The Specifics of my Body Love Reboot

The Specifics of my Body Love Reboot

I’ve been fighting with my weight since I was about 13. That’s nearly 30 years of fighting with myself over food. And I’m so. freaking. tired of it. So tired. So tired of worrying about what I ate. Feeling bad about what I ate. Then feeling like shit because I ate too much. Having a sugar headache. A diet coke headache. Feeling like crap generally.

I’m sick of bargaining with myself. Eat this cake now, then just eat veggies for the rest of the day (never happens). Be good today, then you get to eat chocolate tomorrow.

I’m sick of being afraid of the scale. I’m sick of being scared every time I go to the doctor that they’re going to tell me that I have diabetes. I’m sick of being afraid of my own body.

I’m sick of justifying it. Heather, you should love yourself no matter how big you are, I tell myself. That’s true. It’s also not particularly helpful in terms of ensuring that I live a long life and get to see my grandchildren grow up. Especially since I didn’t have a kid until 37.

The ultimate form of loving myself would be to treat my body with honor.

To put good food in it that nourishes it. To recognize that my body is the vehicle that makes the rest of my life possible, and to treat it the way I would treat a great car that got to take me everywhere I wanted to go.

It occurs to me that I treat my cars better than my body.

I wash them regularly (as a mompreneur with a young child I literally need to schedule in showers, and sometimes they get postponed). I put good petrol in them. I get the oil changed. I run them regularly. I treat my Ford Cmax better than I treat my own body.

Part of that is because of all the psychological crap we have associated with bodies. Our bodies, ourselves and all that. It’s easier to take care of a car when it’s not distracting you with chocolate cravings.

But all of these things – the diet coke addiction, the sugar addiction, eating without even thinking about it – they’re all habits. And habits were learned. There was a time before I craved sugar. I’m not sure that I can even remember it, but I know it was there. I didn’t come out of the womb craving chocolate.

Ten days ago I started a Body Love Reboot, and I have lost 5 of the 50 pounds I want to lose. But even better, as far as I’m concerned, my sugar cravings are way down. Fruit actually tastes sweet to me. And when I tried to have cake on my birthday, I was able to have just a few bites, and then put it down.

Somehow, in the past ten days, I have come a long way towards treating my body the way I know it should be treated.

Here’s what I’ve been doing:

  • Religiously logging every piece of food that goes into my body
  • Eating a lot of really healthy food, thereby not leaving enough room for the stuff that isn’t as great
  • Drinking a ton of water

That’s all I’ve been doing for now. The results I’ve had, in ten days, are:

  • Five pounds lost
  • I haven’t had a diet coke in 2 weeks
  • I feel so much more energized

So in terms of food, I’m still eating more sugar than I’d like. I start every morning off, before breakfast when I first wake up and do my Morning Pages, with a cup of instant cappuccino, which is nothing besides sugar. I make myself an iced mocha at breakfast with chocolate syrup. I also put sugar on my oatmeal. And throughout the day I will likely have something else sugary. It’s a work in progress. The goal is to lower the amount of sugar I have, not totally get rid of it. Progress, not perfection.

For breakfast I have an egg white omelette with spinach and zucchini, and a bit of cheese. I also have oatmeal, and the aforementioned iced mocha. And some kind of fruit like berries in the oatmeal. Breakfast is the most structured of my meals, and it never really changes.

The other food that I have eaten every day since I started this is a smoothie made from frozen strawberries, spinach, with chia and flaxseed, and water. It actually is a lot better than it sounds. I was nervous about it the first time, but I can say hands down, it’s amazing.

Those are the major changes I’ve made over the past ten days, and what I’ve accomplished with them. The first thirty days of any change in habits are the hardest, and I know that I’m not over that hump where this becomes second nature to me yet, and so I am very vigilant about it.

Here’s to being satisfied with more wonderful things and less crappy things. I know that applies to me in many areas of my life, not just food.

The Decluttering Chronicles Part 1: The Scrunchie

The Decluttering Chronicles Part 1: The Scrunchie

I’m starting out my Life.Reboot by Decluttering. So many Wise Women have talked up the life changing art of the Mindful Declutter, which is both a physical and emotional cleansing.

We moved to Spain almost 2 years ago, and only brought 2 suitcases each with us. Before that time I did a massive Declutter as we were getting the house at home ready to rent out. But somehow (IKEA. Hipercor) we have managed to amass more shit (toys, clothes, makeup) than I ever dreamt we would in a “temporary” move.

