Relearning to Cope

Hey ladies!  I apologize for being pretty absent lately.  I haven't been particularly busy or more stressed than I already was, I've just been taking some time to make decisions and work as much as I can.

I've been trying hard to adjust my attitude toward positivity, and I think this whole don't-cut-yourself-down thing is finally taking hold.  I've been focusing on what I like about me, and reframing negative thoughts (isn't that a Weight Watchers tool?  Thanks for saving me some dough, Christie :P).  It's definitely helping me eat better, move more, and it's taken the edge off my stress enough that I've found a new coping mechanism to use in place of food:  crying.

I know that sounds a little counterintuitive - how in the world could CRYING ever make me feel better or less stressed?  Well, my entire life I've avoided crying.  I was often told as a child "You don't need to cry about it!" in reference to physical injury, emotional pain, and almost anything else.  So I internalized my feelings and developed a habit of overeating when I was upset.  I actually used to pride myself on the fact that I NEVER cried (before I was depressed).  In high school (when I got depressed), I used to tell people that I hadn't cried for years even when I would go home and cry in the shower almost every day.  Crying was too visible an expression of my pain - I didn't want anybody to see how much I was hurting because I didn't want to hear that I was weak or not good enough.  I dreaded being comforted by relatives because them reaching out to me just reeked of hypocrisy - how could the people who made me feel like shit in the first place think that their comfort would help me?  Of course, I was an angsty teen back then and now I certainly know that nobody ever made me feel like shit on purpose (and since I never told anybody, they never knew how I felt).  So when I couldn't cry in private, I ate in public.  It was so easy to spin it and make people think I was okay.  I could say, "Oh, I love donuts!  I'll have two!" and people would think I was double happy.  But I was really hoping that if I ate something I loved I would feel better.

Now I know that eating never makes me feel better.  It just makes me feel worse and say terrible things to myself.  So although I've always had this aversion to crying, I've realized lately how much it helps.  And since I'm home alone all day while my boyfriend's at work, I can just cry and cry and let my stress out without anybody asking questions about it and making me feel awkward.  It's almost kind of...nice.  I can just sit on the couch with a box of kleenex, work through my stress, and cry it out.  When I calm down I take a shower and try to work out solutions for my problems.  Once I get my emotions out of the way, life's ups and downs become much easier to navigate.

So, between the crying and the positive self-talk, I'm happy to report I'm back down to 201!  Yaaay!  I'm feeling optimistic about losing more weight and finally, finally reaching the golden streets of Onederland. I know it will happen soon.  Like a cleansing downpour, I can feel it coming.

To depart, I leave you with an adorable picture of me and my oh-so-serious li'l bro that I took when I was home last month.  Ain't he just the cutest?  : )


Sharing a Helpful Post

In case you don't follow Lyn at Escape From Obesity, this post is really helping me today:

Binge Monster


Potato and Spinach Frittata

Hello lovely readers!  So I just made this AMAZING Potato and Spinach Frittata for breakfast and now that I'm done eating and super happy I want to share it with you.  I was sort of following this recipe, but I did do some things differently.

So here's how to make it.  First, assemble your ingredients.
  • eggs
  • onion
  • garlic
  • potatoes (I used Russet)
  • milk (I used skim)
  • spinach (I used frozen)
  • olive oil (I used extra virgin)
  • shredded cheese (recipe called for cheddar, but I used an italian blend and it was delicious)
  • salt
  • pepper

Find yourself a good sized skillet.   Peel and thinly slice 2-3 Russet potatoes.  Put enough olive oil in to coat the pan, plus a little extra, 2-3 tablespoons.  Mince a few cloves of garlic, dice a solid handful of onion, and chop 1-2 cups of spinach.  Adjust the measurements based on the size of your pan; just imagine all the ingredients in there together and prepare whatever will fit. 

Set the heat to medium.  When the oil is hot, add the garlic.  Give it a minute to get happy in the oil and add the onion.   When the onion starts to become translucent, add in the potatoes and stir it well to coat everything nice and evenly.  Put the lid on your skillet and let the oil do its job until the potatoes are soft.

My potatoes cooking away; I love the way steam on the inside of the lid looks.

Make sure you have at least 6 eggs.  If you don't, make your boyfriend go to the store (thanks, boyfriend!).  Beat the eggs with 1/3-1/2 C of milk. 

When the potatoes are finished, add your chopped and more-or-less-thawed-by-now spinach.

Pour the egg-milk all over the potatoes, season with salt and pepper, and stir everything up.  Sprinkle the eggs with the cheese, put the lid on, turn the heat down to Lowish, and say goodbye to your tasty future breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snack until the eggs are set.

When the eggs set up, kill the heat, sprinkle a little more cheese over the top if you like, and cut into eight slices.   Delicious!  I ate mine with fresh raspberries on the side for an amazing breakfast and can't wait to have another piece tomorrow. 

If you make this, be sure and let me know how it goes for you!


10 Things I Like About Me

1,000 awesome points to anybody who gets my not-so-subtle reference to one of my most favorite movies ever! 

