Saturday, June 26, 2010

Boundaries, part deux

Just for the record, before the start the hard stuff, I've had a great week.  Big shout out to my bloggy friend Happy Fun Pants, for being awesome and willing to go for a walk with me despite the enormous heat and that her dog (who we were going to take with us) sadly had to be put to sleep just a day or two before.  My heart goes out to her.  Also a shout out to my good friend Goldilocks (yup, she has gorgeous blond naturally curly hair), for inviting me to her gym's free weekend.  It's the first time I've been in a gym this century--literally.

Okay, enough with the love fest, this is the post I've been avoiding, and it's time.  I mentioned before that I have problems with boundaries--with myself, with food and with men.  Let's talk about men, shall we?  *FAMILY, IF YOU ARE READING THIS, STOP READING.  AND NEVER EVER SPEAK OF IT AGAIN.  I'M SERIOUS.  I WILL CHANGE MY ADDRESS, PHONE NUMBER, AND DISOWN MYSELF IF YOU PROCEED.*

Okay, all parental units and family-types safely out of the room?  Then I will proceed.

I've always liked boys--a lot.  Example, I got sent to the principal's office in kindergarten for chasing boys and trying to kiss them at recess.  I can remember the first boy I liked, and I think I was four (hey David, and Alex, and Andrew, and Matt!)  You would think that with all this that I would have hit puberty, gone hormonally crazy, dated as much as humanly possible, and generally just ho-around.  You would be wrong.

I was a pudgy girl as far back as I remember, and puberty just made things worse (and even pudgier).  I was always so self-conscious about myself and my body that I was certain that no boy was ever going to like me.  Time after time, I would meet a boy I liked, and end up in the friend-zone permanently because I was too shy about my body and certain of my un-dateable-ness that he would never know that I was interested.  I constantly was pushing any kind of sexuality down because it was easier to stifle it than it was for me to show interest and get rejected.  I became so removed from it that I would have instances of guys telling me after the fact, "you know, I was really into you, but you never seemed to realize or be into me so I gave up."  Sad, right?

As I got older, I had a lot of relationships that were relations-less.  It was the ability to bond and get emotional needs meet without having to involve the scary stuff.  So I wound up dating or being friends with men who were gay, unavailable, or too damaged to ever really be in a real, adult relationship.  These were terribly unsuccessful because they were more than friendships, but less than relationships.  Boundary issues galore.

When I did date, I found that I had no capability to regulate my feelings, or even be able to recognize what they were.  I only ended up dating guys who liked me with no regard for whether or not I liked them.  Or whether I felt attracted to them.  I would get so caught up in how they felt about me and their feelings that I would lose myself.  (Hello, officer?  I'd like to report some missing boundaries.) And then, when I'd realize later what a dumb doormat I'd turned into for some guy, I'd just hate myself for being "that girl." 

So between the horrors of dating and not-dating, I gained a LOT of weight.  And the pudgy became big became obese became morbidly obese (I hate that term).  The likelyhood of repairing these issues grew smaller as my stomach grew bigger.  And it became easier just to completely turn my sexuality off.  And that's what I did, for a long, long time.  Until I decided to have weight loss surgery.

Now I'm a 30-something woman who is totally out of her league when it comes to men.  Imagine being in your late 30's and having the sexual and emotional development of a shy teenager.  Hell, men my age are often divorced with kids.  How am I supposed to catch up now?

Honestly, I don't know.  I do think that I would like to find someone, be in a relationship, and maybe even marry and have kids (although I have limited years left as far as the kids thing goes, so we'll see on that one).  But not only am I new to the party, I don't even speak the language.  I have no idea how to let my  boundaries down enough so that I can let a man in, and yet not so much that I lose my sense of self.  I don't know how to regulate my desires with my sensability.  And good god, I am soon going to have a belly that looks a bit like a shar-pei puppy (you try losing 115 pounds without getting weird wrinkly skin).  Not such a great confidence booster when it comes to getting romantic (although preferable to still having the 115 pounds on me).

So I'm going to have to play this one by ear (and find a willing partner to play with me...that sounded wrong).  If you know any single dudes who are into women that are shy with men, hesitant with their own sexuality, have issues with boundaries, and whose midsections are more "puppy" than "washboard,"  send me their number.

Monday, June 21, 2010

1st Degree of Boundaries

Okay, before I launch into this one, please go visit Eggface at theworldaccordingtoeggface.  She is doing a giveaway for her birthday/surgiversary (and she has some of the best weight loss surgery recipes around).

Now back to being all about me.

So back to boundaries.  To refresh your memory, I have a job that requires good boundaries, and so I have learned to develop them at work.  At home, on my own, or with a partner...not so much.  Since I'm already all about me, let's start there.

