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Love/Hate Relationship ~

I hate food.  I seriously, really hate it.  You might ask, how can someone so fat hate food?  Well, I can hate it, but I still have to have it to live.  If only it weren’t that way at all.  I hate how it makes me feel, and I hate that it’s my own fault that it makes me feel that way.  It all comes back to me, and I acknowledge that.

When my siblings and I were kids, my Mom was an awesome cook.  We were made sure to have three meals a day, two of which were usually home cooked.  Don’t forget to add on those after school snacks, and the ice cream or pop corn before bed.  And no, we did not eat either healthy portions or healthy foods.  And I’ve always been “large” – yeah, that means fat.  Always.

Now, since I’ve become “aware” that I hate how fat I am, I hate how I look and I would love to feel better about myself by losing weight, I’ve examined every possible reason for WHY I am so overweight.  I’m thinking if I can understand the reason why, I can change my lifestyle and get some weight loss going on here.  I’ve come down to the conclusion that I just plain and simple love the taste of it.  If it were socially acceptable to eat a meal, chew it up and spit it out rather than swallow it, that would be my Utopia.  I have very strong taste buds, and they are a source of great pleasure for me.

I have tried, over and over, even very recently, to change my lifestyle, my way of eating and my food choices… and it works, for awhile.  I cannot maintain that for very long.  Let’s face it, a breakfast sandwich and Frappe from McD’s is a whole lot better tasting than a bowl of oatmeal and an apple or banana.  Even if it fills me to the extent that it makes me feel like absolute crap afterwards.  I’ve proven I can lose the weight if I can eat right.  I have not yet proven that I can maintain eating right of my own free will.  I’ve tried to tempt myself with nice clothing, with “do it for Al”, “do it for yourself”, “do it for your grandchildren”, “do it for God”!  I cannot get myself on board for any length of time.

I found myself feeling like an absolute blimp at lunch today after eating a KFC “bowl” and a McD’s medium Frappe.  I STILL feel awful, and I will not want to eat dinner with my husband as a family.  But, I will, because that’s what families “do”.  I felt full at lunch after eating only about 1/3 of the bowl, but I kept going.  This little voice in my head kept saying “Finish your plate.  There are people starving in Africa.”  I looked at my bowl and could not get myself to throw it away!  And now I’m paying the price with discomfort.  Serves me right!

Did I tell you that in 1988 I had my stomach stapled?  It worked so well, but was not without its nightmares!  Even today, I have a very small capacity for food in my stomach.  A half sandwich will do me fine for lunch.  A small bowl of cereal for breakfast is great, and one hotdog (no bread) and 3-4 fries is all I need to be full for dinner.  But still I choose to overeat.  Is it truly a flavor addiction?  I wonder.

After I first had my surgery, it took me months/years to “learn” how to re-eat so I didn’t make myself sick.  Not sure I ever really did get that down (so to speak).  I vividly remember eating the “wrong thing” more often than not, and spending hours, sleepless nights even, vomiting or wanting to vomit but being unable to.  You see, I’d rather die than vomit.  In fact, to me, vomiting is the closest thing to death without actually dying.  So, in many ways, I simply refused to allow myself to when it probably would’ve made me feel better in the long run.  And, back in the 80’s, we did not have “support groups” for fat surgery.  Even so, I did lose weight.  I lost 30 lbs before I ever left the hospital.  Then I continued to lose through the 80’s and 90’s and it was GR8!  Overall, I think I lost about 98-99 lbs before it leveled off and I began to gain again.  I learned that eating junk food digested easier, tasted better and made me feel better.

