Weight for me

I am so so sick of thinking, breathing, writing and talking about WEIGHT.

Being sober is a choice and yay I am glad I did it. I decided 11 months ago that enough was enough. With food you can’t say enough I am done with eating and stop completely. Simply you would die. Obesity and weight isn’t about food anyway. That is the tip of the iceberg and all that you can see. The mind games and the rest is invisible on the surface but oh so very present, day in day out.

Enough!

Instead my solution is to hang a lovely item of clothing that I aim to wear in my eye line.

Ahhh. And a photo too of the lovely item of clothing so even if I am in another room or out and have a decision to make I can look at it and make the right decision. A photo of a swatch of the fabric is all I need. Note that the swatch of fabric isn’t black. We all know which is the right decision anyway. Fu*k it food is off the menu.

(I know this strategy probably won’t work on a low day. The item of clothing will make me laugh. But not in a good way. A sarcastic laugh. Unbecoming. )

It is a positive incentive strategy. There is no NO. There is no limitation on what I can or cannot eat. There is only a choice. With each choice about what I eat, hopefully I will be making more and more better choices. This is for me. A healthier me.

So next time I decide to have a second ice cream for the day I won’t just hesitate. I will politely decline to the child inside of me who is jumping up and down at my side pulling the bottom of my T-shirt and whining, pleeeasseee. Enough. My choice is to say no thank you. That’s it. No whining. No performing. Just no thank you. I can picture my lovely item of clothing.

Yesterday we sat outside and ate dinner. It’s the first time since the bone break that I have sat in the garden, weeded the raised garden beds or eaten outside. Yay for knee scooters! The spring weather is here. There was no wind. I turned on the outside heater so we could be outside in T-shirts and enjoy the moment. My substitute for a candle! Hygge!

One better decision at a time.

11 months sober

Yippeee. Here I am today 11 months sober.

What have I learnt so far? A lot and a little.

Yesterday I said no without the need to explain why not. I didn’t apologise. I typed it and then deleted it. I had nothing to apologise for. I made a good decision as well. Who is this person I have become? I barely recognise her. Cue dramatic music. Of course I recognise myself. I am proud of the fact I am sober.

Even when sober you can still fall over and break a bone.

I remember at the hospital emergency room they asked had I had any alcohol within the last six hours and I could easily answer no. Such a simple question yet it made me feel stronger to be able to answer so quickly without having to calculate. No I had not had any alcohol within the last six hours. Today I have been sober for 11 months. Absolutely worth it. Would not hesitate to do it again. Only wish I had become sober sooner.

Yesterday I got my cast off after 6 weeks. The replacement for the cast is a moon boot. I am allowed tentative weight on my right foot with the aid of crutches. I feel grateful to be out of the cast. Slept all afternoon yesterday and a full night’s sleep and still feel tired. I still have yet to master going up stairs on crutches, still on my bum going backwards.

I realise I have a long recovery to go. My ankle was sore when the doctor prodded and now the foot is exposed to air, bring on the dead skin cells. Sorry for the gross image. That’s the reality of it.

I have been craving a hot bath for six weeks. I am still to take the plunge. I tossed up between sketching or a bath before bed last night. Sketching won over the beloved bath because I have been sketching everyday and didn’t want to break the habit. I think I chose well.

Physiotherapy starts today. And my slow road back to walking. I think I thought that I would miraculously be fixed when the cast came off. Fooled. I no longer have to carry a hard shell on my leg. My left leg toes no longer fear being scraped or kicked. Everything is soft again. One leg is slim! Yay. Sarcasm does not become me. Apologies.

Space: Physical 01

I can look at a space, let’s say a lawn, and I can envision what it could look like with say raised vegetable beds there instead of said lawn. I can picture it in my mind and imagine what it could look like. To know whether something is a good idea or a bad one ahead of time can save you time, money and stress.

I can look at an existing lawn and envision something else in its place with relative ease yet if it were a completely undeveloped site, say a new house and untouched landscaping then I would be stuck completely.

On the surface these two scenarios seem the same but they are not. One starts with an idea that has already been laid out, the other is a completely blank canvas. You could argue that they are indeed the same, you just need to imagine no lawn and then go from there.

