Sunday, January 31, 2010

Using the other hand

Yesterday, I had this strange thought as I was simultaneously making banana pudding with bananas and milk closely reaching their expiration date and eating oatmeal with peanut butter, bananas, and blueberries. I noticed I was eating oatmeal with my right hand and stirring the pudding with my left. Rarely do I ever eat with my right hand! I'm a pretty true lefty when it comes to eating and most other things. However, at one point, I was not a lefty but rather a righty. Somewhere during the time after my first hand surgery at 5 years of age or so, my brain amazingly switched to learn to be left-handed. Ever since, I've always considered myself pretty much a lefty, though some stuff I had to be taught to be left, like with some gymnastics skills in my youth.

Going back to my thought. I was thinking how when I realized I was using my right hand to simply eat oatmeal, how I had to really concentrate on this--grabbing the spoon, holding it with my fingers, scooping the oatmeal, bringing it to my mouth in a less than haphazard manner to risk from dropping food down my shirt or onto the kitchen counter. This took a lot of effort!

Why, because this was out of the ordinary. It felt different, almost uncomfortable actually, but at the same time, it forced me to think of how to do something differently to make it work. Often times, as humans, we turn into creatures of habit. We all do this to some extent or another. On a brief side note here, it's one reason why dogs who have owners with strict schedules love us! They learn that at X time, they will be fed, at X time, they may play ball, etc. So when we mess with their routines, they give us these funny looks--that quirked head to the side, that confused look, or a look of exasperation "what the hell are you doing/thinking?"

It's the same with humans when our routines and habits change. Some of us deal with adaptability well, while others falter to the nth degree, and of course there are others in the in-between. But adaptability or just trying something different both allows and forces us to use more brain cells. Things are no longer on autopilot, they take a lot of effort and thought-ability (I don't think that is even a word but makes sense in this case). It really is part of what recovery is about, i.e. after appropriate weight restoration and in a "healthier" state.

I know most of us already know this at least in a logical sense, but putting it to use is hard. I think if we continue to challenge ourselves in healthy ways, we not only discover more of our capabilities but also think out of the box too.

I'm thinking maybe this week to try my right hand at more tasks--simple things of course, like eating, putting on clothes, brushing my teeth, those sorts of things. Some may ask why? I don't know, just to give myself reminders that I can feel uncomfortable, sit with it, and maybe even adapt. Anyone else up for the challenge?

Note: I realize this is probably all really cheesy, but just putting it out there anyway.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The remains in a box

This is a box, a box I'm hoping will eventually reunite Baxter, at least in a spiritual sense. It's difficult to imagine quite honestly.

More details to come--too tired to write everything out now. The last several weeks have been quite an ordeal, but I'm hoping this will at least be able to bring a piece of closure. I won't really feel that until I have the necropsy reports back.

For those new to the blog and inclined to read Baxter's saga, here are the links:


The question of validation

Sometimes wanting validation is too much

A humbling experience

Baxter update Baxter surgery update

More worries about Baxter

Baxter worries part 2

Baxter is home!

Weighing out hard decisions

Saying good-bye to Baxter

Sunday, January 24, 2010


The other day I was on the hunt for chocolate fruit dip. Why I don't know, but that is what I seemed to be craving. A part of me thought that this was a positive sign. I was indulging my craving versus holding it back like if I'd been in ED Land. However, another part of me was slightly worried about the calories still and opted to stay on the safe side and find something low calorie, not fattening (Even if I am in recovery, those pesky ED thoughts still like to worm its way into my brain).

Well, then I found this:

ED part of my brain thought I'd scored! Zero everything, my gosh, how I could eat whatever of it and not feel GUILTY.

Once home, I tried it, and it was utterly, absolutely GROSS! Realistically, how could I have thought anything with just zeroes on its label would have any taste at all? I took one spoonful, spit it out and never touched the stuff again. I suppose if I have been really adamant about my chocolate fruit dip, I could have added sugar or fat or something to make it slightly palatable But by this point, my craving indulgence had passed and I was onto something else.

