Binge

I am a binge-er.

I binge on most everything you can think of (except, maybe that…I’m too busy bingeing on dreams of sleep to that to a binge-level).

I binge-watch TV. Netflix? It was made for me. I used to binge-watch Gilmore Girls and Grey’s Anatomy and Friends because I had those series on DVD…but NOW?! Now I can binge-watch EVERYTHING. Whole seasons, whole series one show after another after another after another after another – there is NO END to how much I can binge, and all without changing a single disc or getting off the couch. DREAMY.

Truth.

Truth.

I binge-read. Books, blogs, gossip, magazines – I devour the written word. Some of it is escapism, which our dad would get SO mad about when I was younger, and some of it is pure curiosity (hello, how does Brangelina do it??). But most of it is an unadulterated love and comfort with the written word. Bad day? Read. Bad week? Read. Scary thoughts? Read. Lists won’t shut up in my head? Read. Want to be awed and transported and thrilled and moved? READ. And I can read a whole book in one sitting. When I was growing up, our mom would buy me books specifically for vacations at the cottage, telling me not to read any of them until we got there. I’d always have them read before we even got in the van to make the drive. I limit how much I read now, because an adult stuck in a book all day and all night long does not a good parent make.

I also binge-surf, which can lead to trouble with watching children. There have been times I’ve been scrolling through a Pinterest rabbit hole and realized someone has been calling my name for a minute or so. Tricky. Luckily, I hear screaming through all of the project- and recipe-wishing.

But the biggest binge that causes the most problems for me, is binge-eating.

I am the queen of drowning my sorrows, my boredom, my anger, my anything-feeling in food. And more food. And more food.

GET IN MY BELLY.

GET IN MY BELLY.

I can eat 2 1/2 pounds of chicken wings in one sitting…after eating a whole meal. I can eat a whole bag of Oreos…after a whole meal. I can eat a whole bag of M&M’s…you know, the bowl/party size…in one go. I can totally eat a whole loaf of freshly baked bread, or most of a batch of cookies, or a bag of chips, or 4 chocolate bars (Snickers, Wunderbar, KitKat and Coffee Crisp), without breaking a sweat.

Do I feel like crap afterwards? Absolutely. Am I consumed with guilt and shame when all the food is gone and my belly aches and my head hurts and I know (I KNOW) I’m going to have a sugar/food hangover the next day? Yes. But does that stop me in the moment? When I’m hurting or unhappy or ridiculously craving crap after eating well all day? Nope. Not one bit.

Because I feel like there is something missing inside of me. I feel like there’s an empty cavern, aching to be filled, and so I do. I fill it. With all the food.

Of course, this is why I am chubby. This is why I am overweight. This is why my butt has more jiggle, and not in a Kardashian way, but in a dear-god-think-of-the-chairs kind of way. And it’s the reason that I feel like crap more often than not.

I had it under control after my miscarriage and after Isaac was born – exercise and healthy eating and sleeping and hobbies filled my time and space between parenting and housewife-ing. Not only was there no time or energy for binge-eating, but I filled up that empty hole in my face and brain with endorphins, friendship, and fulfilling activity. I lost 30 pounds. I was fit. I felt fantastic. And I wasn’t tempted as often and when I was, I wasn’t sucked into eating all the food all the time.

But this May I ran a half-marathon…and it was really hard and it took a long time to recover from it mentally and physically. I took a break from running and exercising for about a month…just in time for me to severely roll my ankle…twice…and lead me to be unable to put any weight on it for weeks. Which lead to more laying around, hating life, and wishing I were anywhere but on my couch.

So the hole in me grew…and grew…and the monster inside that wants all the chocolate and crap food started screaming again, demanding to be fed, demanding to be noticed and heeded. To answer the cries, I did what any smart person would do. I caved. I gave in. I fed it all the food in the world.

Now, my pants are tight. And my back has more rolls. And my arms feel flabbier. And the hard as rock calf muscles in my legs have been replaced by marshmallows…literally.

I sank. I’m sinking. I’m drowning in the itch for the binge, for the feeling of being so full I can’t move and something else hurts instead of the hurting that started it all.

I refuse, though, to go down without a fight. Refuse to let the monster and hole consume me. I don’t want to be that person again. I don’t. I want to be strong, and fit, and enjoy food, not look at it like a means to an end. I want treats to be treats and not the regular nighttime ritual. I want sugar and chocolate to be the exception, not the rule. And I want to stop feeling like all the food in the world must be eaten.

So, I’ve started doing things a little differently.

I’ve stopped buying crap. No more chocolate-bar or chip or junk-food runs after the kids are in bed. What we have in the house is what we have in the house, and since I don’t buy all the bad stuff during our regular grocery shop, there is no more crap here.

