Sunday, June 24, 2012

Personal Rights

This week, Dr. H gave me something called the “Personal Bill of Rights.”  It states that, as a human, I have the right to say no, to make requests, to have needs,, to be myself, to be respected, and to feel and express.

These are all very basic and straightforward rights and ideas.  I need to learn these rights and understand them.  I need to realize that they really do apply to me.  I need to understand and accept that I am human just like everyone else and that I deserve to be treated with dignity and allowed my own wants and needs and boundaries.

Something Dr. H and I discussed was did I have a problem saying no to people.  I said that in intimate relationships I very much have that problem.  She asked me why I thought that was.  The main thing I came up with was that I do it out of fear.  Fear of disappointing that person and then them leaving my life.

Another issue I have is letting hurts and problems build up within me.  I don’t deal with them.  I just shove them to the side and ignore them and hope that they’ll just go away, even though I know they won’t.  Along this same line, I allow hopeless relationships to continue.  Why?  Because I’m afraid to be alone.  I’m afraid I won’t find someone else…that I won’t find someone better…that I don’t deserve someone better.  For instance, years ago, I dated Toby.  At 6 months, our relationship was over because he violated my trust, but I stayed with him for 2 years.  All for the sake of my fear.

I have to build up my self-confidence and my feelings of self-worth.  A great example is my struggle to lose weight.  Last year, I managed to lose about 35 pounds.  I did regain about 10 pounds around the end of the year.  At the beginning of this year, I set my mind to lose 50 pounds.  For 2 straight months, I ate 1100-1500 calories a day and exercised at least 30 minutes every day.  I lost 24 pounds.  Then, in the second week of March, I somehow gained 4 pounds.  It completely knocked me off track.  I managed to relose those 4 pounds, but the damage was done.  I was still working out every day (an hour or more most days), but I was no longer losing weight.  I was binge eating again.  I haven’t been able to motivate myself to get back on track.  I see this as a failure and I’m afraid I will just fail again and I don’t want to go through that disappointment again.

I’ve got to come up with a new plan of action.  I’ll be dog sitting for the next 9 days.  I’m going to use the time I spend at my friend’s house with her dogs to reflect and plan.  It’s been almost 2 months since I worked out regularly.  I need to come up with a workout plan I will follow and stick to.  I also need to plan to go back to cooking most of my meals from fresh ingredients.  My friend Doug has invited me to go to the farmer’s market with him one Saturday.  I’m looking forward to that.

I think I am actually, but slowly, getting a bit of a handle on my binge eating.  I don’t feel as out of control as I was before.  I don’t feel like I’m getting the urges as much as I used to.  Before it was at least 3 to 4 times a week…or more.  Now it’s only about 1 or 2 times a week.  I can’t believe I’m already seeing a difference.  When I feel full, I don’t eat any more, usually.  And that’s some pretty significant progress for me.

Sunday, June 17, 2012


Some of the things in the handouts from Dr. H that I’m reading are skills for dealing with situations of stress.

The first is to just observe.  Observe the experience you are having without interacting with it.  Sounds easy, doesn’t it?  As an emotional person, I can tell you that it is one of the most difficult things to ask of yourself-to be somewhat detached, but without being cold.  To observe is to just be aware of what is happening to you and around you.

The next is to describe.  To put words to the experience.  To state a fact about what you are feeling.  To acknowledge it.  Then you put it into words.  Simply state to yourself what is going on.  You do this without getting all caught up in it.

After you have done the observe and describe, then you may participate.  To quote the handout: “Become one with your experience, completely forgetting yourself.”  When you allow yourself to participate, do only what is necessary, don’t over or under do it.  Be as Goldilocks to the situation.

I am to practice changing harmful situations, changing my harmful reactions to situations and (the hardest of all) accepting myself and the situation as they are.  That’s asking a lot, seeing as how I don’t accept myself as I am.  I look at myself and I see a lot of room for improvement.  I see a lot that needs to be changed about me.  I look at myself and I am disappointed.

Over the last few years, I have done nothing but disappoint myself and let myself down time after time.  I recently found pictures of myself that I took about 8 years ago.  I weigh at least 20 pounds more than I did at that time.  And that’s all I see.  I don’t see the fact and triumph of the 50 pounds I have lost to date.  I only see my failure to continue losing weight.  I only see that I have, once again, gotten in my own way in life.  I am holding myself back from being what I think I should be right now.

