Doing ok?

I seem to ask that question a lot these days. I ask it of my family, my staff, my friends. I am asked the same question nearly every day, too. I think we’re all just trying to hold on and keep connected and check in to see if others are feeling as bad as you are.

How I feel most days…

Like you, there are good days and bad days, or rather good moments and bad days. Last week seemed particularly bad, at least at the end of the week. My son had a meltdown on Friday night, my husband snapped at me and his mother (over the phone) multiple times. (I had my screaming fits the week before so it was their turn.) Many folks here in Maine at least, seemed to have a similar reaction. It’s like we reached some breaking point of too many Zoom meetings or too much time alone or too much time with our families. Or maybe it’s because there’s talk of the “Stay at Home” order being lifted and we’re scared and we think it’s too soon.

I feel lost with little to no guidance. Nobody has definitive answers about much of anything. At my work there needs to be so many things put into place. Even if we can do some things like curbside service for library patrons, we are not ready to do so on May 1st. I feel like we put our pandemic plan into place in minutes, but we will not re-open as quickly. There are not enough supplies around to make us safe–masks, gloves, cleaning supplies–and then there’s the marking up of the library to stay 6 feet apart or counting people as they come in to make sure we’re not over the limit and do we install plexiglass or plastic sheeting at the desks? It’s all overwhelming and scary yet also seems necessary if we are ever to reopen.

And then there’s home. After being disabled, my husband is due to go back to work in a week. He’s already been warned that he may be furloughed. We already know our son will not be going back to school, so the online classes continue and the arguments getting him to do some of his work continue. Of course, then there’s just the uncertainty of it all. What will the future hold? What will our lives look like? Will the kids even be able to go back to school in the fall? Will the library be able to hold any kind of event this year? Will we all still have our jobs?

I try to not think of those last questions. I can’t. It’s a day by day world now, and I try so hard to live like that. As I’ve said many times, I’m not great at it, but my dad always tried to teach me to be patient. It’s ok to have plans, but know that they could all be shot to hell in an instant.


And just a little question for y’all. Have you gained any weight recently? I certainly have. At the beginning of March, I had pancreatitis for over 2 weeks and lost 11 pounds. (That was part of the 20 I gained last year and was trying to lose.) The day we closed the library was the first day I could start eating again. By the next week I had wholeheartedly begun stress eating. Fortunately I’m now running 4 times a week but the 11 pounds came right back anyway. And it’s kind of ok. I’ll continue to wear my fat clothes and occasionally munch on baby carrots, but a cookie or two a day is currently a must. The binging has finally stopped, but a little treat each day is my medicine–along with my antidepressant. ūüôā

Stay as well as you can, everyone. Still looking forward to the days when I can hug you tight. ‚̧

Looking For Motivation

Two winters ago, I gained 7 pounds due to less activity and too many goodies. By the summer I had lost a few of them, but this winter I gained them all back with an extra three for good measure. That’s 10 pounds extra of Holly that I wish I didn’t have. And yet…I can’t seem to care that much.

All of my pants still fit, but most are much more snug than they should be, thus giving me that lovely extra-large muffin top. I cover my squishiness up as best as I can with layers of turtlenecks and sweaters. Winter in Maine is good for some things! And even with all of that, I can’t seem to get my butt on the treadmill or outside more than I do. I’m only running 6-9 miles a week and attempting to do a smidge of weight lifting a few times a week, too. You might¬†be saying, “Hey! That’s great! At least you’re doing that much.” But it’s not really great. It’s not enough, especially since I’m eating anything I want and not giving a damn. Yes, I am moving, but I’m only one step away from Couch Potato Kingdom.

There was a time when I would faithfully work out 6-7 times a week, even though it stressed me out to do so. I justified it by saying the physical activity did me¬†more good in the long run. But now, just the thought of trying to squeeze 6-7 workouts in a week, makes me want to cry. I give myself Wednesdays off so I can volunteer at my son’s school library in the morning and I give myself Fridays off so I can go to my mom’s in the morning and fill her pill container and check her blood sugar and just make sure all is well.

