Category: Health

Struggles, Strength and Trust

Brace yourself…this is going to be a long one.  It’s been awhile since I’ve written anything down and there’s a lot on my mind.  Let me pause so you can get a cup of coffee or tea or diet coke before you sit down to read this….

I realized today that I had been holding a lot in.  When I began writing about my journey I said I would be honest and not hold back.  I wanted to open people’s eyes up to the ups, downs, bumps and bruises that all come with the journey to lose weight, change your lifestyle, and deal with everything in between.

So let’s start with the STRUGGLES

My struggles should be affectionately titled, ‘The Diary of a Binge Eater’.  I’ve struggled with binge eating disorder for a long time, even through my weight loss, but more recently it has come on strong.  The quick and dirty on binge eating disorder is that (for me) you will eat and eat and eat (a lot of times the same food) until you are full and then even more full and then until you feel like you want to burst and then you will eat some more.  Binge eaters restrict until we can’t restrict anymore, then binge on food after the restrictions we have put on ourselves is too much.  We eat to numb, to deal with the emotions we don’t really want to deal with, or fill a void.

With the winter months and my depression and anxiety mounting, the binges have come steadily and with the binges so have weight gains.  And for someone who focused 2 years of their life losing weight, weight gains are DEVASTATING.  Yes, I’m a chronic weigher (is that a word?).  While I know I shouldn’t, I weigh myself almost every day.  Yes, I know (I’m trying to be better).  And while I know weight fluctuates, with the binges, I have seen more gains than losses or maintenance and it freaks me the F out.

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I was reading something from a fellow binge eater the other day and it was like a light went off in my head.  For two years my goal was to lose weight.  I didn’t know how long it was going to be to get to my goals, but that was my goal.  When I went into maintenance, I no longer had that goal.  I didn’t have my positive reinforcement.  Sure, I made goals that were related to fitness, like finishing a program or lifting heavier, but honestly there is something satisfying about seeing that number on the scale drop.

My other revelation in dealing with my binge eating is that I still have a lot to work on when it comes to my relationship with food.  Tracking calories got me to my goal of losing 140lbs, but it has also caused me to lose my sanity in the process when it comes to thinking about food in a normal way.  I think in calories and I’ve lost a sense of satiety when eating food.  I am having to re-learn how to eat – when I’m hungry, when I’m full and not on a calorie and time table that gets me to a goal of weight loss.

But through these struggles, I am being reminded of the STRENGTH I have gained and to not forget where I started. I’m reminded by myself, but more importantly from my family and friends.  Like, Mike reminding me (multiple times) that I can fit into one pant leg of a pair of pants I used to wear.  That I pushed myself and overcame so many things I never thought I could do to make myself into a new, healthier person.  I have to hold on to that knowledge that I have that strength to continue to move forward in my journey that will always be changing.  To set new goals for myself, non-weight related, like building that strength to overcome my binge eating and develop a healthier relationship with food.

And despite the recent gains, I’ve come a long way.  I looked up my from my desk today and saw a picture of Sam and I from when we went to Disney World right before I started my journey.  So much has changed since then.  Our recent family vacation to Disney World was a whole new experience for me.  Rides were easy, walking all day didn’t hurt, my eating choices (while not perfect) were so much better than vacations past.  The knowledge of the journey is what will also propel me forward.

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Sep 2012 to Jan 2015 – Magic Kingdom

 

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Sep 2012 to Jan 2015 – Magic Kingdom

And finally there is TRUST.  I’ve talked about it before, but making the journey to lose weight and continue on with a healthy lifestyle takes a lot of trust.  Trust in myself.  Some days I have that trust or faith or whatever you want to call it; that I can make the right decisions, overcome my struggles, and use that strength to push past them, but other days, I lose it completely.  I lost weight for 2 years, I should trust and KNOW that I know what to do, but sometimes it waivers.  I’m working on trusting myself.  Believing in myself.

So, there you have it.  Life is messy.  Living a healthy lifestyle is not 100%.  No one is perfect and everyone has struggles.  BUT, we have to reflect on the strength that we have inside to push through the walls.  Push through the barriers that we have put up in our minds and trust that we will carry that strength with us to face the next challenge head on whether we fail or succeed.

