Weighty Matters

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Extended Funk

Man, oh man, when I get into a funk about my eating disorder, I really get into a funk.  I stopped wallowing in self-pity but could not shake a number of other negative emotions and behavior.  I went from depressed to disgusted with myself.  That’s where I’ve been, saying all kinds of mean things to myself about myself.

I would never be so mean to someone else.  If I was, I’d consider the someone else totally within their rights to bitch slap me.

So, because I’ve been calling myself names and castigating myself for being a weak-willed, lying, denying, fat slob idiot, I’ve been doing my level best to manifest those traits with my eating.  Nothing like negatively reinforcing bad self-directed behavior.

This all began to, naturally, effect my self-esteem and confidence.  It’s the same old vicious cycle.  I began to doubt my physical abilities.  I also instantly started viewing my image in the mirror with “fat eyes” in which I no longer see my real body but an inflated, swelled, fatter one.

Today my emotions began to shift back to reality.  I can’t claim that a switch got flipped or anything so automatic, but a combination of things came together and I began to change back to a healthier mindset.

I don’t have it all figured out yet, but I know a couple of the factors that I think have helped turn the tide.

I’ve gotten on top of the heel pain so every step I take no longer causes me to flinch and wince.  I am much more inclined to be active.

A couple of things that were stressing me out at work were resolved and I was able to get more caught up.

I got a truly terrific share of organic produce.  I ordered a larger share than I normally do just because doing so meant I received celery root.  I love steaming and mashing celery root but my local supermarket rarely carries this particular veggie delight.  So, I got excited about cooking and consuming something healthy that I love to eat.

A friend and I planned a paddle boarding adventure.  I’ve been wanting to try the activity again so we finally scheduled it for Saturday afternoon.  I had a bunch of trepidation at first because we weren’t climbing onto the boards from the shore.  Instead we were in a private area at her condo and would have to clamber up and down a dock ladder to get on and off of the boards.  Remember, that in my mind’s eye, I’ve been a cow the last few weeks so I experienced a return of the “you’re too fat to do this” false fear for everything from handling the ladder to staying on the board, etc.

It was a huge boost for me to handle the activity and provide ample evidence that I’m not “too fat”.   We practiced for about an hour and that was enough.  Once I’m on the board, I’m sort of nervous about moving my feet and throwing off my balance.  Unfortunately, this resulted in my feet cramping up and beginning to hurt.  So, even though I was successful with the whole adventure, I’m not sure it’s something that I want to frequently do or try for extended periods of time.  All in all, I prefer kayaking.  However, the important thing is that I challenged myself and succeeded.  It was a booyah moment.

Oh, and earlier in the day I’d gotten out on my bike for a nice 10 miles ride which also contributed evidence to my still-existing physical fitness.

Friends and I were hoping to go out on my boat on Sunday, but a persistent high wind deep-sixed that plan.  Instead, I invited them to come over and hang out on the porch and by the pool.  With that plan in place, my thoughts returned to the produce I still had from the organics share.  I Googled eggplant-zuccini salad and found several yummy-sounding recipes.

Oh, the scrumptiousness!  I roasted eggplant, zuccini, red onion, and baby sweet colorful peppers, tossed in a little bit of olive oil and herbs from my garden.  When they were done and cool, I mixed them with drained chick peas, crunchy raw celery, feta cheese and sherry vinegar.  The resulting dish was absolutely delicious!

I derived a lot of happiness from making something healthy and delish for myself and my friends.  Seriously, I felt my mood elevate.  We had a really nice, relaxing afternoon.

There might be other things, but these are the key mood-shapers that came together.  My spirit has been much lighter today.  I even dared to go to the local clothing store to see if there were a couple of nice tops/blouses that I could buy to rev up my wardrobe.  I have a trip to see family and go to my high school reunion in a couple of weeks, followed immediately by a conference that I love to attend every year.

I had been dreading trying on current clothes, positive that I’d blown up in size and nothing would fit.  Obviously, finding out that my clothes fit fine helped me counter the F.alse E.vidence A.ppearing R.eal.  I did find a couple of new garments that I know I will enjoy wearing.  I came home and further gave myself a boost by making some more progress with the ongoing decluttering project.  Then I made a tasty, and healthy dinner for myself with grilled chicken, some of that roasted veggie salad, and a skewer of grilled pineapple and watermelon.