So what are my excuses the other days? I’ll squeeze in a 20-30 minute workout most mornings, but honestly, I have no excuse for not running on the weekend. I have the time but I’m just¬†so apathetic. I have no doubt that part of my apathy stems from my mother’s illness, my father’s newly discovered memory loss and even our lost vacation. But I can’t keep going on like this because I know my physical health will suffer and my mental health is already deteriorating. The winter affects my mood anyway, so the lack of exercise makes me feel even sadder than usual. I tend to fix that sadness with more reading and chocolate and wine. And that, my friends, is asking for trouble. (Except for the extra reading. That’s always good, no matter how you look at it.)

My friend, Aymie, lost 50 pounds last year and ran over¬†500 miles. She looks fantastic and you can tell she feels great, too. My friend, Moriah, is on a journey to lose weight and to get healthy. She’s lost 14 pounds so far, and although I know it’s been tough, she’s doing it and I’m so damn proud of her. And yet why can’t these women motivate me to get my ass off the couch? I’ve been inspired by these women and others in the past, so why not now?

Maybe I need a goal. Something to shoot for. Use a website like stickk like I have before? Cover my Facebook feed with memes of encouragement?

Maybe I just need to hold on until spring when the temps are warmer and we’ll see the sun more. Although I think the zipper on my jeans probably can’t wait that long. I really need to find something now to make me care about my level of fitness.

What do you do to help with the winter blues or with the inactive times in your life? Is there something that helps you get up and go? What motivates you to take care of yourself?

As usual, any and all suggestions welcome, my friends!

The Comforts of Food

Since I was¬†7 years old, I have turned to food to ease my anxiety, to diffuse my anger, to make me feel good…or at least better. I have eaten away every emotion until only what appeared to be happiness remained. Looking at it now, I’m sure it was¬†the sugar and fat that gave me that euphoric feeling.¬† And yet knowing this, and after losing over 80 pounds to finally get out of the fat lady’s clothing store, I *still* turn to food when the going gets tough even though I promised myself I wouldn’t ever again.

These past few weeks have been extraordinarily stressful. It’s not the best excuse, but there it is. Fortunately,¬†my food choices have at least changed since my big girl days. I used to eat lots of chips or ice cream or leftover Chinese takeout as my¬†binge foods of choice. Now, when I’m feeling blue or need to take the edge off, I eat rice mixed with canned peas and shredded cheese and a teaspoon of butter or a big bowl of Cinnamon Rice Chex with almond milk.

I know, I know,¬†I’m so naughty!

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Me, 4 years ago, eating a scrumptious gluten-free cupcake from Babycakes in Orlando.

It may not seem like a big deal and honestly, in the big scheme of things it’s not. Since I lost this weight, I’ve been obsessed about keeping it off. I still intend to keep it off and I’m sure I’ll¬†keep counting those calories and running when I’m able, but I also realized this week that I have to start making some kind of effort to let this go. It won’t be easy, and it won’t be overnight that’s for damn sure, but I have to find a way to make myself a little happier and a lot less stressed. That may mean I’ll skip a morning workout and read instead or maybe have a snack between breakfast and lunch so I don’t maim any of my co-workers.

Does this mean I might gain¬†a pound or two? Maybe. Will I freak out if I do? Of course I will. I’m not na√Įve enough to think that just by saying, “Hey, I won’t get stressed by that little bit of weight gain!” that I *won’t* get stressed. I most certainly will because that’s who I am. What I’m shooting for, is to not get AS freaked as my normal. To try to take it a bit in stride and realize that it’s not the end of the world.

This past week I thought a big chunk of my world really was about to end, and gaining a pound or two doesn’t feel like that at all. Gaining a bit of weight can be resolved at some point by eating less and exercising more and going to bed hungry more often than not. It’s a serious pain in the ass, but it’s not the apocalypse.

