Thankful For Thanksgiving At Home

In the past five holiday seasons, I have been home for two.

I am notorious for relapsing in the fall, which has typically led to my concerned family admitting, or strongly suggesting I go into, some sort of inpatient program.

It felt awesome this morning to wake up without a gown, cold tile floor, and boring breakfast brought to me on a tray.

But I will admit, since I am still very much in the recovery process, I am extra sensitive to the ridiculous and relentless discussions news programs, tv shows, and advertisements have around weight gain/loss, quick fixes, etc. this time of year.

“The average person eats X amount of calories on Thanksgiving Day…”

“Most Americans gain X weight in November and December…”

“Exercise declines significantly during the holiday season causing unnecessary, unwanted pounds…”

Trust me, I have enough guilt about what I put into my mouth, and the minimal physical activity of my currently lifestyle, without the Today Show telling me the numeric value I consume on a daily basis is gluttonous and too high, or that I am being lazy for simply taking walks.

I understand my situation is a bit different, and that there are people who enjoy the holiday season a little more than their waistline would like, BUT, last night I read something a friend wrote, that I found truly inspiring…

As stated by the very wise, and wonderful Healthy Diva…

“On Thanksgiving…quit worrying about how many calories you might consume, working out just so you can eat unhealthy, or worrying about having too much to eat. Be grateful you even have food, a home, and a place to eat. Be thankful for your loved ones and family on this day. My thoughts and prayers go out to those who are not as fortunate on this holiday and I wish I could make your thanksgiving better ♥”

My Thanksgiving is a bit non-traditional since Ryan is a nurse and works most holidays, and my parents both travel so they are very rarely in the state, but my sister and I still managed to spend a really nice day baking while enjoying the Macy’s Day Parade, taking a walk outside, eating a single ladies version of a Turkey lunch, and watching one of my favorites, “Christmas With The Kranks.”

Getting to do these things helped me realize how much I truly missed being home these past few years, and how thankful I am to have a family and friends who love me, support me and have been there through sickness and health.

So Happy Thanksgiving my friends, and tonight, when I go to enjoy the left-overs and most likely a nice scoop of ice cream with my husband when he gets home, I am going to try my best to count my blessings rather than calories, and thank God for the life I have.

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Questioning My Motives

If I am going to be totally honest about my absence from blogging, it also has to do with the fact that despite my preaching on how you should not compare yourself to others, I am completely incapable of doing that.

In the past, all my favorite blogs have been about “healthy” food, diets and exercise. Many posted work outs my body could no longer handle in its previous frail state without risking major injury or a freakin’ heart attack, and many of the portions displayed were quite triggering because my stomach demanded way more than a container of Chobani and a handful of cereal for a meal.

I am still wrestling with this problem because my body is getting bigger, I am getting comfortable with a wider range of foods and a significantly higher caloric intake, but I am not working out nearly as hard as I used to.

Long gone are the days of 8 mile runs on the treadmill and heavy weights sessions with a trainer. And especially this weekend, when I was in Philadelphia during the marathon, all I could think about was starting to train again.

But a day later I started to self-reflect about the motivation behind my desire.

Was it truly because I loved running and couldn’t wait to join the ranks of my friends who get up at 4:00 a.m. to get in their planned out distance?

Typically, two nights out of my week I am only getting home around that time, after an awesome night with my friends listening to great music, which in my opinion is way more fun than being alone on my treadmill.

There is a huge part of me who does miss the short jaunts of 2-3 miles, outside jogging around South Hills with no real goals in mind other than getting some fresh air, feeling my lungs open, and exhilarating my legs, but if I am being truthful, the internal competition that would come with training for a long-distance race seems like it would set me back.

I DO have a genuine want to race alongside Ryan again, cross the finish line together, or have him cheering me on at the end, but because it was FUN, typically for causes we supported, and part of our travel repertoire. (Yes, Disney World 5K’s, you are my favorite 😉 )

It didn’t require me to stick to any sort of schedule, or have time/distance requirements that I, or another training regiment, set for myself. It was purely for the love of one another, a charity, and a hobby that made us both feel good.

