March Madness and Moving Day

Four weeks of craziness and I feel like my bones are made of cement. It is time for a change. My points reset tomorrow and so will my brain. Back to tracking, back to being alcohol-free, back to kickboxing and my beloved Peloton. Back on track or bust!

I am trying not to be too hard on myself, to accept the reality of these last four weeks, to accept that some of it has been in my control and some out of my control, to learn from it, and to MOVE THE F ON. Seeing as I am currently too tired to move much at all, I am taking some time now to collect and reflect. Keep what is important, ditch what is not.

Tomorrow is (mental) moving day.

I will keep the lessons that will serve me well as I move forward. Having alcohol as an option is too much of a willpower- and energy-suck right now, so it needs to not be an option for me for awhile. Again. Did I fail at moderation? No. But neither did I thrive. When we were in London, I drank a glass of wine with dinner the first few nights, and by the end of the week I was up to two glasses and felt like I could not let a night of vacation pass without it. Last Tuesday, when our power finally came back on, we returned to our 43-degree house and I immediately opened a bottle of Sauv B that had naturally chilled in a kitchen cabinet and drank the whole damn thing.

I am not panicking. I have more faith in myself than that. But I also know that I need all the energy and mental clarity and willpower I can get right now and removing alcohol from the zillions of choices I expend energy making on a daily basis will help a lot with that. So, it goes. Again. And I’m a lot less sad about it this time.

I will keep the fond memories of our wonderful London trip and travel adventures at Great Wolf Lodge and in NYC during our four-day power outage. Bringing our kids to London for the first time; walking them past our old house; seeing the thrill on their faces as they walked into Hamley’s, boarded their first double-decker bus, and ascended in the London Eye are memories my husband and I will cherish for the rest of our lives.

I will keep – but try not to torture myself with – the memory of how I feel right now. Drained. Bloated. Disappointed. Gross. Exhausted to my core. Some of this is due to stressful circumstances that were out of my control. We had no power for four days, five counting our 12-hour bonus (ha) outage yesterday. International travel is awesome but tiring. The jet lag/strep throat/head cold combo was a hat trick of heinousness that took about two weeks for me and my kids to overcome.

But I am also partly responsible for how I feel right now. I have burdened my body with booze and junk food. I have allowed my cravings to win out. I have stayed up too late. I have reopened my book of excuses and used them liberally to justify my actions in the moment.

This ends tomorrow. And a new chapter of this journey begins. I am starting Annie Grace’s 30-day Alcohol Experiment and I’m going to start reading The Food Therapist which I hope will help with my out-of-control cravings.

This is going to be a big week. My son is turning four, my dad and stepmom arrive to stay for five days (which is about three days too long), and we have my son’s birthday party on St. Patrick’s Day. (Oh, and I’ll be PMSing. Apologies if that’s TMI.)

The 2017 me would never have the guts to go alcohol-free starting on a week like the one I have ahead of me. The 2018 me is admittedly a bit daunted, but mostly excited by the thought of how damn proud I am going to feel a week from today.

Damn. Proud. I can do this.

Who’s Got the Power? My First Year on Weight Watchers

Today is my one-year Weight Watchers anniversary.

Am I at my goal weight? No.

I am at my original goal weight, and that is ok. Because this past year has been about so much more than that.

My original goal weight has become my new “I feel puffy and need to get back on track” weight. That’s where I am today. And after three weeks of craziness (international travel with two young kids, a family case of strep throat, then head colds, and currently on day five of a power outage), I am ok with that.

I am more than ok. Because I have something that I didn’t have a year ago, when I set out on this journey. I have faith in myself. I believe in myself. I know exactly what I am doing and I know that I will get back to where I want to be.

