After what was a pretty good week, I find myself struggling today. It’s the usual “nothing’s wrong…with everything.” I ate too much, I haven’t exercised, I’m completely out of control; the scale won’t be kind to me tomorrow and no matter how much brain space I devote to this today – no matter how many seconds, minutes, and hours I spend THINKING about this, planning what to do TODAY…very little I do RIGHT NOW will change tomorrow’s weigh-in.
It would make sense, then, to quit thinking about it – to shrug, drink some water, go for a walk, and do the best I can, and be as healthy as I can. But my brain keeps pulling me out of focus and re-centering me on the COMPLETELY UNHELPFUL observation that I am, in fact, way too fat and SOMETHING MUST BE DONE and done RIGHT NOW.
So – brain dump. I’ll write it out. At least that will keep me from taping a bag of potato chips to my pie hole. Hard to type when you’ve got a hand in a bag of greasy comfort food.
To be fair, most of the week, I actually did quite well. I actually didn’t use my food scale ONCE (well, for calorie counting, anyway. I do use it for cooking on occasion; that feels more legit to me.) I had a sensible smoothie for breakfast (yeah, I KNOW what I said last time about smoothies, but this is all whole, real food, and I’m just trying to get more veggies, OK?) an apple and soup for lunch, and a sensible dinner made with whole, clean ingredients. I overdid it a bit on the evening snacks, but I figured that was OK, because I’m trying to recover from something (backstory below) and figured I could use the extra energy.
Boring, but relevant, backstory: I’m trying this new anti-viral protocol through my naturopath to try to get over a chronic/recurring illness – I’ve had mono 6-7 times in the last 4 years. In case you were wondering – no, that isn’t supposed to happen, and yes, most people only get it once, and DEFINITELY, it sucks and sucks hard. The exhaustion you get with mono is completely frustrating; you can’t muster up the strength to get regular exercise, and your body craves quick-energy fixes (aka: LIES to you) and demands you eat bags of candy, chocolate, and kettle corn just so you can have the energy to breathe and sit upright.
After years of really interesting and unusual blood tests, we have determined that I have an autoimmune disorder. It doesn’t have a name yet, and appears to be Atypical (from the Greek word meaning: “We have absolutely no idea.”) To summarize, what appears to be happening with the mono is that whenever my immune system is challenged – i.e. one of the kids gets a cold, or I get on a plane, or I’m just plain stressed out – the mono comes back. (Did I mention we have four kids, I’m on a plane at least twice a month, and I work long days with a 45-minute commute?) Once the mono pops in, I’m in for 6+ weeks of the tired. I can usually go to work (though I may spend weekends and an extra day in bed,) but exercise is out for a couple weeks, along with anything that requires more energy than changing the channel from Dr. Oz to Ellen.
So anyway, I’m on some megadoses of extracts and potions to try to 1) kill off an underlying virus (some strain of pneumonia; I can’t remember which, but it has about 47 syllables and is apparently quite difficult to completely obliterate once it gets settled in) and 2) boost my immune system so the mono doesn’t get a foothold when my immune system gets distracted by something new and shiny to fight off.
With this Immunity Protocol comes something really fun called Viral Die-Off. Short description: When your body is killing something that does NOT want to die, sometimes you feel worse before you feel better. So – physically, I felt really crappy this week. I did get my run in on Monday, but after that, the only exercise I got was arm curls: bag to mouth. Unfortunately, cheese popcorn just won’t have the desired impact on your triceps, no matter how many fistfuls you stuff in there.
By the time I got to Friday, I was still tired but feeling a little better. Friday night, I didn’t get nearly enough sleep. So on Saturday, the delicate tightrope I was gracefully balancing on broke, and I ate. I ate and ate and ate. A whole pizza, an entire box of Larabars, two boxes of freeze-dried fruit, a couple eggs, a yogurt, and one of those dessert-in-a-cup coffee drinks that you would have to run the entire Boston Marathon in order to burn off.
So what went wrong here? I know, at least intellectually, that it isn’t about the food. I know I was likely trying to self-soothe the yuckies, and was anxious and stressed from the lack of exercise and missing a day of work. I also know that my husband has been pretty distant this week. I mentioned before that he’s been working through what I’ve been calling (to myself, anyway) his spiritual mid-life crisis. He’s working quite diligently on what he calls his “thesis”, which appears to involve ripping to shreds any form of organized religion. He actually woke up early a few days this week to work on it, and is looking to buy a website domain so he can share his venom with the rest of the world.
To be clear, I have absolutely zero issue with someone researching religion or spirituality. Frankly, I think more people should do that – we should spend time discovering how we believe we’re connected and come to a conclusion that puts us at peace, as opposed to just believing what Mom and Dad did (or the full-180-degree opposite of what Mom and Dad did, if you’re the rebellious sort.) What I DO take issue with is approaching religious differences from a place of anger instead of a place of love – or at least tolerance and an attempt to understand. And it hurts me when my husband, who knows how important my faith is to me, would want to invest so much time trying to shoot holes into various channels of spirituality.
I suppose the question is WHY does this hurt me so much? Why do I take it so personally? And the bigger question is WHY can’t I just TELL HIM “hey sweetie, can you spend an hour focusing on us and our relationship? Because that would mean a lot to me.”
As I’m writing this, the light is starting to leak in under the door. (No fireworks display of A-HA!…more like a “Hmm….)
Last weekend, I realized that my husband and I have Memorial Day weekend together – we actually have a four-day weekend, and NO plans, and the kids will all be at the other parents’ houses that weekend. I suggested we try to squeeze in a trip – we always TALK about how nice a getaway would be, but other than taking brief visits to see distant family, the only true vacation we’ve ever had was our honeymoon, which was two nights away about eight years ago. My husband seemed really enthused about taking this opportunity to travel, but every time I broached the subject this week, he was too busy to talk about it – because he was working on his Grand Thesis.
I suppose it’s not out of the question that I might be somewhat bothered by that. I could be hurt that his religious critique has yet again risen above what I might need. Not only does he work on this quite blatantly when he knows it hurts me, but he works on it in lieu of working on things that might help our relationship. (Which is, not unironically, somewhat stressed due to his new research hobby.)
Hey, I know this sounds selfish. Obviously, his “thesis” is really important to him, and I need to find a way to respect that and deal with it. And for most part, I do – I don’t comment to him about it; I don’t roll my eyes or spit in his food or give him the silent treatment or scan his hard drive and delete files or any such thing. (Although, when he uses the voice-command on Google, if I’m nearby, I can’t help but shout something like “UNICORN PORNOGRAPHY!” just to eff with his search a tiny bit. Heh.)
I need to find a way to get my needs met more effectively than by eating either everything or nothing. I need to figure out how to articulate what it is, exactly, that I need. I need to understand how I can meet those needs myself instead of relying on a fallible human to meet them. And I need to understand why my reaction to EVERYTHING is to punish myself with food.
I am eating very lightly today – mostly healthy stuff so far. My stomach isn’t convinced that it doesn’t need a bag of trail mix, a jar of peanut butter, and a bag of potato chips, but it needs to shut the heck up until my clothes are looser.
Or until it doesn’t matter so much.
No dinner tonight, and will run tomorrow morning. Attempting to preserve my sanity one denied, avoided, burned calorie at a time.