Strength

My mom is the strongest and bravest person I know. ❤️

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Immersion Day

I took the day off from work and experienced what Mt Auburn calls “immersion day,” where you spend the day learning everything you’d ever want to know….and more…about bariatric surgery. We heard from the surgeon, behavioral psychologist, dietician, nurse, and from each other – 4 strangers about to embark on a monumental life change.

I still have many tasks ahead prior to surgery: physical with pcp, visit with pulmonary specialist, 3 group sessions, a visit with the nutritionist, a visit with the psychiatrist, blood tests, and more. Tonight I placed an order on amazon for a food scale, measuring spoons/cups, a book on bariatric surgery, protein shakes, and a Where’s Waldo? Book. Ok, the last one is for a 6-year old bday party coming in Sept!

I’m glad I waited to call mom until after the day was over because she had a rough night and had to see the oncologist today. She felt better when we spoke later in the day because she had gotten an IV drip. Still, she wanted to hear about how my day went. I called back again later and filled my dad in on the day. I reminded him how brave & strong he and my mom are in this process.

Today was exciting – for the most part – and it confirmed: I’m ready for the surgery! I’m working hard to have it done at the end of October, before mom’s chemo is done, and after our big campaign event at work. Trying to imagine 2 weeks off from work, staying home because I’m on pain killers, is daunting.

I don’t remember the last time I took 2 weeks off, in a row, from work. I’ve been slowly telling my colleagues that I’m having the surgery so they aren’t caught off guard when they see me in Jan at our next retreat and I’m a bit smaller.

I am also mourning the loss of my wardrobe a bit. It may be larger sizes, but I love the stuff I’ve acquired over the years. But, it’s just stuff. I’ll replace it with more stuff.

Ciao!

It’s a new week.

I’m not sorry to say goodbye to last week. It was a tough one. I started out with a 3-day retreat for work that was focused on giving & receiving feedback. Needless to say, it triggered the heck out of my anxiety, but I pushed through it & then headed back to my parent’s place, which was only 30 minutes away from the retreat.

My mom has lost 15 pounds since her surgery & she’s having trouble eating. I went to the supermarket and picked up as many creative things I could think of that she might want (and could) eat: protein shakes in her favorite flavors, pudding, fruit & cottage cheese, fruit juices, peaches, cheese & crackers…. dad send me an email tonight saying that she drank the whole vanilla protein shake so that was encouraging!

And, I went out to get mom new shirts since her old ones are now too big. I picked up camis since she can’t wear a bra because of her incision.

In the midst, I tried to keep up with my work emails and squeezed in a lovely lunch & mani with a dear high school friend.

But my head is constantly spinning and ruminating. Work, friends, mom, Mr T, my own surgery, my upcoming colonoscopy & endoscopy. It’s a lot to process at once. When I get overwhelmed, I start to shut down. So, I’m trying to process things at a pace I can handle.

But it’s hard not to worry about mom. She has a wonderfully positive attitude, despite the crazy things infesting her body right now. I need to keep her as my inspiration. If she can stay positive, then, darn it, so should I!

During the week, I listened to the audiobook called Hunger by Roxane Gay. It was sad and angering and, in many ways, relatable. She struggles with her weight and food – sadly due to a terrible rape as a little girl – but her body issues are very relatable. And, she just published an article that she had bariatric surgery in January. In her raw way, she talks about the before and after effects. I found it helpful to read and relate to as I go through the steps myself.

Many of you have reached out as a support, and I thank you. Of course, my continued gratitude to those of you who have been calling, texting and sending cards to mom. She’s loving her plants, cards, and good wishes!

The Gifts of Imperfection

A few hours ago, about 15 miles away, author and psychologist Brene Brown took the stage at a conference and spoke, likely, about her newest book and research. Sadly, I didn’t get to experience her lecture in person, but there are plenty of her past interviews and talks to listen to online.

brownI can’t remember, but I feel like I’ve probably written about brown in the past. I first learned about her if you jobs ago when we read the book “Daring Greatly,” which focuses on vulnerability. It particularly resonated with me because she discusses that when we allow ourselves to become vulnerable, we can help eliminate the shame we feel about our imperfections.

I recently purchased Brown’s book “The Gifts of Imperfection” to help me continue on the path to “knock down” and remove the power of my so-called perfectionism. You see, perfectionists like myself aim to be good at everything – or, at least on the surface – so that we don’t have to deal with the shame or hurt feelings as a result of making a mistake or being imperfect.

