Saturday, February 17, 2018

Curiosity and coaching

We had an awesome podcasting session today, there were so many things that I wanted to add as I was listening to it while I was walking....  but as frequently happens, listening to the podcast settles the comments I have and so I forget them.  lol..... oh boy.

We discussed curiosity as it relates to changing your life and quitting dieting.  We gave you some ideas for turning your mind to another way of thinking instead of the usual weigh/restrict/workout way that we as adults generally do.  What will your day look like?  What can your day look like? 

Maybe you are like me and you had no idea what the answers to those questions were- because you have never lived in your adult body trusting yourself.  Never thinking that you were good enough because everyone around you is also doubting themselves and turning their bodies over to what ever pseudo-health professional was the hot ticket at the time.  Whatever "amazing" diet was popular at the time.  Anything except letting yourself and your body do what it wanted to do.

We talked about those trigger foods or those forbidden foods that you just couldn't let yourself have.  People really just don't understand that you indeed will not eat those foods exclusively for the rest of your life! But if you proclaim that you can't trust yourself around pizza, or cookies, or chips then you will indeed want them more than you have ever wanted anything before because you "can't handle them".  Such nonsense.  As unintuitive as it sounds, letting yourself actually eat any food will result in normalized eating.  It is in the denying of the food that the problems occur.

You know of kids (I had one of them) who only ate a few foods and no amount of threatening or cajoling or bribing a 2 year old can make them eat something they don't want.  And they grow up just fine.  That kid of mine is 6 ft tall and it took a long time but he now eats a variety of foods that is more than mac and cheese and hot dogs.  So think about that- kids really have fine instincts about what they eat until we start meddling in it.  They will get a nice variety of food in over a period of time with not a lot of help from us.  When we start withholding the desserts and making them have specialness or moral value- that is where those eating issues begin.  So give your inner child dessert if they want it, who really cares??  There is no food police.  You are a grownup- eat what you like.  Aren't you wondering what that would be like?

It is interesting that I began my search for a way out of dieting on almost the same day as I hit my "goal weight" on that weight loss app.  I was doing my usual freakout and someone sent me a post about smashing your scale.  My introduction to the idea of not letting your scale rule your life and your day.  I of course scoffed at such a notion, I wanted to stay the exact same weight as I was then but then not think about what I ate.  The weight loss app people implied it was just as easy as upping your calories when you hit that magic weight, keep up the exercise and of course keep recording your food.  You know, obsess over it and buy all those fancy things and invest in better shoes and keep living a life that was ruled by extraneous rules that really had nothing to do with you.

The blog post that I read was actually by an exercise person who was restricting the hell out of herself, though she claimed that she didn't, but it was a beginning.  One thing lead to another and I eventually found the world of podcasts which really allowed me to find a new way.

On the podcast today Anne-Sophie and I talked a little about the Body Love Writing Circles.  It was a program that totally changed my life.  The 6 months of work made a big dent in the 50 plus years of me not believing I was ever good enough.  It was the way I made huge strides in changing my thoughts and beliefs and that process still continues.  It was what has lead me to where I am today- a much happier person who has so many facets of her life.  I can not begin to imagine my life without having gone through it.  I'm so grateful for what it began in me.

Invest in yourself, find a program, get a coach (I know of a really good one!!!  :)  ) you are so totally worth it.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Quick Sunday reflections

So how are you all doing with all the incredible BS that is floating around?  I am referring to the ads on TV and internet and such that want you to do a whole "new year, new you" type of crap.  I just looked at my "Feedly" and I am seriously considering weeding out again.  One fitness website that is about 80% good is veering off into territory that I will not visit.  And it is more frequent at this time of the year, so that might have to go!


It is so hard to deal with all the crap that we see around us, not to mention hear around us.  The thing to remember is to NOT let it get into your head.  It is so easy for it to do that.  I find saying OUT LOUD- at least in whisper form- "well isn't that a bunch of bs" is helpful to separate yourself from your thoughts.  Thoughts can grab a hold of you hard, especially in vulnerable times like early morning or when you are trying to fall asleep.

So about a year ago now I finally let go of my exercise app, and I have been on a mission to purge my facebook memories of all those share that I did up to the beginning of 2017.  It took 4 years to let go of that!  So now my plan is to go to the gym and train for my life.  I am planning to do some hiking, kayaking and biking, so my weightlifting time will be dedicated to large muscle groups that will support that mission.

