Monday, February 28, 2005

Proud

Pause. Calm. Not before the storm. Just to acknowledge the freaking great weekend I had. Not perfect. Oh no, no, no. Not even close to perfect. But great nonetheless. This is the best I have treated myself in a long time. And I feel different, happier, lighter, easier as a result.

Last night I ate exactly what I said I would. This morning I ran and lifted exactly what I said I would. The snow's a coming so I will be shoveling and cleaning house today. Take THAT, dust bunnies!

I read a really great article in Yoga Journal last night that got through to me. It focuses on what it takes to change behavior and how "setbacks" aren't really "setbacks" as such, but are instead ways that our bodies rehabituate themselves. I can't find the article online, but trust me, it was good. What I got out of it: we need time to incorporate change. Change isn't linear, it is spiral. Though we come close to previous places, we are nonetheless on another level entirely. So maybe the past couple tough weeks for me have been a way to integrate and learn more about the changes I have made. Exercise wasn't something I "had" to do anymore, because I had lost a lot of the weight I want to lose. It is now something I "want" to do because I see the implications of not doing. Eating off plan is my choice. And sometimes it's the right choice. But it won't make me happier or less lonely.

Still don't know what to say about the visit with my friend. Except that I am really, really proud of myself for going through with it.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

I look the same?

It's been a while since I posted. Lack of posting is due entirely to no time, not to off-program-ness. In fact, this is the most on program I have been in quite a while. Where to begin?

At the beginning. Thursday night I called the friend I was supposed to see and told her that I couldn't meet up with her. Because I am Too Fat and Too Ugly. I did not, of course, say that. She didn't take this cancellation well. (I should say at this point that this person and I have a long, sorted history together that I won't get into here. I know that nobody reads these posts but me, but I still want to maintain some kind of privacy. Plus, it would take way to long to tell our story. And I come out looking really, really bad.) I absorbed everything she said and spent most of that night not sleeping and reflecting on how this extra weight is affecting my life. After much nail biting and self-hating I decided: Screw it! I don't care. I don't! Living with all that anxiety tied up with 15 measly pounds is just not worth it. I was even getting down on myself for not being a better person, a better feminist, because I care(d) that I carry around extra weight and am embarrassed about it. Screw it I did. I called her Friday morning and made plans for Saturday.

I was a mess on Friday. Super stressed. Super worried. Super scared. I ran all over town. Got things done. Didn't let myself sit with the knowledge of what was about to occur for more a minute. Couldn't sleep a wink Friday night but obsessed over how the day would go. Would she recognize me? Would I recognize her? Would she laugh? Cry? Feel superior? Bring up the weight gain? Feel relieved? Name it, I considered it.

Saturday I woke up very early, got in my 1 hour run and lifting. Walked to bus stop. I got to town earlier than expected and was walking around killing time. OK, confession: I was walking around looking for a side street where I could sit and mix a cocktail, mmm-kay? I know. It was 11 in the morning. But a cocktail was needed. I was standing on the sidewalk, waiting for the signal to change, and looked up.

And there she was. Looking at me. Looking shocked. Looking scared. Looking like disbelief.

We ran into each other in the biggest city in the states.

The first thing she said: "You haven't changed at all. You look the exact same."

Come again!?!?!?! Hello, I look older and fatter, my dear. I look the same? Way to screw with my entire sense of reality. Do you mean to say that my obsessing about my weight has been ridiculous and pointless and a waste of time? I said, no I look older and fatter. She said she didn't think so and can't see. Was she just being nice? Possibly. Do I care? Nope. This encounter has radically effected my perception of myself. I don't know how. I need to think about it all more. I don't fit into the clothes I wore when I saw her last, so I must look different, right? But maybe not so different that it's shocking or noteworthy or something?

And the rest of the day was great. I didn't feel like the fat girl walking around. I didn't eat like a fat girl punishing herself. I didn't move like a fat girl uncomfortable in her own skin.

I did, however, purchase junk food on the walk back from the bus stop. In my defense, I was hungry. I did not need to address that hunger by eating the way that I did. The way that I ate was emotional, I recognize that.

I got up this morning and ran, which makes today the first Sunday I have exercised in weeks. Which makes this weekend a tremendous improvement over weekends past. I can't promise how the food will go today. I want to EAT. Partly because I promised myself that if I saw this friend that the next day could be a free day. And Partly because I am really hungry. Hungry eating is great. And a free day never hurt anybody, I guess. But a free day, as we know, often spirals into a free week. Not to mention lots of self-loathing. All of which I want to avoid. Plus, I will have to run tomorrow morning because we are supposed to get a lot of snow Monday which will make running Tuesday impossible. And running after a bad day of eating is never easy. And rarely happens. OK, I've decided: plan will be to get some trail mix, regular dinner, and dessert. But not an over the top, make myself too full and sick kind of dessert.

