Sunday, April 29, 2012

An Awakening of Sorts

Two weeks ago I saw two friends, on two different days, that I had not seen in over 20 years.  One, a dear, sweet friend I met the summer of my 14th birthday, while we were both at Hummingbird Music Camp. She was 12 and tiny.  It turned out she lived a few houses down from a close friend of my Mom's. And so I was able to see her more than I might have otherwise.  Over time our friendship grew, and we managed to remain good friends during high school, despite the distance factor. I lost  track of her while in my twenties.  I knew she had had a baby, and had been married, but nothing more.  Until Facebook came along.  Delighted to know she was well and still within a 2-state radius, I knew we'd connect in the future.  And finally, we did.  Over breakfast at Tia's, off the Plaza in Santa Fe.  A fitting place for a reunion.

The second friend I had met while living in Albuquerque between 1990 and 1991.  She was 25 and seemed worldly compared to my 19 innocence. She worked as a topless dancer in a bar off San Mateo.  She had the most adorable baby I'd ever seen and a rock and roll guitar player boyfriend.  I was at her apartment every day as Scott's band rehearsed there after 8pm, when the taco place downstairs closed. She often didn't go to work until 9 or 10 pm, so we'd hang out for a couple hours while our boyfriends played music.  Playing with the baby, talking about life.  It was easy for us to get along.  She often teased me about my bicycle riding, and more mountain-leaning lifestyle.  I was definitely not a comfortable city girl. After I went back to college in Washington State, I lost track of her as well.  Although I'd heard rumors of times not so good, after Facebook, again, I knew that she was well, happy, and safe. At an Eric McFadden show that Scott played drums for we reunited again, another perfectly fitting place to see each other after 21 years.

I rode a sort of old-friend high for the next week.  Scott left for Denver to play another gig, feeling very much like the rock star life was finally taking hold.  I tried to keep my daughters entertained, and conflict free, as it seemed like my youngest has been having a hard time being the youngest lately, and it's been sorta rough keeping them both happy.  Scott came back home on Saturday night, after experiencing some truck trouble, and cutting the weekend short by a day.  We drank good beer to celebrate a safe arrival without the need for tow trucks and added expenses.  And I drank way too much, after having spent the day in the sun all day, enjoying the PEEC Earthday Festival, and an earlier soccer game.  I hadn't eaten much Saturday, and thus woke up Sunday feeling awful.  I felt bad.  Not so much physically as mentally.  Mentally and emotionally hungover.

I couldn't quite put a finger on what was going on within me.  A stirring.  A wide awakening.  A change.

It felt strong, deep, powerful. I knew that if I didn't do something right away, that I was going to tumble into some sort of abyss that I would be unable to pull myself out of.  This wasn't the dark pit of alcoholism, depression, or self-induced angst.  This was different.  It was my life.  My habits, my choices, my perception of all that I am and all that I want to be.

I knew that if I didn't somehow make drastic changes to my life, I was going to continue down the road of being that person I do not want to be.  A fat, bitchy, heavy drinking slug.

I do not consider myself an alcoholic.  I have never had a bender, and I don't particularly like hard alcohol, with the exception of high quality tequila in a margarita, every now and then. I rarely drink wine, and usually wish I hadn't, as I seem to get a headache nearly instantly every time I do.  I drink quality micro-brewed beer.  I am particularly fond of craft lagers. I've been thinking for years that I should write a letter to New Belgian Brewery to thank them profusely for their production of Blue Paddle, the ultimate beer love for me.

Unfortunately, my taste for craft beers run deep and long.  .

As my metabolism has changed, first starting at age 38, when my pants began getting tighter and tighter despite the fact that I was exercising nearly 6 days a week, I realized that I needed to do something, if I were to continue to enjoy quality beer and still fit into my clothes.  So I began eating soup for breakfast or lunch everyday, and cut out bread from my diet.  I quickly dropped 17 pounds and my pants were looser and looser.

But, this past winter, I've put those 17 pounds back on and a whopping 20 more!!  Holy batshit, batman, this was not what I signed up for when I turned 40!  I was suddenly in a whole other pants size, and began feeling very self conscious when around my athlete friends, of which nearly all my friends are.

The real whammy for me, however, came about a week ago while trying on yet another pair of pants to wear to work, as I had none, and I saw my ass in the 3-fold mirror.  It looked like the ass of one of those fat people they show on the news while discussing obesity.  I felt like throwing up.

The following week, while doing my weekly strength class at the local YMCA, I was up front, where I don't usually mind being, but I saw myself differently, possibly more clearly in the mirrors.  I saw a roll of fat between my lower abdomen and the top of my thighs.  I saw what I was becoming, and it was not becoming.

So that Sunday morning, last week, I woke up with the mental and emotional hangover and I was suddenly flooded with the reality that if I don't do something NOW.  And I mean RIGHT-THE-FUCK-NOW, I would seriously be unable to reclaim myself.  I literally felt the breeze from the abyss wafting over my feet.

I kissed my daughter's hand, and I apologized to her. I promised her right then and there, that I was going to change my ways. 

I bought Stevia-sweetened soda and sparkling water, and decided to put my habit to the test.  And after a couple days, I realized that my craving in the evening for that frosty, ever-wonderful beer, was easily replaced with a cold, glass of sparkling beverage.  Calorie-free is a bonus.  And I realized that if I can substitute my favorite beverage with something comparable, at least in temperature and sparkleyness, I can change my eating habits as well.  So for the past week, I've been low-carb, and learning all there is to know about the paleo-diet, and some even more radical concepts such as cold thermogenesis and leptin resets.

I have been absolutely floored with motivation to change, this past week.  I am determined to continue forward on this pathway of what I would consider radical change.  As an herbalist, athlete, and conscientious foodie, I owe it to myself, my family, and possibly the earth to change in a manner that is befitting to who I think I am.

By not consuming the added 5000 or more calories last week, I lost 7 pounds.  That included 2 days of swimming, 1 day of strength, 1 day of running, 1 day of hiking, 7 days without beer, 7 days of eating low carb.  I rewarded myself with a beer last night.  It is my choice to become one of those people who enjoys beer, and not one who inhales beer.  Nearly all my friends enjoy a cocktail or a beer on occasion, but none of them consume it daily.  And certainly not in the quantities that I have.  So, for now, I'm done.  I'm done with the person that I was, and I'm moving forward into a more radical, more healthy, one.

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