Steps Forward and Back….the Dance of Depression

When I initially set out to create a habit, I was a bit stubborn, determined and a lot bored. I have so much time on my hands, excessive amounts of obsession and depression that I knew I had to do something or succumb to another black hole. My goal was to see if I could break the behavior in 90-100 days and set myself up for real and lasting change.

The one commitment I started with was to ride the Peloton Bike EVERY day. I was going to make that investment worth it come hell or high water. I also really wanted the Peloton Tread and told myself that wasn’t happening until I could prove to myself I was going to use it consistently . The cost of $$ investment was too high to make a frivolous decision. Based on what I knew about myself, 30 or 60 days wasn’t enough. Nor was a 3/5 day a week commitment. Nope, I was going gangbusters on my own ass.

Shit, if I could obsess over Tony for a year every day I should be able to commit to taking care of myself in a positive way for 100 days. At least, right? And maybe, just maybe, a new obsession could replace the Tony obsession. A new focus. The right kind of focus.

May 11th was 90 days from my start on February 11th.

I did not ride the bike for 6 days in that 90 days. 2 from a hospital stay, 3 from a stomach virus and 1 I have no idea. I did do “something” Peloton related those 6 days, even if that meant a meditation. Those 6 days bug me and piss me off. I should allow some leeway but it only makes me feel I can’t commit to anything sometimes. I am forgiving myself because I did realize this past week, when I had the stomach virus, that my body REALLY needed the rest. When I finally did ride again, I rode stronger. Also, I suddenly started to bleed – now I don’t know if it’s a period or not but it would sure explain the utter exhaustion combined with the stomach bug. I get blood tests next week – I’m at my full 5 month mark since my last infusion. I’m banking on a massive drop in iron because I’m having trouble just getting out of bed and I truly can’t find energy within myself.

Once the activity started I realized I was capable of more.

I am learning that healthy habits are what’s going to get me through life. If I do right by myself every day as a way of life, and I fall off the wagon, it doesn’t matter. One day, one weekend or maybe even a week to allow myself space either physically or mentally isn’t going to make me gain back the 75 pounds I lost. What made me gain over and over and over during the past 18 years was the fact that I allowed myself to keep failing. I did not have a healthy habit I was committed to.

For instance, in the past, one cookie on a Friday would mean I could eat a whole box before Sunday. Mid week I could eat poorly again because I had already eaten the cookies. The behavior was a loop and a very bad one. That’s gone.

Now, I eat a cookie if I want a cookie. I drink. AND I watch what I eat all the times in between that and I feel just fine. Every day doesn’t need to be a food party. I am still learning what my balance is, but now clearly have a better relationship with good and healthy eating and make better choices. Eliminating most carbs has removed the carb cravings. I don’t struggle to avoid foods that are not good for me. I have actually lost the appetite for most of my old fatty food choices. They just no longer appeal to me, as if I have lost the taste of them entirely. I also just make better choices for myself and don’t allow myself to feel penalized when I go off. Now I understand healthy eating habits. I almost don’t know why this felt so hard before (yes, it helps that I can’t eat much in one sitting so making better choices makes sense).

I’m off Keto now because my body wasn’t responding well with all the working out. I needed more protein and carbs. I’m working with the nutritionist to find the right balance for that.

So I’m 90 days in and heading towards that 100. I’m contemplating what happens post 100 and what makes sense for me to maintain once working again. I’m speaking with a nutritionist and many trainers about constructing the best “road ahead” for my goals.

That all sounds good, right?

But, and there’s always a but……There are two immense things I struggle with.

One is “encouraging” self-talk. Being my own cheerleader. Congratulating myself. Egging myself on. Encouraging myself. I don’t know how the people who do this (all over my Facebook and Peloton groups – here on the blog too – Maggie is a master ❤️) do it every single day. Are they for real? How can anyone be so positive and encouraging? Do they have a book of positivity quotes? Do they really wake up and make gratitude lists? I want to learn how to do this as I believe I am mostly a critical person (hello, Virgo trait). Not just do it but BELIEVE in it, drink the koolaid, buy the farm.

I chose one thing to try: every day I post my exercise achievements. I was always annoyed by people who did this so have no idea what prompted me to do so, but it seemed easy enough. An unexpected side effect is a lot of my friends congratulate me and encourage me – and many tell me how I’ve motivated them to start their own journey. Two have even bought a Peloton! I guess I realize that if my exercise posts are annoying they can skip over them, but many seem interested. I never expected anyone to care. People are really happy to share their own fitness journeys and tips as well. I use this for my mental well being – it’s like having cheerleaders. I am my own worst enemy with all the positive self talk – – and I do realize this is what coaches and trainers and support groups are best at – reminding you to do your bets every day! I try so hard to be encouraging for others but find it tedious…I wish I could tap into all that positivity consistently. Maybe I should do a 90 day positive energy journey next? I really feel like this is a key to unlocking something for me. What if I HAD to be grateful, satisfied, and positive for the next 90 days?

