Light at the End of the Tunnel (A Medical Explanation)

This week I was diagnosed with severe obstructive sleep apnea and sleep related hypoventilation.

I am feeling a lot of things around this diagnosis. A little fear (untreated, sleep apnea can lead to serious things like heart attacks and strokes), a little anger, but mostly relief and gratitude.

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Eeeek, A Food Post! (Intuitive Eating Progress)

In the past couple months I’ve had a lot of changes going on in my relationship with food. I’ve been making a lot of progress with eating intuitively. I’ve been hesitant to blog about this, but I wanted to at least document these changes for my own processing. And I kiiiinda want to share it, because I feel like it might help somebody, but I feel REALLY nervous about it, too.

One of the things I have been asking myself lately is “why am I hesitant to share publicly about food relationship developments?” A few answers come to mind:

  • I want to focus on healthy behaviors, not weight. Due to MANY years of conditioning, talking about food and nutrition still feels dangerously close to talking about body weight, for me. (Phew! Just acknowledging that helps a little bit.) I am afraid of people reading into the fact that I am talking about food and automatically think that I am promoting dieting or intentional weight loss.
  • As I am learning is common with kids who have their food micromanaged, I still have some internalized shame and guilt about food. It makes me feel incredibly vulnerable. It makes me feel like I am inviting commentary on my body weight or my food choices.
  • I think women in general are culturally programmed to hide the fact that they actually enjoy eating, so they feel shame and guilt when talking about food.

So, just to put all my cards on the table: In my food posts, I’m talking about my own personal relationship to food. I am not suggesting other people do what I do. I am not promoting dieting or intentional weight loss, regardless of what happens to my own body weight as a result of changes in my relationship with food. Even if my body weight changes as a result of changes in my relationship with food, I have no reason to believe that the new body weight will be permanent (as evidence shows that lasting weight loss is very uncommon).  I do enjoy eating. I think the cultural expectation that all women eat like birds is fucked up (nothing against people who are naturally small and naturally have bird-like appetites. You people carry on and keep doing you).

Okay then! Let’s begin.

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2015 Year End Report! (How’d I do with all those habits?)

The other day, on my “habitiversary,” I wrote about all the cool outcomes that happened this year as a result of tracking habits (instead of body weight or clothing size). Since today is the last day of 2015, this post is all about the numbers. How’d I do with my habit goals?

Here is a list of habits I worked on in 2015, and how I did.

  • Eat a green vegetable every day (RESULT: 364 days. Next year this goal needs to allow for sick days)
  • Strength training workouts: (goal: 150 times in 2015. RESULT: 172 times!)
  • In bed by 10pm (habit added on Feb 18; goal: 200 times between Feb 18 and Dec 31. RESULT: 216 times!)
  • Name something I feel grateful for every day (Goal added 7/31, and attained!)
  • Take a walk (habit added on July 6; goal: 75 times by Dec 31. RESULT: 92 times!)
  • Date with my husband (habit added April 18; goal: 8 times by Dec 31. RESULT: 7 times)
  • Get rid of items from our home (habit added April 18; goal: 500 items by Dec 31. RESULT: 1186 items!)
  • Deposit at least $10 into our emergency fund (habit added September 13; goal: 15 times by Dec 31. RESULT: 18 times!)
  • Doing or saying something nice for my husband (habit added September 15; goal: 80 times by Dec 31. RESULT: 77 times)
  • After 9pm, no TV shows started (habit added October 25; goal: 50 times by Dec 31. RESULT: 50 times!)
  • Make a pot of rice and beans (habit added November 10; goal: 6 times by Dec 31. RESULT: 5 times)
  • Finish my food for the day by 8pm (habit added November 12; goal: 25 times by Dec 31. RESULT: 35 times!)
  • Do some household chores as an alternative to a walk (habit added November 12; goal: 8 times by Dec 31. RESULT: 9 times!)
  • Take my Vitamin D every day (my blood work shows a deficiency and I’m not good at remembering it so I’m adding it to the list). (goal added 11/17. RESULT: 39 times)

So, I reached or surpassed my goals in 8 of these habits. In the rest of them, I am happy with how close I came to the goals I set. Even though I did not make it 100 percent of the way there, establishing the habits have helped a lot in my life. I am proud of my progress, and looking forward to 2016.