It was a tough road, and it took a long time, but I finally gained back all the weight I’d lost and a little more!  Success!!  ???  That’s where I am today.  Sitting here approximately 5-6″ from my desk because my ample belly is in the way from me reaching my desk.  That ample belly that I know is the greatest risk of me dying sooner rather than later.  What’s it going to take before I finally hit rock bottom and decide I need to start losing (again) and maintain it?!  A heart attack?  And someone needs to have a serious discussion with my enabling husband.  I have had such a discussion many times, but he does not maintain it either.  He brings me chocolate, ice cream before bed, soda…  I’m not blaming him, as he does it out of love and wanting to please me.  I have, in the past, begged him not to capitulate to my food whims.  Neither of us maintains.  Sometimes I look at him like he’s a saboteur, then feel bad.  He has this “way” of guilting me into eating, even if I am full and don’t want to!  At dinner, “Aren’t you going to eat something?”  “Aren’t you going to eat with me?”  Eating is always  a social event to him.  We go to visit his mom, we must eat and eat big (she used to be, but no longer, a gourmet cook).  I’d try to nibble just a little of each thing, but was always pushed by his family for not eating enough.  He never did speak up for me, even knowing I could potentially spend the entire 2 1/2 hr ride home sicker than a dog.

More food for thought?  Recently there were two incidents that happened that really brought it to the forefront, once more.  Shopping at Lane Bryant at Destiny USA – cause that’s the only “fat store” locally that might have something pretty for Valentine’s Day, I was browsing in the lingerie department cause I’m “older” but I ain’t dead.  I just wanted something new and pretty for our special V Day weekend.  A customer service person approached me and asked if she could help.  I explained I was looking for something special for Valentine’s Day and she actually took me my the arm and redirected me away from the pretty, sexy things to the frumpy, cotton, tee shirt type crap!  She said “Oh, we have something just right for you right over here.”  I left informed, not insulted.

The second recent eye opener was literally an eye opener.  I was going through our 2013 vacation photos and came across several Al had taken of me, and I gave them a thorough examination.  I was simply aghast.  I had no idea that I was that big!  You know how you have a certiain idea of what you look like to others?  I was duped.  I didn’t look “that bad” in the bathroom mirror, which is quite large.  Holy cow!  Meant literally, or something more like a pinniped (seal).  It embarrassed me to myself.  A couple months ago I was thinking I was a pretty beautiful woman, but this was NOT beautiful!  I just kind of stared at some of the photos of myself for a few minutes, burning the memory into my mind so as to give me momentum to maintain once again.

So, here I am.  This is, essentially, a vent.  It’s one of those “ate too much at lunch, feel like crap and wanna puke” vents.  I’ve never been this honest about this aspect of my life, but here it is.  This is my life.  Where am I going from here?  Well, I’m not going to give up!  I’m going to go home and have yet another talk with my enabler husband, shop for better foods (fresh fruits/veggies) and get back on the wagon yet again.  Dinner tonight?  I doubt it.  Lunch today will last me clear into tomorrow mid-morning.  “Sorry Honey, eating by yourself tonight.  I’m going to work on my quilt, I’m not hungry!” 

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog.  TTFN – Tamara Eckstadt

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I’m Getting Old ~

I have recently begun to acknowledge that I am, indeed, getting old.  At 50-something years of age – okay, 55, but I admit I had to do the math on a calculator because I couldn’t remember which 50-something I was – I have come to realize and accept that I am past middle aged and on my way downhill to the end of my life.  I am neither afraid nor sad about this revelation, as I know exactly where I’m going, and I know I will go when He says my time here is done, not before.

I’ve noticed subtle changes in my physical being:  thinner skin, “age spots” where you least want them to be, easier to bruise and longer to heal, memory loss.  Perhaps the worst of these, for me, is the memory loss.  I can no longer remember year-to-year how old I am, I cannot remember my grandchildren’s birthdays, and to be honest, sometimes I have to look on my calendar for the exact date of my husband’s birthday.  I remember it’s in early April.  I keep an in depth, detailed Calendar on my Outlook application at my work, and I routinely print it out and keep it in a like-size binder that I carry with me at all times.  I keep everything immediately important in there, or it will be forgotten.  Even when my payday is (every OTHER week) and when bills are due.  My binder is my lifeline.