I’m waiting for the sun to go down a little more and then Nat, Pyxi and I are going for a walk.  A little last exercise for the day will only serve to help maintain the upswing.

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Wallowing

A good friend called me last night because she hadn’t seen me post anything to this blog since I talked about the car accident.  Every night over the last week I’ve meant to write a post, but I always found a reason not to.

Her sweet, loving concern gave me a wake up call.  I realized that I’ve been wallowing for the last week.  First there was the accident.  Even though I wasn’t seriously injured and I was mostly incredibly grateful and seeing the bright side, I experienced some residual emotions while my body gradually got over the twinges and soreness.  My energy level was much lower than normal for several days, which was probably from the combination of physical stress to my body and the emotional drain.  This rolled into Mothers Day which, frankly, is never a great day for me since I am not a mom and I always miss my mom a lot, particularly on this day.  To cap off that already difficult time, I dropped an empty bottle on my foot and cut my toe.  The wound didn’t need stitches and, thankfully, no bones broke, but it hurt like the devil – particularly if I wore close toed shoes or sneakers.

I believe I’ve mentioned that, in addition to getting the injections in my knee, I’ve been suffering from plantar fasciitis in my left heel.  It has hurt to walk for six weeks.  Frequently in that same time period, the heel has hurt even when I just have the slightest pressure on it when lying in bed.  Between the knee injections and the heel pain, I haven’t been able to do Tai Chi and taking the dogs for our twice daily walks has been torturous.

Monday rolled around and I got the less-than-pleasing news that it will probably take at least a month before my car is repaired.  Yes, I have my older SUV, for which I’m incredibly grateful, but given my already less-than-stellar mood, the thought of this dragging on for four weeks just compounded things.

So, blah blah blah.  Whine whine whine.  Bitch bitch bitch.  Wallow wallow wallow.

You know, I don’t like to be around people who are negative and who complain a lot.  Pity parties are not my idea of fun… particularly when I’m the hostess.  Self-pity brings out the worst in me.  First off, it’s a miserable energy state in which to exist and then, it’s a giant food and eating trigger.  It doesn’t matter how much I tell myself that it is impossible to eat away the sadness or truly use food to smother any feeling, this is, unfortunately, my go-to response.  When my positive personality and attitude take a dive, I mistakenly think that food will buoy me back up.

When I’m wallowing, I also have to cop to a certain amount of “f*#k it” in my attitude, like I don’t care.

That’s bull of course.  I do care.  Even when I snack and then get upset with myself for eating off the plan, I still care.  Unfortunately, I have a hard time effectively using the caring to alter the poor behavior in that moment.

Since I’m not willing to chuck it all, give up on myself and eat my way into oblivion, it’s seriously past time for last-call at this pity party.  There honestly is no payoff for me to allow it to continue.  Tonight I’m putting a time limit on the wallow.  I have dinner plans with a friend for tomorrow night and I’m heading into a weekend.  So, I’m basically telling myself to suck it up and move on.

I have too much good in my life with endless potential for more.  There is no more space on my calendar for being a downer in my own life any longer.

 

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Perspective After an Accident

My day started with a car accident.  I’m okay, or at least not seriously injured.  I have some whiplash and twinges in my lower back, but some soreness in my shoulders and arm.  I went to the ER where they took x-rays so nothing more serious showed up.

I was very lucky.  I was slowing down to a stop because of a red light.  Unfortunately, a truck in back of me was not timely in his own slowing down process.  Once he noticed that the light was red and cars in front of him were stopping, he hit his brakes, but ran out of room and hit my car in the back.  Again, I was lucky because he didn’t hit me at full speed.  I was also far enough behind the truck in front of me that I wasn’t knocked into him.  My car is fixable.  The other driver is also insured.  My insurance company is already all over it and my car was towed to the local body shop.  Fortunately, the local body shop happens to be very good at their job, since we don’t have a large choice of establishments from which to choose.