And eat when I want because I am a grown up.  haha

Because we are more than good enough to be who we are and not who others think we should be.

Kisses and hugs

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Clothes, makeup and all the things

Our last podcast explored style- how we found our style, how it has changed, makeup or lack of makeup, why black clothes are really not serving you and many other things.

I listened to this episode and had so many things come up in my mind.  Interesting, or maybe not so interesting, asides and digressions popped up as we were traveling down the diverse roads the three of us are taking.

I discussed my disco days briefly, one of the most trendy and in-style parts of my life, weirdly until recently.  It seems that youth goes hand in hand with trendy, but some of us circle back to a little bit of trendy when we get old and gain all the confidence that we were missing when we were young.  It is an interesting journey, let me tell you. Anyway, I remember LOVING the shiny dark patterned shirts and the pants that went with them and the incredibly high platform shoes from the late 70's.  And to think I danced in those things.  Oh wow I loved those clothes.  They represented freedom to me.  I acquired them when I was in college, when I escaped from my fairly restrictive parents (sorry mom) and seriously cut loose in SO many ways.  I danced, I drank, I did some fairly risky things....  it is a wonder we survived.  But I did and found a husband who is incredibly along the lines of what my family was. Conservative, reserved, funny and lively all at the same time.  So, after moving to the north, I was again landed in a situation that restricted my movement, my freedom and in many ways the pleasures that I had found and reveled in.  Debi was reined in for a while.

I am not saying at all that I regret the life I have- you can't remain 21 forever and your priorities change.  But the fact remains that through geographical reasons, I was trapped in a  very small world.  My parents were 5 hours away, my friends at least as far, then I had kids and as life goes, you have to live with what is given to you.  This particular post has already veered wildly from my original intention, so apparently it needs to be said!

As I implied, I didn't have a lot of style, or even clothes for that matter.  Not compared to what I have now.  I didn't actually need them, I didn't go far and we didn't do a lot.  Mostly we needed WARM clothes because it is damn cold up here.  And the kids and the hubby got the most clothes.  He had a job, the kids grow....  you know the drill.  I didn't have a full time job for a number of years after I got married, so the wardrobe didn't matter in my case.  I remember feeling so excited to pick up some things to wear when I did get my teaching job.  To buy more than 2 or 3 things was just exhilarating.  But I didn't go over board, and I would not call myself stylish at that point.  My "style" was in all the crazy socks I wore- I was strictly utilitarian.  I remember looking at beautiful items of clothing in stores and being so sad that I didn't feel I could wear them.  i told myself it was because I taught art.  Or that they wouldn't fit me....  or that they wouldn't look good.  In reality I didn't think I was good enough to.

Fortunately, as I have mentioned before, when I turned 50 something clicked inside me.  I took back my life.  I had been traveling more by myself, I started doing things I wanted, and generally became more independent.  And during this time I began finding myself - at first by restricting myself until I almost disappeared- and then I found the authentic me somewhere in between.  With a little help from my coach!

In our makeup discussion, Anne-Sophie talked about how no one ever showed her how to put on makeup and so she feels strange when she wears it.  Like it doesn't quite seem right.  My first encounter with makeup was when I was about to enter 6th grade.  My cousin who is a few years older than me had indoctrinated me into the idea that makeup was something that I should have and I should wear.... and when I was up at my Grandma's on vacation ( I think she was there too) I bought some mascara.  It was the old fashioned kind where there was a separate brush thing and the actual product was a cake- sort of like eye shadow.  Anyway- my mom yelled at me and took it away. She and my aunt, and probably my extra conservative Grandma were so disappointed and distraught that I bought that mascara. I guess because I was so young.   I found it a few month later and used it!  Lol.  I wore all sorts of make up in high school, and college, so I am no novice.  I don't usually leave the house with out mascara on (LMAO) but I don't bother with a lot of other stuff.  My skin has changed and I don't want to deal with it.

