Sunday, February 26, 2012

aisle 15: cookies.

I just ate 10 Tagalongs. Uhhhhhhhhhhhh. The truth though, I only feel kind of guilty. I feel like I’ve done well, but obviously if the scale goes up tomorrow, it will be my fault. I have pretty much met my work out quota for this week, and I’ve already done and undone damage.
On Tuesday, I had amazing Mexican food and THREE margaritas. That’s right, three. Students have the ability to make teachers desire lots of tequila. On the upside, Mary and I did not finish the queso, and I didn’t finish my quesadillas. I even sent the remaining quesadillas home with Mary. The next day, the scale said I put all five lbs. back on that I had lost. I went into overdrive.
I drank tons of water, because I really felt like it was the salt showing up on the scale. (Thanks to Jody for the amazing tip of “drink water bc you feel bloated bc you have a ton of salt in your body bc you ate a bag of popcorn for dinner last night during my first year of teaching.”) I ate well, and went to the gym. Within two days, I was back down to a 5 lbs. lighter Megan. Success.
Then, today. Gahhhhhh. I’m taking advantage and pushing the limits. I am so excited that the scale still says 215 (that still saddens me to type such a number), because last night I went out with two other good friends, Marys (the week of Mary!) and had grilled salmon, green beans, mashed potatoes and 3 glasses of white wine. I came home last night and had a small bowl of low fat ice cream. Seriously, I am lucky I didn’t gain weight. But, I worked out yesterday before even going out!
So, if I’m so lucky, why did I push the limit with the tagalongs? Why did I buy them? (It was impulse, and it’s hard to say no to girl scouts standing outside on a cold and blustery day.) The good thing, is right now, I have no desire to eat the thin mints. I’m full. I’m sleepy. I need to go to the gym tomorrow. I probably consumed almost 2000 calories today between baby shower food and the tagalongs. If you feel like yelling at me, I understand. But quite frankly, I don’t want to hear it. I know, immature of me. I know what is right and I know what is wrong. Today, I do not want to hear any reminders about what is right and what is wrong.
I was talking with one of my best friends Mary last night about lots of things. You know how people can complain about their families or friends, but when someone else does, it’s not cool? I do that sometimes. If Ashley and I have a spat (read: SISTERLY LOVE), I can talk about it, and we can each complain about each other, but pretty much every single one of my friends knows that they can’t say boo about her. It’s just not cool.
The same thing applies for this whole blog thing right now. I can talk poorly about myself, or talk about how I do well, or don’t do well, but I don’t want to hear it from anyone else. Not right now at least. I’m stubborn, and I don’t want to be lectured. I don’t want tough love. It comes across as judgment sometimes. I know this sounds really, really childish of me, but I can’t help it. I practically beg for comments/pats on the back and talk about all of this weight loss schmeight loss with friends and family, but I don’t want to hear criticism. (I know, hypocritical.) I don’t even want advice. Again, not right now. I like suggestions. I like ideas. I like hearing what works or hasn’t worked for other people. But if somebody was to question my third glass of wine Friday night while I was drinking it, I probably would have bitch slapped them.
Goals for this coming week include:
· Work out at least four times for sixty minutes each time.
· Eat lean cuisines or light progresso soup for every lunch.
· Have a salad every night for dinner.
· Add some sort of protein to every dinner, possibly turkey sandwich.
· Up the water intake.
· Eat more vegetables.
· Remind myself that this past week, I wasn’t hungry very often, and I ate well, and I worked out and ENJOYED IT.
· Do not starve yourself.
· Eat less.
· Eat better.
· Move more.
· Those last 3 things are key. Keep repeating them.
· Picture yourself on your 30th bday. You have the opportunity to look decent while guzzling cocktails and pretending you know everything. Don’t muck it up.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Mental Health

I’ve been thinking about writing this kind of a post for a long time now. For years, I’ve debated whether mental health plays an issue in physical health. But really, what is there to debate?

Let me be extremely honest and vulnerable. During the summer of 2006, when I had just turned 24, I started having panic attacks. I also starting suffering from anxiety and depression, but I didn’t know it then. I had a panic attack smack dab in the middle of DC while out to dinner with Mac and Tim. They had no idea why I was crying, and oddly enough, I didn’t know why either. I bailed on a concert with them, knowing I was having trouble functioning in public, and I miraculously made it back to their apartment on the metro. Try taking the metro out of DC while navigating a panic attack that you don’t really understand why you’re having in the first place.

