Weighty Matters

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Operating on Faith

Sometimes it is really hard to not get frustrated or impatient.  (Remember the old joke, “I want patience NOW!”?)  I need to constantly remind myself that as long as I follow my food plan and continue to exercise, I will lose weight.

Have I mentioned that I am not a very patient person when it comes to my own endeavors and performance?  Yes, I know that I put an awful lot of pressure on myself.  Unfortunately, it’s a lifelong habit.

I’m used to turning over the physical stuff to my program and Higher Power.  It is much more challenging to let go of the mental and emotional things.  Every morning when I first wake up, I express my gratitude and I ask for help in remaining on my food plan and staying abstinent.  When I say abstinent, I know that I’m thinking about the act of abstaining from compulsive eating or binging.  Today I realize that I need to broaden that and ask for help in abstaining from certain thoughts.  Thoughts like, “I should have lost X number of pounds this week” or “If I do this, I should lose X amount of weight by X date”.   Those are only two examples.  There’s no end to what I can think up.

For today, I will keep working on having faith in program, Higher Power and myself.  For today, I will ask and be open to help in not getting caught up in my head so much and in not pressuring myself with expectations over which I have no control.  I am responsible for sticking to my food and fitness plans.  That’s the priority for me every day.

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Changing the Failure Mindset

I’ve been thinking of myself as a failure because I have not reached my goal weight, even almost four years after my weight loss surgery.  This mindset does mean things to me emotionally, mentally, spiritually and, ultimately physically.  It wreaks havoc with my eating disorder.  Anything that results in me feeling or thinking badly of myself can trigger disease-related eating and relapse.

For a couple of weeks, I was thoroughly depressed about the situation, much more so than I’ve been in years.  I was constantly caught up in failure feelings, beating myself up, joy-less in spirit, at least where my physical improvements and recovery were concerned.   I wanted to anesthetize the feelings and mood in carbs and sugar.  That all just made me feel worse.

Then, for some reason last week, I pulled out of it.  I recommitted to my program and got back in touch with feeling good about myself.  Positive feelings beget more positive feelings.  I went several days without a single starchy carb and wasn’t grabbing for handfuls of chocolate, other candies or other sugar-laden foods.  Even through the bad weeks, I’d continued with my kick-butt rowing classes but now I could note positive changes in my body shape, appreciate the increased strength, better range of motion and other benefits.

I felt powerful inside and out and took the time to really acknowledge and experience the upswing.

This led to me really investigating my mindset and laying out the reality check to sift and separate the truth from the distorted thinking.

These statements are false:

  • I’m a weight loss failure.
  • I can’t do this.
  • I’m weak-willed.
  • I’m unhealthy.
  • I suck.

These statements are true:

  • I have not reached goal weight.
  • I have lost and am maintaining a weight loss of around 140 pounds.  (I have never maintained a significant weight loss for this long a time!)
  • Sometimes I fall back into relapse eating.
  • More often, I eat sanely and on my recovery plan.
  • When eating sanely and on plan, I overall make far healthier food choices.
  • I am physically active and stronger.
  • I haven’t lost weight in total number of pounds in the last two months, but I know my overall fat-to-lean muscle mass ratio has improved.  There are fewer pounds of fat, more of muscle.
  • I am determined.

Looking at those lists, I am so happy to see that I know the lies from the truths.  I’m also happy to see that the positive list is twice as long.  It is amazing that positive thinking can lead to such positive change.  My mindset over the last week has completely changed for the better.  I’m not wallowing in despair or steeping my spirit in depression and sadness.  I have returned to celebrating the good, real, strong progress that I’ve made.



Reboots, Restarts and When Not to Upgrade

I haven’t posted in a week for a couple of reasons.  Physically and mentally, I’ve been exhausted when I get home at night.  I also made what turned out to be a mistake for my computer when I upgraded to Windows 10.  Nothing but problems and, again, I was just too tired at night to figure out a resolution.  Tonight I finally Googled for answers and found out that it’s pretty easy to resort to the previous operating system, so I did that.

Oh, if it was only as simple and uncomplicated to uninstall all of the things that we sometimes take on in our lives, only to find out that they don’t work the way that we need or want them to!  I can think of a bunch of choices I’ve made that I’d like to undo with a couple of clicks and then a restart of myself.

Right now, I feel like I’m fruitlessly and fitfully searching for an upgrade to my eating plan and daily food diet that will magically reboot my weight loss, resolve my cravings, help me make better choices and, just because I feel like repeating it, reboot my weight loss.  That’s the insanity of my head.  When I get a little crazy like that, I have to stop and remind myself that easy does it.  I have to avoid overcomplicating matters and stick to basics.  Eat healthy.  Eat in balance.  Keep working out.  Trust that results will come.  There’s no magic to it.  No big secret.  Eat healthy.  Eat in balance.  Keep working out.

