Saturday, August 2, 2014

Getting down to business.

 My Nana is not a fan of the Internet. Facebook, especially; she doesn’t see the purpose of sharing private and personal information where anyone and everyone can see it. Sometimes I see her point, but I am also a child of technology. It shaped my worldview: I found friends and solace in it, and even met my husband through the world wide web.

As such, I feel differently about sharing my life with strangers. I know that through sharing a part of me, others can reach out and offer solutions, and perhaps even I will help someone else along the way.

So. Fess up time.

I have an addiction. It is serious, and something I don’t talk about, but it keeps me up at night and is the reason for my self-loathing, and yet that very self-loathing leads me to use again and again instead of finding positive alternatives.

I’m talking about food.

Before you sigh with relief  -- “Phew, Bri! You had me worried there!” -- don’t. Don’t roll your eyes or laugh and nod or say, “Oh we all do.”

No. no you don’t.

What separates me (and others like me) from you is that you don’t think about food all day. You do not think about where you will get your next fix, and what it will feel like, and what it will taste like, and who you’ll enjoy it with, and on and on and on. I eat and look forward to eating again. I love food, I need it, I crave it, and am unhappy without it. I think about it when I should be sleeping, or when I should be working. I need it to enjoy a television show. If we get in the car to go anywhere, I expect food to be involved, and am disappointed when it is not.

It is destroying me.

I am 5’10. I am 320 pounds. I noticed when writing that I didn’t say, “I weigh 320 pounds.” No, I AM this. I look in the mirror and see misshapen, deformed body parts, stretch marks like scars along my engorged belly and flabby arms, and nothing, nothing there is beautiful. My breasts hang like meat from racks and hold zero appeal to me. This object in the mirror is not a woman, but a thing, a sack of fat and organs.

And it’s because of my addiction.

This isn’t healthy thinking. I’m fully aware. But I’m also fully aware that I cannot embrace “body positive” agendas when I see what I see in the mirror.

I could walk every day - I’d feel better, healthier. I’d improve the quality of my life, and even my voice, which is my pride.

 I have made other changes - I’m getting a different drink at Starbucks filled with much less sugar and calories, and I enjoy it. I adore veggies and make sure to add as many as possible to my dishes.

But I still crave more and more. The act of eating. The taste, the smell, the feel, it borders on obscene. And I have no idea how to stop it.

It’s not my only problem, of course. Exercise won’t automatically come just because I stop eating. I won’t get an amazing ‘beach body’ just because I suddenly hate food.

But this addiction is consuming, and when I even think about changing my eating habits and putting exercise into my daily routine, I instantly think of what foods I will have to leave behind.

I have PCOS. My doctor has plainly stated that I need to give up starches like potatoes and sugar. The sugar isn’t even as big a problem - I have found ways to shrink my sweet tooth. But potatoes, man. There is NOTHING that tastes like a potato. And burgers aren’t the same without fries. Every major holiday involves mashed potatoes. I live in freaking Idaho.

I’m getting off topic. Rather, I’m unsure where to go from here. I’ve admitted my problem, and that’s the first step right? That’s what they tell you. But they never tell you the second step. how do I FIX IT?

Where do I buy willpower? Where can I craft armor with +infinity WP?

In the USA, it is nearly impossible to eat well when you’re poor. Hubs and I ate our best when we were on food stamps/gov assistance. We could suddenly afford to spend 2 extra bucks on higher quality bread with no sugar or HFCS. I could experiment with whole grains and vegetables to replace my dear love of potatoes.

But without that assistance we grow lazy. Double cheeseburger for $1? Okay. Let’s get 2, or 3. Let’s get 4, and we’ll have food for later, and we spent less than $5 (Oh, that’s per person). Because the combination of sauces and pickles and meat and cheese is wonderful right now. Let’s forget about one hour later, when we’re bloated and greasy, and the bad cholesterol collecting in my arteries.

See? This is what an addiction is. A quick fix for a quick high, ignoring the consequences, damn the results.

I’m sure you’ve seen the photos of drug users, the mugshots. How they look the first time versus a few years later. The sores, the missing teeth, the bagging skin.

My before and after addiction photos have striking differences too. Maybe the health issues aren’t readily noticeable, but they should be. The morality, the right or wrong of my choices may not be as harshly debated, but I definitely am in the wrong, here. I could use the excuse of health problems - part of my ballooning weight began with the PCOS, I’m sure. But I was the one who went back for more plates of food. I craved more, and so I got more.

No accountability. I did this to me.

