Thursday, June 18, 2015

Carbs & Corn Syrups

It is the end of the school year - and if you work at a school, need I say more? Just trust me on this...emotions and stress levels are high! As you all know, I am an emotional eater. My family does not express emotions - we don't cry, we don't say mushy things, we don't hug and there are certainly no I love you's happening. Apparently we do have so called emotions, because I tend to eat mine instead.

It really wouldn't be very fair to say I am struggling...this is mainly because I am not trying at all!! All of my energy is currently focused on end of school year survival. I am drained and apparently, according to Becca - eating us out of house and home. I am officially off the wagon.

I don't intend to stay on the side lines, but I've decided to accept that right now is not the time. I only have so many days left of school, and when school is done, I will pull my shit together and jump back on the train.

However, in the mean time, we can't keep manage to keep groceries. It's like a competition to see how fast I can get rid of them. I am also eating things I haven't had since December - Pepsi is back on the menu regularly, I've certainly had my fill of PB cups...oh, and the chips...the dip...which apparently does count even when it is veggie dip.

When I am stressed, since I don't know how to release my feelings in an emotional or physical way, the best solution seems to be carbs and corn syrups.

This person, sitting here typing to all you fine folks is someone I haven't laid eyes on in a long time. I think she might in fact be worse than the person I was before. I keep catching myself not even sitting down to eat. If a woman stands while she eats, and immediately tosses the evidence - did she really eat? Pretty sure she did. Eventually it's going to appear...on the scale, on hips, on my chin, places I didn't know it could go...

It is quite likely, especially lately that you will hear the words "the struggle is real" from me daily. It has never been more true - the struggle IS real!! I'm not even attempting to fight it off. I can't stop feeding myself. I am a true example of a train wreck that you can't turn away from.

The only thing on my mind or on my plate are carbs and corn syrups. I know I need to start reigning it in, that I need to get back on track. So, I decided I needed a physical and/or mental activity to turn things around. Therefore, I am going to head out kayaking. That will help, I thought.

I thought wrong. I'm not sure why I was so confident in this activity. I enjoy kayaking, but I have not always had the best experiences. I wouldn't call this a 10 for 10 activity. I'll spare you the story of when I flipped my kayak into the chilling ocean in April...and move right onto the time the beaver tried to take me down.

Yes, you read that correctly, Miss Proud to Be Canadian, is not so fond of beavers. Once upon a time, back when I apparently could lay back and enjoy kayaking, Becca and I loaded up for a quiet day on the water. We arrive, we unload, we sit, we paddle to the end, we paddle back...At this point, we're just drifting around and hanging out. Suddenly - splash splash..."Oh, look...a cute little beaver. How nice!"

No - not nice! I can only assume that this beaver may have had young nearby, but for whatever reason - it did not want me in its lake. Just me. It was taking me down! It came up on one side of my kayak and flapped the boat quite sternly, dunked, popped up on the other side and did the same. It did this repeatedly, continuing to get more aggressive. The kayak started to bob side to side. I worked to keep my balance - but I wasn't sure it would be smart to put my paddle in and try to move out of harms way, or whether the beaver would be threatened by this action. As the flaps became more aggressive - I really had no choice, and I dunked that bad boy in and shoved off, trying to quickly exit the scene. The beaver followed along and flapped for a little bit, but eventually I got ahead or she gave up...Not sure which. I am not ashamed to admit, I was scared of that furry thing - tipping was NOT an option. Becca will often tell you I exaggerate the seriousness of most situations, but she totally has my back on this tale.

Now...Skip ahead to the present...Here, I am in need of a mental detox and for some reason I decide to try to find inner peace in the middle of the lake. We load up, we arrive and we unload.

Ahh...just what I was looking for. Physical outlet, sun, peace, quiet and even a dog frolicking on the beach over yonder. I can just imagine Louis' "What A Wonderful World" playing softly in the background -  when suddenly the record needle comes to a screeching halt.

I spy my first beaver dam.

My blood pressure begins to rise. I paddle harder.

Phew. Out of sight,out of mind. Except..there's another and another and another...

Pretty sure the world record of beaver dams in one given location has been broken.

With each dam we pass, my blood pressure rises.

This is NOT stress-free...Why didn't I pack a snack??

