My Shoes

If you ever want affirmation of your accomplishments, just ask me and I will remind you.  I was there as we walked into the counselor’s office who assured you that your eating disorder was real and you would not be cured overnight.  I was under the bed as I silently listened to you sob as the reality set in that you would have a tough road ahead of you.  But I crossed my laces and bit my tongue, as I knew that you would be strong enough to work through this…..and I was right.  Within a week you were putting me on and headed to the gym to start your journey.  I had no idea what the journey would look like, but I knew I was going to be with you every step of the way.  We ran on that treadmill and every time you jumped off trying to quit, I jumped back on because I knew you could do it. As your confidence built, I could see we would be spending a lot of time together and this made me happy.  We had a bond that would change both of our lives forever.

I was pleasantly surprised to hear we would be performing our first challenge together.  We would be doing a 5K race in just a few months.  Once you set this goal, we were off and running.  On you runs, I could hear the doubt creeping into your thoughts and yet we pushed through.  I have to say, I was never more proud of you than the day you laced me up in April 2012.  You were full of excitement, but I could feel you shake with fear wondering if you would be able to do this. I walked you to the start line, even as you contemplated running away.  As the gun signaled the start you were frozen, but I took that first step and you did the rest.  I caught those tears as they fell from your eyes realizing you had just crossed the finish line.  That was a very special day!

With a little bit of encouragement, we found a local run club.  That first day was scary.  We were late (of course you were) and had to start the run by ourselves.  Maybe it was better that way.  We took off in the direction they were running and about halfway through our run, I knew this run club would be perfect for you.  You would find friends who would love you for who you are (even though you felt flawed).  These girls and guys helped give you the courage to venture out and learn to let others in. Thank you River Run Club!

From that moment, you never looked back.  We were off to the races…..literally.  You were signing up for races like they were going out of style.  But yet, you kept me around.  We even journeyed across the US to do some hiking with Ali Vincent.  I remember how nervously excited you were sitting in the car at the base of the hill of the Hollywood sign.  I was not even sure you were going to get out.  But you mustered up the courage to get out and mingle.  As we hiked up the hill, I heard you share your story with Ali and I knew that this was going to be a turning point in your life…..and it was.

Once back in NC, we hit the ground running.  We were doing 5Ks and even an impromptu 8K.  I was not sure I was ready for that one, but you took me anyway.  Once you had a taste of racing, you wanted more.  We began training for our first Half together.  Oh the miles we put in not only on the pavement but in the air.  You were traveling around to run races – Tinker Bell Half Marathon in California, Kicks for Kids and the Cheetah Run in Cincinnati, Diva Half Marathon in Myrtle Beach, SC.  I have enjoyed running all the races in Raleigh too.  I was a little worried if you would come back when you left me in the transition area with your bike when you did your first Triathlon, but sure enough you came back soaking wet, slipped me on and off we rode.  Even though you wanted to quit when we got back, I reminded you that I was here and off we went on the run.  Crossing the finish line with you was an unforgettable moment.

The day you signed up for the Full Marathon, I worried if I would be able to “support” you on this journey.  I knew I wanted to be there, but wondered if I should pass the torch to one of my friends to carry on this journey with you.  I knew someday I would be replaced and this just might be the time. I want you to know that I am okay with our journey ending here because I know that your journey still continues.  I am so proud of everything you have accomplished during our time together.  You are the strongest woman I know. Just remember, anytime doubt starts to creep back into your thoughts, I am here, under the bed, to remind you of your accomplishments.

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Interval, Tempo, Long

INTERVAL, TEMPO, LONG

Guess what I am doing?  I have completed my first week of training for my marathon.  I can already see that there will be many struggles for me during this 16-week training, mainly my schedule.

After much discussion with fellow runners, I have settled into a 3-run a week training schedule.  I am supposed to be fitting in 30-45 minutes of cross-training two days a week.  So far, I have done my runs but I have not been successful at working the cross training into my schedule.  So how do marathoners do it?   How do they set aside time in their busy schedules to fit in all the training. 

Hopefully before week 16 I can tell you how I do it.  With my busy schedule of two fulltime jobs (luckily one is more full-time than the other), managing Couch 2 Healthy and handling my life as a mother, grandmother and wife ~ I am struggling. 