You know how there were kids that would do their homework early so they could go to Waterworld?  Or practice piano right when they got home so they could then have time to go outside and play?  Yea, that was never me.  I am an instant gratification monger (you know, like a war-monger only less 'offwiththeirheads'-y).  I never really got good at putting off what I want, and I'm still not.

There's an experiment that was done with children.  Relax, it wasn't Mary Kay doing the experimenting, it was some dude (and his buddies) named Mischel.  He put a marshmallow in front of a preschooler and told them they could eat it now, or get two marshmallows later.  He'd then leave the room and see if they could delay immediate gratification for a bigger reward later.  Check it out on YouTube to see the videos--these kids are awfully cute trying to resist the Stay-Puft.  He found that the kids that were best able to resist the 1st marshmallow and wait tended to be more successful in later life.

Duh.  It didn't take a scientific experiment for me to know that if I were better at putting off my need for instant gratification I would be more successful at things like saving money or losing weight.  Gee, I could not buy the new car now and I would have more money later?  You mean if I don't eat the whole box of Nutty Bars (Little Debbie is an evil slut for even thinking those up) I will get to wear skinny jeans and look cute?  I'm not a complete idiot, just a little ADD.

So as an adult, when you realize that you'd like to lose weight, or save money for new granite countertops in your kitchen, or maybe even a new place with an attached garage, what do you do when you realize you've been in the 'loser' group all along and you'd like to switch teams?

Practice, I guess.  I think it takes practice to create a meal plan for the day and stick to it.  To give yourself a bedtime and stick to it (I have 30 minutes left, by the way).  To get up and clean the house.  To get out and walk or work out.

And setting and sticking to all these boundaries is weird.  It's awkward, it isn't comfortable and easy like a Sunday morning.  But I do think it's something I have to learn and put into practice in order to be successful.

Surely it's not just me.  Only about 30% of the kids in the experiment delayed their gratification in order to get to the 2nd marshmallow.  So I guess I shouldn't feel so bad about it-70% of us are all in the same boat.  How about you?

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries

Yes, say it three times fast and make it your mantra.

I did not become a people pleaser without having issues with boundaries.  I did not become morbidly obese without having issues with boundaries.  Yet I took a job in Human Resources that absolutely requires establishing and maintaining them.  Hmmmm...

You see, I learned how to separate my job and my life because I had to.  I was a "people person," which is resume-speak for, "I'm really sweet--please hire me."  I was the party planner, the funny one, the one who would never hurt someone's feelings.  Then I got into HR because it's a great job for someone who loves people, right?

It's really not.  You have to fire people, lay people off, tell people their breath smells, deny them benefits because they missed the deadline, etc.  It's not a job for the tender-hearted.  That's why, as you get higher and higher up in HR, people tend to be more and more bitchy and awful.  They kind of have to be.  Really sweet and lovely HR VPs and Directors are rare and lovely creatures that should be studied and have ballads written about them.  (And thank God I work for one of them currently, which I can say without it being ass-kissing because she knows nothing about this site).  Seriously, when was the last time you wanted to go to the HR Manager to chat, or go out to lunch, or swap recipes?

Suddenly, I realized I was in a field where you were almost guaranteed that you would not be liked.  Those first years were a rude awakening for someone who was such a people-pleaser.  The first time I had to fire someone I cried for 2 days before and 2 days after.  It was horrid.  And I realized that if I was going to continue in this field I would have to develop some boundaries.  I've been mostly successful doing this when it comes to work.  If I have to hold a difficult conversation, I coach myself, "Shields up, people!"  *shink-shink* (think the sound of Wonder Woman's bracelets defecting bullets).  But it is not a perfect system.  It's difficult to make that shield permeable enough to allow yourself to be compassionate, but solid enough to do the job.  It's something I will always have to work on.  

What does all of that mean for those that struggle with their weight?  Good boundaries are an absolute requirement to be successful at losing weight, and I have met very few people with serious weight problems that know when to draw the line.  We're the ones who let people run all over us.  We're the ones who don't tell people when they are inappropriate or mean.  We're the ones that don't tell our partners, friends, or kids what we genuinely need.  We feel too much, do too much, and generally tend to not stand up for ourselves when it is appropriate.

And for me personally?  Why is it that after I started being Wonder Woman at work that I still have a weight problem?  For me, I manage to sheild at work because otherwise I would be fired.  My personal life still poses a major challenge for me.  There are several areas of my life where I need to practice and perfect appropriate "shielding."  1.  Relationships with men, and 2.  Relationships with myself, and 3.  Relationships with food.  I think this is a good weekend to reflect on those (since my Emotional Eating class scheduled for today got cancelled).  Lucky for you, that means some heavy duty posting.

