When I got home last night and took off my shoes, the bottom of my right heel was killing me. The pain continued through the night whenever I got up and still hurts today when I walk. I did some research online on heel pain and found heel spurs are common after exercise with improper stretching. I didn’t stretch. I also haven’t really exercised much to speak of in the past few months. I’m also carrying a lot of weight.

I had really bad dreams last night about not being able to walk or move properly and gaining more and more weight. I was restless with worry that I had a permanent issue with my foot and will never regain the opportunity to lose weight through exercise again.

I’m feeling really down today. I’m anxious that this is a permanent injury and I hate being in pain of any sort. This is not the kind of result I wanted to have after my first bout of exercising. I’m really bummed and at a loss. I guess I will take up swimming?

I just got back from a 25 minute stint at the gym. I went. I walked. I was hot. My heart rate was elevated.

Now I don’t want to talk to anyone for the rest of the day.*

*It was really, really hard.

I didn’t go to Forza. I read a review about the class and its instructor in the local paper and the person who did a trial of the class couldn’t get out of bed the next day. He was more fit than I am, and I figured I didn’t want to spend the rest of the week shying away from exercise because of sword-fighting. So I passed it up.

My husband and I went to Costco instead and purchased two huge bags of frozen organic green beans. I purused the book section, picked up Michael Pollan’s new guide to eating, flipped through it, and realized that I knew it all already. I don’t need a guide. I don’t need to throw myself into anything. It’s like riding a bicycle. I can do this.

I keep repeating this phrase to myself: you can do this. I am not a “just do it” kind of person. I need to nudge myself in the right direction. I need to be kind and slow or I freak out like a skittish cat. I have to have immense patience with myself.

I have resolved to go to the gym tonight. I am terrified of going to the new gym alone. I never thought I’d be so scared of something like this – but I am. I just want to go and walk for 20 minutes. It’ll be fine. I will listen to my ipod mix – all of my favorite songs – and walk on the indoor track. It’ll be over before I know it, and I’ll feel a lot better. I don’t care how the rest of my day goes if I can just do this one thing once. I just have to go for 20 minutes tonight.

Back to work…

I want to convince myself that I don’t have any New Year’s Resolutions related to my weight…though I imagine I join a huge influx of bloggers who are writing about weight this morning, so perhaps the fresh start of a new year has given me a jumping off point again. I’m here, aren’t I?

In fact, I do have one New Year’s Resolution. It’s more a mandate for myself, but I am resolved, it IS the new year – so…

Find my gratitude.

That’s it. I feel that my gratitude for the world and my place in it is buried beneath resentment and frustration. I feel that giving thanks is a simple act, and what flows from that act is perhaps more kindness, more forgiveness, more understanding, and more actions to promote further gratitude. It is potentially a catalyst for my weight loss insofar as my gratitude for my current health will lead me to maintain my health.

This “resolution” feels right to me. After a year of what felt like intense suffering and stress, I realize that I can look back and see moments of light here and there. There were times when everything was wonderful and good and I was strong. Most of those times were when I was moving or outdoors. When I was covered in sweat and breathing heavy and smiling.

In 2009, I should have been and am NOW grateful for:

1. The abandoned stone gazebo at the top of the trail in Ethan Allen Park. The view was extraordinary and the place itself was sheltered and quiet. There was immense light. I had my husband photograph me sitting and smiling. My face was red, but I had moved my body up a long trail to get there. I was tired, and thirsty, and happy. Profoundly.

2. The multiple moments when we reached the top of Ethan Allen Tower and looked out at the 360 degree view of the Green Mountains and Lake Champlain. We watched the storms roll in and the sun settle down behind the Adirondacks in a ravishing display of pinks, golds, and oranges.

3. The wedding day of C. and D., who had a very modest wedding on the waterfront, but who created a wonderful and peaceful day. I wore a black summer dress and put a flower in my hair. I felt beautiful. I encountered my ex-best friend for the first time since our falling out, and maintained my dignity and resolve around her. I danced a little. I sang Lady GaGa songs. I ate modestly and drank not-so-modestly. I smiled a lot. I was friendly and happy. It was a wonderful day.