My past history with an eating disorder clearly matches up with a perfectionist personality. When I didn’t want to feel, I would attempt to numb my pain with food. Well, guess what, that didn’t work!

Through years of hard work, I’ve been able to tackle my perfectionism and exist with my feelings – good or bad. But, let me tell you, it is hard!

I listened to Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations podcast where she interviewed Brown. Listen. Trust me, it’ll be 30 minutes well spent. And there is a part two!

Brown mentioned something that has been resonating with me all day. She said that we don’t pair “joy” with “gratitude” enough. We need to take the time to relish the good things that happen every day, whether it is the wind on our face as we open our sunroof and windows on a beautiful day….or the company of a good friend over an unexpected lunch date….or a morning with little traffic on the way to work.

I can tell that I’m conquering my perfectionism. I made a silly mistake today at work – no big deal and typical for someone still learning their job after only being there for 3-weeks. I am not obsessing over it the way I would have in the past. I acknowledged it with an “oy vey!” and moved on (besides writing about it here!). In the past it would have kept me from sleeping at night – this silly little thing that means nothing in the scheme of life. But tonight, I will not let it fester. I will work hard to let it go!

I will continue to look for things in Brown’s writing and research that resonate. I look forward to discovering more of her wisdom and using it to grow as a person.

Now, go out and dare greatly!

Tony Robbins is tall and a genius.

3946634-anthony-robbins-quote.jpgI’ve never paid much attention to Tony Robbins. Before last night, I knew his name, that he is a famous motivational speaker, and that he has a raspy voice. That pretty much covers it.

I had a bad case of insomnia last night. This happens from time to time, but most often when I have a big work event coming up. This time it is our annual gala.

So, often I will listen to podcasts to help lull me to sleep. One of my favorite reporters/newscasters is Katie Couric. She’s spunky. She has a new podcast where she interviews politicians, celebs, people of notable interest, etc. I had the Tony Robbins interview in my queue for a bit because I wasn’t that interested in hearing it, but last night, I figured I would give it a whirl.

Tony Robbins is a brilliant and fascinating man! He grew up in an abusive household and despite the odds, ended up on top! He gets paid about $1 million a day, and he tries not to have more than 3-4 clients at a time. They are usually top CEOS and, you know, the President of the United States, though Trump is not a current client.

hqdefault.jpgBut what intrigued me was the quick-thinking advice that came out of Tony’s (like how we’re on a first name basis?) mouth? Just brilliant. I can’t afford his advice, but I can watch his TV specials or something on YouTube…and I can afford a book!

P.S. Uh oh. He sells a green drink on his website. Let’s pretend we didn’t see that, huh?

 

 

 

 

Intuitive Eating

Have you ever heard of “intuitive” or “mindful” eating?” It’s a great alternative to the diet mentality where you deprive yourself of certain foods to lose weight. Intuitive eating basically encourages you to listen to the cues that your body provides in order to nourish yourself.

On the website www.intuitiveeating.com, run by Evelyn Tribole MS, RD, they highlight the 10 principles of intuitive eating, which you can read in full here.

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I really like the concept of “honor your hunger.” I stopped doing that for years during my time with binge eating disorder. Now I’m working hard to pay attention to when I am hungry and what is my body craving. Lately I’ve been wanting peanut butter, which may be because I like the taste, it’s easy to eat, and it is filling. I’ve been stocking up on Nature Valley Peanut Butter biscuits. They’re portable and taste good.

I also really like “respect your fullness.” That is definitely something I’ve needed to be mindful about during my recovery. I used to eat so much and then be so uncomfortable. Now I try to eat a good-sized portion that will fill me up but not leave me so stuffed!

Can’t wait to learn more about intuitive eating as I move along the next chapter in my healthy relationship with food and the emotions I feel around eating.

 

 

Good Mood

downloadI woke up this past Saturday in a good mood.

I cannot remember the last time that happened. I woke up, rest, and ready to start the day. I felt happy. As someone who has dealt with a mood disorder since her early 20s, this is almost a miracle.

Why, I asked myself? I think part of it was that my mammogram came back normal. It was the start to a long weekend. I was heading to a wedding – a happy celebration of love.

Feeling good, being in a good mood is unbelievable when you’ve been waking up feeling anxious and depressed nearly every day for the last 5 years.

I told someone the previous week that I thought I was going to die young due to all of my anxiety. I seriously thought it would kill me. Isn’t that a horrible thing to not only think but say out loud?

But I’m feeling more positive now, like I have more of a kick in my step.

At the wedding, I even made declaration that by the time my brother turned 50 (5 years), I would be in a relationship.