The skills in the handout continue with how to actually deal with the experiences and the situations.  You have to be non-judgmental about it.  That seems like a practical impossibility in this day and age.  We are brought up to be judgmental of ourselves and others.  You have to separate your opinions from the fact.  Also extremely difficult as so many people view their opinions as fact.  You have to acknowledge what is helpful and what is harmful without actually judging it.

“Do one thing at a time.”  Don’t multitask.  Multitasking means you are not actually paying attention to what you are doing.  It may sound very simple to just do one thing at a time.  Heck, my ideas of relaxing usually involve doing two things at a time.  I’m either walking or otherwise working out AND listening to music, or I’m eating and reading a book, or eating and watching tv.

You have to do things effectively.  You have to focus your attention and your efforts on what actually works.  Don’t use words like fair/unfair, right/wrong, should/should not.  You have to treat the situation as it needs to be treated.  Don’t treat it or approach it as if it were the situation you WISH you were in.  You must keep your eye on the objective, letting go of vengeance, useless anger, and righteousness.  These things only hurt you and don’t work.  They are not effective.

Friday, June 15, 2012

States of Mind

Dr. H gave me some handouts to read between this week’s appointment and next week’s.  One of the first things these handouts cover are the three different states of mind.  There is reasonable mind, which is rational, logical and thinking.  A reasonable minded person is not impulsive or disorganized.  Then, there is the emotional mind.  An emotional minded person is, as the name suggests, ruled by their emotions.  They are very impulsive, never or rarely consider consequences, and can be self-destructive.  Third, there is the wise mind.  A wise minded person has a balance between the reasonable and emotional minds.

When Dr. H brought this up in our session this week, she asked me did I see myself as more of a logic-minded person, or do I base what I do on emotion.  I started to answer that I was a very logical person, rather Spock-like.  But, I stopped myself.  Over eating, binge eating, impulse shopping.  All of these things are NOT logic-based.  They are, in fact, emotional minded.  I was shocked to realize this about myself.

As time has progressed since my split from JP, I have slowly (very slowly, actually) been getting a handle on my impulse shopping.  Which is good because I can’t really afford to shop that way.  Of course, I really can’t afford to over eat and binge eat, yet I do.

Right before I met JP, I quit smoking.  Literally right before…like maybe 2 weeks before was when I had my last cigarette.  As a result, I no longer went out to my patio multiple times a day…or even just once a day, for that matter.  As a result of this, I took away from myself the relaxing practice of sitting on my patio tending to and enjoying my plants.  I had cut myself off from my own little paradise and from nature.  My plants all died due to my lack of tending to them.

I never replaced my patio time with anything else when I quit smoking.  I had taken away from myself the perfect me time activity and introduced myself to a shut-in style life.  No more talking to and petting the green and vibrant leaves of my plants.  No more gazing out at the blue sky with peaceful clouds floating slowly by.  No more listening to birds call or insects chirrup.

As a result of my neglecting my patio in general, it was invaded by wasps.  The whole apartment complex was invaded by them, really.  I had decided last year that I wanted to start using my patio again and set about to start cleaning it, only to find about three wasp nests on my patio itself and two more nests within 10 feet of the edges of my patio.  After many cans of wasp spray and a few visits from the maintenance man armed with the foam wasp killer, I was finally rid of my wasps.  I succeeded in cleaning the patio of all its detritus.  But then, I just didn’t use it.  I never returned to my patio.

Today marks the first time I have sat on my patio with the intent of relaxing.  I plan to do a little reading and a little writing.  Maybe I can make this a daily, or at least a most daily, habit.  If I can get in the habit of writing every day again, that would be a great improvement in my life.

I have the Slacker Radio application on my phone.  My favorite music to listen to on Slacker is their folk rock station.  It’s very relaxing to listen to this style of music for me.  It makes me feel connected to the past, the past that came before me.  It has a traditional Irish fee to it, to me anyway.  I can get lost in it and forget about the world at large.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Spread My Wings

So, I’ve gone out on 2 dates with Patrick now.  He’s a really nice guy, we seem to have a decent amount of stuff in common, or at least enough to keep a conversation between us going for a couple hours.  And that’s a good thing.  I’m a little hesitant about anything potentially long term with him because he does have a child.  I’m not so sure about dating a guy that has a kid.  I mean, it’s great that he doesn’t want any more kids, but I would for sure take second seat with his focus in life.  Not that that would be a bad thing, per se.  It could potentially be a good thing because he does have her about 50% of the time, so that would force us to move at a slower pace…a pace I would be so much more comfortable moving at with any guy.