I called best friends when I got back to their apartment. I clearly remember Adro and Cady making me feel better and encouraging me to take my inhaler over the phone. Why was this happening to me? I got back to North Carolina (was living there at the time) and decided to go to a clinic. Xanax was prescribed, and it is a medication to calm you down during panic attacks. The pills said they could be taken every 8 hours, so I took one every 8 hours. Um, in the midst of me losing my marbles, I missed the GIGANTIC MEMO that Xanax are the kind of pills you only take when you’ve actually having a panic attack, not three times a day.

I started having the worst dreams you can imagine. I couldn’t tell if I was sleeping or awake, and I couldn’t shake the terrible emotions. Why weren’t the pills working? (Oh, that’s right, because they were XANAX you fool.) I stopped eating. (If you’ve read previous posts, you know that’s practically impossible for me to do.) I talked to one of my best friends moms who is a social worker/should be my permanent therapist, and she suggested I write. I tried writing. Wasn’t helping. She also said this could be happening bc it was summer and I wasn’t working, and the reason lots of people stay busy is so they don’t go crazy. I totally agree. I practiced the flute, something that usually takes my mind off of anything. Didn’t work. Right after practicing, I called a psychologist in the area off of a recommendation. I left him a horrible message, explaining my thoughts and I’m sure he recognized right off of the break that I was in need of help. Somehow, I got real medicine from my obgyn, who listened very patiently to me as I explained what I was dealing with. She was understanding and empathetic, and she gave me anti-depression/anxiety medicine. Well, those types of meds are awesome, but they don’t kick in right away like advil. My roommate Kristin was amazing with me. She was probably so confused at my behavior, even though she never showed it. I had ALWAYS been happy. So, I was still a mess, and I kept having the same reoccurring nightmare. I barely left my bed. My mom came up and stayed with me for almost a week. I know it sounds melodramatic, but she literally brought me back to life. She took care of me, and we sat on the couch talking for hours. I would tell her college stories that made me laugh, or stories from teaching. She was nothing short of an angel. It is worth noting that I’m tearing up as I write this, but I think it’s important that I write it and share it.

One of the worst parts of all of this was that for the first time in Mac’s and my 2 year relationship I was worried about us. Nothing had happened. He did nothing wrong. I was just so unbelievably unsure of EVERYTHING in my life. I hated the fact that we were in the middle of a long distance relationship. (He was five hours away, in Maryland.) I wondered if at 24, was I supposed to be single? Was I supposed to be dating? Well, that’s impossible, because I love Mac. I remember crying to Ashley one time during that week about my concerns, and she, playing the devil’s advocate, said, “Break up with him.” I sobbed at just the awful thought of ending my relationship with the most amazing person I know. (It’s also worth mentioning that my sister has always absolutely adored Mac since her young age of 15. She was literally testing me. It worked.)

At the end of my mom’s stay, Mac came down to pick me up for our annual trip to Ocean Isle Beach with some of our best friends from college. I remember being so nervous about seeing him… how would I feel? I can honestly say that I’ll never forget how he looked at the door when I opened it; it was so wonderful to see him and not have to talk to him over the phone. I hugged and kissed him, and I felt relief. We were good. So good. He was aware of everything going on in my head, as I tell him everything, so maybe he was nervous too. Either way, I am so lucky. He drove the 4 hours to the beach. He took care of me all week, and told me it was ok to stay in bed some days, when I was feeling down. I don’t know if anyone else at the beach really understood (though everyone was nice), although I did tell the other people there I was dealing with some things. Truthfully though, I didn’t understand it either. Not yet.

Over the course of my being 24, I gained weight, rapidly. This was the year I went from a size 10 to a size 14. OVERFREAKINGNIGHT. I remember getting on the scale and it said 180. Whaaaaat? How did that happen? I joked with my sister that if I tried, I could reach 200. Never actually thought that would happen. Hmph. My moments in size 12 pants were just that: moments. I say I was a 14, but I muffin-topped in some 14s. I was taking medicine regularly and eating a lot for comfort, I guess. Several people have had the medicines I take make them gain weight. Some have lost weight. Not Megan, that would be silly. I stopped exercising and began enjoying my friend, the couch. I was just trying to get through, day to day. I talked to lots of people about it. Know what’s interesting? How many people have mental issues. Or have had them. Or know someone who has. It’s amazing. You can disagree with this next statement, but I believe mental health issues are real. As real as the flu. Or arthritis. Or asthma. Or any illness. I knew I wasn’t "right". I just wanted to get back to being normal Megan. Fortunately, this story has a good ending. I am back. I may be chubby Megan, but I’m Megan. :)