I use a style service now, I actually began filling out the form for stitch-fix on a whim.  It was almost like my brain had planned it and I was doing it before I even understood what was happening.  And when you fill out the style form, then you have to finish the whole thing because- well, just because.  I have to say that I love the clothes that I have gotten through this company.  I think that they are a little off base on some of their cuts, the arms of their non-stretch clothing is pretty small.  Certainly I am not the only person in the world who has triceps??  I have sent back two kick ass jackets in the last year and a couple other things because of that.  Notice that I don't blame myself??  I happen to know enough about clothing construction to understand that it is the pattern makers fault, not mine.  Just sayin'!!  And you can try it on at home and have a few days to think about your purchase. Stitch fix has been instrumental in figuring out what I look good in now.  Because I have changed, just like we all change all the time. And that is what happens and it is good.  If you don't change, you remain stagnant.

So what is the take away from this podcast episode and I guess from this post....  beyond my usual random neuron firings.....?
Know that you are worthy of attention... you are worthy of spending some money and time to make yourself feel good.  You might be a full makeup face person or not.  You might be a dress and skirt girl, or maybe pants are better.  You might love to wear jewelry of all sorts, or you might break out from it all.  However you are, please don't hide yourself.  You don't have to wear baggy black clothes.  You should be able to feel comfortable and stylish.  Beautiful and at ease.  We have some pretty good choices these days, not perfect but it is getting better.  Don't forget that you are here to live your life, you are not here to please others.  You literally can wear what you like.

Oh yeah, that Karl Lagerfeld thing?  You know that the high fashion houses only make like 2 sizes because the are trying to remain exclusive.  By making themselves seem "ultra special" they are making themselves an ultra amount of money.  It is a way of the wealthy keeping themselves apart from others.  It is exclusion at its worst.  It is oppression in an insidious form.  Don't even get me started.

So start small and try something a little different.  You just never know how something will look unless you try it on.  Leila's advice and discussion about taking it home because dressing rooms are not safe places.  Life is hard enough without dressing room traumas.  You know that saying fake it u until you make it?  For all three of us, the confidence came second.  We basically worked our way to inner confidence by pretending at least some of the time. Because it works.  And we are more than good enough to deserve that confidence in our life.

Monday, August 28, 2017

In one weekend....

Hey there everyone- I haven't written much lately- but my routine is back- i.e.: I am back at school and so all my summer meandering is done.  sigh.

I listen to our podcasts when I am walking and I heard myself say something a few times now and I want to clarify something.  I talk about quitting dieting- and weighing myself as well- in one weekend.

Let me talk about that for a few minutes.......  it is sort of misleading.

I realize that it sounds like I got up one morning and just quit dieting without any effort.  Or at least that is what I perceived some folks might think, and by contrast might consider themselves unable to quit dieting or what have you.

The reality is that it took me several months to come to this decision.  This truly began when I hit my "goal weight" on the weight loss app that I had used.  That DAY, after the accolades died off, I began to already feel unsettled.  Where was the magic of being my dreamed of weight?  Why did I not feel light and free and without cares?  How in the HELL was I going to maintain that weight when the diet app said I could EAT all this food again???  This was crazy.

It took about 2 weeks to begin to gain weight, and then I fell down the rabbit hole of lowering my goal weight.  I could get the cheers and support again and I could follow that diet religion.  But I felt horrible.  I hated having to think about food all the time.  I apparently was obsessive, as I actually had a friend send me a link to smashing my scale!

I began to worry I would LOSE all my friends who I had found from the social aspect of the weight loss app, not to mention not being that "amazing role model" to all the people around me.  What good would I be if I went back to where I was before.  I sort of didn't realize I was never going to be the same person again.  I didn't know that weight really doesn't make or break friendships, or at least not the ones worth having.

Insert many weeks of thinking and reading and looking for something that could help me live without CONSTANTLY thinking about food.  There were blogs found and read, podcasts listened to,  and all the surfing of the web for ideas about this.  When I was feeling like I had no other way to go but forward down a totally different path- that is the weekend I put it all into place.  That was the time frame that found me floundering around trying to figure out what food I could eat- because nothing was off limits any more.  It took me a long time to eat Doritos again, because that food rule stayed with me.  I still don't drink much soda, but I don't like it any more.  I do eat cookies and chocolate and cake and pie when I want and sometimes I don't want because heartburn bothers me.  But I know I can have some later or tomorrow or next week.

