Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Lightbulb, defining my next steps

I’ve known for some time that I’m an emotional eater, but haven’t gone much past labeling myself as so.  I have general high level ideas of why, but have been afraid to go any deeper.  I read a blog by my friend Ann about a book that addressed emotional/compulsive eating and realized that to get unstuck in my weight loss I needed to be willing to explore this further.   I decided to purchase two books by the same author.  I was so drawn in and captivated by “Feeding the Hungry Heart” by Greneen Roth, that I read the whole book (almost 200 pages) in one evening.  While the book didn’t capture me 100% there were certainly many elements that did.    I know I’m at the point in my journey where I need to start working on my inside to help fix the outside.  I’ve done great with pushing myself physically, but I must now be willing to take the next step and push myself physiologically.   This book in so many ways touched me to my core and left me literally speechless for more than a day.  I emotionally/compulsively eat and for the first time I’m willing to take the steps to understand why.  It’s scary as all heck, my initial searching led me to realize I eat so I don’t feel emotions.  Stuffing myself, stuffs down the feelings, it allows me to numb.  I remember times where I felt like my emotions were out of control so I would eat until I couldn’t move, it was like a self induced coma to protect me from feeling.  I had done this before my son died, but when Joey died, I just got REALLY REALLY good at it.  As I got good at it, I started using it times other then when I was sad, it worked when I was angry, disappointed, frustrated, happy, excited, you name it, food works for every emotion.  The bigger the emotion, the bigger the food coma.   Food melted everything away, the fatter I got, the less control I had over my life, the less blame I could place on myself, the more automatic eating food became.  It became as normal of a responds as putting a Band-Aid on a cut.     As I take ownership of my life, ownership of my decisions and the path I want to go down, I feel lost without food.  I’m lost on how to learn how to feel again.  How to deal with my emotions in a “healthy” way instead of the self destructive food coma way.  Quite frankly I’m terrified.  Change can be scary, I’ve been changing myself and figuring out who I want to be since I started my journey.  My husband himself is on a journey, how to we ensure our journeys help keep us on the same path together while respecting our differences and our own needs for change.  Being fat was in so many ways easier, safer, less energy in the whole emotional arena.  Fixing what’s broken feels like me thinking about running a marathon.  But just like with my events, I’m going to take a step back, and realize, it’s one thing at a time, one step in front of the other and to find somehow to enjoy and respect each milestone for what it is.     While I’m honestly scared and terrified of the work ahead of me, I see small glimpses of the person I am working to become and I LOVE HER.  For the first time in a long time, I LOVE MYSELF for what I am in this moment, for what I’m willing to do for myself and for the amazing person I will continue to become.     My promise to you, to be as transparent and honest as I can be during this journey while respecting the privacy of others.  I may not always be able to share intimate details of my marriage etc, I will share what is appropriate along the way.  Thanks for joining me along the ride for the next step in my journey.  Hold on tight cause it might be bumpy, but that’s what makes it exciting right?!

Unstoppable “continuing to find myself” Mariah

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Go Commando!!!

I tried something new and daring again . . . . imagine that right?  Ever heard of Go Commando, okay get your mind out of the gutter, it's not about not wearing undies, it's a mud run.  Go Commando dubs it, a "5K adventure run" with 13 crazy adventures built into it.  It was WAY fun.  There was a big group of us that went, including Paul (my hubby), Molly (my sister), Scott (my younger brother) and Megan (married to Scott).  There were also members of my Tri Family so it was one big happy group which made this event even more fun.
I was a little taken back on how challenging a few of the obstacles were for me, specifically the horizontal cargo net you had to crawl across.  I'm not a little gal and you basically had to pull your body with your arms, but I'm really really excited to tell you I completed each and every obstacle regardless of how hard it was.  I was slow, but steady and I did it!!!   My favorite obstacle was the big waterslide tube thingy, it was fast, cold, wet and FUN!  They had an inspiring flag that reminded us something along the lines of "Don't limit your challenges, challenge your limits".  I like that thought.  It worked out well that Molly and Scotty teamed up together and Megan, Pauly and I stuck together.   I'm not sure how long it took us because they didn't have a clock at the end.  Instead I was greeted by Scotty with a big hug and a nice throw down in the mud, he didn't think I looked dirty enough.

