Tuesday, May 25, 2010

What Is Fear?

Fear is an emotional response to a perceived threat. YourDictionary.com defines fear:
1. a feeling of anxiety and agitation caused by the presence or nearness of danger, evil, pain, etc.; timidity; dread; terror; fright; apprehension
2. respectful dread; awe; reverence
3. a feeling of uneasiness or apprehension; concern: a fear that it will rain
4. a cause for fear; possibility; chance: there was no fear of difficulty

So, what is it about fear that influences our lives? I am not talking about phobias (did you know that the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth is called Arachibutyrophobia?); I am talking about fear as outlined in the definition above.

Fear can dominate, drive, ruin, save, build, or break you. It can spur you on, or it can paralyze you. Sometimes fears are imaginary; sometimes they were very real but in the past; sometimes they are very real and very much in the now. Sometimes others can save us from our fears; sometimes only we can save ourselves. For some, fear plays little or no part in life – some may argue they are the lucky ones, some may feel that those people have missed something important in their experience. Some have lived lives in a constant state of it and have been destroyed by it; others have emerged strong and triumphant.

What about you? What role has fear played in your life?

For me, I believe it was a big shaping tool in my life. I was never abused as a child and my childhood was, for the most part, happy and worry free. I was one of those that could be considered lucky. But I was a fearful child. I am told that I was somewhat timid and shy; when I see pictures of myself as a child, this surprises me. In some of my favorite pictures I look like trouble on a stick. I often wonder, what happened to me to make me develop such a fearful personality? And when did this happen? I have no memory of it, and no one else in the family seems to know what I am talking about.

We moved around a lot when I was growing up, and I always seemed to be starting a new school. The first day was always torture. I was afraid that I would not live up to the new teacher’s expectations, that I would suddenly be struck stupid and everyone would know about it; I was afraid that I wouldn’t know anyone in my new class (when attending the same school more than one year in a row) and that no one would like me. After a while, these fears would subside and I would get used to the new routine of things. Except for one year when I was in the 5th grade and I could not get situated in the school I was attending in Monroe, WA. I was almost pathologically terrified and was basically home schooled for a while until I could cope. It was in the middle of moving from my beloved little Oklahoma town back to California, and my mother and I were staying with my grandmother while my father tried to sell and buy homes, figure out his employment status, and deal with the storage and moving companies. It was too much for me and I just…shut down.

Also, I was raised in an atmosphere of fear and conditional love that was used to keep unwanted behavior, thoughts and actions at bay. I won’t go into that right now as I don’t really feel comfortable talking about it, but suffice it to say that it influences me to this day.

Every once in a while I surprise myself. I left all of my family behind in Oregon 10 years ago to move, all by myself, to Montana. I didn’t know a single soul in Missoula; but I did it anyway. At 32, I thought this may be my last or only chance to have some sort of adventure in life. Fear was there, my constant traveling companion along with my trusty road atlas, and in this case it helped to spur me on and helped to keep me safe. And it wisely kept its mouth shut when I needed it to, in order to trust the strangers that were there to help me when my truck blew its radiator 65 miles from Missoula and I was stuck on the side of the road with no cell phone, and no one to call even if I had one, for hours. I rode high on the crest of the wave that was true self-reliance for a few weeks, but then fear found its way back into my life and has held me captive, again, hiding in my home with only the TV and pizza delivery as my guardians. Oh, occasionally it mercifully allows me to go for long drives with my camera, or enjoy a visit with my family, but often when I am alone with my thoughts it wraps itself around me like cigarette smoke and gets into my brain, my heart, and my clothes.

And what is so incredibly frustrating about fear is that it doesn’t always tell you what it is that you are supposed to be afraid of. This is what I suffer from. I live in a constant state of fear, but I don’t know WHY. All I know is that it is paralyzing for me. I can’t live my life, I can’t lose weight, I can’t open my mail, etc. Why? What is this fear trying to tell me? I think that fear can be like cancer: it starts off healthy – fear is normal, and it keeps us from getting killed; cancer cells start out like any other regular cells in the body. But something goes awry; signals that it’s OK to stop being afraid can’t get through and fear starts to run amok in our systems. It becomes twisted and dark, dangerous and life threatening. If it is caught early enough, it can be treated and turned back; tamed if you will. But sometimes…well, it doesn’t get caught (or is caught and doesn't give a crap) and is free to run rampant and ruin lives from the inside out.

