon, or misunderstood--like if my husband is not connecting with me or when I feel like I need to talk to someone but there is no time or no one around who I feel like I say the things I need/want to say. I am trying to just move my way through this and go ahead and reach out to people. Sometimes sharing with people makes me feel vulnerable because I say things with a level of intimacy that others don't. But really, I think this is me, and lots of people do respond to that and that's what draws them to me. So I think in the end, this hole will be less void if I can embrace this part of me without apprehension and seek the connection I desire.

Anyway, Sean, I so admire you and your family. And I truly appreciate your support and encouragement. And I don't want to feel like I am letting you down. It's a searching journey for me that is bigger than just weight--as I know you know. And it's hard to feel like I'm not failing. . . or letting myself down. . . or justifying . . .but I know I can just start from this moment, always, because that's all I have.



Artwork Admiration

This is art from Bennie Morrison. I saw his work at Atlanta's Folk Fest a few weeks ago. I loved this because it is a painting on a turtle shell! And it's so full of little details.

He also writes little notes on the inside of the shell, which I found really quaint and endearing. The note on this one, if you can't read it says:

Snapping Turtle 13" x 14"

Found in Rivers Streams Wet Lands

Caught on Jugs Traps

Trappers use the meat

4-27-07 Two Wagons Farm

Bennie Morrison

Yep! We were on the farms


  1. Sandy,

    I understand completely my friend, I do. You didn't mislead me at all. I remember when you had that day of reckoning, I remember when you started counting the days...I knew.
    Let me start by saying this: I sincerely appreciate your support and admiration, but please, never forget that we're far from perfect. Yes we've had tremendous success, but it hasn't been perfect. How long have I been talking about committing to a weight training schedule?? But none of us are perfect...but we are perfect enough for us. Does that make sense?
    I mean...it goes back to that phrase I really don't like, but I must admit---I understand it better now---and that is: what works for you. Our journey's can't be exactly the same---we all progress and develop at a pace that works for us. As long as we still try, as long as we still care to learn, that's all that really matters. If we don't completely give up, then our journey continues. We learn things about ourselves along the way that can really help us make the breakthroughs necessary for the kind of success we dream about. When it seems that we are far off track, if we're learning something about ourselves and we're taking the time to evaluate what we're experiencing---then we're on track---even if the scale doesn't say we are.
    My success so far has been a product of every weight loss attempt in my past. It's hard to call them failures because the knowledge I've gained from those attempts have been critical to my success this time.
    I didn't wake up on day 1 with all the answers and I still don't have them all, probably never will...but I know this: you are a success. You are not giving up. You're evaluating your circumstances with depression and learning ways to overcome and succeed despite the hurdles. That's the spirit of a real winner Sandy, that's the spirit that will eventually lead to your ultimate weight loss goals.
    I'm so proud of you and what you're doing. I wish you the best always, and even though I don't know you personally---I honestly mean that, I do care.
    So hold your head high Sandy---because you're on the way to a most amazing transformation---and it doesn't matter how long it takes. The only thing that matters is that you never really give up. You're worth the effort my friend. You really are.

    My best always,

  2. Sandy,I have just found your blog and wanted to encourage you and say what an inspiration you are! Keep it up. I am an artist, an Australian living in France, and I paint inspirational phrases onto old doors, planks and pieces of driftwood... It was lovely to read you. Take care

    'Life is an adventure in itself!' me...

  3. EVERY day counts. This is a journey and all those experiences count.

    I struggle with clinical major depression. There was a month where I sort of dropped off the scales... fighting that black hole funk. Being healthy in the full fitness way is about spiritual, mental, and physical fitness.

    I have to constantly remind myself that the hunger "hole" I feel isn't a food hole, and food will not plug it for long... moreover in the end just make it worse. Sometimes I fail at that... but I'm making small steps forward most of the time.

    What you logged as day one wasn't really the start, it was WAAAAY before that!... lot's of stuff got you there.

    Oh, and on a practical note... I read somewhere that people have left a one cup measuring cup in their cereal... it keeps them on track better with their portions.

    At Foolsfitness it's all about portion control... controling that portion into my mouth!



  4. This journey isn't the same for everyone, Sandy. For some it's full of fits and starts, Monday morning re-starts and seemingly endless setbacks.

    But you're still in the game. You're still trying, still doing your best–even when you feel your best isn't worth a doodly damn (sorry, that's my father Horace talking).

    I hope, for your sake, that you get this thing going and you can gain some traction, because I truly believe that a little success makes the journey a little more tolerable, makes it a little bit easier to build on it. For me, I got to a point where my body actually started helping out in the process. Like I said, it's not the same for everyone, but I think the basic principles hold: if you keep doing something long enough, if quits being your lifestyle change and starts being your life.

    Sorry for such a long-winded comment, but Sean set the bar (and his was way longer still).

  5. Hi - I just commented on your October 6th post and said I was going to look through your archives. I won't comment on old stuff, because it will probably drive you crazy, but this was such a powerful post and very helpful to me. It sounds like you're striving for rigorous honesty on this journey, and that's great. It will help immensely as you move through all the emotional sh*t associated with weight loss!

    I want to tell you I've been struggling with frequent bingeing for many weeks - followed by a couple of austere food days, and using the scale as my only progress gauge. I'm working on it, and the blogging is helping.

    Also, it's remarkable that you've identified times when the "food thoughts" come. Awareness is the first step, as we can't change something we're not aware of. I say this to you because I need to hear it myself! Anyway, great stuff.


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