I find myself in a different mindset that I have been in the past.  It goes back to my newest outlook of not just surviving an event, but thriving .  I have stopped worrying about my times and starting focusing on the adventure, the fun, the feelings that go along with exercising my body and how good it feels.  When I get too focused on time, I feel like I fail and I don't enjoy myself at all, I respect that others need their times, it just isn't of value for me right now. I'm sure I'll get to a point where it will be, but I'm just at a different point in my journey.  Once I take the time focus out and just focus on being healthy and enjoying my time, it's a whole different experience.  I start wanting work out, not because I'll lose weight, but because it makes me feel good, because I enjoy the feeling, because it's fun.

I've already committed to doing Go Commando next year, I'm hoping we can get an even bigger group to join us.  It was some seriously fun obstacles.  Who's going to Go Commando with me???

Unstoppable "Commando wearing undies" Mariah

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Trinona- Part 2

I last left my story on the way up the roller coaster after hitting the bottom of it with fears and insecurities.  After making the CHOICE that time didn't matter and my goal was to have a good time, everything changed.

We woke up early Sunday morning, stumbled out of bed, I was still nervous so I could barely eat.  I was excited, nervous, happy, scared. It was everything and my stomach just said no to food, but I managed to get some PB toast down the hatch.  We had gotten all of our stuff together and prepared the night before so we simply had to rack the bikes on our cars and head out.

When the four of us headed to transition, that was when it hit me.  You see these super athletes pass you by with crazy bikes and helmets.  Like super alien looking helmets and bikes.  My first thought was what am I doing here being a "big girl" and then I realized, I don't care.  I don't care if I'm the big girl, instead of letting my weight hold me back, I decided I wanted to be an example of what someone of larger stature could accomplish.  I am who I am and I'm going to embrace it.  I am not ashamed of my size, I'm proud that with my size that I'm willing to be unstoppable.

Before we knew it, it was time to start the Tri.  Poor Pauly was pretty nervous about the swim.  I made a deal with him, I would shout out, Don't Die during the swim as I passed him (he started 4 minutes before me) and he would yell I'm alive as he passed me on the bike leg.  Sure enough I found him struggling in the water, I felt so bad and worried.  He told me I needed to keep going and that he would be fine.  We had decided that we were doing this on our own and that we wouldn't wait back for each other so I kept going.  I love that we have this trust and support in our relationship.

I was really struggling in the water with wanting to do the front crawl, but the weeds really got to me mentally.  So I took a mental step back and remembered, I was going to enjoy myself.  I ended up side stroking most of the swim and every once and awhile a back stroke.   I took deep breaths and worked to enjoy the cool water on my face and realized I was overcoming my fear of swimming in weeds.  Before I knew it, I was out of the water and on my way to the bike.

I was excited to be 1/3 of the way done, but nervous for the hills.  I kept reminding myself it was going to be fun and worse case, I'll walk up the hills with my bike.  Off I went on my bike, past the lake and towards the hills.  Trinona is very well organized and they keep participates so safe.  While we still needed to pay attention to our surroundings it was great to know we had extra eyes and ears to help keep us safe from traffic.  As I approached my first hill, I change gears and it was amazing (I LOVE "RAGE"- my bike).  I made it up the first hill and just kept going.  I started having fun, not worrying about how fast I got up the hills or that I was too slow.  It just started becoming a wonderful Sunday afternoon for a great bike ride.  I took each hill, one at a time and just kept lowering my gears as I would get to a hill.  It worked wonderfully, as I was enjoying my ride, Paul came past me yelling "I'm alive".  I was so darn happy to see him and couldn't be more proud as he passed me by.  As I approached Bible Verse Hill, I talked to the spectators along the side.  They had the best seats in the house.  I'm very proud and thrilled to say, I didn't have to walk my bike once!  I stayed on the whole time and enjoyed it.  I couldn't stop smiling, it's funny how your perspective can change in less than 24 hours.  The bike leg is 5.5 one way, you turn around and go back 5.5 miles, the first portion is where you go uphill more often, the way back in turn is more downhill.  It was way FUN and fast.  My bike got up to 28 miles per hour at one point, it was THRILLING.

