“There is a tremendous difference between alone and lonely. You could be lonely in a group of people. I like being alone. I like eating by myself. I go home at night and just watch a movie or hang out with my dog. I have to exert myself and really say, oh God, I’ve got to see my friends because I’m too content by myself.” ~ Drew Barrymore
I know I’m not alone when I say I would rather stay in and watch a movie on Netflix than go out and watch one at a theater.
I don’t even want to go stand in line at Redbox and rent a movie because that would mean I have to be next to other people.
Spending time at home and with my select friends and family is enough excitement for me. My social needs are met with a video game and a bag of veggies. (I would say chips but I am on this health kick…be healthy!).
There are moments in my life when I did not leave the house for weeks at a time. The only people I saw were my husband and children. I like it that way.
I know that I have to go out into the world and function. I do not have to like it but it must be done. I could shop only at Wal-Mart. However, there are some things that you cannot do at Wal-Mart like pick your kid up from school and attend your child’s soccer game. Here is how I stay sane. (or insane if that’s how you want to look at it.)
1. Limited eye contact – I limit how much eye contact I have with everyone I meet. The less our eyes meet the less you will want to talk to me.
2. No conversation – The worst thing is when you are checking out at the grocery store with $200 in food and all the lady who’s ringing you up wants to do is chit chat about how she found her missing dog. Listen, I’m happy for her and the pup but I don’t want to hear about it. A simple “hello” and “have a good day” is almost too much in the first place.
3. Don’t smell – People smell terrible. Avoid smelling anyone at all times. I can smell a person who didn’t take a bath or brush their teeth from an aisle over. I bury my face in my scarf or my husband’s shoulder whenever we pass someone. Yes, there are those of you out there that use cologne and bathe regularly. I apologize to you. However, I am still going to hold my breath whenever you pass me because I cannot smell you.
4. Be nice – Being as nice as possible to those people who must talk to you is key. The nicer you are the more helpful they will be and the faster you can leave and go back home.
5. Don’t be afraid – No one knows that you are an introvert. No one knows you want to run away and crawl home instead of smiling one more fake smile. Everyone picks their kids up from school. Everyone goes to the mall. People go grocery shopping. Just remember that blending in is our best bet. Get done what you need to get done and then get back home.
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Where do you go when you don’t feel like you’re going anywhere in your trip to being a healthier, smaller version of yourself? What happens to you at that moment in time where you’ve tried (what seems like) everything and nothing is working? Where does your mind and body take you when you’re stuck?
This is always a risky area for me. I would say for a solid eighty percent of my time I am on autopilot. To quote my pal Carolyn, “It’s just what we do now”, meaning going to the gym, eating properly, not binging, not freaking out about every little inconsistency or speed bump in the path, is our new “norm”. It’s just what we do. Lather, rinse, repeat.
The other twenty percent of my time is split between the extremes.
Fifteen percent of that time is spent ‘dorphined up, feeling like I’m taking on the world and conquering it bit by bit. Nothing bothers me. Nothing could stand in my way. I have a great attitude and hold my head up high.
In steps that pesky last five percent of my time, which is where I’ve been feeling for the past week. That last five percent is the part that says “you cannot win this game no matter what you do”. I’m living on “screw it” street in my little village and it’s such a dodgy area. There’s bums on the corners… big bums who haven’t seen a Stairmaster in years. There are seedy people in the shadows just lurking about waiting for you to trip up so they can dart out and rummage through your bag, stealing your hidden snack. The street pharmacists are on the corners handing out your drug of choice, be it cheesecake, chips or chocolate. Or worse yet, a cocktail of all three.
So where do you go? What do you do? Who do you turn to?
My first line of defense, and I didn’t even realize it until I started writing today, is my husband, Marco. Today, these words actually left my face and entered his ears.
“I’ve been doing horrible with my food. I just feel like saying screw it all”.
Those words were actually audible. To another human besides myself. I really said that to him. That’s when I realized he’s always my first stop on the self-destruction train. I like to run my ideas of giving up past him first.
It’s actually laughable as I write it because of course I’m never going to stop but maybe I just need a break. A break from what?