That weekend was weird, it was summer I know, but I remember standing in front of the refrigerator and closing my eyes and feeling in my stomach and in my mind what would taste good.  Figuring out what my body actually wanted.  It was such an odd experience.  I hadn't trusted myself to choose my food in years.  not without guilt or altering it in some way.  Editing.  I edited my food choices constantly.  It was really hard to do, but I went with it.  I knew I "could" go back to dieting but I knew I would not.  Because it was just so wrong.  And the journey continues....

The real healing began when I found my life coach.  It sounds like a privileged thing to say, and it most likely is- but getting coaching, or in some cases people may need a therapist, was the best thing I ever did.  I found a way to initially get small group coaching that was modestly priced.  Right place at the right time.  I know now that every penny I spent and will continue to spend is well worth it. If I knew then what I knew now, I would have chosen to spend the money faster.....  We are definitely worth the time, energy, work and money to allow us to make a difference in this world with a rich life.  We are worth it!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017


I have not written a lot here lately; I thought it was because I was too busy/not inspired/nothing worth talking about.  Turns out that I was changing.  Turns out that I was stressing out over things that I hadn't identified, actually things that hadn't yet happened and things that happened a lot time ago and affected me in ways that I didn't realize.

I experienced a couple of really intense coaching sessions in the last few weeks that allowed me to understand the transition that I am experiencing.  Without going into it specifically, I needed to talk about something that I absolutely did not want to discuss.  I had to talk about it when I was screaming inside that I want to hide and  not go there and pretend it isn't occurring.  I accidentally blurted it out to a friend of mine while I was doing a heart to heart exchange of crap going on in our lives.  And I felt the lift in my spirits immediately.

I had gone through an experience which prepped me for this, but I identified it as an off limits topic.  I grudgingly answered the questions on my coaching session last week- and it allowed a tiny little leak in my wall that was holding an ocean of troubles in.

The thing is that this experience that I am referring to was a total not fair/blind-side me situation that had me reeling for days.  I mean days and days of feeling in a funk and not feeling worthy and feeling like I must have done something wrong, even though I am only guilty of being an imperfect human who meant no harm.  It was one of those situations that when you tell a couple (2 to be exact) friends about it, they are totally supportive, but somewhere deep inside you don't believe it.  You relive a situation over and over and beat the crap out of yourself for reacting like you instead of like a different person.  You know deep inside that you are not worthy of love and respect and decency.

Anyway, I am one to look for something good to come out of every situation, no matter how unfair and obnoxious, but I can see it today.  Today I can see that I needed to face my fears and worries, that I was no longer the same person I was and I am transitioning.  Not into a new me or anything, just transitioning into a new phase of life.  The situation, as horrible as it was, released those little leaks in the wall and the flow has begun.  I am beginning to flow into another stage of my life.

I realize this moment that I have truly begun to divest myself of the residual effects of a lifetime of dieting.  I have quit using my exercise app, I never count calories or track my food.  I am understanding the lingering thought blockages from restriction and am reliving some of the ways I felt before I lost weight.  I have days when I feel horrible in my body, but I now understand that there is some emotional thing that I need to deal with to make that feeling go away. Though I don't consider dieting- I sometimes feel my brain want to grasp onto the safety of restriction and overexercising. Safety that came from diverting my attention to what was really bothering me to obsessing about how I looked.  And I did that for so many many years.  It is never too late.

After a really brutal coaching session yesterday, Anne-Sophie said to me- do  you realize that you are not dealing with all these feelings with food at all?  I got the biggest smile on my face.  It is true.  I just don't.  Wow, that is huge.  No hiding food from people, no arguing with myself over what and when to eat, no spending massive amounts of money on things to eat or items to use to exercise with. No supplements that seriously do nothing for you anyway.  This was a happy moment.

The flow that began during these latest coaching sessions has continued today.  I have identified two more HUGE memories of people that have abandoned/turned on me for a reason that is still not known.  And I may never know why these things happened, and the thing is that it doesn't matter anymore.  Now that I know that these things drive some very deep seated fears of mine, it is much easier to examine these painful memories.  It also makes it easier to see how I sometimes distance myself from people that young Debi sees as a danger.  A danger that they will leave me somehow and I won't have the pleasure of their friendship anymore.  That I am not worthy of them keeping in touch with me.  That I will be abandoned.

