It’s The Freaking Weekend

…..I love them so much, yet they are one of my roadblocks in getting fit.

So I used to struggle with eating healthily during all days of the week but the work week was really hard. Preparation is not my thing. Thinking ahead? Nope. Never has been my style. I wouldn’t pack enough food and I’d get hunger headaches and slump around the office for hours that felt endless or I would just get Skittles and an Almond Joy bar from the vending machine.

I’m finally, finally, finally getting better at eating healthy doing the week. I plan out all my meals and get ‘er done. But now, the weekends. Suddenly I’m 100 times worse on the weekends than I ever was during the work week.

I know that the problem is too much free time, which makes me laugh because I love the weekends for that very reason.

On weekends I really just…have nothing to do. So I eat. It’s something to do. And what I eat on the weekends, I guarantee, is never healthy. It’s always a “bad” food choice and it’s always a LOT of it. I know binge-eating is one of my problems. I know I’m eating because I’m bored, but I can’t seem to talk myself out of it. I knew it was a bigger problem than I thought it was when I woke up last Saturday morning and thought “Oooh. I can go to CVS and buy some unhealthy snack to eat today. My roommates are still asleep so they won’t see me come back into the house with it.” A low point. I’m planning on sneaking back in with junk food, like I’m smuggling drugs. I didn’t want to be caught and I didn’t want to feel ashamed. Way to be, self. Way.to.be. That’s also another alarming facet – that I willingly leave my house to buy bad food. And I don’t talk myself out of it for the 2 blocks that it takes to walk there.

It’s a problem, and I know this. I know it when I’m shoving food down my throat and I feel worse afterward, but then the next weekend rolls around, and lo and behold, there’s bored Caitlyn. I don’t talk myself out of it because I want to do it and I declare that “I’ll burn it off!!! I’ll work-out extra hard!!”

The obvious solution seems to be – well, don’t be bored. Get a hobby moron. Do something. I already read a lot but even I can’t do that for however many waking hours I have.  I need a lot of alone time but maybe too much is too much on the weekends? Last year I used to go to the mall a lot, but this year I am on a girl on a budget. And it’s cold. I thought about going for a run a time or two, but then I’m all “Um well I don’t know where to run so that’s out.” I’ve lived here a year and a half now, and I still don’t know any running or walking routes.

It’s a low point and I’m just…over it. Over constantly putting myself in these positions and giving in and not overcoming. I’m so over figuring one thing out (like healthy eating during the work day) and then another thing comes popping up worse than before. Blah. I know this is all me and I’m forever writing posts like “wah I know it’s my fault but it’s hard and I can’t figure it out and I keep doing it”. I know.  That’s about all I have to whine about today.

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When I Get There

What’s waiting for me? Who am I going to be?

I know, this is ridiculous and I don’t blame you if you think “why does this girl so willingly plaster allllll over the internet that she’s totally loony tunes?”.  I’m only trying to lose 15-ishhhh pounds so this shouldn’t be such a drastic overhaul, but being an analytical worrier is kinda my thing. For so long, I’ve always chalked all of my insecurities to being overweight. “I’ll be better at speaking in meetings if I’m thinner”, “I’ll be a better flirt when I’m not overweight”, “I’ll be more confident when I’m thin”, ‘I won’t think everyone’s judging/laughing at me if I’m thin”, et cetera, et cetera. The extra weight I lug around has always been a defense mechanism, of sorts. I’ve always been convinced that I’m so insecure because of my weight. And if I lost the weight, I’d be more confident, have more fun, let loose, not so easily intimidated and whatnot. For example, in my lackluster love life—if I’m a little overweight, no guy could want me so I never have to face rejection.

Here’s what I know:

  • I’m not expecting that when I am fitter that I’ll be a totally different person who suddenly hates Goldfish or realizes my calling to join Scientology. I know that I’ll still be Caitlyn who needs plenty of alone time and is forever addicted to the terrible, terrible, terrible Bravo shows. I’m not going to suddenly be !!omgzz so happy!! after a magic number appears on the scale
  • I am well aware that being thinner is not the Be All End All and losing pounds doesn’t change how you think.
  • Working at being healthy is a forever thing. It’s never really going to be a done deal. I’ll be constantly adjusting and changing my goals and routines. Note to Future Caitlyn regarding the changing routines because Present Caitlyn is a moody creature of habit who loathes starting anything new and adjusting to new routines: this.is.a.good.thing.relax.
  • Let’s face it, I (and most people) will probably never really be 100% happy. If it’s not my legs, it’ll be my arms.  If it’s not my arms, it’ll be my abs. If it’s not my abs, it’ll be shoulders. And so it goes on and on. Everyone, no matter what size, has issues or causes of unsatisfaction.

