Things I Have Not Forgotten

My mom says I have a habit of reminding her of her parenting failures. The conversation often starts with a “Mom, remember when…” and ends with something she did that in hindsight she perceives as not good parenting. Like, remember when I was six and I asked you if Santa was real and you said no? Or, remember when you used to wake us up to the song Rise and Shine, but instead of ending it with “Children of the Lord” you ended it with “Children of the Corn”? Remember when I was eight and you read us The Giver and the father killed that baby in it and said “Bye bye little guy!” as he put him in the garbage chute? My mom hears these stories and thinks of her failures, but I don’t see them that way at all. I keep telling the stories because I think they’re funny, they make my childhood colorful, and they’re part of what makes me who I am today. The Santa story taught me that I don’t need a fantastical, magical figure to enjoy Christmas and it made me appreciate what my parents went through to get gifts for me. I still sing the “Children of the Corn” song and chuckle, but when I was little I didn’t get the reference, I just thought that was how the song ended. It’s one of those quirky family traditions. And although The Giver was a little intense, having my mom read to me and my brother as children fostered my love of reading both fiction and nonfiction.

None of these stories hurt me, none of them haunt me or make me feel like I had a bad childhood. All things considered, I had a pretty great childhood. I was fed, I was clothed, I was loved and I was happy. But every parent knows (even the really good ones) that they fuck their kids up in some way, despite the best of intentions. And I remember those moments too, those moments when the adults around me inadvertently cemented in me this idea that my worth is connected to my body. Since I’ve been fat since I was child, I have had plenty of adults in my life tell me in different ways that my body is too much. I was not often offered any fixes– I’ve heard lots of stories of women who were put on diets when they were children, and my parents never did that to me. I don’t really remember them helping me with my weight at all. It was made pretty clear to me that it was my problem. Continue reading

I Might be Afraid of Therapy

Do I need therapy? I don’t know.

In many ways I’m feeling really great and my life is going really well– my marriage feels solid, we’ve made a lot of financial goals that we’re either meeting or on track to meet, I’m feeling relatively stable at work so I’m not feeling like i’m moments away from getting fired (and therefore moments away from poverty). I’ve been feeling many moments of pride over being able to save my money and I’m beginning to relax about money because I feel like we’re being more fiscally responsible and we’re able to plan for our future! It’s a little overwhelming to think that in the last year we’ve gone from living paycheck to paycheck to planning on having a kid (!!!) next year because holy cow we can actually afford one! We’ve been talking about getting a car because WE CAN AFFORD ONE. We’ve been talking about renting a new apartment because WE CAN AFFORD IT. And we want it!

So to recap– my marriage, my finances, my work life (and most of my relationships in general) are great. I’m feeling super stable.

AND YET….. Continue reading

The Scale Monster

I’m really trying to stay away from the scale for awhile. I feel like when I wake up and decide not to weigh myself, my whole day is just so much better, I feel like I’m a good person and that I am worthy of love, I just feel like I’m enough for the world and so I walk through my day more confident and less concerned about how I look and how people perceive me.

When I do weigh myself (and it’s always in the morning) my day usually ends up being a shit show. If I’ve lost weight I’m happy for like 30 seconds, and then the rest of my day is spent obsessing on how much I think I should be able to lose by the next weigh in. I start to think, should I weigh myself tomorrow? How much weight can I lose in a day? Should I eat *insert snack here* or is it too many calories? Will it make me gain weight? Is it too many carbs? Suddenly everything I do I think about in relation to weight loss. Instead of walking around the building to stretch my legs, it’s to get more steps in because that might make me lose more weight. Instead of drinking water because I’m feeling dehydrated, it’s avoiding drinking water because of my fear of water weight, or drinking a bunch instead of eating food so I don’t have to worry about calories. I freak out about gaining the weight back, so I restrict my food which either leads to me feeling faint or drives me right into binge territory and it takes me weeks to get out of the restrict/binge cycle. If I’ve gained weight, I’m instantly depressed and hyper-critical of myself for the rest of the day. Of course I’ve gained weight, because I’m lazy and stupid and ugly and I will never be thin because I’m worthless. I obsess over the things I ate the day before, trying to pinpoint the meal or snack that put me over the edge (knowing full well that’s not how it works). I go to the bathroom and look at myself in the mirror, criticizing all the parts of me I hate, lamenting because I’m not where I think I’m supposed to be weight-wise and wondering if everyone else sees my failure like I do. I basically have a day long internal meltdown, I’m sent into this shame spiral and the only thing I can really think about is how much I suck.

I think the biggest difference between weighing vs. not weighing is that when I stop focusing on the scale, I approach my own health so differently. I’m more relaxed, I’m kinder to myself and I brush off mistakes way better than I do when I’ve weighed myself. I won’t hate myself if I eat my favorite larabar and I won’t drink mug after mug of lax tea or “weight loss tea” (which just makes you pee more) to compensate for eating too much of something. And if I eat too much, I don’t get as upset. I don’t hate myself for being hungry (physically or emotionally/mentally), I just resolve to make a different decision next time. When I get sucked into the number on the scale, I expect myself to be some warped idea of the perfect woman– someone who doesn’t need to eat, someone who has the power to resist temptation and who loses weight effortlessly, whose weight never fluctuates for reasons outside of her control, who is constantly successful. When I stay away from the scale, I get to be a fucking human being in recovery. I get to make mistakes, I get to try and fail, I get to be gentle with myself, and I get to revel in my successes because I can see how far I’ve come. When I’m on the scale I’m just a number. When I’m off the scale, I get to be Ndeya.

