Thursday, June 30, 2016

Ups and Downs; Highs and Lows

If you've been reading Randomocity any length of time, you're aware of my emotional struggles with food. My weight is currently in an upward trend, which is terribly upsetting, but not at all surprising. I've discovered the joys of frozen custard this year. I bake cookies every week. We've had a lot of meals on the road. And every once in awhile, life throws the occasional curve balls my way that send me scurrying to the kitchen for comfort. 

Several months ago, I stopped weighing myself. You may think that is inadvisable for someone who is not maintaining a healthy weight, but obsessing about numbers has gotten me exactly nowhere. Our scale is now stored in a vertical position between the cabinet and the toilet, so we can quit tripping over the blasted thing. 

How do I know I'm gaining weight if I don't have a scale to confirm this suspicion? Well, my pants are stretched to capacity. I don't think they can hold one more ounce of me. I've seen the pictures. They don't lie. 

Sigh. And my husband loves me anyway.

Have you ever had that dreadful moment of realization that you  just struggled to zip your roomiest pair of pants, and they look most unflattering, accentuating every pudgy roll? What will you wear now? You can't run out, and buy a whole new wardrobe, so what can you do?

Once you're done hyperventilating, and having your tantrum, you could start to berate yourself. You could hate your body, and your lack of willpower. You could start that latest restrictive fad diet that promises to have you drop four dress sizes in six weeks. You could make yourself run until you feel like you will throw up. 

We could do those things, but let's just not, okay? No more negative self-talk. No more restrictive diets, or punishing ourselves with brutal exercise. No more treating ourselves like the enemy.

What can you do in the meantime? You don't have any pants that fit, and society requires clothing in public. I will tell you what I did.

I took some deep breaths. (Breathing seriously helps.) Then I peeled my pants off, and hung them in the closet. I went in search of my comfy dress; maybe you have one, too. Mine's soft and flowy, and I feel like less of a cow when I wear it. I did my hair and makeup. And then I told myself that finishing off Chuck's cookies in the freezer wasn't the answer. (For more tips to avoid a binge, look HERE. I am not an expert, and I look to them for advice.) And I began the difficult task of working through some deep emotional stuff.

Here are some questions I have had to ask myself:

1. What am I really hungry for? (It's not food. I could eat a whole package of Oreos and a pint of ice cream, and still feel "hungry." What is the non-food thing that I am really craving? It might be connecting with loved ones, pampering myself, soothing music, walking outdoors in nature, talking things out with a trusted friend, or any number of things that would make me feel comforted. I have to remember that food will never feed the emotional hunger.)

2. What triggers make me want to eat? (For me, boredom is a big one. So are anxiety and sadness, and dealing with confrontation.)

3. How can I practice self-care in a way that will nourish my spirit, and feed my heart? (When I start each day with my morning routine, I always have a better day. I try to listen to beautiful instrumentals when I'm reading and writing, and upbeat songs with lyrics while I'm doing housework and relaxing. Making connections with others helps me stay grounded. When I take time to be outdoors, my spirits are lifted. Spending quality time with my husband is something my heart needs. For other ideas of things to do instead of feeding emotions with food, read HERE.)

When I zipped up my favorite denim capris a couple weeks ago, I promised myself that "TODAY is the tightest they will ever feel. From here on out, they're going to be getting looser." That's a pretty bold promise, which I will admit I had to re-state the day the came out of the laundry. "THIS today is the tightest they will ever feel." Nothing as tight as freshly washed jeans after a weight gain. It's such an unending process.

Ever since our wedding, my husband  has encouraged me to enjoy my retirement, to live fully and completely. I have only recently realized just how small I've been living my life. I told Chuck I finally decided that sitting on the couch, mowing the lawn, and keeping the house clean are no longer enough for me. He just smiled. Some of us are slow learners, and he is happy to see me catching the vision of what my life could be.

I'm happy to say that for the last couple weeks, I've been on an emotional high as I've been exploring the forests near us each morning. I made a goal to get out, and be a better friend. I enjoyed coffee and conversation with a new friend yesterday, and spent a wonderful morning photographing flowers with a friend I met a year ago. We have extended invitations to friends for a cookout. I'm trying.

Yesterday, I called Chuck. "I have some moderately good news. But first, do you know what a muffin top is?" He loves blueberry muffins, and I didn't want him to get confused.

"You mean the muffin top that involves jeans?" I didn't think he'd know; he's so tall and lean.

"Well, my muffin top is getting a little smaller. I don't know how much I weigh, but I know my capris fit much better this week!"

"That's great, Honey!"

He celebrated my little success with me, and I know he'll be there to bolster me up on days that are not as full of good news. 

This will not be an easy road; it never has been, but I'm encouraged by the new things I'm learning, and the friends I've met, and the new things I'm trying. Life will always have its ups and downs. Chuck smiles with me through the highs, and bolsters me up through the lows. With him by my side, I will figure this out. 


  1. I love this, Denise! I am also struggling with food and my weight. Sometimes, it gets the better of me. But, I don't want my struggle to define me. We can be weighed down in more ways than one. Right?

    1. Thank you, Susan. No, the struggle need not define us or our lives. It is only one small part, and such a small part doesn't deserve to weigh us down so much. I just want to make peace with food, and live in peace.

  2. Oh Denise,
    We just might share the same mind, body and frustrations. Midway through your post, I was talking to your words saying, "Get some comfy dresses, girl!" and then right there - you did! Yay!! I have entire weeks that are just dresses and leggings with long tops (that look like dresses) until my body's hormones decide it doesn't want to eat so much and my jeans feel friendly again. What did I ever do before jeans with Lycra in them??? They are so forgiving! The 50's have brought on this new weight to places I did not have issues with before and it is a hard adjustment for me. Like you, working on acceptance and positive self talk is high priority without letting it all get away from me. Thank you for your honesty in your words. :-)

    1. Thank you, Shari, for your words of affirmation. I appreciate your sharing your experience here.

  3. This is such important work--not the getting into the capris part, but the deep down depths-of-your-soul part. So many of us struggle, and you are not alone. But I love to see you being victorious in the small battles. How encouraging that is.

    1. Crystal, my challenge is to remember what's important. I think the next thing I need to understand is that my value is not based upon which pants fit best. My brain knows that; my heart is slower to accept that. Thank you for your encouragement.

  4. All I can say, after looking at your main photo, is "mmmm...scones...!" But I like the question "what am I really hungry for?" What is it that I'm really wanting or missing?

    1. I am going to have to ask myself that question often as I try to redirect my thoughts. I have years and years of bad habits, like wandering into the kitchen a bazillion times a day. Thanks for checking in, Ros. Happy Summer to you!

  5. Your questions are great, and so important. I have lost 15 pounds since my femur fracture in January (yeah!). Some of it was helped by not eating much during my 4 weeks in the hospital/rehabilitation hospital. Some of it was helped by my increased exercise regime (3 hours of PT and OT each day helped!). But I know I just can't consume unlimited calories without consequences.

    I know you can be healthy as you discover your new routine!

    1. Way to go, YOU! I haven't lost an ounce, according to my pants, but I do think I'm making some headway in the head department. Thanks for reading, Denise D!

  6. I made a goal to get out, and be a better friend.

    Isn't this the truth! It's the snacking that does me in. Several years ago I traveled with a friend, and we ate every meal out for over a week. It was wonderful, but I was afraid that my weight would skyrocket. Ah, but we did not snack. And I gained nary a pound.

    And when do I snack? When I am inside, alone. So you're right, get out and experience life. Have coffee, walk the neighborhood, take the laptop to a shady spot.

    1. I need to try some of your suggestions! Thank you.


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