Tag Archives: letting go

When you don’t feel “good enough”

I haven’t been writing here lately, because I don’t feel “good enough”.  Not in the sense that I’m unwell, or unhealthy, just imperfect.  And imperfection seems like exactly the opposite of what people want to read about.  I want people to see someone who has it all figured out, is working on their process and making huge strides in the right direction.  Apparently, that’s not me.

There has been some turmoil in various areas of my life, personal and professional, this past year and every time I sat down to write about what I was going through, it felt too raw, too exposed, too broken.  Mostly that I didn’t have it together enough to be good enough to share with people what is going on.

Perfection has always been something of a demon in my life.  I was taught early and often that I needed to be “a lady” at all times and that excellence was the only thing that mattered.  When I stumbled and fell down on my face, it was because I wasn’t good enough or I wasn’t trying hard enough.  Or worse, that there was just something wrong with me on a base level that was impossible to overcome.

I’ve been working very hard with my nutritionist on my need for perfection around food.  It’s okay to be imperfect and have a set back or even a complete break down around food and order something from a drive thru.

We have been focusing hard on the 80/20 principle, as described in the Slow Down Diet book, where 80% of what you eat is whole, good and real and then there is some wiggle room with that other 20%.  A few weeks ago I told her I was afraid I would be 75/25 or 70/30 and ruin it FOREVER!  She asked me, as she was looking at her notes, where I thought I was even close to going over the 80%.

With tears  in my eyes, I said that sometimes I like to have some brown rice, or other whole grain with my dinner.  And I miss eating breakfast with an english muffin.  And crackers.  I sure to miss crackers.  She just smiled and asked me why I thought those weren’t part of the 80%.  I said, “Because, CARBS!!!”

She smiled and once again drew me the familiar picture of the ideal plate.  1/2 fruit and veggies, 1/4 protein, and 1/4 carbohydrates.  Then she underlined the carbohydrates.  We had a talk about how carbohydrates are brain food and give us energy and that as long as I’m choosing quality, healthy, whole carbs, they are fully within the eating plan.  I nodded at her, but inside I was still saying “… but carbs.”

But I went to the grocery store and looked for products that were free of preservatives and chemicals.  I bought some delicious whole wheat english muffins and read the ingredients on what seemed like a million boxes of crackers.  Who knew that triscuits were going to be one of the better options out there.  I took them home and worked them into my meal plan for a week.  I lost 3 lbs that week.  I know!  Complete madness!

During that week, I allowed more room for that 20%.  I wanted some ice cream after a difficult work project.  I went out and found the very best ice cream I could find and savored every single bite.  I paid attention to how it tasted and how it made me feel, both physically and emotionally.  And for what seemed like the first time in my life, I realized that I had eaten enough before I was trying to lick the bottom of the pint container. 🙂

Now I’m trying to work that 80/20 rule into other areas of my life.  I admit that I can’t be perfect.  The best I can hope for is to do just a little bit better today than I did yesterday.  And when I can’t, that’s okay too.  I’m trying to find a way to embrace imperfection in all it’s messy glory.

All of us human beings are a constant work in progress.  There is always a lesson in everything we undertake and every experience teaches us a few things we didn’t know before and can use to be better the next time around.

So, from my mess to yours, allow yourself a little freedom of imperfection.  Embrace the mess!  It’s YOUR mess.  And maybe tomorrow it will be slightly less messy.  Baby steps.  Baby steps.

When Nothing Makes Sense

I struggle a lot when nothing makes sense to me.  I consider myself pretty logical and smart, but when I can’t make sense of something, I immediately want to toss it out and forget about it.  That isn’t always the best solution.

I took a food allergy test with my naturopath a little over a week ago.  We have had some suspicious about certain foods being less than ideal for my body and I was curious.  So we took a blood draw for the “E95 Common Food  Panel.”

For about the last year I’ve been avoiding gluten, sugars, high glycemic index fruits and the like.  I’ve been focused on proteins, especially eggs, yogurts, kefir, etc.

So imagine my surprise when the test came back and all the wheats are fine, but the big reactions were from egg whites, egg yolks, whey, garlic and sunflower seeds.  I wasn’t too surprised to see bananas on there as I’ve never really liked them and they seriously spike my blood sugars.