Another aspect of this is with an already developed area you can see what has been planted or how it has been landscaped, hard and soft, what grows, how the sunlight affects the area. It has been done once. The fact that you are taking a closer look at the area means that you are ready for change. You want to improve the area, make it more you, more in keeping with the rest of the land, neighbourhood or the times.

When you have a blank canvas with an outdoor space you have unlimited possibilities to develop and create an area to the best of your ability and budget. That blank canvas can be frightening, to the point of inaction. Too many choices, too many options, no clear idea so resulting in indecision and not moving forward.

If you have made it this far, you are still with me. What I am trying to say is that I find it relatively easy to arrange things spatially in my mind without having to assemble something first. I love puzzles and assembling kit set furniture. I love maps and have an insanely good sense of direction.

Say if you were house hunting and you were visiting an open home and it was stuffed with the owner’s possessions and they weren’t to your taste I could easily imagine what it could look like with my own instead. I can overlook the madness and see a new vision. Yet with viewing a home that is void of furniture I find it harder to imagine what it could look like because there is no scale, the palette is clear and the reverse happens. I find it very difficult to imagine the possibilities because there are too many.

I understand why staging companies have multiplied in New Zealand. We are copying the American way of selling house. Plus we have a growing population and an economy that seems to be doing quite well. We have more money than sense. By staging I mean companies that ask owners to remove all of their belongings and clutter and any ounce of a homely feel and instead bring in generic furniture and other items to create an image of the ideal home without the overflowing junk. People either store their belongings or have already purchased their new home and have moved on hoping to sell their home for the best price.

I value space. I appreciate space. I think I need more of it than most. I don’t like to be confined, cramped or squashed. But then again who does? No one. I feel most comfortable when I have plenty of space between myself and the next person, standing, walking or just being. I prefer to live with the view of nature. I like to hear the sound of the trees swaying in the wind. Space now though comes with a premium. Space and convenience are a wanted commodity in the modern world. I love both but I would sacrifice convenience over space any day.

I value space over convenience.

I love putting things together with or without instructions.

I love maps and have an insanely good sense of direction.

I love figuring out spatial puzzles.

Ch ch change

Change is made when small actions are repeated until it becomes a habit.

Change doesn’t happen over night. Change doesn’t happen when you do a new thing once. Actions must be repeated again and again consistently in order for change to occur.

I am writing this for myself as a reminder that change just doesn’t happen by itself. As obvious as it sounds I keep forgetting this and stumble when change doesn’t materialise immediately.

Change requires patience, consistency and repeated behaviour.

I decided while having a cast on my broken ankle that now would be a good time to lose weight. Not so. To heal a broken bone it requires nutrition and possibly more food than normal. I ignored this fact and installed my “new found knowledge” and had just fruit for breakfast, toast for lunch and you can guess what happened…

Low blood sugar reared its head again. Bananas are food from the Gods. Bananas are my go to food if I need instant energy. So I recovered from my moment slowly.

Throbbing headache, feeling nauseous, shaky, sweaty, chills, thirsty, elevated temperature. Why do I do this to myself? Far from clever.

Sweet tea, banana, water, sleep. Followed by dinner a couple of hours later. Followed by more sleep.

Moral of the story is heal the bone first and then deal with the weight.

It may seem obvious to observers but when you are in the thick of it and with time on your hands stupid ideas can appear sensible and efficient. Well stupid ideas are stupid, before conception, during execution and when they have failed.

Lesson learnt this time.

At no time have I felt like having a drink. Except when I heard good new music and thought that this would go well with a glass of red wine. I then rebuked myself and squashed that thought.

Sober and I know it, clap your hands.

Hypoglycemia: Low Blood Sugar

If you don’t drink alcohol it’s not the end of the world. You won’t die. You don’t need it. You only crave it or want it because it’s there. It’s a comfort, it’s a habit. It’s a drug.

If you don’t eat, it can be the end of the world. We need to eat and drink to survive. If we don’t we die.