I seriously couldn't stop smiling as I got to the end of the bike leg and on to the 5K.  The difference between this Tri and my past Tri’s is that I wasn’t so exhausted and dog tired.  Instead, I felt energized, alive, and empowered.   Guess maybe this training thing is paying off
J  I was so excited to be there and make it to the 5K.  I had issues running because of not wearing socks, I had done this before, but had new shoes and a new ankle brace, but at this point I didn't care much.  I jogged when I could and walked fast when I couldn't.  I view each blister I got as a proud example of how far I’ve come on my journey.  I was so happy when I saw my fellow Tri family peeps on the other side (closer to being done).   Paul and Hannah met me close to the end to cheer me on, as I got closer to the finish line, I could hear all of my "family" yelling me in.  It is a truly indescribable feeling of support and love to hear them.

I finished the Tri in 2 hours and 12 minutes.  I am beyond proud of myself.  I'm proud that I didn't give up, that I didn't have to walk my bike, I'm proud that I have the courage, strength and believe in myself.  I'm thrilled that I don't let my fears drive my decisions.  I may not be able to always control my emotions, but I can choose how I react to them.

I will say this again to anyone considering doing a Triathlon.  If I can do this, you can do this.  It is so worth the emotional and physical journey.  It will pay back 10 fold.  Don't let your fears hold you back.  Challenge yourself, be willing to grow, be willing to be "unstoppable".  I'm looking for more peeps to join me for Trek and/or YWCA Triathlons this summer . . . . . are you willing to Dare to Tri?  

Unstoppable “looking to add to my Tri Family” Mariah

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Trinona- Part 1

If I had to sum up Trinona in one word it would be  . . . . Rollercoaster.  Trinona was a rollercoaster both literally and figuratively.  I’ve said this before but want to reiterate it.  Every time I’m willing to take on a new challenge, to push my body, to go outside my comfort zone, I learn something and grow. 

It started Thursday afternoon with a nice relaxing day, I got a mani/pedi and decided my toes needed to match my Tri suit.  Friday afternoon Paul, Hannah and I all piled into the car for our drive.  It was so much fun having this as a family event.  The drive to Winona was beautiful, it’s amazing to find remarkable views so close to home.  I tried to work on homework, but was too distracted and nervous to think about it. 

Once we got to Michelle’s place, we chatted for a little bit and went out to drive the bike course and go for an open water swim.  That’s when the rollercoaster started.  I’m going to be honest because while not everyone experiences the same emotions, but just so people that do share similar emotions, they know it’s normal and they aren’t alone.  I started getting nervous and nauseous.  We started driving the bike path and I was freaking out in my mind, I knew there would be some inclines, maybe some hills, but not the hills I saw.  Each hill we drove up, knots in my stomach got tighter and tighter and I felt myself clam up more.  I started feeling bad for encouraging my husband to participate and worse off, I started feeling like the course wasn’t doable for me.  While yes, there were some steep hills, they felt like mountains to me.  The gals named one of the hills “Bible Verse Hill”, it’s the hill they say a bible verse to help them get up in.  I wondered if it was acceptable to swear at that hill or if that might damn me, I figured maybe throwing in a few “oh my God, what am I doing” would be acceptable.  That’s like praying right?  The bike path felt more like 50 miles instead of 11 miles. 

We headed to the lake and I was trying to keep my nerves in check.  I knew Pauly was really nervous for the swim and I didn’t want to add anything to his worries.  Michelle is our safety guru and stayed out just in case someone had issues during the swim (safety first).  We got in the water and it was COLD, not horrible cold, but reality check cold.  Then we continued to swim, I was mentally preparing for it, I was trying to stay calm, the weeds came.  Physically they got caught up in my arms and legs, mentally I felt them pull me down.  I then started to panic and worry about Paul and how he was doing.  I knew the swim was hard for him, but with these added challenges, I worried it would be even harder.  I am so thankful we had the opportunity to check the lake out before the Tri Sunday.  It was really helpful to know what to expect and have some time to digest what it would be like.  We all made it out of the lake in one piece, some more mentally prepared than others.

