by Christine on May 22nd, 2012
filed under Christine's Life Updates
Yesterday I had a bit of an epiphany:
I need to be perfect. All. The. Time.
I always kind of knew this in some way, but I always called it being “a little odd” or “anal retentive” or “OCD.” I never really put it like that: “The need to be right all the time,” but it’s true. I have an obsessive need to do the best possible job at all time and be as perfect as I can be at all times.
It’s crazy. My life is good—really good! But if 11 out of 12 things are going well for me, the one thing that is off-kilter will send me spiraling into a depression or an anxiety attack. It can be as small as having dishes in the sink or being late for an appointment (which, as it happened, is what triggered me yesterday).
And it’s not just my mood that gets affected. I have a hard time forcing myself to try new things that I think I’ll suck at (note: remember when I tried playing flag football this fall and got tackled within 30 seconds? And I vowed never to play again?) or, for example, I have a hard time going to sleep if I have laundry waiting to be finished. When I throw a girls-night party at my house, I get so crazy over cleaning the house, having the right food, games, and party favors, that I exhaust myself and spend so much time in an anxious fit that I don’t spend any time socializing with my friends. It seems that everything becomes a casualty when I get obsessive about having everything just right.
Why do I do this? Obviously it all stems from my childhood, but two different things have contributed to this. For starters, I had an overachieving older brother that my parents pretty much hero-worshipped. I knew I could never be as popular, handsome, smart, or talented as him, but damn I sure tried to live up to his standards. Why? Because I wanted to my mom’s acknowledgement and respect. Which I rarely got. I remember one time I got a report card with all As and a B-, and my mom’s reply was “you need to try harder. This isn’t good enough.” And so I just kept trying harder. (It’s no surprise that I eventually “figured the whole school thing out” and graduated with a 4.0 for my Masters Degree.)
The second reason why I do this is a little more complicated. I was often…harassed or verbally abused, especially if I stepped out of line or did something noticeable. In fact, I would say I mastered the art of being invisible and staying off the radar. Nothing gets you noticed faster that fucking up a task, so I worked my ass of to get shit done right and done well to avoid a future confrontation. I remember one time I was asked to go out and mow the lawn, and I was so afraid that I wasn’t doing it right – all those pesky long-grassed trimmings at the edges of the lawn—that I subsequently spent about 5 hours trimming all the edges with a pair of scissors until my fingers bled. All so I didn’t get yelled at for not doing it right the first time. When I was in middle school I got teased for having blingy hair-scrunchies and different clothes (I nearly got my ass beat once for wearing a new brand of jeans, Guess Jeans, that nobody heard of). So I just learned to dress tidily, usually all in black or solid colors, nothing noticeable or offensive. Boring. Yes, I was very, very boring.
This perfectionism OCD-ness has reaches in all areas of my life. My work needs to be done just right before it goes out the door. I will get depressed and hide in the bedroom if I forget to pick up the gallon of milk hubby asked me to get after work, or forget to pick up the dry cleaning. I berate myself for not calling my family enough and not being a good enough daughter.
This whole innate desire to get it Just. Perfect. definitely can be seen with my weight, self-image, and food issues. I realize now that I’ll never look in the mirror and like what I see. Something will always need to be fixed. (I spent a solid hour at work looking up information on getting plastic surgery done on my eyes, to eliminate the bags under them.) The fact is, even after a year of “maintenance mode” following gastric banding surgery, I still don’t feel confident that I have my body under control. I also don’t feel that I have my eating under control. (After missing my pysch appointment yesterday I consumed 4 candy bars and cried in my car.)
And when my weight fluctuates over my Goal Weight (125 pounds), even 3 pounds or more, I berate myself, find myself tottering on the line of depression.
I know that being obsessive about getting it just perfect all the time is toxic and not healthy. But knowing that and stopping how I feel are two radically different things. I don’t know how to change my attitude, perspective, and goals.
Obviously I will bring this up to my doctor the next time I meet with him. I’m not really sure how to get over this, but at least I’ve recognized it.
by Christine on September 6th, 2011
Has anyone caught that British show Supersize vs. Superskinny (it was on the OWN channel this weekend)? Apparently it’s been around since 2008, but I hadn’t heard of it or seen it before. It was kind of an interesting show!
In the show, they take one underweight person and match them up with an overweight person, all while parading them in front of the camera repeatedly in their underwear for continual shock value. For two weeks they make the people swap meal plans. During that time they undergo nutritional counseling to tell them why their original diets don’t work for them and how to eat more healthfully.
