Girls chase boys chase girls chase boys

My brain is currently hung up on this thingy I saw on Facebook (I KNOW I KNOW).

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My first thought was “Um, seriously? What the fuck?” The person who posted it agreed with it. There was some disagreement in the comments saying a relationship is when two people work together, and then it went into religion and I got distracted by a cookie or squirrel or something because, well, lets not talk about my hang-ups with religion shall we? (After doing a bit of googling, I’m fairly convinced this comes from some Christian guide for women)

Then I thought, “Maybe its right, though. Is it more natural for men to pursue women?” which is obviously problematic thinking. Women should feel free to pursue men, and vice versa. This paints a picture of men being predators and women being prey, and that’s REALLY wrong, especially when you look at the news lately (hey, #metoo) and if you look at it with any sort of rational adult thought. When you look at it from a rational human perspective, its easy to fix what’s wrong with it; just take out “man/men/him/he” and “woman/women/her/she” and replace it with “person/people.” Also, remove the line about “not that into you.” Actually, I take that back. Delete the whole damn thing. Boom, edited.

What this breaks down to for me is the realization of exactly how insecure I am about dating or liking people. Its hard to tell them because rejection sucks, but I think everyone feels that. I apparently needed to write this to figure that out, and to indulge my inner armchair feminist. We can’t keep telling our girls to act a certain way to get what they want. They need to be encouraged to be themselves. Boys ,too. People should love you for who you are, not who you think they want you to be. Then again, I could be wrong. I am still single, after all.

 

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Frustration

Its that time of year, the time of year when my frustration tends to reach a peak. Usually its weather related because the heat and humidity make everything feel so stagnant with no relief in the near future. Maybe the weather is playing a part in my general frustration level, but the things that are bothering me are not centered around “damn its hot” but instead its “damn I’m alone.”

I do my best to be there for people. I do what I can because I enjoy helping people, and I’m just one of those people who has that annoying “empathy” gene. I worry that I’m not doing enough, or sometimes that I’m trying too hard. If someone is clearly upset and won’t talk to me, I worry more and tend to think I’ve done something to make them not feel like they can trust me (yes, that is self centered thinking,I know). Sometimes I try to do things, whether they are actual thing things, like something someone could physically benefit from, or just to be supportive. When I try to be there for someone, or do something for someone and they reject it, it really stings.

I know I can’t control the actions of other people, and I’m responsible for my own happiness. I don’t often let people in on things that are bothering me. I either internalize them, or occasionally I come here and complain because nobody reads this. I like to help people, but I don’t like to reach out for help. If I ask for help with something, it’s usually skill related, like I need advice or help fixing some “thing” around the house that I don’t fully understand. I don’t usually tell people the stuff that scare me or upset me. Then everything boils up and I act weird around people because I really need to talk but am afraid to say, “hey, I need someone to talk to” because I’m a) afraid they’ll say no, and b) I don’t like letting people into my carefully constructed walls because that just leads to me getting hurt. Especially when I reach out to them and they won’t reach back.

I don’t know if this is making any sense. I don’t really care if it isn’t. I just want it out there. If you’ve ever been in a crowded room, a room with friends and family even, and just felt so completely and utterly alone, then you know how I feel.

For crying out loud

Sometimes I really feel like I need to cry, but I can’t.

Sometimes I don’t want to cry, but I do anyway.

Sometimes I start crying and have no damn idea why.

Kitten rescue videos always make me cry.

Movies that I think will make me cry often don’t.

I fully expect to cry through most of The Last Jedi.

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade makes me cry.

I often wish I was one of those people that didn’t cry easily.

Sometimes I’m glad I’m able to cry easily.

Crying is never easy, really.

It all ends in tears, anyway, right?

 

 

 

Hunger/Reboot

You guys! I may have figured out a way to get my life on (some sort of) track.

I recently read Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay (excellent book, highly recommend reading it). She is very forward about her struggles with obesity and the events that drove her to seek comfort in food, but there’s so much more to be taken away from her story. It’s really about what she hungers for in life, the good things that she doesn’t feel like she deserves because of something terrible that happened in her past. While her life events are quite different from my own, I still felt a real connection to what she was saying; because of things I’ve done, things that have happened, and choices I’ve made, I don’t feel like I deserve the good things I hunger for, which is depressing.

