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It took some time to survive you.

I’ve been disconnecting my why and my who from my present the past few days.

I’m sure there’s a reason. I’m sure that reason is important. But I haven’t tread there yet. I haven’t come here to pick it apart.

I know part (most?) of it is stress. I know it’s some of the little behind-the-scenes stuff happening that is out of my control. Or was once in my control (sorta) and I didn’t fight then to turn overwhelm into action. And so now there are multiple overwhelm categories all sneaking to the forefront at once.

I could name them, but that is scary. I’m not there yet. Even tho I know it’s helpful.

So I’m checking them off slowly without naming them.

But even still, I find myself here, now, facing the fact that my why and my who have not been congruent with my relationship with food. And that’s okay. There’s no shame in that. It’s observation. And still, it’s my present truth.

And that’s not to say that has to be my truth the next time I eat or tonight or tomorrow. It’s just the truth of what the last couple days have looked like. And part of my personal development is that I’m self aware enough to notice and acknowledge these things, and then decide where I place my foot during my next step.

I’ve noticed and acknowledged the last few days. Of course I have! I no longer have the luxury of not seeing it. And still I’ve made the decisions that the ideal, future, healthy version of me would. not. make. And to make it worse, when I make the anti-me decisions, I tack on preposterous words like, “future me would give herself a break right now and eat this” and “future me would allow for self care to be this one cookie”.

FUTURE ME WOULD. NOT. SAY. THAT.

Future me would say, “find a different way, sister!” (Because future me will sometimes talk like Rachel Hollis and randomly call people sister.)

Future me would also take the time to write because it’s my therapy. Because it brings me back to me. Because it brings me closer to living and breathing my idealized me.

So I sit here writing. Because it’s important. It’s vital. I need it. And I take breaks for self care.

Today I took L to the doctor and re-set myself on a stress path. I need to solidify some research there and put pen to paper. That will help. Today I will also call the tax guy and re-set myself on that stress path. Actively being on those paths is a lot less stressful than knowing I need to get on them. My higher functioning brain knows this, but the whole rest of my being fights it.

And I should also talk to my husband and speak some stress paths because that may be helpful even tho I keep adamantly dragging my feet about it and it’s the very very last thing I want to actually do.

So. Time to jump.

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A perfect day for doing the unstuck.

I’m a little of the mind, in this exact moment, that personal growth is stupid. I’m a little stompy about it. I’m a little salty.

I’m leaning into the (perceived) (temporary) inconvenience of having growth.

I wanted a morning.

And I didn’t get said morning. Because I can’t control how other human beings spend their time or how they process information. And I wouldn’t want control of that. I’m good to not have control of that. And also, when there is such a strangely skewed processing of things, I just….

I have to stop to breathe.

And maybe cry some.

It’s not about what did or didn’t happen. It’s not about the other triggering things this morning–I’ll write about that soon. It’s not even necessarily about the apparent crapshoot of miscommunication. Right now it’s only about how I find the way to constructively put one foot in front of the other and stay true to my path.

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So I’m at the library. Typing. And watching my little watch the fish.

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To divide something so real.

So I want to talk about all of my weekly goals. Delve a little into what they look like and what they mean to me. How it all came to be. I should probably do this before I have weeks and weeks and weeks of thoughts that I can’t catch up with. (Newsflash: it’s been weeks and weeks and weeks already.)

First, I want to say that the precipitous to all of this was a workshop of sorts that Rachel Martin held on her Finding Joy page. She posed the questions, (I’m paraphrasing and filtering through memory and self here) “What is it that you’re waiting til 2020 to do? Why are you waiting 8 weeks to get started? What would it mean to have 8 weeks of progress come the new year?”

The seed was planted.

Then the universe kicked life into gear from there. And now I stand here telling my story.

Week one (Nov 11): Commit to an eating window from 9am til 7pm.

Eating is continually the thing in my life that I navigate. I used to live deeply inside a binge eating disorder. I have always used food as a friend, a connection, a coping mechanism, a stress reliever, an avoidance, an <insert thing here>.

Back in 2013 it was the worst it had ever been. I didn’t even know I had an eating disorder. I thought I was too fat to have an eating disorder. I thought I could only have an eating disorder if I was thin. Hell, I wished I had an eating disorder so I could be skinny! (I was sweet and naive…)

It wasn’t until I was back in school and studying nutrition and learning about eating disorders that I realized that I was drowning in one. I ate so much food it’s painful to think about now. And I never really gained weight because I ate so clean. I only ate proteins and fats and some vegetables. No grains, dairy, sugar of any kind, fruit, nuts. It was just about Whole30, but more strict, for three years. But a crazy obscene amount of food.

After acknowledging my eating disorder, I worked to navigate the things I was hoping to satiate with food and eventually ate mindfully and presently and satiated my pain in healthier ways. Or so it felt.

I lost weight and it was awesome and I felt great. And then I got the flu and after a few days of no food, I succumbed to an orange. Which feels really strange to say. I hadn’t had sugar of any kind in years and thought of it as my heroin.

Everything unraveled slow like molasses after that.

Fast forward six years: a pregnancy, a miscarriage, a wedding, another pregnancy, a newborn eventually turned three year old, a tween, a teenager, the rest of my family, and navigating lifetimes of….just..everything. And I was (am) still using food to function. (Far less destructively and dangerously as I once did, but still.)

I wrote, publicly (…with my name attached to it and everything) to another group I’m in that my goal would be to be healthier and have a healthy relationship with food, but that I’m terrified.

Terrified of not functioning. Terrified of not keeping up. Terrified of drowning. Of losing the comfort of friend, connection, coping mechanism, stress reliever, avoidance, <insert thing here>.

