My blue trunk

When I was a child, there was an old blue steamer trunk in my bedroom. I used it like a bedside table, but usually just stored my stuffed animals on it. I wasn’t allowed to open it .. it was big enough that I could’ve gotten closed into it, so it was always locked.

Every now and then my mom would open the trunk and she and I would go through the contents. The trunk held my baby things. Tiny dresses, cloth books, baby toys, rattle, dish, cup, spoon, stuffed animals. I was able to convince my mom to let me have the stuffed animals to play with, but everything else just stayed tucked away in the trunk.

The trunk made it seem almost like my babyhood lived in my room with me.

I never knew the history of the trunk. I think it was my mom’s, originally, but I don’t know for sure.

Anyway, a few weeks ago I had someone come by and cart away things to the dump. One of the things that left my house was the trunk. It had stayed with me my entire life, eventually serving as storage for Christmas decorations. It lived out in my shed where the damp and cold eventually rusted and rotted the trunk.

The day the trunk was taken away, I just felt relief to get rid of things. Now, I feel like I should’ve taken a moment to sit with the trunk. To thank it for a lifetime of storing my special things. It wasn’t until the next day when I realized how important that trunk had been and how I’d let it go with giving it proper regard.

So this little post is my salute to the blue steamer trunk. You know, I don’t even have a photo of that trunk. It’d always been such a fixture in my life, I don’t think I really saw it anymore.

Goodbye blue trunk. You served me well.

Evening binges

I have a problem with binge eating in the evening. Even though I’ll be full from dinner, as soon as I sit down on the couch, or settle in for whatever my evening activity is, I want to eat something. Chips, popcorn, berries, candy, whatever’s easily accessible. I prefer salty crunchy things for my evening eating fests, but I’ll rummage through the cupboards and fridge for anything easy to eat.

Tonight I decided to slice a cucumber and put salt and pepper on the slices. Surprisingly enough, it gave me satisfaction. A little crunchy, a little salty, a limited amount. The other night I had some cheese slices. They were also satisfying.

I’ve found that much of my current weight loss journey is getting control of compulsive food behaviors. Like evening binges. Evenings in general are my biggest temptation times. Ideally I’d like to not be eating in the evening, but at least substituting in some healthier choices in smaller amounts appears to be a good first step.

Anyone else get the evening munchies?

Summer Camp Refuge

When I decided to take a little Personal Retreat last month, I’d been reading the book Something More by Sarah ban Breathnach. She was stressing that one of the first steps for getting in touch with your authentic self was to revisit favorite places and events of your childhood.

I found myself thinking about the horse camp, Flying Horseshoe Ranch, that I went to every summer from age eight to fifteen. Suddenly a lightbulb went off in my head and I decided to take several days of my upcoming vacation time to stay at Flying Horseshoe, which had now become a guest ranch and was no longer a kids’ camp. What better way to get in touch with an important place from my childhood than to go back and immerse myself in that very place.

Flying Horseshoe was important to me for a couple of reasons. Mainly two. 1) Horses. Definitely the most important reason, and 2) lack of bullies.

I was the victim of some serious bullying at my school. Physical beatings. Verbal abuse. Molestation. I would come home from school in tears and with bruises all over my body, and my mother’s response was, “Oh, kids will be kids. Just ignore them.” It was me against an entire group of about ten kids who were all bigger and stronger than me. Somehow the school was unware of what was happening, or if they knew, they did nothing.

Anyway, I didn’t mean go off on a tangent.  Back to camp.

I felt safe there. I had friends. I found myself in leadership positions. People treated each other kindly. The few incidents of bullying that I was aware of were dealt with swiftly, and the perpetrators were sent home.

While growing up, I always felt like I could be my most authentic self at camp. I wasn’t afraid. I could speak up without fear of ridicule. I could live out my love of horses without kids making fun of me. So it was interesting being back at Flying Horseshoe as an adult. So many memories. And I found myself wondering how to get in touch with that girl who was confident and funny and competent and courageous and a leader and graceful. None of those are words I would really use to describe myself now. So much “life” has happened and torn me down from the best version of myself.

I’m not sure how to bring that earlier version of myself back into the light. Or maybe add those attributes into my current life. But having some time to be quiet and thoughtful at the place of refuge of my childhood was interesting and gave me a great deal of food for thought.

What places from your past may hold secrets to your authentic self? You can’t know what memories will be triggered if you reacquaint yourself with who you once were.

Candy and “food neutrality”

I’ve been working on weight loss and getting control of my compulsive food behaviors this year. I have a friend who I talk with regularly about my eating-related journey, and she believes it’s possible to achieve what she calls “food neutrality” where the food doesn’t call to you or tempt you anymore. I haven’t been sure what to think about the idea of food neutrality, but I experienced something this week that makes me wonder if there’s some validity to the concept.

Eight months ago, I stopped eating sugar. Cold turkey. Even went through withdrawals of sorts. Mainly headache, body aches, and overwhelming cravings. The discomfort lasted about a week, and then things settled down. No more physical symptoms, but still having cravings that I battled everyday. I talked to my friend everyday during this time, and her encouragement really helped. I have remained sugar-free for more than half a year. Amazing!

Fast forward to now.

Two weeks ago, I bought two large bags of candy to hand out to the trick-or-treaters on Halloween. I put the bags into a large bowl, and set it by the front door. Now, to give some context, on previous years if I’d bought candy early, I would’ve eaten the entire bag all by myself, and then would’ve needed to buy more candy to hand out. I’m a bit of a sugar addict and binge eater.

But this year it was different. I walked past the bowl of candy (all favorite candies, by the way), and I felt nothing. No cravings. No temptations. When I would look at the candy bowl, it felt almost like I was just looking at a bowl of dirt. Something inedible. Not food for me at all.

Is this what food neutrality is like?

On the other hand, I found myself thinking about the upcoming holidays and all the homemade treats that show up. Will my candy neutrality apply to homemade baked goods, too? I honestly don’t think so. Just thinking about those items (which will remain nameless so I don’t trigger myself) sends me into cravings. But knowing how eight months of living sugar-free set me free from candy, if I make it through the holidays and get some more time under my belt, perhaps food neutrality will show up for other temptations?

In the meantime, I’ll start this month of Thanksgiving being grateful for making huge strides with my weight, food, and body goals. Oh, and by the way, I’ve lost twenty-five pounds! Slowly, but I think, healthily.