And so, I’m getting Ruthless again. I’m convinced that the reason I lost my phone yesterday is because I carry around too much shit, I am trying to watch a 3 year old, and it’s a recipe for disaster. Not only do I carry around Too Much Shit, but I have Too Much Shit in my home. BabyGirl has Too Many Toys and Too Much Crap.

So we’re paring down.

First thing to go – this scrunchie I got while feeling very nostalgic about the 90’s.

I saw it at the store, I think maybe The Proclaimers were playing in the background, and I thought, “damn, you know what would make my Mom Ponytails look really young and fresh? A scrunchie. Like the kind I wore in high school. Maybe I’ll dig out my Grunge Flannel Shirts, and be all moody and stuff. I’ll talk about Nafta earnestly as if I have any understanding of what it actually is, and smoke clove cigarettes on the hood of my Oldsmobile Cutlass Sierra behind a Kmart store.

All of that will be possible with This Grey Scrunchie. So much depends on a Grey Scrunchie.

Only it didn’t.

Farewell Grey Scrunchie. You graced my wrist twice, and held my ponytail in place two or three times. Beyond that, you just sit there. Reminding me that I’m not 16, and Bill Clinton isn’t still president.

To the Goodwill Bin you go.

Weight Loss Project Check In

Weight Loss Project Check In

The past few days have been weird. Hannah is sick again. Sigh. The joys of preschool, I guess. But she should be well enough to go back to school tomorrow, which will give me more time, and let me get back into my routine. Yesterday we all slept in until 12:30 because she’d been up all night throwing up. So much for routine. Double sigh.

Anyway, my weigh in was yesterday. My goal was to get to 214 by the end of the month, setting me up for 206 in November, and under 199 by the end of the year. 2017 is the year in which I will finally start out the year with a 1 in front of my weight for the first time since 2002. In Weight Watchers they call it One-derland. I will be in One-derland by the end of the year. No joke.

So I was thrilled to weigh in at 214.4 yesterday, a week ahead of schedule. It struck me as odd, though, because I haven’t been eating very well. I’ve still been eating chocolate every day. I did find a sugar free hot chocolate powder to make my beloved iced mochas in the morning, so that saves me 4 of my 32 daily WW points, but I’ve made up for it with the chocolate truffles that are now available for Christmas at Aldi.

I think the difference is that I haven’t actually been eating that much. I just haven’t been that hungry lately. When hubby goes to his AA meetings in the evening, I generally don’t make dinner for just Hannah and I, making her something instead, and drinking a hot chocolate made with milk, or something similar instead.

The upshot is that I’ve lost weight. The downside is that I’m still not developing a particularly healthy relationship with food. The scale is going down, which is great, but I know there’s more to it than simply the number. I have to come to peace with food.

Maybe the fact that I’m not hungry so much is a start in that direction, though. I’m trying to be grateful for it, and not argue against it. Maybe this is a sign that I’m not seeking solace through food as much anymore. Maybe this means that I’m just trying to use food for what it’s designed; an enjoyable way to fuel my body. And maybe I need to come back to a center of some sort which includes a few truffles, but also includes healthy things.

Whatever the reason, my trousers are loose, and I can see the possibility of going shopping for new jeans at the after Christmas sales. I’m down 15 pounds since starting WW at the end of July, and I’m excited to reach a monthly goal for the first time in years.

I wish I had something more profound to say about my weight loss this week other than simply saying I’m not hungry. Whatever it is, I’ll take it.

Entrepreneurial Chronicles: The Importance of Routines and Habits

Entrepreneurial Chronicles: The Importance of Routines and Habits

So this is my, admittedly late, Entrepreneurial Chronicles check in. Last week was a pretty sucky week productivity-wise. Hannahbear was sick, so I didn’t get nearly as much work time as I wanted. She’s back in school this week, and I get 4 hours each day to myself, which is bliss.

I want to talk about habits today, since I’m keenly aware of their importance after a week like that where my entire schedule went to shit.

I don’t know if it’s just a Taurus thing, but I am a creature of habit, and I go all wonky when my routine gets messed up. Research has shown that daily routines are important for success, not just for executive suit types, but even more importantly for creatives. I expect creative entrepreneurs like me, combining both sides of their brains, would benefit the most from routine.

The thinking is simply that when you have the Little Things sorted out in a routine, it gives your brain space to think about the Big Picture, come up with new ideas, and create new things. I believe in this wholeheartedly. No mom who tries to get her kids ready for school while groggy herself can argue with the importance of routine for freeing up brain power.