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rebooting, please wait

I also followed along last year as Wil Wheaton did what he called a “life reboot” where he chose areas in his life that he felt needed improving.

So where do these things intersect? I figure maybe, just maybe, if I work on the areas of my life that I’m constantly telling myself I need to improve, maybe I can finally being to address those feelings of hunger, and start to feel like I do deserve good things.

So I sat myself down and came up with a list of things I wanted to change. Needless to say, it was SUPER long, so I decided to trim it down into a few categories that would encompass many, if not all, of the things I would like to address (and would it really be me if I didn’t make the list sound a bit vague and silly? Of course not). So here it is!

Heathers life reboot in six easy steps!

  • Move it move it
  • Clean my plate
  • Honey do
  • Write like a writer who writes
  • Mini mental vacations
  • Earn my explorer Badge

Move it move it: This one is pretty simple–I need to exercise more. I need to move my body before it starts to break down and not work. Before I hit a point of no return. I’ll probably end up varying what I do, but for the time being, I’m going to say I will go for a walk three days a week and do yoga five days a week. Seems like a safe place to start.

Clean my plate: By this I don’t mean I need to be a “clean plate commando.” I need to clean up what I’m eating. I need to cut back on the fast food and processed junk, eat more veggies, and do my best to eat three meals a day. I’m going to start this goal with increasing the amount of vegetables and fruits I eat on a daily basis.

Honey do: There’s plenty of things that need to be done around this house. Things that need to be gone through, projects I’ve had planned that have fallen to the wayside. I’m going to start kicking this list in the ass. Anytime I find myself sitting around thinking “eh, I’m bored,” I’m going to find something on this list that needs to be done and do it. Hoping to knock off at least one item a week.

Write like a writer who writes: I used to write a lot. I kept a journal nearly every day, I wrote letters, I wrote stories, all kinds of stuff. Lately the only thing I write on a regular basis are tweets. I’m making it a goal to write SOMETHING (tweets not included) every day. Whether it’s a post here, something personal I don’t want to share, or a short story/vignette that’s been floating around in my head, I’m going to write that shit down at least five times a week. Maybe I’ll even start a page for creative writing on here (no promises).

Mini mental vacations: I considered saying “meditate” but that’s just too rigid right now, though that is pretty much the end goal. I’m going to make time every day to clear the mental clutter and slow the racing thoughts and just focus on the here and now. I may do that through a guided meditation, or by focusing on an activity like knitting or cooking. Whatever way feels best to do it that day is how I’m going to practice being here now and not off somewhere in the la la land that is my imagination. I figure if I can do five minutes a day, that’s a good start.

Earn my explorer badge: This one sounds extremely ambiguous on purpose because it could really be anything. I want to go to some new places. I want to listen to new music. I want to try new food.  I may just take myself to a movie I want to see, or go wander around a book store. Mostly what I need is to get out of the house, but I’m leaving this as a space to explore, try and learn new things. I’m not going to put any rigid guides on this right now, I’m just going to wait and see how it unfolds.

So that’s my plan. I’ll check back in every month or so with a progress report. I’m hoping this will help hold me accountable so I actually follow through.

Sofa King Awkward

Take my social life. Please. Because I’m not doing a very good job with it.

I’ve kept myself pretty isolated for a while. Most of my face to face interactions are with my son. Sure, I twitter and I have friends that I text with, but I rarely get out and meet people and talk to them in person. I decided maybe it was time to change that this year, and now I remember why I was isolating myself; because I’m a total fucking train wreck.

I am an introvert, but that shouldn’t mean I don’t know how to interact with people. I mean, I know how, but afterwards I spend so much time second guessing the things I say and do. I feel like I tell people things I shouldn’t be saying and they’ll think I’m insane, which, honestly, I kind of am. Not dangerous insane, just off my rocker insane. Add to that the fact that socializing often involves alcohol and then I really really really hate myself the next day. Even if its just text messages or twitter, I feel like I come off like a complete needy jackass.