Right now I am stress-eating. We have been out of our house for four days and out of our routine for three weeks. While I have managed to spend some of that time on the wagon, I’ve also allowed myself to give into my go-to cravings: tortilla chips, Nutella, and chocolate. I wish I were stronger. I wish I didn’t resort to junk food as a “reward” in times of stress. Because, of course, putting this crapola into my body is not a reward. It’s a burden. A moment of pleasure that instantly weighs me down mentally and physically. And that weight lasts a lot longer than the fleeting pleasure.

But I do it anyway. And I accept that. For now.

Because I’m in this for the long haul. I’ve run two marathons in my life. This is my third.

When I joined WW a year ago, I was desperate. My eating and drinking were out of control. I was squeezing into my clothes. I had little energy and patience. Working out felt like a hopeless chore. I needed some structure and someone else’s rules to follow because I wasn’t sticking to my own.

WW has opened a door to an existence that I didn’t believe was possible. I used to think my old weight was just the way my body was going to be after having two kids. I used to think it was fine to eat whatever I want because nothing would ever change. I used to think I would never be able to control my alcohol cravings. I felt disgusting. And, finally, fed up.

I didn’t know what else to do. So I joined WW. I stepped through that door. And while I have not yet arrived at my ultimate destination, I left the first 20lbs behind. Confidently over the threshold, I closed the door and flipped the deadbolt. I will never see those 20lbs again. The next five are hanging on for dear life, and the five after that still feel somewhat out of reach. But this is a journey. This is a marathon. I haven’t crossed the finish line, but I haven’t hit the wall either. I’m still going strong.

One year in. I wish I could have posted dramatic before and after photos, but I wasn’t up to it today. So I got a pedicure. I’d show it to you, but I forgot to shave my toes and my left big toenail is still growing back after a nasty incident with a pair of pointy-toe flats.

But under these Converse All-Stars, beneath my socks, my toenails are painted a fierce, sassy and confident shade of neon watermelon.

And under my stress-eating-induced bloat, beneath my sweatshirt and leggings, I am a fierce, sassy and confident person and mama and athlete and writer and warrior and wife.

I’ve been writing this post throughout the day. Between grocery trips and school runs and karate classes, amidst not knowing when or if our electricity would be restored before the next storm hits in a matter of hours.

And guess what? The power – finally! – came on.

We have power.

I have power.

THAT is what I have taken away from my first year on Weight Watchers. I. Have. Power.

And I take responsibility. For the good decisions and the bad. I alone have the power to learn from these decisions. And I am. I am learning so much about myself and I am becoming a better person and mom and wife every day.

Because every day leads me closer to the me I want to be. She has eluded me over the years. And at times I have almost lost her.

But not this time. Not ever again, I hope.

Because I have the power now.

British Granola and a Big Ol’ Lightbulb

DOH. I just calculated the smart points for this glorious granola that I ate first thing every morning while in London (so good we brought a bag home!). A bowl of this plus milk basically equals a FULL DAY of smart points – and then we would go out for breakfast!

I’m starting to realize the depth of the disservice I did to myself by not tracking while I was in London. Even though I have been on Weight Watchers for almost a year I still have seen taking a break from tracking as a sort of treat. I thought “letting myself off the hook” was fun. What I’m realizing now is that tracking itself is a gift. The awareness and accountability that tracking provides is so much more beneficial than “treating” myself to being off the wagon.

Lightbulb!

Why has it taken me so long to realize and accept this?! UGH!

And then I remind myself that this is a journey. A marathon, not a sprint. A path that only I can navigate. So I once again kick that little judgmental little devil to the curb and continue on my way.

Home Again

We are back from an incredible week in London and I am in bed with a nasty virus. Grateful that it’s nothing worse – though I haven’t been bedridden like this in months – and that today is Sunday so my hubs can take the kids while I rest up.

But UGH.

I’ve been putting crap into my body for two weeks now, between my pre-vacay salt-and-sugar extravaganza and then eating whatever I wanted while in London. And while I’m sure this illness is not entirely due to my being off the wagon, I’m guilting myself about it anyway. Maybe if I hadn’t eaten so poorly, maybe if I hadn’t had wine, maybe I wouldn’t have gotten sick and I’d be able to be productive today instead of feeling like a puffy zombie.

