Victorious!

Happy weekend, my faithful followers!

I have 2 major victories to share…

First victory…I now only have 4 pounds to go to hit my century mark. (Huge relief not to have gained this week.)

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Now for the second…

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I have long struggled with a Compulsive Overeating Disorder. The initial stages took hold my junior year in college, and a few episodes have still managed to crop up every few years.

I’ve gotten control over the worst binges and truly believe that having to eat gluten free has assisted with that.  I can no longer indulge in 3 value meals at McD’s and after reading a few articles on the chemicals in microwave popcorn, I no longer eat 6 bags at a time. As many times as I did it and with as much crap as there was in the weird powdery butter (Extra Butter flavor was my poison) I’m surprised I haven’t sprouted an extra limb or suffered from major cognitive impairment. (The popcorn binge is my most vivid memory as it happened over and over again.)

Please don’t get me wrong. I still have my moments, and I most definitely have my triggers.

My ‘episodes’, as I’ll call them, never started out with the intent to eat ridiculous amounts. Typically I’d see a commercial or a sign or smell something that made me think of a particular food I wanted. The second that desire for that food popped into my mind, it became an absolute obsession.  I’d snack on something else, still focused on that original craving…I’d watch TV, still focused on that original craving…I’d go eat a full-fledged meal with others, still focused on that original craving. The only way to make the focus stop was to give in and get whatever it was I couldn’t stop thinking about. And relieving that obsession always turned into an uncontrollable binge.

In the past, I could get away with my calorie marathons because I could hide them. I lived alone or was in the car alone with time to dispose of the evidence. Fortunately, since Allen didn’t travel much for work, and especially since he and I were laid off, we are together 100% of the day which I love for a number of reasons…1) I hate being apart, 2) I’m a worry wart and run thru a myriad of worst-case scenarios when we’re not together (you can thank the driving ineptitude of Florida residents for that), 3) Being together and dining together means I don’t have my binge/hide opportunities.

Sure it sounds childish for me to feel like I have a chaperone on my eating excursions…but I’m not at a point where I totally trust myself.

I boredom eat, I emotional eat, I stress eat, I happy eat, I hungry eat, I looks-like-it’s-close-to-lunchtime-so-I-should-eat eat and I unfortunately still over eat.

The last few weeks have been full of stress. We are moving in 3-4 days and the thought of packing up everything and hauling it and 2 cars 8.5 hours north is doing a number on my anxiety level.  Couple that with moving to a new city (although I couldn’t be more excited about living there), trying to find a new job, Allen trying to find a new job, Christmas-time, trying to find a house, and trying to maintain the weight I’ve lost, and I just about want to declare myself temporarily insane.

So naturally…well, not naturally, but historically speaking, I want to eat. And eat some more.  Thank goodness for my trusty sidekick for keeping me in line.

But this morning…I was alone…in the car…and the thought of Chick-Fil-A fries entered my mind. And I wanted them.

I’d thought about them when I got in the car. Went to get my nails done…with the yelling and whispering of a language I cannot comprehend all around me while I sat their being pampered, I thought about them some more. I decided to make a trip to Home Depot for trash bags, but the smell of sawdust and paint did little to curb my hunger.  All I could do was focus on that waffle-y goodness.

I tried to see if Allen was done with his appointment…called a few people…tried to create some type of diversion, some type of sign that would make me let the urge go. Nothing was working.

I knew I was in trouble…I knew this meant 2 things. That I was giving in to that uncontrollable, suffocating urge that I’ve fought so long to cope with…and that I was getting ready to potentially eat this and act as if I hadn’t, planning to have lunch with my better half soon after. Binging and hiding it…I was headed down a slippery slope.

So I drove 4.5 miles out of the way to give in to my desire. I pulled in the parking lot…it was 11:30, which typically means that Chick-Fil-A is a chaotic mess of soccer moms and hungry workers on their lunch break. I made a silent deal with myself that if the line was long, I would go home…It wasn’t. I think I picked the 4-second window of time in the history of this location that a wrap-around line was not present. Shit…what was I going to do now?