4. Whale watching on my birthday. Seals in front of the New England Aquarium. The whale move in 3D at the IMAX theatre.

5. Rescuing six guinea pigs from an abandoned apartment and finally finding a humane society to take them in.

6. Swimming in the lake with my sister and husband (despite him cutting his toe open later that day.) It was beautiful and perfect until we had to go to the ER! :(

7. XC skiing in Battery park early in January – just prior to the whole ending-of-best-friendship thing. The snow was beautiful, and I fell down and it didn’t hurt…

8. Eating Vermont’s Best Burger under a tree with my husband this summer.

9. The calm, huffing, sleepiness of a room full of greyhounds sleeping in their cages after I’d turned them all out for running/peeing when I volunteered at the rescue shelter. There is nothing like fifty sleepy, warm greyhounds to make the world feel just right.

I’m sure there are more, and I’m sure I will find them the more I look back and dig for those moments I hopped over. It seems I just had stress-colored glasses on this whole year. There were beautiful moments. There were moments that changed me as a person and I have largely ignored or forgotten them.

I think I’m going to add to this blog not only my daily struggles or triumphs with eating and exercising, but also a list of things/moments I am grateful for. My gratitude, like my resolve for a healthier lifestyle, is not always in plentiful supply. It’s important to keep a record of my life – the ugly, the bad, and the good. Maybe having a log of it will enable me to feel more balanced in my life and not under so much pressure.


And of course, there is the health/weight issue to address. I have successfully ignored both diet and exercise for the last few months. I felt I had to put it all on the back burner to get my family moved and to get through the holidays. At this point, I have the following support mechanisms in place for my diet/exercise:

1. I have a new gym membership to a club that has an indoor walking track, an indoor heated pool, access to trainers, is closer to home than the old gym, and includes a ton of group fitness classes at no charge. I received this as a work “bonus.”

2. My husband is resolved to eat healthier, cook more meals at home, and spend less money. By design, I’m going to probably benefit from those changes as well.

3. I have a “motivation token.” When I earn 100 “points/stars/hearts” through eating healthy and exercising, I can finally wear the $50 acorn necklace I purchased for myself. I have been coveting this necklace forever and “earning” it is good motivation.

4. I bought a size 28 pair of jeans this weekend. This is up four sizes from what I was currently wearing. It means I’ve gained about 50 pounds since the beginning of the year, maybe less. Maybe the jeans are cut differently, but I know all of my clothing is tight and ill-fitting. Since I can’t afford a new wardrobe, I need to at least return to the size I was when I bought the close (roughly 22/24 instead of 26/28). It’s become a matter of necessity.

5. I have a great system for recording my food intake/calories.

6. I have a great system for recording my exercise/daily activity.

7. I have access to a monthly weight-control follow up group with my behavioral therapist that I can attend at no charge. This is a great weigh-in and check-in place with people who are on the same path and with a therapist who knows my history.

I’m sort of out of reasons to continue an unhealthy and unconscious lifestyle. The perpetuation of that lifestyle can now only be for two reasons: avoidance and bingeing. Both of these tremendous roadblocks can be overcome with therapy, journaling, and easing myself into uncomfortable new situations. The onus is on me now to take control.

I have not yet attended the new gym. I don’t know why, but I’m afraid. I’m even more afraid now that it’s the new year and it will be packed with Resolvers for a few months. I hate exercising around people, but I’m sort of “excited” to go. I really just need to go. It’s a no-brainer.

Tonight I’m taking on a new venture – Forza! This is a muscle-centered sword-fighting warrior-woman type of activity. I’m scared and may not attend because I’m scared, but it’s something I really want to try. We’ll see how it goes or if I go. I get a “heart” if I go…one step closer to my acorn necklace.

I’m hoping to post here more often. It feels good to be “back.”

So my four week cold turned into a flu last Tuesday night. I’ve been completely out of commission for the last week and am still quite sick/under the weather.