I am saying these things because I know that there are a lot of people who might read this  are at the beginning of their journey and you NEED to know that it is possible to change.  I had completed the first "successful" diet of my life 5 years ago, and felt just as horrible about myself as I had before.  I got to my goal weight and kept lowering it.  I got to my goal weight and all I could think of was I didn't want to do this all my life.  I just didn't want to DO this all the time.  And then I started looking around for some sort of guidance and Isabelle Foxen Duke said on a podcast with Anne-Sophie (first time I ever heard of my sweet coach A-SR) that she didn't want to think about food every god damn minute of her life.....  I grabbed that phrase and have held it tight because it spoke a basic truth that I knew was valid.

It is simple but it is not easy.  It isn't difficult, it is different.  And it is worth every penny, every tear, every page in a journal and meditation time and facing of fears and realizing how you can live an authentic life - a life that is large as you want....  a life where you don't have to shrink to meet the needs of someone else.

And we are all more than good enough for that.

Friday, June 9, 2017

summer time quick hits

Hello everyone!

It has been a LONG time since I wrote, the end of the school year is nutty and I have been mentally drained....

Anyway, I have had lots of plans for posts, but the length that they were bound to become made me defer it until "later".  Well apparently later became 6 weeks.

So, I thought I would write a little thing I thought of or dealt with lately- and something popped to my mind immediately.

Today was FINALLY the last day we were required to be at school and unfortunately it will be the last truly awesome day for a week, so I decided to ride my bike.  It is warm yet breezy, really good for riding.  I was going to just sit around, but I can do that tomorrow when it is supposed to get hot- relatively. Northern WI hot at least.

I decided to put on a tank top and leggings and when I looked in the mirror, I had a pause when I saw myself in that tank.  I do not have visible muscles anymore, I used to be quite sure that everyone thought that was the best thing about me.  As I was biking and I looked down at my arms that are more the "real me" - strong yes, but not starved into submission- I again had this little tiny moment of regret.  Today though, the Debi who is not in diet prison any more, who doesn't over exercise, the woman who values who she is inside, spoke up and assured me that those visible muscles were pretty meaningless.  That how I look in a tank is not the important thing in life and how we are so conditioned to think that if we look different from those people we see in the media  means we can't possibly be awesome or desirable or strong or happy.

HAHA!  Good point.  I am happy.  And I will wear what I want and I will not avert my eyes from the mirror because I don't look like I did 3 years ago.  It is something that still comes up, but my inner self is much more aggressive about calling out that disordered thinking.  And pretty soon I think those thoughts will just fade away.  And this is a good thing.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

My walking companions

I use walking as a major source of stress relief, the movement to keep myself "in shape" (be able to climb every mountain and kayak every sea- now sing that to yourself in the "Sound of Music" song and see if that leaves your head anytime soon. :) ) and as an excuse to take pictures.  These may or may not be any particular order, and that can change on any given day.  Anyway, I usually listen to podcasts while I am walking.

The podcasts I listen to are the diet recovery type (because I don't know what else to listen to right now) - including the one that I am a part of   I sometimes listen to my music but regretfully my phone doesn't have my favorite playlists anymore---  an unfortunate occurrence when I had to replace my phone last summer.  I have to reload them from my Dropbox at some point, but you know- sometimes things like that just don't get done.

The problem with listening to podcasts while you are walking is that you forget what in the world you were inspired by whilst walking, and this is getting to be a real problem.  Am I going to have to take along a notepad??  I get distracted by many things- mostly my incredibly active imagination- and I indeed forget by the end of the hour or so.  sigh.  I will listen to them again soon, but I did retain a memory from the end of a different podcast than Escape Diet Prison.  The ones I listen to are really good, but today it was apparent to me how different I am, in many ways, than most of the people who participate in the body positive/anti-diet sort of media.

A woman was chatting with the host about her history and what she does and she talked about how back several years ago she was just a child and so different--- and then she said she was 26. (All of my children are older than her)   hmmmm.  I am not saying that what this lovely person wasn't interesting or relevant or authentic.  She was- but when I heard her tell her age, I started thinking about how different things were "when I grew up".

Maybe the different isn't so much the when-I-grew-up sort of thing, but instead the how-long-I-have-been-doing-this sort of thing.  I don't mean at all to imply that younger people haven't gone through a lot of shit in their life.  People who have really suffered the physical and emotional effects of an eating disorder or disordered eating of any sort clearly have been through combat. And recovery from that is brutal.

