On getting gifts.

Well, we made it through the holidays.  We are on the other side of the new year and 2016 is before us.  People are setting (and already breaking) resolutions left and right, Christmas trees are left on curbs and everyone is back to school and work.  There is a vague sense of holiday hangover around, not a literal one necessarily, but a sense of being both glad in the normalcy and dismayed by the stretch of winter that lies ahead of us.

The Goat family holidays were good.  There was time with some family, though we missed heading to Wisconsin to see my side of the family – there was just not enough time off.  Our kids were spoiled rotten of course, by Santa and grandparents and aunts and uncles.  Though we don’t spend a lot, a bunch of family members conspired to get E1 just what he wanted – which involved a new video game system too.  It took a team effort but the look on his face Christmas morning was priceless.

I love to give gifts at Christmas time, but I do like receiving them too.  Beyond the great gifts from my family (Dr. Who legos, clothes $$, books, etc), were a few unexpected treasures from unexpected places that related to this weight journey that I am one.  I wanted to share those with you.

  1. Smaller Size Bigger Life – early in November I got an email from Heather, a dietician who stumbled upon Prior Fat Girl and read about my struggles with binge eating and my relationship with food.  As it turned out, she has been there herself in the past, struggling with eating addiction, eating disorders and excess weight.  My story touched her and she reached out to me and offered me a scholarship into the program.  This was not a blog deal, but a gift from a stranger who related to my story and offered a way of helping stem the tide and turn the ship.  The program opened in January and I have been slowly working through the first steps which begin in the mental realm.  I confess I am often slow at it due to some fear of failing at this again, but the generosity of the gift and her confidence that I can and will succeed in mental and physical health with food and weight give me such a sense of hope.
  2. Reiki with Margo from Fitbloggin – a friend from Fitbloggin, Nacho Mama, is licensed in Reiki and a unique version that specializes in long-distance Reiki.  Reiki is a form of healing that deals with healing energy.  Honestly it sounds a little weird but it is a compelling concept and I have seen several Christian practitioners of it during my time as well.  This distance Reiki was new to me as I didn’t know it was happening at the time but Margo provided a transcript of what she sensed and gathered during her time in communication with…me?  It sounds so weird, but what I got was uniquely personal, very much me, and definitely related to my inner voices around my own struggles.  It was so spot on and specific in places that it made me shocked.  It was an unexpected gift to see myself and to “hear” myself from that point of view.  It is hard to say but it provided a sense of perspective I was missing.

I started this post at the beginning of the year and it is now the last day of January.  Life continues to be busy but the scale creeps its way downward rather than upward.  There is no great weekly numbers, but there is progress and that is a gift in and of itself.  Slow is ok so long as I am healthy in body, mind and spirit as I do it.  So I carry on.

The Longest Night

Last night was the winter solstice, the longest night of the year and the official start of winter.  Despite the distinct lack of snow in MN, the weather is deary and gray and the light is dim.  People scurry around trying to finish holiday preparations and I am amongst them.  There are presents to be wrapped (assuming the shipping elves work their promised magic) and plenty left to be done.

My 6 year old has one day left of school and can hardly wait for Christmas morning.  I cannot put any wrapped presents under the tree until he falls asleep on Christmas Eve because he simply does not have the self-control yet not to open them when we aren’t looking.   The two year old spouts random holiday phrases like a Santa toy that with a broken pull string – “Ho Ho Ho”  “Merry Christmas” “Jingle Bells” and “Presents!” she interjects into conversations.

They are joy in the darkness and light too.  There have been no Christmas cookies in the house yet, too dangerous.  But we’ll make a batch on Christmas Eve for Santa.  We’ll go to church and hear E1 sing with his choir.  The kids will sleep, Mr. Goat will head back to sing with the adult choir for the late service.  I’ll put on “White Christmas” on Netflix and make sure all the presents are wrapped and everything is just so.

It will be good.

People have asked how I am doing here.  The truth is, I’m not sure.  Some days are good.  Some not so good.  Some are very hard.  I’ve gotten my lab results back from the physician and had good news – all my lab work looks great.  With the exception of low vitamin D (hello Minnesota) my thyroid, hormones, glucose, cholesterol and other things all seem to be far healthier than the number on the scale might imply.  This is wonderful, but it also leaves me with the understanding that my weight is caused first and foremost by me and my eating.  There are no hidden medical causes that have been found so far and nothing to blame but myself.

I have lost a bit of weight.  About 5 lbs or so, although I am only weighing myself periodically so that I don’t put too much emphasis on the number but rather focus on eating when I am hungry, stopping when I am full, eating real foods, etc.  I’m trying a few new things with my Team too.

I don’t want to make bold predictions because I don’t feel bold enough for them right now.  I keep on keeping on figuring out my brain chemistry, my bodies cues and needs, my goals, and the realistic efforts I can make toward them.  I keep fighting forward even on days where it seems like a slow crawl.

