Friday, September 13, 2013

Hello from my Soap Box

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It all starts in the mind. When we think of losing weight we generally think of two things - food and exercise. Limiting one, expanding the other. But that's not what it's about, it's about our thoughts. What goes on in our head guides everything. I've come to think of my conscious and unconscious thoughts as a radio show that's always on, 24/7, never stops. In fact, there are often multiple stations playing at once, with some blasting out their message at full volume and some whispering in the background.

Sounds a bit hectic but that's the brain for you, firing all the time. Tuning into those stations, starting to pay attention to the content, and changing it to suit my goals, has been the foundation of change that's occurred in my life. And as I changed my mind, I changed my body. I'm feeling a bit soap-boxy at the moment, standing up to shout -

It's not about finding the right diet or the newest ab routine that will "melt belly fat" - it's about what's going on between your ears!

Sure, you have to change your diet. And yes, I do also believe you need to exercise (though that comes in many forms). But if you don't change your thinking, it will feel like a life long battle. And though I still battle from time to time, I'm winning the war. Big time.

All this positive energy despite this week being a bit of a dud on the exercise front. The stomach bug I caught over the weekend lingers, and I've thought it best to get some rest. That's over today. I plan to go to the gym after work, or maybe an outdoor run, and get this body moving. I can feel the pent up energy waiting to get out!!

Last thing, I got on the scale this morning. Maintenance remains, 139.6 pounds. I'm living the dream.

I am a licensed clinical social worker with a private practice offering Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) for weight loss and maintenance. I have an office in Marin County, CA and I'm also available to see people via Skype. To learn more please visit my professional website at  

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Thoughts of a Food Junkie

I Eat

I eat when I'm happy
I eat when I'm sad
I eat when I'm alone
I eat at a party
Food is the problem
Food is the solution
Food is my enemy
Food is a friend
I eat to celebrate
I eat to mourn
I eat when I'm sick
I eat when I'm well
Food is my demon
Food is my salvation

I talk to a lot of people about diet, exercise, fitness and health. And a lot of them want to lose weight. Some want to lose those few extra pounds, 5-20 or 30, some want to lose more. But I've learned that not all of them have the relationship with food that I've had. Not all of them are like me, a food junkie. I know when I'm talking to a non-food junkie because I see a slightly confused look as I describe some of my behaviors. They say things like, "Really? You still do that?" Well, I've changed, quite a bit, but this food thing is a demon that one does not easily expel.

So, a food junkie I am. I've used that term to refer to myself for a number of years now, and I still feel it's true. That's not to say I think I have an addiction, though I meet the basic criteria - to continue to engage in unhealthy behaviors despite negative consequences with failed attempts to change. That's perhaps an oversimplification but by that criteria perhaps you could call my relationship with food addictive in nature.

I suppose in the end it doesn't much matter how it is defined, I merely know it's been an unhealthy relationship for most of my life. I've made great improvements in the past 6+ years since I started this journey but it continues to be a battle, sometimes a daily one, sometimes an hourly one. Sometimes the battle is purely situational - a party where the wine and appetizers seem to be in non-stop supply - and sometimes it's emotional - feeding a feeling I might not even recognize. And by the way, hunger can be satisfied with food. Feelings, however, never get full. If you start out eating in the absence of hunger, and only stop when you feel sick, there's no doubt what that is.

But I also have times of freedom from the battle, when the pull of food is not there and healthy choices come easily, naturally. During these times I feel light and free, whole and alive and perfectly aligned with the world, with my appetite, with food and with my feelings. It's a glorious thing that I nurture and reinforce. I'm grateful for my sometime freedom from the pull of food, despite it not being a constant in my life, to have that experience at all makes the rest manageable.

I meet people sometimes who are still in a dark place with their relationship with food. And I think they think I'm not like them, or that I've got something special that allowed me to do this. No. I'm the real deal, food has practically been my lifelong cross to bear. And no, I'm not special. Well of course I am, but in no different way than all of us are special. I have no more willpower than the next girl, I'm no more hardworking, determined or driven than anyone else. I just did one thing well, I never gave up (and never will, god willing). And there are tons of other women out there never giving up. Problem is, they give up temporarily and by the time they come back to start the fight again they've regained weight, but they aren't giving up forever, not most of them.

