Friday, December 19, 2014

Women Food and God, by Geneen Roth

A few months ago, I read a book called "The Thin Woman's Brain." It was about using cognitive behavioral therapy and techniques to lose weight. I had a realization that I had spent the last 20 years of my life yo-yo dieting. Gain 30 lbs., lose 20, over and over and over again.  I wondered why.  What I wanted most in the world is to be thin. To be an athlete with a body that people envied. Not a fat slob who couldn't even ski one run again this year without having an asthma attack (or fit into her ski pants).  I have been thin. I wasn't happy. I re read some of my blog posts.  I always get to the point where I am almost thin and then I sabotage it in some way.  This time, my doctor wanted me to eat gluten again so I could get tested for Celiac disease.  I ate bread and pasta for a week and I got tested and the minute I tried to go back to being gluten free (after gaining 11 lbs in a week) I couldn't do it.  My will power was broken, again.  I was broken, again.

So, I gained it all back - plus 10 more.  I am now over 200 lbs. The heaviest I have been since I was divorced and close to the heaviest I have ever been in my life. And I am never going to diet again.

I started seeing a therapist that treats eating disorders. I have an eating disorder.  I am a compulsive eater.  I eat in my car where no one can see me.  I eat when Matt isn't home.  I eat and I don't taste and I never ever feel full until I am so full that I feel sick.

The thing about depriving yourself is that at some point you are going to break.  I would restrict my food intake for months at a time - don't eat carbs, don't eat fat, don't eat meat, don't eat gluten, just count points, Jenny Craig, Nutri-system, every single diet there is out there. These diets worked for a time. I always lost weight.

Then, at some point, I would lose myself in vat of ice cream, nachos, macaroni and cheese. And I would not come up for air until I had gained back everything I had lost.

Here's the thing.  If I gained back all the weight that I lost, I could blame my problems on my being a big fatty.  Nobody wants a fatty.  So me being single was because I was fat. Me being sad, or unable to run was because I was too fat.  Can't run on these knees.

My life was filled with excuses.  I don't want to make excuses anymore.

I have read Women, food and God by Geneen Roth twice now, and I think it has changed my life.  I can tell you that I would not have been able to write this blog post without having read her books. I would not have the courage to say that I feel broken.

I am trying to have the courage to admit that I am not broken, even though that is how I feel. I am trying to love myself, and respect myself enough to be kind.  I am struggling.  The story of me being broken is the story I have told myself for 25 years. I have never felt pretty. I have never felt strong. I have never dieted or worked out for JUST ME. It was always to fulfill some ideal that society had set in front of me.

I went on a date with a guy a few times, a few years ago.  He told me on our last date that he didn't understand why he was attracted to me because I was chubby. He was like, but your a sexy chubby.  Like he was trying to convince himself that it was ok to be attracted to me because I was in some kind of my own category. I did not date him again. But I can still hear him saying those words to me.   We are surrounded by images and ideas of what women are supposed to be. Assertive, but not bitchy. Independent, but not too much so (Men need to be needed). Thin. There is no such thing as too thin.

I am losing my point.

I have lived my whole adult life thinking that because I was overweight there was something fundamentally wrong with me.   I have worked unbelievably hard to lose weight so that I would finally be happy. I realized that I wasn't happy either way.  I am learning that I need to stop worrying about being happy all the time and secondly, I can be in the present moment and be happy or sad or angry or whatever and KNOW deep down that I am not broken.

I am not broken.

I am not broken.

I am not broken.

I am Julie.

Thursday, February 13, 2014


I have started eating a strictly paleo diet.  This means that I eat meat, chicken, fish, pork, any non-carb vegetable, seeds, nuts, berries and other fruits.  No dairy, no grains.

So far - I have lost 4 pounds and have a good amount of energy. I put coconut milk in my coffee and I actually like it better than cream.

I haven't eaten anything with added sugar in 5 days and I am no longer craving Dunkin' Donuts (Thanks for coming to Colorado, Dunkin').  I have only worked out twice - and it was walking 2 miles both times. I am trying to lose 20 lbs before I start running again to hopefully avoid getting injured and put too much pressure on my knees.

I tried to go skiing the other day.  It wasn't pretty.  I took one run down the mountain and didn't have my inhaler.  I had a mild asthma attack - which I recovered from quickly.  The worst part was the pain in my knees.  I only hope that when I lose the weight I need to, I can ski with knee braces.  This used to be my favorite thing to do to get exercise in the winter, and now I dread it...I want to love it again.

I know that I am getting older and will not be able to do all the things I want to do, but I think I should be able to run and ski as a 36 year old woman.

There is no number on the scale that is my goal this goal is to run and ski relatively pain free.

Also, I think I will sign up for a sprint triathlon.



Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Back in the saddle (or the sneakers) again...

SO....after my April post about getting to a certain point in my weight loss and hen abandoning the journey - I injured my IT band and totally gave up. I could have done a ton of things to keep moving but I didn't. Now here I am almost a year later, and I have gained back all the weight I lost.  I am not sure what happened. I think that I sabotaged myself, but I don't know why. This will be what I am working on for the next few months. I will try to figure out what goes on in my head when I stop working on something that matters so much to me.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A different kind of post...

So I usually write about teaching or my weight loss journey and I won't usually write about my single status. But lately, I have been noticing that when I say I'm single to people, especially people who are happily en-coupled, I get this look of pity from them. Especially when they find out how old I am (nearly 36).  So, just once I will write why, in my opinion, I am "still" single. 

Here it is, simply put.