Rituals fall into the same category. Many creatives have daily rituals that they stick to before they start to write, or paint, or create. It triggers something in you that says, “oh, hey, I know what’s going on here. We’re lighting a candle, we’re getting the coffee in the special Creativity Mug, we’re putting on Morten Lauridsen. It must be time to write.” The ritual turns the creativity on like a light switch.

Habits are the same for me. I used to write out in my to do list the same ten things every day: drink 8 glasses of water, listen to new music, exercise, do my morning pages and meditate, post to twitter, etc. It got old, writing all of this out. Why, I thought, couldn’t I have something that replicated them every day, since they were always the same? I wanted a tablet with them pre-printed, and room to add new ones.

Enter the habit tracker! Aha! A habit tracker! That’s exactly what I needed. These are habits that I wish to cultivate in myself so that they get worked into my schedule without me even needing to think about it. They just happen, the way I just breathe and don’t think about it. I needed something that would help me keep track of them until they did become so ingrained that they happened automatically.

I downloaded the iPro Habit Tracker for my android phone. There’s a free version, but I splurged $1 for the paid one. It lets you set up habits in different categories, and set how often you want to do them.

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For example, I know I want to listen to Millennium of Music every Monday. I set it as a habit, and it pops up each Monday for me to check off. There are certain things I want to do every day; exercise, drink water, log my food, listen to new music, do my morning pages and meditate, take my vitamins, read, listen to a podcast, post and check in with my Mastermind groups, do something nice for my hubby, and track my money. They get set up as daily habits.

Then there are the things I want to do regularly, but not every day. Write in my  blog, research for my podcast, buy the digital versions of my favorite UK magazines, clear up my digital clutter. These are habits that get set up for certain days of the week.

The great thing about the Habit Tracker I use is that you can also set categories you create. So I have categories like mind, body, spirit, relationship, and business. Then I can categorize each habit, and see where I might be lacking. Are all of my habits body related? Then maybe I need to add reading, or meditating.

A lot of physical planners come with habit trackers now as we become more aware of their importance, but I love the ease of use of just having mine on my phone. I scroll through a few times a day and check off the things I’ve done, and am reminded of new things I wanted to do. Boom, done, easy.

It took a bit of time to set them all up with their categories and time frames; maybe an hour to think of them all and decide how often I wanted to do them, but I am so happy with the result, and in the end it winds up saving me time and energy.

Once these habits become a part of me so much so that I don’t even need the habit tracker, then we’ll be on to the next step in being zen – not having your life go to absolute shit when your kid gets sick, and you’re not able to do them all. I really don’t do well when my routine is messed up!

Have you used a habit tracker? What was your experience like? I’d love to know what others think, and what kind of difference it’s made in your life. Let me know in the comments!

Body Check-in

Body Check-in

So this blog is about me tracking making my dreams come true, and the big overall goals right now are around my body, and my business. The two B’s.

It’s been a hard few days. Hannahbear has been sick again. The poor girl seems to catch every big that comes around, and it’s frustrating for all of us. Over the summer when she wasn’t in her preschool she was fit as a fiddle. Now she spends every other week at home because of catching some germ or another. We need to do a better job washing her hands as soon as we pick her up, and not letting her get overly tired, and taking good care to ensure she gets enough rest. She’s just so active, even when she’s sick the only way to make her sit still is to let her watch TV.

I’ve thought about pulling her out of school entirely since it seems to be such a waste of money to pay for her to go to school and have her miss half the time. But she loves going, it’s only 4 hours a day, and I reckon that we either go through it now, or we go through it when she’s older. One way or another, I think we have to go through these childhood immunity issues. It makes me wonder why I spent so much time and agonizing effort exclusively pumping when she was a baby to ensure she got my breast milk when she wouldn’t nurse. It doesn’t seem to have made her immune system that much stronger. Perhaps it would be worse if I hadn’t it would be even worse. Who knows.

Anyway, how this relates to my body is that I find it incredibly difficult to be out of my routine. I am a creature of habit, and when my routine gets messed up, I go into a tailspin. So when Hannah is home, I have a very difficult time ensuring that I eat well, and take care of myself.

A big part of this is because I am an emotional stress eater, and I need a lot of Alone Time each day to not be stressed. When I don’t get that because I am mothering a sick child, I resort to snacking on chocolate truffles, caramel cookies, and other things that aren’t on my Weight Watchers approved diet. While Hannah is watching Octonauts I sneak into the kitchen and gobble up a few truffles out of the fridge.

Additionally, I don’t get my 10k steps in as regularly. You’d think I would because I spend less time just sitting in front of a computer, and more time walking around doing things, but I don’t get large chunks of walking time in like I do on my own, and so I wind up struggling to get those 10k steps.