Rachel, the head of said group, told me to pick one small thing to focus on and I retorted my penchant for very much being an “abstainer” and not a “moderator” and referred her to Gretchen Rubin’s moderator vs abstainer, with the caveat that I believe the thought line, but not to my core per se and that life should be grey and not black and white, but in this case for me this one thing is black and white.

Which is obviously ridiculous in hindsight. And in regular sight as well, which is what prompted a quick reevaluation and remedy.

I do stand by the fact that some people are good to live with moderation, while others just aren’t. But I believe too that we don’t have to be pigeonholed to these things by chains or live our lives in paralyzing fear. I didn’t have to stand still just because I work better with abstinence than moderation. I can be afraid and move at the same time. I can moderate where I abstain.

So, I gathered up all my fear and all my brave and decided that an eating window was my next safe step.

I wasn’t going to stop eating this or stop eating that. I wasn’t going to limit food in any way, except by time. And also, the first thing I eat will always be a meal.

The first week took some balancing. Sometimes I counted down the minutes til 9am and other times it was suddenly 11 and I was getting lightheaded from not having eaten, but I hadn’t obsessed the time away. Some days at 9am it felt like I needed to eat in order to navigate anxiety/depression/stress/overwhelm and I would choose to indulge it. Other days I was able to recognize the anxiety/depression/stress/overwhelm and say “I’m going to wait until it passes” and employ other ways to feel all the things.

A few times teacher parent conferences or driving my kids around delayed eating until after 7pm and I carefully chose in those moments to eat dinner and then be finished with food, and it was always before 8. Some days even tho I hadn’t eaten dinner, I decided to forego it altogether because I wasn’t even hungry.

Week 2 (Nov 18): Commit to drinking seven glasses of water a day.

Hydration always feels better and also, by default, helps offset (perceived) hunger. There have been a couple days here and there I’ve only hit five, but it’s only interesting to note because I went right back to my plan the next day. No issue, no shame.

Week 5 (Dec 9): Commit to an eating window from noon til 7pm.

The next natural step for food felt like increasing real me time and limiting destructive eating time. Seven hours is more than a reasonable duration to eat. I rarely get hungry for real before noon anyhow.

There was one morning I was so wrapped up in emotional hunger that I was counting down the minutes til noon and didn’t even realize until 11:30 that I hadn’t done any of my regular morning routine. I was on an emotionally-depleted autopilot.

It was an eye opening example of how much control food can have and that I, solely, am the one that gives it power. For now the seven hour window gives me the reminder and opportunity to focus the rest of my time on experiencing life.

In the weeks to come, now that I have a solid foundation with time windows, my goals in regard to food will really be in regard to practicing positive coping mechanisms. I acknowledge I am not yet using food how I wish to be. I’m okay with that–it’s just not where I am yet. I need new, safe things squarely in place before I can take old, destructive things away. That plan feels like the best navigating.

Up next: weeks 3 and 4. Stay tuned!

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The minor fall and the major lift.

What a difference a year (or six) can make.

The last two weeks have been one crazy thing after another. My insurance is no longer accepting my doctor and physical therapist, so I either have to change insurance or change doctors. The $673 radiologist bill I should have never gotten, that I had fixed and was taken care of in November, suddenly appeared again and hadn’t been resolved afterall. I spent an hour and a half on phone calls getting it resolved again. (Shout out to Tamika who was my own personal savior.)

I’ve been trying to get ahold of a doggie day care place so Harley can run around and play with other pups because ohmygoodness is she in anxiety overdrive/bordering aggressive because she just wants to play play play and has no outlet. (I finally heard back today! Woo!) I ran with her on Sunday (ohmygod ohmygod ohmygod!! I ran! Two laps around the house!!! Freakin’ AMAZING!!!) and then promptly fell on my right knee and palm (and elbow and shoulder). Bright side: I hurt myself, but didn’t injure anything. Less than bright side holy oww and recovery time. (Bonus bright side: I tried Chris’s ghost pepper sauce and I’m a fucking rockstar!)

At 1am today instead of seeing Chris’s paycheck in the account, there was a $900+ fraudulent charge, just in time for me to pay the $150 medical bills today. Kitten’s first vet visit…wait….she has worms?… Oh, our dog’s been eating her poop when we’re not looking?…oh….well…that’s..special…

Have I even mentioned yet we adopted a kitten?! Meet Hazel. R’s early Christmas present/our new family member.

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And I paid the $4.60 on my daughter’s dentist account….that they were going to send me to collections for. Ha. And I was allowed to pay on (instead of pay off) another bill. Thank god. Bright side to all of it: the deposited paycheck offset the $700 overdraft and we’re blessed to have family who can help out until the bank refunds the locked charges.

R has midterms next week and is underslept and overstressed and navigating big adult problems while still being in a teenager’s body with a teenager’s brain. (Given the option to ignore the warning signs of a close friend or make the hard call to betray confidence in order to keep him alive,¬† she chose life and I couldn’t be more proud.) And S is navigating the end of the semester and a week of unprecedented homework he just hasn’t been able to keep up with, especially when his parents have been a bit m.i.a. in the evenings when it’s time to work on homework because of appointments and meetings. (Given the option this morning of staying home today to work on everything or go to school and own up to the consequences, he chose to go and I’m so freaking proud of him.) And L is still recovering from being sick last week and a bleeding diaper rash to boot because he’s been eating butternut squash soup for days and apparently he’s allergic. (This morning he slept in his own bed til after 5am. Whether fluke or trend, I’m so proud of him.)

Have I worn you out yet? ‘Cause I haven’t run out of material. I could keep going. I won’t tho. Because the only point I wanted to make is that I’m still standing. I didn’t even have to stand back up from this shit show because it hasn’t even knocked me down.

What a difference a year makes.