Eat Through It…

There was a time that everything could be solved with ice cream and cookies, macaroni and cheese if I needed something warm and the oh so wonderful and oxymoronic DIET Coke! Those days are 3.5 years behind me but the work is still in front of me as I continue to stave off cravings and the “want” that a pan of baked macaroni and cheese can elicit in me.

Food became a solace for me as a child as I would sneak cookies out of the house for my friends, as a teenager I would beg my mom to pick me up a Reeses Cup from the store and as an adult I would fill my own pantry with every single food I was not able to indulge in as a child. There are certain foods that bring me right back to my childhood, much the same way a song from my past can take me right back. Here are a few that you will NEVER find in my home today:

  • “The Rooster” for 15 years of my life the only cereal my mother ever bought was Corn Flakes (enter vomit emoji)!!! I can still see that box sitting on top of the fridge. Actually it might have been sitting there for years, they surely tasted like it!!
  • “Big 60” the horror!! Most kids grew up on Oreos, while we were lucky if my mom was feeling generous enough to buy my Dad and I a fresh pack of Big 60’s from Winn Dixie, the Beef People (enter eye roll emoji).
  • “Ice Milk” had me duped for years! Every night we would each get a bowl of ice milk. I savored every bite and would scrape the bowl to get every drop left…not knowing what I was really missing in not having Ice CREAM! Never fear Ben and Jerry and I made up for lost time!
  • Last but not least, 15 years of PB&J sandwiches for lunch every single day with a thermos of Kool-aid was my lunch box fare. I didn’t mind it except that she would put my pencils in my lunch box and therefore my pencils smelled of PB&J…it’s the small things people.

My mother was very health conscious long before it was trendy! She would not eat breakfast or lunch, only dinner and would exercise every single day. For this reason when she went shopping every week she would only buy dinners and for breakfast Corn Flakes and a loaf of bread for PB&J for lunches and that was it. I remember being hungry for much of my teenage years because by that time I could not stomach a bowl of corn flakes nor was I bringing PB&J to high school. When I would get home at the end of a long day, I was STARVING! The first time I remember shame surrounding food was after making a HUGE pot of white rice that I had heaped an enormous helping of in a bowl and then somehow managed to lock myself out of the house. Don’t ask why the heck I went outside after making my rice but I did. Needless to say I had to wait until my Mom or Dad got home to get back in because there were no cell phones and so I was stuck. When we entered the house and my mom saw the amount of rice I prepared she was floored. Who was that for? Why did I make so much? Who was going to eat all of that? YIKES! (Enter the onset of eating in private to hide what I was eating.)

As an adult eating became a centerpiece for everything I would do. I loved eating out and would as often as I could. I could eat amounts of food that to a “normal” person would make them sick; but not I. It was my happy place, my sad place, my desperate place and all places for my heart, soul and mind to resolve its matters. My weight started creeping up around 15 years old and that creep would continue for 30 years. At 45 years old I was 274 lbs on a 5’3″ frame. This was truth, this was my reality, this was my every day, this was life as I knew it.

The reality of this tale is that while I admittedly LOVE food this addiction (let’s call it what it was/is) was my way of coping with everything in my life. The good stuff was celebrated with food the bad stuff was resolved with food; there were foods for all occasions, emotions and stresses. What was eating me inside was consuming my life mentally, physically and spiritually. The problem is I could not point to what “it” was that was eating me inside out and so instead I would control the symptom rather than the cause. I would go on diet after diet after diet my entire life trying to solve the symptom of a problem that did not have a name. It was only in my final failure at Nutrisystem (a fantastic plan by the way!) that I realized I had to get to the bottom of this mystery and figure out what “it” was if I was ever going to STOP eating!

I found Randie, my second therapist in my life, just around the corner from work and so she became my lunch date a few times a week. I have blogged about Randie previously; she was the one that would call me out on my BS and finally get to the bottomless pit that was my gut. I remember going in to see her one day where she asked “how was the week” and what she was looking for was a recap of how my week went mentally, how I was handling the work at hand…but my reaction (because again everything revolved around food) was “well today I had a Slurpee and Doritos”, (enter angry emoji) I thought Randie was going to lose her mind…ha-ha! It makes me smile thinking about it. She said, “oh okay, so you want to talk about Slurpee’s and Doritos? Is that what this hour should be about…really Lori, it’s never been about a Slurpee or a bag of Doritos…it’s about you, so why don’t we start over”. That day, that interaction has never left me and you know what, we found “it” finally, we got down to the bottom of the pit and it was through this discovery and healing that I was ready to take on the final and last diet and forever be free of the weight!

You see with all addiction; food, alcohol, drugs, etc. it’s not about the substance; it’s about the root cause for the substance dependency. I remember watching the show Intervention on A&E and thinking to myself as I would listen to the journey of an alcoholic or drug addict that I felt the exact same way but my “drug of choice” was food. Socially acceptable, available around every corner…FOOD was the most dangerous substance anyone could abuse! It’s worth noting as well that you don’t need to be a food addict to abuse foods; every single one of us has stuffed our faces in a moment of stress, sadness, happiness, etc.

It’s fair to challenge you as I conclude to ask yourself “What is eating me?”. Is it work, home, children, past lives, self worth…what is “it”? You have to find the “it” to have resolve. You have to take your power back by controlling the cravings through doing what you KNOW how to do regardless of whether you want to or not.

OWN “IT” before it owns you! #Word

Courage according to Brene

Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do. – Brene Brown

Courage.jpg

Above I offer you the definition of Courage as defined by Brene Brown. Brene is a bestselling author and has studied courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy. She offers her insights in many mediums. She was introduced to me eight years ago when I dove head first into the yoga lifestyle. I embraced her message then and continue to now.