I pulled behind the 2 cars that were waiting and prepared to order something. Damn I was hungry…and my brain proceeded to run a thousand miles a minute: Could I mask the grease smell if I ate them in the car? Would one order be enough? Surely I’d need 2 to make sure the craving was satisfied. What kind of sauce do I want? Will they be salty enough? Is there anything else I need to order? Wait…what was that sound?

As I was close to my time to order, I heard a weird noise. A strange metal dragging on the ground noise. Was it my car? Crap. What should I do? Fear ran through my whole body…what if I break down in the drive-thru line…at CFA…at lunch hour! How would I explain to Allen that I was sitting there deciding between BBQ and Polynesian sauce when the automobile crapped-out.  (Turns out it was the bizarre music choice of the car behind me that was causing my panic.)

And it was at that moment that I felt like I woke up from a dream. Like the hypnosis had worn off and I was ‘present’ again.

What the hell was I doing in the drive-thru lane? Two orders of French fries aren’t going to get me to my 100-lb weight loss goal by the end of the year and giving in to the worst part of myself was not the way to overcome my most embarrassing struggle.

So I simply drove away and the fanatical desire ceased….completely.

With no French fries came no guilt…no disgust…no sadness…no anger at myself for giving in…no standing in the mirror crying because I knew I’d certainly gain weight after eating 2 lunches (though claiming to have had 1)…no hiding…no binging…no embarrassment.

It may have been a struggle…it may have been fought till the 11th hour (thank goodness for overly loud dubstep)…but a win in the final minute is still a win.

I finally had a ‘W’ in my win column. I emerged victorious over the ‘obsessive thoughts lead to binge’ battle for the first time EVER… And while I know many battles make up a war, I am incredibly proud of my buzzer beater.

 

“You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.” ~ Margaret Thatcher

UNC vs. Me…A Similar Conundrum

First off…I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving holiday!

Now to the good stuff…

If you know anything about me, you know I’m a die-hard UNC Tarheels fan. Much to the dismay of my dad and many of my other (crazy Blue Devil) friends, I bleed Carolina Blue.

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Football has been hit or miss over the years, (I once owned a shirt that said “UNC: A drinking school with a football problem.”) but basketball on the other hand…that’s where it’s at for me. (Wow…what a grammatical nightmare that sentence was!)

So in true frustrate the hell out of an avid sports fan form, my sweet team has been slightly irritating this year.  When they’re playing an unranked, no player over 6 feet tall, should be able to beat them with the UNC walk-ons blindfolded and tied to each other type of teams…we lose. When we’re playing the protégé, definitely going to be in the Final Four, top 3, ridiculous skill type of teams…we win.

When it is absolutely and logically impossible for us to walk away with a defeat…it happens. When it is absolutely and logically impossible for us to lose…we can’t make a damn shot and sport a big ‘L’ on the forehead on the bus home.

So what does this have to do with me or my weight loss?

Well…the week that it is absolutely and logically impossible for me to lose an ounce of weight…

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And I do!

This marks the 3rd year in a row that I’ve lost weight during Thanksgiving week.

Trust me…I’m not complaining. It just makes absolutely NO sense.

I stuffed my face last week…and when I say stuff my face, I mean I ate everything in sight…turkey, figgy piggy (Thanks Sarah!), gravy, stuffing, green bean casserole, roasted veggies, mashed potatoes, creamed corn, sweet potatoes, quinoa and butternut squash casserole, broccoli and cauliflower, hashbrown casserole, curried onions, swiss chard, sausage balls, cake balls (it was year of the balls apparently), pumpkin pie, a thousand batches of gingersnaps, gummy worms (I’m sure I’m forgetting a few things)…and all of that was just on Thanksgiving day! (And yes, everything I ate was gluten free.)

I wanted to care what I was eating that day…but decided not to fret and that I’d catch up later in the week. After all…how often do you get to enjoy beaucoups of homemade deliciousness with your family?!

