Sunday, July 29, 2012

18 weeks pregnant and thinking thinking thinking

There's nothing much to share right now.  I spend much of my time these days thinking about the future, including how I want to tackle weight loss, weight maintenance, household cooking duties, and so on once the baby arrives.  One thing I'm trying to come to terms with is that I will have to invest much more time into meal planning, exercising, etc. than I do now if I want to achieve the results I desire.  And by results, I don't just mean a certain pants size -- I mean providing my child with a certain example, providing my family with a certain level of care.  I'm about to have unprecedented demands on my time due to the new baby, and simultaneously realizing I need to invest more time on this other front in order to progress further with it.  It's all a bit nerve-wracking, but I have to get real.

I lost the few pounds I had gained recently, and am back to 245.  It was nothing I did on purpose; those few pounds suddenly vanished over a 2 day period, though I had not changed my eating in any way.

It was just about a year ago that I joined a gym, started experimenting with a blog (first on Tumblr, then here), and decided to try to lose weight yet again. My weight at that time was 275.  In the 12 months that I've lost 30 pounds, there were weeks and months in which I gave up trying to reform my ways.  My binge eating only calmed down in January-February 2012.  My exercising has been terribly inconsistent throughout the twelve months.  And I've been pregnant for about 4 of the 12 months!  What a strange year!  Yet here I sit, in a better physical and mental place than I was a year ago.  My takeaway from this is that the whole "progress, not perfection" mentality really does get you somewhere if you give it some time.

It might take me another year to lose another 30 pounds.  After all, the next twelve months will involve the final 20 weeks of pregnancy, it will (hopefully) involve breastfeeding, it will involve a major life adjustment.  I can't accurately predict how each of those things will affect my body and mind, but I do think that shedding 30 more pounds amid all that would be a triumph.  So here's to another good 12 months!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

16 weeks pregnant and pondering spirituality

I've had lots of stress lately--plumbing problems, financial stuff, relationship stuff.  I have managed to keep abstaining from sweets during this bout of stress, but it's not easy.  The stress triggers urges to give in and have something so I can feel pleasure, escape, relax (and make the urges themselves go away--the biggest and most immediate drive behind this whole cycle).  Pleasure and comfort are in very short supply these days without my favorite junk foods.

Every option seems difficult.  I outlined it in my last post.  Eating sweets moderately is difficult and requires a lot of energy and willpower.  Abstaining from them is difficult.  Binging and overeating are difficult ways to live too, for different reasons.  All of these options are difficult, but some of them lead to worse outcomes than the others, so I have to make my choice with that in mind.

Sometimes I wish there was brain surgery available that could remove or "wipe clean" the neural pathways that make sugar, binging, and food such a big freaking deal to me.  Because rewiring my brain through hundreds of daily decisions and actions is so damn hard.  Often I feel like I'm not making any progress and then I start to doubt whether lasting change is even possible.  I believe I can change my behavior, sure, but will the incessant whining in my head for MORE MORE MORE ever cease?  I wonder if I will be white-knuckling it to the grave, alternating between sheer willpower and mindfulness practices to get through my days without overeating or eating lots of sugary junk.  Both willpower and mindfulness take a ton of energy and effort, at least for me, so I question the sustainability of that.

IF the mindfulness stuff becomes more like second nature, though, MAYBE things will get a bit easier.  I found a Thursday night insight meditation group in my area and attended the meeting last week.  I really liked it.  I've been meditating on my own (inconsistently) and reading extensively on the topic of Buddhism for months now, sorting through different schools, ideas, and practices so I can piece together something that works for me.  I think I've rejected more aspects of Buddhism  than I've embraced; I'm not one for orthodoxy or pre-scientific nonsense and feel no need to  become more aligned with irrelevant Tibetan/Japanese/Sri Lankan/(fill in the blank) cultural trappings.  I'm a secular westerner that's influenced by Buddhism rather than a Buddhist influenced by secular western thought, that much is certain.  But the parts of Buddhism that make sense to me are becoming really important to my life.

No one would be more surprised than me if my lifelong food and weight woes brought me to a satisfying spiritual life around the age of 30.  It was my search for binge eating disorder help that led me to Vipassana (insight) meditation, and Vipassana led me to consider Buddhism as a whole.  I've never HAD a spiritual life before now.

Maybe that's part of the problem.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Update on my (near-) abstinence

I've been doing ok and maintaining near-abstinence when it comes to desserts.  A few days ago, I had a weird eating day and later realized I was blowing off steam. The kind of steam that builds as a result of restriction. Everything I ate that day was sweet and rich: a bagel with flavored cream cheese from Panera's, a chocolate whey protein-banana smoothie, and a small amount of rice pudding.  I ate very little for the day, but I didn't consider it an abstinent day by any means.

Yesterday, for the 4th of July, I didn't buy any sweet drinks like soda or lemonade, any chips, any desserts.  I told our guests they were free to bring anything they liked, and let them know we would be grilling meat and veggies and serving watermelon on the side.  They didn't bring anything to supplement our meal, but then we all went out for frozen custard and I did order a kid's size vanilla custard in a cup.  I liked it, but wanted more once it was over...and then felt that old anger and exasperation at always wanting MORE.

For now, I feel fine with how I'm doing.  Abstinence isn't torture day-in and day-out, the way it was when I was trying Overeater's Anonymous.  If every now and then I blow off steam or have a treat on a holiday or special day, it's fine.  It's what I would call near-abstinence, and I'm pleased with it because it means I'm not having sweets every single day anymore.

I have experienced a lot of bored and dull feelings lately, and I think it's because I've taken away a big source of fun and pleasure from my daily routine by omitting sweets.  Even though I was no longer regularly binging on sweets, they obviously remained an important part of my day and a major source of entertainment.  But that's the point--I don't want sweets to be my daily entertainment anymore.  I don't want them to be a "necessary" part of my day in any amount or in any fashion.  It'll take awhile for something else to fill the vacuum that's been created; I'm going to let that unfold naturally.

So that's where I am: near-abstinent, mostly at peace, more bored than usual.  Also up a couple of pounds since cutting sweets, but I attribute that to the fact that I'm 15 weeks pregnant and weight gain was going to start happening at some point!