Happy New Year, everyone!

My 2016 Habit Goals Unveiled

I haven’t posted in a while. My husband has been bedridden with a fractured patella and I have not-so-quietly been going insane.  Today bedridden husband I are both sick. So my parenting consists of letting my kid binge watch his Christmas present (Rachel and the Treeschoolers). And telling him that I will turn it off if he doesn’t throw the trash IN THE TRASH.

While my kid is learning science concepts from Rachel, I finished up my goals list for 2016.  I added a couple new habits to work on, reset my goals for the habits I am continuing in 2016, and set a couple reasonably achievable goals that are one-time events, not habits.

Here they are!

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A New Habit. Somewhat conflicted, but it’s going well

A couple weeks ago, I added a new habit to my list: finishing my food for the day by 8pm. My goal was to do this 25 times by the end of the year.

Why did I choose this goal? I’ve been noticing that if I eat too much, too late, I feel uncomfortable while going to sleep. My sleep is not great and I thought this habit might improve it. Why only 25 times? Because I have a past history with any “rule” that sounds like a diet rule, and I didn’t want to put too much pressure on myself. I just wanted to start experimenting with this habit to see how it felt. 25 times amounted to roughly 3 times per week.  I was uncertain  as to whether focusing on this habit is a good idea in the first place. What if it sends me back to a dieting mindset?

I noticed those feelings and tried to address them. You don’t have to do it every day. The goal is 3 times per week. That leaves plenty of room for listening to your body. If you are  hungry and need to eat, go for it. It won’t mean throwing in the towel. If you didn’t get home in time to finish eating by 8, the goal is flexible enough to accommodate that. If you are watching a movie and want a snack for pleasure, not hunger….well, there is room for that too.

This is not about restricting myself from eating food that my body is hungry for. It’s about encouraging me to finish all that food early enough in the day that my sleep won’t be compromised by a full belly. It’s about noticing where I am in this process/journey of developing an intuitive eating practice…and noticing that I have made great strides with it during the daytime, and not as much in the evening. Therefore, it’s about giving myself an external reminder (the clock) during the time of day when I feel least likely to remember to eat in tune with my hunger and satiety cues. And since the goal is not perfection (but rather, 25 times by the end of the year), there is room for me to check in with myself and decide that I DO want or need to eat after 8pm on any given night for any reason.

Even acknowledging all of this flexibility, I still notice some uneasiness with this idea. Not necessarily in a “red flag” sense…maybe just in a “notice the sensation” sense that yoga teachers talk about when holding a challenging pose.

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Role Models Part 3: Self-talk and Self-Listening

This is the third post in a series about role models. (You can read the first post and the second post too).

One of the reasons I chose habit-based goals instead of outcome based goals is that I wanted to keep myself open to whatever outcomes may come as a result of adopting healthier habits. I did not want to attempt to force certain outcomes on myself, which I ultimately could not control anyway.

One of the really nice outcomes I’ve been experiencing as a result of walking away from weight loss pressure is getting a lot more practice speaking to myself kindly – the way I strive to speak to (and listen to!) my own kiddo. I want to care for my kiddo as best I can, and that includes a sense of a emotional safety. Why would I want to do anything different for myself?

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Role Models, Part 2: Some Real Life Role Models!

Earlier this week I published a post about why I am grateful for fat role models.  I have a lot more to say about role models in general, so there may be several more posts on the subject!

In the earlier post, I wrote about how important it is for me to have role models that look like me.   Courtney, of Black Feminist Fitness, has a profound way of looking at this. As black woman, she finds that role models who look like her are often few and far between in the fitness world. Any time she wants to try a new sport, she seeks out a black female role model to inspire her. For example, when she wanted to try CrossFit, she looked towards Elizabeth Akinwale‘s example. For powerlifting, Taylar Stallings provided inspiration. For dancing, Jeni Le Gon.  She also follows community pages like Black Girls Swim and Black Girls RUN! 

When I first heard about Courtney’s approach, it didn’t really stick in my head. As a white person, I am privileged to have never had to consider this before – in any of area of interest, I am fairly certain I can find a white female role model who has gone before me.  Recently though, I have found myself profoundly affected and inspired by the journeys of several fat women involved in fitness, and I realized how important role models can really be.

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