My health is failing year by year, and I wonder how much longer I’ll be able to mobilize without major assistance.  I have back issues, knee issues and now foot issues.  When I get sick, I take forever to come back to good health.  A simple cold can turn into bronchitis/sinusitis, strep ~ and I may not recover for several weeks.  My shopping is now curtailed by a myriad of orthopedic pains that only allow for me to walk for approximately 25-30 minutes total before I have to abandon whatever plans I had for doing things outside the home.  I know a good portion of my problems are most likely due to weighty issues, and I try to exercise (recumbant bike & treadmill) on my good days ~ but my good days are fewer and far between than the bad ones.

Lately, I find myself measuring what’s left of my life in increments of 7-10 years at a time.  Maybe I should take it down to 5 years.  I am fairly confident that I have a maximum of about 12-15 years left before I am summoned to be by my Lord’s side.  And I’m totally okay with that.  This is not a “complaining” post, but just one of acknowledgement.  But increments of just 5 years left of life seems so very short when there is so much more I want to accomplish before I leave this world.

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I want to surround myself with my children and my grandchildren as often as is possible.  Since one of my children keeps three of my grandchildren in Alaska, I am in despair of seeing them again.  I am blessed that I can see most of my children/grandchildren as they are mostly local (with 35 miles)… although some I still do not get to see often enough even though close.  Oddly enough maybe for some of you to imagine, but the most important thing I would like to accomplish would be to regain a relationship with my estranged son.  I pray to God every day that, for whatever reason I don’t know, he would forgive me and learn to love me and we could have a mother/son relationship again.  Did we ever?  I think so, but my memory fails me.  He appears to put all of his thought to his deceased father.  I often wonder if he’ll care when I’m gone, being relatively sure that, if he even does, it’ll be short-lived.  Our distant relationship is the most painful thing in my life right now.

But I digress.  I am relatively sure that I will move on before my soul-mate and husband.  His family has a history of longevity much more than mine.  And, besides, he has strict orders not to go before me ~ by me.  If he were to die first, I do not know how I could continue.  I can’t even conceive of it!  Maybe it’s selfish of me to think this way, after all, he would be just as devastated and hard-pressed to continue without me.  Anyway, my orders to him are just tongue-in-cheek.  We both know that we do not have control of when we will be going home to be with God.  We only know that we will be together again in eternity at some point of His choosing.  That’s enough… for now.

Thank you for taking the time to stop by and read my thoughts.

TTFN ~ Tamara Eckstadt

Made to Crave: Introduction to Weighty Issues ~

I am a beautiful woman, inside and out.  You have no idea how many decades it has taken me to be able to admit those words.  Admitting is not necessarily believing, but I’m getting there.  Oh, I know I’m beautiful inside, but to come to grips with who I am outside ~ well, the time has come.

My favorite picture of myself.  Thank you, Roger William Photography

My favorite picture of myself. Thank you, Roger William Photography

     See, I’m having my own, personal “coming out” party today.  As I’m sure no      one could foretell that I would be admitting that I am morbidly obese.  You didn’t notice?  LOL!  Well, it’s true.  Anyone with sight could tell.  I love myself, but I don’t like myself very much.  I guess it comes from an entire lifetime of everyone judging me because I’ve been fat since childhood.  Children are mean.  I’ve been told for over 45 years that I’m not good enough to be on the team, or too slow to run the bases, or that I’m just plain ugly.  When you’re a kid and you live this, it changes everything you believe about yourself.