Then add in the fact that I have a very empathetic personality (INFJ in the house). I see people struggling, upset, not feeling well, and I just want to help. I want to fix it all and make it better. Even with people (and animals) I don’t know. I tell people I want to help, I give unsolicited advice, I ask people to let me know what I can do, but then I think, “well that was pushy of me. Why did I do that? Now this person will not want to talk to me anymore.” I mean well, I really do, but I think I come off all wrong in trying to express it.

So when I do these things, when I feel like I overshared, or I pushed too hard with the caring, and then I don’t hear from someone for a while, it just emphasizes that feeling of not being good enough that I’m already struggling with. That feeling that I’m not worthy of anyones time or attention. And I get that people are busy, and most of them have other people in their lives and jobs, but I still doubt myself to the point that my brain goes on this loop of things I feel I did wrong, and how I’ve alienated everyone, and I end up with massive anxiety. I don’t tell people that I’m feeling or thinking these things because I don’t want them to think I blame them for the messed up things my brain tells me.

I give compliments and then immediately wonder if they’re out of line. Then I wonder if I should let the person know I meant what I said in the nicest way, but I know I should just back the fuck off. But backing off is hard when you’re already feeling pretty lonely and bad enough about yourself and can’t stand the idea of someone hating you because you were trying to be nice. How much does that idea suck? Oh, and don’t even get me started on my bizarre sense of humor, because that’s another entire dissertation.

It’s a really vicious cycle that I throw myself into. I think I need to move somewhere far away from everyone, or at least get a certificate saying I’m an official train wreck that I can show to people when I meet them so they don’t have to wonder “what the fuck is her deal?”

Oh, hey, no big surprise here

I haven’t updated this in ages. Again. I’ve been too busy having a mid-life crisis.

It’s not just the getting older part, but it’s also a major identity crisis as well which is bleeding over into everything else, including blogging (which, no real surprise, I wrote about last year). I know I want to rename the damn thing, but that is proving to be more difficult to do than I thought it would be. WordPress doesn’t make changing your domain exactly straight forward, so I’m debating whether I should buy a domain somewhere else and link it or whatever you call it.

Right, getting off track.

I’m having an identity crisis, have been for a while. It’s not that surprising when you look at how my life has unfolded over the past 24 years. I spent the first five years of Zachs’ life being a stay at home mom, basically (posthumas thanks to my parents for the help with that. I would not trade those years for anything). When he started school, I went back to college. I thought I had a straight path planned out but I let myself get derailed, probably because I wasn’t super enthusiastic about dental hygiene. Then I left my bachelors program because my mom wasn’t really well enough to care of Zach while I worked during the day and went to school at night. Worked a series of jobs I had little enthusiasm for. Sure, I’m capable of being an office zombie/assistant, but the last job was SO bad, it just kind of murdered my spirit. Then my mom got sick. Broke up with my fiancé. Then my grandmother died. Then my dad got sick. Then my mom got worse. Then my dad got sick again. Then my mom died. Then my dad was a miserable SOB who couldn’t be left alone until he got sick again and died. I think I’ve told that story, though.

So here I am, with no real job, no real skills, no useful degree, and no real idea what I want to do (other than get the hell out of Florida, and travel). I’m still trying to get everything settled with my parents estates (can at least say that is in motion, though). Add to that the realization that I’m getting older, my son is grown up, and I don’t have many friends to spend time with. I’m still very single and not showing any prospects of that changing, plus the crippling feeling that I don’t really have anything to offer anyone even if I did meet someone (a feeling which someone was “kind” enough to confirm for me recently, is true). In order to try to keep my head above water, I’ve been on what I like to call a “booze and bad decisions binge.” I go through these every once in a while, usually when my life is thrown into some sort of chaos, especially if that chaos leaves me with choices I have to make. So I just drink until I’ve had enough to make a bad decision, do something stupid, and then I’m left thinking, “oh god what the fuck did I just do??” followed by “well, at least I made a damn decision!” Sure, sometimes I have fun, and I often surprise myself, but it’s not always in a good way.

My mind is a very confusing place to be, and considering how much time I spend there isolating myself from other people because I don’t feel good enough or like I deserve friendship/love/companionship/all that stuff, I suspect I will be certifiable maybe by the end of the year? I’ll set up a P.O. box or something so people can send me comfy pajamas for when they lock me up with the other crazies.