Fast forward to Saturday, Trinona has a GREAT kids Triathlon.  Here are these little kids, doing a triathlon.  It was crazy cool seeing the little ones run to their bikes after their swim.  I still get tears in my eyes as I think about it.  There stood Pauly, Hannah and I, hooting and hollering for children we didn’t know but were so proud and excited for.  These little kids all different ages were rocking Triathlons.  We did have the privilege of knowing two of the participates, Riley and David.   It was so so so much fun cheering them and they both did great.

Saturday after the Kids Tri, I everything started to hit me and I starting having major anxiety.  Not just a little bit, but melt down can’t stop crying, what the hell am I doing anxiety.  The weeds holding me back, those hills, who am I fooling, 5K, I can’t run. This wasn’t a little melt down or minor nerves, this was a full fledge, I think I’m going to sneak out in the middle of the night and go home melt down.   This is why it’s so important to have those amazing unconditional support people in your life.  Heather, Michelle, Paul and my Mom helped get me back from the edge.  Each in their own words and experiences gave me encouraging words to remind me that I could do this.  I could walk my bike up the hills, I can walk during the 5K, I can stroke whatever stoke I need to.  It’s all about being willing to challenge myself and cross that finish line.  It was at that point, I decided not to care about time, but my goal was to ENJOY myself and to ENJOY the challenge.     

Yes, I’m going to leave you at the low point of the roller coaster, I promise tmrw you will see the high part.  I’ll leave you with this, I am signing up for Trinona next year because I loved it that much, I know you don’t see it yet, but you will J

Unstoppable “rollercoaster riding” Mariah

Monday, June 20, 2011

I'm back and dancing

Hello (waving at my screen), I've missed blogging.  It's been a crazy past week, seriously crazy.  I have so much to share, but won't do it tonight.  Homework, work, training, etc has me pulled in 8 directions.  All of my 8 directions are pulling me at strenuous levels and I've been telling myself each day, just gotta get thru today, tmrw will be better.  I wake up the next day and say the same darn thing. 

Today, after learning my very courageous and remarkable co-worker lost his battle with cancer, I stopped in my tracks.  During his battle with cancer, he didn't live to "survive" each day, rather to thrive each day.  He had an amazing attitude and deep faith in God.  I feel blessed to have crossed paths with him.  I started thinking about how many times in the past week I put things off, waiting for a better time, for things to get easier, but the bottom line is, life is hard.  I don't really think there will be an "easy" time to get something done.  So tonight after dinner, despite having a ton of homework, laundry to do etc, I took time to jog.  My body craved it, yes, remarkable I know, my mind cleared, my focus came and despite all of the darn cottonwood and my allergies, I could BREATH.  I had forgotten what physical activity does for my mental activity. 

My take away today is a quote my Vivian Green-  "Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass . . . It's about learning to dance in the rain"

I promise, cross my heart, I will blog about TRINONA tmrw, it was really really really cool and way fun!  

Unstoppable "rock'n out in the rain" Mariah

Friday, June 10, 2011

Letting go of Control

I'm back :)  I took a few days off to reflect and think about my last post.  I just needed a few days to be in my head.  While it's really scary and hard to figure out what's broken, the best part is once you know, you can work towards fixing it.

For me, it's all about control, I want to control things, I want to know if I do XXX, than it means XXXX will happen.  While at times, this may hold true, I cannot control the outcome of all things.  Nor would that make life exciting and fun.  My daugther is an example of that, I wasn't quite ready for her, but God knew differently.  If I had control of all things, she wouldn't be part of our lives today. 

A close family member had some health issues this past week.  It scared the heck out of me and it was another lesson it what I can and can't control.  I cannot control his health or the outcome of his health.  I can just love him and enjoy each day I get to have him in my life.