There is a fine line between running for pleasure, and it becoming an obsession, for me. Not everyone has an addictive personality and many can absolutely handle rest days without guilt, shrug it off if they don’t necessarily meet every one of their expectations, but I am not yet there.

I have confidence one day I will be able to introduce running back into my life, but for now I am happy I am being honest with myself, only partaking in exercise I truly enjoy, for reasons other than that the activities are EXERCISE, and am trying to accept that strength does not JUST come in the form of muscle.

I am getting stronger every day…even if 5 pound dumb bells in front of the TV is all I can handle right now 😉

Who Knew Traveling Could Be So Much Fun?!

As I told you in my last entry, the blogging committment I held myself to on a daily basis was becoming detrimental to my progress in recovery.

And as much as that has made me feel like a “quitter,” and somewhat guilty; as often as I have really missed connecting with others, the break has been nice.

Why?

Because I have actually been LIVING!

I  used to write about living; share my pictures of our travels, music I enjoyed, my family, and a miniscule list of other interests, but after returning home from our annual trip to Walt Disney World, and EPCOT‘s Food and Wine Festival, I realized my version of living the last few years has been completely lame.

Cognitively I knew this to some extent, but I have recently come to understand that a vacation is not truly a vacation without ice cream every day.

…If that is what you want, of course.

What I mean in a more literal sense, is that life, and actually living, is about choice.

We are faced with thousands of choices every day, and for the majority of my existence my choices were dictated by a tyrannical asshole residing between my ears. <—and most of the time my headphones 😉

CJ didn’t really have much input, and actually lost touch with her true desires (yes, I am referring to myself in the third person here…) because ED took all the control.

I couldn’t remember what it was like to “normally” order off a menu because I was the annoying girl at the table telling the wait staff that I wanted a dry piece of fish with steamed vegetables…and then reminding/reiterating  that I meant everything had to be completely separate from anything that may contain oil or butter.

And a day without the gym was completely unheard of; even when we were on vacation and I knew we would be hiking, biking, dancing, whatever, later in the day.

This past trip to Orlando was different.

It felt completely unnatural to make choices based on what my body TRULY felt and WANTED, because it was the first time I can remember ever doing so…

…2 p.m. butter pecan tasted mighty delicious in that 80 degree weather…

…Sleeping until 6:30 so I had just enough time for breakfast, a pony-tail and brushing my teeth in order to make it to Toy Story Midway Mania pre-984548764 hour line…

These things were completely foreign to our typical Disney schedule, but they gave a wonderful sense of freedom, and were actually quite awesome.

Now, don’t get me wrong.

Every day was an internal, and sometimes external, struggle.

There were moments when I wanted to crawl out of my skin or rip at my stomach and pray that the bulge I was currently feeling could be removed, but I also had many moments of bliss, wonder and the magic I remember in times when I wasn’t so distorted and sick; when memories being made with my loved ones, were way more important than the calories I consumed at breakfast.

As hard as pushing myself and stepping outside of my comfort zone our week away (and weeks prior at home) have been, the glimpses of hope have been worth it.

I am hoping to keep this in mind as reality sets in now that the happiest place on earth is a good 16 hour car ride away, because I am nowhere near past the difficulties.

Coming home from our adventure also made clear that there are other aspects in my life that need to change.

Location is an example of this.

We have no concrete plan as of right now, but Ryan and I agree a move might be exactly what we need to start over, and for me to make another major leap into COMPLETE wellness.

I am physically a little better…well enough to make a drastic decision, I guess you could say, and there seems to be no better time than the present to seriously think about what we want out of lives as individuals and a family.

Neither Ryan or I have ever lived away from our hometown for any extended period of time, and although last year when my mom said she was selling her house I was terrified to leave everything I knew, that was more because the eating disorder voice told me all change was bad.

I wasn’t ready then…for anything…for recovery…for a body bigger than an 8 year old…for a bedroom other than the one I grew up in…or to believe that God was the only savior I needed in my life; rather than the “comfort” my rituals and ED behaviors were temporarily providing.

Moving would put me out of my element, but it would also present an opportunity for growth and improvement.