I share with you my notes from Brene Brown’s TED Talk “The Power of Vulnerability”:

  1. Lean into the discomfort
  2. Shame is the fear of disconnection
  3. Excruciating vulnerability
  4. People that have a strong sense of love and belonging believe they are worthy
  5. Courage is to tell the story of who you are with your whole-heart
  6. Have the Compassion to be kind to yourself first and then others
  7. Be willing to let go of who you think you should be to be who you are to connect to others
  8. Have the willingness to do something where there are no guarantees
  9. You know who you are when you call your friends and say I need to see a therapist
  10. Vulnerability is the core of shame and fear but is the birthplace of creativity and love
  11. We numb vulnerability and when we numb vulnerability we numb joy, we numb happiness
  12. We make everything that is uncertain CERTAIN
  13. Let ourselves be seen
  14. Love with our whole-hearts even though there is no guarantee
  15. Practice gratitude and joy in those moments of terror
  16. I AM ENOUGH!

When telling your story and to truly own it you have to be willing to be “excruciatingly vulnerable”. Do not apologize for who you are and most importantly who you are not. Just be you, the very best version of you.

This is life as I live it – L.

UnFu*k Yourself – My thoughts…

Unfu*k Yourself; Get out of your head and into your life from Gary John Bishop. I got this book on Audible and started listening when I was in Dallas a few weeks ago and about 20 minutes in I turned it off. I was DEFINITELY not in the right mindset and wasn’t sure the book was for me. I restarted the book (yes, always starting) on Monday in time for my 3rd first day back at work…ha! I finished the book today and have thoroughly enjoyed his points. Here are the one’s that appeal to me and why:

  • “All I know is that I know nothing” – Socrates
    • We all have to learn this, some more than others. I was taught a valuable lesson from my boss a few years ago and that was to be the one in the room that only speaks when you have something to add and not for the sake of speaking. She told me a story of a man that she highly regarded and when he spoke the entire room would stop and listen…because he only spoke when he could offer value. My mantra to remember this important lesson is W.A.I.T. – Why Am I Talking…
  • ”True relentlessness comes when the only thing you have left is relentlessness. When it seems all is lost and all hope and evidence for success has long since vanished, relentlessness is the fuel that drives you through.” – Bishop
    • Words to live by indeed! Many think I have gotten through the last ten months as a testament to resilience but the reality is that it is relentlessness and again the inability to GIVE UP even when I wanted to, I just could not.
  • “We are waiting until that point when in our minds everything is perfect…while you are waiting for your life to get better your life is not getting any better!” – Bishop
    • I have done this so many times in my life! “When I lose 50 lbs I will be happy”, “When I have a house I will be happy”, “When I ______ (fill in the blank) I will be happy.” It’s BS! Your life will be the life you have whether you are fat, homeless or in any condition! Live your life NOW!
  • “Your internal condition means nothing. It’s just another excuse you give yourself to stay out of the risky zones of life. The problem is those risky zones are life.” – Bishop
  • “Stop blaming your past!”, “We all have pasts, some of them are f’n horrific, SO WHAT…why is it that you show more passion for your past than you do for your future!” #WORD!!!!!!
    • Somewhere in the world my Aunt Susie is screaming PREACH!
    • Let me tell you about a past that has passed…girl grows up in a trailer park in Miami, her parents remarry and divorce multiple times throughout her life, she drops out of high school five months before graduation, has a child at the age of 18, marries a drug addict and then wakes up one day and says NO, this is not going to be my life…that girl is now a Chief Revenue and Marketing Officer of a company.
    • Talk about turning your mess into your message…that girl not only SAID it was going to change she DID it, she became the change she wanted in her life. She moved out that morning, packed everything in her car that she could fit (including her 2yr old), started a new job that day, finished her diploma, enrolled in college and obtained three college degrees and busted her ass climbing ladder after ladder (with many chutes along the way) there has never been a rear view mirror on her journey; there was simply NO looking back. There was no choice. Relentlessness in action.
  • “We can forget our past by creating our future”, “When what is in front of you is so bright, and so satisfying you won’t have time to look behind you, your eyes will be focused straight ahead” – Bishop
  • “You may not like everything that has happened in your past but it has shaped every part of you.” – Bishop
  • “Look at the habits that have put you in the situation you are in.”, “Stop doing it”, “Stop letting your internal condition dominate the quality of your life.” – Bishop
  • “You are not a special case”, “NO more excuses” – Bishop

I have to conclude this blog on the very chapter that drew me to this book to begin with; “I am not my thoughts, I am what I do”. I have been studying the “Power of Now” from Eckhart Tolle and the theory of dis-identifying with the mind. What comes first the thought or the emotion? The thought elicits the emotion therefore how we identify with our thoughts is key to controlling the emotion. Going further down this rabbit hole it’s important to remember that YOU are not your thoughts. It takes practice indeed. You will have a thought and rather than reacting to it, you stop and decide if you will acknowledge it and the act or not fnrom there.

“You don’t have to feel like today is your day, you just have to act like it is…if we sit around waiting to be in the perfect mood you will never get started.” Bishop. This is where relentlessness lives, there is why I continue to get up every time I get knocked down, why I get up at 5a to get on the treadmill, why I push harder at work than anyone could push me, because I have to create the life I want every day, even when I don’t want to. We all KNOW what to do, why then do we not do it?

“You change your life by doing, not by thinking about doing ” Bishop.

Gary’s final quote “I get knocked down but I get back up again” – Chumbawamba!