While I may not be able to control my emotions, I can control my reaction to them.  I can control what I make my goals, I can control what I define as success.  I can control what I do to "fix" the problem.   I've already started looking into some counseling to deal with my anxiety with control.  I'm confident once I have the tools to deal with this, I will be ready and willing to implement them.  

I changed my goal time for this weekend.  Instead of focusing on time, I'm going to focus on giving it 100% .  I will not hold back in the least.  I will do my Triathlon knowing that I did everything I could, everything in my power to be the best Mariah I can be.  If that means more then 2 hours, so be it, I can't control time clock, I can control myself and how much I'm willing to give.  I will prove to myself that giving 100% matters and is a measurement of success.

When I'm feeling the need to control and get overwhelmed my current tool is going to be saying the Serenity Prayer.   God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the   things I can, And wisdom to know the difference. 

Thank you for your support and kind words.  I'm so excited and nervous for Trinona this weekend.  I have such a great Tri family and can't wait to see them.  I'm so amazed at the wonderful people I'm surrounded by on a daily basis that are hear to help support me on my journey in being the BEST MARIAH I can be.

Unstoppable "finding serenity" Mariah

Monday, June 6, 2011

Finding Courage

This is a difficult post for me to write, but at the same time, I believe giving light to my feelings is the first step in freeing myself from the burdens.  Since the Mother's day 5K started to uncover emotions I didn't really know where there.  The One Million dollar question I've been pondering has been eating away at me and I've been terrified to really know the answer because of what it might mean.    Typically when I get to this point emotionally I don't go much farther, instead I burry it deeper, put on a smiling face and suck it up.   So today, I asked myself the good old Dr Phil Question, "How's that working for you?".  Well given being stuck on weight loss and overly emotional, I would have to admit, not so great.  Big surprise right?! :)  The big question that's been on my mind, is "why am I not willing to give my healthiness journey (nutrition, exercise, weight loss and mental health) a 100% effort?".  Seemingly a simple question but I have uncovered rather complex answers.  Again at this point, normally I shut down, stop talking and ignore the issue; but instead, I'm going to be really honest and open with myself and all of you.  I'm no longer going to fear the answer, I'm going to embrace it for what it's worth and overcome it.  This is a HUGE step for me and an amazing NSV.  So hold tight, cause here we go.
After reading some fellow bloggers posts I started being able to put words and meaning to some of my feelings.  I often feel inadequate and that no matter what I do, it feels like it’s never enough.  I often question myself and think to myself that I’m not a good enough daughter, sister, mother, wife, employee, student . . . the list goes on and on.  You might notice a re-occurring theme in my blogs, I often talk about defining success as that’s one of my biggest struggles, not feeling successful at what I do.  With that said, deep down inside I do believe I’m a really good person.  I’m compassionate, loving, caring and giving, how can I not feel good enough and what does that even mean?  Why don’t I feel good enough, why don’t I feel like I measure up and what am I measuring against?  What is the measure of success in this?  Why am I afraid if I give 100% that I’ll still fail.
I starting thinking about times in my life when I gave 100% and still felt like I failed.  I remembered a few times when I tried my hardest in a heated conversation to do and say the right thing, but had what I deem as a failed result.  Times when I feel like I tried to be the best Mom, but failed.  I have a great humorous example of that one.  Hannah wanted rye bread for sandwiches a few years ago.  This is when we struggled to get her to try new foods, I jumped at the chance to get her to eat it, she wanted a peanut butter sandwich with rye bread.  I proudly spread the PB as I packed her lunch that day.  In my head, I was thinking SUCCESS, whoo hooo, can you tell I don’t really eat rye bread.  If I did eat rye bread, I would have been able to have an idea of what might come next.  A call from school, the poor girl threw up in the lunch room when she tried her rye PB sandwich.  Opps, while she recovered just fine and has no perminate scaring or long lasting damage, I caulk that up to one to a Mariah Mom Failure.  In fact, I’m going to have to ask her tonight if she even remembers it.  It still does make me giggle some.  I’ve had times where I’ve ate the right amount of calories, exercised and drank lots of water and still gained weight the next day, 100% effort and yet I feel like a failure. 
The one example that really stood out to me was that while I’ve come to terms with what the future means since the death of my son Joey and other pregnancy losses, I learned today that I haven’t come to terms with other aspects of it.  I love my life with Paul and Hannah.  I’ve come to accept and even enjoy us being the 3 mustaskateers.  While I miss each pregnancy and love the children that would have been born, I love and enjoy my life as it is now.  Paul, Hannah and I rock together, we work together, it feels right for us and natural.  So in my mind, I thought I was fully healed and had moved on.  It came as quite a surprise to me when I realized part of what I’m feeling now, ties back to pregnancy losses.  Those feelings are associated with me doing everything “right” during each pregnancy and still not being able to carry to term.  What I see as a HUGE FAILURE in my eyes, how could this happened, how could those pregnancies fail when I did everything right?  This goes back to not feeling like I did enough, that no matter what I did, I failed.  I gave trying to have another child more than 100%, I put my body and emotions thru hell and back to build our family and it wasn’t enough.   This has totally caught me by surprise, I feel like I’m in such a good place with where we are at as a family, I was taken back my the emotions I hadn’t dealt with tied my feelings of failing.   Again, this is by no means the only thing I feel like I gave 100% and failed at but it’s one that stands out the most and in all honesty, I think it hurts the most.
Giving 100% and feeling like I failed makes me feel like I have no control over the results.  It’s not about the pregnancies really it’s about feeling like I don’t have the control to be successful.  That it’s out of my hands.   I’m so scared right now that if I give 100% in my healthiness journey and that I will still fail (not make my times, not loss weight etc)  Where does that leave me?  I’m not a quitter, I’m not willing to give up, I’m not throwing the towel in.  No inspiring quote I read will fix this for me, I need to deal with the feelings to move forward.  I know that I can define success and sometimes that really works for me, but right now, it’s just not working for me and it’s a struggle much outside of that.  I know I’ve come a far way, I’m proud of my accomplishments. I keep thinking to my last post and my picture, I’m so much farther and stronger than I was a year ago, but yet I am still struggling to feel that it’s enough.
While this post is a little dark, I promise you and more importantly I promise myself to not give up.  Right now, I just needed to be open and honest to take my first steps in figuring this out so I can become who I know I want to be.  I’m confident that while I don’t see the light yet, that there is one at the end of this tunnel.  My favorite poem is footprints in the sand.  I know I’m not alone, I’m just not strong enough to do it on my own right now and that’s okay.    
Unstoppable "finding courage" Mariah