I finally get to the end, we swing around to head back and I can't even believe I have to pass all of these dams AGAIN.

As we're heading back, the wind suddenly picks up. While it's common to have a bit of movement in the ocean, I've never had such an experience in a lake before. The wind is pressing hard against us, the swells are coming right up over the front of the kayak and the water is splashing me in the face.

All I can think is - I am NOT staying here with the beavers and I am not going under!! I start to dig in, I have never kayaked so hard...and poor Becca - I didn't wait for her, nor did I look back to check on her. I just knew I was not risking tipping, flipping or anything in between that might land me with those beavers.

If I had to provide an example of what this scenario looked like, I would say Cruella DeVil...I was like Cruella, except in a kayak instead of a roadster - but the same look of insanity, and probably the same hair style.

When I came to the home stretch, I could feel the relief flush through my body. At this point, I did turn to ensure the beavers didn't have Becca, who was indeed behind me. This yak of solace to get me back on track was a bit of a fail.

But, thankfully tomorrow is Friday - the last day of school and the end of my carbs and corn syrups.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

End Game

Recently, female students from my school attended a Girl Empowerment Summit hosted by Fearlessly Girl, an organization founded by Kate Whitfield. Fearlessly Girl creates movements to increase leadership and empowerment among young women, and encourages working on positive self image, decreasing girl-against-girl bullying and more. From there, these students decided that our community could benefit from bringing some of this knowledge to our school.

Between college and my time working in the field, I have 11 years worth of stories, stress, set backs and successes with children and youth facing these issues. I've encountered so many who have sadly turned to unhealthy and dangerous ways of coping. It's important to work on setting up effective strategies while facing challenges - but getting to the root of the problem is really the best solution. If we could work on bullying in general, we may not have to work with so many who are being torn down by it. So, I of course wanted to help. We got together to begin planning. As we are reviewing our Fearlessly Girl book (available here) we are discussing body image...rocking what you got, beauty-full you, self esteem make overs, etc.

It really had me thinking...I've been so public and up front with this journey, but have I given the wrong idea? I like to joke around and poke fun at some of the things I do - But plain and simple, this is all about feeling good. I don't want the girls in our community, my own family, or any random female who might stumble upon my blog to get the wrong idea. The effects of my weight were mostly mental, but were not extreme. It wasn't okay and I should have worked through it then. Now, I'm much older and the effects are more significant...mental, physical and magnified. Those minimums turned to maximums - I am far from comfortable and capable, and there lies the issue.

I don't want any visitors to begin to read about my journey and think I spend my days putting myself down in front of a mirror or on top of my scale. I also do not want them to start thinking about themselves and feeling like they need to change. Happy and Healthy - this is how we should be gaging our success.

I should be representing a population of girls my size and encouraging them to love themselves, be proud of themselves, don't hide it, be who you are...But, as you've read - I was not happy and healthy and needed a change. I have the utmost respect for any other curvy lady living that way...and I hope to join you. I just have some work to do first. It shouldn't be about what I see in the mirror, see on the scale or what size my pants are. Happy and Healthy - that is the end game.

For this journey, the best way to track my progress has been Weigh-In Wednesday. But, I know it's not about the number. My TOPS leader is always reminding us that we are more than the number on the scale. Yes, I use the scale to determine my successes - but it is simply to help me know that I am on the right path. I would really hate to give the impression that it means more than it does, and I'd hate to have my journey encourage someone else to think that way.

While, I'm not quite ready to set myself completely free from the scale, I do think a scale make-over is in order. I talk a lot of numbers, and this needs to change as I do. A good project to work on would be to find some more creative and encouraging ways of determining my success. I am going to try to J.Law it up for a little while. In the spirit of this post, and J.Law'ing it up - I will not give a specific update, but let you know that my TOPS meeting last week was positive - and I felt good. Success!

As I strive to be a positive role model, I don't strive to be "thin", or have my hair and make-up done every day, or wear the right things or wish I didn't have a lazy eye. My end game does not have any specifics on appearance or weight. I want to feel good, I want to be comfortable, I want to not feel anxious. I want to be confident, I want to be proud - I don't believe I have to be 131 lbs, have flexing oblique muscles, or only one chin just to feel that way. I have an idea in mind on how comfortable with life I wish to be. That's my end game.