This lesson reminded me about taste. Often times those with eating disorders cannot judge taste well. Studies have shown that taste is simply not rewarding in that part of the brain like it is for other people. Another study has also shown that individuals with restrictive eating disorders have a reduced number of taste papillae on their tongue which alters their taste response and food preferences.

While I think all this research is true, I still think that when I was in the worst throes of an eating disorder, I "convinced" myself these really low calorie/no calorie food was good, that I could eat it without so much thought or guilt. Because where was the guilt in eating nothing substantial?

In recovery, not only have I been trying to "taste" more which includes eating foods with fat, but I've also noticed that my taste receptors seem to be more "aware" if we want to give it a voice. In general, I have done fairly well with including foods like peanut butter, ice cream, avocados, ice cream, pizza, etc. which used to be on "Tiptoe's Do Not Eat Food List" which is progress from several years ago. Though these foods with the exception of peanut butter are still not something I eat on any kind of regular basis, the fear has lessened a little. Don't get me wrong, it is still there, but just not to the anxiety provoking capacity of excuse making if I was invited somewhere or endless amounts of exercise to rid myself of that glutton.

I guess the reminder of this post is that in order for something to taste "good," there must be substantial nutrients in the product. Otherwise, what is it that we are really eating?

Note--*This is only my opinion of this particular brand. Who knows other products may be good but it is doubtful that I will be trying them anytime soon.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Dealing with growing pains

Since I'm a little awake right now and just turning on my computer, I thought I'd write a post while I was thinking of it. This past weekend, my mom and her husband came to visit. We had a good time, and I found my mom's husband much more handier than I'd ever thought. The techno guy built shelves for me and knew what parts he needed to get to fix certain items. I really was quite amazed.

On the last night they were here, they wanted to take my boss out to dinner and visit the building. Both were impressed at how large the facility is and how much thought has been placed in it. At dinner, they both kept mentioning how "grateful" that A. offered me this job. It is like they feel like she has freed me from a "bondage" of sorts from my former boss.

Somehow, this makes me feel uncomfortable and like an invisible pressure is placed. Truly, I know they are happy for me, that I have a boss who looks out for me, considers my value, etc. But still, lately, I've been feeling stressed about everything that needs to get done and fear has set in a bit.

I knew when I took this job, it was definitely a risk. It is a start up business, so there is always unpredictability in exactly what will happen. especially in this economy. You always hope the business takes off and just grows from there. I think part of my fear lies in how my boss wants things run, and I'm afraid I won't be able to deliver, that I don't have enough expertise, that I'm going to falter.

Logically, I know these are all probably normal feelings and that even if you want things perfectly, mistakes will be made. It's like dealing with the growing pains of of life, whether it be from growing taller to a changing body to recovery from an eating disorder. It hurts for awhile, but it won't last forever. This is something I've had to remind myself of these last few weeks in both my work and recovery.

I know with work, once things start, I may feel differently and realize that the pressure I think is there is really invisible. I know in recovery, that even if I feel like I'm at a standstill right now, that as long as I continue to keep myself stable, consistently eat even if that means on a more mechanical basis than intuitive, that that's going to help in the end

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Recap of the week

I apologize for my lack of blogging this week. I don't know what was with this week, honestly. Every time, I went on the computer, usually after I ate dinner, watched a little tv, checked e-mail, checked twitter, checked facebook, checked google reader, and then was going to blog, I fell asleep literally at my desktop computer or at my netbook, sitting in my favorite chair. So I guess my sleep deprivation was rearing its ugly head, despite the fact I continue to wake up at the same time everyday.

So this post will be a bit of a recap--some good, some bad, some just bizarre.

-Work is going well, but document after document with my boss coming up with more and more, can be daunting at times. These documents are from scratch, so I've had to use all my brain power to come up with them. At one point, I even said that I thought I was making a dent in all the documents only to find there are more and more.