I know I need to cut myself a break and focus on the positives. We had an incredible week in one of my favorite cities on the planet. My husband and I were able to provide a fun, eye-opening, enriching travel experience for our kiddos while reliving some of our fondest memories of the years we spent living in London. It was truly wonderful.

And this Weight Watchers journey is a marathon, not a sprint. Habits don’t change overnight. And weight gain doesn’t mean failure. Track it and move on.

Move on. Move past this guilt because it’s not helping me in any way. And learn. I’m learning there are certain foods I just can’t have in my house. That doesn’t make me weak, it makes me aware. I’m learning that allowing myself to eat whatever I want doesn’t feel like a treat anymore, it just messes with my body and weighs me down with guilt and disappointment.

I don’t want to look back on this trip and feel guilt. I want to look back on this trip and remember it for the amazing, special week that it was. I hope that as I get past this illness I will do just that.

And the next time we travel, I will remember that travel is not a ticket to a bottomless buffet. My one-year Weight Watchers anniversary is approaching. I have been fueling my body with healthier choices for almost a year. Naughty foods have a more negative impact on me now. A good lesson to learn, even if I learned it the hard way this time around. I believe I will make better choices from now on.

So, when I look back on our London trip, I hope I remember, above all, the joy on my son’s face when he rode his first double decker bus; the pride with which my daughter used her first digital camera to capture our adventures; the happiness we all felt being together in a wonderful place.

Time to get back on track.

 

Hello from London

… where, on a bus tour today, I learned the origin of the term “off the wagon” – which is appropriate considering how I’ve been eating since we’ve been here.

While my kids and our familial jetlag have not allowed too much time for reflection, I have definitely noticed that my eating and drinking habits have changed. And that is such a profound relief. Yes, I am “off the wagon” right now. I am not tracking, and I’m eating all my favorite British foods. I’m drinking wine with dinner too. I will gain weight while I’m here. But I’m already looking forward to getting back “on the wagon” when we get home (as much as I don’t want this wonderful trip to end!). I need vegetables. And I need to be back in a country where Nutella comes in plastic, not glass, and doesn’t taste good enough to spend points on it.

I wish I didn’t want to drink wine with dinner. But I’m reminding myself that drinking a glass of wine with dinner while on vacation is a far cry from drinking a bottle a night at home. We are staying in an apartment here and I have not bought any wine to keep in the fridge – that, too, is progress from our last vacation over the summer where I had an ever-present bottle in our hotel rooms for the necessary night-cap. Or three.

So, I’m not where I want to be in terms of having self-control with my favorite junk food. And I’m not where I want to be with alcohol. But there was a time not so long ago where I couldn’t even imagine being where I am now. Limiting myself to one glass of wine. Not having fish and chips every day just because I can. I simply didn’t believe in myself. And now I do. And that is progress.

Who’s the Boss

UGH. I have been in a sugar-and-salt spiral all week. I haven’t posted for awhile because I kept expecting myself to emerge from it so I could post something victorious: “I was in a spiral but I got myself out and now I feel amazing!”

But that is not my reality. In reality, I just ate two bowls of cereal.

This week, I have latched on to every excuse I can think of and raided my pantry with an embarrassing level of determination to dig and find any remaining chocolate from Christmas. The only tortilla chips I didn’t eat are in the bag that I bought my husband for Valentine’s Day (and covered in sticker hearts, so romantic) because I ate the other bag that I bought him when he was sick. My self-control has gone completely out the window and I feel disgusting.

But let’s focus on the positive. I completed my goal of four workouts. And after today’s 6am spin (live from Pyeongchang! Did anyone else do that Peloton ride? So fun!!) I completed a 10-min abs workout WITHOUT STOPPING. This is a big NSV for me because I have been attempting this same workout for months and this is the first time I have done it all the way through without taking a break.

