Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Christmas Party and a New House!

Zoie and Princess Perfection, you guys were right. I did go with my gut and wore the black dress, with brown high-heeled boots, and felt pretty :) Maybe I was a little more dressed up that some of the others, but not enough that I felt uncomfortable or like the other girls were sending bitchy thoughts my way! And A liked the look, so that's good enough for me :) I did say I'd post some pictures if it ended up going alright, so (deep breath) here they are! (I had to do the whole set-a-3-second-timer-and-then-sprint-to-the-other-side-of-the-room thing, so excuse the "uh, yes, this is totally natural; I don't feel stupid at all..." facial expressions. I was also halfway through getting ready, which is why my hair looks like it hadn't been brushed for a week. Because it hadn't. I did not go out with it looking like that!)

[photos deleted]

So, uh, there you go. That's me.

Now, would you like the same-old, same-old news next? Or the shiny, new, exciting news?!

Well, in same-old, same-old, I'm still hovering around the 120-125 range, which means my BMI, with infuriating predictability, is still hovering around 20. Sigh. This is entirely my own fault. I might just eat the whole family's Christmas dinners this year, move to the forest, and become a fat little recluse.

But, in shiny, new, exciting news, A and I have moved into our little house! It's about 1/3 the size of his parents' place, where we've been living, but it's so nice to have a place that feels like "ours" (even though we're still renting). It's unfurnished, and the grand total of our own furniture is a bed, one old dining chair from the early 1900s that I really do intend to re-upholster one of these days (...) and the wardrobe I was working on over the summer. So we're scouring freecycle and ebay, and trying to resist the overwhelming temptation to blow our life savings on a massive Ikea-thon. But for now we're pretty happy just sitting on the floor and enjoying being there, together, in "our house" :)

This is partly the reason I've been absent from blogging for a while (in addition to the reasons mentioned in my last post, which are also still in play) - because I've been sorting and packing and unpacking and arranging. This will continue for a while, so I may be largely silent over the next few days, especially while we wait for the engineer to come hook up our internet at home.

But I will try to read your blogs whenever I can and keep up on all your news and progress! In case I don't get on here again before Christmas, I wish you all a time of peace and contentment, and a rest from all this yearning and striving to which we subject ourselves.

Much love, Sophie

Monday, 12 December 2011

Oh bugger...

A's colleague's just told him that the party tomorrow is "pretty informal". What does that mean? I don't want to scrap the dress and go in jeans or something - I feel ugly in jeans! And what if "pretty informal" to other people doesn't mean jeans at all, it means casual dresses. Then I'll be extra-ugly. Then again, if you're too overdressed people think you're kind of stuck-up :/

It's not an extremely "dressy" dress; it's black, and knee length, a body-con/pencil fit, shows a bit of cleavage and has little cap sleeves. If you had quite a smart dress code at the office, you could almost wear it to work, except for the fact that it's a bit booby. Kind of "Mad Men", and I do like it a lot. But I don't like the feeling of walking into a room full of people and all the women thinking, "Who the hell does she think she is?!"

A suggested wearing it with flats instead of heels, which I guess could help. But I think it's too long for flats - there's nothing worse than stumpy-calf syndrome is there?!

*sigh*... I know this is a trivial thing, it's just a Christmas party. But it's the first time I'll be meeting anyone from A's work, and I want to make a good impression. I don't want his colleagues sniggering at him because his wife's turned up looking totally inappropriate.

Wish I was a man - what I wouldn't give for "chinos and a shirt" to be the answer to every socio-sartorial crisis...!

Starving... or not...

I'm sorry I haven't posted in such a long while. I'm toying with the idea of giving up this blog (again - ha) because I feel kind of removed from the person I was when I first started writing it. For the most part, I don't even want to be real skinny and any anymore. Don't get me wrong, I love when I can feel my ribs or my hip bones. And I still haven't learned to look in the mirror and see anything other than a giant beached whale. But I've decided to stop trying to do that and instead try to believe that my opinions about my body or about food and nutrition in general are just wrong. I won't give those opinions up, I'll just make the choice to believe that they're false.

As in:
"Sophie, you look like a huge gelatinous behemoth, and that may always be the case. But you're not one. What you see isn't really there."

I'm just in two minds about the whole issue. I've tried before to stop thinking I'm fat, and it's just thrown me into a panic. So I'm not sure, in practical terms, how one goes about it. Any ideas??

I feel like I'm starving at the moment. But in reality, I know that I'm not. On Friday and Saturday I was really busy with friends and Christmas stuff, and indulged more than I should have. (Think pizza, Nandos, and Maltesers... :/ ) It's 5pm now and so far I've eaten 3 teaspoons of cereal, 1 bite of cake (it was a colleague's leaving party at lunchtime), a pear, and a banana. I'm planning on just vegetables for dinner, though it depends who else I'm cooking for - I can't very well feed that to A! Tomorrow night is his office Christmas party. I'm excited about it - about meeting his colleagues and having a night on the town, but I'm nervous too. Am trying  not to assume they'll think I'm a total loser straight off, and am restricting more than usual yesterday, today and tomorrow to try and give myself a little confidence boost. I've got a fitted black pencil dress to wear and if my tummy's not flat it'll show. Still need to figure out how to accessorize it so it's less funereal and more festive, haha. If I'm not gross, I'll post a picture. I think if anyone who knows me reads this blog they've probably figured out long ago who I am.

In other, more exciting news, my sister did have her baby a few weeks ago! She had a little boy; they named him Levi.  I'm just dying to go visit, but that has to wait until January...

Also, I think A and I have finally found our new house! The landlord's just doing a credit check on us before he accepts our offer, so we're trying not to pin our hopes on it until it's secured. We've done that before and then been crushed when it's fallen through, so being a little more cautious this time.

Ok, that's all my big news! Now to go catch up on yours... :)

Sunday, 20 November 2011

121.8

That's the lowest I've been in a while :) I'm feeling more positive than I was when I last wrote, and I relish the chance to write something more upbeat.

The weekend has been close to perfect.

I've not eaten much, and what I have had has been pretty healthy.

A and I went to play squash and I feel like I played my best game yet. Ok, I still lost, but not as badly as previously! I've only been playing for a few weeks so I'm still very much a beginner, and it's something that takes me totally out of my comfort zone. I've never been one for organised sports; I like to go running, and I like to dance, but I've never felt the urge or had the ability to hit, kick, catch, run after or throw a ball! Doing so just reminds me of sports classes in school, when I was this geeky, uncoordinated little girl, always afraid of the ball hitting her glasses and always feeling ashamed of her lack of grace and sporting ability. So the first couple times we played squash I didn't enjoy it, and was pretty frustrated with myself because I sucked. But I feel proud of myself for persevering with it and for getting a little bit better :)

We also spent a bit of time just hanging out. We sat in Starbucks for an hour or so; I brought a book and he brought his laptop, and it was just wonderful to sit in companiable silence with him, relaxing together in our separate ways. We did some errands - bought groceries, did some cleaning, did some more house-hunting online - and those mundane tasks became more fun for doing them together.

A is American so we'll be celebrating Thanksgiving even though we live in the UK. His family are all abroad, in various places, so we'll celebrate with a few friends. I'll be making a pecan pie, rather than a pumpkin one, as that's A's favourite, and am determined not to stress out about the calorie content of that or any or the other traditional Thanksgiving fare. (However I will be making sure there's lots of steamed vegetables and fresh salad for those of us who are a little frightened by all the more indulgent foods!) Mostly I'm really looking forward to it :)

It's just over 3 weeks until A's office holds their Christmas party, and I'm hoping to be 115-117 by then. I'm conscious that I've not made most of my targets this year, but this one feels really attainable. It would give me a 19.3 BMI. I'm in two minds about trying to get below 18.5 - part of me wants to prove to myself that I can do it, but part of me knows it's not healthy and doesn't want to start down that road again. 

All of that weekend news aside, I've saved the most exciting thing for last... my sister (the one who lives in the States) is having her second baby today! She's due in about a week or so, but was induced a couple hours ago as the baby hadn't been growing the last couple weeks (though it was otherwise healthy), and they decided it's better off outside of the womb where they can monitor it. So the rest of us are waiting with bated breath to meet the new addition!

Friday, 18 November 2011

"The taste of dried up hopes in my mouth"

I guess I was pre-emptive in celebrating the brevity of my usual October/November slump, as it's back with a vengeance. Maybe I'd over-analysed it and it's just the changing seasons getting me down, though this year I feel unusually eager for winter to come. 