-A new woman began working at the office part-time. My boss's words were, "you'll love her." Though my boss is great, I am not too keen on anyone giving me a pre-thought before I've made my own. It's one thing to say, "I think you'll like her and get along to you'll love her." But I'm letting it go. The woman seems okay but since we're both doing different jobs, I didn't have much chance to talk and get to know her.

-A young girl, probably about 8 or 9, stopped me i n the grocery store and asked me about my hand. It startled me a bit. She was curious more than anything, but she began following me and asking me more questions which made me feel awkward. At one point, I was thinking, "little girl, where is your mother?"

-Another lady in Wal-Mart stopped me suddenly and asked me my nationality and then said "okay" and walked away. I have no clue what that was about.

-My body image was utterly awful this week. I had all these fat feelings due to being bloated. Why I was bloated, well, that's a bit of a mystery as it was not that time of month. Feeling bloated is probably one of the worst physical sensations for me and often times a big trigger. The positive of this is that I did not let it overtake me and cut calories, add in exercise, etc. Woot for me!

-I continued to keep my photo off the profile on match. There's only one has specifically requested my picture. The e-mails have been quite interesting. I'm amazed at some of the creativeness of some of the e-mails. One guy said he found me on a whim and at the time was craving a certain food which my screen name happens to have. His e-mail was filled with 10 randoms facts about himself. Another guy, actually signed his full name, and the e-mail was similar to a conversation, like we'd been talking for awhile.

-Lastly, my mom and her husband came for a visit over the weekend. We have gotten a A LOT accomplished around the house so far.. Two things I'm really excited about is getting a new computer desk and a new, comfortable computer chair. Sitting in that chair is like heaven! And, we got it on sale for $100 off. There's still much more that needs to be done on the house, but it will have to be done in the spring when it is warm.

That's a wrap for this week. Thanks for those who voted. I'll likely put my photo up on the profile. The biggest thing with me was the initial reaction of those who responded to me. I'll keep everyone posted on how it goes.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Match maybe?

Cammy has inspired me to go on Actually, I was on it a long time ago in my early-mid twenties but didn't have a huge amount of success with it and went on other sites for awhile. Some of you may remember awhile back, I mentioned KH and going out on a date with him. We corresponded since then, but it just seemed to fizzle out. I don't know whether he was looking for something different, I wasn't what he expected, etc. The correspondences we've had have all been brief with a good amount of time in between. I take a cue from there and move on. It's not a huge loss as I hadn't invested a lot into the relationship, and I figure there must be someone better out there for me.

I put my profile up on match this afternoon. Since I was on my netbook which has no pictures of myself nor hardly any pictures at all, I waited to upload one from my desktop. Then, this evening, much to my surprise someone already "winked" at me and sent me an e-mail. Seriously, my profile is pretty bare bones compared to some of the novels on other people's profiles, so I really did not expect any hits whatsoever. I know bad Tiptoe, you're already just self-sabotaging yourself!

Now, I'm debating whether to put a picture up. I think it would be a very fun experiment to see how many people read my profile and/or winked or e-mailed me. This way, there is nothing based on superficial-ism, though of course I know the rate is low statistically in finding someone when there is no profile picture. Anyone, however, who is looking at my profile does know my ethnicity, and honestly, I think a lot of people have a stereotypical view of what an Asian woman looks like, though of course there are many differences.

The bad thing with all this is that whoever may e-mail me, I have to subscribe to view it. Then, there could be the weird question of why I had no picture up. That could lead to awkwardness in saying this was an experiment. Of course, there is always the option of e-mailing them my picture later.

So, what are people's thoughts? I'll probably make another poll of this just because I think it's a fun way to interact with my blogger readers.