I wasn’t able to really eat this week, so I lost some weight – and am disgusted with myself that I’m happy about it. I’m really weak in spirit right now, so my vanity is at an all-time high. The appearance of my wrist bones, even despite a week of utter hellish sickness, makes me a twinge happy. It’ll all be back to normal soon as I fully intend to eat again when my belly decides it’s time.


* I am seeking out a therapist for various reasons/issues

* My company is paying for a swankier (not Snooty) gym, and I’m pleased to announce I now have pool access, walking track access, and access to climbing walls should the need ever arise.

* I am succeeding at being kinder to myself – though I have some distance to go before I’m at peace (hence therapist). I have not been binge-eating, however. Whether this is due to five days of 102 F temperature or whether I’ve chilled out a bit about weight loss right now, I’m not sure.

In the meantime, I’m going to continue to rest and drink fluids and generally relax and treat myself like an infant.

I had a huge, huge breakdown last night. It started when I was unable to fall asleep – chasing exhaustion around in my head like a dog after its tail. I was still awake at 3:40 am, when I sat up abruptly in bed and started crying. I went out into the living room to read Mary Oliver poems on the couch, leaking tears down the front of me. I must have made a racket, because moments later, my husband joined me. He took me in his arms and encircled me with comfort. I cried and cried.

I am under an immense amount of stress. My parents are moving due to my father’s illness, and I have spent the last year taking on a parental role. It has consumed most of my life and energy for a long time. I don’t remember who I am anymore. I’m just tired.

There are so many things I’ve been trying to do for myself in addition to carrying the biggest weight (pun not intended) on my shoulders that I’ve ever carried. I’ve been trying to take care of myself when I’ve been so depleted on energy that brushing my teeth is a Herculean effort. I’ve also been hard on myself for not coming through on eating well and exercising and self-care.

Last night my husband reminded me that even on my best days, exercising and eating well are immensely hard tasks. Taking care of myself becomes my whole life because of the effort I have to put forth. If I’m already consumed by my family stress (at least until they are settled in their new apartment), it’s a lot to ask of myself to take on self-care.

There are some days you just need to stay in bed. I have been pushing myself to get up every day; to keep going and remain positive. I have been trying, and failing, and hoping each day that I have something to give back to myself.  I don’t right now. I have nothing left for myself but kindness and forgiveness. I can try to be kind to myself, but ultimately, I have to be forgiving if right now is too hard.

It sounds like I’m just making excuses, but this is really a reality check. I’m hoping to continue to blog until I’m back on track, but I’m not sure I have the energy to be on track, and I need to be okay with that.

So, I guess, energetically at least, I’m going to put my pajamas on, crawl back into bed, and dig a good book out of my nightstand drawer. I need a break. And a bubble bath. And a good massage. And…

AKA: Breakfast.


I’m not kidding.


It must be Halloween. I’m writing about it because I’m intensely ashamed of the fact that I ate nothing but sugar and garbage for breakfast this morning. I just have to admit it to myself, throw out the pile of Halloween candy I have in my desk drawer and remember to breathe a little today and be kind to myself.

Be kind.


Be kind.


Okay, back to work.

I’ve been extremely lax about recording everything I’m eating. There have been a lot of “contingencies” this week:

* Birthdays at work (pizza and cake)

* Candy corn from the receptionist

* Halloween candy everywhere

* Helping my parents out and having them feed me dinner (uncountable)

* Friends over for dinner (ordered italian take out)

* Sister-in-law over for dinner (she brought pre-made Shepherd’s Pie)

I’m sure that in each of these instances I could have made better choices than to eat Pizza, Cake, Cheese Ravioli and Meatballs, Milkduds (I caved), Candy Corn, Candy Pumpkins, M&Ms, Pork Roast, Oreo Cookies, Cider Donuts, Shepherd’s Pie, Rolls with Butter, etc.

I COULD have had salad, a turkey sandwich, roasted vegetables, less pork roast, less rolls with less butter, no donutes…but I didn’t make these choices. I’ve chosen to slink into a comfort food cloud of avoidance and enjoy the carbs, cheese, chocolate, and sugar.

