With about half an hour of 2010 left in my part of the world, I'm at home for the first NYE of my life. Why? Today, the temperature in Melbourne surpassed the 40 deg C mark, which is a deal-breaker in my relationship with the outside world. I had plans to go out and party, but the image of riding on public transport with sweaty, BO-drenched folk just to get to a club full of more of the said-same folk vehemently replaced the positive prospects of a fun night of dancing.
So, as my household counts down til the end of the first decade of the 21st century, I am encouraged to reflect on the mixed bag that has been 2010. Long-time readers will be familiar with most of the ups & downs that this year has brought me, but since I still receive some comments and emails that demonstrate a lack of knowledge about where I've been on this journey, I figured it would be helpful (to me as well as you guys) to have a look at what knowledge and experience I am bringing into 2011.
Let's start with the bad stuff:
The absolute worst event of 2010 was my February run-in with the horrific DepTran, prescribed to help cure a damaged, overly sensitive nerve ending. Within 24 hours of my first dose, I became desperate for food, with a raging appetite that could not be sated, even with 7000 calories thrown at it on one particularly memorable day. I stayed on the primal path, but watching my fat cells balloon whilst I miserably tried to stick to my usual intake levels left me with depression. I was allowed to cut out the drug after a month, since it was not helping the nerve ending, but by then I was back to my original weight. It felt like my efforts throughout 2009 were wasted. The hormonal effects of the drug stuck around for a good six months, and I have not been successful in my attempts to resume fat loss except for brief positive stints that keep inexplicably rebounding. Even following orthodox paleo, even tracking my carbs and calories, even exercising, even fasting, even with everything I know about health and nutrition - I'm still left feeling like a big, fat failure because I'm back to the size I was before I started trying to get healthy.
I know I've made positive steps and that it's not in vain, but try telling that to the clothes that don't fit me anymore and the people that - just 12 months ago - commented on how well I was looking. For the first time in my life, I was being told that I was 'gorgeous' and looked really healthy, and now that positivity has been stolen away from me. Saying that probably makes me look vain, but those comments, just like the newly-positive experiences I had shopping at clothing stores such as Alannah Hill, were so foreign and delightful to me that it was like I was finally granted access to this other world where normal people lived. Now I've been kicked out again - the lack of positive comments don't just remind me how much fat I've regained, but they also remind me that the average person will assume that I've regained it because I've been eating crappy food & that I'm ignorant about health.
I can no longer confidently be a positive role-model for the primal lifestyle - if I told anyone that I create and maintain a blog about healthy living, they would scoff and roll their eyes. Perhaps that is a little over-stated, since I have not regained fat in my face but only around my waist and hips/thighs - a sign of health and even fertility, really. However, there's nothing more compelling to an audience than having seen someone go from chubby to stream-lined, and I've lost that ice-breaker. When I get it back, I'll feel like a believable figure-head for the primal/paleo lifestyle once again.
So, I have learned a lot from this horrible experience: I have learned more about how my hormones work and what it feels like when they become imbalanced; I have been reminded just how dramatically my psychological aspects are impacted by physiological changes in my body; I have learned that when your body is being told to accumulate fat that it will succeed even during caloric restriction (I wonder how much muscle was eaten to feed my demanding fat stores...), and; I have had my hatred of Western medicine compounded, thanks to my specialist Doc who didn't bother to mention the "typical" side-effects of DepTran given that my experience on a similar drug had not caused any problems! The nerve damage is due to a problem that went improperly treated for too long, despite my pursuit of third, fourth and fifth opinions before finally finding this guy who picked up on the issue immediately. The kicker, of course, is that without sugar in my diet, that specific condition would not ever have flared up.
Time for some good stuff, please!
The psychological impact of the DepTran incident caused strain and damage in almost all of my personal relationships, but somehow we've come out the other side barely scratched. Rather than calling it quits, the beau & I are on the hunt to buy our first house, and everyone in my family is still speaking to me (even the ones who don't speak to each other!). I am in regular contact with good friends, some new this year, and look forward to maintaining those connections more effectively than I have in the past.
2010 brought me my best year of teaching thus far, despite my depression, with really enjoyable classes and mostly positive collegiate experiences (better than the bullying torment of 2009, at least!). I played Hero Teacher by orchestrating the inception of two new school traditions that were passionately adopted by the students, without causing me too much additional stress.
I discovered belly-dancing, a new passion of mine, and also rekindled my singing, which had been on hiatus since 2002. I have joined a belly dance performance ensemble, am on call for a couple of semi-professional choirs for when they need a strong voice to support their performances (so I don't need to be a paid member nor attend rehearsals, which works for me since I don't find their repertoire challenging enough to require rehearsal), and have made some contacts who will be part of my planned a cappella group next year. I hope that my 'recreational' participation in the performing arts will continue to grow in 2011, without adding too much stress to my already-busy life.
Of course, my knowledge about dietetics and fitness has continued to expand in depth and breadth throughout the year, with my growing blogreel devouring the time I used to have to spend on daily blogging! I plan on making an effort to photograph my meals again, since I feel that my cooking is my most visible and effective proponent of this way of life. I feel bad that I didn't photograph all of my Christmas meals, but I do have some waiting to be posted!
I finally took the next step in my jewellery making, devoting more time to the construction of new pieces (ironically, as part of my stress-reduction effort!), and starting a store online now that Zibbet has made it economically feasible to do so. Today, I also paid up for a full Zibbet membership, which means I no longer will be limited to only listing 50 items in my store. I have about 250 items waiting to be listed, so those will be posted incrementally over the next few days. Thank goodness I'm on holidays for another four weeks!
The final piece of positivity I'm bringing with me into 2011 is the newest member of my family, adopted just two days ago from the Lost Dogs' Home in North Melbourne:
Meet lovely little Oreo, our nine week old kitty - and the only Oreo you'll ever find in MY house! He's very energetic, and already prefers fresh fish to the carb-inflated dry kibble the vet recommended should make up 80% of his diet!
All the best for 2011!