Thursday, June 2, 2011

A picture paints 1,000 words

The first thoughts that popped into my head when I saw the picture of me sprinting across the finish line at the 5K weren’t pleasant or self affirming thoughts.  They were more along the line of holy cats, I’ve lost 50 some lbs and still look big.  My second thought was wow, my fat chub moves in one direction and the rest moves in another(may be TMI, but specifically my chest, it’s totally swinging the other way).  Thirdly, oh man, people saw me like that and now it’s captured in a photo forever and posted on the WWW for everyone and their grandma to see.  I thought of wearing a mask next time to hide my identity.  Then I took a second look and saw something and I almost got whip lash because I saw something kinda magical.  It brought tears to my eyes then and brings them again as I write this post.  Can you see it?  Let me point it out to you. 

Yeah, that’s air, guess why there was air . . . cause I was sprinting.  Oh yeah, all 250 some lbs of me is literally off the ground cause I’m KICKING BUTT!!!!!  This picture now reflects something totally different for me.  This picture represents an amazing woman accomplishing something she didn’t think she could do.  That I didn’t have the courage to do, that I would never have even dared to try.  This picture that shows the air between my feet and pavement is reflective of who I am and the person I’m becoming.  I now love this picture and view it at beautiful.  When I start to doubt myself or my journey, I will look at this picture and remember that I’m not only UNSTOPPABLE, AMAZING, COURAGEOUS, and all those good things, but I can now add FLYABLE too J

Unstoppable “catching air” Mariah