Fear stops me from losing weight. Why? I don’t know. My mother thinks that I am afraid that if I lose the weight, I might attract someone, fall in love, and be devastatingly hurt like I was in the past (my last relationship was headed for marriage but he left me for my mentor that was 16 years older than us). I think there is some of that in there, but I am also afraid that perhaps it isn’t the fact that I am not physically attractive to the men I meet that keeps me from building a relationship with someone; what if it’s ME? I am also afraid that since the last time I had a boyfriend was literally 25 years ago, I don’t know how to talk to someone. I feel socially retarded; I don’t know anything about life except how to order pizza online and be very good at customer service. I have no college stories to share since I never got to go; I don’t really have any unique skills other than usually being able to program my own DVD player; what do I have to contribute to a conversation? If it’s not about funny dog stories (I have a few) or the latest NFL game or Biggest Loser episode, then I’m doomed.

If I lose weight I might be expected to be more than I am. I am afraid that once I am able to start buying clothes that don’t have an X in the size, I will start dressing inappropriately and wind up on the peopleofwalmart.com website or similar. I fear that now that I won’t be invisible because of my hugeness that people will expect me to have something profound to say, and I will just be standing there in my outfit more appropriate for someone that is 20 years younger than me, exposing my tattoos and belly button ring, with that “deer in the headlights” look on my face. Everyone will see that I am a fake, a fraud; will say “I knew her when she was fat and she was funnier and much more interesting”.

What if I lose it all, change my life, and then gain it all back?

I am afraid that I will be afraid for the rest of my life. I don’t want to be afraid anymore.

How do I do it? How how how how how how how…. And what if I…can’t?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Would You Like Some Cheese With My Whine?

Well, here I am again, back where I started. This is ridiculous. I got paid on Friday so now I have some money to buy food that is more “on plan”. I went a little nuts over the weekend and ate out a couple of times at one of my favorite restaurants, just because I could. Apparently, not a great idea. I thought I was going to be smart on Sunday and went to Montana Jack’s breakfast buffet; I intended to stay away from the carbs and just eat protein. Worked great until I was seated at my table, secreted away from everyone else in the dining room in what is basically a hallway with three tables in it. That would have been OK too, but I was seated next to two – how do I put this delicately – zaftig – women. They were super large and in charge, hair: fabulous, makeup: expert, clothing: top notch. I thought to myself, maybe these ladies will inspire me to eat the way I should! They look great and are probably really conscious of what they eat. I covertly looked over at their table to see what was what over there, and I admit I was disappointed. They had six plates each – yes, each – and none of them were empty. I couldn’t figure out how they managed to get all of that food onto their table in one trip. They had biscuits and gravy, pancakes with different fruity toppings, hash browns, potato casserole, all forms of pork (bacon, sausage, ham) cinnamon rolls, coffee cake, and large omelets probably filled with small children. Despite myself, I was horrified. I tried to give them the benefit of the doubt – maybe they had each lost a substantial amount of weight and had just decided to have a “day off”; perhaps it was to be their only meal of the day, etc. Buuuuuut…I wasn’t buying any of it.

I decided that what they were doing was none of my business and I had no reason to judge them, so I just ignored them. I was determined to be as good as possible. I just wasn’t in the mood for an omelet (with or without the small child filling) so I decided to stick to the proteins. I did have one biscuit with sausage gravy, and a little of the potato and cheese casserole, three slices of bacon, three sausage links, and a small piece of ham. I wound up going back for more potato and cheese dish, and caved and had two pancakes. I didn’t eat the ham. CRAP CRAP CRAP CRAP. I know I set myself up for that. And I can’t blame the ladies at the other table for it either. It was all me.