I sleep fitfully at night, and wake feeling tired and heavy. In my office I sit at my computer with the curtains drawn and the lights off and tears streaming down my face, frightened and confused by this inexplicable, all-consuming sadness. I sit alone until 5.30, not eating, not seeing nor talking to anyone. I drive home in the dark. Often the thing I want most is to take some sleeping pills and fall into the warm, dark winds of sleep and dream that I'm not lost. I imagine sleeping for days and days - days and days worth of cell turnover and renewal until I finally wake up and I've become someone else. Instead I make dinner, make conversation with A and our friend who's staying with us for a while.  A drifts between being bewildered by this thing and exasperated by it; between dismissing it as an affectation and trying to fix it. Sometimes there are moments of buoyancy; bright little glimmers of laughter and light that pierce the fog with a straight, narrow beam. 

Monday, 14 November 2011

122.2

My weigh-in on Friday went better than I expected and put me at a 20.3 bmi, which clearly isn't my ultimate goal but it's definitely better than I'd expected. I had been scared to death that I was going to be over 130 and have a big meltdown about it, but forunately that disaster was averted.

So obviously I spent the weekend ingesting roughly my own body weight in chocolates and alcohol.

Way to go, Sophie.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Euurgh...

I'm pretty sure I'm enormous right now. I haven't felt this huge for a long time, and I'm not sure why, because I've been restricting relatively well. I did kind of slip up and snack a lot yesterday - on some healthy things and some unhealthy things - but I didn't have any real meals, and as far as I can calculate my total should still have been significantly below 1,000.

I guess not having a scale is just getting to me. My new battery should come tomorrow (bloody Weight Watchers scales that use batteries you have to buy online!) so I should get a verdict on Friday morning.

That's about all I have to say today, actually. I'm struggling to think about anything at the moment other than the fact that I'm huge, but I'm hoping that getting that out of my head and down on "paper", as it were, will free up some space in my mind to tackle my giant to-do list at work today.

I just want to be tiny, and to stop feeling disgusting, as soon as possible. I'm too impatient for this; why does it take such an interminably long time?! I've been finding some pretty thinspo the last couple days and am in the process of putting together a nice little collection for you, so watch this space!

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Pottery and House-hunting!

After my spate of rather negative posts lately, I'm really pleased to be able to write a much happier one.

I'm in an unusually positive state of mind at the moment. It's unusual because I always get depressed and agitated around the end of October and beginning of November. Every year. I don't think it's related to SAD or anything like that, though the weather does affect my mood a little. I think it's more related to the fact that mid-October would have been the birthday of a very good friend of mine, who died of a brain tumour when we were 16. She was my first friend when we came to the UK from Nepal  - I walked into school on my first day, halfway through the term, full of nerves, not knowing a soul, and as soon as this little girl clocked me she detached herself from the huddle of other little girls, came over and took my hand and announced "I'm Lizzie, and I'm going to be your friend!" And she was, for the next 9 years, until she died. Every October it comes around to her birthday and I think of all the things I've done and learned and experienced during that year and am saddened that she missed out on so much. The end of October is also the time that the baby would have been born. I'd never connected that to this annual low period until I read somewhere that, even if a post-abortive woman isn't consciously thinking about the abortion, sometimes her body still "grieves", kind of. It seems it's not uncommon for a woman's mood to change around the anniversary either of the abortion or the due date. I don't know what the science is behind that, but it's certainly borne out anecdotally in my own experience. Even before I'd read anything on the subject I was conscious that I always felt on edge around the end of October, and other people even commented that I was worst around that time of year.

Anyway, this year it seems to have passed much more quickly than usual, and I'm extremely grateful for that.

I have a couple of things to be excited about at the moment, too :)

Tonight I start my pottery class, which I'll be doing for the next five weeks. I'm looking forward to having something creative to work at, to producing something tangible, and to have an evening out of the house meeting new people.

A and I have started house-hunting in earnest, in preparation for our move to London. My boss has confirmed that they'll be able to keep me on until next May, possibly until next September (I'm employed on a rolling contract), and has agreed that I can work from home two days a week once we're living in London, to cut the cost of commuting. A is looking at a couple properties this week and we're both going to look at few on Saturday. I'm really excited about having a place of "our own" (even though we'll be renting, at least it'll be a neutral place without any previous memories or associations for either of us; at the moment we live at his parents' place), and about living in London again.

The job extension is good news in itself, actually. I had been expecting to finish at the end of December and was a little nervous about trying to find a new job in the current economic climate, so this is really something to be thankful for. And... I'm *hoping* this extension means I'll get sent to our annual conference in Dallas next year, after which I could hop over to Tulsa to visit my sister and her family. She will have had her second baby by then, and being able to visit her would just be the icing on the cake :)

I hope things are going equally well for all of you, and that you're blessed with the things that make you happy, weight-related and otherwise. I'm getting my scales "fixed" (that is, I'm buying a new battery, haha) on Friday... wish me luck for my first weigh-in since about August...! *nervous face*

Lots of love, Sophie

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Dear Jesus,

If you're there, please make me invisible. Make me disappear.

Remind me always that I'm worthless, so that I can be docile and obedient and not speak out of turn. So that I don't protest when I'm hurt or offended. Make me believe my thoughts are nothing, too wretched to use in combat or conversation.

Make me empty instead of overflowing, impassive instead of animated. Take away the fire in my soul and dull my spirit. Make my eyes flat, my tongue quiet and my hands still.

If you answer one prayer of mine, let it be this one. Take my intensity and give me indifference. 

Amen.

Friday, 4 November 2011

On the nature of rules

Over the last few weeks I've become increasingly aware of an uneasiness within myself with regard to the lack of structure in my diet. I've felt gradually more drawn to very structured ways of eating, such as the raw food diet, and I find myself wanting to make up little challenges and rules dictating how and when to eat. "If all you've consumed by 10:30 is water, you can have some honey on your rice cake." "You should see if you can make this apple last all day."  This is the first time in years that this has happened with no conscious effort on my part and I'm kind of bemused - though not troubled - by it.

Rules are good things. Structure prevents the world from falling into chaos. Suddenly I see with great clarity how absurd it is to allow one's eating to be dictated by whims and hunger and sporadic cravings. Imagine if everyone just did exactly as they felt all the time - the world would go to mayhem! Much better to be disciplined about these things, and have a plan. It makes everything more stable, and I feel calmer.

It's not so much a lucid thought process (unless I deliberately try to articulate it, as I have in this post) as an ill-defined assurance that this is the right way to do things. More and more, unstructured eating feels like writing a sentence that you know is ungrammatical but you can't figure out why; it just doesn't sit quite right with you. Eating within rules feels like the "aha!" moment when you look in the dictionary and realize that all this time you've been using that transitive verb without an object.

(Ok, you can insert your own analogy there if you're not a linguistics nerd... I know you all know the feeling I mean.)

Monday, 31 October 2011

Weekend round-up and a new blog!

Well, the weekend was really up and down. On Sunday night we went to watch We Need To Talk About Kevin at the cinema. It was unbelievably disturbing, even though I'd read the (equally amazing) book and knew what was going to happen. I'd highly recommend it despite being so disturbing, because it's a killer combination of a thought-provoking plot, clever - almost poetic - filming, and very talented acting from the whole cast. We don't go to the cinema a whole lot so it always feels like a real treat, or a "proper date" when we do go :)

Unfortunately, A and I had about three big arguments over the course of the weekend relating to either his parents or to his parents' house (in which we live), so that kind of sucked. I know it's important to try and get on with his family, though, so I did agree to write to them and tell them to stop friggin' interfering all the time how I feel about them forcing us to housesit and pay for the privilege, even though we've asked to leave our rental arrangements, and explain that I find their questions about our marriage / conflict management techniques / finances invasive, even though (through gritted teeth) I'm sure they intend them to communicate concern. I've spent literally the last 5 hours trying to write the stupid thing, but I'm just so frustrated about so many things they've done, or that I've perceived them to have done, that it keeps descending into a totally disrespectful and inappropriate rant. *sigh* Just man up, Sophie, and get on with it!

On the plus side - and I know this goes totally against my stance of promoting healthy eating and not advocating disordered behaviours - I'm so stressed about this whole situation with his parents that I'm restricting without even trying. I haven't been counting calories but a quick mental calculation makes me think I've been at about 700-1000 every day for the last three or four days. Unfortunately my scale is *still* broken and I'm too scared to get a new one in case it tells me I'm ginormous and need to amputate a limb just to lighten the load. So I've no idea what I weigh; couldn't even hazard a guess :/

The other thing I did this weekend was make a new lamp for our house out of origami cranes... and... finally set up the new blog where we can post our DIY projects. I'd started it a few weeks ago but it wasn't really presentable so I worked on it a little more on Saturday. It's over at http://mayflydays.blogspot.com/ Take a look or follow it, if you're interested in home decor or other creative hobbies. Just please don't ever leave any comments that explicitly link back to this blog, as I keep this one private for obvious reasons.

I hope you all are having a good start to the week, and for those that have plans of the costumed variety this evening, happy Halloween!