Like I said, there are no firm plans, but there are ideas, and open-hearts/minds in the Weaber household, which is more than I can say was the case in the past.

For now, in the spirit of Thanksgiving and the holidays, which I am not really used to spending outside the confines of a hospital, I am going to continue working on counting my blessings rather than calories, because what the last few weeks have proven is that life is way better with friends, family, music, and fellowship.

None of which seem to care how many miles I ran in the morning, or the circumference around my waist.

Happy Thanksgiving week.  Be back sooner, rather than later 🙂

Oh My Goodness…NEW POST!

This feels weird.

Sitting down at my computer writing a post, since it has been over a week.

I love blogging.  I have told you that a million times before, but I am learning that sometimes in life it is best to take a step back from the things we enjoy and evaluate our reasoning for what purpose they actually serve.

I don’t think I articulated that as well as I intended, but perhaps an example might provide a clearer picture.

I used to love running.

I started running because it gave Ryan and I something to do together and we competed but in a way that was good for our relationship.  We pushed each other and wanted to improve but not in a destructive sense.

It then became an obsession.

I needed to be faster, go longer, do more in order to have the same positive feelings.

I started to exclude my husband and did races on my own.

I had to do it every day or I felt like a complete loser and a failure if my times were not better than the day before.

Ultimately, it was more of an addiction than a joy.

Anyway, blogging is not like running if you think of it in terms of my physical health, but my point is similar.

One does not die from being at a desk and typing away…even if a person would do that for hours at a time, but for me personally, blogging started to become more of a detriment than an asset to my recovery, because if I didn’t do it on a regular basis I felt like I was the worst journal-er in the universe.  I felt like no one cared and once again I was a big, fat, loser.  Since negative self-talk is NOT my friend, I needed to take some time and figure out what I wanted to do.

I don’t want to give up writing, and I certainly don’t want to eliminate connecting with others; since I have made a ton of friends through this medium and absolutely love helping others by sharing my experiences, but right now I am going to set some boundaries to protect myself, and my own journey because there were aspects of Healthy, Happy, Whole that need to change in order to maintain why I actually started doing this.

So first, just like in many treatment centers, I don’t want to talk numbers.

I LOVE when readers e-mail me, and I truly appreciate the reach out, but a caloric plan that works for me, most likely will not work for you.

Everyone has different needs, various activity levels, dietary requirements and I am certainly not in the position to give advice on any of those things.  I am not a professional, nor have I succeeded at the whole weight-restoration process before.  (I am working on it now though!!!)

As I have done in the past I suggest if you do need more information on meal planning and specifics, please see someone who is licensed and qualified.  They will be able to asses you physically and give you a better idea of what your daily goals should be.

I KNOW…trusting a stranger that is telling you to break all your rules is super scary and you read all these forums that tell you about a Buddha belly and how people gain weight so fast, but I can assure you everyone’s situation is going to be different.  I know plenty of people who never got an inflated tummy…who could barely gain a pound a week…

Your body will respond to treatment and nourishment however it NEEDS to in order to survive.

I am trying to remember this, as well, so please don’t think I am being mean or harsh by stating I cannot discuss my numbers.  I am just trying to be mindful of what will help me, and what I think might help you in the long run, too.

Second, there is a TON more to me than my eating disorder.

If I could tell you the amount of interests I have outside of food and exercise you might be stunned!

Stunned because all I ever talked about on here WAS diet food and physical activity; maybe a bit about travel and my family, but not much else.

Well let me tell you what.

I also like to be-dazzle things.

Yes, I made this sweet cup! I wish you could see the bottom!!!

I like to plan parties.

I like to see my friends on a regular basis.

Watch TV.  (HOMELAND?! I can’t believe I did not watch you sooner!!!)

Read.

Pray.

Practice my faith.

Be outside.

Color.

I mean, really, the list goes on.

I am hoping you all aren’t too bored if I start discussing more of my daily ventures, but they are a huge part of me, so I am done keeping them hidden and I want to explore MORE.

Time to look at recovery as an adventure, not a chore.