Anyway.  I got some very helpful comments from Christie, Candy, and Erin on my post yesterday.  Thanks, ladies.  You have no idea how helpful you are.  : )

So, as per Christie's advice, I'm going to pretend I'm talking to my best friend when I talk about the way I perceive my body.  I know I would NEVER point out the kinds of things I discussed yesterday if I were talking to my best friend, Bonnie.  Bonnie is a gorgeous, hilarious, warm-hearted woman - telling her what's "wrong" with her body would be pointless.  She's AWESOME, so who gives a shit?  Well, I'm awesome, too, so who gives a shit about my crappy skin?  Nobody but me, apparently, so I won't worry about it either.  It's not like I'm running up and down the street naked anyway. 

Instead of listing all the things I don't like about me, I'm going to list ten things I DO like about me.  This list could honestly probably be expanded to 20, or even 30, things if we weren't just talking about my body.  I do generally think I'm a pretty amazing person, which is why I get so upset when my outside doesn't match my inside, so to speak.  But, with no further ado, here are the 10 things I like about me

1.  My eyes.  I think my eyes are really beautiful (and it kinda sucks I have to hide them behind glasses all day, but I do hate wearing contacts).  They change color depending on what I'm wearing, going from kind of a flat grey to vibrant blue on the outside and light green in the middle.  I lovelovelove them. 

2.  My hair.  Although I do hate the way it looks right now because my style is far too grown out and I can't get it cut for awhile, it's still gorgeous.  Very fine, yet thick enough that I can wear a lot of different styles.  And it's naturally blonde, which is awesome.  It gets a bit sandier in the winter and gets much much lighter in the summer, so it always looks a little different.  It does grow painfully slow, but that's okay.  I love it anyway.  : )

3.  My shoulders.  I've always thought I have nice, feminine shoulders.  Not too broad or too narrow, they balance my wide hips nicely.  I've got a bunch of sun freckles on top of them, which I think are really cute.  I think I look great in halter tops/dresses/swimsuits. 

4.  My boobs.  Yes, they're large (D-DD), and yes, they do get in the way and cause problems.  But I'd still have big-and-slightly-annoying boobs than no boobs at all.  I guess I'm just used to them, but it's nice to feel so womanly, especially since I don't dress very femininely at all.  

5.  My figure.  This is kind of a shoulder-boob-hip combo, but I do have a lovely hourglass figure.  And it kind of makes up for not having any ass to speak of.  I was very happy when the belted shit/jacket/dress trend showed up.  I was like, "Finally, something that looks good on me!".  Happy day.

6.  My legs.  Chunky thighs aside, I've got some pretty nice gams.  They look great in heels (although heels hurt my ankles super bad so I never wear them) and shorter dresses (although I never wear those either due to chunky thigh syndrome).  I remember I once showed up at my boyfriend's house in a skirt and his dog immediately started jumping all over me and his mom was like, "Get down, she's got hose on!"  But I didn't.  I've never worn hose, and his mom was shocked. 

7.  My hands.  Although I wear my nails short and never paint them, I still feel like I have nice, feminine hands.  My fingers are pretty long, I have thin wrists, and they're not too big.  I'm very happy with them.

8.  My nose.  Some people have largish noses, or pointy ones, or strangely upturned ones.  I think my nose is perfect for my face, and it carries my nose piercing really well. 

9.  (Oh no, I think I've run out of things...)   AH.  My lower back.  You know those dimples that really fit people have when they've worked hard on building their lower back muscles?  I naturally have those, and I think they're kind of sexy. 

10.  My overall proportions.  This one might be cheating since it's not specific, but I think in general my body is well-proportioned and that even though I'm overweight I carry it pretty well.  Whenever people guess my weight, they unfailingly put me around 180.  I get some hilariously shocked faces when I tell people I weigh over 200 pounds.

I don't know if I've ever sat down and really thought about the physical aspects of myself that I love.  This has been a lot of fun and quite enlightening.  Looking over the list, I'd have to say that all of those beautiful, feminine, lovely things definitely outweigh having bad skin.  And as far as being afraid of no guy wanting to be with me...if he can't look past my skin to see at least those ten things above, then he obviously isn't worth my time.  I'm glad I've finally realized that.

I feel a lot better about things today.  Not only about myself after completing that list, but about life in general.  I found a very cute, very cheap apartment for next year that I'm going to sublease from a good friend ($390/month, stress-free deal, gotta love it).  I have an interview on Sunday for a job in a town close by.  And even if I don't get that job, I know I'll find one in August when the student population comes back after summer is up.  And until then, I'll be okay. 

Today is a good day.  And I think I'll go get some exercise to make it even better.

Adios.  : )


What I'm Really Afraid Of

Hey ladies.  As I'm sure you can tell by my absence from the blogosphere the past couple of days, I haven't been doing so great working toward my goals.  I did do The Shred on day 4, but I haven't done it the past four days.  Day 5 was really busy, and I was just tired.  My body isn't used to working that intensely.  I'm thinking I might start again, but do it every other day this time until I reach that level where I can really give it all I've got.  However, tiredness and busy plans aren't the only reasons I haven't worked out or eaten well the past few days.