Friday, 28 October 2011

70/30

I know I've been kind of absent from blogging lately. I've just been really busy with, well, life I guess. I feel like things have been getting 70% harder and 30% better, but, y'know, I really think that extra 70% of effort is worth it.

The things I'm working on at the moment are:

  • Not feeling bitter towards an old friend who I feel is being needlessly cold towards me and only offers "no, it's nothing personal" as an explanation when I try to talk to her about it. Maybe she's stressed out about something at home. Maybe work is really busy and her boss is being a bitch again. Maybe her husband's long work hours are getting her down and she struggles with the fact that I'm not in that place anymore. Maybe she's investing in another friend who really needs her right now. Maybe it really *is* nothing personal.
  • Trying to stay optimistic about Christmas even though I'm apprehensive about A's family staying with us. I'm worried that all the frustration and resentment I've built up towards them this year is going to come tumbling out one day, triggered by some innocuous and unrelated question like "anyone for coffee?" and they'll be even more convinced that I'm a psychopath. After Christmas, you move to a new town, a new house, a new start for the two of you to build your own little family. Maybe there'll be a chance to have a measured, adult conversation with them about the things hat have bothered you this year, and you'll be able to patch up the relationship.
  • Trying to stay optimistic about Christmas even though I'm angry with A's parents for arranging for us all to go away for the Christmas week without asking me whether I'd like to spend any time with my own family. Maybe it'll be really good to hang out with them on neutral territory. You used to really like them before getting into all this "is it my house? is it your house?" tension. Maybe a little holiday will help you get back to that.
  • Not allowing my sense of apprehension about Christmas to send me into desperate-grasping-for-reassurance mode and either stop eating or eat bizarrely. When you're hungry, you're cranky. Getting really thin didn't solve anything last time; it only created stress for the people that love you.  Not eating doesn't put you in control; eating healthily does - when you're well-nourished you can think more clearly and make level-headed, rational decisions, but when you're under-nourished you're too emotional to think clearly, and other people end up making decisions for you.
  • Creating a positive atmosphere at home for A and his friend who's visiting, regardless of my own mercurial feelings. Whatever you're feeling isn't normally A's fault, and he shouldn't have to bear the brunt of it. On the occasions that it is his fault, just talk to him and resolve it like an adult. He treats you with love, and creating a peaceful home is one way you can do the same for him. 
I'm not doing real well at all of those things all of the time, but when I do, I really feel like it was worth the effort. 

I mentioned a while ago I think that A and I were hoping to set up another blog to "showcase" some of the things we make, and I'm really really going to get on that this weekend.  A and his friend will both be out all day tomorrow so I'm determined to sit down with a cup of tea and focus on getting that up and running. I recently repainted my wardrobe/closet, and am in the process of making a coffee table out of our old washing machine drum, so there are a couple projects to start it off :)  

I hope you all have a fun-filled weekend and, those of you in the Northern hemisphere, keep warm!

sophie <3

Friday, 7 October 2011

Thank you :)

I need to keep this post real short because I've done about 4 hours' worth of work during the 7 hours I've been in the office today and really need to kick my butt into gear. But I just wanted to say thank you to Stick ThinBeth, and Miranda, AKA Fed Up for giving me a little perspective after my last post. I did finally pluck up the courage to ask A about the letter last night, and he said he was "already half-way through it" and that it's hard for him to express himself in a way that he doesn't think sounds stupid... Isn't that just the sweetest thing? I felt unbelievably guilty for being so impatient and not trusting him with it... :|
Y'know, in the back of my mind I do know that he loves me and that he's the best husband out there (for me at least :) I'm sure your husbands are the best ones for you!) but sometimes I let myself get so worked up into a - what was the word you used Miranda? Oh, a "tizzy"! That was spot on - that I can't see past my own fears to what's true. And at times like that it's just so great to have you girls here with your calm words of wisdom and encouragement to remind me of what's really important.
I think all you girls (and guys!) who read this are wonderful. I just know that I'd be so much more insane without you! I wish you all a fabulous, free weekend.
Love, Sophie xx

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Somethin' Stupid

Spoiler alert: I know even before I've written it that what's in this post is going to be irrational and childish and stupid. I know. I know! You don't have to tell me. I'm just in that place right now.

First though, a response to Stick Thin's comment on my last post:
Your use of the phrase "black and white thinking" made me think of a quote from Wasted, (which, incidentally, I just discovered you can download for free from prettythin.com). Marya writes:
"People with eating disorders tend to be very diametrical thinkers – everything is the end of the world, everything rides on This One Thing, and everyone tells you you´re very dramatic, very intense, and they see it as an affectation, but it´s actually just how you think." 
I read this book when I was right in the middle of my ED and that phrase (among many others) really resonated with me. I think a lot of us, whether we have an ED or EDNOS, are very diametrical thinkers, always thinking in black and white.  Part of my BPD diagnosis (which, for the record, I think is a load of bullshit) was based on the high incidence of "splitting" in my cognition, which is this very thing - any given thing at any given time is either all good or all bad, with no middle ground. And I can't help but wonder what it is that makes us think like that, and why it is that there's such a high incidence of this amongst people with EDs.
Anyway, back to more petty things... :|
I'm kind of in a quandry here so please advise freely! Last week A and I were discussing my lack of trust in his love for me - that all it takes is for one of us to make some silly mistake and suddenly either his love or the reasons for his love are (in my eyes) compromised. I asked him if he would write me a "love letter" of sorts - some short missive that I could keep in my wallet, and whenever I'm starting to feel anxious, I could pull it out and be reminded of both his character and his intentions towards me. I've never really asked him to show his love in a specific way like that before, so I was quite nervous about it (also because it could easily come across like I was just needy and fishing for compliments, which is embarrassing in itself), but he seemed to think it was a good idea and said he'd do it the next day. Well that was over a week ago, and he hasn't mentioned it again.
This is a pretty small deal, right? But for some reason it's provoked this huge, slightly crazy emotional response in me; suddenly I'm wondering if he hasn't written because he can't think of anything good to write? Or because it's not important to him that I feel loved? Or because he doesn't love me and doesn't want to lie? Suddenly I want to know whether he ever wrote to his beautiful, tiny, super-intelligent ex? There certainly wouldn't have been any shortage of things to compliment there. Part of me is angry that between his hour-long train ride every day, and his hour-long lunch break, and spending about 5 hours this weekend reading reviews of smartphones so he could choose the best one, he couldn't find 15 minutes to think of a couple nice things to jot down. Suddenly I'm pissed off that I come home exhausted at the end of the day and find the energy to make dinner and iron his shirts and make the house look nice so that he feels loved and cared for. I feel stupid for doing those things when they don't even make a difference to him. I feel stupid for ever asking this thing of him and setting myself up to be disappointed. I feel stupid and embarrassed for thinking (wishing?) that I warranted such a letter. and for caring that I don't. And I feel stupid for making such a big deal out of such a small thing. I know what any sane person would say; he probably just forgot. But he doesn't forget to email his new teaching colleague, or get on skype to meet with his old tutor at the appointed time, or text his friends to meet for a drink, and he certainly doesn't forget for a whole week! I'm not just throwing a tantrum because I asked for something and didn't get it; I'm sad because I told him this was important to me and that wasn't enough to make it matter to him. You don't just forget things that you care about. And I'm frustrated because there's no-one at whom to direct my frustration; you can't be angry at someone because they don't happen to find something important. The things that matter, matter, and the things that don't, don't. It's not a moral issue.
And always, of course, a little voice whispers, "but maybe if you were thinner..."
God, I re-read this and it's so whiny. You're truly a despicable soul, Sophie. But you'll be a pretty one soon enough.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Addictions

Every morning at 10:30 my office provides tea, coffee and biscuits / cake / jello for everyone who works or studies there. I don't always go down for the tea-break - I might be feeling too ugly to socialise, or not trust myself to resist the carb+sugar overload, or just be too wrapped up in my work - but today I did go and ended up having quite an enlightening conversation with my colleague, whom I'll call Jake.

Jake is probably in his mid-50s, in the process of getting divorced, and has two teenage kids; a son and a daughter. He also volunteers once a week at a recovery course for people with addictions. He himself took the course some years ago and says he found it immensely helpful in helping him beat his addiction (of which I don't know any details), and has now gone back to help others in a similar situation. Jake's probably one of my closest "friends" at work, despite the age gap, and I've also spoken to him briefly about self-harm after he spotted the scars on my wrist one day and asked me about it, as he was struggling to understand why his daughter was doing the same thing.

Anyway, today we were musing over addictions of various kinds, and I thought some of his insights were quite applicable to both EDs and self-harm. I don't currently qualify for an ED, though I'm not yet ready to completely close the door on all the behaviours I learned when I did, but I am trying really hard to close the door on self-harm. So I'm posting some of Jake's comments here as much as a reminder for myself as anything else, but perhaps they'll be helpful to some of you, too.