Note: *Just in the span of writing this e-mail, I had another "wink." I'm also not really insecure in terms of a pic being up or not, I have at any other dating site I've joined. I'm just really curious if this would work or not. Even though I know physical chemistry is a fact of life and there has to be some of that to make some connection, I guess I get tired of that being what is the first or only thing someone sees. I'd rather make a good first impression by my personality than on my face alone.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Humiliation to the extreme

It's been a week since the new year has started, and there are still umpteen articles about resolutions, ads about weight loss, commercials about joining gyms, etc. And then of course, it was also the season premiere of the Biggest Loser Couples show. In the early years of the show, I admit, I watched many episodes until I gave a closer inspection and really saw how unrealistic, unhealthy, and humiliating the show was. I want to focus on the latter in this post as I was horrified how they upped the ante so to speak.

In general, I watch bits and pieces of the show, usually the first and last episodes for curiosity sake, but I do not consider myself any avid type of watcher of the show like some people I know. The season opener was similar to their other shows in introducing the couples. This time we saw Bob and Jillian call the contestants, the contestants exhilarated on making it in the show, jumping up and down, screaming, etc. Then, Bob and Jillian tell them that their first weigh-in is public in front of their hometowns! Each and every contestant had a gaping horrified look on their faces, much like the one I had on mine. Despite the fact these people decide to go on national television to lose weight and announce to the world how much they weigh, how much more humiliating can you get than to be in front of friends and families?

Each contestant apparently agreed, and you saw them go in front of their hometowns (most seemed to be in a park or gym) and step on the scale. Then, they had to read aloud the number and say how and why they were going to change. Can we say AA but with triple the amount of humiliation? Was this necessary? No! My guess is this was completely a way to rev up the ratings and add to the humiliation factor, especially since this is considered the heaviest set of contestants. It was interesting to look at the audience footage as some had mouths wide open at the numbers, while others cried.

This entire concept of humiliation makes me ponder the question of why, and why do so many Americans tune in to watch? Many say they feel connected to the people--that they understand them. Others say they find inspiration.. Then, there are probably others who just tune in to watch Jillian Michaels yell at them.

Just as I'm thinking about all this, a new press release came out saying how negative experiences from a coach or instructor can turn people off of physical activity for a lifetime. The press release doesn't give many details of the study, other than it is published in the Qualitative Research in Sport and Exercise. However, it does raise a good point in how our environment contributes to our attitudes on sports, exercises, etc.

One might think that many contestants would not want Jillian Michaels as their trainer as it seems like she is just constantly yelling and berating at them (I think a lot if edited to only show this side of her, because I seriously doubt she is always like this, just my feeling, could be wrong though), but in fact, when given the choice, there are a bunch of them that have in past seasons. So what is the deciding factor? I think it is they feel like she is the one that produces results.

This whole thinking reminds me of Bela Karolyi, the famous gymnastics coach. In Joan Ryan's book, Little Girls in Pretty Boxes, many of the gymnasts said he called them awful names, talked about their bodies distastefully, etc., but yet, many continued to train under him. Why? Because he produced results, he produced champions, he seemed to be the best at the time.

I think this is kind of the same mentality of the Biggest Loser contestants. They feel like this is the only thing that is going to help them, that this show is what they need to lose the weight for good, that humiliation will produce results. I don't know, maybe it does for some, but I think there are other, better, more productive, healthier ways.

The other deciding factor for them in losing weight is simply the grand prize of money. Last year, I posted here about a study from the Journal of American Medical Association displayed similar results. Therefore, in this case, for most, when money is on the line, people go to extremes to lose weight. Somehow, going through pain and humiliation seem worth it to them, and I think there is a feeling that that's what they deserve too for letting themselves go, for not being able to "diet" right, for losing willpower, etc.

I wish the public could see how this type of show is not fueling much health but just humiliation. Unfortunately, I seem to be in the minority in thinking this way as the show is one of the most popular ratings wise and is doubtful to come off the air anytime soon. As I always tell my dog clients when they are watching dog behavior shows, "you can't believe everything you see on tv."