Now for the positives.  My intervals  (first time ever running them) went smoothly.  I am excited to do this again.  My 3-mile tempo run was not as successful as I had hoped.  It made me begin to worry about my long run (10 miles).  So Saturday I show up nervous about the 10.  Within a few hundred yards I was sure I would not complete.  It was then I turned to Jim and said, “I’m going to run a mile and walk a quarter”.  Once I had the plan, I was better.  I knew that I could run a mile ~ I’ve done that a million times.  By the time I reached 5 miles, I couldn’t believe I was still able to keep going.  At Mile 8 though, my body was done.  Every time I would lift my right leg to step forward, my foot was falling forward causing me to drag my toe and almost stumble. Back to walking I went.  Because I do not want to give up, I try to run again.  Within ten steps I am in full cramp, crashing to the ground and ripping off the shoes trying to straighten my toes.  That was it, my body was done.  I walked the last 2 miles but I finished.

So tomorrow we start the cycle over……wish me luck!

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Another First

In our lifetime, we get to have many firsts ~ like our first step, first tooth, or first word.  Many of our “firsts” come in our early childhood and sadly, we do not even remember these occurring.  So to have “firsts” as an adult is very important to me.

Over the last year and a half, I have made it my mission to Triumph From TED and in turn truly experience the “firsts” that I am proud of.  I have been weighed down by this eating disorder for so long that I know I want to break free, but sometimes it is the behavior that I want to return to because it feels “right” to me.  But through my recovery, I am learning to distance myself not only physically but mentally from this eating disorder.

The only way I know how to do this is to keep having firsts.  Since December 16, 2011, I have had many:

My first visit to my counselor (she said I was not crazy)

My first 5K

My first day I was truly proud of myself for my achievements

My first 8K

My first day not weighing myself (thank you for the pic that you gave me)

My first Half Marathon

My first Triathlon

And if you think that any of these accomplishments have come easy, you are definitely wrong.  There have been setbacks but I am learning to get up and try again. The first day I committed to my recovery, I set a goal for myself.  I never knew if I would truly get there and part of me wanted it to be unattainable so that I could fail (that was my mindset back then).

Now a year and a half later, I have learned 3 important things about myself.

1)    I am not fast, but I will finish!

2)    I have a lot of self-doubt, but I will never quit on myself!

3)    I have an uphill battle with TED, but eventually I will get to run down!

So today, my first is going to lead me to this goal!  I know it is not the end of my recovery but just a high point to help me get through the rest.

TODAY was the FIRST day of TRAINING for my FIRST MARATHON!

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What if….

Do you need to forgive yourself for something in your past?  Try writing a WHAT IF letter.  Send or not sending is up to you.

My Daughter,

I love you with my whole heart and soul.  I need you to know that I did the best I could with what I knew at 18.  This is my WHAT IF list that I ponder daily.

1)    WHAT IF I had never gotten pregnant and you had been born into a more loving family.

2)    WHAT IF I would have spent more time with you when you were younger instead of working one and two different jobs.

3)    WHAT IF I had the courage to make the journey with just me and you.

4)    WHAT IF I did not settle for a man just because I felt like I needed help raising you.

5)    WHAT IF I had allowed you to make mistakes instead of always jumping in and making it better.

6)    WHAT IF I had listened better and talked less when you shared your feelings so that I could have nurtured you better.

7)    WHAT IF I never left Cincinnati to allow me to have a fresh start to MY life.

I am amazed at how easy my WHAT IF list flowed from pin to paper (or fingers to keys in this case).  We will never know if or how differently your life might be had a few of these WHAT Ifs been erased. What I do know is that I cannot change the decisions I made along the way from age 17 to 43.  I can only learn from them and move forward.  I am sincerely sorry if any one or all of my decisions caused you heartache or pain during the last 25 years and I ask for your forgiveness.

My hope for you is that you do not live with WHAT Ifs.  Trust your gut!  Know when to stay and fight for what you believe in but more importantly, know when to move on.  You have three beautiful children that look up to you as their Hero!  Make them proud. 

I ALWAYS WANTED TO BE YOUR HERO

Again, I love you and I am sorry.

-Mom

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Don’t Judge

Waking up this morning I began my normal routine.  I get up and first check my email and then quickly turn my attention to facebook to see what I have missed out on while I was sleeping and also begin preparing my posts for Couch 2 Healthy.  What I read this morning on a friend’s page not only caught me off guard but also put me on a soap box.

“I guess everyone is going to have people dislike what they do no matter what it is…I can just hope and pray that I don’t get another long email that I am promoting eating disorders ever again.”

