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Archive for October, 2007

Lars and the Real Girl

Suspension of disbelief – this is one thing I am really good at. Lars is even better. While I spent my childhood pretending my miserable world wasn’t so miserable, Lars found a way to do the same as an adult, and find his way out the other side.  Sweet movie, and well worth catching while in the theaters.

Suspension of disbelief is hard to do sometimes, but you don’t even notice you do it at other times. I willingly suspended disbelief when I made up a reason to apply for that last job, because I chose to believe it was set up for success. Contrarily, I also choose to ignore good news on occasion. Last week I sat in a Vice President’s office with my boss, and it was only when I heard them both say, in unison, “Don’t be so negative,” that I realized I was thinking negatively about something that didn’t deserve it.

What a friggin’ wakeup call – to hear the two people in the company upon whom I am most dependent for raises and interesting opportunities tell me to think more positively. I’m taking this feedback seriously, although this is one of those moments in which I wish I found Avoidance by Twinkie more attractive.

Still on my business trip, I’m finding it easy to choose to eat only the best, but hard to stop at normally full. That’s not quite true, I suppose it’s more that I eat a bit, then will eat again before I’m strongly hungry. It’s not a problem (I can stop any time I like – LOL) but I have noticed it.  Two more days of work, then a day’s travel and I’m back home.

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When I recognized that diets would not solve my ED, I felt anxiety. Anxiety over everything was actually the core of my problem, because eating was the only solution I knew.

Slowly I began to learn new techniques, but the most important thought change I made was to be willing to accept even the smallest attempt as an improvement. Being able to sit with my feelings for even a minute was a great step forward.

Now I am much more proactive, and I often can say, “I don’t want to eat over this. What else do I choose to do?” and can actually do something else.

It’s helping now, with the first long business trip I’ve made in several months. I’m feeling quite confident, and less dependent of food than ever. I used to take a second suitcase to stock up on foods that I and my daughter felt we “needed” to have, but now I take just one, and plan to buy only a small quantity of things Dear Daughter has asked for. I neither feel the need for things for me, nor to stock up heavily for her.

Even restaurants don’t have the draw they used to. At first I was craving a chinese chicken salad, but once I realized I could make it myself, I did. Craving satisfied, and there’s no need to get all excited about finding a good restaurant with the “perfect” salad. I even pulled some chocolate chip cookie dough and made just a perfect portion of cookies to take with me on the airplane, so there’s no annoying “eat it because it’s all you have” feeling. My cravings list is now reduced to cottage cheese, cantaloupe and fresh California veggies.

I like feeling more peaceful.

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How to Love Your Body

Great post from Feministing: Ten Things You an Do Right Now to Love your Body. I love it! And I’m glad I’m doing these things.

Here are some more of my very own.

  1. Stop doing things that hurt.
  2. Sing out loud. Sing out long.
  3. Learn to tell yourself “enough.” And mean it.
  4. Create things that you think are beautiful. Keep them.
  5. Find 10 soings that inspire you. Listen every day.
  6. Hug something that makes you feel better, whether it’s a person, pet, or pillow.
  7. Let yourself weep for joy.
  8. Write down 10 favorite quotes
  9. Make a meal for yourself, with perfect portions of the right foods.
  10. Smile at yourself every time your see your reflection.

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My miserable Monday ended on a tired note, but I’ve taken action to do things that are highly comforting.

It was a hard day at work, and I left late and exhausted. At home, a small glass of wine, covering up in my favorite blanket and curling up in a semi-fetal position all felt good. I even tried sucking my thumb, but it only felt good for about 15 seconds.

Then I rolled out the big guns. A toasted cheese and turkey sandwich for dinner, accompanied by Pride and Prejudice on DVD. Aaahhhhh.

Even my DD had a hard day. She called downstairs (yes, we are THAT lazy) and asked her daddy to go buy some favorite junk foods. He did, because she asked so nicely. Two kinds of ice cream, potato chips and little cakes. I decided to bake some frozen cookie dough so I have a few cookies to take on my flight tomorrow. I’m off to the US on a business trip, about a week in California.

This trip is different. I have far fewer “musts” when I get there: fewer foods to eat, fewer items to buy, fewer experiences to have. I’m even thinking about leaving my small suitcase at home, and not buying so much. We’ll see.

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Twenty minutes at work, and already I’ve given in to a pity party. There’s a whole pile of crap inside my head that I haven’t moved past yet, and it makes me sick to my stomach.

I’ve quickly turned on my upbeat music and that’s the only thing that’s helped since yesterday evening. Song 1: Don’t Worry About a Thing from SheDaisy, Song 2: Beautiful from Christina Aguilera. The tenseness in my stomach is relaxing.