Right after the impact, I knew that I was sore.  What surprised me was how shaken up I was after the accident.  My hands trembled and I had to force myself to focus on calling the sheriff’s department, locating my insurance info and registration and just thinking about what I should do, who else I should call.  The EMTs came and I couldn’t make up my mind whether to let them strap me on a back board and transport me to the hospital or whether I could take myself there after finished with the police.  Thank goodness for the deputy who kept checking on me.  When I apologized for being shaky and weepy, she looked at me and told me I had every right to be after getting hit from behind.  That little bit of affirmation and validation helped a lot.

Where I live, we only have one main road.  It was no surprise to me to soon get a text from a friend and co-worker who’d passed the scene on her way to work and wanted to make sure I was okay.  She would have stopped but it was a busy intersection at the time.  I texted work.  Before the highway patrol was even finished checking out the situation, getting everyone’s info and writing up the report, my top boss and friend arrived to provide a ride to the ER and moral support.  The tow truck driver is also a friend of mine and he was able to tell me exactly where he should transport my car to get fixed.

At the hospital, the manager to whom I directly report showed up after her own doctor’s appointment to see if she could be of any help.  Others were texting the boss to see what they could do.

All told, I wasn’t at the hospital very long and, after a quick trip to the pharmacy for my meds, I was home, resting on the sofa, and answering texts of other friends at work expressing their gratitude that I wasn’t badly hurt and asking if there was anything that I needed.

I spent the afternoon with ice packs, puppy cuddles, and a nap… followed by some serious reflection.  I know that in times of trouble, friends reach out to assist each other.  I’m the same way to my friends.  But today, tonight, experiencing the outpouring of love and support from my friends and work family is really hitting home and filling me with great gratitude.  (We do consider ourselves family at work, in case I haven’t mentioned that before.)

Maybe it’s because I’m older, single, and live far away from my blood family.  I don’t know, but all of the kindness truly resonates.  So, on a night when I could be grousing and grumpy over the inconvenience of an accident and the residual aches and soreness, what I feel most is happy, humble, and blessed.

My heart is full and that fullness comes out in a smile.

 

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Skewed Food Perspective

My two week Lean-Green-Clean period is complete.  All in all, I did really well.  My body feels so much better inside — in a way that is more about better quality food going in and less to do with the nine pounds that I lost.  Mentally and emotionally, sticking the program provided a much needed boost.  The two weeks demonstrated to me that I can, indeed, manage my food and eating in healthy ways.  Certainly much healthier than I’d been doing.

I’m so pleased with the results that I’m continuing on, but with, perhaps a little less strictness.  Not much, but the occasional carb or small chocolate treat — also occasionally and not in great quantities.

This is a potential slippery slope because I have a very skewed perspective when it comes to food.  Part of it comes from not ever being able to totally free myself from the diet mentality.  I’ve had it drummed into me so often, and self-drummed it, that carbs are bad.  Awful bad.  The baddest of bad.  So, even when I eat something like half of a whole grain, high fiber bagel – it feels like a cheat.  I went to Miami today to see my Phillies play the Marlins.  This was a terrific treat for me to see a ball game in person and spend time with friends.  I had an all beef hot dog at the ballpark for lunch.  Okay, a hot dog isn’t the cleanest food, but can’t I cut myself a break and not feel guilty?

When I get into that diseased thinking, it’s dangerous.  It quite often  leads to self-disgust and a “well I f#*#ed up today anyway.  I might as well keep going” reaction.  So a simple eating of something that really wasn’t bad or damaging can turn into a binge.

As I continue on my program, I need to be very aware of the mental aspect of my relationship with food.  I need to be able to separate behaviors into their proper descriptions.  Eating half of a whole grain, high fiber bagel is not the same thing as plowing my way through a bag of potato chips.  A small serving of chocolate does not equate to a pint of ice cream.

Two successful weeks when I’d been struggling for a while have produced much needed clarity.  I’d like to build on this even more moving forward.

How’s everybody else doing?

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Simple Joy of Walking

A couple of days ago, I had the first of three Euflexxa injections in my right knee.  The goal is that the substance will replace at least some of the natural material that provides a cushion between some of the bones in my knee joint.  On one side of the knee, that natural material is pretty much gone and the bones above and below are “kissing”.  I’m scheduled for two additional shots, administered at one week intervals.  Getting the injections doesn’t cause pain; maybe just a twinge of discomfort after the topical numbing spray wears off.  The post-shot care calls for icing the knee several times a day for a couple of days and restricted activity.