But let’s talk about that Whey result.  Okay, I can accept that dairy  might be a problem for me and I’m more than willing to experiment with my nutritionist to see if it makes a difference to remove it from my diet.  But as I read the test further, I can’t seem to wrap my head around the fact that none of the other “dairy category” foods had a high response.  All the other milks and cheeses are in the low category.  How is that possible?  Isn’t whey in milk?  Shouldn’t they be “avoid” foods too? I find myself getting frustrated and screaming into the ether, “Nothing Makes Sense Anymore!”

I am seeing my nutritionist today and she promised to work through this with me, but I’m finding myself having a bad attitude about the whole test.  If I can’t make that whey result make sense to me, then maybe I should just throw the whole thing out and forget about food sensitivities altogether.

Or is that throwing the proverbial baby out with the bath-water?  Do I just need to look at the information in this test as a starting point and road-map to explore with my nutritionist and see if cutting back on dairy and eggs helps me to feel better.  My rash decisions are not always the best ones, so I’m trying to take a deep breath, be patient and let E help me figure it out over time.

When Your Troubles Didn’t Happen

troubles

 

“I am an old man and I have known a great many troubles, most of which never happened.”

If you’re anything like me, thinking about this quote may hit a little close to home.  We often make mountains out of those troubling little molehills.  Or we can take a simple little annoyance and decide that our whole lives are over because the local grocery store stopped carrying your favorite coffee creamer.  (Not that the coffee creamer thing actually happened to me. Okay, it did and I freaked out about it and now drive 30 miles round trip to buy it elsewhere. )

The other day I was at a new medical specialist for my initial consultation.  We talked about my symptoms and the tests I’d like done and he ran a few simple tests in the office.  That’s when he said my three new least favorite words – “Everything Looks Normal.”  I actually felt my body physically tense up and that hot feeling when you’re resisting tears.

Now, a “normal person” would be happy and grateful to hear that everything looks normal from a doctor, except I don’t FEEL normal.  I feel like something is seriously wrong and nobody can find anything or give me something I can do to make it feel better.  My frustration at the medical industry and my own long journey to health surged up and I was sure it was all a waste of time and money and effort and…..

Oh, the doctor is still talking?  Oh, you want me to do some other tests and some scans to narrow down some possibilities?  Oh, okay.  If I listened to my immediate reaction, I would have grabbed my coat and fled out of that office.  But taking a breath, noticing that all is not truly lost and realizing that there are still plenty of options, kept me sitting in my chair and got me tuned into listening again.

We really have to watch the stories that we tell ourselves about doom and gloom.  Those things that may seem like The Worst Thing Ever may actually be the door opening to something more in line with the life you actually want to be living.  For example, losing your job is never fun.  Nobody likes to get fired or laid off, but it happens all the time.  Often, looking back on it later, the timing worked out well and you ended up somewhere with better money, better benefits or just a better work environment.  That trouble you thought you had, turned out to be just the thing you needed at that moment.

So, as I work my way from doctor to doctor, trying to find a solution to what ails me, I’m going to try to remember that “Everything looks normal” doesn’t mean the doctor is writing me off as some crazy hypochondriac and that maybe, just maybe, there is a light at the end of this particular tunnel.  Hopefully it’s not an oncoming train. 🙂

When You Are Told You’re not One Crazy, But Two

After a few months of working with my wonderful nutritionist, M, she asked me how I felt about adding other members to the team.  She said that we were pretty limited to food related issues on our sessions, but maybe I could use some help with mindfulness in the other areas of my life.

I looked at her and asked, “Are you saying I’m not One Crazy, but Two Crazy?”  She looked confused and I said that I had some feelings of judgement about her suggesting I’m so nutty that I need two therapists.  She laughed.

But it’s true.  I needed some help with some mom-stuff and some more help with getting my monkey-mind under control.  She referred me to a mindfulness coach/therapist here locally.  I’ll call her J.

J is a beautiful person, but wow do I find myself saying awful things about her sometimes. It’s not about her, but about me and my feelings about the work that we do.  It’s HARD!!!  It seems simple.  You breathe, you focus your mind, you set intentions and you don’t beat yourself up through the day to get things done.  But it’s not easy at all.  It’s some of the hardest work I’ve ever done to break those old mental patterns.

And J has this way of finding those dark and painful places and then suggesting I shine a flashlight in there and look around at all those scary thoughts and beliefs.  Not my favorite activity as it stirs up all kinds of feelings I thought were long buried.