I’ve replaced eating with drinking…green tea. At night, when the craving to consume the world comes over me, when my stomach is desperately trying to convince my brain that I’m STARVING even though I just ate a good meal, I turn to drinking a cup of tea. Not only is it good for me and calorie-free, but it gets me all warm and sleepy, perfect for going to bed (unlike the sugar and caffeine rush from chocolate and crap I’d get from binge-eating).

And the big one? I’ve started MOVING again. I’m walking in the mornings. I HATE how I feel while I’m doing it – I ran over 21 km, people! A walk shouldn’t kill me. But, I don’t make the twice-daily trek to school anymore (which racks up about 4 km while pushing 25-55 pounds in a stroller), and I don’t go running anymore, so, I’m walking in the morning, with the goal of running again in September (giving my ankle plenty of time to really heal before I start pushing it). I’m resentful of how far I’ve fallen, but I know that getting it back little by little is the only solution.

Now, I need to know – do you binge? Or do you have magical self-control? And if you do binge, what are your tips and tricks for keeping your head above the water? Because I know at some point, I’m going to want to put all of the things in my mouth again…and it will be SO hard to say no.

~ Julia

Cold and heartless!

There is something of a sensitive subject that I would like to bring up for my post today, and it’s not like it’s something new! It happens every year, and time and time again it seems to creep up on me and bites deep to my bones. It makes me want to curl up and stay in bed, closing the curtains and hiding away until it’s done with.

It seem’s that once again WINTER is coming! It was more apparent than ever on Saturday when our cozy little town was donned with a light dusting of the white stuff.

Most popular tags for this image include: climate, ecard, love, sleep and winter

Now I know I am not the only one out there who feels yucky about winter – just check out Facebook while it’s snowing. So you can all come out from behind your scarves, coats, parkas and show your faces. I refuse to stand alone in this season. Winter is the only time that everyone becomes fascinated with snow or at least it seems like I have a ton of meteorologists to let me know what it is I am looking at (it’s very helpful!).

It seems to be that the same people who complain about the heat during the summer also complain about the cold during the winter. They may require a map, as we do live in Canada where we have four seasons and snow can occur in the fall – hard to believe, I know!

Now, to get serious, please allow me to shrug off the sassy for a moment. The Winter Blues are something that I get and I know that Toni is also a fellow blue battler. I love being outside during the summer, and I have not quite yet perfected the art of running during the winter, and my skin HATES the dry winter air as it cracks, breaks, and scabs up in protest. Future Floridian, right here people! Although, I don’t think I could handle all the alligators.

It’s becoming the time when we get up and it’s dark out, we get out of work and it’s dark out, and it’s because of our decreased exposure to light our body doesn’t kick in to make the feel good juice, serotonin, that pumps through our body. The serotonin factory is kicked into gear when your body is exposed to light. Another fun fact about serotonin – it converts into melatonin, which is your body’s self-made sleep aid that leaves you feeling even worse! Gosh winter, you really are a bitch!

Preach, ecard, preach!

I know winter isn’t all bad. It does hold the most wonderful time of the year, Christmas, (can’t you hear those sleigh bells?!), but with my seretonin level decreasing as we speak it’s getting hard for me to be optimistic. Don’t worry, I am going to put on my big girl pants and then my snow pants and suck it up, because let’s face it, Southern Ontario gets it pretty easy during the winter compared to, let’s say, the east coast? I have a girlfriend who has recently come home from Newfoundland where she temporarily set up shop as her husband works out there (that’s right, she is superwoman (love you Court)), and it turns out she volunteered to go into super winter land! There are many other reasons she is superwoman, but I digress – this post is all about the evil mistress winter!

Hey guys, where’d your cars go? Guys?

This year I am going to be prepared! I have my daily dose of sun booked, TLT, our workout group is back in full force, which will help with my endorphins (just ask Elle Woods – they make people happy), I have a Costco-size multi-vitamin bottle that should get me through until mid-December 2020, I have purchased some winter hiking boots that are pretty impressive, and I am fully prepared to hike throughout the winter trying to make the best out of this cold, heartless season!

In the meantime, I am welcoming the beauty that comes from our trees preparing to tuck in for the winter – there is the silver lining.

Bring it winter! I am ready for alllllll your crazy!

~ Jacqui

Countdown is ON!

This coming Friday is June 6th. Why am I telling you this? Well, other than it being a Friday of the summer months (think of the activities you can do – unless you are like me and work), it will mark the one year countdown to I DO!

