Archive for November, 2006

End of November, my first full month on Sparkpeople. Time to measure results and give myself a reward (or 6).

Interesting, reading the Reports on the SP website. I’m not impressed that it displayed number of calories burned by cardio, when I really was paying attention to time spent.

8 glasses of water a day was achieved without difficulty.
Portion control was successful, as were all of my other goals. Since I didn’t actually have any specific targets, I have just measured what I achieved this month. Next month my goal is to improve all areas, particularly proper sleep and exercise.

I’ve pretty well decided to give myself a DVD at retail, just to reward myself for collecting the data for the month. Next month, maybe I’ll be more specific about rewards before the end of the month comes.


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Worry and Eating Disorders

Reality sucks. That I know, because I spent most of my life compartmentalizing real life from my over-idealized notion of what life should be like. The last couple of years have been about dealing with that, and as a corollary, reducing my compulsion to eat. It is really true for me that my compulsive eating didn’t have anything to do with food and did have everything to do with the fantasy life I was leading.

My mother spent the last 40 years of her life in the same way, and I never actually knew how to live “normally.” Even today, I am continually surprised with some new element of normal life that I don’t really get. Today, for example, I recognize that I’ve been unnecessarily worried about my work issues, as I described yesterday. Once I chose to stop worrying, and start taking action, I got reasonable results. Not perfect results, and I still stress myself out about them, but results nonetheless.

This morning I did my duck-lining-up in getting the managers aligned on the topic I want action on. I was so worried, but the results are almost all good. One colleague said his boss got a little upset that he didn’t know the guy was doing this project, but the boss calmed down when he found out that the guy hadn’t spent more than an hour a month on the project yet. My very real, but not earth-shaking, mistake was to not ask my colleague to inform his boss himself. Learn from it and move on. The colleague is not upset about it. It actually looks like I might get this project off the ground after all, so my worry is wasted. I’m a little tired from the worry.

The reality I have to face at the moment is that reality is a choice I make. If I choose fantasy, then I have the consequences of compartmentalization and the need to eat to stuff down/push away the moments when reality is unavoidable. God, I just don’t know how to think through this.

Fantasy requires that I keep reality out. That’s impossible.
Reality requires more, but I gotta go right now. As Scarlett would say, “To-mah-row is another day.”

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Whiny stuff from the last post aside, I actually got started on the project!!! I won’t admit that it wasn’t hard, but I took a break, went to the bathroom, panicked mildly, realized that there was STILL nothing else to do except do the next task, and went back to my desk.

Then I wrote my list of people to line up, and realized that there was exactly one (1) person who I needed to see face2face. So I went looking for him. Now Research and Development is a big place, with several hundred engineers. It just so happens that there are 2 Winnies. Kinda amazing, ain’t it? Two parental units who would actually dare to name their son Winfried. Actually there are thousands of them in this country, so the probability of running into a generic Winnie on the street is reasonably high.

Anyway, I chose the wrong one.

I walk up to him, he smiles nicely (Winnies are generally quite nice people), and I explain why I’m there. Again that lovely, gentle smile as Winnie informed me that I had the wrong Winnie.

At least I failed from the start, so there’s no need to worry about making a mistake, since I already did. Whacking myself gently on the outside of my head, and painfully inside my brain, I went in search of the next Winnie. Halfway there, I realized I could also speak to a Horst, who didn’t look like any of the other Horsts in the room. Found him, talked to him, achieved goal.

There are 2 more contacts I need to make before Friday, and both have schedules so packed that I must resort to voicemail.  Hah! My second favorite way after email to escape face2face meetings. Boy, I sure hope when I lose lots more weight that I also lose this irrational fear of rejection. That’s part of my absurd Cinderella-type fantasy for weight loss: Change your shape, change your life. I will instantaneously become smarter, more outgoing, good at small talk, able to recognize Winnies, and 20 years old again.

I’m really looking forward to that day. I believe the magic weight is 138.64 pounds.

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True confessions: if there’s any single way in which I give into my compulsions most, it’s worry. I worry altogether too much, and when a really big deal happens, I pretty much go ballistic.