I look the same???? Sorry, I can't leave this alone. If I were a better and stronger person I would have asked her directly about my weight. But I'm not better or stronger. I don't want to direct someone's attention to it. She has lost a lot of weight, but I also didn't say anything about that because I wouldn't say anything if she had gained alot of weight. Is this the right way to handle situations like this? Sigh. It's all hard. I'm tired of struggling. It's exhausting. I will think about it ("it" being my weight loss and my friend's comment) and post when I know what the hell I think about it.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Like that

It's amazing what a couple of days taking care of myself can do to my attitude. I don't feel or think I look like the scum around the toilet bowl. I feel great, alive, ready to take on anything (and oh is there a lot waiting to be taken on!). It's days like this that I want to push myself even more: run 10 miles instead of 5! Lift 3x the weight! Kickboxing this afternoon! Volunteer! Read all of Aristotle! Knit! Do financial paperwork! Call friends!

But I think this urge to overdo it will backfire. This morning, for instance, as I started running I got the 10 mile dreams in my head. About halfway through the planned 5 miles I knew that finishing the 5 would be tough. 10 would be impossible. So I did the 5. And it was fun and challenging and rewarding and I feel great now. Slow and steady needs to be my motto. One thing at a time. Right?

Running occurred. Lifted happened. Yoga yesterday. I love yoga. For me, it is not really exercise, but a way to really enjoy my body and take care of it. I always need the stretching and I like feeling more musical than sweaty. Moving for the pleasure of moving and not moving to try to lose weight. Granted, I run because I love to run. But not always. Sometimes I run because I have to stay healthy. Yoga is a different agreement with my body. Yoga is all about pleasure.

It's gonna snow here, lots. Snow puts a damper on my exercise plans usually because I run outside (early in the morning, in the dark, in a bad part of town. I know). My plan to is continue on plan, with room for change if I need it. So if the roads and sidewalks are still really bad come Sat (which they will be if we get what has been predicted) I'll take it slower and not run as far. I should get those gator shoe attachment things, but it really doesn't snow enough for them to be a necessity.

Hungry again this morning! I even ate rather late last night after class. Oprah's got me all stressed about not eating past 7:30. I usually eat early in the day, but I am usually really hungry after a late class, and it makes more sense to me to eat when I am hungry rather than according to the clock. I don't know though. Oprah looks great. And if not eating after 7:30 makes you look like that, then maybe I should rethink my approach.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

On and Within

I woke up hungry today. Hungry! This is a good sign for me. After dinner and late at night are times when I eat more than I should. The eating more than I should is often caused by exhaustion, stress, loneliness, you get the idea. So to wake up hungry means that I didn't overdo it. Hunger means that my body is chugging along and taking care of itself.

I know that my difficulty in losing the rest of the weight I want to lose is the way in which eating is tied to everything else: my mood, my productivity and the state of the world. The question is: which comes first, the appetite or the states? That is, do I hurdle into a pile of chocolate covered pretzels because I'm depressed or am I depressed because I am face down in chocolate? I don't know. I'm sensitive and quiet and contemplative and all that sad stuff by nature. But those qualities (which I usually like) twist and get ugly when I'm not taking care of myself. Sensitive becomes bitter and hostile. Quiet becomes reclusive. Contemplative becomes trapped in my head.

I don't know where to go from here, but here I am. I'm reminded of the quote I posted last week:

"The active forces, within and outside the body, are noble, aristocratic, for they govern, they expand."

I could get technical and Nietzschean on you to interpret this quote, but I'll spare you. I think it is significant without putting it in a larger context. So, yeah, there are all kinds of forces, or influences and powers, that act on and within the body. From the kind of food available in your neighborhood, to gendered expectations of how one should look, the outside influences and controls the body. Similar forces come from within, like training oneself to follow a certain diet and exercise program. But what I like about this quote is the nobility afforded to these forces. Instead of thinking of sticking to a program as limiting and constricting, how would my attitude change if I thought of the program as noble? As something that can open me up to the world and myself?

Really, then, the healthy meals I have tupperwared and ready to go in my kitchen are a sign of my aristocracy, and not of a poor graduate student on a diet.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Same, self, sad

I am so tired of writing this post. I will forever write this post. I have written this post my whole life. And my whole life is constantly redoing this post. And I am tired of it. I am tired of fighting. Tired of trying. Tired of not getting it. I don't know if I can change. But I know I can't live that way and be remotely happy.