My other NSV is that I have had no wine or other alcohol at home all week. My eating is out of control right now, but my drinking is completely in control. Completely. In. Control. As embarrassed as I am about my eating, I need to give myself permission to feel proud. Because just six weeks ago I never thought I would be in control of my drinking. I never thought I could make it through a witching hour without either white knuckles or a drink in my hand. I’ll admit that I have been more tempted this week than in previous weeks, and I’m sure that’s related to the fact that I have consumed epic amounts of crap. Vicious cycle and whatnot. But I AM breaking from that vicious cycle. I am no longer a wino, no longer a lush. My kids no longer see me clinging to my “mommy juice” every evening like my life depends on it.

I wish I had it all under control. If I had eaten clean this week as planned, I would be feeling amazing right now. On top of the world. But I’m not. I don’t have it all under control. I am not stronger than my food cravings right now, and that is incredibly frustrating.

But I own you, alcohol cravings. I am in charge. I’m the boss of you. And you are getting weaker and weaker. You tried to take advantage of me when I was spiraling this week, but I didn’t let you. Because I’m getting stronger and stronger.

So today I vow to forgive myself for my pantry trespasses. I vow to learn from my behavior this week, to remember how crappy I feel, to understand why I binged the way I did. And the next time the pressures of life make me want to stuff my face, I will do better.

Post-Binge Reflections

Not a perfect day. But a better day. I accept that, and I am so grateful. Weight Watchers has given me the ability to bounce back and the permission to forgive myself and move on from heinous snack attacks (and last night’s was truly epic) with grace. To move on with self-love and confidence even in the darkest and most embarrassing moments.

I consumed 96 smart points yesterday (I am given 23 smart points each day). About 15% of those points were healthy. The rest was absolute crap. I ate so much I felt sick. Part of me was hoping I’d actually throw up, and that is a disgusting and scary place to be. Thanks to my wonderful hubby I was able to laugh just enough to not be completely overcome with misery. We joked about the tortilla chip-chocolate-caramel corn baby in my belly and how I was experiencing third trimester discomfort coupled with first trimester nausea. Yeehaw!

That snack devil baby caused me to have sugar sweats all night. My daughter woke me at 3:30am and I was drenched, had a horrible taste in my mouth, and actually smelled bad! EWW. It was as gross as a bad night of drinking. And while I’m proud I didn’t drink, my eyes (and nostrils, sorry, TMI) are now open to the impact of overindulging in sugar and salt. It ain’t pretty and it ain’t cute.

One of my very wise and thoughtful friends on Connect reminded me today to think about what I’ve learned from Annie Grace and This Naked Mind and apply it here. She reminded me that WILLPOWER IS A FINITE RESOURCE. (Any lightbulbs going off for anyone else??)

I am already frayed from travel prep and helping my son and husband through yucky viruses last week. I used a LOT of willpower at a lunchtime play date yesterday, and then the afternoon struck, and various life stressors pushed me past being able to white-knuckle myself to dinnertime. I remain amazed and thrilled that I had no desire to drink. And now the realization that I can apply Annie Grace’s guidance to eating and not just drinking will be hugely helpful.

The picture above is a portrait of me that my daughter – then age 3 – drew of me the day before our family embarked upon our second cross-country move in 8 months. Yeah, I was a little stressed out during that time in my life. Not surprisingly, I was also at my heaviest weight. I laminated the drawing and keep it constantly at hand, as a reminder of what true stress really is and how the way we react and adapt obviously impacts our children.

In the grand scheme, last night’s sober snack binge is not a big deal. Nor is the fact that I’ve gone over my points again today. What’s important is that I am learning from every step of this journey – the steps forward as well as the steps back. And if I can stay in a place of gratitude and receptivity and resilience, one of these days I’ll turn around and see that I’m far beyond where I ever thought I could be.