I have a few platforms on which I can do this. I can help young women with career roles, I can participate as an admin in a Peloton Facebook group and support others along their journey, I can start a gratitude journal. I will just need a place to vomit after I spend the day smiling and performing – at least in the start. I truly don’t know how people wake up and make a choice to be happy. I listen to these coaching mantras and they make sense – but they don’t make me cry and evaluate my life and affect me the way they do many people I know. Church also doesn’t have that impact on me. I have to figure this piece out – the part of me I want to put into the universe to grow and make better.

The second one is my absolute fear I will give up. Why? Because I have ALWAYS given up in the past. I don’t give up on obsessing over Tony so clearly I can obsess where my brain wants to -but obsessing about my exercise and health? Welp, that’s partially how I ended up in Mexico in the first place. Although I had legitimate reasons this past week for not exercising to my normal capacity, I feel immense guilt and worry that every day I can’t is simply going to lead to another day I don’t want to. I’m worried that if I can’t get my iron for 2 months or so (which is highly likely to happen, thanks insurance) I will allow myself to remain exhausted instead of pushing through. And once I stop for too long, all that hard work disappears.

When your body is depleted it’s so hard to get your mind to work. I’ve been sick and tired for so long, so very long, that the thought still crosses my mind that all this is just too hard, too much work and I’m tired, really tired of trying so hard just to wake up every day. Will positive self-talk change this? Will more exercise? Will better body acceptance? Will falling in love? My kids treating me better? Self-acceptance? When this exhaustion hits, the depression grabs hold of the thought and runs away with it….and that is ALWAYS a fear.

Non-Scale Victory: Acceptance

In the dieting world, NSV’s are a big deal. You may not see the scale move, but something else important happens and you can consider it a victory.

I’ve had a lot of these in the past month and when I found myself staring my wrinkly, excess skin on my arms and thighs, I decided I was going to forgive myself for the first time in my life.

I was trying on some clothes for outfits as I have a few appointments coming up. As I changed in and out of each I watched how my body moved. There are certain angles, positions and movements that exacerbate or highlight the excess skin. I don’t have that much excess skin, but it’s there and it’s wrinkly and in certain positions it’s very obvious. It bothers me. I think it’s ugly and certainly not natural looking (especially my tummy) I analyzed myself for a while, immediately fretting over how ugly it looks. How a man would react to it? How it made me look older. And and and and.

Then I stopped. Can’t go back and change a decision I made that was surgical. Didn’t really understand the potential impact of significant weight loss so quickly, and maybe even never believed I was going to be less than 160-175 pounds in my life. I look great in clothes. I feel great. I am doing everything to care for my new body. I am becoming strong.

And finally, oh my god, finally, I forgave my body for looking the way it does with its wrinkles and scars and instead told it how happy I am with it’s strength and ability to recover. How it feels so good to move freely. How I can sit any way I want with my legs crossed at any angle and not lose my circulation. How amazing it feels to buy clothes that make me look great, that hang beautifully on my frame, that don’t bind me and cause discomfort.

I looked at this bruised body of mine and reminded myself of what it’s accomplished, despite the damage caused at my own making.

Sure, it’s not natural, my body has distorted and morphed in ways that are not beautiful. But, I never had a perfect body. My first surgery on my bowels was at 2 years old and that left awful, deep and ugly scars. I never had a pristine, scar-less body. Then it hit me: I’ve never loved my body.

And the thought grew.

If I never loved my body, and I’ve gone to great lengths to change it over many, many trials and tribulations – why not just forgive my body? It’s doing the best it can with what it’s been given to work with. It’s getting stronger and more defined every day. It moves in ways it never has before.

Why not accept the best of what I have and stop fretting about the rest? I don’t think that happens over night, but I can feel acceptance beginning within me. I don’t have to, I get to…..I get to wake up every day, open my eyes, and be grateful my body serves me so well.

Weight has always been at the top of my mind. My whole life. Even though I have a whole lot less of it now, it’s probably going to be top of my mind for the rest of my life thanks to all the years of negativity surrounding it. But if I can learn to accept the gift I’ve been given, I believe I can break much of the negative internal loop I’ve created and accept all the new positives I’m creating.

Peloton Homecoming Weekend

I committed myself to 90/100 days of exercise and well-being and other than a few sickness blips along the way, have stuck to it entirely. The greatest motivation of all is my Peloton community and I can’t be more thankful to be a part of such a supportive group.

Peloton is about 6 years old and they host something called a Home Rider Invasion once a year. The Homecoming consistents of talks, community events, a sample sale and studio exercise with your favorite instructor. There is definitely an atmosphere of hero-worship with the instructors and everyone wants and opportunity to meet them and ride with them.

I admit, for the first time in my life, to geeking out full fan girl on the weekend. Why not? 3k other riders did! I got a hotel for 2 nights, I participated in all the events, and I rode my heart out and made new friends along the way. I had so much fun. I had invested in a new lifestyle and this felt like coming home to my tribe of peeps.

I wish I could bottle the feeling, but it took me several days to actually recover from the weekend events. I fade very fast now which still concerns me. Doctor appts to follow in the next couple weeks.