I hope you all have been well.  I really have missed my bl-iends, and I am ready to be back!  Maybe not as regularly, but definitely every now and then to give you some tid-bits and tips that are helping me, maybe to share in some of my struggles when I need support, and to show you that life is something to celebrate.

Le Dolce Vita, my friends.

Life is sweet.

Nothing Like In School

Were you like me?  One of those weird people who loved taking tests in school because you got a thrill from studying and then immense satisfaction if all the hard work paid off?

I loved tests like that.  I hate tests in life.

What do I mean?

Well, the past few days have thrown me some curve balls.

On Monday I had my weekly medical appointment, where I did not do as well numerically as I needed to.

I was pretty shocked considering I followed my meal plan well and challenged myself A LOT over the weekend, but apparently my efforts were not as lucrative as I hoped.

Monday was also the end of my two-week contract at Hershey, which stated that if I did not meet the terms I was supposed to go to an inpatient unit to gain the weight needed to be admitted to a PHP program (technically I should have gone to inpatient a few weeks ago since I meet the criteria specified by charts and books and all those fun things.)

My family and I decided inpatient is not where I need to be, since I am doing very well mentally, working super hard at challenging myself in my diet, gave up my treadmill key and have become very much more assertive and aware of what makes me happy outside of my eating disorder.

(Just to clarify, the eating disorder is not one of the things that provides joy!)

Instead, we opted for a more strict “hospital-at-home” approach…speciffying that despite these fabulous mental strides, we still cannot deny or avoid the obvious.  Pounds still need to be gained in order for my body to perform optimally and function normally again, meaning there is a new contract in the Weaber household and a larger outpatient team has been put in place to facilitate it.

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Anyway, let’s go back to Monday and the fact that my PHP counselor told Ryan we all needed to discuss the new “Weaber Contract” Tuesday when I got to program.

On my drive I popped a tire and was late, which I HATE HATE HATE more than anything in the world.

And then I get there halfway into lunch so I am rushing, then forced to finish in my *old* therapist’s office as I am told about the contract breach and our new plan. (Old news, I know you read that a few paragraphs ago…)

I get to my residence and a few hours later a family crisis occurs that, since it did not happen to me directly, I will not really go into detail on here, but I will say it affects me and Ryan VERY VERY much, and will bring more changes that I don’t know if I am ready for.

Then, the following day, my mom, sister and I decided to have lunch at a local eatery before she was to head back to New Jersey.  My biological father (who I only met for the first time 2 years ago and have had about zero contact since) my brother, and my uncle, were all sitting at a table by the door.

My brother, who I love so much and think he is totally fabulous (just met him 2 years ago, as well) waved sheepishly as I am sure he felt super awkward too, but my dad just looked the other way and did not acknowledge my presence at all.

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t slightly hurt by the snub, but you know what, I am very blessed to have wonderful men in my life, and a Poppy, that take care of me just fine.

Anyway, these few little blips would have EASILY sent me in a downward spiral before, but with the help of my friends and support team I am trying to look at them differently.

Similar to having a test in school, life’s snaffus are an opportunity to learn.

I may not always see it that way initially; for example I was pretty angry with the lack of love from my gene pool, but it is absolutely a perfect opportunity to use my re-framing skills.

So were the few other things that happened on Monday and Tuesday…

My tire popped…

This was the first time this ever happened to me, so it forced me to call On-Star, problem solve on the spot and encouraged me to take a lesson in putting on a spare.

It also reminded me that perhaps a tool kit in my trunk is not the worst idea ever.

Having to be more responsible for my meal plan and minimizing activity at home is going to present a challenge, but it gives me a chance to practice the skills I have at coping with stress sans treadmill, explore hobbies outside physical endurance, and in my opinion, could be a sign from God that I just need to DO IT.

Easier said than done, but with a lot of accountability measures put into place, I am confident that I can accomplish my goals.

Seeing John was difficult, as well, but it made me do some soul-searching yesterday that I wasn’t necessarily prepared to do before.

I used to think I didn’t care at all about him; that I was blessed enough to have the wonderful family and friends that ARE present in my life.

And I do still feel incredibly lucky and appreciate every single one of those amazing people, but it doesn’t change the fact that my heart hurts and I feel abandoned by the man who provided me with half my genetics.