I did get physical activity in, but I can’t really call it exercise. I cleaned up the garage trying to get ready for my upcoming garage sale and move. I’m pretty satisfied with what I accomplished, but I know I could have done more. It just hurts so bad. My back is in constant pain, and the more time I spend on my feet and/or bending and/or carrying things the more agony I incur. I try to push through it, knowing that things will never get better if I don’t, but eventually enough is enough and I can’t take it anymore. And so I have to stop. It makes me feel like I will never get anything accomplished and then the anxiety attacks kick in. GIVE ME A FREAKING BREAK!!!!

So yesterday afternoon I went shopping and bought Lean Cuisines for work lunches and drink packets for water. Oh yeah, and a big bottle of Tylenol. My hopes are that if I can keep the worst of the pain at bay, I will be encouraged to move the bod. My goal this week is to keep working away at the garage sale prep and DRINK MORE WATER. I think that part of my pain is because I am so dehydrated all the time. My hip sockets practically squeak like rusty hinges when I walk, so I hope that a more hydrated body will stop that. I hope. My right hip has been especially painful (along with my left ankle) but I took some Tylenol last night before bed and it feels better today. Now I just feel jittery and shaky and whiney but I am sure that will pass. Wish me luck and I will try to be more upbeat in my next posting.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Biggest Loser - Final Four

CAUTION – SPOILER ALERT! If you recorded this week’s episode, I am going to be talking about it. So, be warned!

OK, so, I don’t normally discuss TBL too much on here, mostly because I have conflicting feelings about being a fan of the show. To be sure, I am a fan; although somewhat reluctantly. I love to watch them lose the weight; my favorite part of the whole show is seeing how much they lost (or didn’t lose if it’s someone that I don’t like shut up). I enjoy watching the challenges and the temptations. I really love the doctor that they have on there and I love watching him tell some of the sicker contestants how much their health has improved, etc. The Makeover episode is always my very favorite; you always see these people in workout clothes, sweaty and emotional, so it’s totally cool to see them dressed up, coiffed, and made up. I am SO glad that they tackled Mike and Daris’s hair!!! Damn! You know Mike had to lose at least five pounds in just hair alone!!

I am also a somewhat reluctant fan of the show because I fear that some people will actually be discouraged by it. These people lose HUGE amounts of weight in a really short period of time by eating 1200-1500 calories a day and working out literally 6-8 hours PER DAY. (Mike losing more than 200 lbs in 17 weeks? It’s insane!!) There are very few people in the real world that can manage that, and I worry that there are some people that get discouraged that they cannot match this in their own lives. There are also so many people – on the show and in the real world – that have deeper issues than laziness and improper nutritional knowledge that have contributed to their weight problems. Jillian and Bob seem pretty well equipped to deal with the emotional breakdowns that inevitably occur, but I really hope that they are getting some psychological counseling behind the scenes as well. The product placement is also really irritating. It cracks me up how the contestants are supposed to be so surprised and grateful that Bob shows them how chewing a certain brand of gum can help them SO MUCH with their weight loss journey. Give me a freakin’ break.

Over all, I feel the show does more good than harm.

Having said that, let’s dish.

I wasn’t too terribly surprised by who made it into the final four. I knew that all three guys would make it, but I was kinda hoping that it would be Sunshine that represented the women. I have nothing at all against Ashley – don’t get me wrong. I am just kind of taken with Sunshine and her attitude. I think it was a good thing that she and her father had to spend some time apart; I loved her Dad and he was so incredibly proud and supportive of his daughter, but I think she needed some time to herself. She needed to be able to stand on her own, without Dad there to hold her up, and I think she rose to that challenge quite admirably. I was really happy for her reception from her community when she got home. I felt bad that she didn’t get the 100lb even mark – you know how important those number goals can be to some of us – and to be one pound short would SUCK! But she didn’t really seem to be bothered by it, so that shows me that I really shouldn’t be as stuck on the numbers thing as I am. Sigh…so much to work on.

