Anniversary of Change

Today is a special day. It’s always been a special day. A day of celebration for one of my greatest and oldest friend’s birthday. And now the 3rd anniversary of my wake up call to change my life.

39969390000-800x571

I went for a run this morning.  I needed a change in my workouts and I thought, change is hard.  Period.  End of sentence.  I honestly detest change.

I grew up in the same house my entire life, I knew the same bedroom until I was eighteen. One of my first big “changes” in my life was moving away for college and I mentally fought it tooth and nail. Each time there is change in my life my body, brain and everything from my head to toes says, “No, thank you!”

15812104523_39f0276304_o

But here’s the thing…since making the change to become a healthier person those 3 years ago I’ve learned to overcome that overwhelming sense to fight change.

Embrace the change.

Don’t believe for one second that it isn’t hard to fight because my mind and body still go against change as much as it can, but deep, way deep down, I’ve now learned that taking that leap of whatever you want to call it to make the change is almost always worth it. Sure you will trip up, you will have your ups and downs, but if you set the goals you want to achieve and stay the course you will get there.  As I listened to Shaun T’s podcast this morning, he said,

You have to TRUST & BELIEVE in yourself that you can do whatever you decide to do!

81c86f2727926d650de5fa5c77cfe1b8

I don’t always win the fight either.  For me, I’ve learned that along the path to change, to achieve a goal, you have to be flexible. You have to “go with the flow” and make adjustments along the way. But that’s what change is all about. A lot of times if we think of the little changes along the way instead of the one giant mountain of change we are about to face it makes it a little easier to overcome that overwhelming urge to run away screaming and go cry in the corner.

We’ve had some big changes in our family lately and probably many more to come, but one of the most important ones was Sammo heading to kindergarten.  It was huge.  For me, for her, for Mike.  It’s changed our schedules, what we have to accomplish at night and in the morning, but one thing I am so impressed with is how Sam takes it all in strides.

She embraces the changes head on.  She loves the idea of a new adventure ahead.

IMG_7986

So on this 3rd anniversary of an always day of celebration I ask you to take the leap. Commit to one change. One small goal. You never know how one small change can turn into a 140 other changes to get you to a healthier, happier you.

The Mind of a Binge Eater

You all know I love me some Shaun T.  Well after finishing up Insanity Max 30, I couldn’t just walk away from Shaun T and all the positive energy and motivation he brings, so now that I’ve started running again, I’ve been listening to his podcast, Define Your Life on my runs.

shaun-t-podcast-define-your-life

If you get a chance to listen to just one of his podcasts, it will make you think, give you motivation and make you want to go that much further in your life…not just your workouts.  Shaun was talking about being honest, sharing something hard in your life to help motivate and inspire others from the struggles you experienced.  Just as we ourselves learn from those struggles.  And it got me thinking….

A few months ago after beginning the journey to become an intuitive/mindful eater, I had a really bad binge day.  I started feeling like I was losing control and instead of stuffing one more piece of food in my mouth, I started to write down what was going through my crazy brain.

My hope in sharing this, as Shaun so inspired me, is that I can help others who suffer with Binge Eating Disorder know that they are not alone.

you-are-strong

This is probably the most personal thing I have ever shared on here, but I’ve been struggling more lately and finding what I had written down reminded me to keep going forward.  And as I have found, the more honest you are with yourself and those around you, the stronger you become as you let go of the “weight” of what is going on in your head.  So here it goes:

The thoughts of a binge eater….

The urge to binge is so strong.  My stomach aches from overeating.  “Indulging.”  The more my stomach hurts, the more my desire to binge grows.  My mind is racing.  Maybe I need to go for a run.  Maybe I need to just succumb to the urges.  Maybe just a cup of tea.  I decided on the tea although I really want to binge.  The inner war won’t stop.  I don’t want to run but only to “slow” the calories.  But that’s the diet mentality creeping in.  I’m nervous.  I’m starting a new workout program tomorrow.  Who do I want to impress though really? That’s why I’m nervous.  I don’t have to “report” any results though.  I only have to compete against myself.  Be better than I was the day before.  I’m a work in progress.  I don’t like the feeling of overeating.  My sides ache.  I feel like the food is still in my throat.  I have to listen to my hunger cues and fullness cues.  I don’t even like the taste of half the things I ate today.  I don’t like the frosting on the cookies.  The cheezits tasted good but left my stomach and throat feeling bitter.  The donut did the same.  It tasted good but at what cost?  The dinner was awesome and the fruit at lunch was good.  Have I really changed that much?  I desire all of these foods but then I eat them and they make me feel awful.  How do I know what I want?  I guess that’s part of the process.  Right?  I have to keep trying more things I haven’t had in awhile.  Then there is the urge to check myself in the mirror nonstop.  I want to weigh myself.  I have to accept my body the way it is.  It has done so many amazing things.  It finished Insanity.  At 250lbs!  That was 70lbs heavier than now!  70lbs Tracy!  You could do 0 of one move when you started back then but you kept trying.  You just kept going forward.  This body is so strong.  You can lift your daughter with ease.  Run up and down stairs.  Run!  You can run!!!  You don’t get out of breath going up the hill at work when so many others do.  Have faith in the body you have.  This is just a bump in the road to becoming an intuitive eater.  its a process.  Just like losing the weight…

