Hitting the Reset Button

First, sorry for the silence over the past month. Truth be told, I’ve been incredibly busy, and I’ve felt guilty about even thinking about blogging when I needed to be looking for jobs. The good news: I got a job, and I start next Monday. It’s a four-month contract gig, with the possibility of going permanent. I fully plan on winning them over and convincing them that I need to be a permanent member of the team. 🙂 So now, I can blog. When I have time. With deer season starting in just a few weeks, I’m not sure when/if I’ll have time to blog (on top of starting a new job).

The bad thing about being silent for so long, though, is that I start bottling stuff up and don’t ever take the time to try to clear my  head and make sense of my thoughts and feelings. And believe me, there have been lots of thoughts and feelings over the past month.

If you’ll recall, my past post was on disordered eating. Since then, I’ve basically been following the advice of nutritionists who specialize in eating disorders–Eat the Food. Don’t starve yourself. Don’t count calories. Exercise. If you want a donut, eat a freaking donut. If you want chicken, eat chicken. Don’t allow yourself to feel guilt over being hungry or for eating–no matter what it was you just ate. I’ve actually been dong a fairly decent job with the no guilt thing, but it’s something I still struggle with on occasion. It’s been nice not counting calories for the past month, too. I obsess over numbers–have since I was a girl and I would count things (ends up that was a coping mechanism with a touch of OCD due to crappy circumstances).

Unfortunately, some of this has to come to an end. And unfortunately, I’m struggling with that, because a part of me doesn’t want it to. I think I’ve been living in some sort of food utopia for the past month, one where I ate whatever the hell I wanted, didn’t restrict, worked out, and enjoyed it. That isn’t to say I’ve necessarily been happy…just that I enjoyed eating whatever the hell I want. I haven’t done that in three and a half years.

The problem is that I’ve gained back everything I lost while on Medifast.

All of it except for a couple of pounds.

*head desk*

To say I’m angry might be an understatement, I’m just not sure who or what I’m angry at.

Myself, because I feel like a failure.

The Medifast counselors, for not supporting me or believing me when I told them I was happy and felt great when I was maintaining between 170 and 175 (which sent me into a mental and emotional tailspin).

My former boss for firing me (which caused a shit ton of stress, and sent me into a mental and emotional tailspin).

The new birth control pills I started just a week after finding out I was being let go from my job (which also sent me into an emotional tailspin).

Logically I know that a perfect storm occurred three months ago. I lost my job, switched birth control, and then the people who I thought where my allies were skeptical when I told them I was happy and felt great and then were further disbelieving and skeptical when I started gaining weight right after losing my job and switching birth control.

Like I’ve said before, I gained about twenty pounds in those first three to four weeks. Since then (so the past eight weeks or so), I’ve gained another ten pounds, which puts me solidly right back where I started in July of 2012.

Just like all of these things were a bit of a perfect storm, it also seems like things are weirdly coming to a head all at the same time.

Yesterday was the first time I’d weighed myself in probably a month. The emotions I felt when I saw the number on the scale were varied, to say the least. Disappointment. Anger. Sadness. Resolution. Despite the fact that logically I know that the number on the scale is just a number, there’s so much emotional shit tied to it for me that I don’t know how to get beyond it. What pisses me off is that I wasn’t like that until I started Medifast. I don’t know what happened while I was on Medifast, but I got OBSESSIVE about numbers. Like, obsessive beyond anything I’ve ever been. Those of you who were reading this blog in its previous iteration might remember how every month I would post a table detailing my inches lost in various body parts, the change in weight and body fat percentage. Every month I would obsess over those numbers, analyze them like crazy, look at what I’d been eating and how much I’d been exercising in order to determine trends. It’s ok to track stuff, to have a baseline and a good idea of which way you’re going, but it’s really not okay to obsess and to let those numbers begin to determine how you feel about yourself. That’s not healthy, folks, and somehow during Medifast I went a little bit crazy with the numbers.