My catch-up never happened and I didn’t exactly eat well this week either…traveling plus hotel plus no scale to gauge my progress (or regress) leaves me in a world of confusion, French fries and chocolate.

This pattern of thinking it’s one way and it’s actually another is not new to me. There are often days or weeks that I feel incredible…I feel thinner, I feel flatter and more defined. Those are the times I get on the scale only to see that I’ve gone up. I know I should base the way I feel about myself on the way I truly feel (vs. on what a digital number is yelling at me), but that’s tough for me. My weight loss has more or less defined me mentally for the last 2 years. My panic over waking up to have it all packed back on leads me to get slightly obsessed about the daily ups and downs. Being so close to a major weight loss milestone only makes things worse.

Hopefully some of this stress and worry of overnight failure will subside a bit once I reach that 100-pound mark. For some (screwed up) reason…99 pounds is not an accomplishment but 100 is. If I can make it to that mark, I will have done something that I had convinced myself for 15 years of struggle with my weight that I could never ever do. Then again…I never truly believed I could make it to a 94.4-pound weight loss mark either!

So this week, even though I lost a decent amount of weight, I feel horrible. I feel like I didn’t lose or that it’s just some sick game that the scale is playing. I should have been ecstatic when I stepped on the scale this morning but I wasn’t. It might of well have shown a 2 pound gain. It never occurred to me until now that perhaps my body is finally rejecting all this crappy, processed stuff. All I can think about right now is diving into a big bowl of kale salad (no lie) and a year ago all I could think about was fried potatoes. (I clearly have a thing for french fries…I think I’ve mentioned them in almost every blog.) I don’t want to eat bad anymore which I know is a step in the right direction.

Nevertheless, the mind-boggling weight loss for the week means one of two things…

1)   The more calories I ingest the more weight I lose. In other words, if I spend the next 2 weeks eating nachos and sausage then I’ll be less than 150 pounds in no time!

2)   That the weight is waiting in the wings to pack on this week so I need to be extra careful.

Yeah…I’m thinking it’s not likely to be option number 1…unfortunately. 🙂

I have no scientific knowledge of how calories really work and how long excess calories ‘stick around’…all I have in my brain is the basic premise that if you burn more calories than you take in, you will lose. I seem to have defied all the laws of nutrition last week, which leaves me a little panicked about this week.

Does the poundage wait until you least expect it to totally depress you when you get on the scale? How is it humanly possible to lose when I ate as much as I did? Do cheat weeks lead to a faster metabolism (I’ve read that a cheat day is in fact beneficial to metabolism) to this degree? Does it catch back up with you eventually?

I honestly don’t know….

But here’s what I do know…

I am thankful for an incredible Thanksgiving weekend.

I am thankful for the food on my plate and the roof over my head.

I am thankful for my family and the bond that we share.

I am thankful for weight loss.

I am thankful for the way my body has transformed.

I am thankful for smaller sizes and larger confidence.

I am thankful for good health and a clear mind.

I am thankful for this blog.

And of course, I am thankful that the Heels defeated Louisville and Michigan State.

“If the odds are a million to one against something occurring, chances are 50-50 it will.”

Size Matters

Or does it?…..

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What a joy it was to re-launch the blog last week. I really had forgotten how much I enjoy pecking away at the computer and posting my mental ramblings for all to read!

I funny thought crossed my mind this week regarding my memory…

When it comes to my ability to remember things…eh…I give myself a C. I suffer from can’t remember what I had for breakfast and can’t remember why I walked in the kitchen syndrome. My mental notes should be renamed “you’re going to forget it in 5 minutes so write it down now” notes.

I’m the queen of forgetting I have clothes in the dryer (Ugh…I hate washing the same load twice because I forget!) and the master at heating something up in the microwave only to find it two days later because I open the door to heat something else up.