9 Months Post-0p

It’s been nine months since I had bariatric surgery. Time is just flying by!

Things that have changed since surgery:

  • I’m several dress sizes smaller. I have no idea what my pants size is because I no longer wear pants, but I imagine I’ve gone down a few pants sizes as well.
  • my hair is thinner–  this is a side effect of surgery and will hopefully go away, and I’ve been taking biotin to support hair growth. I think it’s working, I’m slowly starting to see some baby hairs growing. Hopefully this continues and I get all my hair back!
  • My shoes are too big. I didn’t really notice until about two weeks ago, but my feet have gotten smaller since surgery. I’m guessing that I’m down at least a half size, but more likely a full size. However, my feet are still wide so they will forever look weird in flats. *cries until the end of time*
  • I’ve eliminated gluten and dairy from my diet (which we’ve already talked about in previous posts).
  • I’m more tired AND I have more energy. I know that doesn’t really make sense but let me explain! Firstly, I get tired very easily doing simple things, like standing too long while taking a shower, or standing on Bart to or from work. I think it’s the combination of dehydration plus heat that makes me very faint (I’m still struggling to get enough water in postop). However, I have more energy to do things like climb flights of stairs to my office or go on hour-long walks with Kourtney or work out at home. So I’m both more tired and I have more energy.

Times for Prayer

I have a ritual for when I travel by plane. I’m usually pretty relaxed as I’m waiting in the airport (I’m always 2 hours early even though I know an hour would probably suffice), and I’ll eat a snack or watch a movie on Netflix, chat with my wife or play the ABC game (My name is Alice, my wife’s name is Arlene, we live in Albany and we like to eat Almonds!). I wait patiently to board, hand the attendant my ticket, find a good seat and get comfortable. And then before we take off, before we’re asked to put our phones in airplane mode, before the attendants go over the safety procedures, I clothes my eyes and I pray. I pray to whoever is listening, whoever is out there keeping watch. I pray for a safe flight and a peaceful vacation. I pray for my family, that they stay safe while we’re apart, and I pray that we all are blessed with long and meaningful lives. I know that it might not change anything and that even with my prayer we could still crash or someone in my family could get hurt while I’m away, but I don’t feel safe on a plane if I don’t do this ritual before we take off.

Prayer helps to reduce my anxiety. It’s like, if I push my fears and my hopes out into the universe that maybe the Divine will hear it and maybe decide I’m worth saving or protecting. Or maybe if I pray for courage or wisdom or patience that by simply putting that out in the universe I will be more mindful and remember patience when I’m stressed or courage when I’m scared. Sometimes I pray for answers, like when I first started to realize my senior year that I had a crush on Kourtney and I didn’t know what to do about it. I prayed for months and was looking for a certain answer that I never got. I was certain that the answer to my prayers would be stay where you are, what you’re feeling isn’t real. But every time, the answer I got was Go! This is your chance! Do not squander my gift to you. It took me awhile to really receive that message and take it to heart. Nine years later and we’re married and getting ready to start a family. But I’m not always looking for the Divine to give me an answer to a question– most of the time I ask for peace or protection. There have been many times when I’ve been suddenly very anxious about dying, usually right before I fall asleep, and I feel the panic begin to rise within me. When I was little I used to get out of bed and knock on my parent’s bedroom door, crying about death and what ifs and my parents would tell me that when we die we go to heaven. I would be skeptical but would accept this answer because all I really needed was assurance that death wasn’t scary so I could fall asleep peacefully. I still get panicked about death as an adult but instead of calling up my parents I pray. My prayer is simple: Please god, don’t let me die scared, and don’t let me die alone.

And believe it or not, it makes me feel better.

2017 Resolutions

Every year around this time I make a long list of resolutions for the following year. Sometimes I make a long list (like I did on my previous blog for 2012), and sometimes it’s just one thing (this year it was saving 10k by January 1 2017). I don’t really have a middle ground, it’s one thing or all the things! Anyway, I figured this year I’d do another resolutions list, shorter than the one in 2012 but with what I consider pretty big goals. Here’s the list:

  1. Eliminate credit card debt by December 31
  2. Eliminate refined sugars from my diet
  3. IF I can maintain my protein goals, become a vegetarian
  4. Get pregnant
  5. Only weigh myself ONCE a week
  6. Convert to Judaism (just do it already!)

 

I’ve already begun working on the first two– watching my credit score improve as my debt decreases has been quite exciting for me, and I’m slowly craving sugar less and less so I think the transition will be easier than I thought– but the rest all begin on January 1. I’ll keep this blog up to date on my progress. I might also add some additional resolutions before January rolls around. We’ll see!