She also has this way of suggesting things, letting me fiercely resist them and then pointing me back to them again and again.  For instance, before Thanksgiving, she said, “You seem kind of spun out about all these things going on.”  I was super sure that she was way off base.

“I’ve got this, J.  I’ve got this to plan and this to prepare and this to get ready for that and then this other thing and I’m just busy.”

Boy was I wrong.  Three weeks later I wasn’t able to make it to our appointment because I was sick.  Talked to my doctors and they don’t think it’s part of the protocol I’m on, but my adrenal issues flaring up again.

What!?! But I’m so on top of it!  Look at my To Do list! Look how many things I’m crossing off.  I’m busy and I’m doing things and oh…

I forgot about just being.  I got all lost in all the things that were coming up.  Holidays, work, health labs, protocols, family, work, etc.  It all just sort of crept up  on me and without even realizing it, I was back being “mindless” and stressing myself out by running ferociously on that treadmill of life.

For me, that space brings up all my bad habits.  I get focused on doing things and crossing them off my list and forget all about just being and taking care of myself.  My inner diaglogue goes from being mindful and calm to saying things like, ‘What’s the matter with you!?! Why aren’t you getting more done!? Faster! Faster! Faster!”

So, here I am again.  I’m back to watching that internal dialog and dismissing all that negative self-talk.  I’m practicing self-care and getting the important things done.  Is that enough?  It has to be for now.

When You Are Suffering

When you are suffering, you feel like you will try anything to get some relief.  I often start to lose perspective on things and I suddenly can’t remember ever feeling good before and lose hope for feeling good ever again. (I acknowledge this is more than a tad dramatic.)

I am in it right now. I’m coming to the end of a 10 week protocol with my naturopath to combat these biofilms and candida to get my gut healthy again. I liken this process to chemotherapy and my husband rolls his eyes a bit.  I understand, but as a care-giver to someone who went through chemo, a lot of this was familiar.  Lack of appetite, tiredness, constant nausea, muscle aches, joint pain, excessive vomiting, hot/cold flashes, headaches, vision changes, migraines and I even had significant hair loss at one point that was starting to really freak me out.  However you describe it, this has not been a fun year for me.

And here I am at another potential break-through spot in my life with enthusiastic team members cheering me on, but all I can see is darkness, suffering and more suffering.

I’m tired of this restricted diet and eating food that’s “good for me”. Because I’ve been feeling so ill, I’ve completely socially isolated myself.  It has been months since seeing anyone other than the occasional cashier, my husband or a team member.

Even my dog isn’t able to make me smile like she usually can. I find myself annoyed when she wants to play and enthusiastically brings me toys.  I think, “Not now, I’m suffering.”

My mental attitude is also in the toilet. I have lost focus on my intention for doing this whole process in the first place.  I have somehow convinced myself that this is a punishment the people supporting me are subjecting me to.  Of course, this is an illusion I create to distract me from reality and my responsibility in this.

I’m having a difficult time and that is an indisputable fact. There is quite a bit of suffering going on, both mental and physical. That’s real.  But I really did choose to be here.  I knew this was going to be a rough road.  I had hope that I would be through the worst of it by now, but I’m not and I need to acknowledge and respect that.

Five weeks ago, I was making huge portions of our dinners to stock some away in the freezer for nights I’m not able to cook. I cleared my calendar of all things not health team related or absolutely necessary things.  I even let my co-workers know that I’d be scarce for the duration and to do their best without me.

But here I am, wishing it wasn’t happening instead of appreciating the fact that I’m here and this is exactly what I wanted.  I want to be well. And getting there isn’t easy.  But if I keep my eye on the prize and keep my head straight, I will get there.  Eventually.

Why I Dislike Diabetes Nutrition Counselling

diabetes nutritionI was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes in 2000.  Since then, about five different doctors have referred me to diabetes nutrition counseling of some kind.    Every single visit has been the same frustrating experience for me.

The first 15 minutes consist of you sitting down to do a bunch of paperwork.  Then I am taught how to test my blood, use a log book and what a carbohydrate is.  I get some copies of a handout about counting carbs and a blood sugar log book.  When asked, “Do you have any questions?” I always want to scream, “Uh, DUH!”

