Sunday, July 23, 2017

My Dream House

I own a mansion. Technically it isn't a mansion because of some arcane rule that says it needs to have a ballroom. But it's a mansion. I'll just put a ball in a room and we'll call it a ballroom.

I own a mansion and I grew up on food stamps.

I sold a house that had rotted out floors in one city and bought a house with six bedrooms in another city.

We were able to buy a beautiful house in the perfect neighborhood because my father-in-law died and left my wife money. Because my wife and I both have jobs. Because my mom let us live in her house rent-free for a year so we could buy our first house. Because our first house tripled in price post-recession. Because we're incredibly lucky.

This house was not bought with our money. It is not through our own grit that we bought a mansion. It was because we were lucky and we were smart with our luck.

I've always wanted a mansion. While other children were playing with barbies, I was dreaming about a house that was so big you could get lost in it. It was a poor person's dream, wondering how the rich lived. I dreamt about hardwood floors and tall ceilings. Later, as an adult, I would dream about front porches and large backyards. I would add crown molding to my dream house, and a sitting area to work and read books. The dream house would have a big kitchen and space to entertain friends and family.

My dream came true, and I'm not sure how. A year ago we struggled to buy a house with three bedrooms. Now we have a house with more than twice that.

I feel guilty for my dream coming true. Every time I invite someone into my home, I cringe at their remarks about the hugeness and beauty. I want to explain that we bought the house so we could give permanency to needy kids. I want to explain that we bought the house for our growing family. But then I feel like I'm profiting off our children, I'm profiting off the pain associated with foster care. So I accept the compliments and feel guilty.

I don't know what to do with this house. It's perfect and too much. It's exactly what I've always wanted, but I don't deserve it. How can I justify this perfect dream house when children are starving? Literally starving. Or when 13 year olds work so their families won't become homeless. How can I justify my perfect dream home when something half as expensive would have housed our family? How can I justify my perfect dream home when that money could have been spent making the world a better place? It's not enough to open our doors to help children in need because I want to have a big family. Building our family through adoption is something I enjoy doing, and now I get to also enjoy this beautiful home. It's too much wonderful things and I feel guilty about all of it.

I grew up on food stamps and constantly worrying about money. I grew up smart and I grew up fast. And I grew up fighting for my own survival.

I don't need to fight to survive anymore, but I eat like I do. Eating was my coping mechanism. It's now my addiction. I haven't binged or starved myself in years, but still I eat in excess. It's hard to have an addiction to food. Food is something I need to survive, but it's also what keeps my body from moving in the ways I want. Eating is what I do when I'm stressed or emotional or bored or happy. I've done it for so long, I don't know how to stop eating too much. Even in my perfect house, that I feel guilty to own.

If only I could live in my perfect mansion and be happy to be here. If only I could look around and see that I don't need to fight to survive anymore. If only I could orient myself to my new surroundings. But they feel so impermanent, and I fear that one day I'll lose my dream home, one day I will need to survive again. I feel guilty, and fearful, and excited, and overwhelmed. In my dream house I eat less, but I eat more than I need to. I love my dream house. One day maybe I'll love myself too.

Thursday, December 22, 2016


I have been overwhelmed for the last year. My father-in-law died at the beginning of the year, I finished my education program and became a new teacher, I am a parent to two pre-teens, we bought a new house and moved, and we're now preparing to sell our home and buy another. To say the year has been full feels like an understatement.

The new year is often a time of reflection, renewal, and new commitments. Judaism often dictates these rituals in my life, but this secular new year feels like a refreshing time for reflection and recommitment. As a teacher, I have few moments for sustained contemplation, and this break has been necessary as a new teacher.

My health - heck, my entire self - has not been a priority this year. My children and students have come first, and there is so little for me at the end of the day. I am emotionally exhausted at the end of the day. As a glazed over zombie, I am capable of eating and watching bad TV, but little else. My weight fluctuates within two pounds, but I never am able to maintain a healthy eating regiment. The only thing that has helped me maintain my health is being reflective, and I have no mental capacity or physical energy for this at the end of the day.

I'm not certain I can change any of those problems, or if it's an outlandish idea to focus on health when I must focus on so many other things every day (lesson planning, classroom management, parenting, and running a household to name a few), but I want to try and refocus. I want to be healthier. I want to fit easier into amusement park rides. I want to be fit and active. I want to climb a flight of stairs without being winded at the top.