  • Statistically, people who recover from an addiction almost invariably fall prey to another one soon afterwards, unless they consciously identify what it was that the addiction was giving them (control, escape, protection from vulnerability etc.) and find a healthy way to fill those needs or address the issues driving them. 
  • Addicts tend, either consciously or sub-consciously, to view their addiction as a "friend"; a never-failing source of comfort who's always available to buoy us up when times are tough. Nowhere is this more evident to me than in the personification of Ana and Mia; all over these blogs I read phrases like "Ana will always be there for me", "Mia welcomes me back with open arms", "Ana is my secret saviour". I'm not pointing any fingers here - I think and write in exactly this sort of language myself sometimes. But if ever you want to escape an addiction, be it an ED, or self-harm, or negative self-talk, or anything else, you have to let go of this perception and realise than the addiction exists for one purpose alone - to destroy you and take down as many relationships, opportunities, and successes as it can on your way down. However good it may make you feel in the short term, your addiction is not your friend. Ever.
  • If you want to recover from an addiction, it often helps to see things in black and white. Write two lists, one for all the good things in your life, and one for all the bad. Then mark which things in each list have been caused or enabled by your addiction, and which have been jeopardised, compromised, or destroyed. Write a third list of things that you dream of for yourself, in terms of relationships, career aspirations, hobbies, travel, etc, and mark which of these will be more difficult to attain if you keep up your addiction.
In more personal news, I did manage to narrow down my list of adult education classes that I mentioned in my last post. There were a whole bunch of things that looked interesting, but I've whittled it down to Italian, Pottery, Plumbing, and Calligraphy. Kind of a random mix, I know, but those were the ones that really jumped out as being the most interesting to me. I think, realistically, I can only afford to do one or maybe two though, so i'll have to choose... Will keep you posted!

I hope this period - a new month and a new season - marks some new beginnings for all of us, and brings renewed focus and commitment to our goals, whatever they may be. Have a good week, all.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Motives

Thank you for your sweet comments on my last post. You ladies' kindness encourages me.

Beth, you are terribly gracious, but I'm afraid you give me more credit than is my due. I'm not in the least bit selfless nor sacrificial. If I was, truly, I would be so happy for the opportunities that come A's way that I wouldn't care if they left me feeling alone. I would embrace his successes because of what they meant for him, regardless of what they meant for me. In truth, I'm simply lonely. I feel trapped here and destined for sixty years of loneliness, punctuated by small, sweet moments of intimacy. I'm terrified of living out the rest of my days shadowed by a conviction that I'm always inherently falling short; always feeling like I'm robbing people of some greater joy they could be experiencing if they weren't with me.

A is a wonderful person. He's warm and loving and generous and never has a bad word to say about anyone. But he doesn't realise that all the kindness in the world can't take away the guilt I feel, knowing how much our marriage has cost him in terms of his career and his relationships within his family. I know I've trapped him in a lose-lose situation; he either follows his career aspirations at the cost of our marriage, or  invests in our marriage at the cost of his career. And I can't help but be aware that if he'd married someone else - another architect perhaps, or just someone less relational and more introverted who didn't mind spending so much time alone - he wouldn't have to make that choice. I'm also aware that there are plenty of women out there who would give their right arm to be with someone like him, and who would also give him the space he needs, and part of me wants to keep him at arm's length so that when one of those women snatches him away from me it won't be so painful.

So you see, there are no selfless motives in the things I do; only two entirely selfish instincts for self-preservation and self-destruction.

I did do one productive thing today, and that was to look at some adult learning courses offered in this area. Now that we're both earning it might be feasible for me to go to some kind of class a couple times a week. That might help, if only by getting me out of the house so I'm less aware of how often I'm alone there. And who knows? I might even make some friends. I'd underestimated the impact that moving to this side of town would have on my social life - it puts me about an hour's drive away from my old friends, which is just far enough to make it impractical during the week, and given that most of my colleagues are a good 20-40 years older than me, we don't tend to socialise much outside of the office, although the interactions we have at work are bright enough.

I'll be honest, I feel a sliver of optimism at this prospect. There are a number of courses that look interesting, from pottery to Italian to upholstery to sign language...

I'm sorry that the last few posts have been so down in the dumps. I'm still feeling kind of sad, but I think it won't last too much longer. I realise these marriage posts are a little off-topic for what was originally a weight-loss blog, too, but my scales are broken at the moment so I can't even hazard a guess as to how i'm doing or what I look like :| Will get back to that as soon as possible.

Thanks again for all your support and encouragement and for putting up with my whining...!

*hugs*

Monday, 26 September 2011

The Interim

In the interim, we celebrate our first wedding anniversary. My sister is visiting from the States with her husband and 2-year-old daughter. A kindly agrees to have our anniversary dinner with them so I can see them one last time before they go home. We do celebrate together, too, just him and me. We go back to where he proposed, with a tarp and a big umbrella, because it's raining. We huddle together in our little shelter, giggling, high on champagne and memories and creme brulee and happiness.

The next weekend, we go to Portugal. It's languid and warm. We're good at holidays; we're relaxed and flirty and content. The food is insane - one entree at any restaurant turns out to be equivalent to what my mom used to cook for a family of five. The meat melts like butter in your mouth; I've never tasted anything like it. For the most part, I feel ok about this. I never finish a portion, and rationalise to myself that it's mostly protein and veg with very little carbs. We agree with A's friend that he is to come stay with us for a few weeks upon our return to the UK.

At this point, A's parents throw a spanner in the works. Over skype, they tell us they don't want the friend staying in the spare room, which is their room for the few weeks of the year that they're in England. We try to reason with them, suggest that maybe we could use the spare room and the friend stay in our room, but they're resolute. A's dad is angry and desperate to be in control of the situation, demanding that we agree with him. The discussion quickly escalates into an argument. They tell me if I don't want to abide by their rules I can leave.

Why does this matter? I have a family of my own. I have parents who love me, and a home where I belong, where I'm not a transplant organ being slowly eaten away by the recipient's protective mechanisms. I have a last name and an identity outside of this family. I was a whole person before coming here, and I don't need this family's acceptance. 

I am an adult, so I begin to write, calmly, to his parents. I explain that I'm not one of their children and I don't expect to be dictated to as though I am. That I require that they afford me the same respect I've shown them. Mid-sentence, though, I feel it. Something clicks in my brain, and everything shifts.

They hate you, Sophie. They want you gone, all of them. Even A. He's embarrassed by how awkwardly you stick out here. If only he'd known beforehand how different you were from the rest of them. If you stay here you'll always be an outcast. They'll make him leave you, convince him he made a mistake. They'll introduce him to someone, or pressure him to join a dating site like they did his brother.  And he'll see. He'll see who he could have been with. He'll find someone just like them and she'll slot so neatly in to the space you left, soon no-one will even remember you were there. You have to leave. Leave before they find you and throw you out. Leave now, while it's still your choice. Leave this place - take your awkwardness and your breathless, gasping fears and your sadness and your rage, and let the world be in peace. 

A applies for a Saturday job, teaching. He asks if I'll mind. We don't need the money, but it would be a fun opportunity for him. Between his day job, the business he's setting up with his friend, this Saturday job, and the time that he needs to spend alone on his own hobbies, I wonder when we'll see each other. I want to protest, to exclaim "But you promised! You said this would be the year we worked on our marriage..." But I'm too tired to fight him for that anymore. I don't believe we have that long left together and I want to just enjoy the times we do have, and the times that we're happy. Barely a day goes by anymore that I don't wish only to be free of this body, of this presence on the earth. I wonder if he knows that and is filling his days up in preparation for being alone, and I know I have to let him.

If I let him go, a thousand times, in all these small ways, maybe one day he'll let me go too. 

Friday, 26 August 2011

Remember me, not my shame

They laid my shame bare. He confided in his dad, which I'd encouraged, but I didn't realise his dad would tell his mom everything, nor that his mom would then confront me. Did she tell anyone else? I've no idea. I'm not even privy to what was said at any point in the exchange. They want me to take part in this 'program' run by the religious organisation that they work for.

I feel like they've wallpapered their house with pages from my diary, like my heart and mind have been stripped naked and hung up to dry like photographs in a developer's darkroom, the last scraps of my identity prepared for scrutiny and alteration.

Never think for a moment that you are entitled to ownership of your thoughts. Someone is always waiting to snatch them from you and toss them to a friend, and you will be the piggy in the middle, stripped naked and condemned to eternally fall short.