However, when you become an adult and you still believe these things, it’s because it’s ingrained.  Doesn’t mean you can’t change it.  BTW, I’m not looking for a “pity party” ~ I take full responsibility for my obesity (wow!  did I use “the ‘O’ word again?!).   “You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge,” Dr. Phil McGraw.  I’ve “acknowledged” it before, to myself.  I don’t think that did much good.  I think I need to get it all out there.  What the heck?  I’ve already revealed my past abortion and 90% of my chaotic history.  Why stop now?  Seriously?  You didn’t notice the multiple chins, the drooping belly and the enormous upper arms?  I think my arms must be the biggest on record in this state!  At least the county!  You didn’t stand there staring at me wondering how much I must weigh?  Well, this beautiful woman is 5’6″ and 326 lbs.  THERE!  I said it, it’s out there!  Yes, I weigh THAT MUCH!  Now, let’s see what we can do about this…

 ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^   That was then (Saturday night 7-13-13), and this is now (Monday night 7-15-13).   It’s simply amazing how much can change in only a few hours with God’s work at hand.  You see, I signed up for this fellowship “class”? of sorts through church about a month ago.  It’s called “Made to Crave”.  When I signed up for it, I had no idea what it was about, really, it just pretty much fit my difficult schedule of being on Mondays, which is my usual day off.  Today, Monday, was my first visit.  Mind you, I honestly didn’t really want to go… it has been so hot, and this morning it was 80 degrees before 9 a.m., the class started at 10:00 a.m.  I contemplated not going, but thought to myself “If I can’t give GOD one hour of my time…”  I was too embarrassed at the thought to fill in the rest, so I was on my way.

The class was to be small (intimate), just my preference.  We were to watch a video, and, still not knowing what this was all about, when the video began, I suddenly knew why I was there.  The topic revolves around craving God, but also focuses on weight loss!  No, not like any type of weight loss program you may have heard about or experience, but God-centered weight loss.  What could make more sense?!  God gave us these bodies to use during our time here on earth, but not to abuse and torture them with added weight and misuse.  I had been put into the right frame of mind beginning on Saturday to be able to jump into this fellowship today!

So, above I had stated “Now let’s see what we can do about this…” and I guess that question has been answered.  Now, let’s see who wants to help me be accountable to reach my goal?  That goal is:  to lose weight.  I’m not even putting any numbers in there… yet.  If I can start with even a pound, then maybe two in the next few weeks, I’ll consider that a successful start!   I’m putting these “weight loss” posts into an exclusive, new category called  appropriately”Made to Crave”.  I’m going to try to post to this daily or semi-daily, with what’s been going on in me reaching towards my goals ~ I’ll post things I’ve eaten/not eaten/avoided, and how about exercise?  How about prayer?  Promise to give me feedback?  Encouragement?  Admonishment?  Continued prayer?  

I’ve started my journey TODAY.  God is with me, He’s got my back.  How about my friends, family and blog friends get in on the action?  I need to hear from you.  Give me your comments, feedback and help me lose.  I want to be my own biggest loser. 

Until next time, which will be tomorrow, TTFN ~ Tamara Eckstadt

Made to Crave.org

Word of Life Assembly of God    

The Unexpected Memories ~

journals1

 

I’m a “writer”.  Not like the professional kind, or even semi-      profesional ~ just one of those people (typically women) who like to write.  I have been called a “deep thinker” by a professional counselor, and I tend to write down a good portion of my thoughts.  And I’ve been doing this for as long as I can remember.  Most people refer to this commonly now as Journalling.  Back when I was in school, it was “keeping a diary”.  I have recently decided to acknowledge to myself that I am obsessed with “journalling”.  Especially when I discovered that it takes me several days, if not weeks of research on and off the web, just to find the “right” journal to write in.  It must be spiral  bound, and at least 5 x 8 as I have large, dramatic handwriting.  I need to have unobstructed room to write, so the spirals must be relatively small… etc. etc.

In the past week I decided to gather all of my respective journals and take inventory of them, and my life.  I found some dating back as far as 1996 ~ which isn’t that far ~ but most of my journals prior to this time were lost in a sea of domestic violence, quick middle-of-the-night moves from house to house or shelter to shelter ~ and they got left behind and probably destroyed.  So, in reading my journals starting in 1996, I decided I really needed to condense all of these spiral bound notebooks into one comprehensive document that is easily locateable, and easy for me to continue making entries as necessary.  I have created a journal on my computer.  Not online, but here on my desktop.  I have made all appropriate fixes to it so that I can actually print it out if I want to, and put it into an 8.5 x 5.5 3 ring binder… or not.