So, I did only minor walking and no Tai Chi.  Today, since it was now a full 48 hours post-shot, I wanted to walk a little further than I have been, mostly for the benefit of my dogs.  The twice-daily walks are as important to their well-being as they are to mine.

I’m happy to say that the walk was one of the most comfortable ones I’ve enjoyed in the last month.  I believe I’ve mentioned that, in addition to the chronic knee pain, I’ve also been suffering a bout of plantar fasciitis in my left foot.  Right knee, left foot — yep, walking has been a chore when every step hurts.

I hate to complain.  When I do, I think of all of the military veterans who have suffered devastating injuries in the war and are now home having lost limbs, among other things.  Sure, my left heel and my right knee hurt, but hey, at least I have a left heel and a right knee.  Every Monday night, I’m inspired by veteran Noah Galloway and his presence and performances on Dancing With the Stars.   One of his legs was amputated above the knee.  One of his arms was amputated above the elbow.   If he can train, practice and perform with those challenges, I can certainly walk without whining.

Before I had weight loss surgery, I could barely walk a long block without breathing heavy.  Stairs made my heart pound.  If I had to walk too much or otherwise be on my feet for significant periods in a day, I’d need ice packs and 800 mgs of Ibuprofen to recover at night.  Even when I stretched out in bed, my legs sometimes jerked or trembled from the trauma of simple activity.

After the surgery, the doctor said get up and walk.  I was on my feet and trundling down the hall a couple of hours after I got out of the recovery room.  Yes, I was accompanied by a nurse the first few trips, and I had to roll my IV pole along with me, but I did it.  Maybe not far, but it was a start.  Every walk I took over the next day or so in the hospital, I made sure to go a little further.

Once I got home, I walked a little each day of my recovery and, gradually, added steps.  That was the foundation to which I added more distance over time.

More than the physical activity, I grew to enjoy the pleasure of taking a walk.  It’s not just the surroundings, or the simplicity of the exercise.  I began to revel in the simply enjoying that I was capable of walking at all, compounded by going any distance and, in some cases, pushing myself in the occasional 5K event.

There are other exercises that I enjoy.  I loved Zumba when I did it, but needed to give it up because of the risk of really messing up my knee more than its existing arthritic condition.  I love riding my bike, too.  I also derive great pleasure and peace from regularly practicing my Tai Chi.

But there is something so complete, so wonderful, about walking.  I didn’t realize how much I missed being able to do so comfortably until today, when my knee felt better and I’ve also resolved most of the heel pain of the plantar fasciitis.

In marketing terms, I’d say that I get a great return on the investment of my time and effort when I walk.

In regular terms, I’ll just revel in the feeling of simple joy.

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Drawn to Scale

Most days, stepping onto the scale is part of my morning routine.  I know that I’m very focused on the number as a measure of my success or lack thereof, depending on what the number reads.  Someday I’ll figure out a way to break that fixation.  I tried not weighing myself for two weeks, which spread to a month, but in the interest of complete honesty, doing so right at the time more fed into my denial.  It allowed me to ignore that some poor eating choices was leading to weight gain.

So, of course, I was over-the-moon delighted that I lost 7 pounds in the first week of Lean-Clean-Green.  Yes, I was just as, almost as, pretty excited that I felt so great, but the weight loss was the true validation.  On the one hand, frequent weighing grounds me in reality.  On the other, more negative hand, frequent weighing distracts me from what ought to be my main focus – eating in a way that is abstinent of compulsion and bingeing.

Again and again I remind myself that it’s about the behavior.  My weight is more like an indication.  It’s the end result of the eating disorder.  For me, anyway.  There are many, many people with this disorder who are not overweight.  I am not a number on the scale, yet I am drawn to that square piece of glass and metal with its electronic sensors.  That number can set me up with an “atta girl” affirmation or be used as a club with which to beat myself.