We all have demons that we fight every day.  Mine happens to be an eating disorder.  When you are in the grips of an eating disorder, you are constantly hiding.  The less people notice you, the less they notice what is going on with you.  I completely understand Katie’s need to share healthy with others.  Sharing it with others helps to keep us honest.  So in order to work through recovery, we (I) have relied on family and friends to keep me accountable.  I have done many things to help keep me “honest” in my recovery.  

Please don’t judge how I move through my recovery.   In trying to break the cycle, sharing my struggles is my attempt to helps others understand the illness and therefore hopefully understand why the struggles are so difficult to overcome.  Since I was a teenager, I have suffered with this eating disorder.  Only now in my 40’s am I even willing to entertain the thought of breaking the cycle.  In February 2009 as a promise to my husband, I stopped purging but it wasn’t until December 2011 that I even started to believe that I could survive in this world without my eating disorder.  I have blogged, posted on FB my struggles and accomplishments and recently started my Couch 2 Healthy FB page.  My hope is that what I have learned over the last year and a half will help another girl suffering from an eating disorder maneuver to recovery easier.    

Yes, I have gained weight since then, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have an eating disorder still.  What people need to understand is that eating disorders are not about the food I eat or don’t eat, it is about the control and power I feel from being able to decide whether to eat or don’t eat.  So, unless you have lived a day in Katie’s shoes (or mine for that matter) don’t judge. We are doing the best we can with what we know. In recovery,  we ourselves are trying to find a happy medium between the eating disorder and over compensating somewhere else.  For me that happy medium is HEALTHY!  

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Labels

We are always talking about looking at labels but what are we looking at?  I wasn’t quite sure but I was still looking.  With the goal for April to learn and understand portion control and serving sizes, I have been looking at labels more than ever.  Let me tell you, I was completely shocked to find out that 1 slice of bread was a serving size.  How do you make grilled cheese with one slice of bread?  Who knew that a serving of cereal was 2/3 or even 3/4 but not the whole bowl filled to the top with just enough room to add milk.

So today the nutrition tip on Couch 2 Healthy was to learn about ingredients on the labels.  The fewer the ingredients, the healthier the choice potentially could be.  What I didn’t know, was the ingredients on the label that could be harmful and should be avoided.  I found out that BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) is preservative used to prevent rancidity in foods that contain oils. Unfortunately, BHA has been shown to cause cancer in rats, mice, and hamsters. But check out the labels on the cereals that you eat, and you will find this ingredient there.  Plus sodium nitrates found in hot dogs bonds with amino acids to form nitrosamines, a powerful carcinogenic compound.  So glad that I don’t like hot dogs.

But for me the worst was the caramel coloring found in sodas.  They treat the sugar with ammonia, which can produce some nasty carcinogens. The Center for Science in the Public Interest report asserted that the high levels of caramel color found in soda account for roughly 15,000 cancers in the U.S. annually. Another good reason why I need to scrap soda from my diet.

Although labeling is usually a negative thing in society, I now know why it is important to read them for the food we put in our body.  I went from putting no food in to putting in just whatever to make my recovery “appear” to be in full swing.  I have just switched from killing myself slowly with an eating disorder, to pumping my body full of poisonous ingredients.  From this day forward, I will definitely be more conscientious about what I buy and what I eat.  I picked to join the fight to save my life from this eating disorder, so why would I pick to eat these harmful ingredients.

You can label me….INFORMED!

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@couch2healthy

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Gratitude

About a month ago I was asked by a friend to make a gratitude list of at least 10 things that I am grateful for.  Of course my husband, daughter and grandkids were at the top of the list.  After that though, making the list was a little more difficult.  I was trying to not just fill it up with people, even though I am grateful for my parents, siblings, etc.

So when Couch 2 Healthy’s Positive Attribute Friday was Gratitude, I decided today would be a good day to revisit that list.  I have learned that it is easy to be grateful when things seem to be going our way – we make all the green lights on the way to work, we get a parking spot close to the store (rockstar parking as we like to call it) or we find some money in the jeans we wore last week.  I think the struggle is to be grateful for things when they are not going our way – we struggle from addiction, we find out our best friend was talking about us behind our back, we didn’t get that promotion that we knew we were a shoe-in for.  When we can be grateful on these not-so-good days is when we have accomplished something.

We have all heard of the phrase Gratitude is an Attitude.  I believe Gratitude is a choice. And remember when we make a choice for 30 days, it becomes a  habit.  Yep even with gratitudes.  When we consciously practice being grateful for the people, situations and resources around us we begin to attract better relationships and results.  Removing negativity from my world has helped me recognize the positive attributes that I have always possessed but never allowed myself to see before.

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