Fun with hurricanes; a cautionary tale

I’ve lived in Florida for 20 years. Before that I spent nearly every summer here with my grandparents. I also was born here and lived here from age three to seven, so I really should know that Florida is a magnet for hurricanes.

Should being the operative word.

When I moved here in 1996, Florida was in a bit of a “dry period” hurricane-wise. I think the most recent large storm had been Andrew in 1992 (don’t quote me on that, though). Every time June would roll around, my dad would insist on being prepared, stocking up on canned crap food, water, batteries, and reminding me to never let my car get below half a tank of gas. I played along because I knew it was his way of showing me he cared, but inwardly I was rolling my eyes and thinking, “pfft. We’re not going to get a hurricane this year. Florida never gets hurricanes anymore.”

For the most part, I was right. We had a few brushes, like Hurricane Floyd in 1999. I had a feeling it was going to end up missing the state, and it did (the guy I was dating at the time, who was not a Florida native, laughed at people being afraid of something named “Floyd”). I actually had a pretty good knack for knowing whether or not a hurricane was a threat, a sixth sense of sorts that I inherited from my grandfather. I was never wrong.

Then 2004 rolled around. It was Friday, August 13th. I’d just lost my job the day before, had been out getting drunk with friends that night, so I was a little surprised when I woke up Friday morning and realized that Zach’s school had been cancelled and my dad was rushing around bringing in patio furniture and potted plants because Hurricane Charley was on his way, due to arrive that evening. Apparently not only had my luck run out, but the luck central Florida had dodging hurricanes ran out, too (this also seems to be about the same time my hurricane prediction “gift” disappeared).

Charley, while not big in stature, was strong in wind and rain, and he was pretty damn fast. Thinking back, it feels like the worst of it only lasted about an hour, maybe an hour and a half. Once it was through though, we realized just how bad it was. The power was out, and there were trees down all over the place. We couldn’t drive down the street in either direction because it was blocked by large toppled trees. The house didn’t sustain any damage, but the neighborhood lost a lot. Our power was out for eight days while crews worked to replace poles, lines, and repair transformers. While it was a huge inconvenience, I know it could have been a lot worse.

Then Charleys’ friends Frances and Jeanne decided to blow through as well. Neither were as strong as Charley and didn’t cause any major problems or extended power outages, but three hurricanes in the span of two months? It felt like we’d had our fair share.

Things got quiet after that hurricane season, which led to a serious case of what I call the “lackadasies” when you become completely lackadaisical about something you should take seriously. I started ignoring hurricane preparedness. Didn’t make sure the battery powered lanterns were in working order, didn’t have an adequate water supply on hand, etc. It was bound to catch up with me, which it did last week with Matthew.

I knew it was out there, I knew it was possibly coming this way, but I didn’t get nervous until Wednesday when it seemed pretty definite that it was going to hit, and I started seeing pictures on the news of store shelves being emptied of necessities. Meteorologists were predicting this to be worse than Charley. Commence panic and scrambling. We were able to get some water, junk food, batteries, tiny flashlights, and ice. The patio furniture was put away in plenty of time, but man, that was a miserable few days. I already have issues with anxiety, and the constant news coverage of how bad it was going to be, coupled with not being prepared had me in a constant state of static. If you follow me on twitter, you probably saw all that anxiety come out in a huge number of tweets.

We got lucky, again, when Matthew moved a bit to the east, saving our area from the hurricane force winds we were expecting. We did get a decent bit of wind though which lasted for close to a day. The power went out for a day and a half (if it had been longer, I’d have lost it given the state I was already in), the roof, which is already in not great shape, lost a crap ton of shingles, and I busted my toe stomping on a block of ice in a cooler (go me), but other than that, we were very fortunate. We didn’t even get that much rain from it while places four miles away were near flooding.

Safe to say that next June, I’m going to be checking off my list of hurricane preparedness items. I figure if I’m prepared, the less likely we are to get hit with anything bad. I think of it like that old adage, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Also, as soon as I can move out of this state, you better believe I’m going to.

