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The resolute urgency of now.

I am a woman who eats her first meal and then focuses her energy on other endeavors.

I am a woman who is fulfilled by productive action.

I am a woman who acknowledges that some moments are hard but also manageable.

I am a woman who finds the silver lining in every moment.

I am a woman who looks for joy in every second of life without exception.

I am a woman who knows that goodness comes around.

I am a woman who falls and gets back up.

I am a woman who revels in every opportunity for personal growth.

I am a woman who sometimes stomps her feet but always does the hard thing anyway.

I am a woman who shows up for herself and others.

I am a woman who calls random experiences adventures.

I am a woman who is overcome with elation that she exists.

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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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Sentiments, like shadows, grow.

I have a compulsion this morning to weigh myself. I know it’s just that–a compulsion.

I know the rational. It doesn’t negate the irrational.

Logically I know that, whatever the number on the scale, it isn’t indicative of my health or my progress or even really my weight. Logically.

I considered scratching the itch. I considered getting out the scale and just seeing and then I’d know and I could go about my day and I wouldn’t entertain it again.

But that’s not how compulsion works.¬† Because I weighed myself over the weekend. And that doesn’t matter at all to the voice in my head. In fact, it gives the voice fodder. You lost .6 pounds. The number went down! Let’s see if it went down more. I hope it didn’t go up. Do you think it went up? We should check. Maybe it went down to the next whole number. Let’s look.

I can hear these thoughts and not listen to them. I can choose that. It’s not easy. But it’s possible.

This morning, like every morning before I get out of bed, I felt my stomach. I noticed the thinner skin and the flatter mounds. I noticed how my ribs protrude a little more. I noticed how my pelvis juts beneath the skin and the area below my belly button each day feels a bit flatter and a bit more hollow. And I thanked my body for being strong and supporting me. For keeping me alive and safe. And I told it that I’m learning how to care for it properly and kindly and I hope it can see my progress. I thanked my body for showing me progress.

I do this every morning.

This morning that routine precipitated a desire to weigh myself. To see if the number validated the bones and muscles and curves of my body. Today that routine opened a door to allow the compulsive voice in. That’s okay. It doesn’t make it a bad plan. Honoring my body is a good thing. Navigating unexpected moments is good too. My constructive routine may have played a part in opening the door, but it presented me an opportunity, and I am able to choose to gently close the door with little to no damage.

I have a compulsion, but in this moment it doesn’t have me. So I’m not weighing myself. I’m not enabling the compulsion. I’ve put in years of work for this. To stay the course for this moment. To see all the things and let all the things just be. One foot in front of the other.

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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 girl that filled my dark.

I decided to treat myself to a cup of regular coffee this morning. I’ve been sick since Sunday afternoon. I haven’t slept much. The littlest has been sick too (fever sickies). I didn’t even make coffee yesterday and I barely drank what I made the previous two days. Today feels like a nice time to treat myself.

It’s funny what self care can look like.

Today it’s a cup of hot, regular coffee. As opposed to my usual decaf. It also looks like my regular routine of teeth brushing, turmeric and vitamin d3 with a glass of water (or two), and updating the dry erase with the date and a fresh tally of daily water intake.

All of that helps keep me feeling stable.

To complement my regular routine, a month ago, I started adding new objectives. One definitive thing at a time. No black and white generalized thinking. One specific and measurable goal until it becomes routine.

Week 1. Eating window 9am-7pm

Week 2. Seven glasses of water a day

Week 3. Mindful posture

Week 4. Daily PT exercises

I’ll write about each of these next. I’m putting a lot of work and intention into my time and I’m feeling really successful. It’s positive, consistent progress.

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Escape is never the safest path.

I keep making the not constructive choice. I mean, I realize it serves a purpose, the destructive choices–the eating choices, but they’re not constructive. They feed something in me. No pun intended. I’m just not certain they are fueling anything for my greater good.

So I came here to say that I want the muffin. And sure, I don’t want anything more now. But if I eat the muffin, I’ll want the pretzels. Or the cookies. And then after eating crap, I’ll decide I should eat something nutritious. All the while never actually wanting for food.

And I can pretend to justify “just this once”, but it is never once. Eating disorders do not work that way. And I could try to justify “if I don’t do it now, then it’ll provide momentum to saying no later”. But really, that’s bullshit too today because by the time later happens I’m going to be all out of energy to make constructive decisions.

Therefore, what I’m going to do today, and just for today because it’s 9am and already I’m almost out of decision juice (and that’s not so promising) is decide that there’s no need for decisions later. Today I’m making the decision now to just abstain. There won’t be decisions later. I made the decision now.

That also means I need to fill my basket with other things because I’m taking the food tool out. So today can be about cleaning and doing a couple things from my checklist and rest. And probably lots of writing and accountability.