 How do I fix it? How do I keep at it, when I grab a healthier snack option, or ride a bike for a few miles?


 I've been working on this blog post off and on since the end of March. My weight has gotten worse, my impulses have gone unchecked, and I'm feeling pretty dang low about it all. This post was supposed to encourage me and others, and yet I kept it hidden from all (including myself) and as such it's done nothing but take up space on my Google Drive. I wanted to revise it properly, fix strange leaps of thought and make proper segues.

But no, this is going in raw.

Because I found an image of myself tonight, from last year. Last year when I was smaller and yet still huge. True to the blog, I look "pretty in the face" -- if you ignore the strange lumps like tumors popping up here and there. Yes yes, everyone has wrinkles and rolls because no one is a walking Photoshop ad. But this isn't the same. And even with my poorgal's Photoshop (aka: MSPaint), I've 'slimmed' my image just a little, and boy oh boy does it look better.

Enough is enough. I must do something. Soon isn't soon enough. Tomorrow is too far away, even though I've got a random donut calling my name. Even though we'll be going to Seattle in a couple weeks. I wanna see 30, 40, 90, and it ain't gonna happen like this.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Nerd Fitness!

Short post here, as I am aware I've been slacking off regarding posting and I want to get this out there before I recommit.

After a trip to Kotaku to see an awesome video on how awesome we awesome humans are (or can be), I found the link to Nerd Fitness in the comments.

It has made me hopeful.

I'm a fan of gaming. I won't call myself a full-on "gamer" because I don't game as often as some (but I do get obsessed with the few games I adore -- I'm currently in to Guild Wars 2). My nerd-cred is all over the place -- certain TV shows, book series, and games. Not to mention MUSIC.

That said, Nerd Fitness hits a spark within me that I'm hoping will light a fire under my 300-lb butt to get out there and do something. Especially after reading a story about a woman who lost 100 lbs to become healthier and rock some cosplay :) She has a blog here: Project Reroll and it's lovely! Please check her story out!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Plus-size Sale!

eloquii is a plus-size clothing store by The Limited. In May, The Limited announced they were phasing out this branch. As we plus-size gals already have limited (no pun intended) options for our clothing, this is of course a sad piece of news for us.

On the plus side (I'm just full of unintentional puns today), I didn't know this place existed until a random ad popped up while I was researching a word ('tempted' if you must know). As such, I was thrilled at the sale. 

Clothing that was normally $60 and $80 I got for about $10 per piece. They've also cancelled their ground shipping fee regardless of the purchase size, so free shipping, AND an extra 15% for the closeout! I ended up buying 8 pieces (two tanks, two dresses, two pairs of jeans, leggings, and a skirt) for $80.

Take advantage of this while you can, lovelies!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

A Random Assemblage of Goings-On

 Hello, lovelies! God has granted me with a full plate of late, and I am so very grateful for it! Here is a run-down of what's been happening lately with with this Rock Goddess:
  • Netbook

First of all, I'm writing this post from my 'new' netbook! I've been in the market for a notebook or netbook, and my BiL managed to hook me up with a very nice, hardly used HP Mini from a coworker. It's currently running Ubuntu, but once I and Hubster have read up more on various Linux distros (versions or 'distributions') I plan to install Mint.

The reasoning behind this is, mini-laptops have small processors as well. Beefy OS (like Vista or even Windows 7) will run slowly. Linux has quite a few lite-OS options. Ubuntu is one of them, but I've heard very good things about Mint as well -- mainly that it is like Ubuntu, but even more streamlined. And the best part? Linux is open-source. I am ALL about open-source :)
  • Editing

I've wanted my own laptop computer for mainly two reasons. One? I like surfing the net or writing in bed. I like to curl up against the wall and type type away. This was a little more cumbersome with our shared laptop, and recently it had become Hubs' work PC. I wanted something for me, that was mine. Two? Not only do I enjoy writing in bed, but as a freelance editor, I like spending work time comfortable as well.

I recently was introduced to Bri Clark, who is an alpha female when it comes to many aspects of her life, and she gave me some excellent advice on editing as a career. After our advice luncheon, she asked if I would edit her newest novel. I have done so, and look forward to her feedback. I also look forward to when she publishes her latest work so I can pimp it to my writer friends! The novel is chock full of great advice for new writers from the perspective of someone who's been there, done that, and come out on top.