I have occasionally tried going off my meds. I would discourage this. It has failed. One time, it worked for like three months. (Ironically, I didn’t lose any weight, so perhaps it wasn’t really the medicine that made me gain weight in the first place? Don’t answer that.) At the end of those three months, I had a major car accident with 8 other cars on 270 in Maryland, and now I will always drive an SUV, for my SUV saved me when I rammed into the back of a freaking box truck. (Think UPS/Fedex.) There was also a 4 car accident that happened SIMULTANEOUSLY. So there were 12 cars scattered across a huge highway with cops and state troopers all over. We weren’t allowed to move our cars, and they wouldn’t even move if we tried. My hood came up like an accordion at my windshield. I screamed, but I was completely UNINJURED. My passenger door wouldn’t open. My airbag didn’ go off, but the prius at the front of the wreck… every airbag went off. The frame of my car protected me. It didn’t budge. The outside… a mess, but the frame. Damn, it held up like a Volvo. You can imagine on the side of that highway, while radio stations were busy reporting that no traffic was moving on 270 that I needed a cigarette badly and I’m not a smoker. Amazingly, I didn’t have a panic attack. I did cry in any car for days though. I still cringe when brakes are slammed. Three days after that accident, Mac and I got engaged. I also had no job lined up for the following school year. (Read: lots of major things within short about of time.) Right about a week or two later, even though I was over the moon about our wedding plans, I started having the bad thoughts/dreams again. Panic. Anxiety. Depression. Mac took care of me. He was patient with me and understanding when I reached for the medicine I never should have ignored in the first place. He didn’t judge. Back on meds and better than ever. Not going off any time soon, if ever. Don’t judge. If you’re judging, that just means you haven’t been there. And good for you. I hope you’re never there.

If you have any sort of a mental health issue, God bless you. If you’ve dealt with one before, God bless you. If you’ve helped someone through theirs, God bless you. If you think they don’t exist, God bless you and your ignorant self. My high school class alone has lost two members due to private matters that no one will ever understand, yet we all mourn. I know so many people with them. So many friends and/or family members have helped me by sharing their own experiences. I will not name them, bc it’s a private thing. Let’s just say it’s a shocking number. A shockingly comforting number. I am not alone.

I’m not alone in weight loss either. I am not the only person to gain weight when things get tough. I’m also not the first person to try to lose weight. I’m not the first person to say all this crap I’ve already said, but it helps me to say it, and maybe it will help someone reading it.
I’m happy now. Really. I’m not happy with my weight, but I am not depressed, nor am I anxious. I deal with those things by taking medicine, and I can make myself even happier by losing weight and/or working out. Endorphins, right? Besides, what’s the harm in trying to get happier? If my physical health is good, maybe that will make my mental health even better. If my mental health is good, I have the energy and desire to improve my physical health. And round and round we go.

p.s. On my wedding day -nearly four years after my initial panic attacks/problems with depression/anxiety- my sister asked me in the back of the church if I wanted/needed to score a Xanax for old time’s sake. I laughed and said no, but how awesome is my maid of honor that in addition to peanut butter crackers and granola bars and mints that she brought Xanax? Then, right before my mom and dad and I were about to walk down the aisle towards the man I love, I turned to my mom and said, “I’m so happy, and I didn’t have a drink or a Xanax or anything!”

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Everybody's Got Something.

The first pic is in 2011. I was/am a size 16. The second pic is in 2005. I was a size 10. I believe the title of this post to be true. Some people work too much. Some people drink too much. Some people don't eat enough. Some people eat too much. (Hew.) Some people worry too much. If you think you're immune from having something, I believe you probably haven't figured it out yet. I have a lot of somethings.

My dad is a smoker. He has quit a few times before, and right now, he is not smoking. The first time he quit, I was really young and was having a lot of problems with my asthma. The reason for his current quitting is due to his own health. He is in fantastic shape and condition for his age, but smoking is not good for him, and he know this. So, I'm really proud of him.

I'll admit that I've yelled at him for smoking before. Many years ago, I actually had the nerve to throw a pack of cigarettes on the kitchen counter, look at him and say, "When are you going to quit this shit?" He said, "Excuse me?" I think I repeated myself, and at that very moment, I was immediately overcome with guilt that still sits inside me to this day. How DARE I curse at my father? I have only cursed in front of my parents a few times, probably on less than two hands. They don't appreciate it, and so I try to be respectful in front of them. If you read this, or know me, you know I curse. (Sorry Mom. Sorry Dad too. Still sorry Dad.) I curse so much at the Eagles it's stupid. Unless of course I get so mad that I throw the remote across the room and am silent. That's when you know it's really bad- when I'm silent.