In other words, I got off track this weekend. I was all prepared to write this great post Sunday about moderation and how being too strict is never good and always backfires and it turns out that undoing moderation always backfires. So I didn't run Sunday and ate like a manic. And I didn't exercise yesterday and ate like a manic. Today: so far, so good. I have run, lifted, and ate according to plan. I just need to get back in my groove. I was in a groove for a long time. I lost 30lbs with what felt like very little effort. Change, yes. Effort, no.

But now. Now everything is different. Now I feel good enough. Now I feel complacent. Then I feel guilty and ashamed. Then my jeans are too tight. All in the matter of a couple of weeks. Damn.

So the goal is back on track-ness. Last week was fairly successful. This week can be the same. What I should do differently: take care of myself. Meaning not stay out really late. Don't drink. I can't get too exhausted or stressed or sad. Trouble looms if I do. The answer, then, is to take things slowly, measured, and with ease. I can do that.

A while ago I posted about having to meet up with an old friend and being nervous about the way I looked. That got canceled, which was a license of me to eat. (side note: why do I say "Eat"? Why don't I call it what it is: a binge?) Anyway, that visit was canceled (her call) and now we are supposed to meet up this weekend, when I feel (and look!) like the crud around the edge of the toilet. I think I will back out of this. Too much pressure that I know I can't handle now. Does this make me a bad person?

In other news, I got my first grade back. And it's an A.

And, of course, I don't think I deserve it. I'm sure I will dream tonight that he gave me the wrong grade. This is a classic dream for me. When I started getting into graduate school I was plagued with similar dreams.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Or Something

Run. Lift. Eat. Repeat. Even on weekends.

This is me, holding myself accountable. This is me, sticking to it on the weekends. This is me, spending all morning reading blogs instead of reading Philosophy. This is me, writing a super-short post to remind myself that weekend success is possible.

To get myself in the academic groove of things, I present something I stole:

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.
5. Don’t search around and look for the “coolest” book you can find. Do what’s actually next to you.

"These active forces, within and outside the body, are noble, aristocratic, for they govern, the expand." from Elizabeth Grosz's Volatile Bodies: Towards a Corporeal Feminism,, writing about (who else?) Nietzsche. I'm not actually reading this book now. It's on my desk as a paper writing hangover book.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Mission (Not!) Accomplished

Not so much. Not at all, really. I went out. I drank cheap beer. I drank drinks that a certain someone bought me. I stayed out till not so early this morning. I was Cinderella, however. It wasn't pretty. I was even less pretty. I ran into a brick wall otherwise known as exhaustion. I was snippy and rude and cranky. Sometimes downright nasty. It wasn't fun. I was even less fun.

After I regained consciousness this morning, I walked. I even got some homework done. I might even get some more done tonight. Today is a free food day. In a reasonable way. In a vegan cream cheese frosting way. In a artichokes on sale way.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Tired Like

Tired. Legs creaky and so so sore and run down. Tired. Like my eyes are too heavy for my skull and any minute now my head will implode. Tired. Waiting for a slow slow fog to slowly fill my brain and fade into memory. As if writing this now isn't really happening but happened days ago, months ago, years ago. Or never really happened at all. Like I am just imagining that I am awake now and have run and lifted weights on legs that are more like rice krispies than solid mass runners legs.

Tired. Is a good sign that I am alive. But, also, a sign that I am pushing myself too hard, too fast after my week of sloth. Feeling alive is when I am really tuned into my skin and my brain and the energy of the world that surges through me. I feel this way during great runs and while practicing yoga. But I've pushed it. I feel removed and distant from my body. Maybe a side effect of last week? I know I am in pain and I can feel that pain but running today felt more like floating than pounding the pavement.

Goal: sleep. Please, Liz, don't go out and drink cheap beer (my weakness). Don't stay up and talk on the phone. Don't read till 2am. Sleep.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

The Direction

To get to my house: Take a right after the big hill. Head up the road with head high and weights balanced. Stop at the crosswalk for some slow pilates. Do a U-turn at self-loathing, blame, and shame.

This is my way of saying: I am on a path. And it feels good. Tired. But good. Sore. (oh man, so sore! After 1 week of no exercise my legs are like taunt violin strings waiting to snap.) But good. Today I have run, done pilates, and drank the most amazing cup of coffee. I am aiming for some yoga before class. Because I am sore (see above. Did I mention I am sore?)