The show also had some other segments, such as exploring different fad diets and exercise programs that are out there and measures their effectiveness. The show also quizzes average people about their knowledge of nutrition, such as “what plate has the most calories?”
Some things I thought were interesting:
- Skinny people often eat crappy junk foods. They aren’t necessarily skinny because they eat nothing but fresh lettuce and veggies. Similarly, overweight people often eat a more well-rounded assortment of healthy foods.
- With overweight people, it seems like the biggest issue that they needed to wrap their heads around was the concept of portion control. Again, their food choices were by and large pretty good, but it was just the quantity of food that was out of control. Once they embraced smaller portions, the weight started to fall off.
- Strangely, exercise wasn’t really covered with either of the two superfat or superskinny subjects.
- I guess I personally was surprised that the superskinny person was dissatisfied with their body shape. As someone that has battled obesity all her life, I’ve constantly quested for thin! thin! thin! It seems mind-boggling to me that a thin person might not want to be thin. Similarly, I have a hard time seeing “too thin” as a problem. I see a dangerously bone-thin person and still feel jealous longing for that kind of body shape. I wonder if this will ever change.
- An extraordinary number of people are unaware of how many calories are in the food that they are eating. How good are you at estimating the calories in the foods available to you at restaurants, parties, in your workplace lunchroom, etc?
- It seems that fat diets, although risky for many reasons, including medically risky, often seem to work. In the fad diet they examined, the person lost weight. In the fad exercise, the people lost weight. The problem with these diets is that they are hard to stick to and often cause people to binge out of control because they are hungry. The fad exercise programs (such as a specialized body vacuum while exercising) work but seems too expensive for an average person to use long-term.
- British people seem far more okay with being abused about their body shape on tv. I think American women would be sobbing for the way the tv show hosts abuse them. And they took random people off the street and paraded them in front of the cameras, too! I don’t think that Americans are as comfortable with their body shape and would not be likely to volunteer to do that. I wonder why there is such a sociological difference in our body perception and comfort level with our bodies?
Perplexingly, although the schtick of the show is to get the superfat and superskinnies to swap food while telling them how problematic each meal plan is. It seems hardly appropriate to give extreme meal plans to anyone–especially under the guidance of registered dieticians–much less people whose bodies are clearly not used to that kind of extreme change.
As we jump into September, let’s all take a moment to stop and re-evaluate how much food we are eating at any given sitting. Remember to measure and weigh your foods to keep yourself honest! Remember to eat off of small plates so you don’t fill the urge to “fill up” larger sized plates!
by Christine on January 27th, 2011
filed under Christine's Life Updates
I started a new job after new years in January, so I’ve been working here for almost a month. This week I brought in some photos to hang on my office walls. I hung six pictures up, and my office is starting to look a little more like home. I still need a little greenery and maybe a coat rack, but it’s a little more cozy than before.
Hanging up photos in my office makes me smile, because it’s an indication that I like my job, and I plan on being here for a long haul. I hated my last job, and it’s really no wonder that it took me about 7 months to hang a picture on the wall. I think I knew, subconsciously, that the last job wasn’t for me, and similarly I think I know now that this job is a really good fit for me.
In the same vein, I think that for the weight-loss game, it’s important to “make yourself at home,” too. Remember that this is a long journey, and a long haul. Just like work, you’re going to have good days and bad days. If you make yourself at home in your weight-loss journey, it’s going to be a more comfortable experience and help you remember that this is a long-distance journey, not a metaphorically short sprint to the finish line.
So how can you make yourself at home in your weight loss journey? Here are a few ideas:
- Post pictures of you at your thinnest on the refrigerator for constant reminder.
- Hang up a “goal weight dress” (or suit, for you men) on the back of your bathroom door
- Post inspirational quotes on your bathroom mirror once a week. (You can write on your mirror with a dry/erase marker easily)
- Ask your friends to help encourage you and keep you on track.
- Bring a lock to the gym and leave some items in a locker there. That’s your home-away-from-home now.
- Get to know a grocery store cash register check-out person on a first-name basis. Tell him/her about your weight-loss journey. Then, when you go to the grocery store and check out with your new friend, it’ll be a little more cozy, and your new friend will be checking out your food purchases to make sure you’re staying on the diet.
