Tuesday, April 24, 2018

What is it that makes you happy??

Life is better when you do what makes you happy
regardless of what others think.
It's YOUR LIFE...not theirs!
-Sonya Parker

If you only knew the drafts I have done of this post.  Thoughts can be confused when the fog of food is hanging over you. If you don't understand what I mean, let me explain.

I am a emotional and compulsive overeater.  I use food like an alcoholic uses alcohol...to mask pain and stress...to take myself away from feeling those feelings.  It is something I have done since I was a kid.  At that time, I experienced a serious trauma in my life and I used food to protect myself, to shield myself and food became an escape.  Food is the 24 hour friend who is always there...

But if you put yourself in a position that you remove food as your emotional crutch, your true world starts to reveal itself.  It starts to become crisper...clearer and you FEEL life.  Sometimes, that is very painful and you have resist the temptation to run back to that safe world of stuffing food in your face. It's been 10 days of clean eating...and I am starting to feel like me again.  10 days...7 pounds and one afternoon where I literally had to white knuckle my way away from a binge.  

It is in this crisp and clear world that what makes you happy and what you NEED to make you happy starts to show itself. It gives you perspective that perhaps you were missing...because you were wrapped up in what you THOUGHT was what you needed and how other people see you. 

I am still learning so much in this 55th trip around the sun.  I am learning that what people think is not nearly as important as doing what makes you happy and what brings you joy.  It sounds so simple but when you get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the world...it can make you lose perspective.

Today, I did something very difficult.  I ended my training agreement with my triathlon coach.  I am a very loyal person and this was a very difficult decision that took weeks to finally achieve.  He is an outstanding professional...he is a world class coach. I have watched him take people to the pinnacle of our sport of triathlon and I have seen him work with the weekend warrior and make them better...stronger and faster

But he was not the right coach for me at this time in my life.  

And as I  assessed that decision, I read a Facebook post from one of my favorite triathletes and found I was not the only one struggling in this world of "Why am I not happy and am I doing what I should be to be happy."  If you are an athena athlete, you should know Meredith Atwood...AKA Swim Bike Mom.  A recovering alcoholic and Ironman athena  triathlete, I have learned a lot from her.  At one point, I had considered her being my coach, but I was so wrapped up in my own issues, I just couldn't follow thru.

Her blog outlined her lack of desire in her beloved sport of triathlon...but then after considerable introspection, she realized that she loved the sport...but had lost her love of Ironman and long distance training. What was more important than hours of training was hours of with her family, her children and other parts of her life.

And that is EXACTLY where I find myself.  Call it burnout, call it just too many years of spending lengthy hours on a bike and on the run, I just couldn't bear the training and the commitment.  My body is tired...my soul still wants that Ironman finish..but mentally, I am whipped.

So this is where I am. I will run an Olympic distance race and a 70.3 relay in the coming weeks...then my world will be so different...without long distance training....without long distance racing...a different life with different goals.  I am totally unsure what that life looks like...but stay tuned...as always...Ill keep you posted.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Coming out of the Dark...

"Starting again is part of the plan
And I'll be so much stronger holding your hand
Step by step I'll make it through I know I can
It may not make it easier but I have felt you
Near all the way
Coming out of the dark, I finally see the light now
And it's shining on me"

"Coming out of the Dark"-Gloria Estefan

I was riding in my car today, and this old but poignant song appeared from nowhere...and I cried.  These words describe where I am in this moment of my life.  In a few days, I am entering a program for those with eating disorders called "Structure House".  This is not my first visit to this facility...quite the contrary.  When I feel like I am out of control or completely off the wagon, this is where I go to right the ship and get back on the rails (wow...that's a LOT of transportation metaphors).

And just KNOWING that I am going to this safe space brings a level of peace.  Just knowing that, for awhile, I will not be bombarded with food queues and can settle into some good work on my eating brings hope.  I can train for triathlon, help others train for their races and focus on getting the tools I need to deal with the parts of my life that lead me down this disruptive path.

And what brought me to this place? A lot of things.  First and foremost, an 88 year old father that is struggling without his wife of 61 years.  Taking care of Dad is something I promised my mother  but it hasn't been easy.  If you have any older family members, you KNOW that they can be incredibly set in their ways and stubborn.  Combine that with mobility issues and just being older and you have a heaping serving of stress...and I have allowed some of his frustration and anger with himself rub off on me.

I also have the blessing...and the curse...of being married to an amazing Cargo Pilot who's schedule changes at a moment's notice.  One minute we are flying into Orlando from a few days away...he gets a call...and off he goes to Europe...or Hong Kong...or to several military destinations that set my heart racing.  Flying Cargo can be a dangerous business and there are often times I worry...A LOT about my husband's next destination. Planning more than 30 days out in our household is next to impossible...so I have had difficulty at times rolling with the ebb and flow of this crazy pilot's life.