So, along the lines of "everybody's got something," my dad has smoking. He has to fight the urge several times a day, EVERYday, not to smoke. One time he gave me such a good analogy. He said, "Megan, imagine if you had to give up chocolate." Yikes. I mean, I've done it before, twice for Lent, but it was awful, and um, not for the rest of my life. I do love some chocolate. I love a lot of food. I mean, I've actually had two DIFFERENT people tell me recently that when I talk about cheese, my eyes get big. HAH. Probably true though. That's so ridiculous. Who gets excited just to talk about food? Who looks forward to meals so much that they think about them earlier in the day or the week? Well, I do.

So, even though I've got lots of somethings (read: issues), eating is a big one, and primarily, that's what this blog is about. I look forward to food all day long. All types of foods. Right now, I'm full from dinner, but I'm really excited about eating the strawberries in the fridge later on. Last night, Mac and I celebrated Vday at Rays the Classics in Silver Spring, and I was looking forward to a gourmet burger all flipping week. I probably mentioned it to a bunch of people. This coming week, I'm meeting my friend Mary at a really good restaurant, and omg, so excited. HOWEVER, I only hate half of the burger last night. Brought the other half home and was it ever so good reheated. I'm feeling excited because the scale read 2 lbs. lower this morning. Sweet, I'll take it.

I did very poorly with recording my food this week. I will say that I did pretty well though. I ate lean cuisines for most of my lunches, and I unfortunately learned that smoked almonds and I do NOT get along. It's kind of a shame too, bc they're a good snack, but the pains that make me double over from eating them are not worth it. I've kept up with the four-days-a-week workouts, I've made my workouts longer, added more cardio, more stretching and pilates to each of them, and I love it. Speaking of loving something, I think that sometimes our habits can be things we love.

I have a habit of sitting on the couch with Mac. I happen to love it too. Every Sunday in the fall, I instinctively turn on the fox pregame show at noon. It's a habit, and I love it. I usually greet Curt, Terry, Jimmy, Michael and of course Howie.

A friend from high school, Jen, sent me this outstanding article about habits.
A lot of the article talks about shopping habits and some of what companies do to track your purchases is a little scary, but overall, it's very informative. Just as Jen said, page 8 was excellent. It addresses an issue of "Why eat?" Why do I come home and want to sit on the couch? I am pretty sure that a lot of it was out of boredom/exhaustion/habit. So now, when I get home from school, I try to put on my workout clothes and sneakers almost immediately. Do not sit down. If I'm so bored, I can work out. While I'm at the gym, I'm burning calories and NOT eating. Seems to be a win/win situation, no?

My point is that I'm trying to make this/my "something" or habit working out and eating better. So far, I'm still feeling positive. But yeah, my eyes still widen when I talk about cheese or chocolate. Or a beer on a Friday afternoon.

AND! Even though I'm feeling positive, I tossed in two pictures for comparion, which is still shocking to me, and I'm the person in them. I'm a visual learner. Don't judge. Eating is/was my something, and unfortunately, this habit caused harm to my body. Harm came in the form of a stretch mark on my stomach, lack of energy, laziness and I'm DAMN lucky it hasn't come in the form of diabetes II or bad knees from being overweight. I am on the path in the opposite direction from all of those harms. God, that sounds so lame. But whatever.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Tiger Stripes

Stretch marks. I saw this pic on facebook recently and I have to admit I love it.

HOWEVER. Today I was horrified. Absolutely embarassed, mad, sad, defeated, confused and I was overwhelmed with feelings of shock, horror, guilt and small defeat.

I found 1 tiny stretch mark on my stomach. Ew. Oh God. It's so gross. I'm really sorry I'm typing this actually and sorrier you're reading it and even sorrierest that it's there. You see, I've had stretch marks for years. I like to think I didn't really have control over them. I have them on my thighs and hips, and they've been there I think since like high school or something. I'm pretty sure they're from part of my growth spurt in high school, where within one year I went from wearing a size 4 to an 8. Call it field hockey, becoming more female, swimming, whatever you want. They're there, and they've been there for a long freaking time. I've never ever for one second been embarassed by them. Have you any idea how many girls have stretch marks on their legs? As far as I'm concerned, like a bajillion. I don't consider the ones on my legs to be my fault or bad.