Take yesterday, for example. In a 1 on 1 with my boss, he gave me exactly what I wanted – a real chance. He also didn’t hold back on the reality, which is why I’m worrying up one side and down the other.

In terms of performance, he says I’m getting work done, but people aren’t lined up outside his door demanding my services. He’s not a pimp, rather I’m an internal consultant, who gets to tell people what they’re doing wrong and coaching them to do it better. Sweet job, huh? There’s a downside – after my darling little honeymoon period, I now have to go and drum up my own business. My previous boss had arranged most projects for me herself, but the best ones come from outside the group. However, Mr. New Boss isn’t going to do that for me, because I’ve distinctly changed job types. Once I had a job in which I did what she was told, and just knew how to do everything better than those in charge. Then I was a person who was in charge and told people what to do. Now I’m a person who is NOT in charge, but I’m an expert who must convince people that they need my expertise. Tricky, and definitely new territory for me.

Whatever. Mr. New Boss is also from a different category. It’s the first time I’ve reported to a real Vice President, and he shows me what it’s like in the executive world. Not the perks, dammitall, but the cold sting of reality. You don’t sell yourself? You are in trouble. You also have to make things happen. Right now I was to make changes in a process that touches fully half of the 1500 employees, and the customers as well. All the stakeholders have strong opinions and it’s sensitive. You make a difference, but not one that the higher-ups notice? Tough.

Areas I have to improve are my communicating the need for change and making the initial commitments. Drive the task to closure. Get clarity on deliverables. Be clear about who I’m delivering for. It scares me, because I see the possibility for real failure. Normally I only attempt things I am sure I can do. Most of my life I’ve avoided risk out of fear of being uncomfortable if I fail, and now I step up and volunteer for it.

Well, I whined about it for a while, and ate too much pasta last night. Now I see that I have no choice, because it’s either give up now, or see it through, regardless of the outcome. I’m seeing it through. After a night of spotty sleep, I am moving forward. I finished my first task this morning, judged it “good enough,” and moved on. Now I’m feeling very uncomfortable, because I have to start lining up ducks for my next project. Talk, talk, talk. Lay out the need. Lay out the strategy. Get buy-in. Remind them of the meeting next week and tell them they might be contacted by my boss concerning the project.

Part of me sees thatI have to take action, because the only guaranteed failure is not trying.

Food, you ask? After last night’s heavy meal, I’m back to normal today.  Can’t seem to exercise, though, in spite of the fact that I recognize that exercise helps with this stress.

I need to play some of my “No Regrets” playlist. Favorite songs on that list include:

  • Just one of those things (Louis Armstrong)
  • It’s going to take some time this time (Carpenters)
  • WIld world
  • Wasted on the way
  • My give a damn’s busted
  • I never promised you a rose garden
  • It’s five o’clock somewhere
  • Ain’t my day to care
  • Landslide
  • I hope you dance
  • If you’re going through Hell
  • Here for the Party
  • Who I am

Mmm. Just listing those songs helps. “If I never make it to the big leagues,… ’cause I know exactly who I am.”

Funny how the stress doesn’t really make me want to eat more. Last night was about the content of the food, not the volume. I ate comfort food, and it really stuck to my ribs (mac and cheese and hot dogs).

Even if I do a major bellyflop at work in the next months, it doesn’t lessen my right to be in this world, or my desire to be fully me. Hell, they can’t even easily lay me off. Nice social laws here in Europe. Back to work. Face reality. It’s one more round for experience, and I’m on the road again. I’ll learn how to bend.

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Recovery from child abuse

Sounds horrible, doesn’t it? But it’s not. The abuse I was subjected to as a child was not the unspeakable horror of sexual abuse, nor was it deliberate emotional abuse. Rather, it was beatings, neglect and emotional abuse stemming from my family’s inability to deal with their own lives. It doesn’t make it any less traumatic for me, nor excusable, but it is clearly lesser than things that have happened to others. It’s ironically nice to know that in some aspects of life, I’m “normal.” 🙂

Family is the term I use instead of parents, because my brother was the one most responsible for the physical abuse. More than just occasional fights between siblings, he beat me regularly and painfully. I was definitely his punching bag for many years. My stepfather was alcoholic, my mother compulsive, and my father abandoned me before I was ever born. They provided plenty of emotional abuse.