I can’t help but wonder. For sooooo long now, I’ve always thought thinner me= happier me.  I think I took so long (almost 10 years!) in delaying making my health and body a priority because I was (am) scared of what I might find if I was to shed the extra weight. I just might find that when I was fit, I would still largely be unhappy with my appearance and that I would still be an insecure mess. If I was thinner/fitter, I’d lose my safety net. The blame game is one of my favorites and what do I blame then? I pin being overweight on practically everything: no, he wasn’t interested, I’m overweight,  I’m scared of practically everything because I’m overweight, I’m shy because I’m overweight. To lose that would mean I’d be more vulnerable and have to accept ME. It’s scary.

The last time I was thin I was in grade school – 8th grade. I played a sport every season just because all my friends were. And in 8th grade, we all quit so we could “live it up” (like our idol Ja Rule) as much as you can when you’re 13. I had more free time than ever and found myself mindlessly snacking and subsequently ballooning. For most of the crucial, maturing  years, I just slotted myself into the funny, kind-of-overweight kid who was content to fade into the background and let everyone else get allll the attention because oh I’m not thin like they are and I don’t want to be in the spotlight so that way I won’t feel judged slot. I don’t know (and don’t want to know) if that’s how other people in real life perceive me, but it’s how I perceive me and I’ve found I’m my own worst enemy. It’s weird: I’ve been fervently wishing the extra pounds away for so long, but now that I’m actively working toward it, I’m all panic! (at the disco) thinking ‘but what am I going to do when it leaves?’

I worry I don’t know how to be thin. I don’t know who I am thin. Does that make any sense? Probably not but if you’ve read here before then you likely know that logic isn’t my style and over thinking with a generous side of dramatic is.  This is the classic diagnosis: fear of success and fear of the unknown.  I’m just trying to figure out my best self and finding a balance, but I guess that’s what we’re all doing, isn’t it? Si.

(puh-leez don’t bother sending me e-mails saying I’m self-absorbed and/or seeking compliments as the second part is not correct,  n-o-t what the post is about or the discussion I’m interested in engaging in. Kthxbai. 🙂 ).

Letting Myself Talk and Making Myself Listen

Through trying to get fit and learn some things about how to be healthy, I am not only learning things about health, but……me. Duh, right? I feel like I knew that might happen but didn’t want to get my hopes up that I’d learn much beyond “Oh..I still can’t touch my toes? I assumed that would happen at some point after I stopped checking in 8th grade?? What B.S.” The other day I was on my hands and knees actually scrubbing my bathroom floor (my bathroom thankfully doesn’t have a window but if it did I’m sure I would have been distracted by all the pigs flying right outside of it and not finished) and I realized I was hungry. I still had a little bit more floor to clean so I kept going but I began thinking about me being hungry.

Looking back especially over my college years, I don’t know how often I actually felt hungry. When I was lounging in bed watching Million Dollar Listing LA marathons I’d grab Goldfish by the handful out of those gigantic cartons because it felt natural. I’d do this for hours and those cartons were endless. I don’t know if I was ever really hungry, but it was just what I always did: Lounge in bed watching Bravo while eating. It all went together. When my roommate left for class I’d go get the box of cookies and eat an entire sleeve because I was alone and I could, because nobody was there to see or judge. Was I hungry? I don’t know. Maybe eventually I trained myself to equate being alone with feeling hungry. I ate because I could and because I just wanted to eat mindlessly without thinking about it or anybody knowing.

Now that I live in a house with my own room with my own TV, whenever I would buy the junk food I would just bring it straight up to my room concealed where if I ran into a roommate that they wouldn’t see what it is. I kept the junk food in my room because I definitely did not want to run into my roommates in the kitchen or on my way back up the stairs as I’m lugging the gigantic carton of Goldfish up to my room and feel ashamed.

The first thing I did to address this was to, for the most part, stop buying junk food. And if I did, I wouldn’t allow myself to keep it in my room. So it’s not as mindless and easy to just reach for the bag of doritos from my floor. I have to be mindful and pay attention to my body and the signs that I’m hungry then actually go downstairs to grab a snack. Before, my body never really had the chance to ever communicate with me and let me know it was hungry (on second thought: or even really get hungry a lot of the time), I was just shoving food down it regardless and overstuffing myself because I could.