Gettin’ GISHy with it

The past two years durning the first week of August, I’ve participated in a little thing called GISHWHES. Straight forward, it’s the “greatest international scavenger hunt the world has ever seen.” Its basically a week spent working with a team to complete a bunch of tasks that are either completely random creative silliness, or in some way charity/kindness oriented.

Last year I decided to try it on a whim. I joined alone since I’m the only person I know that was insane enough to think it was a good idea. I was assigned to a team of 15, all first timers, and almost all strangers to one another. The list was over 200 items (which, yes, is crazy, but you’re not expected to complete the entire thing), but between the rag-tag bunch of 15 strangers, we managed to complete over 50 items. It was tough at times because not everyone was communicating with the group, and I honestly found the whole thing incredibly stressful, because there are rules and guidelines, y’all, and not everyone was following them. I like things to be organized and done on time, and this was mania. It’s obviously not the end of the world if you don’t get all of your scavenger hunt items done, but still, I’m already high strung as is. I tried my best to keep the group organized and on task, but that’s impossible when people don’t check to see what’s going on.

Anyway . . .

Stress aside, I did have fun in the end. I met some really great people that I’ve been able to stay in touch with. The idea was floated amongst some of us to do it again this year so long as we could find people to create a whole team, or as close to whole team as possible. When registration started this year, Jill (who is also insanely organized–shout out, girly) started a team. Colleen and Whitney from last years team joined as well. By the time registration ended, we’d managed to find eleven other people to join us (are they out of their minds too? probably). I won’t lie, it felt really good going in with a full team where everyone knew someone.

This years list was not quite as long as last years (I think the final number of items was in the 170’s) but was equally intimidating. Some things we couldn’t do because they required people to be in a specific location at a specific time, or they required contacts at NASA, an engineering degree, things like that (because, of course). There was still plenty to go around with acts of kindness and creativity. Cara made an adorable padna (with is panda made out of feminine hygiene products, obviously) we all took pictures to “represent” our location, we all became robots on various social platforms, I joined a mass of people sending a delightful tweet to Mike Pence about how tobacco does indeed kill people. We all tweeted about how to determine if someone has had a stroke.  Jill and Alison had a two story wine pouring dinner party, Colleen and Kelly organized a 30-legged race. Whitney bought ice cream for a stranger, because it’s a nice thing to do. Kailey went jogging in shoes made from pineapples, Kassi got to lay a much needed regret to rest. We all helped promote a gishwhes-wide fundraiser for refugee families in need of homes which has, to date, raised over $214,000.

childhoodregress2

I wrote this, and recreated a moment from my childhood (and I didn’t even have to buy clothes to recreate the outfit. Is that scary? Or is it more scary that my hair is basically the same now as it was when I was eight?) And that, I’m happy to say, is just a sampling of the 60 items we managed to complete.

There were hiccups along the way, like GISHWHES server bots trying to steal our incredibly valuable teammates, Facebook documents being a hot mess, and, of course, life got in the way in some cases. There was also an unfortunate incident with cornhusks, which will forever remain a tragedy in our collective team hearts. No, I can’t go into details, the pain is still all to fresh.

At the end, I was over-tired, had consumed WAY too much sugar, and was generally ENTIRELY more wound up than usual (anyone that follows me on twitter can attest to that, because I was ALLL  over the place durning that week). I knew I needed my introvert time to recover, but I was still really sad to see it end. I felt like that week help me reconnect to a lost side of myself, the one that knows how to be creative, a Heather who is not so scared of trying things for fear of looking silly or not doing them perfectly.

I’m really glad I decided to do it again. Also, to my team, I hope I didn’t mother hen y’all to death. That’s just me, trying to help (and my need to feel like things are tidy and organized). You were all fantastic, and if any of you want to do it again, I think I may be down for it. [insert smiley face]

 

Dog days making me bitch

I know its summer and that the heat is getting to me when I find myself on Pinterest looking at Halloween stuff. Lots of nice pumpkin carving ideas! I’ve complained about summer and how much I dislike it before, and will continue to do so, because it really just throws me off. Some people get depressed in the winter, I get depressed in the summer.