This is another aspect of overreaching need to embrace acceptance.  After all, since I am not on a diet, there is no end date or end weight that halts the effort.  Eating in healthy, non-compulsive, ways is a lifelong endeavor.  There is no magic weight that I’ll reach where I can proclaim, “Ta da, I’m done!”

Yes, I can celebrate milestones, like when I eventually make it into “One-derland” or when I also eventually hit what I’ve determined is the target number that I want to use as my baseline measurement.  I have that number in my head.  I’m thinking of it as the measure that I want to stay “at or around” for my own physical well being.

Other than that, it doesn’t really matter if the number on the scale is acceptable if the way that I’m eating is off track.  So, again, something to keep working on in my program of recovery.

How about you?  Are any of you scale and weight obsessed?

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Day by Day

It’s Day 8 of the Lean-Green-Clean effort.  So far so good, mostly.  I’m still refraining from chocolate, refined sugar, junk carbs like white bread or potatoes, cakes, cookies, etc.  I’m eating more vegetables, fruits, and lean proteins.  My body feels great.  I lost seven pounds in the first week.  My head and heart are serene and happy.  My spirit is encouraged by my ability to stay on the program.

I won’t pretend it’s been easy all of the time.  Some nights I need to guard against the compulsive behavior, even if the extra food I’m tempted to reach for is something healthy from my plan.  The behavior is as much of a risk to me as the actual food items.

Cravings pop up from time to time.  It’s always important for me to analyze whether the craving is real — a physical desire for a type of food (salty, sweet, crunchy, whatever), for a specific food, or if it’s a mental/emotional craving.

I’d put together a lean, healthier version of a meat loaf to bake for dinner tonight.  Lean ground meat augmented with chopped peppers and onions and spinach.  Driving home from a doctor’s appointment, I thought about that protein and started thinking about how I’d always served it with mashed potatoes and gravy.  All of a sudden, the broccoli I’d planned to steam as a side dish had zero appeal and I started craving creamy mashed potatoes, darn it.

It wasn’t a physical “want” but a mental and somewhat emotional or associative desire.  Potatoes stayed in my mind while I ran some errands and then inspiration struck.  I could buy some cauliflower and mash that instead which would keep me on the low-carb/more veggie path but, hopefully, satisfy the craving.  I made the conscious choice to allow myself this substitution from the broccoli and drove to the supermarket to get the cauliflower.

Once I was in the store, I started thinking about chocolate.  Rich, dark, chocolate.  Not a lot, just a single piece.  It won’t hurt, my eating disorder said to me.  You’ve been so good and on point, it cajoled.  Go ahead.  Really.  It’s okay.

In the short line at the checkout, I went so far as picking up a bar and then putting it back.  “I never liked chocolate with cherries in it,” I said to myself.  Right before the employee started scanning my other purchases, I picked up another bar – one which I darn well knew I loved.  You can bring this home and trust yourself to only eat a square of it, my disease assured me.

My disease lies.  Oddly enough, it was that lie that snapped me out of the compulsion.  I put back the chocolate bar and finished my purchase, then immediately left the store.

Sometimes recovery isn’t achieved day by day, it’s minute by minute.  Definitely choice by choice.  Today, I prevailed.  By the way, the healthy meatloaf and mashed cauliflower were delicious.

In other news, I restarted treatment for my bad knee.  The orthopedic doctor injected me with Euflexxa, a hyaluronic acid product, to hopefully restore some cushion in my knee joint.  Getting the shot honestly isn’t that big a deal.  He numbs my knee with an icy spray first so I don’t even feel the “pinch” of the needle going into my leg.  (The two inch long, somewhat thick needle, I might add, with a nod to my toughness. :-).)  It’s a little sore tonight but I’ve complied with the instructions to rest and ice it for 20 minutes at a time for five or six times.  I’m on restricted activity for 48 hours which, unfortunately, means I can’t do Tai Chi for a couple of days, but I’ll be back on it by Friday.

It’s all worth it if the full course of treatment improves my overall knee condition, reduces the pain, and helps me maintain a strong level of activity.

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Acceptance

In comments on the previous post, Forest Jane and I talked about how we can’t bring certain foods into the house because they’ll call to us all of the time and we’ll eat them.