However…aside from my lackluster ability to recall most things in my daily life with perfect recollection, there are 2 things that I have no issue forgetting…

1)    I have the psycho ability to recall numbers and numerical data like Rain Man…my first phone number was 845-1424…the Wifi password to the first Wifi card I ever had (circa 2006) was 833846904…My high school locker combination was 17-28-13.  Want to know my address as a 3rd grader? I can tell you that too. Want to know my great grandmother’s phone number? I’ve also got that stored in my noggin. When it comes to numbers, I’m weird.

2)    If I think about a time in my life or an age I was, I can tell you EXACTLY what size clothing I was wearing.  No…I’m not exaggerating. And not only do I remember what size I was wearing, I can tell you outfits I had during those years that were those sizes.

Yes, of course I can recall the details of many events in my life or periods of time. I recall the emotions and the experience, but the very first thought I have when I need to recall a certain time period is my size. It’s like a weird robotic, involuntary reflex….

“So Hannah…tell me something about…”

  • 6th Grade…Shirt size was Large…Went to space camp on a class trip.
  • 8th Grade…Shirt size was Large…Did a dance to ‘Sugarpie Honey Bunch’ in front of my homeroom with 3 other friends. (Ummm….)
  • The day I graduated from high school…Size 14…What a fun party that was.
  • Beginning of sophomore year of college…Size 12…oh that school kickoff party!
  • End of sophomore year of college…Size 18…My gallbladder hurt and I was so lost.
  • Junior year of college…Size 20…What a sad person I had started to become.
  • January 2011…Size 20, XXL…Start to this blog thing.
  • Thanksgiving 2011…Size 18…Started to feel different, but why did I still look so swollen?!
  • March 2012…Size 12…Glad I can now comfortably shop without having to worry about whether or not the store carries plus sizes.
  • The day I got engaged…Size 10…Most incredible day of my life thus far.
  • April 2013…Size 12, Large…Failure. Have to buy a larger size pants because my 10’s don’t fit anymore.
  • November 2013…Size 8…Whoa. Smallest I’ve been in my adult life.

Why?! What the hell is that thought process about?!

I am saddened that I have had such a warped way of reviewing and reflecting on my life. Why are the moments in my life so defined by the number on the label in my freaking pants?

Why is the first thing that comes to mind when I think about the day I graduated from HS the size of the black ruffled dress I was wearing and not what a great accomplishment it was to walk across that stage with honors and the 6th highest GPA in my class?

I don’t want my sizes (past and present) to define me. Size shouldn’t be important. My life and the way I’m living it should be what matters. Thus we have uncovered my current struggle…

I’d love to say that size no longer matters…but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t. Especially when I started to creep back up the sizing scale earlier this year. I’m still struggling with feeling like I look exactly the same in an 8 as I did in 16.

I have this weird meltdown when I buy things that fit because in my warped mind, fit means that they’re tight and tight means that I’m fat.  My brain thinks that loose equals skinny despite the fact that there’s twice as much material. Away from the mirror, I logically know that clothing that fits means that it sits close to my body (as it should!) versus rocking the saggy, diaper booty that I seem to sport when I wear pants a size or two too large, and that if the size is smaller, I’m obviously smaller. But, thus my backwards brain thinks otherwise.

Is it my psyche? The media? Photoshop? What has made size so important? Will the focus stop when I reach my destination? I guess only time will tell….

I am now 1 size…1 flipping size!!!…from the goal I set for myself when I weighed 248 pounds. I wasn’t really sure what I wanted the scale to say…but I did say that my ultimate stretch goal was to be in a size 6.  What do I do if when I get there?

Speaking of goals… I am 12…yes you read that correctly, 12 pounds from having lost 100 pounds. 100. 1-0-0.

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I have a feeling this will be the slowest, most drawn out 12 pounds EVER….especially with Thanksgiving around the corner. I can do it…I can do it…I can do it…I can…who am I kidding…I’ve already done it!

A triple digit loss is just gravy on the accomplishment train…a very healthy, vibrant, beautiful (low cal) gravy…

Have a great weekend, all!

“Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Hibernation Is Officially Over!

Testing…testing…is this thing on?

Any of you still with me?

