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Archive for September, 2007

I love the name Frances

I hate the color “coral”

I love the fact that in 20 years of marriage my husband has never been able to fix me. Yet he’s still here.

I love Bahlsen Ohne Gleichen wafer cookies with dark chocolate.

I love putting the package away half-finished.

I hate that my German keyboard isn’t listening to me when I try to change back to English.

Oops. That was a hate, not a love.

Double oops. I already had a hate. This is not love love love, it’s love hate love love love hate oops oops.

I love my waterbed and am going to find it now.

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A hundred times a day a voice in my head has a silent message: “I expect you to do it right, always get what you want, and not burden anyone else while doing it.”

That’s a harsh voice. It’s also expecting the impossible. I don’t like to call it perfectionism, although that’s a fair label. I also don’t like to call it by a name, like I did a week or so ago. It’s simply a habit I want to change.

Changing habits is harder when you don’t have an actionable thought to change. I can tell if this bizarre silent message has occurred because I find myself obsessing over something that I can’t take action on. Here are some examples from today:

  • I want the job I’ve applied for, but the interview isn’t for a couple of weeks and I’m already as prepared as I can possibly be. Yet I keep thinking about it. What if I get it? What if I don’t?
  • Choosing the right amount of “full” for any particular meal.
  • Walking down the hallway, with my hefty hips jiggling
  • Expressing the “right” thoughts in a meeting

Time to work the other direction. Here’s what I can say instead of those thoughts:

  • I’m prepared enough, and it will either happen or not happen. It’s better to go do something else than to keep thinking about the possible new job
  • Full varies from meal to meal. A meal already eaten is over, and there’s no way to do it “right” but rather “good enough.”
  • As I walk, I can remind myself of the strength and flexibility I’m building when I take stairways and go swimming
  • Most meetings should be held as quickly as possible and kept as short as possible. It makes more sense to f
  • follow up if something gets missed.

I’ll practice “well enough” in my positives for today, to build up expertise:

  1. I ate well enough at lunch, in both portion size and food choice
  2. I have thought through this interview well enough and am prepared enough
  3. I wrote a presentation today that’s good enough
  4. I’ve used my time today wisely enough
  5. I’ve taken stairs enthusiastically enough today

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My moods can swing up and down. What I’ve been noticing lately is that they go down more often on days when I do not exercise or write a blog entry. There are those days when there just doesn’t seem time for anything like that, and it can show up in my eating.

At lunch today, I ate more than I planned for dessert. About half of a tiny cup of ice cream was the right portion, but I finished all that I did not put into my husband’s coffee. As we walked back to work, I realized that the smaller portion would have felt better. That’s when I also realized that these things happen more often when I don’t exercise or write. My guess is that I need to do something about every 20 hours or so. That shouldn’t be any problem, since I can write at any time, and it doesn’t take more than a minute to jump up and jog in place a bit.

There seem to be 3 areas that need caretaking in order to keep yourself feeling physically fit:

  1. Flexibility
  2. Aerobic stamina
  3. Strength

When I have all three, I feel powerful.

My positives:

  1. I planned to work last night, but was too tired, so I honored that feeling and slept.
  2. My scale is out of juice, so I’m living without weighing in, and it’s not too bad
  3. I had fun exercising last Sunday
  4. My stamina is increasing
  5. Some of my muscles feel hard like steel. Cool.

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Anybody want some goals? My semi-monthly goals have been hardly used this month. Instead I did great work on portion control and experienced new levels of satisfaction and peace with food.

Yesterday I noticed that I ate more than I’ve been eating recently, but didn’t have any particular reason to do so.  Today I’m back to normal, actually got that way last night, and I’m glad.

When I noticed that I was active, but wasn’t having any fun, I realized that must change. For the rest of the day I specifically chose to stop and enjoy whatever I was doing. It changed my day, and my eating habits.

Today I enjoyed my aquajogging in a different way. I’m starting to build some habits, and the first 20 minutes or so has a nice pattern. At each side of the first laps, I do 25 water jumping jacks. There are 2 types of jumping jacks I do, and I do 100 of each type with a lap after each set of 25.  Then I have some freeform and go til I’m done.