I lie in bed, my frenzied frightened thoughts quelled for the moment by a handful of little pills, and imagine a cold, sharp blade on my flesh. I hear the scratch of metal on skin, feel the familiar, calming warmth spread over my body like a balm, the fist around my heart loosening. It's the freedom of a Saturday morning, the reassuring arrival of spring after the tempestuous storms of winter. Perhaps today the fantasy alone will be enough.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Monday, 22 August 2011

Midnight and Morning

Midnight, and we're screaming at each other again. He pulls inside himself, draws the covers over his head and turns away. I yank him around to face me, pummel his chest, pull his hair, bite his restraining arms; he pins me to the bed, pushes on my throat to hold me there. I gag, pull away, run to the car, but he's faster than me, pulling the handbrake on as soon as I've started the ignition. I claw at his face, and in so doing, break his glasses that we picked out together - when I relive these events the following day this, inexplicably, will be the moment that pushes fat, silent tears down my cheeks. We're Jack and Piggy; savagery and innocence. I push past him, out of the car, and run out of our driveway, down the hill to the burned-out house at the bottom. Inside, it is dark and cold and empty. Someone has gutted the house of its former contents and I rummage through the smoke-blackened pile for a blanket, but everything save for a jar of pickles has been shredded by the flames. It's too cold to sleep and in any case I'm too frightened to lie down, so I squat down in the darkness.
Later, he comes to bring me home. We talk in the car, about trust, and forgiveness, and resentment. We talk about hope and fear and disappointment.  We cry.  I feel ashamed. I think, but don't say, "I should die for this". This is one of the Things That Can't Be Said. If you say one of these things, you have to go to the doctor. At the door, you will check in your right to hold or express your own opinions. The doctor will pin the sides of your brain to a board and dissect it like a rat in a high school biology lab. She'll pull things out at random, throw some away (also apparently at random) and put others back in, probably in the wrong place. When you leave, you will not be given back the things you surrendered at entry - these will be divided up between the people who are closest to you - but you will be given a tag that reads "crazy".
We lie in the bed where we've loved and hated each other, sad and spent. On this occasion, he was more sad and I was more wrong. Sometimes the opposite is true. Each time, we grope through our gathering hopelessness and try to comfort one another. Eventually we reach an unsteady truce, then tumble into a few hours of fitful sleep.
In the morning I drop him off at the station. I watch him walk towards the train and, in my mind, run from the car to the morning traffic and sweet oblivion. My body, though, pulls the car smoothly out of the car park and we become one more colourful balloon on the road.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Utterly depressed.
Current weight: about 900lbs
Current weight of A's tiny ex: about 90lbs
Number of events we'll both be attending this weekend: 2

I just want to hide under the duvet and never show my face anywhere again.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Finally Friday

(I promise next week I won't be so cheesy and alliterate all my post headings...! Just feeling a little uninspired this week.)

So, this morning I was 121.4 - it's looking unlikely that I'm going to be 120 by tomorrow, but I'll do my best. Last night I went into London to meet some of A's friends with whom he's setting up a business on the side of his "normal" job. I was really nervous about going because one of the people there was this Turkish girl, we'll call her T, whom I'd never met before. She's an interior designer, which to me is probably the most attractive job a woman can have, and combined with my impression of her as really exotic and beautiful and witty and gracious (ok, I may have fabricated parts of this impression - there's only so much you can figure out by Facebook stalking...), I was just dreading it. I thought it was going to be really uncomfortable,  that I would feel stupid and ugly and insignificant next to her, that she would blow A away with loads of creative ideas for the business, and he would find himself regretting marrying some dull academic like me. (I know, I know, did someone say paranoid..?)

Anyway, she turned out to be quite nice, and quite normal. She was pretty, but not a Giselle-esque goddess, and she had some good and some bad ideas. She didn't seem to be any more witty or engaging than anyone else I'd met, and A didn't even seem fazed by her. I'd had a bit of a nervous meltdown in the street just before going to the shisha bar where they were meeting, and A was pretty unimpressed by that. After meeting her I was left feeling pretty sheepish about my paranoia, as usual.

She left early so A and I and the other guy, we'll call him Y, and his girlfriend, K (anyone else getting confused..?) went to this *amazing* restaurant in Camden, called Gilgamesh. The whole thing - walls, ceiling, furniture - was elaborately carved wood, and they had this huge spiral staircase... it was just beautiful. Plus the food was amazing. It was kind of Thai/Chinese, and we shared 3 dishes between the 4 of us, so I think I didn't do badly. I did kind of insist on one of the dishes being steamed greens, and then when the waitress suggested we get some fried rice I asked her to bring steamed instead, without really checking that the others were ok with that... but they seemed to be.

It's unbelievably frustrating to me that other women have this effect on me. Well, not all women. When Y unexpectedly invited his girlfriend K that wasn't a problem at all. It's only if I've known for weeks in advance that some other girl is going to be on the scene, then I stew about it all that time and build her up into this paragon of perfection in my mind, and convince myself that I'll be total shit in comparison. It's such a destructive thing to do, but I don't know how to get over it :( I should probably ask the CBT therapist for some help, but I'm so embarrassed about it.

In weight-related news, food and exercise are both going reasonably well. Tonight I'm having dinner at my mom's house - it's my parents' 33rd wedding anniversary but my dad's in Germany on business, so I told mom I'd go have dinner with her so she's not on her own. I'd planned to cook for her, control-freak-style, but she wants to cook, so I'll have to try not to sabotage my efforts too much. I've been really encouraged by some of your blogs, so keep writing :) Thanks for all your lovely comments, and for the tips about making toning exercises more interesting - I'll try some of your suggestions out this weekend and see how they go.

I hope you all have a fun and restful weekend and keep edging closer to your goals!

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Wednesday Walking

This morning I was down to 122.6, which is a 5lb loss in 2 weeks, 2 days. This is just above target for my 2lbs per week loss, so I'm feeling good about that. It's pretty difficult though. As I mentioned when I started this wager, one of the requirements is that it doesn't interfere with the healthy running of our home life. This means no disturbing A by getting up at 5a.m. to walk to work, no heavy restricting that stops us eating our meals together, no massive blood sugar dips that turn me into an evil, screeching witch, and no lying about what I've eaten or what exercise I've done.

Currently I'm trying to do, per week:
3 or 4 x 30 minute run
5 x 45-60 minute walk

I'm still sadly lacking in any kind of strength training / toning. I just can't deal with the boredom of endless reps...  zzz... Anyone have any tricks making weights / crunches less excruciatingly dull??

So, I thought I'd post some pictures today - I'm very fortunate to work in a really beautiful, rural location close to Oxford. My office is on a compound that was used in WWII as an evacuation site for kids from London, so it's an interesting mix of old wooden army barrack/dorm-style buildings, and more recent brick offices. Every lunchtime I go for a walk in the local area and am always struck by how beautiful the English countryside is - no matter if I've had a stressful morning, or am feeling grumpy, or my stats are depressing, somehow being out in the woods and the fields is so calming. Yesterday I took my camera along for the ride...





I love, love, LOVE this junky old army truck; it's been here for years and almost seems like part of the woods now. From the road you wouldn't even see it unless you knew it was there. This is also where A proposed about a year and a half ago (how time flies!) so the place has special significance because of that, too. That was in May, so the ground was completely carpeted with bluebells, and the sun was just coming up... it was all very romantic *blush*

Ok, Saturday I'm going to the beach. A 2.6lb loss in 3 days is upping the ante a little from the original 2lbs per week goal, I know, but I'd really love to be 120 or below by then. Wish me luck! I'm wishing a wonderful and successful second half of this week for you all, too <3

Monday, 1 August 2011

Monday, Monday...

Today I'm all alone at the office; everyone else is on holiday or away for various other reasons. Being alone makes me bored, and being bored makes me want to eat. Must resist, must resist. Am trying a fat-free yogurt Marya-style to keep my mouth busy. It's not a bad technique she's got going; it's taken me 40 minutes to eat half of it... I also found some videos on youtube than I'm watching - they're kind of cheesy but are distracting me from a binge so I'm not complaining! 




I did think about looking at some of those weight loss hypnosis videos, too - has anyone had any success with anything like this...?

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Easy as 123...

Down to 123 this morning, so as long as I don't gain between now and Monday I'm on target for my 2lb per week loss. Breaking it up into little chunks like this feels more managable, and gives better results than when I think "omg I need to lose 20lbs immediately!!", have a big freak-out restriction for a few days then feel overwhelmed by the whole process and binge for the next week...

Aside from the diet, things are a little stressful. A's parents are staying with us for a couple weeks, and don't get me wrong, they're really nice people. I hear other people talking about their in-laws and am so grateful for the ones I've got! They're letting us stay in their house for a very low rent while they're abroad for a year or so, but are just back for the summer at the moment. It's kind of difficult for me when we're all here though, just because A's family is completely different to mine. And when it's just A and me that feels ok, but when there's 3 or 4 of them and only 1 of me I start to feel overwhelmed by a sense of being different, and not really belonging.