So for the past month I haven’t wanted to know any numbers. Unfortunately, swinging from one end of the pendulum to the other isn’t necessarily the healthiest thing, either. I tend to be a person of extremes–it’s all or nothing with me for the most part–so I have to find a way to find that middle ground. The good thing is that I’ve been there before. Prior to Medifast I was tracking but wasn’t obsessing. I weighed every Sunday morning, recorded it, tracked my food, and that was that. I didn’t obsess. Was I restricting? Yes. Not as badly as I did while on Medifast, but I WAS restricting and I did feel so much guilt if I “slipped up” and “indulged” in a brownie or a cookie or a cupcake.

So weight-wise, I’m back where I started in July of 2012. Okay, let’s just hit the reset button. If I lost it once, I can lose it again. Hell, I’ve lost it twice. I should be able to lose it a third time, right?

The other thing that’s coming to a head, though, is finding a new job. Starting a new job is always stressful, and apparently I have one of those bodies that just really reacts to stress. But starting a new job isn’t as stressful as getting fired and being unemployed, so there is that. On the flip side, knowing that this is a four-month contract gig is a bit stressful–I really don’t want to go through this job search crap again four months down the road (which is why I’m hoping to be brought on permanently).

And that brings me to the final thing that’s coming to a head, which is probably the one decision I’ve made in the past few weeks that I feel the best about: I’m getting off the pill. Before anyone reads that and thinks that this means Phillip and I want to start a family–don’t even go there. We’re still not ready for kids, and we still don’t know if we want kids, but this was something I feel is the right decision for me to make regarding my health. Like I’ve mentioned before, I started this new pill (Lo Lo Estrin FE, if anyone’s curious) in July, a week after I found out I was losing  my job. It has a slightly higher dose of estrogen, which we thought would help me with some other issues I was having. Well, the good news is that it helped with those issues (or maybe not starving myself anymore helped with that? maybe both?), but it caused all kinds of other issues. There’s the weight gain, which is obviously not cool. But there are other things, too, that I normally wouldn’t be super open about (I can be very private in THIS regard), but that I feel like I need to share in case someone else has similar experiences (and they have, from what I’ve read online). My first period was super light, super short and I had like no PMS symptoms whatsoever. No pre-period migraine like I’d been having on my previous two forms of birth control. It was great (even with the weight gain). After two months of being on Lo Lo Estrin Fe, though, things started to get wonky. I had some PMS symptoms, but never got my period. And then the pregnancy symptoms started. Tender, swollen and abnormally firm breasts (I mean, seriously, I have big boobs and they haven’t been this firm since I was like 12). Nausea in the mornings. Super emotional. Weird cravings. Weight gain primarily in my tummy, to the point where a cashier tried to direct me to the maternity section the other day. I’ve taken multiple pregnancy tests, and they’ve all been negative. Unfortunately my OBGYN is on maternity leave until November 5 (tip: don’t start a new form of birth control the day before your OBGYN is scheduled to go on maternity leave), and the on-call OBGYN’s response when I called earlier this week was, “Well, any form of hormonal birth control can cause pregnancy symptoms.” No shit, Sherlock. So I just decided that maybe I need to just get off the hormonal birth control and let my body reset itself hormonally. (This isn’t the first time I’ve lost weight and then gained after starting a new birth control–the same thing happened when I was in college and then started the shot.)

So I’m basically hoping that all of these things will be a bit of a reset button for me. As of today I’ve started tracking again, but I’ve increased my calories from what Medifast told me they should be, because Phillip and I both thought at the time that part of the reason why I started gaining back in the first place was because I wasn’t eating enough. I’m not doing Paleo anymore, but I am focusing on “whole” foods in the sense that I’m steering away from processed stuff and focusing more on homemade. I’m not eating “light” foods, as those often have a bunch of nasty shit in them in order to replace the flavor that fat gives it. A smaller amount of something with full fat in it is better for you in the long run than a larger amount with artificial crap in it, IMO. If I have a cupcake or some ice cream every now and then, that’s okay, and I’m not going to feel guilty about it.

So yeah. Reset button and all that. There are lots of other things I need to work out in my brain, too–like my crazy emotions, the anger I feel over gaining the weight back, and even my emotional reactions any time Phillip and I discuss my health. But for now, this will do.

Reset button.