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these lazy bitches

This month started out with highs around 100 degrees, and heat indexes exceeding that, and it just stayed that way for a couple of weeks. We didn’t get many of those merciful rain showers that cool things down at the end of the day either. We’ve had the kind of weather that makes the weather folks on tv tell you to stay inside if you can. So I’ve been doing that, pretty much. Summer makes me more lazy than usual, and considering how lazy I already am, this is not good.

But with the laziness has come this mental restlessness. Maybe its because I’m craving a change in weather, but I also want a change of scenery. I’m tired of just about everything around me. I’m tired of my clothes, my hair, I’m tired of the color on the walls, no food sounds good, I don’t even like the words I’m writing (evidenced by the fact that I started this blog post at the beginning of the month). Everything just stagnates in the summer. Sure, there’s Pokemon to catch, but that requires leaving the house, and who wants to do that? This place has air conditioning and fans and doesn’t feel so damn dank like the outdoors.

Yes, I’m bitching. I’m just tired. I’m not sleeping well. I’m back to sleeping four or five hours a night and trying to get a nap in at some point in the late morning. There have been days, though, where that nap doesn’t happen. This pattern repeats over and over until I drop for 12 hours one night, only to go back to too little sleep the next night. Lather, rinse, repeat. Getting some exercise would probably help. You know things are desperate when I actually miss my gym membership. Sure I could go for walks but see aforementioned thoughts on weather, or I could do stuff at home like yoga or whatever, but did I mention I’m freaking exhausted, and tired of looking at everything? The spiral never-ending, it seems.

I’m going to stop one never-ending spiral right now though, and end this post. Then I’m going to hit publish. Then I’m going to stretch out like those lazy cats and take a nap.

 

 

 

Where my Whole30 went wrong, and right

This is not an endorsement of Whole30. See here for updated details.

Right around the beginning of March, I got the spring cleaning bug, which is totally natural for me. Its ingrained in my psyche as the right time to deep clean the house, work on the yard, etcetera, but getting started wasn’t so easy. I hadn’t been sleeping well, my energy was sluggish, I felt like I needed to spring clean myself. Enter the Whole30.

I’d read about this “nutritional reset” a while back and thought I’d never get anyone in the house to go along with it because it’s strict. For 30 days, you eat vegetables, some fruit, protein from eggs, meat, and fish, and good fats like olive oil, ghee, coconut oil, avocados, nuts and seeds. You eliminate alcohol, dairy, grains, legumes, soy, and ANY added sugar or sweetener. I was feeling weighed down with cravings for late night fast food, cookies and candy, stuff I knew wasn’t doing me any good in the long run. I got the snacky snackies any time I walked in the kitchen. The sugar cravings were especially driving me nuts, so Whole30 seemed like a good place to get a jump start. I ran the idea past Zach, and aside from the “no cheese?” he thought it sounded ok. We tried some recipes, we enjoyed them, so it felt like it wasn’t going to be so bad. I even gave up my morning oatmeal and afternoon avocado toast to kind of prep my system for it so I didn’t get a massive carb flu. We planned to start in April after the Magic season was over and he was home more and not at games where the only food available was pretty lousy.

I read the Whole30 book, I read It Starts with Food. Their reasons for taking on their plan were fairly sound–there are a lot of “foods with no brakes” out there, as in food you only mean to eat a little of and end up going overboard with (makes sense, been there done that). EatWhole30-Instagram-300x300Some foods like grains and dairy are bad for your gut health, blood sugar, cholesterol, and hormones, and can lead to systemic inflammation (again with the gut? everyone is so obsessed with their gut, but do I have systemic inflammation? according to the book, if you are overweight, yes, yes you do). Beans are mostly carbs and not a great source of protein and while sure, they’re great for fiber, they there are plenty of other vegetables for that. Alcohol is empty calories and just isn’t good for you in general, and sugar is the devil dressed like a Reeses peanut butter cup. That’s a major simplification of their reasoning, but you get the drift. Its strict paleo, basically. Oh, and the scale. Throw it out for 30 days, stay off of it and don’t obsess over the number. Instead, pay attention to how your clothes fit and how great you feel. Focus on those non-scale victories. I could get behind that. I don’t go on the scale that often anyway because that number does haunt me. I’ve been fighting with my weight for a while now, and while I lost about 40 pounds last year, I’d kind of stagnated, and possibly had put a few back on.