But here is the major joy of it all: my issues I CAN CHANGE.  I am not faced with cancer or a debilitating disease and I am not stuck in a situation in which I have not control.  I decide when and where and how my recovery from this eating disorder happens and that is truly a blessing indeed.  Taking control, acknowledging that you are out of control and admitting you are in need of some help is the first step.

Coming out of the Dark...yes indeed...I can see the light...it's in the distance but it is there...

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Tending the unattended garden

Every habit she's ever had is still there in her body..
Lying dormant like flowers in the desert..
Given the right conditions
All her old addictions would burst into full and luxuriant bloom
Or the weeds that are impossible to kill..

I have a brother who loves working in the yard.  Wait...let me rephrase ... I think he continues to have a love/hate relationship with working in the yard.  My brother is in his 60's and works harder outdoors than anyone I have ever known.  We call him "Charlie Chainsaw" because he loves to cut things down and clear away growth...sometimes he gets a little overzealous .. but his intentions to beautify and manicure the landscape are all well meaning.

It's not that different when trying to pull yourself out of the unattended garden of your life.  Isn't it funny how some of us can walk up to our house and see the lawn is a little too long, the flower beds need to be weeded and the hedges need to be trimmed and we think about it and we KNOW we need to do it..but we put it off...and we put it off...and we put it off some more until the city comes and tacks a notice on our door.

Dealing with food addiction and weight gain is exactly like that.  The pants get a little tighter, it's harder to climb the stairs and you constantly think that the wash load was dried on HIGH. Hmmm....but what's REALLY going on..is you are ignoring the problem.  With ever promise to "start tomorrow" or "get to it next week"...the weeds of life take over...and you look and can not recognize your own garden.

And as I stand in my overgrown garden called life, I realize it is truly a beautiful place...hidden under the negativity and heartache of addiction and grief.  My garden was starting to look like a prize winner....you know....like the yard that gets the Neighborhood Association award.  That yard is never gonna end up on the cover of a magazine, but it's good...it's beautiful..in it's home town sorta way.

Three years ago, I had really gotten my game together.  I had attended a fitness boot camp in Colorado and slowly but surely, I had clawed my way back to close to the lowest weight I had ever been in my adult years. Then..my mother died...and my weight and my life changed forever.

When you get to this point...you have a choice of two paths of action: you can cut it all down and start over .... OR .... you can understand that if you just cut away the thorns, and weeds, and the overgrowth...the beauty is still there.  That is how I feel the modern day world approaches weight loss.  Most would rather take the extreme route and mow it all down, cut it down to the bare roots and start over.  Most of the time, that approach doesn't work and you are left more barren and lifeless than before.  The other option is to start slow, with small changes, and slowly...painfully...you and your garden return...flowers and all...with a lifestyle change instead of a diet.

So as I stand here...looking at the work to be done, I have to hold back from being "Charlie Chainsaw"... but instead...bringing the beautiful back to life.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

The Bottom of the rock...

Rock Bottom becomes the solid foundation on which you rebuild success.
-J.K. Rowling

Don't you love the book with the happy ending? Don't you love when the guy gets his girl, the bad guys lose, and justice is served? Don't you always pull for the underdog..and love to watch him or her win? 

Of course you do...if you say you don't....deep down you know you do...it's just human nature.

What is also human nature is failure....but failure we don't like to put on display.  My favorite saying is..."Lots of people like sausage...very few like watching it be made."  Everyone wants to see success..but rarely do they want to see a failure.

Those that struggle with addiction will tell you that an addict will relapse at least once in their recovery..and if it is only once...they are a rare individual.  Most people relapse an average of 3 times in recovery...some major... some minor...but all will deal with it somewhere along the way.

And here I am...back in the rock bottom basement of compulsive eating...looking around and wondering "How in the hell did I end up here again??" Like you didn't KNOW eating without a plan would not put you BACK in your fat jeans...or put you in that deep dark corner where you hide from the world.  When the blog goes dark...that means I am hiding with no real strength to come out and say "I  not only fell off the wagon...I burned it and took the insurance money to buy 9 pounds of Belgian Chocolate".

I have had some say that I should give up the fight.  They say "Just love yourself where you are." "You should just give up that dream of being an Ironman...or being a size that makes you feel healthy and alive" "Heck you're in your MID 50's...it's just part of getting older."

I don't buy it.

I DO love myself...that's why I am mustering all the courage I can scrap together to get me back to ME.... the athlete...the person in the mirror I love to see.  I am fighting for the woman who doesn't hesitate and faces a challenge with strength, determination and no fear.  She's in here somewhere damn it...she isn't gone and I'm not gonna let her die.

I am struggling..I am failing...I am at Rock Bottom...but I'm not quitting.  I am worth more than that.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017



Wait?? What?? You're gonna POST your weight number...like the scale...with your feet (that desperately need a pedicure but that's another story).  Yup...out of the comfort zone....WAY OUT OF THE COMFORT ZONE.