Other things in my life feel not so good. School: bleh. I'm not good enough. I know it. I will never be good enough. I know that too. Love: crush. Big time, impossible, yet fantastic crush. Sigh.

To get to my house: After the U-turn at self-loathing, blame, and shame, secretly sneak back to that messy spot late at night. Worship it and sleep in it and swear to never really let it go.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Today I will

Imperceptible. Peace. Not hope. Peace. More real than hope.

After a week of a self-loathing free for all no movement depression and anxiety producing binge, I declare a ceasefire.

Today I will say nice things to myself. Today I will smile. Today I will stop and talk. Today I will.

Today I have already run. Including a giant hill where some high school boys were running hill repeats. And I beat them up the hill. Beat them. Heh. Today I have already lifted weights. Today I am already eating a great bfast and the best coffee I have had in a long time.

I don't know the direction. I don't know if it is my mood that determines how I (don't) take care of myself or how I treat myself that dictates my mood. But they are linked. Inextricably linked. And so. The ceasefire.

I could go on and on and on about the downfalls of this past week. And I will figure it out. Later. Not today. Today I need all the encouragement I can get. Today I will smile and say nice things and pretend that I mean them. Today I will.

Monday, February 14, 2005

In lieu of an actual post

Keeping Things Whole, by Mark Strand

In a field
I am the absence
of field.
This is
always the case.
Wherever I am
I am what is missing.

When I walk
I part the air
and always
the air moves in
to fill the spaces
where my body's been.

We all have reasons
for moving.
I move
to keep things whole.

******************************

One of my favorite poems of all time. Appropriate for this blog which lately has been more of a lack of me than a reflection of me. And that, my friends, says it all. Lately.

Tomorrow. Tomorrow the world can change. Or, at least. Tomorrow I can wake up and get back on program.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

so sue me

Yep. I'm sick. Yep. I'm pissy. Yep. The paper is finally done. Yep. I procrastinated till the very, very, very last minute. Yep. It is a less than stellar example of what I can do.

Yep. I ate everything in sight to get it done. Yep. That included soda. And not vegetables. At all. For two days. I usually eat mountains of veggies.

So, let's review. I finished my second paper. I feel like crap. I've treated myself like crap. Now I am sick. I have a presentation this afternoon. It's written, thank god.

I'm not running today. Or lifting weights. Or taking deep cleansing breathes. I'm not eating mindfully or slowly or with peace.

I AM mustering all the strength I have to go to class and give a presentation. I am cutting myself some slack. I am getting sushi for dinner. And a cookie.

Bite me, remaining 15 lbs. Seriously.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

ya'll sing along!

It's Sunday and you know the tune.

I didn't run.

I'm face down in a pile of chocolate covered pretzels.

I have a huge paper due tomorrow.

And 10 pages to write, tonight.

Write, tonight. Right, tonight?

The Chorus:

I haven't lost weight since November and I don't know why (that's me, being ironic)

But I will be back on track tomorrow.

Jeez, this is enough to make a girl....ummm....like stick with it on the weekends.

Or something.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

empty construction

Ergh. There are so many things I want to write about today.

Like how all I want to do is eat and eat and eat till I can't eat no more.

Or maybe how empty I feel, right now, and all the time. Empty imagining yet another struggle to get through a binge. Empty as yet another paper sucks all my attention and creativity dry. Empty like how powerless I feel, confronting all these negative patterns and thoughts and behaviors in my life. That I can't seem to ever change.

I'm a constructionist. Or DE-constructionist, I should say. I don't think there is some core "self" to who I am, or to who anybody is. I think we are a tangled mass of interactions with the world around us. But then. Then there are things I know I have always been. That I hate being. That I want to change. But. It seems. That I. Can't.

This is a feel sorry for myself post. I know that. No reason to feel this way. I got lots of sleep. Ran an ok run. (with very little energy. It was tough, but my time was good: river loop, about 9 miles in 80 mins; followed by a strong pilates session). I'm eating a good bfast. Shut-up! I know it's 2 in the afternoon! I went out last night, after getting some work done, and drank. Lots. And ended up making out with A BOY for a better part of the evening.

Not terribly shocking. Except that I'm a dyke. But that's for another blog.

A major stress that is actually related to weight loss: I'm supposed to get together with someone I haven't seen in a very long time this weekend. And I'm up about 15 lbs since I saw her last. God, I would love to have written 10, that was the goal, to lose 5 before I saw her. But now I see that a loss won't happen this week. If anything, I'll get back to where I was before the week and weekend of Eating. Which will be 15 over when she saw me last. Cuz, really, right now it's more like 20.