I had committed to attending alone, but at the last moment a Peloton friend wanted to come in Friday and don’t have a room so I offered to share mine. I didn’t regret making a new friend and she was super easy to get along with. A bit of a chatty Kathy but I realized I could just walk away from that when I needed. She made my life super easy because she was organized and got us to our locations on time. Friday night was a happy hour and we had a few hundred attendees from the Facebook group I participate in. Some people are very good at this kind of socialization. I have always struggled with it. I wish I was better. I can do a little but can’t sustain. I’m sure there were many more people I would have liked to interact with but I sort of turn inwards thinking I’m bothering people or they are not so interested in me. The night was fun in any case. My roommate was super active in the room but she over ruled any conversation I would have and I eventually grew tired of trying to socialize with her. She’s just a different type of person than I am. She seems to demand attention and desperately wants to share and be part of the group. I’m ok hanging back and enjoying everyone’s enjoyment!

The next day we attended some Peloton events and then there was an afternoon rush. I had a studio ride, a hair appt then a race to get ready to get to a HH. August was due to meet me at the hotel. The studio ride was amazing with some of my Pelo-peeps! The energy was fabulous and I enjoyed it so much more than I thought possible. Meeting people I had interacted with virtually was really fun! I struggled to make my hair appt and back to the hotel fast enough and finally bagged the scheduled HH (I regretted that in hindsight because it was a great HH and even smaller than Friday so better for networking).

I had a fabulous brightly colored silk jumpsuit to wear that set off my hair and newly formed arm muscles (they are getting there!) but just wanted to slow down for a minute getting ready. August waited in the bar for me as I got ready. A few friends stayed behind and we all met to have a drink. August is a striking figure and personable so the girls migrated to him easily. He really made our night easy as he held bags and took photos, always made sure we had drinks and was generally along for the ride. Honestly, I didn’t pay very much attention to him as I was so caught up in the atmosphere around us. I didn’t have any indication that August minded or was uncomfortable and I did watch him early on for signs of this.

We made our way to the massive evening event (think a small concert) and danced the night away. Everyone had so much fun. August couldn’t get over how people responded to me – and I suppose I don’t see what he sees – he felt that I energized everyone around me and people migrated to me. It’s funny that I don’t feel that at all, I don’t like to impose on people and I’m very forgetful about details so I’m cautious about meeting too many people and gathering too much information I know I won’t retain. I wish I could capitalize on this energy and connection August saw oozing from me – I wish I knew how to lead or group strangers in a way that was meaningful. I can do with a very small groups (an I did have small group with me all evening) but I’m no good at doing it multiple times. It does have me thinking that if other people see this compelling leadership ability in me (outside of work) then I should also consider how to put it to further use.

August was a fun and easy partner for the evening. I honestly have no idea if he responds to me, or I to him, but there isn’t much of a connection between us for one reason or another. I feel as though he’s impressed with me, thinks I’m beautiful and intelligent, but has zero clue how to act on it. He doesn’t do anything, absolutely nothing, that makes me feel like he’s all that interested in me or wants me. Which makes him easy to ignore and, perhaps, creates the loop. He needs a lot of direction and I find that frustrating as it’s a throwback to my marriage. But, on this very busy and engaging evening, he didn’t matter.

I also did not think about Tony even once. Someone asked me later if I saw him at the event and I truthfully replied that I had forgotten to look. 10 points for me. Trixie was nowhere to be seen.

After the cocktail party a group of us made our way back to the hotel for food, drinking and dancing. As we dropped things in the room, August made a comment about sex (don’t recall exactly what it was) and I dropped my jumpsuit, leaned over the bed and said “ok!” And he looked at me and laughed and said no woman had ever dropped their clothes so fast for him! We had a perfunctory quickie from behind, no kissing, no touching, nothing but penetration and his orgasm. Got dressed and joined the group. I had already had too much to drink at this point and it didn’t phase me. In hindsight though, he didn’t so much as touch me or show any interest in more than he got.

Our night was spent dancing and laughing before we made it to the room around 2am. August ran and got tacos for the whole group before we departed – there is nothing better than drunk taco! Lol. Then we made our way back to the room because we were due to be back at the event by 10am. August and I chatted while he climbed into bed and packed up and cleaned up. He eventually fell asleep before I crawled in. I was a little surprised he gave me a hug and we fell asleep. I know we didn’t touch the entire night, again. If it sounds dull, it was. It was fine.

We woke the next morning and he was kind enough to go in search of coffee and a valet cart for me. We checked out and made our way to the event. I could tell he wasn’t super enthused we missed food, but he managed on some protein bars. We did some of the morning events and made our way to a hotel nearby for a disaster of a brunch (no service and causing me to be late to my next event so I was full of complaints – they comped our meal). We had fun walking around and chatting and participating. He was such a good sport about taking photos and patiently watching me be an active fan girl. No hand holding. No hugging. No kissing. I do touch my partners, so my hand is generally on his shoulder or arm when I begin speaking to him. Normally a man will react to this by engaging me in a more physical way, pull me closer, hug me, kiss me, put an arm around me. Not August.