Do something a little silly, a little fun to keep your weight loss journey fresh and new. And remember…if you slip backwards, it’s not the end of the world! Remember, you’re at home with your new badassed self now, so give yourself a hug, then get up and get back on track.
by Christine on November 28th, 2010
Today we wanted to watch the Steelers game, but of course it wasn’t televised in our area so we had to finda bar to watch it. We went to Buffalo Wild Wings to watch the game and we were there for four hours!! Yikes! I was pleasantly surprised to see a healthy option on the Buffalo Wild Wings menu….four baked chicken tenders (170 calories) with a side of any wild wings sauce on the side (30 calories maybe), and salad instead of french fries, with fat-free balsamic dressing (50 calories)! Delicious and low-calorie!
Oh yeah, and the Steelers won in overtime HOORAY!
As if four hours in a restaurant wasn’t enough time sitting, I then I met a friend for dinner at Chilis. Chilis has numerous healthy options on their menu, but today I found another one! I got a side order of black beans (100 calories) and a side order of 3 shrimps (80). What a great deal! I confess that I really wanted the Quesadilla Explosion Salad because it’s one of my favorite! This is a really high-calorie monster though. I asked the waitress if I could only order a half-portion and she told me no, that wasn’t possible. I didn’t want to pay $10 for a salad that I would only eat 1/4 of, so I opted for the beans and shrimp instead. (That dish cost me $4, by the way.)
What today’s lesson reinforced for me was that it is possible to spend time–lots of time!–at your favorite restaurants and still make healthy eating choices.
Tonight I have a lot of paperwork and bills to get through. Blah! Maybe I’ll throw some situps in the mix.
Today’s total calories:
Breakfast: 1 eggo waffle (70) and some maple syrup (70)
Lunch: 3 grilled chicken strips (130) and some sauce (30, I didn’t use much) and a side salad (50 at most), 1 beer (200)
Dinner: Shrimp (80) and black beans (100), 1 martini (150)
Snack: 1 cookie (50)
Total calories: 885 calories
by Christine on October 13th, 2010
The other day I made a really yummy Ahi Tuna recipe, and it turned out fantastically. I thought I would share it with you guys in case you had any interest in giving it a try.
Seared Ahi Tuna with Ginger Soy Sauce
- 2 (6-8 ounce) ahi tuna steaks (3/4 of an inch thick)
- 2 Tbsp dark sesame oil
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce (or 2 teaspoons of wheat-free tamari for gluten-free option)
- 1 Tbsp of grated fresh ginger
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 green onion (scallion) thinly sliced (a few slices reserved for garnish)
- 1 teaspoon lime juice
1 Mix the marinade ingredients together and coat the tuna steaks with the marinade, cover tightly, and refrigerate for at least an hour.
2 Heat a non-stick skillet over medium high to high heat. When the pan is hot, remove the tuna steaks from the marinade and sear them for a minute to a minute and a half on each side ( even a little longer if you want the tuna less rare than pictured.)
3 Remove from pan and slice into 1/4-inch thick slices. Sprinkle with a few green onion slices.
Can serve plain, with white rice, or over lettuce or thinly sliced cabbage or fennel. I served this with a few slices of avocado, and it was delicious. I also added just a smidgen of wasabi in the ginger soy mixture; I recommend doing that, but only use a pinky-nail of wasabi unless you know you like a lot of heat.
In other news
Alan gave me an award, thank you Alan!
Today, weight was 130.2. So close to the 120′s…I’m almost on the final leg of this journey! I’m at 95 pounds lost total now; only 5 pounds to go. Yesterday I was hungry all day, and I ate and ate. Too much coffee (with cream and sugar). Leftover ahi tuna (about 1 oz), a few bites leftover grilled chicken (about 1 oz), a few spoonfuls of leftover rice. I don’t really eat at all anymore; I graze. Nibble. I never DINE, I never sit down for a real meal. My advice to you, dear dieters: Only eat until you’re not hungry. Don’t eat until you’re FULL. Put the fork down the minute you’re not hungry anymore. You’ll probably need to pick your fork back up in an hour, and that’s fine. Don’t stuff yourself. Keep your hunger levels firmly in check.
My closet is waning. I now have four pair of pants that sorta-kinda fit me (2 jeans, 2 work slacks), only one pair of sweat pants for lounging around the house. Very few t-shirts that fit, no long-sleeve tshirts that really fit (they are all XL or larger), only one sweatshirt that fits. I might make a run to Walmart for some cheapie long-sleeve tshirts. I’ve been freezing my ass off for the last few days.