Friday, October 28, 2011

Fotos aflame

Last night, the Atlanta chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) hosted the the annual Golden Flame Awards to recognize excellence in communications.

I'm excited to say that Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta won an impressive 13 awards—more awards than any other attendees. I posted pictures from the event last year and thought I'd continue the tradition in 2011.

Here are a couple of from last year:

With my boss, Paul Parson, 2010.
With Kevin McClelland, Director of External Communications

And a few from last night:

With Kevin and Paul last night. From the beginning, they have been two of my biggest cheerleaders.

The Children's Editorial Team: Beth Thompson, Paul Parson, me and Casey Aitken. We're on FIRE.

Next week? Halloween pictures. Oh yeah. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Food files

I was going to talk today about hitting the reset button, but I'm going to put that off until either later in the week or next week. It feels premature, somehow.

So instead, I'm going to tell you what I'm eating this week and part of next. I had a good weigh-in Tuesday. I lost 2.6 pounds, so maybe things are heading in the right direction again. With that in mind, I feel I have to be extra diligent during the week, because this weekend brings parties and other social occasions that can lead to more calories.

I grocery shopped last night. It had been ages since I'd been shopping, sadly. Before I went, I planned my recipes for the week.

Tonight, I'm making my beloved Gina's chicken rollatini stuffed with zucchini and mozzarella. I decided to try substituting spinach for the zucchini. I'll let you know how that turns out.

Later, I'm going to make (again from Gina at SkinnyTaste) skinny meatloaf cupcakes. I'm going to skip the mashed potato "frosting," though, as potatoes are not something I can keep in my house. How cute are those cupcakes, though? I'm excited to try them. My friend Laura raved about them.

It feels good to be prepared--it makes me feel more in control and less frantic than I've been in a while--food-wise.

So tell me--what are you eating this week?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Previews and photos

Hi. I know. Not a single post all week. And I know I've posted a few "woe is me" entries in a row, so I don't want you guys to think I'm standing on a ledge somewhere. Yes, I'm still in a bit of a funk, but overall I'm feeling much better. In fact, this morning, I blasted my theme song and danced in my car on the way to work. Thanks Mary J. Blige.

Next week, I will be sure to post more. Look for the following topics:
  • Reset button
  • My week of food
  • All or nothing
I did promise Fridays of photos, so here are a couple. I went to Jacksonville last weekend to visit some dear friends for their birthday (They're twins...yay!). My friend, Tina, who is a fabulous photographer, took this shot, which I like because I look like my mom.

And another one. For Boss' Day, the Editorial Team gave our boss, Paul Parson, a digital frame filled with photos of us holding signs about him and just being generally silly. Here was one of my contributions:

 Happy Friday, all. Have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Inadequacies ahoy

It’s been a long time since I’ve considered writing a blog that doesn’t tell the whole truth. I could tell you how great I’m doing. I could tell you how awesome my workouts have been. I could tell you that I’m basking in sunshine and glitter and baskets of kittens.

But I’d be lying.

The real truth is that I’m struggling. Big time. And I hate to have to tell you that. But I wouldn’t have gotten this far if I hadn’t been totally honest with you. So here goes.

Last week I told you about seeing the ghost of my former self everywhere I look. She’s continuing to haunt me. And lately I just haven’t been able to shake the mean reds, as Holly Golightly would say.

I hate writing entries like this. I always debate how much to share and how much to keep to myself. But if I’ve learned nothing else from this journey, it’s that sharing is what has truly saved my life. So share I will.

A couple of weeks ago, I was crying myself to sleep for what seemed like the billionth time. What was wrong with me? Why was I so sad? Then—maybe I was praying out loud, maybe just talking to myself—I said the words that hit the nail on the head:

“I just feel so unlovable.”

And right there, that’s what this is all about. Not just my sads of the moment, but the ones that have clouded me for most of my life. The ones that began my issues with food in the first place. I’m not just talking about romantic love, either.

I grew up in a great family and was deeply loved by both of my parents. I always knew that. But somewhere along the way, for some reason, I began to think myself unworthy of love or affection. I felt like I didn’t deserve good things to happen to me. And I guess that hasn’t changed.

See, as I’ve lost weight, I’ve had little epiphanies along the way. Most of them I’ve shared with you. But I think this is the biggest—the one that started everything. Maybe when I get through this, I’ll be able to fully succeed.

One of my favorite quotes, often attributed to Nelson Mandela, is actually by a writer named Marianne Williamson. You’ve probably read it before:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

This really rings true to me right now. Am I afraid of succeeding? Am I afraid to really shine?

Two years ago, I was so miserable. I felt absolutely unlovable then. Who could love someone like me? To think that I would ever be at the place I am now—just 40 or so pounds away from my goal weight—was unthinkable.

And today, here I am. 127 pounds less than that other girl. Yet, still struggling with those same feelings of unworthiness. What happens when I hit that ultimate goal? When I really succeed? What happens when I feel rejected or lonely? I won’t be able to blame it on my body anymore. And maybe that’s what scares me.

Today I stepped on the scale at Weight Watchers and it showed a gain for the second week in a row. It’s not a major gain--.6 last week and .4 today. But it’s a gain. It made me realize I needed to talk about the place where I am. To be honest with you—and most of all with myself.

I know I’m loved. I have a wonderful family, fantastic friends and amazing co-workers—all of whom remind me of the good things about me every day.

I just have to start believing them.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Ghost story

I think I’m being haunted.

Seriously. For the past few weeks, I’ve been seeing a ghost. Her:

December 2009

I’m not sure where she came from, but she’s been persistent. And she’s been staring back at me from the mirror.

I’ve shown this picture to people who didn’t know me when I was at my heaviest. People have expressed disbelief that it’s really me. I look at the picture and don’t know how they can’t see me immediately.

Because sometimes—like recently—she’s all I can see.

I’m not sure why my old self has been haunting me so much lately. Perhaps it is because I’m so close to my end goal. Maybe it’s because I’ve been dating, which already brings up so many insecurities. Maybe it’s because there are honestly some days where I can only see how far I’ve got to go, rather than how far I’ve come.

I don’t know the answer. But I’m over it. Why can’t I just see myself for who I am? Will I ever be able to do that? Or will 300-plus-pound Erika always be mocking me?

My only thought is that I hated that Erika. I hated her body. I hated her emotional weaknesses. I hated her dependence on food. Her laziness. Her hopelessness.

And maybe that’s where my answer is. Perhaps I need to remember what it was like to be that girl, and instead of seeing myself through eyes of self-loathing, I need to look through eyes of compassion. I need to accept the old me in order to love the new me.

Easier said than done. But the old me who was so paralyzed by an eating disorder was in pain. Food helped me cope. It helped me get through some of the hardest times of my life—my mom’s death, a great heartbreak, family crises and other losses. Maybe I should try to be grateful that I got through those things at all—that I got to the other side.

All I know is that I don’t think I’ll ever be able to fully love myself as I am now unless I love myself as I was then. Until then, I’m pretty sure this ghost will continue to haunt me.

And to be honest, I really need her to give me some peace.