Here’s the rest of that pic above from Disney with the family.  It was an amazing vacation!

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Cooke Family Year in Review

2014 was a pretty good year for the Cooke family!  It’s kind of crazy to think back to everything that happened.

January started off a little rough for us with the nasty cold weather (we made the best of it though by playing in the snow), myself getting shingles, and everyone else in the family being sick.  But February brought a better outlook for us all.  

Having fun in the snow!
Having fun in the snow!

Jobs. When February rolled around big changes came with it (unfortunately snowmageddon stayed a little longer though).  Mike got a job!  And a job he loves, doing what he loves, for a great local company.  After a few years of working retail and being a great stay at home dad, Mike headed into the corporate world.  It brought a lot of changes to our family dynamic, shuffling who goes where and when, but it was a great change we embraced.

Travel. Bring out the suitcases!  We had a lot of fun travels this year!  We took several trips including a short weekend for Mike and I to Gatlinburg, TN with friends, a mini family vacation to Ohio for some fun at Great Wolf Lodge and Kings Island, a road trip for Samantha and I to Oklahoma to see family and old friends and eat lots of yummy food, my first time going to New York City (and all by myself), and our first big family vacation to Indianapolis and Chicago to check out the amazing museums, sights, and a fun surprise seeing friends from long ago.

Health. This year also was the year of discovery when it came to our health.  For myself, I reached several milestones on my mission to shed the pounds and get healthy, including hitting -140lbs lost, celebrating 2 years on my journey, and logging into MyFitnessPal for 500 consecutive days.  I also started to refocus my goals and why I was getting healthy, paying less attention to the scale (when I willed myself to, it’s hard!) and more attention to the new body I was living in; making it stronger through new workout programs, learning to maintain, and finding a love for lifting weights. And how can I forget winning $500 from Beachbody for my accomplishments!

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Health-wise, I also learned why my body was freaking out on me at times after being diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. It was like I finally had an answer to what had been happening to me recently and in the past with my weight gains, losses, anxiety, depression, hair loss, etc.  Then the kiddo got checked out for her allergies and we finally had answers to her constant coughing and breathing issues.

Speaking of the kiddo, she GREW!  I’m not talking just taller, because she definitely did that, but mentally too.  She began writing, A LOT.  In full sentences!  She started reading, EVERYTHING!  She learned sign language and Spanish and basically ran circles around Mike and I (sass and all).  This year, Sammo found a best friend, began dance, and continues to grow into a smart, sweet, colorful, caring, little girl.

2015. What does 2015 hold for the Cooke family?  Definitely one amazing trip to Disney World, Samantha starting kindergarten, more goals to be set and accomplished, 10 years of marriage for Mike and I, and so much more!

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Happy New Year to all our friends and family!

Getting Healthy: Testing Myself, Trust, and Accountability, Part 2

Here’s Part 1

So what did I learn?

I have changed. It was a lesson in showing me that I have established habits that are set in stone now. I started out thinking I was going to kill a 500+ day streak on MyFitnessPal and I was ok with it, but because of my healthy habits I wasn’t able to break it. During the 7 day test I was running. And running meant turning on an awesome app called RunKeeper which logged my runs into MyFitnessPal…not breaking my streak. So there was that.

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Me and my friend Julie ready for the Midsummer Night’s Run 5K.

Trust. I do NOT trust myself. I could write pages about this and maybe one day I will, but for now all I can say is I have trust issues. With myself. And myself around food. I actually did pretty well in what I ate during the 7 days, but I second guessed everything I put in my mouth. Was it the right thing to eat? Can I Sherlock the calories in my head and trust that it is ok to eat? How did I forget how to add big numbers in my head? I ate that piece of cake and I can’t weigh myself tomorrow, do you think it will matter? Seriously, all of these things went through my head.

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I came to the conclusion, you might say, that I didn’t trust myself because I didn’t trust ‘Fat Tracy’ to not rear her ugly head. To binge and run off the rails completely. So, I have to learn to trust myself. To know that I am a different person with imperfections, ups and downs, and that I’m on a journey. I have to trust that I have learned healthier habits. I’m not the same person, that 317lb woman who was eating herself into a life of unhealthy habits. I’m stronger now. I know I can push my body to amazing physical feats and come back from it. I can’t stuff a whole cake into my stomach and be OK with it.