If I ask “What am I supposed to be eating for blood sugar control?” Or “What exactly is diabetes nutrition and why aren’t you teaching me that?” I am handed a few recipes for things like Kale Salad, Cauliflower Mashed “Potatoes” and something requiring an ingredient not carried in any grocery store, anywhere on Earth.

When I ask how to determine how many carbs is good for me on any given day, I’m told to just count, test, and stay within the range.  But some days 45 grams of carbs is okay and other days it will send me to bed with crazy blood sugar swings.  How can there be an arbitrary number that is the same for all diabetics?  Hint:  There isn’t.

This would be the reason that it took so long for me to take the referral my doctor gave me to a nutritionist when I would ask food questions.  I really didn’t want to do another diabetes nutrition class and suffer that frustration again.  But I sure was in a corner.

I was sick and tired of feeling sick and tired.  I ate all the “diet” things I was supposed to.  Often, I’d skip breakfast as I’m rarely hungry in the morning.  Lunch would be a quick, “healthy food” like a Lean Cuisine in the microwave.   I’d cook a dinner for my husband and I, but after dinner, I’d be hungry and constantly putting carbs into my mouth.  (Hmm.. no wonder I felt icky!)

What I needed was someone who wouldn’t prescribe some packaged cleanse or put me on some fad diet.  I need someone who could make sense of all these weird ideas I have about food and put me on a track to eating for fuel and health instead of this crazy chore about counting, measuring and worrying.

I found that person.  More in the next blog entry!

Breathe, Don’t Do. Let it go.

Breathe, Don't DoBreathe.  Just inhale, fill your lungs and feel all that air going into your body.  As you let it go, release all that stress and intensity that tells you that your To Do List is the single most important thing in the world.

I think we all struggle with the idea that it’s more important to be doing something than it is to listen to what our bodies need.  I know I’m guilty of this over and over again.  I’m trying to work breaks into my day for my health, but the long To Do List is usually right there to tell me why I don’t have time for a walk outside with the dog.  It almost never says there is time for a nap when I’m tired.

The truth is that very few things are as important as we tell our selves they are.  Sure, dusting needs to happen, but not above all other things.  Sometimes you just need to stop, take a breath and let go of those expectations and demands on your time.

I just heard you saying that you have to go to the grocery store because how will the family eat if you don’t have bread in the house? But how true is that really?  Is your life really hinging on whether or not you have bread?  There aren’t other options?  You can’t just have a picnic on the living room floor for a change?

Often, the stories we tell ourselves is so much more than what is happening in reality.  So just breathe.  And let it go.

All Is Perfect

All Is Perfect

The truth is that, although you may not feel like it at the moment, all is perfect right now.

That feeling that things are “wrong” or “imperfect” is just your brain telling you stories about the things you lack and the things that aren’t ideal. Getting too wrapped up in these stories will convince you time and again that life is a struggle and a fight to get the bare minimum you need to get by.

If you can stop and see the perfect parts of this very moment, you develop a sense of gratitude and grace for what is.

Pema Chodron talks a lot in her book, “When Things Fall Apart” about accepting what is. This was an extremely difficult concept for me at first.

It seemed like I was being told that I had to like something that I didn’t want to like. I have pain. I experience sickness. I have challenges and things I wish were different. What is there to accept about that? Well, is it happening? Is it true? Well, then accept it and embrace what is.

That doesn’t mean you can’t work to change the things that are less than desirable. You just have to accept that this is what is happening right now and once you can learn to accept that and stop the constant struggle against what is, you will find that feeling of Perfect. Embrace that. It’s a much better place to spend your time than in focusing on what is wrong and needs to be controlled or changed or adapted.

Life doesn’t have to be as much of a struggle as we make it. Perfect can be elusive until you realize what it really means. It isn’t an ideal existence where there is no pain, no struggle, no difficulty. It’s just things running along as planned by something much larger than yourself. Once you let go of trying to control the outcome of all things, you will be able to unclench and move through these challenges in life with a bit more ease.

Every Picture Tells A Story, Don’t It

2001SouthBeachOR

Whenever this photo of me from 2001 comes up on our digital photo frame, my husband always says, “I love that picture of you.” I say “Mm hmm,” but inside I have a completely different dialog.

That photo was taken shortly after a really unfortunate incident that hurt me more than I’d like to admit.