Editing is something which comes naturally to me, one of two things about myself I have confidence in. Getting into the business isn't a cakewalk, however, and as I've posted before I need a job. That has been thankfully solved, at least until the end of May. I've been substituting!
  • Substituting 

Since mid-March I've been subbing full-time at a local elementary school. The work has been rewarding; I am an aide in the extended resource room (ERR). I work with autistic children, as well as others with mental or physical disabilities. Some days they just do not want to do this school thing, and I am right there with 'em! But I enjoy it, so very much. My fellow staff members are great with the kiddos and have been very welcoming to me, and I appreciate it very much.

Because of this, I have let my VocRehab case worker know I will pick back up with sessions after the school year. I have no idea what will happen next year: whether or not the elementary will need me full-time or what. But I just can't say enough how happy I am to go in to work everyday. Do I feel anxious? Yes, some. Do I dread getting up? Always. :D But I feel secure at the school (which is blessedly close to my house) and not overwhelmed like at my last job.

Also, since the school is only a mile away, I've walked home a few times. I don't do it often, but the Hubs and I share the car and sometimes he has to work late. The path home is peaceful, flat, and enjoyable. Blessings I don't deserve... ^_^

One other thing: There's a bit of peer pressure in the working world. Did you know? Yes, and for me it has been: eating habits! The ladies (of various ages and body types) around me are eating tiny portions! With only 30 minutes to get in the lounge, nuke your food, and scarf it down before picking up kids, I can understand their choice of noms. But it has definitely made me rethink what I grab for lunch that day. Usually it's a Lean Cuisine-type meal, but if it's frozen, it needs to have a short cooking time. It needs to be something I can savor, because scarfing down 200 calories feels like filling up on packing peanuts. Sure I'm less hungry, but I'm not satisfied, nor do I feel like I had a time-out.
  • Concert!

 Sever The Verge had its second concert last night. It had been basically a year since we last played so we were stoked to get on stage again. Every dive is different, and the sound is usually meh. I am confident in my singing. I know I do it well. Unfortunately, if I can't hear myself, I worry I'm off by a half-step, so I tried to sing harder. This choked me up, and I sang about 2/3 of our first song, omitting the rest to try and swallow spit.

I kept looking to Hubs for clues as to how I was sounding, and he had a sympathetic twist to his lips. I sound horrible, I realized. There wasn't anything I could do; we both talked with the sound manager and he told me his monitors weren't the best. I was not going to be able to hear myself.

At the end of the show I placed my mic stand next to Hubs and said to a mutual friend, "Thanks for coming to our second and final show." It was a joke, but I was so sick at my stomach I felt like vomiting, and that is something I do. not. do. But I do not want to make StV look bad because of me!

After talking to a few other peeps who stuck around, however, I discovered I hadn't sounded bad at all. The problem was not my voice, but the fact that no one could hear it very well. When they could hear it, it was apparently awesome.

I immediately felt loads better. Sound issues like that are out of our hands -- we as a band did the best we could, and we rocked at it. That's all that matters.

I chatted with my fellow vocalist's neighbor for awhile and felt myself coming down from the show rush. I didn't fall asleep on the drive home, but only because it was short.

There is nothing quite like the sleep of adrenaline-crash. I got to bed around 2 am this morning, fairly positive I'd be too exhausted to move until 12 hours later. However, my alarm for church rang, I sat up to shut it off, and as I laid back down I realized, "Hey... I'm not sleepy. And I feel rested! I... I'm gonna get up! Yes! And get dressed and drive to church! YES!"

And so I did. Whether it was a nudge from God telling me "Really, Brianne, it's time," or a perfect alignment of body chemicals, I slept fantastically. I was still tired after church (and took a nap in the car after lunch with the Hubs and BiL), but I was just so very grateful to be blessed with a new day.

Q: In what aspect of your life are you most confident? In what attribute do you take most pride, knowing it's use of this which makes you truly shine?

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Diet & Mental Health

I have not forgotten about PIYF, not at all. However, there's been little going on lately and I didn't want to fill a blog post with nothing but selfish ramblings (though, isn't that kinda what a blog is for?).

First off, I haven't been keeping up with my calories. So girls (and guys), you aren't alone. You were working your tail off (so to speak), counting the calories in a cup of spinach, and then two or three days later you ate that giant Fuddrucker's burger with both pieces of the bun AND cheese and totally did not attempt to figure up the calories for it (or at least that's how it worked for me).

Plus, you haven't been exercising (because you totally take the stairs when you go to the kitchen and band practice) and you're surprised you haven't budged on the scale. Because of that, you felt a little bad, and punished yourself with some brownie bites from Jack-In-The-Box two nights in a row...