I’m a better, healthier version of that fat girl now, but she’ll always be there as a reminder. And I have to learn to forgive her, but never forget.

Baby steps. Back to that whole cold turkey thing. Yeah, that doesn’t work for me. So what was I thinking going cold turkey with logging and not weighing myself? Obviously I had a temporary lapse in judgment. Or just plain stupidity. You call it. What have I been saying is one of the keys to weight loss and building healthy habits? BABY STEPS. I mean seriously, BABY Fucking STEPS! I’ve made it this far in my journey to change my life into the healthier, stronger woman that I am because I took it one day at a time and made changes slowly. So why should that be any different when going into a new phase of my life? Well it shouldn’t…but again…momentary lapse in judgment on my part. So my takeaway was to SLOW DOWN.

Baby steps, Bob.  Baby Steps. baby-steps

Accountability. My process to lose 140lbs was to be accountable. Set small goals to get to the big one, but I always had a system to keep me accountable. I still need that accountability. It’s part of that trusting myself thing. So I have to put the brakes on my new journey to ‘normal’/maintenance. I can’t just flip a switch and be in maintenance. I have to break down the process in my head and ease into it. Just like I eased into the process of losing the weight. Now I have to ease into maintaining my current weight to make this my new ‘normal’. Because honestly, I don’t know what my normal is yet.

So, I’m on the quest to find my new ‘normal’. To find that balance. To maintain. And to give myself a break sometimes.

Getting Healthy: Testing Myself, Trust, and Accountability, Part 1

I didn’t realize it’s been almost a month since I last posted anything until I started thinking about EVERYTHING I have done over the past month. Most of which involves going over and over in my head this quest to find a normal and how I go about doing that. I proclaimed in one of my last posts that I was “breaking up with food”, but I’m going to be honest with you. I’m not quite there yet. It sounded good, but what is something else I HAVE learned on this journey to health? Baby steps. So, I’m taking a step back.

What have I been up to you might ask? Well for the first part of the last month or so I conducted a little experiment/test on myself. The second part of the past month was working on screwing my head back on right. You’ll see….read on.

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As part of my grand ‘breaking up with food’ I decided I needed to cleanse my body – a reset – then test myself by not logging my food for 7 days. Well the cleanse went well. I should honestly just leave it at that, but in my vow to be honest and open I will elaborate for you.

Let me start with the cleanse. I’ve never done one. Ever. I look back now over my adolescence of being overweight and actually find it amusing that I’ve never done a cleanse before in my entire life. It wasn’t as scary or bad as I thought it was going to be either. Thankfully I found a great product through Beachbody called the 3 Day Refresh. Yes, it had shakes, but you also got to eat fresh fruits and vegetables along the way. And it truly refreshed and reset my body. I would highly recommend it. The big thing I got out of it was stripping all the dairy and caffeine out of my diet and realizing 1) I was drinking A LOT, like WAY TOO MUCH, if there is such a thing, coffee and 2) me and dairy really just aren’t friends anymore (yay for getting older?). And I lost 6 lbs of yuck from my body.

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So after the cleanse, the next phase was to test myself. To see if I could go 7 days without logging and without weighing myself. This was a mental test. A test of my willpower. A test in trying to find my normal. Whatever that is.

The beginning of those 7 days was HARD. I’ve logged my food for over 500 days straight. Every calorie consumed (for the most part). And then to just go cold turkey? Oh and don’t forget no weighing myself on top of that. When I normally weigh myself every morning. Some say that may be bad, but it’s my checks & balances system to make sure I know I have been on the right (or wrong) track. Well remember when I said one of the things I have learned on this journey is baby steps? Obviously I forgot about that since I decided to go cold turkey. Cold turkey has never worked for me (except for eating on sandwiches).

I passed my 7 day test, despite going cold turkey, and I learned a few things about myself. It’s a journey right?

Part 2 to follow soon.