Above I have stated the obvious. Ten months sober and I feel I have a handle on the not drinking part of life. The benefits of being sober outweigh the hangovers and lost moments of drinking life. The abundance of time that being sober opens up is a daunting thing. I am left with myself, my sober self. I cannot take a holiday from me. I cannot take a break from me. I am stuck with me. Before in my drinking days I would have taken a break from myself by getting drunk. Today I don’t need to escape from the isle of me. Have I got my life figured out? Not by a half. However I am learning to deal with myself as I am today. I am far from perfect. I am human after all.

My body deals with sugar poorly. I have known this for most of my life. To have a banana or something sweet in my bag was not uncommon. I used to know this. I forgot. Stopping alcohol gave my eating habits a wobbly unbalance. I compensated by binging on food. A common enough side effect of quitting alcohol. Ten months into this sober pursuit and I think I can now face my relationship with food.

I have hypoglycemia. That’s a fancy word for low blood sugar. When I have low blood sugar I can feel dizzy, lose vision, sweat profusely, be clumsy, feel weak and shaky, fatigue, light-headed, have trouble talking, pale skin, diarrhoea, pass out.

I cannot eat the way I used to drink. I cannot substitute food for the way I drank. I will damage my body. If I binge on sweet foods my body has to adjust and level out. It expects more sugar later but when that doesn’t happen it panics and carries on like in the symptoms above. It used to be scary. Now I don’t panic. But I can stop this from happening altogether. I can eat smaller portions more often. I can carry something to eat with me. I didn’t do this and I was a mess a few weeks ago. Literally.

Why do we do this to ourselves? We know what is good for us and what is not. We know this. We have read about it. Most of it is commonsense. Humans are supposed to be a smarter species but I beg to differ. We have two options, the right one and the wrong one. We often choose the wrong one, even with all the information and knowledge that the wrong choice is bad. We still go for the wrong one. Is it plain stupidity? I don’t know. We cannot help ourselves until we go so far wrong that we get to the place of make or break. Humans aren’t logical. We like to think we are but we aren’t. We try to complicate our lives by doing the wrong thing over and over but keeping it simple seems too easy? I really don’t know why we do the things that we do. Stubbornness is a big reason. Why do we rebel against ourselves though?Why must we make life harder for ourselves when we know the difference between right and wrong?

Back to the sugar. I need to regulate my sugar intake. I can no longer guzzle an entire bag of licorice without suffering consequences. Because if I’m honest it isn’t just a bag of licorice. It is the desire to eat what is in reach. It is not healthy eating. It is eating for the sake of eating. It is perhaps emotional eating. It is replacement eating for alcohol that I no longer consume.

I do not drink fizzy drink or soda. I haven’t for many years. I don’t drink fruit juice either. I have a sweet tooth. I haven’t baked in a long while because I will tend to eat all of the baking within a short space of time. Why? Because it’s there. I have not taken moderation seriously with my food. I love food. I took food holidays. Visiting balsamic vinegar making factories, eating wild boar, pickled sardines, freshly fried sardines, octopus, fresh mozzarella, tiramisu. I ate my way around places. I would cook in apartments with fresh ingredients from the markets. It was a great focus to travel. I did art holidays too. I followed the footsteps of Matisse. I followed the Byzantine. Reading up before I left. It was a great way to travel.

I am forcing myself to moderate my food intake. If I regulate how much sugar I consume then I won’t become hypoglycemic. Simple. No. Not so simple. I am bucking the habits of a lifetime. I am limiting myself to five pieces of licorice a day. I read the back of the package and a single serving is 40g or five pieces. I used to look at the back for fun and then eat the entire bag. I cannot do that anymore without consequences. Wake up me. Time to get real. I have done three days of self regulation of licorice. That for me is a big step. Because with that comes better eating habits all around. Salads and salmon. Toasted muesli. Kiwifruit. Yoghurt. Almonds instead of chocolate. Whole grain toast. Smaller portions. Eating when hungry, not just for the sake of it, eating better.

This evening I will have five pieces of licorice. No more and no less.

For whom it may concern

Why do we do the things we do?

For ourselves? For vanity? For someone else? Or without thought?

Do we dress/act to keep up appearances, to keep to another’s standard?

What is that standard? What is your standard? Does it change?

Do we present ourselves to society and the world as our true selves? Do we even know who we really are? Are we merely a reflection of whom society chooses for us? If we see a photograph of ourselves who do we see? What do we observe about ourselves within the photograph? When we look into a mirror who do we see? What version of ourselves do we see or allow ourselves to see? Is it our true self? The one in the photograph, the one in the mirror, the one who lives in our bodies?