Right now, my long game is a mess, so my mind is all on the short game.  One meal, one day, one week.  The fight for a good day after a bad one.

It has been a long night, this 2015, but my hope is that more light is coming, and it will be good.

Plan Progress

So it has been a week since I’ve announced the need for a new plan, so how have things been going you may wonder…

Well, my husband’s grandma died, my daughter turned two and now has a cold,…. (2015, quit being so mean).

Despite a crazy week, I have definitely taken strides to get my act together.  I must have misled people for all the worried comments thinking I was going to take a moment simply thinking about acting rather than acting and actively experimenting with things all month long to try to find a good plan to settle into.

So here is what I’ve been up to.

  • I made an appointment with a nearby obesity and weight management clinic.  While I’ve been dealing with the mental, I’ve always just done general practice medicine and perhaps it is time just to make sure all the necessary labs and things are in a row.  This doesn’t mean I’m going to go on phen-phen or have weight loss surgery next week, but I’m going to add some more professionals to my team.
  • I saw my therapist and had a long conversation about my struggles with my current weight and body image.  She is on board with my trying to lose weight while continuing our Binge Eating treatment.
  • I saw my psychiatrist and we made a few tweaks to things.  More importantly he listened to what was going on and what might be some good steps for us and even gave me a weight management referral that he often works with.
  • I made chili and cornbread from scratch (normally Mr. Goat does most of the cooking) and ate the leftovers for several of my late work night dinners.  While perhaps not the most healthy meal ever it beat driving thru on the way home!
  • I’ve started making better choices at meals again.  I’m being sure to have a veggie at lunch and dinner every meal.  I’m not snacking much and if I do I have something with some carbs and protein.  I’ve avoided the majority of my kids Halloween candy.
  • I’ve only had two pieces total of my daughter’s birthday cake – for me this major is progress.  I don’t feel like I need any more either.
  • I’m wearing my fitbit and taking a few more laps around the office each day.  I always do better on steps on the weekend when I am running around with the kids than when I am at the office in the week so adding extra steps where I can during the week helps.
  • I’ve been researching keto and whole30 more fully as I wonder if they may be a good fit for me.  I have not started tracking my food yet because honestly I am a bit afraid.  Nor have I stepped on the scale for the same reason, but I see those things coming.

I am by no means perfect.  No doubt you can suggest lots more that I should be doing.  I can suggest lots more things I should be doing, but guilt and shame are easy things to come by and I’m not trying to bring those emotions up.  Rather I am focusing on the progress that I did make this week, and I have made progress.

When you are depressed even calling your doctor can take a day or more of finding the energy and courage to call.  To have a list like this says that I’m more well than I give myself credit for.  If it doesn’t seem like a lot to you then feel grateful that you don’t understand where I am coming from.

So forward I go.  Allons-y

A new plan

I realized something while chatting with PFG Jen online the other day – I need a plan.  Deep at heart I am a planner, or rather, I am an over-planner.  Part of what allows me to roll with the punches is the ability to have thought out a variety of contingency plans in advance to situations so I already can act without having to agonize about a decision in advance.  This is an excellent trait in my career working with kids – I plan things out with lots of flexibility and then can roll with the unpredictability of children’s ministry well.

One of the thing depression robs me of is the ability to plan positively for myself.  It makes it difficult to come up with positive paths and scenarios to improve things because ultimately  my brain is quick to tell me that it is “pointless.”  It isn’t of course, but it feels that way.  I’m lucky, most of the time this doesn’t filter into work, friendship, etc, but it hits the health and wellness plans hard.

For all of the benefits of therapy, dietitians and psychiatrists, I have felt like there is not a plan to get to a place of losing weight again.  I can understand it from a clinical standpoint.  To treat BED they want to make sure I have a healthy relationship with food – and many “diets” don’t encourage that.  There is also a sense that they want my worth and my weight to be separated and dealing with issues with food take time that is hard put a timeline too.

On the other hand, for my depression and anxiety not to mention my physical health, I find myself really desperate to make some weight loss changes NOW.  I feel sick about it, literally sick.  Clothes don’t fit, I am winded and I feel acutely aware of each moment of the weight I’ve gained.  It is hard to tell yourself that weight is a non-issue to loving yourself when it is such a present issue in every other aspect of your life.

So I need a plan.  But what?  I don’t think it is Weight Watchers right now, in this I agree with my team.  But I’m not sure what it IS.  Exercise certainly.  Food changes and portion control.  Whole30?  Keto?  Possible bypass? Just calorie count for a while?  Or simply start tracking and see what happens?

I’m just not sure.  It is strange to know so much about so many programs and weight loss concepts and still feel so lost.

So that is my goal for November – I am going to come up with a plan.  I am going to use November to explore, blog and dream.  I am going to come up with ideas to make me a better me again, in a way that works for me.

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