Note--*A friend of mine on facebook posted that she was watching the show and that Jillian kicks her butt on ifit, and how she loved that she screamed at them. However, if Jillian was ever her trainer, she would cry. (This is very true) I replied to her that I was surprised since she had a severe eating disorder in the past. She replied back saying she thought it was a great show and helped people get their lives back on track. Everyone is of course entitled to their own opinion, I was just very surprised, that's all.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

If your body could talk...

In Margarita Tartavosky's excellent Weightless Blog, her most recent post, Empathizing with your body, she asks the question "What would your body parts say if they could talk?" It's an intriguing question, because really how would our bodies respond to that question? What would our most dissatisfied body part say?

For me, my stomach, would say something along the lines of:
"I hold your stomach muscles and align your spine. I am the core of your body, but yet you do not see me that way. You cannot look past that small pooch that has been there since Adam and Eve--that pooch that is necessary for your health, that pooch that is there if you ever decide to bear children. Instead, you just see me as a layer of fat to be rid of so you can obtain that ever so sought after six-pack that you have always wanted with relentless stomach exercises that just make me hurt. And it is likely that that six pack will never happen due to pure genetics, so I don't know why you keep trying to attain this goal through me!"

Okay, so I have a bit of an angry stomach.

Seriously though, how do our bodies think of us? It is doubtful they think we are best friends, but rather more like mortal enemies. Doesn't that seem kind of sad? Our bodies become the thing we despise, the thing we take all our energy out on, the thing we deprive, the thing we scold and yell profanities at, the thing we mutilate, the thing we destroy.

And yet, each and every body part has a role in keeping us functional, in keeping us with the ability to move, in keeping us living. Don't you think for all that it deserves something better from us?

I know it can be hard, because sometimes we are not necessarily trying to destroy our bodies intentionally, it just becomes the thing that gets in the way, the thing most easy to manipulate, the thing that is the aftermath of our emotional pain.

I know it is a far fetch to say an affirmation like "I love my body" but what about just starting with "I appreciate my body for the amazing things it does for me." That's at least a starting point. We may never get to a point of loving our bodies ever so completely, but I think if we can reach aspects of appreciation and respect, our bodies would be so thankful for that.

So, if your body/body part could talk, what would it say?

Note--*In my quote part about what my stomach would say, I had a funny slip and wrote "purge" instead of "pure" genetics.
*I find it kind of ironic, because when I went to the blog site, there is a header with an advertisement with Jillian Michaels, asking "how big is your weight-loss goal?" I've seen this ad before and it is has been on various site, but I still find it ironic.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Focusing on the "Be"

Although the title of this blog post, "Free to fully be yourself in 2010" is a bit hokey, I think it is a good message and one that we often forget. Many of us tend to get wrapped in on what we should be, what we should look like, how we should act that we simply forget to just "be." We become so fearful of how we are perceived, that we will disappoint, that we are never enough, etc. Sometimes, that leads to never taking risks, to always denigrating or self sabotaging ourselves, etc. In the end, it just doesn't get us anywhere and makes us feel even worse about ourselves.

I know for me this topic has been really difficult all my life, simply because I've always had expectations whether they were placed on me or I placed them on myself. Sometimes, those expectations panned out, but other times, they did not at all. And when that happened, I became disappointed, said I was worthless, that I was just a loser, that I was just a huge disappointment. Besides all the self-berations, in essence, what I was doing was solely focusing on what I could not do, what I was not doing, what I should be doing, rather than focusing on what I COULD do.

Sometimes, I think if I had focused on that all along, then maybe I would have learned a long time ago to simply "be"--to be accepting of myself as I was to others. Maybe that'll be my long termish goal. It's certainly not easy, takes a whole heck of a lot of time to get all that negative mumbo jumbo out of my head, but it's still something to strive for--something maybe we should all look at a little more closely.

In closing, from the post, there was this video that explained it nicely. I see this all the time with clients, so it's easy for me to point out in dogs and kids, just harder in myself. I don't know whether it was the song or the song + video, but it made me all teary-eyed.