Wouldn’t be surprised if you weren’t…it’s been over a year since I’ve posted anything here and in the blogging world that’s an inexcusable sin.

I want to start this thing up again…but not sure what direction to take it. I really do suck at talking about myself, as I have discovered from putting my resume together lately. (Which I will gladly forward to all willing to receive…this chick needs a J-O-B.) Finding something profound to discuss got harder and harder as the weeks went on…I felt like I was supposed to have a major epiphany every 7 days and when I didn’t I found I was just writing to write.

Blogging was such an incredible outlet for me when I did have a lot on the brain and I guess I just put myself under entirely too much pressure to have something amazing to report to you all once a week.

I’d love any input as to what you might like to see, or where you think I should go, or if I should continue. Maybe it will just be weight…maybe it will be recipes or could be a ‘Dear Abby’ type of thing…I dunno. (Help me here!)

What I do know is this…I fell off the wagon for a bit…like 20 pounds off the wagon…So far off the wagon that I justified going to buy bigger clothes to not be miserably suffocated in my own denim. I was angry about it. I was angry when the number started ticking back up….I was angry that so much of my hard work seemingly went to waste. When I stepped on the scale as it approached and then tipped over the 180-lb mark I got really scared. Seeing 180 might as well have been 199…In my head I was so close to 200 again that I thought I might have a panic attack on the spot.

So as I stood on that scale 5 months ago with 186.0 staring back at me, a little voice in the back of my head said “That’s it…I’m done. I’ve ruined every bit of effort I put forth before. All the hard work and struggle is for nothing and I am officially a total failure.” Mind you I was still down 60+ pounds but my poor brain didn’t see it that way.

But as I’m all up for trying new things these days…I decided to take the opposite approach. I decided to put my big girl (though not quite as big as they used to be) panties on and refocus. I hadn’t made it this far for nothing and I sure as hell wasn’t going to ever step foot in plus size store again. Given the option to keep eating like a barbarian and injure innocent bystanders because I was wearing jeans 4 sizes too small because of my promise to never put one foot in a size with a ‘W’ at the end, or suck it up, scrape the dirt off my knees and get my ass back in gear…well, for the FIRST time in my life, I got back up.  And boy am I glad I did!

Photo on the left was taken at the end of May...photo on the right was taken on Halloween.

Photo on the left was taken at the end of May…photo on the right was taken on Halloween.

I’ve now lost that boomerang weight plus some and am in the smallest size I’ve seen in my adult life. Sure I’ve weighed 161 before but I think I was 11 or 12 years old.

Ok not really, but I do honestly think I skipped from toddler size to an XL junior size to plus size without stopping.

So why come back now? Why come out of hibernation after a year to rant and rave about my weekly issues or triumphs?

Well…not really sure I have the answer to that yet except for the fact that I woke up this morning with a strong desire to bring this blog back from the dead.

I want to continue to encourage and help and inspire those that need it as so many of you have done for me on this journey.

And when I hit my goal, I want to share it with all of you. You’re the reason I started this blog to begin with…to hold me accountable…reprimand me when I’m bad and encourage me when I’ve done well.  I’m sorry I’ve put that accountability by the wayside.

I’ll start with the weight again next Friday. Whether or not you want to see it, it’s definitely something that helps hold me accountable (and requires me to keep my toes pedicured). If I know I’ve got to post a big photo of what the scale says for the world (or tens of readers) to see, then I’m a lot more likely to choose salad over a (gluten-free) cheeseburger.

As for full on blog posts…well, I’ll commit to at least one a week. Some may be short and sweet…some may be long. Some weeks I might have nothing to say, some weeks I might post daily. Who knows…I’ll just let it flow on its own.

As I mentioned earlier, if there are things you’d like me to discuss or questions you feel like I need to answer (i.e. Q: How many French fries does it take to gain 20 lbs back? A: Not that many), then by all means comment or shoot me an email or a text or something.

So here’s to reaching my goal and once and for all giving my pudge the pink slip!!