I said that I can’t fool myself any longer and think that I won’t binge, in my own post weight loss surgery type of binge, on certain foods if I have them available in my house.  This has stayed with me in my  mind since.  The process of mulling this over caused some things to bubble up for me, even though the concept of keeping my house free of binge-trigger foods is nothing new.  It seriously could be the umpteenth time, or even the umpteenth squared time, that I’ve thought about this in the last 30 or so years.

You’d think I’d have gotten the point by now.  I have a little disgust twinge going on, but I’m also trying to remember that it doesn’t matter how often we think about something, or hear a suggestion, or even know intellectually that we should do something a certain way… if we aren’t ready, we aren’t ready, and we won’t make the connection.  Even if we make the connection, we can dig in our heels and resist.

Acceptance is the key, but I need willingness to reach that point.

I keep thinking that some day, somehow, I’m going to be able to eat “normally”, be a “normal” person when it comes to food.  That’s nothing new.  I know that for me, the only thing normal about my eating is that I will always be a food addict/compulsive overeater.  There is no cure.  I can only learn helpful things, tools, and means for keeping in recovery, even while accepting that I will never fully recover.

Today, this acceptance revealed an additional realization.  I’ve had it in my mind that when I get to goal weight, I’ll be fixed.  I won’t always have to do this, always be mindful, commit every day to working the program, and remain vigilant.  That is the worst kind of denial.  I can’t believe that I’ve continued to pretend otherwise for so long.

I get it. I don’t like it, but I get it.  There’s no time limit on the disease.

Mentally, I’ve known this for decades.  Today it feels like the rest of me is catching on, or at least catching up.

I have a lot of feelings about it.  I’m  a little glum in my acceptance, but at the same time pragmatic — it is what it is.  There’s resentment but I’m also ready to embrace it and keep moving forward.  While I haven’t worked through it to find the joy, I am catching a glimmer of grace in make these forward steps.

I’m grateful because, at the end of the day, I know that I can continue to recover.

 

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Talking to Myself

Throughout the day, I have a lot of conversations with myself about food, or more specifically, about my food choices.  I’m beginning to realize how often I talk myself into making bad choices.  It is obvious to me that in those mental conversations, I can influence my behavior either way.

Even when I’m doing well, as I have for the last several days, I still have the internal chats arise — usually when I’m stressed, short on time, something’s happened that’s made me cranky, I’m tired, etc.  All of the vulnerable times open up the conversation.  A few days ago, I told you about being face to plate with a large red velvet cake and withstanding the temptation.  Trust me, I went back and forth about it a few times, but the positive program choice prevailed.

Last night, I almost got thrown off course.  I’d decided in the morning that I was ready for some lean chicken as a protein for dinner and planned to get a cooked rotisserie chicken at the supermarket on the way home from work.  Thinking even further ahead, I also wanted to pick up some onions and more carrots so that on Sunday, I could use the chicken carcass and vegetables to make some stock.  I needed a couple of other things to get me through the weekend, too.

The best laid plans went a tad awry when I got to the store around 5:15 and discovered that the only prepared/cooked chickens left were either the barbecue or maple-bourbon varieties.  (Side note: While I love the maple-bourbon combo on, say, ribs, I think I would find it disgusting on poultry.  I’m not fond of barbecue sauce on chicken either.)  I asked the guys behind the counter about more chicken and discovered that it wouldn’t be ready for another 45 minutes.

Ack! I was already hungry for dinner.  I couldn’t wait that long at the store because I needed to get home and let Nat and Pyxi out in the yard.  I could have picked up the fried chicken tenders that were sitting there all ready, or some of the pre-cooked pork roast but, darn it, I’d planned!  I’d committed.  I’d gone so far as writing down my meal in the morning.

The chatter of my own mental process was considerable and annoying.  Finally I took a deep breath and let the calmer, sensible side of me take over.  I decided that staying with my plan was more important than a little inconvenience.  I drove home to let out the dogs, staved off the hunger with a couple of pieces of celery, and went back to the store a little later to get the chicken and other items that I wanted.

This morning, the plan was to go to Tai Chi class, come home for my mid-morning snack, and then go to the massage therapist for some body work.  Well, I was delayed leaving class and didn’t have time to go home for the snack.  I knew that I needed to eat and drink something before the massage or I’d be starving, and possibly light-headed, by the time we finished the session.