So April comes along, and so does life, and officially starting the Whole30 got pushed back. And back. I take the time to collect recipes, read the life altering stories, getting psyched. We set a start date of May 11. Naturally, I got a stomach virus that day, go figure, I ended up starting a couple days late.

I started with strong intentions to follow the plan, to eat like they wanted me to eat. The plan is three meals a day (bonus meal for those who work out) and try not to snack, so you can get your appetite and hormones in order. No more late night snacks, or mid afternoon snacks.  Meals should be big enough to make you feel full, but not stuffed. I followed the meal template for the right amount of protein and fats, filling in the rest with vegetables. A couple of days in, I started doing some yoga again because movement seemed like a good idea. My mindless snacky snackies went away.  Sure, I missed dark chocolate, but I was doing ok with the food I was eating and didn’t miss my late night McDonalds fix. My sleep, however, was terrible, somehow worse. I would sleep for maybe four or five hours and wake up not able to go to back to sleep because I seemed to have this surplus of energy, so I added walking in with my morning yoga routine. Sure I would end up unable to keep my eyes open and would take a nap later that morning, but all was going well. I felt good about things.

They say most people quit around day 10 or 11 because those are the hardest days. At that point I felt great, even thought about throwing around the idea of Whole60 instead of Whole30 (but not Whole365, you aren’t supposed to do that). I was taking longer walks and doing 20-30 minutes of yoga. I was determined.

Then day 14 came. We’d been planning a week of meals to make sure we could stay compliant, and MAN was I sick of meal planning. I didn’t think I could stomach more eggs. And quinoa. I really wanted some damn quinoa (really? how is quinoa so fucking bad?). Zach and I were spending a lot of time reading labels looking for hidden sugars, which are EVERYWHERE, people. There is sugar in bacon, Italian sausage and smoked salmon! WHY IS THAT EVEN??? Why does Italian sausage need sugar? If there wasn’t sugar, there was some sort of oil that was discouraged. Pretty much most prepared foods were out, so we were doing a lot of cooking. Not a problem, because we were working together, and I was enjoying it. I was so ON PLAN, not eating too much fruit, even making olive oil mayo at home to avoid the nasty oils and sugars in commercial mayo. I even made homemade ketchup! I didn’t eat out at a restaurant once because I didn’t want to stray from this plan. This plan of miracles! This plan where I was going to feel so much healthier and leaner. This plan that said my skin would improve, my hair and nails would be stronger, my energy would skyrocket, my strength and endurance would improve (chaturanga to up dog? nailed that bitch). I would have less headaches, my sleeping would finally normalize! I didn’t want to jeopardize it, I didn’t want to eat anything that wasn’t compliant. I was a fucking rock star of compliance.

Things got better around the third week. I was falling asleep much more easily, my energy was good, my clothes felt looser, I generally felt lighter. The last few days, however, turned into a drag. I was getting headaches again, my digestion was a bit off and I wasn’t sure why. I was waking up with less zeal for the day, but I carried on.  Zach and I talked about how we would go about eating afterwards, about the positive impacts the 30 days had, the ways we felt better. Zach finished a couple days before I did (stupid stomach flu) and not only was he eating better and more regularly, and going out to get some exercise, he’d lost 16 pounds. I was thrilled for him! I woke up on my day 31, excited to measure and weigh myself to see how much of a physical change there was, because I was sure it was significant. Overall I’d lost about six inches, and three pounds.

Three. Fucking. Pounds.

It no longer mattered that I looked and felt smaller and lighter, or that I was stronger because I’d probably put on muscle. Suddenly, because of that insignificant number the scale had given me, it didn’t matter that cravings were not so much of an issue, or that I had learned to better appreciate the natural flavor of good food. I felt like a god damn failure. I looked in the mirror at my skin and couldn’t say there was much change (maybe a little, but I’d also switched moisturizers part way through). My hair wasn’t thicker or stronger, my nails weren’t stronger or longer. I don’t have any scheduled blood work so I don’t know if it improved my cholesterol or thyroid numbers. I was pissed, I was upset, I couldn’t figure out what I must have done wrong because THREE POUNDS is nothing in the scale of what I feel I need to lose. I was so ON. POINT. the whole time, where the hell did I screw up? It was really disheartening.