When Cody proposed, the most asked question would be, “When is the big day?” At the time it hit me in the stomach as we hadn’t talked about it, we had just gotten engaged! Were we doing it wrong? Am I a horrible bride already? Should I have a date? Do they think that because I don’t have a date I am not excited to get married? Because I am! Would it be a year? Two years? Three years? What would the wedding look like? Can we save enough money? Can we afford to get married? Will our family be able to attend? What food will we serve? What if we can’t find a venue? What about our wedding party and their budgets, as I have three bridesmaids who are also getting married, one with a baby on the way and one who is a single-income family. How will I make this event fun for everyone? So. Many. Questions. With no answers… I had no answers. I didn’t know. I hate not knowing.

Then there came the warnings and disclaimers from those seasoned vets – Do it for you! Don’t make cuts for any one! It’s your day – they would say. The day will be a blur. It doesn’t matter what other people want! Was this supposed to make me feel better? Yes, it is our day, Cody’s and mine, but whatever we plan will be what we want – and we want our family and friends to look back and remember that the day was filled with love… and that they had a really good time.

This past Saturday, my Saturday morning running group (which for this Saturday was myself, my two sisters (Toni and Julia) and our guest blogger Kim) and I climbed a local trail, Webster Falls. On our way back, we were all complaining of hunger, so we stopped by Starbucks. It was pretty early and other than the employees who seemed less than impressed that four women who were high on endorphins were giggling away in their lounge area, it was empty.

As we observed those coming and going, one group stood out among them – a group of young girls. As they ordered and dressed their lattes, they proceeded to line up their white cups with the adorning of green and took pictures, more than likely for Instagram, more memories of their day. Rather than the bistro writing their names they had requested their titles for the day: Bride, Maid Of Honor, Bridesmaid.

Bride, bridesmaids, matron of honor Starbucks style

It all became real, suddenly my mind raced to the date. Soon it would be June. Crunch time. I am so excited! This year is going to fly by, just like the last year did.

~ Jacqui

 

It’s contagious

At this point in our blogger/reader relationship, you should know that I enjoy living a healthier lifestyle.

From the whole and healthy food that I use to nourish my body, to the addiction I have to movement, to the thrill I feel when I tackle and triumph over a new challenge – I love it and crave it.

Pinning exercise

For a while, my fitness journey was shared mostly with my good friend and previous trainer, Julie. While a new career path has changed our relationship slightly, I will forever attribute the beginning of this love affair to her pushing me to be better than myself.

I can tell you honestly that the change I love the most is not in the pounds shed, the firmness found, or the satisfaction of needing an entirely new wardrobe because nothing fit anymore. The change I love the most is how proud I am at what my body is capable of – the natural amount of energy I have,  how fast I can go, how long I can go, how much weight I can carry, that people are surprised at my strength based on my size – it’s all a thrill to me.

Running late

Up until about 10 months ago, this shift in lifestyle had been purely selfish and the thing I was doing for me. I never imagined that I was affecting or influencing the women around me. Slowly but surely, I was joined regularly by my girlfriend Chantelle whenever I would head out for a run, bike ride or workout. Her determination was impressive and her desire to be better for herself was inspiring. It pushed me harder, made me work more and reach new goals of my own. I was so excited that she saw what she wanted to accomplish for herself.

And then one day, my older sister Julia asked what I was still doing to stay fit. When I told her, she wanted in! We did things as a threesome when our schedules worked and in pairs or solo when it didn’t. It was awesome! There is nothing like finding a group of women with the same goals and desires as you. It made me feel normal, accepted and so proud.

And then my mini-me Jacqui asked if I wanted to workout with her one day, and then go for a run with her another. It made my heart fly. We quickly became a foursome of sisters-in-fitness. While hectic schedules, rotating turns to have the end-of-the season cold, or rough and sleepless nights don’t always and rarely allow us to all be together, the extra accountability was just what we needed.

exercise-fart

And then our adopted sister Kim heard about how much Julia was loving it and decided one evening to join us. She was hooked! We pushed each other, read and researched, gave suggestions when we needed some help to overcome an obstacle or plateau – it’s been incredible to watch. Seeing each one of these women find what works for them – Chantelle’s new found love of hot yoga, Julia, Kim and Jacqui’s love of running and finding their stride, our mutual love/hate relationship with HIIT and burpees –  it must be how parents and teachers feel when lessons are not only learned, but applied and new milestones are reached by their wee ones.

Burpees

Julia’s lovable friend Sara, whom I have known since my pre-teen years, has just recently been inducted into the TLT (an acronym I refuse to spell out for its sheer embarrassment – thanks ladies!) group of incredibly supportive women. While I wouldn’t consider what we do a class or bootcamp, and I am no body builder or personal trainer, I am incredibly proud of the example I set because of the fire that was found in me by my trainer.

~ Toni

P.S. Julie is now in the real estate market and loving her new career. If you’re in the market for sale or purchase of a new home or investment property, contact Julie Belanger at realtorjuliebelanger@gmail.com.