There are a lot of places to go and get something to eat between where I was and my destination.  Lots of places with lots of easy, but unhealthy choices.  In my mind chatter I considered numerous possibilities, all of them poor.  Then I remembered that I also had to pass the only Health Food store in town.  Instead of going to a convenience store for a chocolate bar or almost-as-bad-but-masquerading-as-healthy protein bar, I went to the health food store and got a raw, no-sugar added-veggie & fruit juice and a package of organic walnuts.  Even though they were not the foods that I’d previously planned for that morning snack, they were the best possible option given the circumstances.  So, I gave myself a pass and counted it as a win.  Yes, I had to have another talk with myself to get to that point, but it worked.

I hope this doesn’t make me sound all crazy.  I haven’t reached the point where I walk down the street and talk out loud, after all.  I don’t blurt things out verbally in public places.  Communicating with myself is part of my process, and it’s proven to be a useful tool when I use it to successfully stay on track.  Granted, there are times when the chat goes more along the lines of, “#*$& it, I need a cookie”, but the goal is to not give into those urges too often.

As of today, I’m on Day 6 of reclaiming my recovery and if I sometimes need to talk to myself to stay on track, I’ll use it like I will every other available tool.

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Healthy snack suggestion:  A lonnnng time ago, I talked about baking kale chips for a healthy, crunchy snack.  A few days ago, a friend shared on Facebook that she’d made her kale chips in the microwave. I just had to try doing this today.   You see, I love kale chips when they first come out of the oven.  Unfortunately, after they’ve been in an air-tight container a while, they tend to get a little chewy.  I decided that if the microwave technique worked, I would always be able to make snack-sized portions in a snap.

I am thrilled with the results and it was so easy.  Just take clean, dry kale (stems removed) and toss it in a little bit of olive oil and salt or other seasonings.  Spread it on a microwave-safe plate and put it in the microwave oven for 3-5 minutes, depending on the wattage of your appliance.  Mine took 4 1/2 minutes.  I checked them and retossed about half way through.  The finished chips were crisp and tasty!

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Pain Turns to Medicine

Fair warning, friends.  I will probably cite from Anne LaMott’s amazing book Small Victories often in coming days.  Her insights are sparkle like gems, resonate like soul-filling music in the best concert hall, and open my eyes and my mind to new viewpoints.  The book reveals what she calls “small moments of grace”.  For me, it’s uncovering small moments of understanding.  If these understandings lead to grace, so much the better.

Earlier this evening, I read a passage that, forgive the cliche, spoke to me.  I won’t retype the whole thing, but my small moment began when she shared a quote from Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi, a 13th century Persian poet.  The quote reads, “Through love all pain will turn to medicine”.  LaMott says that the pain and failures she experienced slowly restored her to the person she was born to be.

She talks about experiencing the eating cycle of binging then dieting, binging then dieting, binging then dieting and never felt full without being stuffed.  Gradually, through school and life experiences, she began to,” … learn the secrets of life: that you could become the woman you’d dared to dream of being but to do so you were going to have to fall in love with your own crazy, ruined self.”

Later she shares that she had to accept that life was not going to be filling if she tried to become somebody else’s idea of who she should be. and when she got to that point she no longer needed to stuff herself “to the gills”.

Nothing was going to fill her except love and what I interpret from her description as self-acceptance, self-nurturing, self-care.

This is all such powerful stuff for me.  Now I’m not going to sit here and say that I hate myself.  That isn’t true.  However, I don’t always treat myself with the love that I deserve, the love that I would show to others.

Going back to Rumi, I feel like his quote means that the negative of pain cannot withstand the positive power of self-love.  When we let in the love, we transform the other emotions into something nurturing and healing.  The pain becomes medicine which treats the negative conditions so that they heal.  The emptiness is filled and we no longer need to plug the hollowness with food.

Day Four is winding to a close.  I’ve had another good day food-wise.  It wasn’t always easy today as I dealt with some circumstances that were unpleasant and upsetting.  However, I prevailed and didn’t seek to reduce the effects by stuffing in food.

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