I’d like to call my second line of defense to the stand – Carolyn. You’ll remember her from this post.
She’s who I turn to next. She’s going to read this, as I run most of my posts past her before publishing and she’ll have some brilliant encouraging words to say. Or a punch in the arm, you know, whatever she feels will work at the time. Never fail though, she’s walking the walk and talking the talk with me.
Keeping in mind that this is still only a mere five percent of my time, sometimes I realize my funk is a bit funkier than I like it to be and I pull out the big guns.
When I left Novarum, the center where I got help for my food issues, they had me write a list of things that just worked for me, mentally and physically. It seemed so silly at the time to write it all down, they were so fresh in my mind, but I did it. I tucked it away in a book and just keep it there.
That’s my “big guns”, a piece of paper with words of wisdom that I wrote myself.
“Following this routine makes me more calm about food choices.”
“I no longer hide my eating or have that shame that was associated with hiding and eating.”
“If one of my goals ends up backfiring, that’s okay. This is all just a huge experiment to find that best fit for my life, which will change and evolve as I do.”
That’s just a few of the items on that yellowing piece of paper that I use, third line of defense, to keep me centered.
It is so much more than words on paper though. It takes me back to the basics. Back to where I started winning this thing. Back to the really simple ideas of changing the way I thought about food, myself, myself with food, food with myself and all things related, which in the end, was everything.
I get back to the beginning of this chapter in my life and re-read it like a favorite book.
Then I keep on keeping on because that five percent, that little flash of time, has had its moment of glory and I know how to move on.
My friend Sarah shared a Facebook post from her soon-to-be 17-year-old daughter Autumn today that surprised and impressed me.
It seems that this articulate, intelligent young woman has accomplished something that many adults attempt and repeatedly fail–and something many teenagers don’t even realize they need to do until they’re adults. When I read it, I immediately asked Sarah and Autumn if they were OK with my blogging about it.
Autumn has lost more than 40 pounds and is still on the move–and she says she feels better about herself than she ever has. I’m going to share her post below in full. I am so impressed with the level of maturity this girl has going on–what do you think? (You can click the photo at the right to enlarge it, if you’d like!)
“As many of you may know, I’ve lost over twenty pounds. I am happy to announce that I have lost over 40 pounds in total, and losing more every day. I am so grateful to have such supportive friends and family.
Starting at 194 pounds (very left) I could not even comprehend that I would be where I am now, a pleasant 152. I have lost four pant sizes, and I now fit in a medium. I am so blessed to have a family like mine, and truly happy to have the friends that I do.
Ten more pounds and I will be considered not overweight, although. I have never felt as good about myself as I do right now. I am truly happy with myself and life, I have good friends (Maybe because I got rid of the ones that were fake) An adorable boyfriend, and a loving family.
For the first time in my life, I can wake up and say to myself, ‘Today is going to be a good day.’ And look in the mirror and accept that I AM beautiful. I should of never thought of changing myself to please the masses.
I was depressed, I didn’t feel good enough. I didn’t feel like I belonged anywhere, not just because of my weight, but because of how I felt society was. I’m tearing up as I write this status because of how proud I am of myself that I actually surpassed my own goals.
Words cannot describe the feeling of success, and I thank everyone who reads this status. Thank you for supporting me and my goals.”.
Now here’s where it gets really impressive. Autumn doesn’t have an eating disorder, and she isn’t taking pills or powders or eating questionable things. And she’s not starving herself or using any strange voodoo to make the weight loss happen. In fact, she’s doing it the old fashioned way. The only way that really works long-term.
“It’s what everyone else says,” Autumn says. “Fewer calories, lots of water and exercise.”
She adds that it’s important to make sure that when you cut calories you eat things that are nutrient-rich, because it can make you sick if you don’t.
“She got sick,” Sarah tells me. “Had too-low potassium, and she had numbness and tingling in her face and hands.”
They went to the emergency room and they drew blood to make the diagnosis, and the prescription was to eat some bananas. So these days, Autumn’s more careful to get those nutrients into her diet.
When I asked how she stuck to the plan, she said that she constantly had to give herself pep talks.
Color me impressed. Kudos to Autumn! Keep up the good work, sista! 🙂