I used to think that was weak to admit, and stupid or ungrateful, but now I realize the sad reaction is pretty natural considering we have lived in the same town for 25 years, stood right next to each other on many occasions, look i-freaking-dentical, and he still denied the fact that I was his, or paid no attention, like I was invisible.

These actions, or lack of actions, on his part made me feel like I had some sort of defect; that I was not good enough for his affection, and although I cannot change the past or how I felt, I can absolutely learn to ACCEPT that this was my familial situation and tell myself more positive things like, “perhaps he has issues to deal with that have nothing to do with me and that caused him to be such a jerk…”

Instead of ruminating on the negative things that go on sometimes; a popped tire, not meeting a goal even though I put forth a ton of effort and followed directions, not having someone want to be with me even though there isn’t anything inherently wrong with my character…

I am going to take these things and use them as practice to continue loving and caring for myself, just as I would want for my best friend, husband, or random stranger on the street.

I deserve the same treatment as others and that is a pretty new concept to me, but the second I restrict my food intake, abuse my aching body by excessive exercise; that is when I let the people who hurt my feelings win, or when I let the hardships that everyone in the world experiences at some point or another, move me down to a lower place.

I was always a really good student in school, so why can’t that translate into adult life?

Answer: It can, and it will!

Happy Thursday, friends!  One more day until the weekend 🙂

WIAW: Sandi’s Spotlight!

Good Morning Friends and a very happy Wednesday!!

Obviously you know what these mid-week posts typically include, so I will just go ahead and say thank you to Jenn for hosting this little party that unites the blog world and encourages writers and readers to get creative and celebrate something we all need to survive; food.

Today I am taking a different angle and sharing my love for a local vendor who does not just make amazing products, but also gives back to the community; Sandi’s Breads.

If I am being totally honest, I did not know who Sandi was, or anything about her baked goods a month ago, but then a wonderful friend of mine suggested I visit the Sandi’s stand at the Hershey Farmer’s Market to explore the deliciousness for myself.

I e-mailed Sandi directly, and explained how I was trying to challenge myself with non-diet products, and make more “fun foods” (aka desserts and carby-items) less taboo since my non-eating disordered self truly does enjoy them.

She told me to come in and introduce myself and she would personally help me select some things to enjoy.

When I got there I was SHOCKED!

Pleasantly shocked, because she had a ginormous case and several racks of the tastiest looking treats and breads I had ever seen.  And then, as I walked down the display I noticed this:

Gab-A-Nola

I had read about this stuff, since many of my friends were Sandi’s customers and absolutely raved about her goods, but obviously had never tasted it myself so I immediately grabbed a 6 pack of the bars and clutched to them as I searched for a some “challenge” items to take home with me.

I then noticed a woman behind the counter with a very warm demeanor, who was speaking to her customers as if they were family she saw everyday.

Some how I knew that had to be Sandi and when she was free I took the opportunity to introduce myself.

She offered to show me around the bakery, since they produce most of their own flour there, and explain some of their other fresh, creative and wholesome ingredients they use to help ease my anxiety about stepping out of my box; pure cane sugar, sour cream for their FANTASTIC muffins, nuts, etc.

*If you visit their website and look at their mission and ingredients, you will absolutely appreciate both the passion and nutrition that goes into each and everything they produce!.

On my initial trip (I have been back a few times since!) I selected two cookies, some Gab-A-Nola, and called it a day.

The cookies were gone in less than 24 hours and the bars lasted no longer than a week. I couldn’t wait to return and sample some of the other things I oogled behind the glass. (Go to the facebook fan page for an idea of all the delectable things just waiting for you!!!)

Since I got to browse pretty extensively on my first visit, the next time I went I had a mission in mind; muffins.

I had NEVER had a bakery style muffin because I always feared the size, calories, etc. but you know what, I feel good about the components that make up Sandi’s items and I personally really like a starchy-sweet breakfast or snack.  What I am learning is sometimes food doesn’t always have to be the perfect nutritional profile, but is more beneficial when it is good for the soul; mental health foods are a seriously AWESOME thing!