So, there it is.  Just don’t forget you are not alone.  We always think we are going through things alone, but we’re not.  Write it down, work through it, call a friend, blog about it.  Learn from your struggles.  Turn them into positive energy to make you move a little further ahead.

I’m going to keep on running, moving forward, learning from my struggles, and reminding myself that it’s a journey, not a set end point.  There are always the ups and downs, there are always hard days, but there always great days, amazing days, days where I feel like I could run a marathon, do a 100 pushups…and I have to take the energy from those days and the energy from my struggles and propel me forward in life.

10933721_10206216926278591_8363157082338175270_nSo, I’m going to put on my neon yellow glasses and keep running for now!

 

Insanity Max 30: A Mental Fitness Test

I finished Insanity Max 30 today.  Holy crap I actually finished it.  This program is not for the faint of heart, breath, you name it.

I just need to stop and say, HELL YES, I FINISHED INSANITY MAX 30!!!!

I’m good…  But honestly people, I thought Insanity was hard, but this is hands down the hardest workout program I have ever done.  Physically.  And most importantly, Mentally.

IMG_7558

 

When Shaun T announced that Insanity Max 30 was coming out, I was ready for the challenge.  The original Insanity was one of my first fitness goals I set when I began to lose the weight.  Accomplishing that goal was a huge milestone for me and now after so many other fitness programs, going back to an Insanity program was another big step in my fitness journey.

I’m not going to make this post about weight or inches lost.  Insanity Max 30, while you can lose weight and inches, is about so much more.  This is the most mentally challenging fitness program that I have ever done.  The premise of Insanity is to go all out until you “max out”.  Maxing out is you literally want to die, can’t move, can’t take a breath, falling on the floor, can’t keep form, you get it.  When I put in the first video on day 1, I maxed out at just over 3 minutes.

At that point I thought I had lost my f-ing mind.  I was cussing Shaun T up like no other.  But I maxed out, wrote down my time, picked myself up, ‘found my life’ as Shaun says and kept on.

I kept on for all 60 days.  By the end of each month I was able to double my time.  Each day I challenged myself.  I told myself I would go 30 seconds more.  Or 10 seconds more than the workout the week before.  Whatever I thought I could get to.  Then each workout I would get to that time that I had to beat and have to tell myself to keep going.  To make it to that goal I had set myself.  Some days I did it, some days I didn’t, but each day I didn’t stop.

IMG_7297

 

And each day, I physically and mentally got stronger in this program.  And through my struggles to get myself right in the head with my eating, this program and Shaun T’s motivation have helped me to persevere.  And end each workout looking like a hot mess.

Diet Mentality vs Intuitive Eating and the Tooth Fairy

So life has been in full swing at the Cooke household lately…hence no blogging.  But there’s been a lot bouncing around in my head the last few days so I figured it was time to get at least some of it out there.

I’ve been trudging through the figurative mud lately when it comes to my journey to become an intuitive eater.

I know it needs to be done, but it is definitely going to be a hard journey.  There is a lot to overcome.

One of the first principles of Intuitive Eating is to reject the diet mentality.  Get over the idea of “losing weight”, “losing inches”, “losing something”.  You have to focus on yourself and forget the idea of something better is around the corner to help you get to a better version of yourself.  I’ve been in the “diet mentality” for 3 years solid.  I had an end goal to lose weight and I was focused.  I tracked what I ate and I exercised for the burn.  But now I have to focus on me.

As existential as it sounds, I have to accept myself as the current self.  This concept is so, so, so hard for me.  After focusing on that end goal of a smaller self, I forgot to accept just me.  I’ve talked about it before, but a lot of it is about learning to celebrate how far I have come.

IMG_7374

The constant battle in my brain though to want to track every molecule of food going into my mouth is minute by minute.  I go back and forth on tracking food to abandoning MFP altogether.  Tracking food became a norm, but it also became an obsession.