The stomach one = my fault. I put it there. By accident, but there is nothing to blame it on by myself. Until today, I have felt very fortunate with my stretch marks. I do not have them on my arms, like lots of guys do, I don't have them on my back even though I grew quickly in middle school, I don't have them on my chest even though my boobs exploded when I gained weight, and when I say explode, I mean it. I went from a 36B to a 38DD. Pregnant women often get them on their bellies. I am not preggers though. Maybe some people are not embarassed by such lines on their stomachs, but I am NOT ONE OF THEM. It's like a really bad tatoo. One I will scour the aisles at Target for cocoa butter or something to rub on and make it go away. One I cringe when I think about. One I will up my work out routines for. I worked out more today, upped the ante if you will, and it felt amazing. I only upped it a little bit, but it was oustanding.

I have no problems with other people who have stretch marks in certain places that I mentioned. Literally, I might notice, but I won't think about it twice. I have a problem with this one that appeared on me. I don't think it was there a week ago, so wtf. It doesn't matter, it probably was, but hopefully it will provide motivation for me.

So ya, there are some other things I could talk about, but this one takes the cake. This stupid @#$#$^#$%^&$%^U&%^!#$% stretch mark.

Sunday 2/5

* 33 mins on elliptical, 375 calories

* half a salad with light italian dressing

* 1 cup chx salad

* 2 diet cokes

* 3 corona light beers

* raw veggies with dip

* few pieces of cheese and crackers

* few pieces of stromboli (amazing)

* 1 piece pepperoni pizza

* football sugar cookies (amazing)

* 1 small piece apple cake (amazing)

* fortunately the superbowl only happens once per year

Monday 2/6

* 1 serving cornflakes

* 2 diet cokes

* 1 cup chx salad

* about 20 trisket thins (16 in one serving)

* 1 100 calorie pack of fudge striped cookies

* 33 mins on elliptical (did not love the workout, even though I still burned about 360 calories)

* all natural potato kettle chips (20 chips = 140 calories) (utz brand)

* golden delic. apple with few pieces of cheese
* m&ms for the love of God we had them for the superbowl

* carrots and dip

* 1 1/2 pieces of pizza

Tuesday 2/7

* 1 serving frosted flakes

* 1 1/2 graham crackers

* 3 diet cokes

* 2 pieces pizza

* golden delicious apple

* sharp chedder and colby cheese

* all natural potato chips (1 serving)

* chicken salad

* 1 package fudge stripe cookies

* 1 cup cut up strawberries with small amt. of sugar sprinkled

Wednesday 2/8

* yogurt with 1 cup low fat granola

* 2 diet cokes

* chicken salad

* 1 package cheeze its

* 33 mins on elliptical/359 calories

* edamame

* chicken and fried rice with homemade white sauce (great success on making the white sauce, though I should not make it often!)

* 2 pieces of sushi

* few m&ms and 2 hugs

Thursday 2/9

* yogurt and granola (low fat)

* 1 cup chicken salad

* 1 package fudge stripe cookies

* 1 small piece of cake @ school

* 2 diet cokes

* peanut m&ms

* a bunch of hugs

* I did not eat dinner, I did not eat well past noon today. I also had a major case of apathy. Tomorrow, I do better, for one day does not a fat person make. This was my first major day of "I don't care that I'm eating chocolate, and it's a good thing I'm not making home made popcorn or mac and cheese to go with it." I'm also trying to convince myself that EVERYONE has days like this, and that I am normal.

Friday 2/10

* yogurt with granola

* chicken fajitas with white rice and no tortillas

* 1 100 calorie cookie pack

* 2 diet cokes

* chocolate hearts

* here comes supper club food

* 3 strawberries with cheesecake filling (yeah you read that right)

* 2 grape tomato/mozz cheese/basil things (I really don't know their name)

* MY FIRST PANINI ~ turkey, amer cheese, mayo and bacon; thinking, how have I missed out on this amazing sandwich before?!

* 4 light coronas

* ice cream sundae

Saturday 2/11

* yogurt with granola

* trisket thins

* 2 diet cokes

* 2 hugs

* 33 mins on elliptical/361 calories burned

* 20 mins fast-walking on treadmill

* carrots with dip

* grilled tuna with lemon juice, pepper and salt

* wheat pasta with small amt. butter, salt, pepper and parm cheese

* 2 dark kisses
* 2 small chocolate hearts

I should note that today I feel and think I look thinner, although the scale doesn't really reflect it. I'm hoping by Tuesday that the scale will catch up with my feelings. That would be an awesome Valentine's Day.