Every time I start straying from my plan and back into Obesity Zone, that magical land of self-destruction, I've been making an effort to give some serious thought to the question, "Why?".  Why do I do this again and again?  What is it that's keeping me from achieving my goals?  The answer is obviously multi-faceted and complicated, but yesterday I gained some clarity on part of the reason why.

I'm afraid that even if I put in the effort to seriously change my lifestyle and get super fit and healthy, when I finally achieve my goal weight (somewhere around 160 - what a normal BMI for my height would be) I will still hate the way I look.

Now, I know that sounds a little fucked up.  How could I ever hate the way I look at 160 pounds?  Well, there are a lot of little things about my body that are, basically, wrong.  Things that are messed up, that quite literally could not be fixed without surgery (if that, even).

The following might be a little TMI, but I want to explain.  The grand majority of my issues are skin problems.  While I naturally have nice, pale skin that tans to a lovely bronze color, the quality of my skin is pretty shitty.  I've always had acne, blackheads, and whiteheads on my face.  My pores are huge and I have a lot of scarring from picking at blemishes.  I have dark circles under my eyes and some small wrinkles already forming.  Weight loss won't change that, so I'll have to deal with it no matter how thin I am.

I have scars in my cleavage from terrible acne I got there when I was about 15.  My hormones just went absolutely insane, and the fact that I was horribly depressed and quit eating more than once a day probably didn't help.  I got the giant pimples, I popped and picked at them, and now people always point at my chest when I wear low-cut tops and say, "What's that?".  I hate it, but there's nothing I can do about it.  And I'm afraid that boob-shrinking weight loss would just make it more noticeable.

If I were to ever wear a bikini, you would instantly notice the patches of fucked up skin under my breasts.  Years of underwire support have made big swaths of skin red, dry, and irritated.  I do my best to keep it cleansed and moisturized, but I'm scared that it will always look like this.  At least now, when I'm overweight and only feel comfortable wearing a tankini, nobody can see that skin.  I'm afraid to expose it to the world.

On my stomach...where do I even start?  I have a big splotch of purple spider veins on my left side that I've probably had since I was 16.  I have lots of stretch marks from weight gain that will never go away, and a permanent red line where my belly fat folds when I sit.  My honest-to-god worst fear is for somebody other than my boyfriend or family to see my bare stomach.  Which is why being comfortable in a bikini is basically my life's holy grail.  But I'm afraid that even if I lose weight, my stretch marks and spider veins will still be there, always.  As if they were pointing at me and laughing at my obviously stupid desire for that bikini. 

The last, and worst, problem with my skin that weight loss would only make more obvious is on my thighs.  More specifically, right in the crease where the very top of my inner thigh meets the pelvic area.  The bikini line, I suppose you might say.  Ever since I was young, I've gotten what must be some kind of terrible acne right in that spot.  I get these very large, very painful bumps beneath the skin.  I can feel them rub against my underwear whenever I sit, stand, walk, or even change position.  Not only are they painful, but the skin on top of them usually turns dark and purple, and I have a lot of scars from trying to pop them like regular zits when I was younger.  Even now, after I've finally figured out not to touch or mess with them, they'll still leave scars just from being there.  My skin is permanently fucked up in that most private area.  If I wear swimsuit bottoms now, you can't see the marks because of the way the fat on my thighs kind of comes together.  But if I ever weighed 160, you would see it.  You would see it from a mile away.  The thought of anybody noticing it honestly makes me panic.  Just thinking about it right now has my heart rate elevated.

But I think the worst thing about all of this is not that I would feel uncomfortable in a bikini with all these skin issues.  The worst part is that now that my boyfriend and I might break up, I feel like no other man would want me.  Like no other man would look past all that terrible skin, especially the part on my inner thighs.  It's true that I had all these skin problems when my boyfriend and I got together, but I honestly did not have sex with the lights on until I was absolutely, 100% sure he was in love with me and didn't care what I looked like.  And really, it wasn't until last year that I fully believed him when he said he didn't care (and we've been together for over four years now). 

Rationally, I know that confidence is far more sexy than being thin or having good skin.  But I can't help but feel despair when I look in the mirror and realize that weight loss won't necessarily make me feel better about the way I look.  And I think that is what makes me go off plan, every time.  That's what I'm really afraid of.

I've never had health insurance that would cover a visit to the dermatologist, and I won't until I find a real job with benefits.  So I have to put up with it.  There's nothing I can do to make my skin better.

I obviously still have a lot of self-esteem and self-worth issues to deal with.  I just can't get over the panic I feel when I think about stepping out in a bikini without perfect skin or trying to date anyone but my boyfriend.  I don't know what to do about it, but that feeling is always in the back of my mind, telling me my lifestyle changes are pointless.  That weight loss won't change anything. That I'm always going to be insecure, unhappy, and embarrassed.

...blah.  I need all the cyber hugs you can give me today, friends.  :(