Well, for the past couple of days, I began to type all of these entries into my computer.  Oye vey!  Until I discovered that my fingers just couldn’t take it!  Fortunately, my beloved husband purchased Dragon Naturally Speaking for me… two years ago for Christmas.  It has sat in its box, until this past weekend when I installed it.  I was wary that it would not work as proclaimed, as these things often do not live up to (my) expectations.  However, I’m happy to say that it has been a complete blessing in this incredible documenation project!  I am now halfway through the project!

Having said that, I did not anticipate the flood of emotions and vivid memories that would come back to me during the reading of these journals from 1996 and forward.  In 1996, I was still in my “before Al” period ~ very turbulent, selfish, into drinking and prescription drug abuse, domestic violence, self loathing… wow!  You name it!  As I’ve been reading aloud the journal entries into the computer, it seems like these times of self destruction and depression weren’t very long ago ~ not long enough, anyway!  I’m through 1996 into 1997 and almost to where I met Al, my husband ~ and where everything changed.  I’m eagerly anticipating the uplift in mood and thought from late 1997 into 1998 and forward.

I’m thankful, though, for these journals of my history that I do have.  There have been moments I have read that were long forgotten until relived in writing.  I’m talking many of the GOOD times ~ yes, we did have them, as witnessed in my journals of my past, and the future to come.

Until next time, TTFN ~ Tamara Eckstadt

 

Revealed Chapter 11: Take Him at His Word

“Impossible is an opinion, not a fact”

In March 2001 I was baptized at Second Baptist Church in Auburn, NY.  A full water immersion baptism.  I sent written invitations to my family and friends, asking them to come to the beginning of my journey with my new life.  I gave my testimony in front of the entire congregation.  I rehearsed and quoted my favorite verse:  2nd Corinthians 5:17:  “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”   But my new life had begun long before this pivotal moment in my spiritual travels.  It began that very first night in 1997 when I was slumped on the floor of my bedroom and praying to someone/something I wasn’t even sure existed.  I just didn’t know it then, but my heart was ready.  So God sent someone to me, my husband, to help show me the way and help me understand and find my faith in a way that I could/would understand.  In the 14 years that Al and I have been married, we’ve grown together in faith, in love and in God’s love.  But especially in just this past year (2012).

2nd Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

That’s not to say it’s been an easy road.  Life, even with God’s unconditional love and guidance, is not such an easy road to travel.  There are always pitfalls, missteps, crises and challenges that you have to muddle through.  For me, it’s been that much easier knowing that God has my back at every turn.  Knowing that.  Again, not a simple or easy concept, like the “trust fall”.  And we have had our share of challenges and “trust falls” just this summer to get through.

 Happy moments, PRAISE GOD.

Difficult moments, SEEK GOD.

Quiet moments, WORSHIP GOD.

Painful moments, TRUST GOD.

Every moment, THANK GOD.

My children are not believers, unfortunately.  I would love for nothing more than to have them find their way as I did, so their futures will be secure in the knowledge that they will go to Heaven when their lives here are complete.  They cannot deny with honesty that I have changed, and changed much for the better since I came to God in 1997.  I wonder if they think this happened by osmosis.  And others that knew the “before” me, do you think I just woke up and decided one day that I was going to stop swearing like a redneck trucker?  Or that I was going to suddenly stop beating on my kid’s behinds with a belt, or whatever else I could get my hands on that worked as well or better?  Perhaps I just suddenly ran out of FWB’s (see “Chapter 9:  Faith”) that I would go visit at all hours, leaving my children home alone and at risk for my own selfish reasons.  And then there was that weekend trip to Florida to be with a “friend” while I left my children with people I barely knew, let alone trusted.  But they were okay, really, they were what? 11 and 13 years old?  And Karrie was 17?