I have been through that combat, and it is not fun, but it does lead to a much better life.  But beyond that, I have been around a while and I have probably never had a truly comfortable relationship with my body.  Until now.  I think back to my 20's and 30's and 40's and know that I was on a constant quest to change myself.

What began in my early teens with a casual comment that I would grow into my "baby fat", my mother admitting that she smoked to keep her weight down, the magazines that even then plugged different products that would guarantee weight loss.  It was hard to find cute clothes, or at least that was my perception at "my size".  We only had one car and we lived a distance from the mall and clothes stores....  and manufacturers really did not make stylish clothes in larger sizes.  If you think that you have a hard time now (it seems recently- in the last 2/3 years- that this is getting better: thank you internet) you should have been around then.

Forward to my 20's when I had my three boys.  I was cautioned over and over not to gain too much weight (while pregnant)- for no other reason that I could see than to keep my weight down.  I tested fine for everything including gestational diabetes and all the other lovely things that can happen.  While no one actively told me to lose my baby weight, that was expected.  In spite of no internet, there was pressure to regain your pre pregnancy body.  Ladies I knew complained about how they grew shoe sizes or how their waists were never the same.  Some hated that the boobs they grew during pregnancy then shrunk and then sagged.  You know because we want to stay the exact same from the age of 14 on until we are 85..... and those changes are so bad.  (sarcasm alert)

As the kids grew, I continued on my quest to lose weight, and was successful once or twice.  But as diets do, once you quit or are bingeing in response to the restrictions,  they fail. I was waiting for an art teaching job to open, so I was biding my time until I could begin a full time job.  All the while wishing for a different body.  Ignoring the fact that I was very frustrated and impatient to start a job I wanted. As we all have,  I was dealing with my own things in my life and all the while - so not happy.

I remember waking up for years thinking how I was going to "start today" to lose weight and then by the end of the day - I did things to make myself perceive that I failed.  I focused on my eating, I beat myself up if I didn't get the correct amount of exercise, I didn't feel like I had enough money to invest in the programs that were actually in our remote area- things like Weight Watchers or what have you. Instead I used the information that a friend had as she used it, and she shared.  I bought special food, restricted my calories, recorded everything and eventually got so sick of it all that I gave up.  Or I should say allowed myself to just drop it gradually.

I did this with a few programs, lost weight and then gained it back.  And then felt awful, all the while our culture encouraged that feeling of failure by always having a new program that was "sure to work when other things let you down".  Always a tone of- wow you loser, you can't even follow a simple diet.  I felt like I couldn't do anything right because I was always so hungry I caved.

Fast forward to the internet and me getting a smart phone and eventually a computer and WIFI.  And there was my"savior" a health and fitness app that helped me keep track of my food and exercise.  I had my phone with me always so I could fill in the form all the time and ALSO I had **friends** who helped support my quest.

I am not going to say that using the app and finding these friends was a bad thing because 2 or 3 of those people have become some of my closest friends.  I can not regret that time, as I actually came into my own - and most likely because of my age- I began doing things EVEN IF I was afraid.  My parents did not encourage doing unsafe things, my husband certainly does not, and I for the most part found "safe" friends.  But once online, I found not "safe" friends- not that they were creepy, but they did not encourage me to stay exactly the same and not break out of my shell.  My safe friends encouraged me to do things I didn't think I could do.  One of them constantly challenged me to do things I implied I couldn't.  And then I did.

Perhaps all these things happened because I grew up in a time when we were much less connected, and we lived on a farm far from our neighbors and I loved 10 miles from school.  My parents very much kept to themselves and we socialized with only a few families, most were relatives.  I understand how I am a product of my environment and of my own personality tendencies.

Anyway, I find I have a very different perspective on life these days, and it is frequently underscored when I am interacting with the many younger friends that I have.  Just because you are different doesn't mean you are wrong, and just because you are older doesn't mean your view is not important. We have a lot to share and a lot to teach, but it is very good to listen for alternative points of view as well.  But know that you have more wisdom than you can ever imagine and when you blossom and trust yourself and believe that you are worthy of sharing your thoughts.  You are more than good enough to contribute to this world.