I’m not so sure how I feel about dating, in general.  I’ve just recently started going to therapy to help me get a handle on my binge eating and start dealing with my issues left over from JP.  I’m really not so sure that I am actually ready to be dating.  But I don’t want to just shut it down and not even test the water before leaving the beach, so I’ll keep talking to him and see what happens.  If we get along, then great, we’ll spend more time together.  But if he doesn’t see it going anywhere, then I would be okay with that as well.  I’m in a sort of emotional limbo for the time being.

If someone were to flat out ask me if I thought I was ready to start dating again, I would tell them a confident “no.”  But, yet, I’ve gone on a couple dates with this really nice guy.  A little bit of a conflict?  Yes, I would agree.  But I’m trying to get out of the house more and minge with other people and not be such a shut in.  I’ve been pretty much a shut in since the end of the relationship with JP.  I definitely need to do what I can to move away from that state of being.  I need to, as the cliché goes, spread my wings.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

16 Days

I started a 16 day what I like to call “vacation to nowhere” yesterday.  My plan had been to get back into the swing of things with exercising.  So far, I have utterly failed.  I got anxious about getting crap from the trainer at the gym wanting to know why I hadn’t been in for over a month.  I just didn’t feel like explaining myself to anyone.  So instead, I just turned turtle and didn’t go.  Shame, shame.

Today, however, is a new day with new promise.  I think today I will go a little easy, but also kick it into gear with a 2 or 3 hour walk.  I haven’t decided just how much I want to do.  I will probably just do a 2 hour walk, though.  I don’t want to overdo it on the first day back in it.  Maybe tomorrow I’ll feel brave enough to walk into the gym again.  I’ll have to decide if I’m going to do an hour of the Arc trainer or an hour of circuit training.  I’ll make that decision tomorrow.

Next week, I’d like to go for a bike ride on at least one day.  I will probably do the 18 mile course I have.  I love the 22 mile one, but that’s just a little much for right now.  Not to mention that I really need to buy a new seat that is better suited to longer rides because after the 18 mile ride, it starts getting rather uncomfortable.

Thursday, June 7, 2012


As it stands…right now…I haven’t worked out in over a month.  A whole month.  That’s a month’s worth of gym membership dues wasted and down the drain.  I’ve made excuses about why I couldn’t make the drive to the gym every day.  I needed to save money on the gas was one excuse.  But that’s not a good reason to not work out.  I have plenty of workout DVD’s in my apartment, including P90X, that I can take advantage of.  Yet, I chose not to.

Well, I’m going to stop with the excuses and the waffling.  Today.  Today is the last day of that.  Tomorrow, I start 16 days of vacation from work.  My only plans are to get back in the gym and into the habit of working out again, go to the beach with a friend, meet another friend for lunch and then who knows what else will come up.  But the focus will be me getting back in the habit of working out.  I’m going to put together a workout plan of strength training 3 days a week, circuit training 3 days a week and then a workout DVD or bicycling every day.

I just got done reading a book by Bob Harper titled Are You Ready!  Sure, the title isn’t exactly correct in that it should have a question mark, but I suppose it makes sense that way too.  Toward the end of the book, he makes this statement: “When you reconnect with your body and make this commitment to take care of yourself, you literally transform who you are in the world.”  I’m basing my recommitment to fitness on this statement.

Yes, it’s a Recommitment…my second commitment to it this year.  I hope I can stick with it this time.  I let a visiting friend steer me away from my daily workouts.  I should have known better.  In fact, I did know better.  I knew that if I didn’t work out for a few days in a row that it would be so very difficult to get back into the habit.  But maybe it was better this way.  Why do I say that?  Well, for one simple reason: I had gotten stagnant.  I was no longer losing any weight because I had fallen off the wagon with my healthy eating and was basically just breaking even and was maintaining the weight that I had lost.  So maybe this will be like hitting the reset button.  Maybe I can start showing some weight loss again and actually make it to my goal weight by my birthday in December. 

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