BUT on an infinitely more positive note, A has a job! He starts on Monday at an architecture firm in London. He's been looking for work for the last month or so, and received 3 offers that he turned down for various reasons. One of them was with a really good firm (for those in London, it's the firm behind the Gherkin, the new Wembley stadium and the atrium at the British Museum), and I think it was difficult for him to say no to them. But he'd heard that they tend to work their staff really hard (as in, 70 hours a week kind of hard), and I was really worried about the impact that that would have on our marriage. I know there are lots of couples who operate like that and find ways to deal with it, but our marriage just doesn't feel like it's in a strong enough place right now to stand up under the strain of never seeing each other. So I was really proud of him for making that sacrifice for us. And the company he did end up accepting specializes in ecological architecture and the use of algorithms to generate designs, which are two of his big interests, so it ended up being a good fit for him.

Related to that, our other big decision recently has been to move to London. My job will come to an end in October, and a move would cut A's commute down from about 75 minutes to about 20. We may not actually move until December, as his parents would like us to stay in the house until then, but we've started looking at what areas we might like to live in and things, so that's exciting :) We both studied in London and really enjoyed living there so we're looking forward to going back.

Alright, we're going to my parents' for dinner tonight so I better go get ready. I just need not to let my guard down and go on a big old binge while I'm there...

Thanks for all the comments on that dress! I'm looking forward to wearing it :) Cinnamon, the table unfortunately fell by the wayside. It was just too impractical for the time, tools and materials we had available, and the functions we needed it to fulfil. I've filed it away in my mental to-do list though. A and I are hoping to set up a new blog soon, though, with a more "creative" premise, so we'll post some other projects on there. Watch this space..!

Here's to a good weekend for all of you <3

Friday, 22 July 2011

The week so far

I don't have a great deal to say today (you'll be pleased to hear - hehe) but I wanted to write a post purely because I'm feeling so upbeat and I'm conscious of how easy it is only to blog when you're feeling miserable and need some support. And hey, who wants to listen to me whining all day? Didn't think so.

So here's a happy post to counteract some of the negativity I throw at you all sometimes!

I've lost 2lbs since I started my "wager on weight loss". This is just because I drop weight really fast for the first couple weeks of a new program (presumably a lot of it's just water weight though). After a couple of weeks it's hell to shift. But I'm just going to enjoy this easy part while it lasts :)

Tonight we're throwing a surprise birthday party for my best friend, at her favourite Italian restaurant. This was actually A's idea, and I'm really glad he thought of it. They do some really good salads there, and post their menus online (why doesn't everyone do this?!) so that those of us who are watching our intake can research their choices beforehand. 

In unrelated news, I've found a couple of silhouette cutters on ebay for under £100. These normally retail at about £250 in the UK, so this is a steal. This would hugely expand the potential for making home decor projects - you can use it to cut wall stencils, fabric patches for applique, vinyl transfers, and about a thousand other things. All that remains is to persuade A of what an asset this would be to our home... heh. £100 may well be a relative steal, but it's still more than we would normally spend on something we don't really need.


If I get one, I'll post my first project here :) I've been wanting to alter a dress I have, to make it look like this (which also costs more than I can justify spending on something I don't need!):



But I don't want black fabric for the belt/sash. Even though the black and cream does look really classy I think I'd like something a little lighter and more playful. Or maybe I'll make it so the belt and bow can be changed to suit the occasion. Anyway, I'm struggling to find a fabric I really love, but with this machine I could cut some stencils and screen print my own...

For now, though, I'd better get back to work. I'm researching Cameroonian languages at the moment - pretty interesting if you're a linguistics geek :)

I hope you all have a lovely weekend, filled with things that make you smile.

Monday, 18 July 2011

A wager on weight loss

Does anyone remember the New Zealander James Hurman, who in 2008 sold his smoking addiction in an auction?  The deal was that whoever bought his "right to smoke" would be on the receiving end of a legal contract, drawn up by Hurman's lawyer, obligating Hurman to pay them NZ$1,000 every time he smoked a cigarette. The auction was successful - his "right to smoke" sold for a couple hundred NZ$, which he donated to a cancer charity, and, after trying for years to kick the smoking habit, he finally managed it.

Today I came across a website that runs along a similar premise, called stickk.com. When you register to the site, you commit to a certain goal, such as losing a certain amount of weight, and a time limit in which to achieve that goal. You then nominate a referee to verify your progress, and you make a wager on your success. You have to provide your credit card details up front, and then every week your referee determines whether you've succeeded or failed. So, if you commit to losing 15 lbs in 5 weeks, the site will calculate that you need to lost 3 lbs per week, and every week that you fail, the amount of money you wagered will be deducted from your credit card and donated to the charity of your choice.

Genius, n'est ce pas?

When I mentioned to A that I was thinking of signing up, he was concerned that rather than motivating me in a healthy way, it would encourage me to compete with myself so much that I'd get sucked back into a full-blown ED. For about half a second I felt irritated, and the thought flashed through my mind, "you can't control what I eat". But almost immediately, I realised that was wrong, and that I'm so fortunate to have someone who takes that possibility, however remote, seriously and helps me steer clear of that path. We decided it might be best if I sign up initially for a small, short challenge and see how it goes. So I start tomorrow, with the aim of losing 2lbs a week for 2 weeks. Each week that I fail, £20 (about US$30) will be deducted from my bank account. If I succeed - by that I mean lose the weight but without it negatively affecting my work or home life, I'll sign up for another 5 weeks.

My start weight this morning was 127.2. The aim is to lose 15lbs, slowly and healthily, over the next 7 weeks. Wish me luck! Or, if you want to, join me :)

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Brittany and Back

Aw, this is the best thing to come home to - 100 followers! You guys are wonderful. Thank you so much for reading and supporting me :)

France was close to perfect. A and I are good at holidays. We were good friends for, oh, ten years before we started dating but sometimes it's all too easy to get so wrapped up in bickering about the minutiae of day-to-day married life and forget that we do actually really like hanging out together. It's kind of sad :| But on holiday, far away from the dishwasher and the cat and whose turn it is to take out the trash, we relax, and revert quite naturally to acting like friends as well as spouses. So during the day we lay on the beach and read, or planned ridiculous, far-fetched names to give our hundreds of future children. We drank cold Breton cider, went on long walks, cooked our meals outside on the camp stove, and hunted for interesting life forms in the tide pools. In the evenings we had lazy, amicable conversations about God and politics and the future, over brie and red wine. The sun shone from 5 in the morning until 11 at night. It wasn't perfect - we did have a big argument one evening, and there were times when I worried too much about having to wear a bikini - and things haven't been perfect since we came home, but I feel like it's getting better. We've started talking through some of our old resentments, and I think we're both really trying to hear what the other one's saying. One thing that's definitely becoming more apparent is that our communication styles are... discordant, at best. A is very reflective, and needs to process things mentally before he verbalizes things, but the things that he does say are generally well thought-out and accurate. I'm more impulsive and either flit through conversations in an excited, absent-minded daydream, or bulldoze through them loudly and with tears. So we still need to figure out a way to reconcile those two approaches.

Anyway. In other news, I came back from France half a pound heavier than I went, at 125.5. Which was better than I'd expected, given that we spent half our time eating, but we also did a lot of walking, so I guess that minimised the damage.

I now need to get serious about losing this, though. I've been too lenient for too long and I need to come up with a strategy for keeping this off. 120lbs, although higher than I'd like to be, is about the highest that I can be at without feeling completely hideous. So, to be safely below that with a few lbs of "buffer", I need to lose about 10 lbs.

We have 2 weddings to go to at the middle/end of August, and I'm going to try really hard to be no higher than 115 by then. Please help me be harsh with myself! I'm too good already at making excuses for slipping up, but I'd really like to stick with this and if you guys could hold me accountable to that I would be eternally grateful.

Am even considering posting pictures just to embarrass myself into action, but not sure yet whether I can face it...

Love to you all,
Sophie

Thursday, 30 June 2011

30-Day Challenge: Hiding

I have to confess, I've deliberately avoided blogger the last few days. I vacillate between being embarrassed and furious about the last week or so. I won't go into detail, as it's the end result that matters. And the end result is that today, the last day of the 30-day challenge, I weigh 125 lbs. Exactly the weight that I started at.

Ok, I hadn't been doing spectacularly; every other post had some reference to a big food-related screw-up. But at least I was losing, albeit slowly. Then in the last week I just turned around and undid it all.

So discouraged, but I know I've only myself to blame. I just want to hide from the world.

Tomorrow we go on holiday. I've been so excited about it, but A and I had a big argument last night about how to organize things. Turns out that in my family my dad's always figured out the logistics of holidays, and in his family his mom's always done it. So we both had this unspoken assumption that it was the other one's responsibility, and the result was that everything got left to the last minute, which was stressful. As is so often the case, the argument snowballed until I don't think we could even remember what we were fighting about; we both just ended up pulling out the last year's worth of grievances and hurling them at each other.