 

So tell me, what are YOUR comfort foods? Anything funky or boring (like mine)? I’d love to hear it if you’d like to share.

 

Apathy causes weight gain

pierre

This is Maurice Sendak’s Pierre. If you haven’t read this children’s book, go to your local library right now and check it out. It’s a study of how one could get eaten by a lion if one remains apathetic. Seriously. It could happen.

It’s a fact. If you don’t give a shit about anything, what’s to stop you from eating 6¬†peanut butter cookies at one sitting, or a handful of your kid’s Halloween candy (behind his back)? Not a damn thing.

I’ve gained 5 pounds over the past few weeks, due to my Pierre-like attitude (“I don’t care!”). I haven’t run in several weeks and have only walked a few times, and that was because I could watch Netflix on my Kindle while I walked the treadmill. I’ve¬†only been able to wear my “fat” pants and put aside anything remotely form-fitting. I feel very squishy and doughy, yet I still can’t get my ass out of bed early enough to at least *try* to exercise.

In a way, being apathetic has been a bit liberating. I’ve eaten anything I’ve wanted and haven’t had a smidge of guilt.¬† Chocolate candies and mellow cr√®me pumpkins in the afternoon? Of course! Cookies and handfuls of chocolate chips in the evening?¬†You bet!¬†It’s been a gluttonous ride nearly every afternoon and evening, and when morning comes I roll out of bed, sip coffee and give the finger to my exercise regiment. I dig through my closet to find anything that hides my protruding belly. I stare at myself in the full-length mirror. Then with a¬†halfhearted shrug of¬†my shoulders and roll of my eyes, I’m off to work.

Thankfully, though, the numbers on the scale and a visit from an old friend, may have finally snapped me out of my indifference.¬† My weight is typically at 165. I like this number. It makes me happy. I feel good and slim at this weight, but not weak.¬†Over the past few weeks, I still weighed myself on most days, and I watched the numbers fluctuate and slowly rise.¬† Normally if I see my weight get to 168, I’d start to reign it in–watch what I ate more carefully and make sure I exercised every day.¬† But this past month? I didn’t do anything. I just kept eating and only moving when necessary.¬† Until that 170 popped up on the scale.¬† I saw it yesterday. I raised my eyebrows at the scale, ate well¬†all day, then inhaled 7 cookies before I went to bed. Well, it almost worked!

But today, a friend was visiting from out of town.¬† A really good friend whom I’ve missed terribly. This was my one chance to see her, which meant I needed to get out of my routine and stop hiding in my home and go see her and a few of¬†our friends. If you read my post a few months back, you know that this isn’t easy for me right now. I haven’t wanted to leave my house or be around anyone.

Yet this isn’t just anyone. These are my dear, dear friends that I’ve known for over 25 years. They’re family, or even better than family. But for a few minutes this morning, I didn’t think I’d see them. Something fell through at work and I thought I’d have to skip seeing them. And for those few minutes, I was a bit relieved. I’d have no obligations tonight, just going home and making sure my son got a shower. Nothing else.

Thankfully my boss stepped up and told me I needed to go. She was right. I did need to go. I’m so, so happy I did. Those 90 minutes rejuvenated me to the point where I didn’t even have dessert. Well…that’s not true. I did lick my friend’s whoopie pie wrapper (and no, that is *not* a sexual innuendo) and I might have eaten the rest of the gingerbread man’s body parts that were left in the cookie jar at home. But that’s all! No handfuls of chocolate chips. No Halloween candy.

And tomorrow, no flipping the bird to my treadmill. I might have to fire up the ol’ Kindle to get me on it, but hopefully this is¬†a new beginning. I don’t want to be like Pierre anymore. I want to be that self-obsessed wench I once was. She can be annoying sometimes, I know, but I kind of like her. She has passion. And in my book, passion outweighs apathy every day of the week. But in this case, “outweighs” is a good thing. ūüėČ