Ok, so what's all this introspection about? Easy - I'm a bit sick (ucky GI bug I caught from the kids) and I haven't exercised in two days. My head is taking over and that's not always a good thing. I know I have at least one more day of rest in me, but hopefully come Thursday I can get back to it and burn off some of this angst.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Ms Myra Turns Three!

Can you believe it's been three years already since my little Ms Myra came into the world? She's such a spitfire of energy and enthusiasm for life and people. She's a force to be reckoned with to be sure, I hope she inherited some of that from me.

Welcoming our girl
And here she is today!
We had a party for her and served pizza, fruit, chips, drinks and, of course, cake! I wasn't sure the cake I'd ordered was big enough so I also picked up some red velvet cupcakes.

We had the party at Jack & Jill's, a local kids' playplace, and they all had a great time. All we had to do was bring in the food. I had so much chips and cake, pizza and soda - it was quite a day of eating. And after the party we came home and opened presents with a few friends. I was in a festive mood and opened a bottle of wine to make spritzers. It was super hot outside so we got out the kiddie pool and watched the kids play.

I had more pizza for dinner and after the kids were in bed I got back into the chips, eating a bowl full of Ruffles before the lights went out. I made myself a little promise not to get back into the chips or pizza after yesterday and so far, so good. I'll have Miguel take the chips to work tomorrow just to get them out of the house.

Today I had a plan to meet up with some tri types at Blackie's Pasture in Tiburon for an easy bike ride. I took along my running and swim gear because I wasn't sure what might happen after the ride.

It's another hot day but being close to the water is was a bit cooler, which was nice.

Lee, Lee's Mom, Amber and Gioia
This was Lee's first foray into road riding so we planned to ride the 8 mile Paradise Loop at an easy pace. These are the women with whom I entered the Nike Half-Marathon group entry so it's high time I actually met them in person.

Amber had some tire issues and after dealing with that we hit the road at about 9:30am. Did I mention what a gorgeous day it was?

Gioia and Lee in the background
We did one loop and then Lee had to go. Gioia (pronounced Joy-a), Amber and I set out for another loop. We did the first one in 40 minutes, the second in 35. The only glitch is how much different riding is since my bike fit. I feel like I'm starting my training over again. My legs hurt in all new places, using muscles in a new way. And oh, my lady parts were not happy. Tilting your pelvis forward during a ride means a lot of friction in new areas. Thank goodness Amber had some anti-chafing cream that I put on between loops or I might be too chafed to even pee. TMI? Anyway, after the ride my stomach was growling so I had half of an Accel gel, some banana, and then dipped into Amber and Gioia's food - grapes and potatoes with salt - yum!

Post-bike fuel up
Both of them swear off the energy gels and stick to whole foods. Not a bad idea, though I love the caffeine. Maybe I could do caffeine tabs and whole foods and see how my stomach feels about that? I opted to go on a 30 minute run and then the three of us met up after. Oh, I finally broke down and purchased a TriMore jersey. TriMore was at Blackie's Pasture for the Tri training group I almost joined, they were doing a triple brick - 8 mile ride, 30 minute run, 8 mile ride, 20 minute run, 8 mile ride, 10 minute run. Not feeling sorry to miss out on that!

I'm so official now!
I love the jersey!  After the run the three of us met up at a coffee shop for a snack. I stuck to the peach I'd brought in an attempt to balance out yesterday's food-fest. After some very fun tri/run/life talk with Amber and Gioia I headed home to shower and lunch. I made myself a very healthy turkey sandwich and cooked up some yummy green beans. I'm feeling healthy and alive and so happy to put the pizza, chips, etc behind me. The party was fun, the food was tasty, but that's not my normal, and I'm happy to be back to my normal. It sure feels good! The kids are home from the soccer field now so I have to run. Might be an afternoon coffee kind of day.