I thought it was very interesting that they brought back Erick Chopin to talk to the contestants this week. I was so shocked and devastated when I learned that he had gained every pound back that he had lost! How could someone lose that much weight, and then allow themselves to regain ALL of it?? It was a real eye opener to say the least. I am glad that the show found out about it and that they are helping him to start again, but this is one of the problems that I have with the show. Erick admitted that he became focused solely on winning the game and the cash prize. He totally lost sight of the fact that losing the weight was the REAL prize here. He saw the end of the show as the finish line, when he should have realized it was really the starting line. The work he did on the show was merely prep work for the rest of his life; just because the show was over, didn’t mean he could just go back to doing what he was doing before. And this became clear to the whole fan base and viewing audience of the world. I admire the fact that he is humble enough to accept this and the help of the show to get back on track, and I was very happy to see that he as lost 70lbs so far. I have a feeling that Erick’s visit contributed to Mike’s meltdown in the gym later on. I think that being such a heavy guy in the beginning, and losing the weight he has lost so quickly, he is worried about what will happen to him when he leaves the Ranch for good. I think when he saw Erick, his own fears of relapse and regaining his weight really hit him hard and right in the nads with steel toed boots. But I think that Mike lost about 5lbs with that outburst of his; emotional blockages can weigh a lot! I was glad to see that he seemed to be able to pull himself together and get on with it.

Mike’s other problem seemed to be that he felt like a failure for leaving the Ranch with still so much weight to lose. He could not see the super major accomplishment he had already made, and was focusing on what he felt he had NOT accomplished. Some people may look at that and think, “What the hell is wrong with this guy? How can he not see that losing 200lbs in 17 weeks is freaky fantastic???” Well, welcome to the wonderful world that the morbidly obese live in. (ps – I absolutely HATE that term, morbidly obese. I know it is medically correct, but it just sounds so…terrible…ugly.) It can be a huge adjustment to get used to what you see in the mirror. Some people don’t recognize themselves in the mirror anymore; some people don’t see the change at all. When he watched the film of himself at the end of the episode, I think he finally did the difference. It made him look at the pictures objectively; being able to see a split frame of then vs. now instead of the gradual process in the mirror seemed to really hit home. And it will REALLY hit home when he gets home and sees the public’s reaction! I am really pulling for him to succeed in his new life after TBL.

But what no one mentioned on the air is that Mike is NOT the only one leaving the Ranch that is still obese; Ashley still has a long way to go as well. She is still in the 275lb range and that is not under the “obese” radar by any means. And she has a really big strike against her – she is female. Let’s be honest; guys really struggle with weight loss like women do, but not in the same ways that women do. It’s not an excuse gals, but guys – it’s a fact. If men had to deal with hormones, menstruation, and water retention like we do, I guarantee you the world would be a seriously different place! But that is a subject for a totally different blog post. I worry about Ashley because of her friends. She comes from a lifestyle that has a lot of partying, and I have to be honest and say I have no clue what that is like, so I don’t really have a lot of firm footing to toot my horn from. I just hope that her friends are just as supportive when she is not drinking as much as they were when she was. I am rooting for her too.

While Mike is my emotional favorite this season, I really want Daris to win. He is a cutie patootie!!! He will be beating off the women with a stick with a nail in it when he gets home. My heart just wept for him when, in the beginning of the show, he talked about being the big fat funny guy that danced with all of his friend’s girlfriends, but then he was the one that went home alone. I could really relate to that. He is the type of person that everyone loves to be around, and constantly ask, “Why doesn’t that boy have a girlfriend? He is AWESOME dude!” The only reply to that usually comes when the person stands naked in the bathroom, looking at himself and silently replying, “Duh!” Daris has a great attitude and I think he will go really far in life. He is really lucky that this happened to him this early in life; he has time to reconstruct his mindset, and the cash would be great for college. GO DARIS!!