A little background – The year before, I had traveled to Newport, OR to see Keiko (aka Willly, the orca from the Free Willy movies) before he was to be moved on the path towards freedom. I had a really amazing trip, got to meet Keiko and we had a wonderful day together. I wanted to do the trip again with my husband, so we planned it for 2001.

About a month before our trip, his employer was talking about layoffs. Couldn’t possibly involve us as my husband is their only IT guy on the west coast. SURPRISE! Two weeks before the trip, he was officially “dot-com’d”. We took the trip anyway, determined to have a good time, but there was some stress and worry that joined us on the trip.

We had rented a yurt at South Beach Campground and were trying to enjoy our time on the coast and in the redwoods before having to go home and find a job. The campground was busy, but not busting at the seams. There was one group of teenage girls wandering around and they all stopped to have a giggle across from our campsite. I was on alert, but my husband said, “They aren’t talking about you.” It has been my experience that at 350 lbs, you know when people are talking about you. 🙁

A few minutes later, he noticed my mood was falling and suggested we walk out into the dunes to watch sunset. I said I’d just run to the bathroom and meet him at the trail head. I walked into the bathroom and inside was that group of teenage girls. Two were by the sinks and two were in the bathroom stalls. One girl in the stall was talking…..

MeanGirl1: (from stall)… I mean she was SOOOO fat. It’s disgusting.
MeanGirl2: (from other stall): HA HA I know!
MeanGirl3: (standing next to me and my death stare): Um.. c’mon.. let’s go!
MeanGirl4: (leaves)
MeanGirl1: Just a minute! But seriously. How can she even leave her house when she looks like that?!?! I’d kill myself if I ever got that fat. I mean, have some control. Does she just eat donuts all day or what?
MeanGirl2: (emerges from stall, looks at me, flees)

I just stood there by the sinks and MeanGirl1 just kept on talking. Her friends were making a beeline back to anywhere I wasn’t and she was alone. With me.

I will admit having some really awful thoughts about how I was going to handle it when she came out. I considered going all American Psycho on her, but didn’t. She was still talking about how disgusting I was when she opened the door and saw me standing there.

She briefly looked around for her friends and walked to the sink. I just stood there and she would not make eye contact. I’m ashamed to admit that anger got the best of me then and I said, “Seriously. How can you even leave your house with curly hair like that girl? How disgusting to have hair like that. Why would she ever make me have to look at that. UGH!!” …. and then she was gone.

I spent a few minutes trying to get myself together. I wanted to hurt her. Badly. I wanted her to feel what I had felt when she was talking about me. I wanted her to know this wasn’t something I chose or something I enjoyed, but it was my life and who the hell was she to pass judgement on me? I wanted to tell her mother to beat her with a switch. I wanted to run her and her bratty friends over with my car. I wanted them to feel my pain. I wanted them to HURT!!!

I got myself together and walked to the dunes with my husband. He was taking pictures and I just wandered around with my thoughts.
-You ARE disgusting!
-Why ARE you out in public, making people have to look at your fatness?
-Why don’t you kill yourself? You know the world would be better off without you.
-You’re just fat, and stupid and lazy and dumb and worthless and…. and…. die.. die… die……

*Snap* And that’s what that picture means to me. It’s full of shame and anger and pain and hurt feelings and suicidal thoughts all rolled into one great big story about how I am unworthy because I am fat. A story about how my worst fears have been confirmed by a 14 year old girl in an Oregon State Campground restroom. Clearly everyone’s best source for information, right?

That story still hurts, but not for the same reasons. I fell victim to my anger and lashed out at a kid (who should have been taught better, but). I let that incident stick with me for the rest of that trip and well beyond that. I let myself tell that story about how my lack of worth had been confirmed and was TRUTH. It may have been that girl’s truth, but it wasn’t mine. I was just a person in a lot of pain, trying to do the best she can with what she had available at the time.

Who can ask for more than that?

When All Else Fails, Just Let It Go

Let It Go, Tomorrow Is A New Day
Let It Co

I love this quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson. Let it go. Forget about it. What’s done is done. It’s a reminder that the mistakes you might have made yesterday no longer matter. In addition, you can’t worry about mistakes you might make tomorrow as they are also part of your journey.

The only thing you can really influence is the decisions you are making right now, in this exact moment. The rest is all just mind games. Really. It’s true.

Just keep your head up and keep moving forward. You are already on your way.