I know that "love keeps no record of wrongs", but what the hell do other people do with all their hurt and resentment? We're both so angry about some things, y'know? And I think we're both justified in our anger, we just don't know what to do with the destructive aspect of it.

I did have an appointment with the chaplain this morning and asked for his thoughts on the matter. He pointed out that the phrase "to take offence" implies some active participation on the part of the offended. The situation may be forced upon you, but the feeling of offence isn't; you take that. He also reminded me of the phrase "innocent until proven guilty", and suggested that it might be helpful to assume that things which I find hurtful weren't said or done in order to hurt me, but that they were just borne of carelessness or absent-mindedness. He said a bunch of other stuff too, which I won't post here (what is this, a marriage blog?), but I will say that I value his opinions largely because he's not on my side. That might sound strange, but I think there's more value in the opinion of someone who looks at you objectively than in the opinion of someone who has an agenda as your collaborator. And he always points out things that I can do to change my reactions to a situation. Granted, I'm making excruciatingly slow progress in that regard, but it's more empowering to believe that your contentment is within your control than to believe that you're a victim of circumstance. And that's applicable to all of us.

Ok, sermon over, folks ;)

I'm going to keep trying to shift this weight. Back to square one... *sigh*
But first I'm going to go on holiday :)

I think you all are fabulous, and will catch up on your blogs just as soon as I get back.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

30-Day Challenge: Days 20-22

Ok, I'm going to stop apologising for not keeping up with a daily post - I think we've all figured out by now that that's never going to happen..!

The last couple of days I've been laid up in bed with some kind of stomach bug. The upside of this is that my appetite was more or less shot. The downside was that, in the absence of hunger, I ate out of boredom, entirely negating the upside. In addition, I could barely stand up without feeling nauseous (Morning sickness, anyone?! Please. God. No.) so even mild exercise was out of the question. As a result I skipped yesterday's weigh-in on Wednesday, entirely out of cowardice! I'll try and suck it up on Saturday... :|

In the interests of starting out accurately I'm going to work backwards. Yesterday started well, with a cup of fat-free yogurt for breakfast, then throughout the course of the day - apparently just for poops and giggles - I consumed a further 1,080 calories, bringing the total to 1,130... FAIL!

Day 21 was much better (though technically still a fail in terms of ticking the 500-1,000 box. But I'm definitely ok with that. More fat-free yogurt in the morning (50), three rich tea biscuits in the afternoon (3x30 = 90), then homemade tomato soup (250?) for dinner. So a total of 390.

And of day 20 I oddly have no recollection whatsoever. For all anyone knows I may have consumed an entire living, breathing cow, horns and all *sigh*.

Now, in much more exciting news, A and I have booked a mini-break yay! It's kind of spontaneous and last minute - well, this is the couple who chose to "just drive somewhere and wing it" rather than book a hotel on their wedding night - we're leaving a week tomorrow for 4 days in Brittany, France! I'm super-excited :D We're on a budget, so are going to road- / ferry-trip down there, then camp by the beach. It's going to be sunny and romantic and I'm going to wear a bikini and not care about my tummy. Well, two out of three ain't bad... :)

I'll just answer these couple questions, then I'd better get back to work. I'm learning about Cyrillic type design today - any creative types out there who are looking for a little unconventional inspiration, I'd highly recommend looking at some of the recent Cyrillic fonts out there . I'd totally decorate my house in typography if I could :) Anyway, tangent.

What's your favourite diet?
Oh I'm awful at diets. They're so structured and I'm so awful at following all the rules... :/ I just try to keep my calories / fat relatively low and hope for the best!

What's your clothing size?
I'm a UK 8-10, depending on the shop. I think that's a US 4-6.

What was your lowest weight? How and why did you gain?
My lowest weight was 96lbs. Some of the (numerous) reasons for the gain are in this post from a couple days ago, under the question 'Do you have an eating disorder?' 

Before I go, thank you so much for the encouraging comments on my last post. I'm so touched that people read this blog and take an interest in it (especially the super-long posts I've been writing lately - sorry about that, verbal diarrhea!). You guys are fabulous :) Love to you all,

Sohie xox

Monday, 20 June 2011

30-Day Challenge: Days 16 - 19

Oh gosh, I'm so behind :| Ok, to summarise, I've been slacking a little the past few days. We had a couple of celebrations and to be honest I just wasn't in the mood to be stressing about calorie counts.  So the following amounts have been roughly estimated rather than religiously calculated.

Day 16 was just below 1,000 so not fabulous, but given that we went out for dinner it was ok.
Day 17 was A's graduation. More on this later; in intake terms it was pretty darn good for a day of celebrating! I was so busy rushing around in the morning I ate about 1 tbsp fat-free yogurt for breakfast, then nothing until dinner, which was 5 or 6 baby octopi (almost too cute to eat!) and a big bunch of steamed green veg. Add to that a couple glasses of champagne, a handful of strawberries, a couple sips of some kind of milky flavoured coffee, and half a chocolate chip cookie during the course of the evening and I'm pretty sure I stayed below 1,000, though I don't know by how much.
Day 18 I'd put between 1,300 and 1,600. Realistically it was probably closer to 1,600 though I'm pretty sure I didn't go over that (touch wood!)
Day 19 (yesterday) was Father's Day and my parents and brother came to our house for lunch. We cooked shish kebabs and rice-stuffed red peppers on the fire pit, and my mom brought her broccoli salad (so far, so healthy) but she also brought a cheesecake. I didn't really have dinner, but A and I sat in bed watching 'How I met my mother' (we've just discovered this show, so are still on Season 1, but totally hooked already!) and eating (air-popped) popcorn.

All in all, it was pretty mediocre, intake-wise. I got in one run and a couple walks, and most of graduation day was spent on our feet, so, again, neither good nor bad exercise-wise, either.

A's graduation on Friday was a lot of fun! He looked super-hot in his new suit, and the tailor did an excellent job lining my dress. I think we made quite a handsome pair if I do say so myself ;) I felt confident enough not to have to wear ugly slimming panties, which is always useful for things like, oh, breathing.

A unfortunately didn't win the award he'd been nominated for, but he did have two people from that firm express an interest in his work (which is more useful in some ways). So he has one interview on Friday, and another in the pipeline. Wish him luck!

We had a big argument on the way home from his graduation. I don't know if it was the release of so many months (or years, for him) of pressure, or general cumulative tiredness, or apprehension about this new stage in our lives, or what. But it was pretty horrible, and spilled over into Saturday. So we spent the rest of the weekend relaxing together and remembering the things we love about one another. It ended up being one of the best weekends I've had in a while :)

Ok, to the last few days' worth of questions:

When did you first decide to lost weight?
Wow... I have no idea. My mom has always trimmed the fat off our meat before cooking it, with a pair of scissors. I remember once being about 6 years old, evidently not understanding much about human anatomy, looking down at my little round tummy, and trying to do the same. For years I had two little scars about an inch above and below my belly button. But I first started thinking about diet and exercise when I was about 14. Actually, my close friendship with A and some of our mutual friends at that age probably helped stave off my developing an eating disorder any earlier than I did - I wanted to be "one of the guys", not some sullen girl pushing a salad leaf around my plate while they hung out over a bowl of nachos!


Do you have an eating disorder?
No. My BMI is currently 20.1, so at the low end of 'normal', and I don't fulfil any of the diagnostic criteria for either anorexia or bulimia. (For those who are curious, these are available here.) I also don't think I'm consistent enough in my weight obsession to qualify for an EDNOS, as I'm able to eat what others perceive as a normal amount of food without punishing myself, particularly when it benefits a relationship.  A couple of years ago I did fulfil the diagnostic criteria for anorexia. Disappointingly, the sense of achievement that came from reaching this "holy grail" lasted about three days before I set myself a new, thinner, target. This cycle went on for about a year, and one of the things that eventually pulled me out of it (I know, this isn't part of the question...) was reading a journal article which listed the potential effects of anorexia on pregnancy, even years after recovery, including an increased risk of premature birth or miscarriage, higher rates of "cot-deaths", higher rates of postnatal depression, decreased neural tube development in the foetus, and a host of things I can no longer call to mind. In fact, all post-ED pregnancies are automatically classed as high-risk, in the UK at least. Sometimes I'm tempted to fall back into that cycle of intensely hard work and briefly exhilarating rewards, then I think of my as-yet-unborn children and turn away.


What food is your weakness?
Regular readers, take a guess :) Ice cream, obviously!


When is the last time you ate fast food?
It depends what counts as 'fast food' - is it any restaurant food? In that case, those baby octopi on Friday. Or is it anything unhealthy? In that case, that slice of cheesecake on Sunday. Or is it specifically pizza or McDonalds etc.? In that case... I'm not sure. I think we ordered in a pizza a few weeks ago. For the most part I don't have a problem with occasional small portions of 'junk' food. If you want a slice of pizza once in a while, no harm done. If you binge nightly on a KFC bargain bucket, everyone loses, from the poor battery-farmed chickens to your arteries.