I don’t really have a lot to say about Koli; I really like him and I wish him all the best, but somehow I just don’t think he will win. I was sad to see Sam go home – that man should be a motivational speaker! But Koli and Sam seemed to be too joined at the hip, and I worried that without Sam, Koli would fold like a card table. I was really glad to see that he sacked up and survived without having Sam to push him. He needs to do this for himself and let Sam worry about Sam. I just don’t think that he has enough weight left to lose to win the grand prize on the show, but I think that he will also do well after the show is over.

Well, there you have it. My long-winded, more than two cents worth. Whew! Now, if someone asked me if I wanted to be on TBL, I would say, “Oh hell yes!” I think that, even with the reservations I have about the show, it would still be a great jumping-off point for my weight loss if nothing else.
Speaking of my weight loss, I am still just hanging in there until pay day, which is TOMORROW! YAY!!! I am having a lot of trouble with getting my water in every day and I am paying the price for it this week: my skin is really dry, ankles want to swell up, my face is acting up, and I’m definitely constip…oh, sorry, drifting into TMI territory there, but you get the idea.

I just don’t know what to do about the drinking thing. I hate water. It has to be ice cold in order for me to choke it down. Fortunately at work we have bottled water with the hot/cold dispenser thingy, so that helps. My biggest issue is that I do not get thirsty – ever – and it just never occurs to me to have a drink of water. I have tried putting reminders in my Outlook so that pop-ups appear on my computer every so often, reminding me to go get a drink, but that gets incredibly annoying and if someone else is filling in for me at my desk, they think there is something seriously wrong with me (there is, but they don’t need to be reminded of it every 20 minutes). I usually only have something to drink when I am eating, usually because it’s included in the combo meal…um, er…I mean…oh, busted. If it wasn’t for our Western culture that includes beverages with each meal, I would never remember to drink anything! On the weekends, it’s not at all unusual for me to not drink anything at all – that is a minimum of 48 hours without liquids. Sad. And scary.

Any suggestions? I’m open.


Monday, May 10, 2010

What the...???

OK, so it's like this: I am flat broke. And I mean BROKE. I got paid last Friday and after paying my rent had all of $58 between two separate checking accounts to last me until next pay day. $58 to pay the gas bill, electric bill, cable bill, buy gas for the Rodeo so I could continue going to work to get more money next pay day, and oh yes buy food.

Well, needless to say I did not pay the gas bill, electric bill, or cable bill; I put $15 of the lowest octane gas in the Rodeo and just don't go anywhere except to work and home; and I went to Wal-Mart and bought a bunch of Top Ramen, a loaf of the cheapest bread I could find, and a jar of mayo (and no, I promise I wasn't eating Mayo and Ramen sandwiches). I have been scrounging through the kitchen cupboards and am eating what I can find in there along with the Top Ramen (I found several cans of tuna, thus the bread and mayo).

I know that Top Ramen is not a healthy food; even though the vast majority is water (at least the way I make it) there is still an extremely high amount of sodium and the noodles are fried before they're dried. But, I figured that I would still probably get a pretty healthy drop in my overall weight after eating like this for a week.

Guess what?


Not even an ounce. AAAUUUGGGHHH!!!!!!! I HATE MY LIFE!!!

More Top Ramen is scheduled for this week (get off me - they are 5 for a buck). I have not been keeping a food diary on it for this blog because even if it did work, I did not want to be seen as encouraging it for anyone else.

Has anyone else noticed that it's the cheap food that can make you fat? Boxes of Mac and Cheese sell for 3 for a buck, but you ain't gonna loose weight on that crap; or Top Ramen for that matter. Eating healthily can cost a lot more; of course, there is the argument of quality over quantity - if you eat better food but less of it, that's a good thing. However, when I am this broke I cannot get myself to buy three things that will only last me a week when for the same amount of money I can buy 15 things that will last for two weeks.

Anyone else see this as a problem??

Hopefully I can keep the electricity on until Friday, and then I will go get some better food. And no, I didn't get the backyard finished, but I did manage to get the front yard done and mowed. It's looked better, but it looks better than it did. And with less pain and suffering than a few weeks ago! Yay that!

Don't give up on me yet; I promise eventually there will be progress here. Thanks to Tricia for becoming a follower of my blog!