It had been pouring rain all morning and we caught a break so took a nice walk through the city. I enjoyed our time together but realize I can’t get a read on him exactly. Some small things send up some cues for me – like I can’t tell if he’s actually cheap or frugal. He’s observant and kind with some things and entirely neglectful of others. And I really don’t think he has a clue how to behave like a boyfriend. I don’t get the feeling his neglect is intentional. I could be wrong but I don’t know. However, if I make any move towards him that’s affectionate his face lights up but he doesn’t exactly respond in kind. I am no longer the kind of person that will go out of my way for a man if they don’t know how to manage their outward affections. I did it for 22 years and it didn’t work. This is where Tony ruled the romance kingdom – I always felt like his beloved. I adored that feeling and it made me feel like a queen and gave me a lot of power. I know I need that. August doesn’t have a clue how to do that. And as ageist as this sounds, I do think it’s a by-product of his generation and his upbringing. Again, I could be wrong but I think I’ve dated enough now to make these generalizations.

We made our way back to the hotel and gathered our things, loaded my car and parted with a kiss on the cheek. I really enjoyed my weekend, was happy to have August there, but he wasn’t the reason I enjoyed the weekend. Had he not been there I would have been fine and wondered if I should have tried it alone. I bet my luck would have been bad – I would have seen Tony and ruined a perfectly good weekend! 😂

I made some everlasting friendships and August committed to working out after meeting so many average people who dedicate their time and energy to this brand. He was surprise they weren’t all athlete types and so many were just “average Americans.” He was an Olympian (sorry, I was schooled that he IS an Olympian- once and Olympian always an Olympian!). This is why I love this community: anyone can excel. All you need to do is show up and do your best and they’ve got your back!

I know Peloton gave me my life back. ❤️

So Many Men….So Much Time!

I’m going to take KDaddys advice (from several posts ago!) and try very hard to start focusing on what’s in front of me (a new relationship) instead of obsessing over Tony.

So, I started to think about dating this time around.

I recall when I started my first blog in early 2014, when I was entering my separation stage and starting to go on first dates, that I never really logged my first dates. I was better a talking the sex romp stories. But that’s where my head was at the time!

I wish I counted or captured all the dates before I deleted that blog. I hadn’t slept with many men before marriage, but I made up for all of in the two years before I met Tony!

Now that I’m in a very different phase of life, I decided I should keep a list of my first dates – I feel like I go on so many of them. I probably have double or triple the amount of phone and text conversations before a date is even made. Now I entirely understand why divorced people say dating is such hard work. Knowing what you want and sticking to your choices is tough. But anything else is a waste of time.

Here’s a quick recap of the first dates I’ve been on since I opened up the apps last November.

1. Rob (6’4″) – November/December

2. Brian – January

3. Joe – January

4. Jack – January

5. Matthew – January/February

6. Anthony – February

7. Greg – February

8. Jack2 – February

9. Craig – March

10. Duke – April

11. August – April

Here we are just about to face the first week of May and, as I look at my list above, I don’t think it’s too bad. Some days it feels like more than it is – first dates over and over can get exhausting – but I had a flurry of activity after the New Year and have slowed down to a more reasonable 2 dates a month. Maybe slow and steady wins the race or maybe I’m just over the same thing time after time. Either way, I plan to keep track go forward since I didn’t do that in my first blog!

I think I’m doing better overall with my choices. I don’t feel in any rush to jump into dates just to keep busy – and I have a hella lot of time to fill! I try to reflect on my dates each time and see what I can take forward.  I think I am better at evaluating what is worth my time and energy and where I want to invest.

I absolutely feel differently about dating this time around. It doesn’t feel as frivolous as before which probably has some good and not-so-good aspects to it. I think I’ve matured as far as dating goes and become a little bit more open-minded.

Part of the fun goes away when you stop being frivolous and start focusing on real relationship material.  It’s probably also what turns some guys off to me as well, but if a man can’t say “I am also looking to have a relationship” and instead says “I wills hat happens” it only indicates to me he really isn’t thinking about long term.

I do know I don’t want to be alone, and perhaps, during this more quiet time in my life, I will be better able to evaluate the must-haves from my long list of relationship requirements.

Why I Worry

Overall, my health is good – not my health from my physical activity – I separate that from the organs inside of my body that I have no control of. I can exercise til the cows come home and I can’t change what has happened or will happen in my abdomen.

I spent the day in the emergency room on 4/25, and before that, 3 days with tubes down my throat in March. I don’t panic when I don’t feel well (and for me not feeling well generally means something internal that’s weird) but today surprised me.

I worked out really well, and strong, yesterday. I got a great night sleep. But when I woke, the pain in my stomach was obvious and I had diarrhea for hours in the morning. I was also exceptionally tired (like bone tired). I had planned to meet my cousin to putter around the golf course and have lunch, so I got ready and dressed and went to meet her. I had a small half sandwich for lunch and some plain tea. We took the golf cart for a spin and the weather was stunning. Then we started to hit some balls at the driving range. All through this I was still tired with persistent discomfort, but not enough to stop me.