Last night I was 1000 steps short, and I made the decision to take a bath instead of do the steps.

And yet somehow, I am still nearly at my weight goal this week, which is 218 pounds. I was 218.4 this morning, and my weigh in day isn’t until Monday. I should be able to make it easily. I just need to lay off the truffles.

Hubby took Hannah out for a few hours so I can get some work done, which has been great. I haven’t actually got much work done so far, but I’ve done a lot of thinking, reflecting, making lists, and generally getting my head back on straight after 6 days of caring for a sick little girl.

There are times when it seems so far away, my first goal of 180. 38.5 more pounds. It’s climbing a mountain.

And yet, all you have to do is take one step at a time. Don’t focus on the top. Don’t focus on how much further you have to go. Set the intention – 180 – and then just keep taking small steps. 218 this week. 216 next week. 214 by the end of October. Don’t think past that. Don’t think yet 207 by the end of November, 199 by the end of December. Don’t let your head start getting sidetracked with micromanaging the plan. Just keep your head down, take one step at a time, and let the miles take care of themselves. Worry about the individual steps, and getting through each day eating as close to clean as possible, and let the pounds take care of themselves.

Then I think, I’ve got this. Booyah.

Fat, but working on it

Fat, but working on it

The other day I listened to the recent This American Life episode, “Tell Me I’m Fat.” It’s about the way being overweight is seen and perceived, talked about, and experienced in our society.

A very dear friend of mine, who has no issue with weight himself, and doesn’t seem to have any friends who do, talked to me about it, and told me that it gave him a new perspective, and more empathy. So I downloaded it, and listened to it, and I found it incredibly confronting. Midway through I texted him and said, “I don’t need to listen to this, I live it.”

Basically, the episode talked with three women who are, or have been, fat. One has come out as fat, and wrote a book about it, embracing her body as it is, and swearing off diets. Another lost a lot of weight, and keeps it off through diet pills. She struggles because she thinks things like if she had met her husband when she was fat, he wouldn’t have found her attractive, which he admits is likely true. The third woman is morbidly obese, and she talked about her experiences.

I was listening to it in the car, and by the end I was crying. I was crying because it brought up so many repressed memories for me. Like when I was about 14 and asked my mom if I was pretty, and she said I had a “different” look about me (bless her, I think she may have meant it to be a compliment?).

My first boyfriend once had the brilliant idea that he would take me to a party where I wouldn’t know anyone, and he thought it would be fun to pretend that I was his cousin. I suspect it was because he was ashamed of me, or had a crush on a girl there. Or both. I went along with it.

Sigh.

Another boy in high school would regularly come over to my house to make out with me, and then tell me it was a secret, and I couldn’t tell anyone.

And I wasn’t even that big!

This is me at 19.

cute-thin-19-year-old-heather

Right? Pretty normal looking. Strong legs, with a bit of fat on them. Like a normal woman.

Now I weigh nearly 60 pounds more than I did in those pictures, and I’ve been as high as 110 pounds more than I was in those pictures.

I am familiar with the feeling of constantly running into everything with my ass. I am afraid of small cafes where tables are all close together, and chairs are adorably tiny, and flimsy, and so easily breakable by my ass. I am aware whenever I am the biggest person in a group.

I so clearly remember online dating. This was before cell phones had cameras, and there were 8 million instagrammed pictures of everyone everywhere, and you’d send one or two scanned photos to a potential date. I would send flattering, though not totally dishonest ones. And I remember having great conversations with people on the phone, feeling really connected, and then the look of disappointment in their eyes when they would meet me. I always braced myself before every potential date.

At some point I realized that hanging on to those feelings was only going to make me miserable throughout my life, and so I embraced a different tactic. I became the quirky girl. I’d be fun, and adorable, and so damn cute in my pudginess. You couldn’t call me fat because I already knew I was fat, and I was adorable anyway.

And I met my husband, who loves me no matter what size I am.

Listening to that show, driving on the N-340 in Marbella, I burst into tears. I burst into tears for everything I hid about myself, for all the ways I kept my voice quiet, for all the ways I hid behind my fat, for all the ways in which I took comfort in chocolate, and for all the ways I treated myself, and my body, with disdain.

I am not ready to give up on being thin again. I’ve been bigger like I am now for 14 years. That’s about 30% of my life. I’m not ready for the rest of it to be this size. I’m not ready to just say, “okay, this is who I am.” I still steadfastly believe that I can shed this weight, at least a bit more of it. Maybe I’ll never get back to the 160 pounds I was in those pictures, but I can get to be less than 220, and any movement back towards that direction is good in my book.