What bugs me more than the 20 extra I'm carrying around is that I CARE that I'm carrying it. Jeez! I'm an academic. I'm in my head. I'm a feminist. I condemn and deconstruct fascist beauty standards. And I do. I have a shaved head. Piercings. Tattoos. I wear old clothes. But, I still want to be hot. Hot to my kind, at least. Hot in a hairy armpits kind of way. And sizism is alive and thriving in feminist and lesbian communities. We don't talk about it. But maybe we should.

I need to wrap this up, but I don't know how.

Why do I have so much self-doubt and self-sabotage around every corner?

Is "why" even the right questions?

How do I get over caring about the weight?

Maybe emptiness and construction are connected to my powerlessness. I am something that is always remade, always redone. Not by "me" but by the weight of social and emotional and spiritual forces. But what if those forces are empty?

Friday, February 04, 2005

Friday. Morning, by graduate student standards, of course. I am just now having my first cup of coffee for the day. There will be more, of course, but hopefully not many more. The caffeine consumption really got out of control for a couple of day. But I guess that's what happens when you only sleep a couple hours a night for 4 nights in a row. It's strange. I go through periods when I am an insominate. I can't sleep. For days. Weeks. During the bad times, for months. Of course, I am always a perfect picture of mental health when I actually need to not sleep much, right around paper writing season.

Didn't run yesterday. Did turn in paper yesterday. Not running was sheer force of circumstance. Not enough time. Did eat well, however. I was a mess of nerves and evil thoughts and caffeine yesterday. But after turning in the paper I did not fall face first into a pile of chocolate covered expresso beans, like I wanted to. I did go for a walk. It was just for 20mins. But still. Go me!

This morning: ran for 1 hours. Harder than I thought it would be. It's "warm" here today (aka middle 30s) so I didn't have to run in tights that are thicker than the slice(s) of carrot cake I want to eat, which is always nice. Also lifted 3 heavy sets. Have to walk to store. Might do yoga. Time for bfast: steel cut oats and millet (a fantastic combo), apple, and my new favorite soymilk: Vitasoy. OK, my favorite is Eden, but that is full of sugar. I have tried every unsweetened soymilk out there. And this, ladies and gentleman, does not make me feel like I am punishing myself for my fat, fat ways by drinking soy flavored water. One word: yuck. Vita, on the other hand: yum!

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Speaking of work

Just a quick post. Because there are pages. And pages. And pages. That need me to write them. Before tomorrow. And then read them. And fix them. Don't forget all the praying I will have to do to make sure I don't fail out.

Anyway, today was another good, back on track day. I had a better run this morning (my shins were really hurting yesterday). They were still sore today, but it was manageable. I think they are sore from running on the snow and ice for the past couple of weeks--it requires more leg control, a virtue that does not come easily for me. I've been reflecting on what I wrote yesterday, too. First, I now realize that I eat when I'm stressed. I can't believe this is the first time I am getting this. When, clearly, it's been a pattern my whole life. Second, not changing is also work. Again, duh! That is, it seems easier to maintain a certain lifestyle, but it isn't. Nothing is effortless. Eating junk food is just as difficult as eating healthy food, if not moreso, for me. I always thought that change was the hard part...but, technically, I think both require equal amounts of work. Regardless, I am still not feeling my best. Hopefully that will change when my stress levels go down. On that note...

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

oh yeah

Good, good, good. This is what good feels like! I am so happy and proud of myself for swinging back into good behavior. It hasn't been easy (I'm always reminded of JuJu's post about how hard it is to turn the titanic. A series of imperceptible shifts of behavior. I was driving home from class today and getting myself all stressed out thinking about how much work I have and how lonely I am and how I will never achieve anything (blah, blah, blah....how's that for motivation?!) and how great it would be to stop at Tr@der Joes to get some treats to "keep me going" tonight. When I realized that, No! I didn't want to. I didn't have the energy for that kind of work. It is HARD to keep some patterns up, so why do it?

I also got up this morning and went for what has to have been the worst run of my life and lifted 3 heavy sets. Extra evening exercise won't happen till Thursday or Friday, if at all. Sorry to disappoint, I just have too much work on my hands.

Got on the scale this morning. Scary. It's up. Way up. I'm hoping it's water. I won't get back on till some of the stress has died down in my life--aka this time next week, I hope. It seems like every other normal person on earth loses weight when they are stressed. Not me. Oh no. My metabolism comes to a **screeching** halt. Can you hear that?!?