Yup, there's the wagon, driving away after I fell off it.

What's done is done, lovelies! You (read: I) made a mistake. Time to start again! We're gonna take a hint from the airlines and lose this baggage!!

Here's a couple other things:

I posted before regarding my job search. One $10 spring orientation and $40 background check later, I'm in the substitute pool for the local school district. Obviously not a full-time job, but that's good for me. I can set my own pace(-ish) and not feel overwhelmed. I've also began dialogue with Vocational Rehabilitation (VocRehab), starting just this past Wednesday. My caseworker put me in for a psych assessment (which is used to see if I qualify for VocRehab's services) on Thursday. The results of that will be in next week, and some time in the week after that I'll have another appointment with VocRehab to go over the results (including info from my general doctor).

This is where the title comes in. I haven't done any research, so don't expect rampant fact-flinging. It's just fairly common sense that a better diet will equal better mental health. At the very least, one feels better about oneself if s/he has eaten well instead of scarfing down a giant fried entity larger than one's own stomach.

I'm a rather anxious person (I think I've mentioned that before). I don't usually give credence to alternative medicine, but I will be looking up foods to help alleviate those negative feelings. I've never had a panic attack, for which I'm thankful, but the constant stress of a slowly winding gear which pulls me tighter and more highly strung until I'm 'confident' I will die is... well it's a downer. I don't accomplish anything, which makes me feel worthless, and the cycle begins again. My rational brain is telling me to get over these emotions and just grow up, but I can't. I hide in bed, in sleep, in dreams, and absolutely dread everything not sleep-related.

We're gonna fix that. Starting with this evaluation, it is my hope we can move forward by getting me a counselor to talk with regarding these feelings, someone knowledgeable, non-judgmental, with whom I'm comfortable.

Meanwhile, I need to remember that eating right isn't just about looking good, but about feeling good. And I need to want it (more than I apparently do now). Exercise will help with mental health as well. You've probably heard that. I've heard it most of my life. Now to put it in motion. A simple walk each night, now that it's warming up. Maybe the Hubs will go with me; maybe he won't. Gotta do it. Gotta do it for me.

As an aside, I've been reading about food for vocal health as well. I plan to write a post dedicated to that in the near future.

Why do you really want to get healthy? What, to you, is more important than food?

Monday, January 28, 2013

:: motivation ::

I've been keeping track of my calories these past few days, even though I haven't posted them (*looks* wow, it has been awhile). Between the laptop and my desktop I'm unsure which days are which, but I made sure I was under 2500 Calories, and tended to stay around 2000.

Yesterday I ordered pizza. Here's what the day turned into:

Cereal: 320

Pizza (3 slices): 900

Pizza (2 slices): 620

1 Rice cake: 50
1 TBSP PB: 80
1 TBSP GJ: 10
Milk: 90

Cheese: 110
Meat: 100

Total: 2280

We also went to Maui Wowi for smoothies two days in a row, and the 20 oz. Hawaiian Breeze I drank was 357 Calories so I'm fairly pleased with that.

But that's not what I'm writing this post about. Through some twisted trail of YouTube magic, I ended up watching an episode of Supersize vs Superskinny. And now I'm in a bit of delirium.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

To Become an Adult

I haven't had a true job in forever.

The last job I had (June 2012), lasted one week before I had to quit. Such a severe bout of anxiety came over me that I lost nearly 10 lbs from loss of appetite. I didn't sleep well, and felt like a husk.

Since that time, I've come to regret badgering my husband to the point he felt he needed to call my employers and quit for me. It's possible -- probable, even -- that I would have gotten over the fear I felt winding up in my head and stomach while I was on-the-clock. I'll never know, at least in that situation.

Due to our lack of finances, however, I must get a better job than the part-time work I have online. Tasks are not always available and I have a less than stellar willpower to continually check for work. As such, I needed to look for work in the real world.

I started today, having lit upon the idea of child-care, but there was none in this area. I remembered substitute teaching, as I had done that when in AR and loved it. I pushed down my fears and applied. Now... now I wait.

In the meantime, here is my food count for the day:

Tortilla (2): 160 C
Meat (3 TBS): 100 C
Cheese (1.5 slices): 75 C
Sour cream (2 TBS): 20 C
Refried beans (black, low fat): 110 C
Tomato (Roma): 35 C

Donut: 310 C
Milk: 90

Pizza: 640
Yogurt: 90

Yogurt: 80
Carrot mix: 150
String-cheese: 50

Total: 1910