So, next post, I'm going to tackle one of those 3 areas and give you some examples of where I've fallen down in the past and that I hope to change in the future.  Stay tuned...

Friday, June 11, 2010

Lock up your menfolk, I'm wearin' jeans tonight!

You know those days when you get dressed, walk by a mirror, and tell yourself, "Damn, I am smokin' hot today!"?  Well folks, today is that day.  In fact, it's the first of it's kind in about 8 years.  Last time I could wear these jeans I wore them on a blind date, and felt so good in them I believe I actually sashayed to the table in front of my date to let him enjoy the view.  Yea, I'm one of those girls whose milkshake brings all the boys to the yard.  Damn, right.  I could teach you, but I'd have to...oh, you know how the rest of the song goes.

I think about this.  8 years since I sashayed.  I have to say, I didn't notice when it was gone.  And I don't remember anyone saying anything to me about it.  But now that I've gotten a taste of the mojo I realize I missed it.  Even if it is a little scary to realize that someone finds me fetching.  And it does scare me.  I've always been a little messed up about that.

But today, no deep psychological examinations about why I fear and desire being thought of as attractive.  I will save the brain-picking and soul-searching for another evening.  Tonight is for reveling in my bootyliciousness.  Because how often do I get to do that?  Once every 8 years.  Total solar eclipses happen more often than that, for pete's sake.  So perhaps I should just thank my stars that tonight I feel good, I'm not dehydrated, I'm not in the ER or requiring medical intervention of any kind.  I fit into my old jeans (and they are a little big, even), I can walk comfortably and I can almost see the faint start of a jawline.

Peeps, today is a good day.  And if you're missing your own mojo, here is my 3 step plan for retrieval:  turn on Nina Simone's "Feeling Good" as loud as you dare, draw yourself a LUSH bath (get the Think Pink bath bomb to feel extra girly), and pour you a lovely cup of sugar-free cocoa.  Repeat steps 1-3 until your mojo returns.

At least, that's a good recipe for me (well, that and fitting into skinny jeans).  What does it for you

Monday, June 7, 2010

Breakin' up is hard to do...

Breakin' up with bad habits, that is.  I just really like messing up songs with my own words.  And if you don't know "Breakin' up is Hard to Do" then either you are under 50 years old or your parents never tortured you with the oldies after they found out the words to your favorite Prince song.  Am I dating myself here?

So specifically, my bad habit is not cooking/eating out.  I was being very adventurous and making all my protein-y things, and recently these efforts have dissipated along with the chance of frost.  I even *gasp* bought my lunch today (rotisserie chicken breast from Boston Market, but still more expensive than making it at home).  And this weekend I must have thrown out a fortune's worth of leftovers that I never got to.  If I went out once or twice in a week, my leftover ratio would have been fine.  But 4 times in a week is just too much food, no matter how I look at it.

So perhaps it's time to do some recipe trolling again.  I thought I'd list some of my favorite websites for recipes (to read anyway, since I haven't cooked much from them) in the hopes that it will help lead you there and you will cook one of their yummy-sounding recipes and then invite me over to try them.  I can dream, right?  So here they are:
  • The World According to Eggface.  She is a fabulous WLS blogger and cook, and recently won an expenses-paid trip to NYC on Progresso Soups for a makeover (lucky duck).  For peet's sake, the woman knows how to make low carb donuts and weight loss-friendly ice cream.  I have made her easy-peasy pot roast and it was yummy.  So I just need to try some of her more adventurous stuff. 
  • Maria's Nutritional Consulting.  Now this is not WLS-specific, but it is a great site for anyone wanting to lose weight and get healthier.  She touts low sugar, good carbs, and decent protein content, nutrient-dense food.  I'm thinking I might need her book.  But be careful--she is here for health and not necessarily for those with Gastric Bypass.  So not everything will work for Pouchie, but Pouchie does love for me to read it stories about chocolate.  ("Tell us the story again, about this wonderous thing called 'chocolate'?"
  • Kalyn's Kitchen.  Another one that isn't WLS-specific, but it is low carb.  It does give details on all the low-carb diets, but it has really nutritionally sound stuff.  And it searches like Epicurious--it's seriously huge.  The most recent recipe?  Grilled Pork Kabobs with Spicy Peanut Butter, Sesame, and Soy Sauce Marinade.  Yum. 
  • The Bariatric Foodie.  Brought to you by the Pouch Party ladies.  Love the name.  And the fact that she worked in the phrase, "My 'baby-daddy's-other-babymomma' (henceforth called 'BDOBM')" into the last post.  Awesome.  Oh, and the recipes look good too.  Really good.
So I hereby declare at at some point in the near future that I will actually attempt to cook some of this delicious food I've been reading about. 