I’m not falling into a pity party here – this is just part of my recovery. Last night, I dreamed of watching a/my father beating a child. When I woke up, I decided to investigate this dream. Soon it became clear to me that it was about my childhood and I was not acknowledging my pain and need to recover from this. So I started an investigation that led me to this post.

The ASCA (Adult Survivors of Child Abuse, http://www.ascasupport.org/ ) have a nice web site with many good materials. After reading for a while, I have effectively measured my recovery so far, and understand where I currently am with this part of my recovery. I’ve been able to assess my state with the questions in their support materials, and I understand that I have been recovering from this for more than 10 years. I’m clearly at the moving forward stage, and building a thriving life. I don’t feel any need to deeply explore every moment of my past – I’m at peace with what happened to me, and had forgiven my parents a long time ago. My brother I hadn’t, but I do that now freely.

It’s one more step in my personal journey. I no longer have to use food to comfort me against fear that it happened, might happen again, or that someone else might do something similar.  Now THAT knowledge is real comfort.

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Food just has not tasted good today. Normally Saturdays are fresh bread day, and I usually enjoy a fabulous turkey sandwich made with special rolls from a secret recipe from our local bakery.

This week the perfect turkey sandwich didn’t taste so good. I finished it anyway, and figured that the evening’s soup would still be a good balanced eating day, and taste delicious to boot.

In the afternoon we went out for a shopping trip. I don’t know why it’s so hard to find a simple purse. It only has to be dark leather, with some suede trim, can hang on my shoulder or be hand carried, be a little elegant, hold all my stuff and have a bit of style. But we didn’t find it, except maybe one, which cost 100 bucks more than I budgeted.

Look here for one of the bags I like: http://www.ebags.co.uk/bree/novara_large_satchel_handbag/product_detail/index… 

Hugo Boss I like even better, but they’re so pricey I haven’t had the nerve to look up a store except for their outlet store, and there I had no luck. Sigh. So much for giving myself a prompt reward for losing the first 20 pounds.

On the good side, though, we walked for literally hours, so I got some great exercise in. We visited Stuttgart’s Bohnenviertel quarter, then went on to the main shopping drag. It got late enough that we decided to not eat at home, and I had a craving for Pizza Hut which we decided to indulge. Now PH in Germany is not exactly like the US, but they’ve been the best source of pepperoni I’ve found. For the last few years, I’ve enjoyed the occasional visit to PH for a fix of US-style pizza. German pizza is good too, but different, and I love a good spicy pizza sauce.

Well, PH let me down. Since the last time I was there, they changed the menu. They don’t even call pepperoni pepperoni-wurst any more. And the sauce was as bland as any German pizza. That really pissed me off. Two meals today that just pretty much sucked. Geez, if I’m gonna diet, the food that I DO eat ought to at least taste great. Damn.

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Dear Daughter made a right of passage today. She wanted to go visit a friend for a birthday party, three hours away by train. So she made the trip safely, and is now partying with about 70 other older teens.

The interesting part about this in Germany is we were able to sign a form that gives her permission to stay out past 10 p.m. tonight, and put responsibility into either her 18 y.o. friend’s hands, or better yet, his parents’. Included in this of course is the permission to drink. Normally at 15, she can only drink if we provide it to her, but we can order it in restaurants and bars without hesitation. Tonight, someone else can do that. But just tonight – wait til she finds out tomorrow that no one has permission to buy her alcohol. The permit only lasts for 1 night.

We’ve seen her drink responsibly, and we’ve seen her tipsy and a little drunk. She has learned to handle it reasonably well. I’m not so naiive to think that she won’t ever get in trouble or drink too much, but she’s as prepared as we can make her right now.  Now I can do nothing but wait and hope her common sense wins out, because she’s 250 km away and there’s no way I can help if something goes wrong.

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