Now before I go to snack I pause and make myself think about if I am actually hungry,  if I’m just bored or doing it out of habit. This has been instrumental. If I think “well, yes I am actually hungry” I drink at least half a glass of water first just to make sure I’m not mistaking my thirst for hunger. If I’m still hungry then, then I will snack. But for a while, I’d feel annoyed that I was hungry, because as I alluded to a few posts back in a frustrated post that was a long time coming, healthy eating and I are still figuring each other out and I just want to crave healthy things dammit.

So, now I am working on that. Allowing myself to get hungry so I can start to learn and recognize the signs of hunger (being even more irritable than my usual self is one of them, hehe) then not getting annoyed at being hungry. I went grocery shopping last Friday (along with everyone else preparing for Memorial Day, ugh that was dumb and a miserable experience) and this weekend found how much I LOVE celery with hummus. I got a few healthy snack ideas from blogs- especially a string cheese quesadilla from Julie that I had for the first time a week-ish ago and love, so simple but I probably would have never thought of it, sadly. Finding snacks I love -like the bananas and the new PB I think is healthy also from my most recent  WIAW post– takes time and lots of trial/error but when I find winners it feels almost close to Christmas.

It’s only been a week, but I’m heartened by the fact that I especially ate so well over a long holiday weekend and last weekend. Weekends are usually when my eating habits are the worst. So much spare time. Nothing at all to do. When I have found myself hungry over last few days, I haven’t been annoyed. I’ve been proud to feel and recognize the signs. I’m pretty good about eating healthy at work since I usually have to plan it out.

Snacking and I are also starting to come to terms that a snack can be more than a granola bar and that I don’t have to be ashamed to have a snack. It’s natural! You’re supposed to eat more than breakfast, lunch and dinner. I  am also now realizing after my few wonderful good eats days that I could maybe string together a whole lot of good eats days. My good eats days are GREAT (I think) as long as my refrigerator is stocked. Once the produce goes bad or I’m out of things to eat, it takes me a while to go to grocery store because I hate going and the crowds overwhelm me (if only Trader Joes opened at 7 instead of 9). So that is when I fall into terrible eating habits. Really terrible eating habits. I also don’t like to go grocery shopping because I buy a lot, I have three roommates who buy a lot and I hate rearranging the fridge and freezer to fit everything (translation: I’m not good at it and get SO FRUSTRATED). What a sad tale, right? Moral of story is if I’m not so lazy, I could possibly be healthy ALL THE TIME. So shocking. Not.

While I’m not yet booking any parades, it feels good to finally feel like I’m starting to right the ship and figure it all out. I formerly had a snarky line written right here that was like “but of course you could check this blog next week and find i fell off my newly established perch in the wagon right back into my own bag of spicy sweet chili doritos” but no! No negativity! And if I do find myself in a bag of spicy sweet doritos, there’s no need to beat myself up over it. I can easily get back on track since I’m starting to come to terms with snacking and  finding healthy snacks I really like. Finally realizing that it is not the end of the world everytime I have a cookie someone brings to a meeting (it’s rude to say no!! heh) and that I can easily get back on track is a pretty cool feeling.

Here’s looking at you

I was going to title this “how did I get here?” But then I remembered I’ve already done that. This is a post I’ve been putting off forever because it was so hard to write. I didn’t want to do it. Because to actually see the words published is weird. For so many years, these thoughts were just floating around my brain, circling each other, and I adamantly refused to write them down because I was intimidated by them. These thoughts are an important part of my story, and yet I’m still not sure I’ve done them justice. But alas, here we are.

I was always a skinny little toothpick. I was tall for my age until 6th grade when I stopped growing and everybody else started. And I was active. Then when I started high school, I dropped all the sports I’d played. No more softball, field hockey, or basketball. I had tons of time to lounge around my house and eat. And eat I did. And exercise I did not. That’s when I started ballooning. Mind you, my BMI has never been bad. It’s been in the upper averages, so that’s what I clung to.

I knew that I was .. plump. I noticed that fat was appearing. I knew the basics of what I had to do (eat less! exercise more! simple enough! no?) but I had zero motivation. I soon found I didn’t know how. I didn’t know how to start eating healthier or how to start exercising. Where did high schoolers who didn’t play sports exercise anyway? I was too proud to ask someone for help. I couldn’t stand the  thought of going to somebody to ask for help and having them actually — gasp — agree with me that I needed help because I obviously had gained weight. That would mean the problem was real. If it was only in my head, then I could fight it, ignore it and dismiss it. Pretend. So that’s what I did.