Do we change who we are depending on the audience in front of us? A wife, a daughter, a mother, a boss, an employee, a customer, a friend, a complainant, an advisor, a protector, a child?

Becoming sober let’s one choose to question with a clearer mind. The answers may not be any clearer but at least you remember the next day what you thought about the day before.

The discovery of self is a life long quest and some days feel like a leaden plod, and others a hop, skip and a pirouette. That being said I would still rather be my true self on a rotten day than an imposter with a painted on smile and crying on the inside. I would rather I cried real tears and really felt them without embarrassment or shame. Being human has a range of emotions. We have to let them in, to experience them, in order for them to pass through and out the other side. This nothingness or flatness I feel today I have embraced it reluctantly. A stiff hug for sure but hopefully it’ll be gone tomorrow.

Not drinking makes you smarter

Not drinking makes you smarter. Did I really just write that? Who clicked because they believed it, even just for a second?

It ain’t true. Not drinking doesn’t make you smarter. And drinking doesn’t make you smarter either. What makes you smart? If I could answer that there would be no need for this blog for starters. Smartness (look it up, it’s a word) comes from experience, intuition, reading, thinking, observation and I suppose a few genes, not the designer jean variety.

Being sober lifts the fog and allows us to see clearer. What we do with this new sight is up to us. We made the first smart decision: to stop drinking. We can build on this and make more smart decisions. It’s like taking steps. One step after anther. One smart decision after another. Along the way we will sidestep and make dumb decisions. That’s to be expected. That’s what learning is, right?

Last week I made a smart decision. I hit a hurdle in life. I could have coped with it by having a wine or two like I would have in the past. This time, my sober self, said no. Deal with this sober, you are strong. You’ve got this. And I did got this.

Soberness might not give us smart decisions always but it gives us a chance to make more better choices.

Choose to be smart today.

Facing Forward

Facing or confronting something is more difficult than turning away. It requires effort and dealing with whatever it may be. The thought of facing something can make whatever it is into a mountain when in fact it was a wrinkle in a sheet. Shadows play tricks on us and the devil on our shoulder is whispering come away with me, don’t climb the mountain, what’s one more day?

If we faced the mountain and walked towards it we would realise that it wasn’t so big after all. The weight off our shoulders would have made it worth the effort.

Not facing something takes more effort and occupies more space in your mind than if you faced whatever it is. So why do we insist on looking away or elsewhere, anywhere but forward facing the issue? Why do we do this to ourselves? Because it’s hard? It’s much harder to avoid than to face. Avoidance is quite a complicated dance. It’s like juggling while balancing on one foot on top of a chair. It involves lots of pieces and trying to figure out how not to lose the rhythm so you or the balls don’t fall on the floor. What would be wrong about you and the balls being on the floor anyway? You can rest.

Which is it? Difficult or easy? One moment you say facing something is difficult then you say not facing something is effortful. Which is it? It is what we make it. Huh?

We make decisions for ourselves. Sometimes we know we are making the wrong one and we go ahead regardless. A conscious decision, a decision we know to be wrong yet we willfully proceed. Why? It’s the path of least resistance.

Okay. I get that. That might be true. So why do we do it to ourselves? It’s easier not to.

Doing nothing sometimes is better than doing the wrong thing. Not always but sometimes true. However what I am talking about here is personal growth. The more things we face the more we grow as a person. And with these experiences we learn and we gain wisdom. Our lives become more fulfilled and we seek out more to enrich our lives.

*I wrote the above post earlier, like a couple of months ago and saved it. Publishing today.

I am past my 7 month sober mark and feeling good that I am. Before this journey started the sober part of it seemed like the finish line but in fact it was the just the start line. Being sober is the easy part, the knowing what to do with the time while being sober is the challenge. How do we proceed in life now that we have our life before us with the truth bared raw. I like myself better sober. Still finding my feet. Shuffling in the right direction. Still eat a lot to compensate, stay up late, and do very little exercise. But I am absolutely fine with it. I can honestly say I feel real peace on the good days.

Facing forward and leaning into the wind.