All of the sudden I lost all my energy and had to sit down. She continued to hit and we just chatted.

I was home by 5:30ish and went right to bed (with makeup on) and slept straight through to 8:30pm. I don’t know what’s sucking the life from me.

Except for the days inMarch where I was admitted to the hospital, I have not missed one day of my 90-100 day effort (today is day 87) but there is now way I can get on the bike or tread today.

My stomach sounds like aliens being birthed and I’m back in the bathroom in this evening. I wish I could record my tummy for you because I think you can hear it in the next house! The sounds don’t hurt, so it’s not exactly gas. There is a persistent high belly pain that is exacerbated when I push and release, and it’s totally different from the two pains in March and April. You can hear liquid moving through every part of my bowel like a leaky faucet! It makes my kids crazy.

In fact, my kids are entirely disturbed by how sick I “always” am because their father has them convinced this is all my fault. I brought this on myself and this is what happens. Suffice to say, he did this when we were married. He was never sick a day in his life so when I became ill (and I do get the craziest things) he didn’t know what to do or how to help me so he ignored me. That included pregnancy, labor and delivery as well as nursing. No support and almost blatant disregard for my well being. When my children do this to me I tell them it’s a trigger and I expect better behavior from them. I worry they get the gene that is selfish and doesn’t care about other people’s physical health because they don’t understand. I worry they won’t have empathy.

I don’t know what’s wrong with me or why this time. Maybe it will pass by tomorrow. I’m having some ginger tea which is good for digestion. I could not get on the bike so I meditated but that feels like an activity cop out for me. It kills me to break the streak. I wondered if some pedaling would help whatever is in there make its way out. My tummy is hard and distended so it may be yet another intestinal blockage (which would create the hyperactive bowel sounds – you can actually hear them in another room).

Ginger tea and hope for rest.

I haven’t had an opportunity to share all the excitement from my Homecoming weekend in the city with Peloton – what a fabulous event!

Shut My Brain Off, Please. Obsessing.

Not sure that I ever shared this but the therapist I was with at the end of last year diagnosed me with OCD.

I had never been referred to as OCD before so spoke about it a long while. My x was a clear OCD and son is S2. They have the kind of OCD that relates to unseen germs, repetitive habits or people touching their things etc. Theirs is pretty physical obviously when you know them a little while. I was surprised, but not shocked when we spoke about my ability to obsess over things not going the way I want them to. I obsess on the thoughts and feel the need to take action.

We covered all the basic steps of how to circumnavigate the debilitating repetitive ruminations and how to break the cycle. I have actively engaged in doing this. I consciously stop when I begin to ruminate and distract my mind. When I cannot distract my mind, I engage in physical activity. I amp up the activity to higher heart rates where all I can concentrate on is the activity if I’m really struggling. This has worked well (enough) most times.

But, my killer time is bed time. When I lie down to sleep and my mind begins unwinding, it always (and I do mean always) unwinds right to Tony. I started bedtime meditation to help with this, so that I have to listen to the guided meditation and put away the rumination. Again, this mostly helps. Last night was a killer.

As I normally do, when I am obsessing on something I start researching how I can help myself. I found a simple technique I’m going to try this week. Ask myself some questions.

The first step when I get so stuck in a loop I can’t stop ruminating has always been to acknowledge that I fixating on something negative. This part I have down pat. I have a series of answers lined up, such as:

Remember he doesn’t want you

You deserve better

He is a liar and a cheat and you don’t want that

Generally, on a good day, I can stop there. But on a bad day or night, there is another voice that’s says:

How did he get on with his life?

What is his marriage like now?

Is he happy? Or would he just lie some more?

What happened after their DDay?

What did he say about me?

As you can see, none of that is relevant and doesn’t require any answers. It’s none of my business and he’s not my concern.

So, when I get here, my new tactic is to use this technique which involves asking yourself a series of questions and then answering them. The technique is simple and quick, requiring only a minute or two of my time: (pulled from Psychology Today)

Wherever you are, ask yourself the following questions.

  • If I had to guess, what is the exact temperature now (inside or outside, depending where you are)?
  • What is my body temperature like now? Do I feel a little cold, a little warm, or perfectly comfortable?
  • If I don’t make any noise, can I identify every single sound that I hear?
  • Outside, what is in the sky? Are there clouds? How would I describe what I see in the sky?
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, how hungry am I?
  • If I could choose any dish right now to eat, I would choose….”

I’m sure, you got the idea. The value of this exercise is to distract my mind from any obsessive or upsetting thoughts and feelings I’m stuck in and to redirect my thinking to specific, tangible distraction-based questions by using my senses.

I can come up with my own questions.

The other method that I had researched a while back, but also don’t think I mentioned, is Mel Robbins “5 second rule.” This was so simple I actually didn’t try it for a while thinking it would never work but it does! I had initially read about this as related to how to put something into action, rather than stop action, but the theory works in reverse: (taken from MelRobbins.com)

What do you do?