I would commit to this week but found out today that I might be developing another stricture, so eating right now is not so much a joy as a job.  I really don't want to have them go in and make Pouchie's mouth any bigger, because it worries me that it might get too stretched.  That would make all of this surgery futile anyway, and probably cause me to gain back the weight.  Yikes.  We'll see what the next few days bring.

Until then, dear readers, consider yourself eating for two and check out some of those recipes!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


So today, the pizza wasn't that bad.  Luckily, they had it in a different room than the seminar, and I got there 5 minutes late so all the dudes in construction pretty much polished it all off.  Thank goodness.  I think I will eventually try pizza--but maybe a nice home-made low carb crust, low-sugar sauce, and good cheese.

Or I could just continue on my "eat nothing but BBQ beans and chicken" kick.  I wonder if I could make a pizza with BBQ beans and top it with some shredded chicken and aged cheddar.  Mmmmm. Damn.  That actually sounds good.

As far as my other decision, I think I will be buying a bike.  I may have to wait a little while so I can have enough money to do it, but I think I'd really like it.  Yea!  Thank you all voting.  If you have any tips on buying a bike when you know nothing, please send them to me.  My last bike was blue with little clouds on it and "Blue Angel" written across it.  It was beautiful, but I think it does give you an idea of just how long ago this was.

Just as a note on my other "daring deeds", I did buy some new clothes.  I went to a super-fancy bra shop (which I tried to talk my bloggy friend Happy Fun Pants into going along, but she is not so interested in my ta-tas) and I got 2 new bras for the price of a mint-condition classic Pinto (as in car, not as in bean).  All I got for it is a much better looking silhouette, shoulders that are where they belong, and the ability to breathe.  Oh, and I also got felt up by a sales-person, so that was an unexpected bonus.  And I'm still thinking about that Seattle conference.  The "Women, Food, and God" one, not one about ta-tas.

You all give me so much courage.  I'm finding that there is a whole other list of things I want to try...pilates, belly-dancing, travel.  We'll see how I fit it all in (read, afford it on a non-profit-sized paycheck).

I'm off to take a lovely, luxurious shower (can't wait until I can take a bath at the end of the month and can use my Lush bubble bars!)  Next time, we talk barbeque!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Pizza, my nemesis

The last meal I ate before prepping for weight loss surgery was pizza--about half a pie.  At my heaviest and most depressed I had pizza ordered in at least once and sometimes 3 times a week.  Even before I gained 200 lbs, my "sweet sixteen" party consisted of pizza, and a cake that looked just like--you guessed it--pizza.  So yeah, you can say I have a problem with it.  And I just learned that my old nemesis is rearing it's ugly, cheese-covered head.

Here's what's going down.  Tomorrow I am going to a "lunch-and-learn" seminar on asphalt (this is NOT the exciting part).  I should explain.  Somehow I became our company's "Facilities Manager" in addition to "HR Guru of General HR Stuff"  (known in other circle as an HR Generalist).  I also have discovered that I am our "Safety Manager" (little did they know I'm the clutziest one out there), "Event Planner", "Front Reception Manager", "Chair Wrangler", and probably a million other things I don't even know I'm supposed to be doing.  That's how non-profits work.  Anyhoo, as the "Facilities Manager" I have to find a solution to our parking lot potholes, which may or may not house the body of Jimmy Hoffa at the bottom--they are so deep I can only speculate.  My point is that I'm going to this silly thing against my will, and I'm going to have to have a coffee enema to stay awake during the "learn" portion.

So, back to the "lunch" portion of the day.  Knowing that I have some peculiarities as far as food goes right now, I called them to get details on the lunch to see if I should just bring my own.  That's right--I'm stylin', I'm proactive, I'm losing weight and feelin' good, and I'm taking care of business.  Her response to me?  "I think we'll probably just order pizza."  (insert record scratch noise, followed by crickets). 

Now I know that I could probably eat 1/2 a piece, or even just the sauce, cheese, and toppings off a whole piece.  But I don't think I'm ready to open that door.  Hell, even just typing "sauce" "cheese" and "toppings" in the same sentence has me foaming at the mouth.  I know that there is going to be a whole lot more time where I will have to fight the food from hell, and maybe I should wait as long as possible before getting into the ring with it.  This is the sensible thing to do, right?

Folks, I am scared of this food.  I am scared silly.  What if the smell is too tempting?  What if I eat it and get sick?  Or worse, what if I eat it and I don't get sick?  People with normal relationships to food probably don't even know what I'm talking about.  The rest of you are probably shuddering with your own food fear issues.

So tell me, what do you worry about?  What makes you lose control?  I'll show you mine if you show me yours.

I'll update you tomorrow on how it goes.  Unless the beast gets the best of me.  Wish me luck...