I’m not saying I’m a model of a good Christian woman.  I know I am far from that, but I’m trying.  The fact that a person can come from the chaos and irresponsibility that I have come from and turn a life around and begin living the right way ~ the way God intended us to live ~ is a testament to His existence.  For whatever reason, He came into my heart for the asking, and made me new.  My debts have been paid, my sins forgiven and forgotten ~ and what do I owe?  Only faithfulness, devotion and love.  What He asks for is not that hard!  And for those of you who do not choose to believe, that is your choice.  I’d rather believe and be wrong than not believe and be wrong.  My way (which is His way) is a win/win situation, and I’m not wrong

Now?  My daughters and I have good relationships.  Don’t ask me how they found it in their hearts to forgive me, even when I could not yet forgive myself.  Blessing after blessing.  My son and I have been estranged for the most part and remain so, despite the fact that it’s very painful and I pray daily about it.  I’m sure, in His perfect time, it will be resolved.  Al and I are wonderful together.  As I’ve said, we’ve had our issues, what couples don’t?  But we’re getting through them with God’s help, and the help and guidance of many of our Christian friends.

I had a comment awhile back on one of my chapters from a man who was criticizing what I had written.  He seemed to think I was self-involved, self-pitying and that I should (basically) get over myself (not in those exact words).  I believe he used the word “whining” or “whiney” at one point.  That is the one and only negative feedback I’ve received, and I found it in my Spam box.  Go figure.  But I have not and will not dismiss the comment this person made because it’s negative, as it has value and merit as all of the positive ones I’ve received.  Although, I regret that I did hastily delete the comment before replying to this gentleman and thanking him for his opinion. 

So, why did I write all of these chapters and put myself “out there” for all to see?  Good question.  I was definitely not self-pitying, nor whining.  I guess I was trying to make a point by showing how something good can come from something so dreadful, if you just have faith.  There are so many women who have been or may still be in a situation(s) such as I have been, and I’m hoping they find their way to this blog and get something positive out of it.  If they’re led to a new life through spirituality, that would be my best blessing.  But if they simply get out of a domestically violent relationship, or stop taking their frustrations out on their children by abusing them, or just give their child an extra hug and “I love you” today, I would be deliriously happy.  It’s as simple as that.  I don’t want pity, or praise or condolences or a pat on the back.  I want my words, my experiences to find someone and give them inspiration to better their life and those around them.  I was able to achieve this through finding my faith and spirituality, and you can too.  It only takes a moment and a simple prayer, and to believe that Jesus died for you on the cross.

If you’ve had an abortion, doesn’t matter how long ago, there is help for you.  If you drink or do drugs, abuse your kids, allow yourself to be abused in any way (and there are many ways) there is help for you.  If you’ve attempted or think you might attempt to end your life (yes, I have *twice*), think again and again!  Call someone, call anyone and talk it out ~ and pray, pray very hard.  There is help for you, too!  You are never alone, even if you don’t believe, God is there with you… for you, in you.  Take Him at His Word.

** Aftermath ~ Just a quick note ~ I have found out the BH has passed away, without ever having found me on the street and having to kill me (“Chapter 6:  Trading Faces”).  As told in Revealed Chapter 10:  May You Reach and Find God Before God Reaches and Finds You, BB committed suicide in 2003.  Do the math:  that’s two out of three “ex’s” who have left this world for the next.  That leaves MS, my first husband, alive and well.  Hmmmm.  Actually, he and I have since become good friends, and I have forgiven all three of my “ex’s” (2 posthumously) for their part(s) in my journey.  I guess maybe I should’ve thanked them!

~ Coming Up:  A first-hand look inside a 72-hour stay at Hutchings Psych Center after a suicide attempt.

                        Don’t miss it!