I drifted through school, building up a persona, a caricacture. I was the funny one. The goofy one who didn’t take anything seriously. While in my mind, a mental battle raged. I hated myself for letting the weight gain happen. I felt shamed and saddened. So, of course, I turned to food. I”d vow to change. But I didn’t know how. I researched, read a few articles, but it seemed unattainable and beyond my abilities. I was in high school so my mom did all the grocery shopping. What our family ate was cookies, brownies, fruit roll-ups, cheez-its. I was too ashamed and scared to go to her or my dad and ask if she could purchase healthier food. I was so afraid of her reaction. “Yep,” she’d nod, “I’ve been waiting for you to ask this. You’re overweight. Caitlyn, how could you do this? How could you let it get so far?”

The thought of someone confirming what I knew… it was too much.  It would confirm, I thought, that people had noticed. And were talking about it. I myself struggled with acknowledging it, so I definitely did not  want anyone to acknowledge it. I wanted it to be a dirty little secret. I didn’t want to feel that they were disappointed in me. I felt like I was letting everyone down. And so, I did not want to talk about it and I most definitely did not want to have to hear any criticism. I’ve never been good at talking about my feelings. I wanted this problem to go away. I wanted to wake up and be skinny. I wanted to be able to eat the way I was and not have to worry about it!

I didn’t want to lean on my friends because I didn’t want them to talk about it either. How embarrassing for them to have to have an overweight friend!

So I just never talked about it. I kept living the way I was. Unhealthily.

I knew food was something my body needed. I knew I didn’t eat healthy. It’s not my fault that my taste buds hate healthy, I’d joke. I knew I didn’t know anything about nutrition and how my body works. I figure that I just didn’t pay enough attention in school. I knew I  didn’t have healthy eating habits. I knew I ate when I was bored, not hungry. I knew I ate too much. I would rationalize that it was okay, because all the girls I knew said the exact same thing. So, I figured, I was okay. We were all like that. I think subconsciously I knew that was abysmal logic but I didn’t want to delve too deep into it and be forced to face it.

Then one day, junior year of college, I looked around. Really looked. And…. wait a second.

They all say those things about being fat, eating too much and eating poorly. But I am the only one sitting here who is a little bit chubby (I hate that word). Why is that?

Hmm..did they not sit by themselves in their room, skimming the Internet and eat bags of pretzels (it’s okay! pretzels are healthy!) or goldfish? Did they not get chicken fingers & fries for lunch then go eat it in the newspaper office by themselves, lock the door, and do homework because they didn’t want anybody else to see how badly they were eating?

Senior year of college I started working out twice a week. Then I’d go to the cafeteria and get a salad. A salad loaded up with eggs, cheese and tons of ranch dressing. Yes!! I was on my way!! I’d pout when I didn’t lose weight. Um, hello, body, why aren’t you thin yet? So I’d give it up.

It wasn’t until I moved here, starting a brand new chapter, that I resolved enough.was.enough. I didn’t want the deeply insecure, chubby girl to be the lead of the story anymore. I wanted to know, love and respect myself.

It was WAY past time to put in some goddamn effort (oh the horror!) and put all the pieces together. And if I was going to do this, I was going to do it right. I was going to stop using food as a crutch. I was going to do what I’ve always been so scared of: look at myself. And examine the “whys” and “hows”, which is obviously still difficult,  since this post is a mess and doesn’t really shed any light on anything. Have I mentioned how I hate talking about myself and my feelings? Yeah, I don’t know why I started a blog either..

So I’m slowly learning, as well as monitoring and listening to my body, picking up on when I’m hungry. I’ve started timing out my meals. If I’m bored and find myself looking to go downstairs to get food, I force myself to recognize that I am just looking for something to do and am not actually hungry.

This is a loaded process. Sometimes I feel as if I’ve opened Pandora’s Box and I just want to slam the lid back on and forget all the horrors. Myself! My issues! Food! Fitness! It’s a lot to tackle. It’d be sooooo easy to just forget about all this. But then again, that’s why I’ve let so many years go by. Because it’s easier. And the time for easy is long passed. I sometimes feel like it’s now or never. If I don’t do it now, I’ll never do it.

Onward and upward.