I want to make small goals and try to accomplish them. Today's goal was to figure out my gym membership. I bought an elliptical hoping that it would encourage me to work out, but I have found that I am less likely to work out at home. I discovered that part of the joy of the gym is getting away from it all. So I renewed my old 24 Fitness membership and looked up Zumba classes. Maybe I'll go to a Zumba class tonight...

Monday, June 16, 2014

Weekly Weigh In:270.8

You have to be kidding me. I've worked out six times this week. SIX! And I weigh exactly what I weighed last week. True, I could have made better eating choices. I totally splurged this weekend on my calories. But for five days I ate within my caloric confines (or landed somewhere close), and two days I ate over my calories but did not binge. Yet, I'm still at 270.8.

Maybe my body is building up heavier muscle. Maybe weekend eating ruined my week's progress. Maybe it's the fact that I'm on my period. I don't know why I'm at the same weight, and I'm frustrated without answers.

My last weight loss journey was mostly for vanity and to avoid future health problems. This weight loss journey is different than my last one. I'm only 26, but already my body is loudly complaining. My knees hurt, I'm winded when I walk up stairs, and I simply can't have the life I want to have. I'm afraid to get on a bike - that I'll be exhausted after a few minutes. I don't dance anymore. I don't like my body at all.

I need to lose more than 100 pounds. What an overwhelming thing to say, especially when I've loosely tried for months, and thoughtfully tried a week, to lose weight...and I've only been able to maintain or gain weight. It's so frustrating!

I know I'm doing something wrong, but I'm not entirely sure what it is. I'm not confident I can complete this journey, but I know that I need to. I'm scared, frustrated, overwhelmed, and annoyed. I wish I was confident, excited, energetic, and knowledgeable.

This week I want to lose ONE pound. Just one pound. I want to step on the scale next Monday and see some difference. I'm trying to make different choices in my life - why doesn't that reflect on the scale?

Monday, June 9, 2014

Weigh in

Current weight: 270.8

I guess I can't call these weekly weigh ins right now...since I haven't done one in over a month. As you see, my weight's about the same.

I feel like I'm holding my breathe. I passively sit here, letting life happen, letting myself get fatter and feel awful about that fact. Yesterday, my knees hurt, my foot hurt, and I just felt immobile because of my fatness, which is so embarrassing and frustrating. I made cookies and ate too much, sitting on the couch frustrated at my own limitations.

But I also planned for the week. For me, making healthy choices depends on how well I plan. I cooked food for the week - including dinner, which is my biggest pitfall. This morning, I went to the gym and ate a nutritious breakfast.

My June goals:
* Lose between 1-2 pounds a week
* Work out 5 times a week
* Track 20 days in a row

Friday, May 9, 2014

1,112 calories

It's the last day before the end of finals and I ate my feelings today. Before working out, I had eaten 1,938 calories more than my daily allowance, for a total of 3,628 calories. Even though I binged, I tracked it and then I went to the gym.

Let's make tomorrow better...

Monday, May 5, 2014


+0.4 pounds

My desk is a mess. My house is a mess. And my non-existent. It's finals time, which is the perfect time to get sick and lose my motivation. Yesterday I binged, anxious about today's exam. I didn't just binge on popcorn or pasta (my normal go-tos), but had my wife walk with me to the store to buy candies and chips. Yeah - full on binge.

Today I feel slow and fatter than normal. I've gained a few pounds since yesterday and my body feel like a sloth. There are only a few days left until the end of finals, and I cannot wait to be freed from this engulfing anxiety that I'm not spending every minute to the fullest. I'm also excited that I'm feeling less sick than I was last week and might be able to return to the gym for some endorphin-engaging exercise.

I can't wait until Friday...

Monday, April 28, 2014

Goal setting

I am just a few pounds away from the heaviest I've ever been and I don't like it. My body doesn't move like I want it to and I'm afraid of becoming morbidly obese. I've noticed it's hard to get around - I bump into things more, chairs are no longer made for me, and I'm now in the biggest clothing options before it just becomes muumuus. I'm really afraid for my health and ability to enjoy my life. I don't want to be excluded from things simply because I'm too big.

I need to set some goals for myself. This week begins May. My goals for May:

  • Lose a pound a week
  • Log meals at least 6 times a week
  • Try to stop binge eating by going on a walk
I think I need to blog as part of this journey because I need some sort of personal accountability and time for reflection.