It's no secret that I have struggled for the last two years with my weight. Since the death of my Mom and injuries from training for triathlon plus the fact that I am now 54 (and I told you my age...but then again...they write that on the back of my leg all the time in a race)...weight loss is suppose to be impossible...

That's Bull....

I am not going to tell you it's easy.  There is no magic pill..magic drink...magic anything that is going to make you weight less.  It is pretty simple.  Good solid healthy food + Good solid healthy exercise = weight loss.  It's painfully slow...painfully frustrating at times...but it happens...if you can be patient.


But this new journey has forced me to be and I am learning so much about me that I didn't know before.  Three weeks ago, I was truly inspired by one of my athletes that left it ALL on the course in her first complete Half Ironman.  No, she didn't stand on a podium but she did what she said she would do...and to say I was excited for her is the understatement of the century.  She inspired so many on race day...and in her journey to that day.

God gives you people in your life that can TEACH you about your own issues and I would be a false coach to say that I do not have my own demons.  Food has been used in my life to comfort at times of sadness and to celebrate joy.  Food has always been there for times when I was lonely or angry.  It can be a constant companion.  When food takes over...it diminishes the REAL you and you hide away..you disappear....the real you becomes nothing.

For two years...I have been that nothingness.  I have tried and failed at training and nutrition.  The one thing that did bring ME back was helping others achieve their goals of racing triathlon.  It brought new life to my saddened soul.  It was God's intention...and now I stand as a changed person...maybe not totally BETTER...but stronger...coming out of the darkness of sadness and depression and seeing the light of the real ME again.

So that scale shot is a 9 pound weight loss.  No big deal for some but the real story is that it represent consistency, healthy boundaries and food used as nutrition instead of food used for abuse.

I have big dreams...big goals that I thought may have died...but they are still there...they are real...they are who I am...and I am determined to get there....with some sweat, some determination and some love of self.

I use to say Ill keep you posted...but when you hide from the world...the last thing you do is write in your blog...

Im not hiding anymore....and I WILL keep you posted.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Getting the "BAND" back together

Last year, I decided to try a new blog called "The IronAthena Chronicles" to focus more on my triathlon and less on my weight loss.  What I found was that the blog really didn't "fit me".  Ever have that beautiful dress that you couldn't resist at the store...bring it home...wear it once and just not feel comfortable?  That was what that blog "felt" like to me. So her I am...back in my "blog dress" that feels good for just about any occasion!!  If you are going to follow my journey...you will find my words here!!! The "Band" blog is back!!!

What will you find here?  Honest commentary on all that is health, wellness, exercise, triathlon and...well.... me.  Watch for new updates as things are changing in my world (Not HUGE changes...I'm keeping the Captain and the dog) but changes that need to occur to continue my journey...

More soon....ONWARD.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Dear Mom...part two

...The hardest part wasn't losing you...
It is learning to live without you...

Dear Mom...

Closure is what everyone told me I probably needed to move forward from you death.  It has been 154 days since you left this earth and this last weekend, we said our final goodbye.  

You had told all of us that you wanted your ashes spread into the waters off the Abaco Islands and on what would have been your 62nd wedding anniversary, we said goodbye and committed your ashes to the sea.  I had to laugh as they opened the bottle to let the ashes go...and the ashes would not exit the glass container.  I told everyone that, even in death, you never liked getting your hair wet.  

I spent the weekend with many of your friends, my brothers, my father, my husband and my sisters in law.  If I told you it didn't have its moments of pain, I would be lying, but all in all it was full of the fun that I remember growing up in the Bahamas part time.

When the weekend was over and our plane was leaving Abaco, I looked back and I cried because I felt like I was somehow leaving you behind.  It was a very emotional moment for me...it was very final for me...and I believe it was the closure that I have been searching for.  You are at peace.  You are in a beautiful place.  My memories of you on the boat, on the dock, cooking conch fritters and loving our family are permanently etched in my mind and in my heart.  It was so what I needed.

This doesn't mean Im going to forget you...but it does mean I will move forward from this day to now focus on taking care of me.  I have lost that focus and my body and life has taken a toll for it.  I have put on 12 pounds since you were hospitalized and my body screams for health.  I promised myself that today is the day that I begin to put myself back into shape...into racing...into health...and into happiness.

I am pretty sure that you would still not want me racing Ironman...but I am also very sure you would want me to be happy in my life as I move forward.  Being an Ironman has been my dream for many years now and being at a healthy weight is also my goal.  I plan on moving forward on both those things today.

I love you Mom...be my guardian angel...be by my side as I race my next half marathon, train on my bike and work as a Divemaster at Disney.  I know you will...and I know you will keep an eye out for all of us

And .. by the way... the conch fritters were really good this weekend...but not as good as yours..

I love you