Does this thinking go against what the plan wanted me to achieve? Definitely. Do I feel like I unnecessarily worried over every bite that I ate for a month, yeah, I kind of do. In the end, they tell you that while it may “start with food,” health and weight loss involve a lot more. Things like getting enough good sleep, lowering your overall stress level, and not isolating yourself from the world for a damn month cooking and doing dishes because you can’t completely control what goes into food at restaurants or friends houses. That? That doesn’t work. That is not sustainable. That’s not a healthy mindset. Is the number on the scale indicative to my success? Not really, but there’s so much stress on weight, healthy BMI, and frankly what looks good in the media today, and my brain is hyper-tuned to all of it. Especially here at this middle age I find myself reaching. Especially because I lost my mom to diseases that could have been prevented/improved/avoided if she’d taken better care of herself, her weight, and what she ate.

Ugh. Damn. And Ugh. I really wanted to be a success story, you know? And here I was, a loser non-loser. So on point with everything that I almost missed the entire point.

You have to change your mind and your mental relationships before everything else clicks into place. You have to let go of the numbers to really see and feel the good changes you make. Most of all, you have to not be so damn hard on yourself!

Game. Set. Match.

I was really damn happy to have some quinoa last week, but I still filled my plate with mostly vegetables, and that dark chocolate? Its worth the indulgence because it makes me happy. Its not like I’m eating a bar a day, even, just a little bit a few days a week. I’m going to continue to eat what I like with special attention to whole foods as much as possible. I don’t think grains are evil, neither are beans. I mean, sure, there’s a difference between wonder bread and sprouted grain bread, or even fresh sourdough from the bakery. Farro, rice, quinoa, or any of the other myriad grains are probably preferable to pasta. Some hummus with fresh vegetables? Awesome. After all, the countries with the lowest instances of heart disease are those that eat lots of veggies, whole grains, and legumes, and limit their meat consumption. And they drink red wine. I’m about ready for some of that.

Moral of the (really long) story? Don’t demonize food. Don’t expect physical miracles from a certain way of eating because other people have had success because we’re all so different. You doing you is not the same as Sally doing Sally. Most importantly, while its important to pay attention what you stuff in your maw on a daily basis, and less processed food is most likely the best way, its not worth stressing over every bite, because doing that, will bite you in the ass.

BONUS!  Here’s some stuff I learned and thought about over the month. Bits of info I might pass on. Sorry if this is a bit scattered.

  • Meal planning is generally a good idea when possible, because you end up wasting less food
  • My knife skills are much better
  • My relationship with the kitchen is better in general
  • My relationship with food is improving
  • You can make a really good ranch dressing without dairy
  • I eat until full, and not beyond, and that feels good
  • Finally used that spiralizer, and let me tell you, sweet potatoes “noodles” with tomato sauce and meatballs is really tasty. Its not spaghetti and meatballs, but its good
  • I’m much more aware of what goes into the food I’m eating, and it is worth paying attention
  • Morning walkers are friendlier than evening walkers
  • When you eat that many fresh vegetables and fruit, there is plant waste, and man do I need a frigging compost bin
  • Coconut aminos do not taste like soy sauce
  • Life without pasta and cheese is not the end of the world
  • Homemade mayo is super duper easy, and fun with an immersion blender, and makes me feel like a wizard on some level (mayo is in a lot of sauce and dressing recipes that are Whole30 compliant, plus tuna, egg, or chicken salad, so I guess if you hate mayo, I don’t know what to tell you other than homemade tastes WAY different from store bought)
  • That paleo life, while great for some, is just not for me. I’m not lactose intolerant, and I have no problems with gluten or soy. Eating organic and responsibly farmed meat and fish, while great in practice, is EXPENSIVE when you try to do it for every meal. Plus, meat at every meal just doesn’t feel necessary to me. I’m not doing any major weight lifting or endurance training so I’m not overly concerned with my protein consumption, plus, eating a plant based meal makes me feel good inside and out