I am still heavily resistant to making good choices when faced with a contingency. A “contingency” is basically what I call any divergence from the meal plan that I’ve shopped for, planned out, and that will be healthy and filling. They’ve cropped up a lot lately because of more social and familial interaction. There will come a point when I have to stop using contingencies as an excuse to overeat. I can have a little, but I’ve been going overboard.

Today, I’m going to at least just record everything I eat. I’m going to give myself a ♥ for it, because it’s something I’m avoiding. I don’t care about the calorie or sodium count. I just care that I pay attention to everything I eat. It’s a good start.

I’m hoping to hit the gym again today. I still have six days left of my free trial at the Snooty Gym. We’ll see how that goes.

A co-worker and I are trying out a new gym called Synergy Fitness. My god, is it ever different from Planet Fitness. Everything is brand new, there’s towel service, private changing rooms, shampoo and conditioner in the showers already, laundry baskets for the towels, a juice bar, comfortable couches, TV’s for each piece of equipment, automated strength training machines, and that “new” smell that gets you all excited inside. It’s more expensive, but my company will be paying for half of the membership.

Today was not only my first day at the gym, but my first day exercising in a very long while. I walked on the treadmill at 1% incline and at 2.3 MPH for 23 minutes. It was hard. I realize that after being sick for two weeks and not exercising for almost four, I’m kind of back at square one in terms of fitness. I didn’t expect to be a rockstar on the treadmill, but I also wasn’t expecting to feel so BEAT at the end of 23 minutes. I couldn’t even go to 25. I’m making a sad face about this.

I gave myself a ♥ because I got out there and did it. I’m trying to go easy on myself for a while as I get back into taking care of myself.

I’m not sure about this gym. It may be a little too quiet/stuffy for me. It may also be nice to have a training service and the ability to be comfortable while doing longer, multi-part workouts.

I’m just kind of glad I went.

Eating today isn’t going so well. The receptionist brought in those candy-corn style pumpkins, and I’ve eaten quite a few of them. Six of them is 150 calories and 80 mg of sodium, so they’re basically sugar and salt balls. I don’t need them, but they were tasty. I’m going to forgive myself and try to do well the rest of the day.

The tagline on this blog used to read: the long incline to joy.

I spent a lot of time thinking about what that meant to me. It implies so much to assume that joy is something inherent in attaining a goal. So much of my dissatisfaction with my life is due to a lack of contentment and joy in the HERE AND NOW. I have always perceived my happiness as being something at the summit of a mountain, or in a pair of smaller jeans, and sure – there WILL BE joy to be had when I finally summit my first mountain. There will not necessarily be joy just in having smaller pants. In fact, the idea of that is absurd.

I consider myself an intelligent person. I know that my eating habits and sedentary lifestyle are unhealthy. They would be unhealthy for anyone. In fact, they are unhealthy for my husband, who is of “normal” weight. At the very heart of things, I don’t believe that life is easier or more beautiful or more filled with happiness at a size sixteen than at a size twenty-six. Some things may be easier (ie: finding quality, affordable clothing), but if fitting into a smaller size of pants is TRULY a source of JOY for me, I have to seriously reevaluate my outlook on life.

Which I’m now doing. I’ve always believed that losing weight would be a symptom of developing an active lifestyle coupled with more sane eating practices. I can’t imagine spending five years losing 200 pounds only to find myself unhappy at the end. So working towards weight loss, which has never succeeded in making me happy before, can’t be my primary goal. I have to be honest with myself about what I truly want. It’s hard to face the prospect that I could be an obese (albeit “fit”) woman for the rest of my life in a world so incredibly judgemental of fat bodies. But it’s not that hard. I’m finding as I think and write and write and think. Is the true driving urge in me NOT to be a thin person, but a happy person?

And if so…what makes me happy?