Just start counting backwards to yourself: 5-4-3-2-1.

The counting will focus you on the goal or commitment and distract you from the worries, thoughts, and excuses in your mind.

As soon as you reach “1” – push yourself to move.

This is how you push yourself to do the hard stuff – the work that you don’t feel like doing, or you’re scared of doing, or you’re avoiding.

That’s it. 5 seconds is all it takes.

If you don’t act on an instinct within that 5 second window, that’s it. You’re not doing it.”

Rather than push myself to move (as above), stopping and counting down when I deep in rumination in order to refocus my thought is like an active recovery stage. It forces me to concentrate on the count and then move into a different thought.

I believe all the work I did with the therapist was good and showed me a lot of ways I can help myself while I can’t afford therapy. Putting these small changes into action isn’t difficult – the difficulty lies in repeating the techniques over and over and over until I’m no longer ruminating.

Frankly, sometimes I say to my mind “go ahead and obsess and lose sleep and get yourself upset because you’re too stubborn for me” I make myself crazy.

I have to think of some questions to ask myself that are simple, don’t require more hard thinking (like work thoughts) and would absolutely distract me.

Strange Days

I am beginning to wonder if thinking of Tony is cyclical. Maybe hormonal related? Or maybe it’s the empath in me. Whatever it is, I am sure it’s some kind of strange intuition because I’m not sure I can believe things are just this random.

I believe Tony is most likely still employed at Peloton. I bought the bike last summer to feel closer to him. Stupidest reasoning ever, but there’s the truth of it. I can’t even make sense of it. I barely rode in the beginning and he didn’t ride at all – he just worked at the corporate HQ.

When I had my last break of texting his wife in early February, I also made the decision that if I didn’t absorb myself into something else that I was going to slip right back into a massive depression. The bike is very expensive and it was sitting there. It was an easy choice that was healthy for me.

And then, in typical Madeline fashion, I became obsessed. This is a good obsession and keeps me focused and healthy. I feel fantastic after so many months of a sedentary and disabled life.

I didn’t think about Tony when I chose to invest my energy in the Peloton, somehow he became less the reason for the bike. I joined several groups for support and quickly joined the Peloton cult. I check in with members every day, ride in a group, and have made friends that I will be meeting in person this weekend. The community is so supportive its insane. I chose to buy into it. (I acknowledge I need to write a post about self-talk….a whole bunch of thoughts have been bubbling up lately).

With that said, there was one ride an instructor called Tony’s name in a shout-out. I can guess this instructor and Tony have become friends. It sucked for a day or so and started me thinking about Tony’s participation in Peloton (because he wasn’t a rider when I bought the bike).

Late last week, Tony has been in the forefront of my thoughts again – which never bodes well. I want to speak to him so badly and have to argue with myself consistently. There is no good outcome from reaching out to him. There is no reason to reach out to him.

Of course it never stops there with me.

Once I started to think of him more consistently again, the thought occurred to me he may be participating in the same Peloton event that I am attending this weekend. Then nausea started to set in. If I were to see him, and possibly with his wife, and certain he would ignore me – it would probably debilitate me and ruin my entire Peloton community weekend.

Then yesterday, I was in the city and was “this close” to taking a class at the studio when I decided to head home instead. Thank goodness my feet took me home because, I took that class on demand later in my day and who was at the front of class: Tony. Same instructor, Tony’s kind of music, and he was seated right at the front of class where you can see him on video most of the class. Of course the instructor also shouted him out and spoke to him.

I didn’t feel sick this time. Instead I worked up my best time ever and sweat mounds of sweat getting through that ride cursing the bastard for sitting there in his life. Knowing he’s back into his perfect life and marriage and just feeling angry. The anger fueled me and I got a personal best record for the ride. I wasn’t done. I went down to my treadmill for another hour-and-a-half and did some walk + run classes to continue my sweat.

If I had bumped into him at the studio, it would not have gone well. His last words to me were “my last impression of you is an asshole. Congratulations”. He means it too. I crossed the line with his wife and his wife told his kids – his worst nightmare come true to look bad in their eyes. I know him well enough to know he doesn’t forgive, certainly not a threat to his family. I am the one who hurt his family and he will always think of me that way. I am sad about it, but that’s my own doing.

This is why I think it’s some strange intuition in me. I started thinking of him and suddenly he actually manifests.

I don’t think he will be at the event this weekend, but as a sort of protection, August is going with me to the Saturday evening cocktail party and concert. It was a last minute decision when I heard from August again and I hope I don’t regret it. He’s about to be thrown into a pool of Peloton crazies and I don’t care. As long as he’s on my arm if Tony should be there.

Tenuous Hold on My Goals

I don’t fool myself that I have my goals in hand. My self-talk is still amazingly good at letting me off the hook for bad habits.

After all, look at all the shit I put Tony through a year after a break-up and him telling me it’s never going to happen again. I still stalk his absence on social media, convinced one day he’s going to unblock me and be curious about me.