I got upset over email, even though there’s nothing in it that’s disturbing. Last night I went through a bunch of photos from the past 5 years, trying to validate that my weight loss was visible. I could not see it, but it’s 50 pounds, for God’s sake! It ought to be visible.

Song 3: That’s Life from Michael Buble.

My excess weight once served me very well. It was protection and comfort rolled into one. Now it’s absolutely in the way of what I want. Fine, it’s coming off, but I’m greedy in wanting more loss faster. There’s only one way to come to that point, and that is to get my mind to take off another layer of whatever it is that keeps me eating enough to lose only slowly.

It’s remarkable how much other people are affected by your looks. Just looking “normal” makes you more accessible, and people judge you less. I believe I’ll upgrade my wardrobe a little to fit in wardrobe-wise, even if I’m larger than most.

I’m sensitive to feeling judged lately, because I had a meeting with someone who was just full of intense anger about the fact that I am better at his job than he is. Funny how people (me included) can become defensive in situations like that. I just sat in that meeting and listened, challenging him only when I felt I needed to. Looking back on the conversation, I see that he took every criticism I made very personally, telling me it was impossible to do the things I know are both possible and necessary. Poor guy, I pity him to some extent. He took my plan to improve things as an attack, and didn’t hear a word. Maybe he’ll turn around in a few months. Maybe not. That’s his problem. I’ve currently written his department off in terms of my helping them get better (a big part of my job).

I also get these crappy feelings when I don’t know how to do something, and this one’s important in terms of how much raise I get in February. I have to be able to verbalize my achievements but I have a hugely hard time claiming “I did x” when I didn’t do it all the way alone. I’m at the point this year where I’m just going to accept a lower raise and work on improving this skill next year.

Song 6: Enough is Enough, Barbra Streisand and Donna Summer.

Back to work.

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My emotions around my not getting the job have stayed the same as my last post. I’m totally happy that  I didn’t get it. I own my mistakes, which include interviewing badly and not choosing properly before applying. And I’m perfectly content to move on.

Eating is one of the surest signs of moments in which I am not true to myself. My eating has been great, with no binges, no diet thoughts, no useless self-criticism. I’ve even had good experiences in stopping obsessive thinking and choosing to get on with life. Feels good.

I’ve been enjoying not sticking to any regular schedule of eating, but rather paying attention to hunger and fullness. Jon Stewart just had a good quote that represents me fairly at the moment: “I don’t spend any time thinking about what I am or what we do means. I spend my time doing it. … I focus on the task and trying to do it as best we can.”

Good advice.

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Quite frankly, I’m stunned. I still fully expect to have an emotional release (i.e. tears) sometime soon, but I just finished a feedback interview from the hiring manager. Actually we finished the discussion about an hour ago, so I’ve had some coming-down time already, which I spent drinking coffee with DH.

Hiring manager gave me good feedback. He also gave me bad feedback. But mostly he gave me enough information to realize that I had made quite a few errors in judgement. Mostly I misjudged how happy I would be in that job. I was counting on being well-aligned with him, and his manager supporting the strategy. Turns out neither is true. The upper manager, who I thought supported the strategy, actually gave the hiring manager a head count reduction year over year. When I did the job, I increased head count and had a workable vision to make it a competitive differentiator.

There was also a BIG difference in job interviewing between what I knew in the States and what hiring manager expected. Here, he fully expected me to cross what I describe as the line between bragging and modesty. He flat out expected bragging. Turns out, his style (and maybe German professionals in general?) is that you go into the interview, review your resume/cv, and check off the list of qualifications. Then the next step is to present your vision for the group and what you would do if you were driving the strategy. That floored me. I was bending over backwards to show teamwork and modestly display my leadership. Totally wrong manuever.

The hiring manager is also not nearly as interested in achieving in this job as I assumed he was. I couldn’t believe how much I projected my enthusiasm for the job onto both hiring manager and his boss. The facts are that boss has always “supported” the function, but has never had success with it. The hiring manager took this job because it was the first one he was offered after he was told his previous department would be dissolved. He expects to be over in sales somewhere within 3 years, which is not enough time to do what really needs to be done to be successful.

This was totally my mistake. If I had made that level of judgement in gambling, I would have lost a bunch of money.
Oddly enough, I see strong parallels between this job hunt and my ED. I put myself into an agonizing position based on faulty information, and just got lucky enough to not get stuck. That reminds me of the many years I ate to compensate for every emotion, without ever realizing the trap I’d built for myself.

Every day I go forward learning how to treat food normally. Now I also know much more about how to go forward in my current job and make it awesomely more fun and successful. It’s the same learning, and requires the same fixes:

  1.  One step at a time, I learn what I should do differently
  2. I start practicing the ways to do things better
  3. Let go of things I don’t need any more
  4. I recognize my progress and keep encouraging myself

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