Just like with the cookies, I fell in love with the more oaty and filling texture of the muffins.  There is something about using whole grains that makes the consistency more appealing to me…Fiber is my friend 🙂

…not to mention the triple chocolate, or mocha-toffee flavors,  kind of speak for themselves.

I also snagged some more Grab-A-Nola, a Ginger-Molasses Cookie and a Salted Caramel Brownie.

Yes, I realize there are a ton of sweets listed above, BUT they freeze well and life is too short not to eat dessert first occasionally 😉

Please check out Sandi’s breads.  Even if you are not from central PA she ships domestically and her customer service truly is unrivaled.  She answered about a gazillion questions with patience and passion the day I got to meet her!

So there you have it; delicious food, a new friend, and respect for my bodily cravings that I have not satisfied, probably, ever makes for a wonderful WIAW in my book!

Have a great rest of the week and happy eating!

*All of the opinions expressed in this post are my own.  I was not paid for the advertisement, nor given free items for compensation.  It is a genuine love 🙂  And take my word for it, you will love anything you try, as well!!!

What Works For You

I always love searching on Twitter for the #motivationmonday hashtag because there is such a variety when it comes to what serves as inspiration for the individuals I follow.

You might get a better idea of the diverse group of characters I enjoy reading about if you saw what I posted yesterday after scrolling through Saturday night into Sunday morning…

It was something along the lines of; “My EDM friends and DJ’s are the only tweets I get from the hours of 10 PM to 4 AM, but starting at 5 it’s all the healthy living bloggers talking about PRs and their running distance.”

…and if I had more characters I would have probably included the ginormous rolladex of pumpkin recipes I have collected from the hours of 5 AM to 7 AM because my HLB acquaintances are as obsessed with the orange veggie as I am right now.

#totallytruestatement(s)

Ok, back to the point…

Yesterday’s entry was all about my current struggles in the recovery process, the re-frames that were much-needed and my goals for the week to overcome said challenges.

Although those ideas were/are helpful when I was making choices and craving movement, I think a little more might be needed to push through the rest of the week.

Enter, motivation monday.

For some of my friends this may mean they have an upcoming race they are training for and have time or distance goals they know they need to hit daily, to achieve their desired results.

For others motivation could be an insane weekend ahead at the GRAND opening of Soundgarden Hall or Congorock at Rumor in Philly.

Both of those things used to provide immense inspiration for me to get up early and run, or get through a boring work week, and today I am using both those genres of activity as my motivation, but thinking of them in terms of the bigger picture.

What do I mean?

Well, there are no races in my near future, that’s for sure.

And, two nights of intense dance are not really recommended by the doctors in my clinic, but I can look to future fun for the times when I just need to focus and follow my health plan.

What kind of life do I want for me, my husband, family and friends?

ONE THAT IS FUN, of course!

Eating disorders totally prevent any form of fun from occurring and most of the things I consider exciting require a healthy mind and body (Remember that Tomorrowland video I kept watching because I WILL be there in 2o13?!).  That means I really do need to follow the diet I deem “too high,” and refrain from excessive activity.

So although Tomorrowland 2013 served me well last week, I made a bigger list to start week 3:

1. Disney World with my family in November

2. Working in a career-field I LOVE

3. Vacations with Ryan and our friends that include doing ANYTHING and EVERYTHING we want without worrying about packing ridiculous amounts of “safe foods” or Ry being hesitant for us to be included in excursions due to the calorie burn.

3.5. An example of the above inspiration is BPM in Playa Del Carmen THIS January.

4. Feeling confident and original in clothing again. (I wore a lace dress Friday that is the closest to anything I wore in my past, more healthy, life and I LOVED the way it made me feel!  Very lady like and maybe even a little sexy 😉 )

5. A good relationship with my mom and others who I have pushed away because I was so deep in my own world.

There are so many other things that are inspiring me at the moment, but these are what I am chosing to remember RIGHT NOW in order to get through breakfast and my weekly treatment evaluation that will happen in just a few short hours (I hate you Monday doctor appointments!!!)

Wish me luck!

What is your #mondaymotivation?

What goals have you set for yourself this week?