If I could figure this one piece of me out, I am sure I would be in an infinitely better place than I am today as well as have much better control of myself in the future.

But I haven’t figured it out.

As much as I have committed to exercising daily, more days still tend to be a struggle than not. When I look back at each week I can see a slow decrease the past 3 weeks. I have felt it tapering off and I know my hold on this commitment is tenuous at best.

I am doing all the right things: I rest when I need to. I hold myself accountable for tracking food and exercise every day. I am in support, training and nutrition groups as well as working with a nutritionist. I literally have moments of high-highs and equal moments of low-lows. I cannot seem to create the pattern yet. I thought I was almost there, I thought I could taste real, lasting change and it’s started to slip right out my grasp the past 3 weeks.

I am obsessed with tracking my numbers: number of steps in a day, week and month. Number of miles. Number of calories. It’s the one thing I can rely on to “prove” my progress in a way and ensure I don’t slip up. This is how I know exactly how much I’ve slowed down. I want it to be a science in a way – something I can control so that, in the future, when I take “days off” or “rest days” I have concrete targets in mind to achieve for the month.

I haven’t given up, just slowed down. I am just terrified that slowing down too much means eventually quitting as I have done so many times before with my physical health. But why isn’t the fear of failure stronger than the mindset telling me it’s ok to give up?

It is NOT ok. Not anymore. I had my moment of quitting life. I almost succeeded at quitting for good but God had other plans for me. I have other plans for me (though I’m unsure what they are yet!). I’m done quitting and ready to continue investing. But, I haven’t built my habit. I haven’t ingrained it in me yet.

I’m writing because I don’t want to stop. I need to continue. I promised myself 90-100 days straight no holds barred. I promised myself I would make my goal weight and get stronger. The side bonus to that was fitting in the smallest size clothes I can ever recall and feeling the muscles growing beneath my skin with normal movement. By the end of my 90-100 days I expect I will see true muscle definition. I’m praying that once I’ve checked all these wonderful boxes and once I see the muscles and see the results, my mind will make the switch from “this isn’t important” to “this is my priority !”

My job at the moment is working out. I’m lucky I can get it in any time during a day or night. I’m praying that my 90- 100 days corresponds with a job offer somewhere and I can take my newly found fit mentality and being that energy into a new role and really start life over again.

I’m terrified of losing this mojo. It’s still so much effort for me most days even at 79 days in. I’m very close to that 90-100 mark, very close, and it feels like this should be more solidified than it is – which is why I’m worried.

My Poison

I was doing my usual sweep of social media this morning and saw Tony’s daughters FB. I know it’s creepy I look at his childrens social media, but it’s the last place I can see him. I also know he’s celebrating a wedding anniversary soon and figured someone would post a photo.

I got a video of Tony giving his wife a family trip to Italy because their son is studying abroad.

At first I felt sick. A literal shock rolled through my body. As I watched the video a second time, I was calmer. He looks like the same person I knew but perhaps tinged with cowardice(?) Does that make any sense.

I have a feeling I missed all along he was a little afraid of his wife. I got hints of it along the way, and I don’t think he’s afraid of her per se, but afraid of how she could ruin his life.

I’m not surprised or bothered by the family trip. I know it’s very common after a DDay to plan big moments like this to bond. To invest back into the relationship you were taking away from during your affair.

It’s a morbid curiosity for me to know what happened after their DDay and to learn what my part in the story was. I know it’s none of my business but how do I stop thinking about it?

How do I shut down my brain from obsessing like this? It’s been a year since I’ve seen this man and I’m still obsessing.

I understand what he gave me and why it was so important to me. I understand I will never be with him again. But why do I continue to want connection with him?

Part of me does wonder if the daughter did it intentionally? Her mother told her of the affair – did she tell her about me? Why does this matter to me when I known this is none of my business.

As a last thought, because I was being reckless, I now realize his daughter can see that I viewed her video on FB.

Will I be sick forever? Is my mind entirely destroyed from this affair – never able to get straight again?

I can’t seem to let go. I’m worried I may never let go. I’m worried I can only hold Trixie down for a while before I truly do harm again.

I’m a broken record. People with normally functioning brains can’t understand me. I want to will it all away and make active and conscious good decision to do so. Then something like this takes over and debilitates me.

I dialed his number from a burner and listened to his voice mail. Then I sent a text telling him I missed him. He’s not stupid so he will know I saw the video.

I deleted the burner now and wrote this post to save a little sanity. Next I will do some exercise. I should have put the phone down first and helped myself out of the burning desire to communicate with him but, as usual, the obsession won the fight.

Why, why do I feel some need to speak to him? I don’t have any desire to see him – but something in me wants more from him. More that I know I will not get.

On Being Thin

Sorry this story meanders a bit…I felt like I had so many bits to piece together….

It’s strange to write this, because I have been thin before in my life. At the risk of offending someone I have this belief that people who grew up thin have a different mindset than those who grew up heavy. I have always seen myself as a thin girl who did damage to herself by allowing herself to become fat.