“Sometimes you have to get knocked down lower than you’ve ever been, to stand up taller than you ever were.” ~ Unknown

Step Away From the Chocolate!!

I promise I will restart my weekly ‘normal’ blogs next week. PROMISE.

This week I need to vent…well not really vent, I need to confess.

I cannot stop thinking about…chocolate.

Please for the love of all that is holy forbid me from it!  As the result of a ‘hormonal week’ (that’s about as nicely as I can put it) I am having sweet cravings out the wazoo.

This is so abnormal!! I’d give up sugar for 6 months to eat 1 french fry.  Dessert does nothing for me typically. I’d much rather be elbows deep in a bag of Lay’s any day of the week.  But this week….this week is just plain ridiculous.

I opted for dark chocolate after lunch today…it’s more nutritious, right?  I’m afraid to buy a large bag of M&M’s for fear I’ll tilt it into my mouth like a feed bag and eat them like a dog eats a biscuit.

Going to the grocery store earlier was a mistake…instead of focusing on dinner I found myself wandering down the ‘snack’ aisle staring at the 5lb bags of candy and wondering how many would fit in the basket. Thank goodness I’m gluten-free or Little Debbie would have promptly sent me a thank you card after the chunk of change I would have dropped on boxes of Swiss Cake Rolls.

The voice in my head loudly yelled, ‘Ma’am, step away from the chocolate’. I half expected to look up and see the grocery store employees coming at me with scanners drawn.

I feel like someone needs to call in A&E’s Intervention….yes, it’s that bad. It’s been two hours since the last M&M…I’m sweating and shaky. I’m conspiring on how I can score my next ‘hit’. I feel like a drug addict.

Want to know how bad it really is?! I went to the vet (ok I didn’t but Coco did and I took her) this morning with blue M&M stain on my bottom lip.  Yes, the handful of M&M’s  (from a small bag) I had for breakfast decided to really make me regret my decision.

I think it looked enough like a purple bruise that no one said anything. But they were looking. Thinking they were staring at the gargantuan bump on my chin (thanks for that too, hormones), I didn’t think anything of it.  I was mortified when I got back in the car and discovered the lovely blue dot on my kisser.  Great first impression at a new dog doctor, Hannah! I’m sure the notes added to the bottom of the chart where something like: ‘Owner must be having sordid relationship with blue ink pen’, ‘owner was in fight and lost’, or ‘owner is trying out new 80’s shade of purple-blue lipstick that is NOT working for her.’

It was chocolate karma! That’s what I get for indulging!!

I’ve gotta stop…the little progress I’ve made over the last few weeks is going to completely unravel with the calorie consumption I’ve had in the last few days.

I am happy to report that in addition to a tiny bit of weight loss, I did manage to get into a size 8 and am now the proud owner of a SMALL shirt! I never thought I’d fit in a medium much less a small! As if that wasn’t enough, exactly one year ago today I weighed 214…so proud. 🙂

Maybe I’ll think about that when the urge to stick my face in Cherry Garcia arises. I don’t know if my will-power is strong enough for the ‘curse’ force though…

Motivation to eat lettuce is so tough when Swedish Fish (ok not chocolate but damn delicious!) are sitting there looking all beautiful. They’re whispering…saying naughty things and taunting me…’Take a bite…I dare ya!’

I’ve got to resist…if I keep going like this the city council is going to have to approve an expansion plan in the region of my badonkadonk.

Don’t do it, Hannah. Fight it. Be strong.  (But it’s so tasty.)  Don’t do it. You don’t need that candy. (But I do.) You’re better than that Reese’s Cup.  (No I’m not.)  You’re sweet and wonderful without that Symphony bar. (Oh, shut it.)  Step away from the chocolate.  Step your ass far, far away.  The next town over should be far enough…the next state maybe. Candy is evil.  Remember that!  Say it with me now, everyone. Candy is…oh, nevermind. You heard me the first time.

If you can’t be a good example, then you’ll just have to be a horrible warning.”

~ Catherine Aird