My other battle is weighing myself.  I know, I know….I have said it; we’ve all said,

You are not defined by the number on the scale.

But holy crap people that is harder to put in practice than saying it when you have weighed yourself EVERY F-ING DAY for 3 years straight.  And the scale mostly went down.  Not it goes all over the place.  Up and down.  I swear it even goes sideways.

I keep reminding myself that becoming an intuitive eater is a journey that I have begun just like when I began the journey to become a smaller, healthier me.  I’m still on that healthier me journey, but looking more inwards is always harder.

Outside of my crazy brain, what else has been happening?  LIFE!  First, the kid is growing up.  Too fast!  Like, can we just slow this down for a hot minute?  We had not 1 BUT 2 teeth lost and so the Tooth Fairy put on her wings and got to work!  There was a slight learning curve though….the Tooth Fairy quickly learned the value of a dollar bill vs. coins to a 5 year old.  Second time, she brought coins.

IMG_7467Sammo is also a reading machine.  She loves to read and we love that she loves it.

The independence that reading has given her has been tremendous!  She’s on a mission right now to read every Junie B. Jones book she can get her hands on and in the process got her very own library card.  We plan on doing the reading program at the library this summer and it brings back so many fond memories of going with my mom and sister or my grandparents during the summer to get my book stamped and picking out the next great book to read.

In other news, Mike and I celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary this month.  I still don’t think we can believe it has been 10 years.  I remember it was like yesterday that we were heading out to Vegas to get married at the Little White Wedding Chapel.  We’ve had our ups and downs, but I have to say we are definitely getting better with age (and definitely smaller). 😉

11070508_10205836412685989_3876874967028282905_n

Over the past month and a half I have also been pushing myself to the limit when it comes to workouts.  I had made one of my goals this year to complete the Insanity Max 30 workout program.  I knew it was going to be tough, but I had NO IDEA!  I love Shaun T though and I love that this program has been pushing me mentally and not just physically.  You have to really push yourself and challenge yourself to overcome a hurdle in the workout and a lot of times it is about the mental struggle, not the physicality of it.  Either way, at the end of every workout, I look like a hot mess.

IMG_7297

It’s been a crazy couple of months.  We will keep challenging ourselves, learn new things, and celebrate the accomplishments we have made.

So, here’s to eating intuitively and throwing out my scale (on most days).

The Road to Intuitive Eating

Since my last post, I’ve been on a journey.  A culmination of things happened and I found myself discovering the world of intuitive eating.  I found the book “Intuitive Eating” by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch and I am truly inspired.  While I am in the early stages to becoming an intuitive eater, I am hopeful that I have found the right path for the next phase of my life in the journey to a healthy me.

I don’t want to discount everything that has happened in the past, because it got me to where I needed to be, but along the way I kind of forgot how to just eat and LISTEN to my body.

Part of my journey has always been to be honest with those around me, but to also be honest with MYSELF!

With honesty though, you have to perk up and listen to what your body is telling you and I haven’t always done that when it comes to food.  When counting calories, I stayed on the course and accounted for every calorie that I ate.  And I wanted to make sure I ate every calorie I had.  I also became very rigid with when I ate, breakfast at 7:30, snack at 10, lunch at 11:30 and so on, but through this structure, I wasn’t listening to my body.  The structure gave me the means to lose the weight, but left me with no structure to hang onto when going into maintenance.

When you are on a diet or let’s not use that word…when you are on the journey to get healthy your ultimate end goal is to get to a freedom.  A freedom from the structure, the rigidity, and the constant confinement of the limitations you have put on yourself.  The problem is, at least for me, when I got to my goal and went into maintenance and removed that structure, I had lost trust in myself in the process.

Without the structure, I didn’t trust myself to maintain the course.

So now in moving towards the life of an Intuitive Eater, I am regaining that trust little by little.  Baby steps.  Just as I lost the weight, this next chapter in my life will be done by baby steps with the ups and downs that always come along the way.  I want to talk more about all the breakthroughs I am also having with my anxiety, binge eating, etc on this new journey, but I’ll leave that for next time!

This new course is a new challenge.  And speaking of challenges, I have to mention my amazing kiddo who seriously blew me away this past weekend.  After my last Color Me Rad run, she wanted to participate so bad, so I signed us up.  She pushed herself harder than I had ever seen her and ran at least half of the 5K distance.  There were little whines along the way, but she wasn’t going to give up.  So proud!

IMG_7221

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.

IMG_6240

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.

SONY DSC
Sep 2012 to Jan 2015 – Magic Kingdom

 

SONY DSC
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!

16430414851_934c10f92b_o