Today I pushed hard for power, really exercising my muscles. In order to clear my brain about a work problem I currently have, I said, “enough is enough” and focused on my muscles. It worked.

My positives:

  1. I’m proud of the energy I expended to build strength today
  2. It’s good to learn how to break back into conscious eating
  3. I’m getting my house in shape
  4. Some chores are becoming second-nature
  5. My ability to separate work concerns from everyday life is increasing

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After that few days, I began to wonder if my portion sizes would stay so small. Today I notice that they are pretty much back to normal. Yesterday I ate quite normally at lunch, and when we went out to dinner, I cleaned my plate. Today has been much the same, and I am most satisfied with a “full” feeling, rather than my recent “just not hungry anymore” feeling. Both are ok.

I did eat a pile of chocolate yesterday, a reaction to DH’s taking the last of my new favorite chocolate. Read more about that and the chocolate on my chocolate blog here.

My positives:

  1. I loved getting comfortable with the lower level of eating. It didn’t feel bad at all, and I didn’t have the panic I once had at not feeling fuller.
  2. I’m coping with stress quite well lately, both work and home.
  3. This morning I realized I was doing things but not having fun. So I chose to start enjoying, and it made a big difference.
  4. Sleeping is fun.
  5. So is playing harp.

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The Relativity of Hunger

I’m hungry! Or I’m not. Have you ever noticed that you think you’re hungry, but when you eat, you are satisfied with so little that it makes you wonder if you were hungry at all?

What I’m finding out now is that hunger is very relative. Over the last few years, I cut portion sizes and always noticed that my hunger balances out to maatch up with the portion size. Now I’ve cut down to quite small portions and I get hungry, but it’s not really that bad a hunger. Often I find that I can just remind myself that I’m still eating plenty of food to sustain my body, so it’s not like I have to eat. Also I’m generally involved in doing something, so I occasionally find food to be a bit of an intrusion.

Now I see how people with anorexia manage to reduce portions to life-threatening levels. One bite at a time. A person decides, “I don’t really need to eat that last bit,” and the last bit becomes ever larger until the first bits are also last bits.

After 40 years of overeating, I don’t expect anorexia to ever be a problem for me, but I am paying attention to the compulsion. The compulsion that drove me to overeat is the same type of compulsion that drives others to undereat or overexercise.

Dangerous. That’s why the focus has to be on healing the compulsion, not on the food.

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I’m experimenting with portion sizes at the moment. Right now, I’m not sure how little food satisfies me, so I waited for breakfast this morning until I knew I had to eat something. Then I ate one Ritz cracker.

That went into me like a puff of smoke. The only impact it had on my hunger was about 30 seconds of chewing, swallowing and feeling it enter my stomach. Then I went to shower and knew I’d want to eat something else later after I was ready for work.

When I went downstairs, I went all the way down to the basement to look in the pantry as well as change the laundry. There’s a ton of food in our pantry, and we’re actually trying to eat some of it down. Looking around, I noticed how much chocolate was there, next to the staples like flour and sugar. But I didn’t want chocolate, I wanted fruit.

It didn’t matter much which fruit I chose, so I grabbed a can of peaches. After I got back to the kitchen, I discovered that pineapple was already open, so I ate that instead. Actually, I didn’t even eat more than about half a cup. And that was breakfast.

I chose that portion size because it ended hunger without stuffing me, and I knew I wanted to enjoy my lunch, which was a pasta dish. The end result? I got busy at work and that portion size held me nicely til lunch.

Lunch was deliberately larger, but I chose to balance the pasta and meat with a salad. Lately I’ve moved to basalmic dressing instead of a creamy salad dressing, and haven’t missed it, like I expected I would.

No plans for dinner tonight, but if I can skip it, I will. Skipping dinner is another experience I’d like to try.

My positives:

  1. My dreams are pretty cool. Today I dreamed of guys softly crashing tiny planes onto a highway. I stopped my car and took a La-Z-Boy chair further along Highway I-75.
  2. I had a great work attitude this morning, and can sense that it will continue this afternoon.
  3. I feel strong, even in my legs
  4. Ethan Hawke just said, “Follow your bliss,” and that sounds like a pretty good philosophy to me
  5. I’d still like to write a screenplay. Maybe planes will crash-land onto a highway.

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