Ease of Movement

I am happiest when I am not winded doing everyday activities. I’d like to be able to go for walks with my husband and match his pace. I’d like to go for hikes with friends. I’d like like to walk around a city for a day and not have my feet and legs hurt by the end. I’d like to sleep better and not roll around as much. I’d like to be able to jog someday. I’d love to take a kickboxing class and kick some ass. I’d love to take a Jazzercise class and move my body in new ways. I’d love to be less tired and have more energy. I’d love to learn how to really swim. I’d love to walk up a flight of stairs and not gasp for breath. I’d love to be able to lift myself. I’d love to feel strong in my muscles. I’d love to feel stretchy and relaxed after yoga. I love to sweat. I am happiest when my body is in motion. I am happiest when I’ve finished a long hike and am lying in the grass looking at the sky, marveling in how alive I feel.

Will exercising bring joy?

Living Close to the Earth

When I was in college, I was often the fattest person in the room. I stuck out like a sore thumb in my environmental studies classes. I felt like everyone there judged me. A fat person – the physical manifestation of consumerist pigdom – couldn’t possibly desire to live close to the earth. She couldn’t possibly care more about eating local, organic vegetables than stuffing her face with pizza. They were right, at times. I didn’t care, at times. I have a binge eating disorder (more on that later). My binge trigger foods aren’t carrots, unfortunately. I emotionally eat. There is a difference between emotions and ethics, however. One can have ethics about how one chooses to conduct her life, but emotional disorders (ie: comfort eating) can override those ethics. It happens all the time to perfectly good people. Perfectly good people do bad things. It’s pathology. It’s rampant in our society.

In truth, I would greatly like to align my actual eating with my ethics. This is not a diet for the sake of losing weight, but a diet consistent with my beliefs about what is good for the planet and for humanity. I’m no puritan, but eating and living sustainably seems RIGHT to me. Not eating animals feels right to me. Eating processed junk food and animal products from factory farms feels unethical to me.

Can doing what feels RIGHT bring joy?

Overcoming Binge Eating

I am not the kind of person who likes being bogged down by neurosis. I give in to them easily enough, but I don’t like being controlled by substances. This could be a struggle for power over my weaknesses or just a struggle for power over what no longer serves me. Binge eating no longer serves me. When I was a child, emotional eating was comforting. I had a great deal of difficult moments to manage my way through, and food was always a friend. I developed a strong and intense binge eating disorder which has stuck with me to this day. I still binge at times, and while the quantity of food has lessened, I do it intentionally to avoid bad feelings and to hurt myself. Four years ago I quit smoking because I didn’t like harming myself. I didn’t like a chemical controlling how I felt. Binge eating is just another “chemical.” It’s fake happiness for a small span of time, and it creates more misery than not when all is said and done.

Monitoring what, how, when, and why I eat is a means of learning how to eat like a normal person. It isn’t a diet specifically designed to “lose weight,” so much as to learn how to control my eating. I can watch to see how I was feeling when I ate a box of milkduds. I can monitor how a normal-sized meal fills my belly and make adjustments so that I come to physically understand satiation.

Can being free of emotional disorders bring joy?


The HAES gurus argue that “lifestyle changes” are bullshit covers for “diets.” Diets fail. Lifestyle changes fail. But sometimes you have to change your lifestyle for the sake of health. I no longer want to be controlled by emotional eating. I want to align my food choices with my environmental ethics. I want to move my body so that I can better enjoy my life.

I can see how measuring weight loss (in terms of inches and poundage) is wholly contrary to what I want at my heart of hearts. Sure, it would be nice to fit into clothes from all stores, but that one fact will not bring me joy. I have a deeply loving relationship with a husband who fell in love with me at 375 pounds. I am not looking to weight loss as a means to finding love. Why, then, am I worried about recording it?

This thinking calls for a redesign of my outlook and my blog. I have never approached a “lifestyle change” with an honest heart about what I truly wanted out of my life and what would bring me joy.

If I can stand on the summit of Camel’s Hump and weigh 300 pounds, I promise you I will be smiling no matter how much I weigh. It is the journey up, towards happiness, that counts.



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.