So yes, I am quite happy to be called fat for now. I’ve been fatter, and I will be less fat in the future. It’s a journey for me, and I’m not ready to stop the journey.

My friend asked me if I wished I hadn’t listened to the episode, given everything it brought up for me. Yes, it brought up some sadness that I had repressed. But more than anything it brought up a resolve to continue to move towards being healthier. Not just a number on a scale, but real health and well being.

I’m ready to be a healthier me.

Weight, food, and an intro to my addiction

Weight, food, and an intro to my addiction

Once upon a time there was a girl who could eat anything she wanted and never gain an ounce. And that girl was never me. I think she’s a mythical creature in the same realm as mermaids.

Here is a brief history of my weight, for anyone who is so inclined to want to know about these things, and then what I’m doing about it now.

I have always been bigger. I was 5 foot 6 by the time I was 12. Seriously, I’ve only gained one inch since I was 12. Hannah seems to have my body type. She’s got a big bootie, and last week at her 3 year checkup she was listed as being in the 91st percentile for height and 83rd for weight, according to the WHO.

Anyway, I was athletic – I ice skated competitively until I was 13 – and I never really thought much about it until I stopped skating, and suddenly I couldn’t eat whatever I wanted whenever I wanted it. Also, teenage hormones hit. So I ballooned. A healthy weight for me would have been about 145 or so, according to the tables my doctor gave me at the time. I was 172 at age 13.

So I did what any 13 year old girl would do, and I immediately started counting calories. Over summer vacation I lost 20 pounds, and I was stoked. I got down to about 148 or thereabouts.

Then I went up to 160.

Okay, so yo yo weight back and forth through high school, getting up to 180, then back to 160, then back and forth and forth and back.

I haven’t weighed less than 180 pounds since 2000, and I haven’t weighed less than 200 pounds since 2002. 

My highest non pregnant weight was in 2010 at a whopping 250 pounds just after my second pregnancy loss. I lost 3o pounds on my own before getting pregnant again, and then ballooned up to about 275 (I stopped looking at the scale at my appointments after week 36, so I have no idea what I got to in those last 2 weeks).

I got back to my pre-pregnant weight of around 230 pounds pretty easily, but since then I’ve struggled to lose more weight.

This year in Spain was meant to be The Year Heather Got Fit. And, the way so many of our plans in Spain have, it didn’t quite go that way. Oh, it started out innocently enough. I instagrammed all my food. I kept a complete food journal. All of that stuff.

And then after about a month, it all just disappeared. Then autumn came, which, even in Spain means that there is much drinking of hot cocoa, and much eating of brownies. I have so much emotion wrapped up in food. The idea of going through an autumn without making fresh cinnamon buns weekly seems so pointless. Like, what’s the use? What’s the point of it all if you can’t have fresh cinnamon rolls all the time when it’s chilly outside?

So yeah, we made it all the way through the year and I actually wound up being about 3 pounds heavier than I was when I came here.

And so, I joined Weight Watchers a few weeks ago. The online version, with online coaching available.

Just the idea that I have paid for this, that there’s some accountability involved, that makes it seem more real. Hubby goes to AA meetings, and I recognize many of the same feelings he has about alcohol in my feelings about food. I mean, really, what is the point of autumn without pumpkin spice lattes? No, but really, I’m serious.

(Yes, I know, living a long life and seeing my daughter become a grandmother). (To not have sore knees). (To not get diabetes). (Lots of reasons). (But still.)

I went to Overeaters Anonymous meetings back around 2002, and I’m going to start going back. At the time I was more judgmental than anything else, watching people share and thinking, “these people all have such issues.” Now, through hubby’s work in AA, I know to look for the similarities, not the differences.

I now know that I’m unable to lose this weight on my own. I’ve been trying for the past 20 years, and it’s just not working. And so, I’m going to OA, I’m doing WW, I’m holding myself accountable. 2017 will not be another year where I vow to lose 50 pounds. 2017 will be a year where I vow to lose the last 20. 

So one of the things I’m going to be writing about here is my journey with food. My weigh-in day on WW is Mondays, and I’m thinking that I should post about my weight journey here by Friday, to give me a little bit more accountability, and gear me up for a good weekend.

This is what I’m going to use as my “before” picture. It’s me in Morocco about 2 months ago. I’m down about 10 pounds since then, thanks to WW. What really bums me out is that this is a gorgeous picture of me in the Medina, and I look like a whale. Okay, so the top isn’t the most flattering. But still.