I would rather be by myself and alone than in a relationship and lonely.

That's it.  For the last 2o years of my life I have settled because of my fear of being alone and I am not doing it anymore.  I didn't know I was settling at the time (clearly, I defended my relationships tooth and nail - but as they say - hindsight, blah blah blah.) I also didn't know I was afraid of being alone.  I am not anymore.  

So, stop looking at me with pity.

Stop trying to tell me it will be ok, and that I will meet a man someday.

Stop trying to make me feel lesser because of my single status.  

I will be single for as long as I want to be...and then I won't be...and then I probably will be again.  And so will you. It's not a disease, or a time between, it is a natural part of life.

That's all folks.  

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

It's that time again...

I have reached the point in my weight loss journey where people have started to notice that I have dropped pounds.  Most people I know well have commented on my weight loss.  I even have some pretty obvious progress photos, that I will post at the end of this blog.  Yay me.

Here is the problem.  Every time I have gotten to this point, or close to it...I fall off the wagon. I start letting myself have little treats, or go over my weight watchers points by 3 or 4 every day. (I follow the program where I don't eat the extra weekly points - I use activity points instead.)  And then my progress goes away.  I give up.

Why do I do this? I am not sure.  I have actually been thinking about it a lot lately, especially when I am running, and I am still not sure.  Could be that I start to see results and forget how hard I worked for them, I am very much an "in the moment" kind of person. (Clearly, because that is how I ended up needed to go on this journey in the first place.)    I think that is actually one of the biggest things I need to work on IN ALL areas of my life.  I do plan, but I am very open to spontaneous activities.  I like this about myself.  This quality has allowed me to make changes in my life such as moving to Colorado after my divorce and applying for grad school (twice.) This quality has also allowed me to feel confident in taking a year from teaching to travel and go back to school.   I don't want to erase my spontaneity, but I do need to curb it when it comes to food, and money.  

Yesterday, I went to the gym in the morning and ate within my points all day.  I got home from school, made a healthy dinner and felt very satisfied.  Then around 9 pm, I made myself a bowl of popcorn.  It wasn't too bad, no oil to pop (used plain kernels in a brown paper bag in the microwave) and olive oil spray instead of dripping with butter and just a little salt and Parmesan cheese - all told about 4 points for 3 cups.  I wasn't hungry.  I just wanted popcorn, and because I wanted popcorn, I went over my daily points allowance.  

Once in a while, this is ok.  In fact, I recommend giving in to cravings once a week in order to make sure there is no binge eating after weeks and weeks of denial.  The problem is, that I feel like a floodgate is being barely held back, and that at any moment, the idea of a plate of nachos and a week on the couch is something I deserve after working so hard for three months.  So, what have I been doing to continually hold back this flood of negativity?

Well, first of all, I am trying to retrain my thinking from "I deserve those nachos" to "I deserve to be healthy and active."  It's a hard transition.  I say it to myself A LOT!  Secondly, I am member of a Facebook group called "500+ Miles in 2013" and reading the posts of the members, and what they post to me is VERY motivating.  Having a community of any kind helps with support. Third, the people I have in my life, especially my roommate, are incredibly supportive in exactly the right way.  My roomie has removed all the snacks and things that he likes to eat to his place of work and always eats the healthy food I cook. He also reminds me in a way that is not overbearing of what my goals are...I am not sure why his delivery works...normally I would be resentful of any reminders...but again maybe this time I am a little different and I see that he has my best interest at heart. 

So, this time I will work through the floodgates.  See that my dam is actually pretty strong, and I will continue on this journey instead of stopping for weeks and weeks and having to start again.

March 27, 2012 - Start (197)

March 3, 2013 - progress (185)

April 13, 2012 - Progress (179)

Thursday, April 11, 2013


At my school, we teach a 30 minute affective needs class every morning. We use this time to teach kids skills to deal with issues related to giftedness and socialization. We teach our 8 guiding principles during this time as well and this month, we are teaching about Integrity.  

A couple of days ago, I gave the students a prompt that asked the questions:

1. Does it matter to you if people think you have integrity - why or why not?
2. If someone did question your integrity - how would it make you feel? Why?

I, of course, thought about and answered the questions for myself before giving them to the students.  I did not think I would be in a situation over the next couple of days the would actually bring my integrity into question.

Yesterday, I was accused of something that questioned my integrity - as a teacher of children and as a professional. I will say right away, just clear up any doubts, I was completely innocent of the accusation.  But, I had to go to the administration and be cleared by them and another colleague.  It was clear immediately that I was innocent and there is no further action being taken.  I know I should let it go, but clearly, I can't.  I am so angry, that I could not sleep last night.

I know my job is safe, and that my admin trusts me - but I am so upset that a person who has known me professionally for at least a year (I don't know who my accuser is..) would ever think for one minute that I would be guilty of the thing of which I was accused. 

I think one of my biggest flaws is embarrassment over people's perceptions of me. If someone I respect doubts my intelligence or my integrity, it crushes me. 

I know there is nothing I can do, except continue to be me and continue to be professional and exhibit integrity, and even if that one person doubts it, I hope all my previous years demonstrate that I am a professional. But it still irks me that their perception of me is SO FALSE!

This is clearly a lesson about the fact that I have no control over what people think of me...You would think that the people that have worked with me for 7 years would not so easily believe something like this...but I guess its easier to believe bad things over good.

The anger and resentment I feel will fade and honestly, I only have to see most of these people for about 6 more weeks.  My pride is wounded.  I think what I take from this experience is that I have no control over what happens, only control over how I react to it...