Well, I hope you all are happy and healthy and losing weight in a sensible way (all together now, "yes Mom...") I'm going to get my nose back to the grindstone for this last week-and-a-half of the challenge. At Saturday's weigh-in was another pound down, bringing my total loss to 4 1/2 pounds. Not exactly what I'd hoped for at the start of the challenge, but it's something. And hey, I'm having a blast along the way :)

Thursday, 16 June 2011

30-Day Challenge: Day 15

I was glad I kept my intake pretty low during the day today, as A's mom texted me in the afternoon to ask if she could take me for dinner tonight. So that was really nice. I haven't had a chance to hang out with her very much; even though we all lived in the same house for 3 months after A and I were married, his parents travel a lot, so they were often away. Which was really nice in terms of he and I having time to ourselves, but means I didn't get to know his parents as well as I might have otherwise. So it was fun to spend some time with her tonight. It did put my intake up a little, and then I fell into the "oh screw it, I've already ruined today, why not have a massive bowl of full-fat ice cream instead of the small bowl of low-fat I was planning?" trap.
  • Breakfast: 1/2 cup peas, 3 wedges melon (40+75 = 115)
  • Mid-morning: Apple (80)
  • Lunch: 1 cup green beans (35)
  • Mid-afternoon: slim-a-soup (40)
  • Dinner: (surprise pub meal with A's mom) 6 oz lean steak, 1/2 cup peas, 1 grilled tomato, 1 grilled mushroom, 5 french fries (320+40+20+5+100 = 485) 
  • Evening: Maltesers hot chocolate (100)
  • Ice cream Wednesday! 2 scoops chocolate ice cream (200)
Total: 1055
So pissed off to have gone over :(
And...
Exercise: nil :( But, I spent my lunch break when I'd planned to go for a run taking that black dress to the tailor to put a lining in. A pointed out that when the light's behind you it's just a little too see-through to be classy. So it wasn't a completely wasted time.

Today's question:
Are you vegan or vegetarian? If so, has this helped you lose weight? If not, would you ever consider turning vegan or vegetarian?
I'm afraid I'm a carnivore through and through! A and I are trying to eat less meat, but for purely financial reasons. In the summer (that is, when it's warm. I live in the UK - despite being halfway through June right now it's about 15 celcius and raining every other day. Boo.) I feel like I could live on fruits and salad, but come winter (that is, approximately 11.5 months of the year) I want my meat!

Ok, sorry for the super-short post (or maybe that's a welcome relief to you regular readers haha) - it's been a pretty boring day!

I'll leave you with some pictures...




Wednesday, 15 June 2011

30-Day Challenge: Days 13 and 14

Day 13's intake: about a zillion *sigh*
No, maybe not quite, but definitely over 1,000. Possibly over 1,500. I don't remember exactly what I ate so can't go and look it up retrospectively. Probably for the best... :|

Day 14 (yesterday - I'm so behind!) was better:

  • Breakfast: 60g low fat smoked sausage, 2 wedges of melon (120+50 = 170)
  • Lunch: Slim-a-soup, Apple, Nectarine (40+80+40 = 160)
  • Afternoon: 3 bites rhubarb crumble (100?)
  • Dinner: 1/2 brown tortilla, 1 piece liver, 1/2 cup onions/bell peppers, 1/4 cup rice, 1 Tbsp grated cheese (100+30+50+80+40 = 300)
  • Evening: 1 rich tea biscuit (35)
Total: 765

Exercise: 1 hour power-walk, down and up a very steep hill. I was super-proud of this, not because it was a massive amount of exercise compared to what some of you guys do, but because this hill is huge, and steep, and feels interminable, but I kept a fast pace all the way up it. I was also proud because I was feeling really needy and wanting to spend some time with A, but he was working on something; I could feel myself getting really indignant about this, but instead of throwing a hissy fit I put my agitation to productive use. I know, big deal, right? Good job Sophie, you acted like every other normal human being. Well that may be, but there's something to be said for baby steps...

So. Questions, then the results of this morning's weigh-in.

Are you losing weight in a healthy or an unhealthy way?
I think in a fairly healthy way. Technically I should probably up my calories a little and up my exercise to compensate, but I just abhor every kind of exercise I've ever tried, except for walking (which I love) and dancing (which I also love, but sadly no-one else I know does, and it's less fun on your own!), but overall I don't think the current plan is so bad.

What's your UGW? When do you hope to reach it?
This is a tough one. My lowest was 96lbs, so the competitive part of me wants to beat that. The rational part, though, knows that the corresponding BMI of 16 is unhealthy and requires a slavish devotion to maintain. I suppose my goal is to get down to 110 and be happy with that. I'd said at the start of this challenge, kind of without thinking, that I'd like to be 110 by the end of June, but losertown tells me that it's more realistic to aim for mid to late August. (How's that for a miscalculation?!)

Today's weigh-in wasn't as bad as I'd hoped. I was sure I'd have gained since Saturday, but in fact I'd lost half a pound :) I know, it's a tiny amount. But it's not a gain! Between now and next Wednesday I'd love to get down to 118 / 119. That shouldn't be difficult as long as I don't binge.

Tomorrow and Friday we're eating out, so I just need to be super-careful with that, and stop making excuses not to exercise (!!), then I think this week should go okay.

I've loved catching up on your blogs the last few days; keep writing :)

Monday, 13 June 2011

A big freak-out about olanzapine

This morning I had an appointment with the consultant psychiatrist and her trainee to follow up from the appointment I had a few weeks ago with the trainee alone. By the end of the hour they still weren't sure whether to diagnose me as bipolar or borderline personality (bit of an awkward misunderstanding about this; I was offended at their implication that I was only on the border of having a personality, that I didn't have a "real" one, and told them as much. They looked uncomfortable and told me that, no, it means your personality is borderline psychotic. Right. Thanks. Actually I preferred my interpretation, insulting or not.) so they want A to come with me to the next appointment so they can get a more rounded impression of things. I'm not sure how he's going to react to this - he has been unbelievably supportive about all of this, but I think his patience is (understandably) starting to wear thin. He says it's starting to look like an elaborate ruse, and I don't know how to explain to him that it feels like something else is living in my brain.


In any case, in the meantime they've prescribed me a course of olanzapine, a mood stabiliser and anti-psychotic. I balked a little at the word 'psychotic' (again) but ultimately I'm glad to accept any help I can get. So fine, not a problem. But when I got back to work and googled it, one of the first results was an article from the American Journal of Psychiatry associating this drug with a 58% BMI increase! 58%??! How is that even possible? Apparently the average gain is about 25 lbs. I have to get my moods under control in order to keep my marriage, and given the choice between keeping my marriage but gaining 25 lbs, or losing my marriage and staying this size or thinner, of course I'd keep my marriage. That's not even a decision; I wouldn't contemplate the other. But oh lord... that's 147 lbs.  Suddenly the weight I am now doesn't seem like the disgusting mass I thought it was. This is such a bad deal for him; he married someone relatively pretty and relatively sane, and he'll end up either with someone relatively pretty but a total basket case, or relatively sane but 147lbs. Would he still love me if I was fat but sane?

30-Day Challenge: Day 12

Well, I ended up not being at home alone today; A had been going to meet some friends for lunch but decided to stay home. Which was nice; we spent the afternoon drinking hot chocolate and watching Father Ted in bed. But had the mother of all arguments in the evening, which sucks.

Today's intake:

  • Breakfast: nothing (0)
  • Lunch: 1/2 tortilla, 1/2 tin tuna w/ 1 tsp light mayo, 1 bell pepper (110+75+12+30 = 227)
  • Afternoon: Maltesers hot chocolate (100)
  • Dinner: 1/2 cup rice, 1 cup homemade veg curry w/ 1/2 boiled egg (170 + 80 + 40 = 290)
  • Evening: handful of maltesers (190?)
Total: 807
Exercise: (clutching at straws) can I count the weekly grocery shop? Those shopping carts are heavy..! Urgh I'm so lazy :(

So it was within the 500-1,000 range, but not fantastic. It's this sweet tooth bugering me up! Or rather, I'm allowing it to bugger me up. I know that I'm in control of these things, I'm just not acting like it at the moment.

Not looking forward to Wednesday's weigh-in (I'm doing bi-weekly weigh-ins as I can't go a whole week without knowing, haha!); I'm pretty sure I'll have gained back everything that I lost recently. Gianni, I do drop weight fairly quickly, but the downside is that I gain quickly, too. Every silver lining has its cloud...!

Ok enough of this moping. Here are some pretty ladies to inspire you this week! Mondays may suck for a lot of people, but they're a chance to start again and make this week better than the last.