I was thin, active, muscular and healthy thought my childhood and into my teens. I developed around age 15, a late bloomer, but didn’t start putting on weight until 18 due to hormonal issues (I’ve always had problems!)

I do not have a fat girl screw the world mentality. I’m not angry at all the thin girls and models. I do not have a love me at any size mantra. I wanted to be thin again. I felt better in every aspect of my life and I remember that feeling. Sure, there were times in the 180-200 pound range over the last 7-8 years in which I felt great too, but most of my adult life was over 210 pounds and I never had the confidence from my physique I felt I needed.

Perhaps, as with everything in age, we savor things as we get older. I want to live out my life thin, healthy and strong. I wanted to live in the feeling of being comfortable in a thin body.

I do find it very strange to be thin once again after 20 years. I don’t recall feeling like this, except around my wedding (when I was too thin).

My body has lost all its shape. My rib cage and hips are much more narrow now than they were in my teens into 20s. My college years were plump with ugly hair 🤣. I found a bit of physical positivity by 22 and was married by 26, so there wasn’t much time in there to really enjoy my newfound body positivity. I don’t think I paid enough attention to myself back then. I just don’t remember much about my body other than mostly being unhappy with it my entire life for one reason or another and always struggling to “get back to thin” after I turned 30.

Generally speaking, even when I was thin I still had abdominal scars from childhood surgeries as well as stretch marks as my breasts developed late and large

I read this is common for most woman, regardless of age, shape, weight or height. What a shame we waste so much time when we are young.

Anyway, I am thin now. People say too thin because I lost all my fullness. Nothing on me is round or shapely anymore. My bones come out in my neck and back. My shoulders are thin. I sort of see what they see, I look older. I don’t care much. I like being thin.

My closest friends as ask how I feel about myself and I tell them I feel fine. They think I can’t see how thin I’ve become. They ask me to stop losing weight.

I went for a full girls day of day shopping for the first time ever. My friend spent the time in each store with me to try on everything. She helped me pull an entire Spring into Summer wardrobe together on a pretty good budget. I was able to determine my size in various brands. I was much smaller than I had anticipated and a little shocked how my body had changed since December. My shape is settling in now.

It felt amazing to try clothes on. I could try on anything I saw that I liked. That’s never happened before. Things fit properly, even around my chest. Clothing looked good on me. Like, really good. I could wear my beautiful shoes with beautiful clothes now and make a striking figure.

I’ve been waiting to feel like this my whole life. I don’t think I had enough confidence in my 20s pre-marriage to feel powerful when dressed. I don’t even think I had identified my style. When I’m dressed I forget about the scars and hanging skin (other than that horrible chicken-skin under my arms, ah well, I’m working on that!) When I chose clothing I liked and saw things look good or not good on me – I was able to have choices. I was used to was to accepting whatever fit well enough and covered my flab which was limiting and expensive when I dressed well. This was actually enjoyable to see things flatter me and I loved trying on inexpensive clothing to compliment more expensive pieces to curate my style for the first time in my life.

Looking at myself every day in the mirror didn’t prepare me for the shopping experience. This was definitely a NSV (non scale victory) ranking up at the top. I truly enjoyed what many women have down their whole lives and I have shied away from.

Knowing I have the base to work with encourages me to keep working on my fitness and diet – I don’t feel defeated that I’m exercising and eating well with no results – I can see the results now. Yes, it started with surgery -but the last month or two have been my personal effort to hit my goals.

I’ve dropped a bit of weight quickly recently, most likely as my body was shocked from the exercise, lack of period, and the hospital visit and was holding onto water weight. I’m down to a solid 145 lbs now and would be happy to stay put here for good.

I don’t see what others might see – I don’t see “too thin” at least not yet. I don’t intend to drop more weight internationally. My goal was always 145-150 pounds and I believe it looks fine on my 5’8″ frame. I’m mostly a size M or 8. I believe as I continue to work with my weights and cardio I will develop muscle and look toned and that should help.

Surgery wasn’t a permanent fix. I still have my entire life ahead of me to maintain. I can’t allow myself to drop the new habits I’ve created, ever. Surgery gave me a tool, and a very powerful one, but it can still be mid-used. My goal is to always pay attention to myself now and create the body positivity I have been missing for so many years. Unfortunately, it was not a good trade-off getting thin at the expense of horrid scars and crippling sickness – but it’s done, I hit that reset button for better or worse – and I want to enjoy where I am without worrying about being “too” anything.

Once again in my life “I’m not right” for people. I know they are looking out for my best interest, but constantly hearing “you are disappearing” or “everyone thinks you’re too thin” just reinforces my old belief that I’m still not “good enough” for anyone.

PS: the photo is of the famous 1960s model Twiggy. She was 5’6″ (short for a Model) and weighed less than 100 pounds at times – so, no, I’m not that thin!

PPS: Here’s where I want to be (in my sexy dreams!). What’s scary is the poster writes “145 lbs sounds like a lot”. People really don’t understand women’s weight numbers as compared to appearance