I resolve to stop looking for some incredible, easy fix.  It doesn’t exist.  There is no special upgrade.  Each day I just need to restart on the sensible approach that I know works.  Eat healthy.  Eat in balance.  Keep working out.


One Day Can Make a Difference

My stomach feels much better today, less raw and uncomfortable.  It’s been smoothed by creamy, healthy smoothies, tea, lots of water, and soup.  My head, and by head I mean my mind, and my heart (emotions) feel much better today too.  Writing it all out last night and then making a plan and sticking to it today ending up being very self-affirming.  I was more clear-headed and better able to focus on my tasks.  Food was not a big issue; I wasn’t attacked by unending compulsion to eat in appropriately.

In program, we focus on one day at a time.  Now the day is winding down.  I’m chilling at home with a last cup of green tea and getting ready to settle in with the television shows I like to watch.  Tomorrow when I wake up and before my feet hit the floor, I’ll recommit to another day and know that it can make a positive difference.

Thank you for being here.  I hope you’re having a good day too.

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Once More With Feeling

Once more, I dig deep and resolve to get myself moving in the right direction.  I was doing so well with balancing things for a while and this past week I crashed emotionally and physically.  I’m eating in full out relapse and physically feel like total crap.  My stomach is off.  I’m bloated like I’m retaining fluid for three people.  I refuse to get on the scale so that I don’t totally demoralize myself.

Emotionally, I’m sad, depressed, angry with myself.  Spiritually, I’m downhearted.  Mentally, I go between WTF (What the f&&k) and DGU (Don’t give up).

Here are the bright spots.  Despite everything, I stuck to working out three times last week and gave it my all in rowing classes, Tai Chi and getting Nat out for walks.  When I finish this I’m either going to go for a bike ride or go in the pool.

Emotionally, the bright spot came when talking to one of my closest friends, I talked about how I’m still going through grieving for Pyxi.  My friend could have said, “Suck it up.  It’s been two weeks.”  Instead, she shared that she still experiences moments of grief when she sees a box of things that belonged to her beloved dog who passed a couple of years ago.  So, instead of a negative judgment, I got a much needed validation.

This helped a great deal because I’ve been judging myself all week.

I understand that this is a function of my disease.  If I ever wanted to make it an actual creature in a horror novel, here’s how I would characterize it.  It would be an evil, needy force that craved human emotional pain to to feel alive; that gained substance in form whenever its victim criticized, judged, and body-shamed herself; that took sustenance from the addictive substances that its victim consumed.  So, needing these things for its own survival, the disease would take control of its victim to incite these things and then gobble them up.

Knowing all this, there are times when I just want to crawl into bed, pull the covers over my head and hide or wallow in my own misery.  Times when I want to say, “What’s the use.  I can’t win.”

Thankfully, somehow, somewhere with help from whatever Higher Power refuses to abandon me, I find the need to dig deep and try once more.

Tomorrow, I’m going the full liquid route.  This is not a crash diet.  I simply want to remove as many food options as possible.  Fewer choices mean fewer chances for my disease to take control and lead me to making the wrong choice.  Plus, my stomach physically feels raw inside from the crap I’ve been eating, like I’ve rubbed it raw with junk.  It needs to be treated gently for a while.

I’ve thought off and on about whether to face the music and weigh myself tomorrow.  Right now, I’ve decided against taking that step.  I’ve meditated over whether this is denial on my part, but I’ve decided that it isn’t.  What I want to achieve is the simple act of getting abstinent again.  I don’t want to make this about how much weight I might have gained over the last week or how much weight I might lose on a food plan of full liquids.  It isn’t about moving up and down in my numbers.  It’s how restoring my emotional, physical, mental and spiritual stability.


Feeling a Little Sideways

Over the last week, I’ve been up and down and then, this weekend, mostly sideways.  I continue to feel abundant gratitude for the kindness given to me and Nat.  It inspires me to pay it forward and to be open to opportunities to be kind to others.

Yesterday I hosted a “tea” for a friend who is getting married in a few weeks.  She didn’t want a big shower.  The tea was her preference, which was fine with me because I love a good tea.  It inspired me, of course, to dig in and give my house a deep clean — always a plus, even though I hate actually doing the work.

The down side, unfortunately, is that I felt compelled to bake cookies and scones for the event and to make a prosecco-lemonade punch.  While these contributed to the loveliness of the occasion, they also provided occasion for me to contribute to my eating disorder.  I ate wayyy too much stuff that isn’t on my plan, wasn’t eaten in a healthy sane way, and ended up giving me a stomach ache, acid, and a night of just being sideways.  Sideways, for me, is akin to being numb.  Not up, not down, but not fully engaged and functioning.  I pretty much stretched out on the couch for most of the hours after my guests left and I cleaned up so I was physically sideways, too.

Note to self:  When in that kind of mood, find a comedy to watch.  Dead Man Walking, while it features wonderful performances by Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn, is not a jovial mood-elevator.

Today I did something really nice for myself.  My regular nail tech is on vacation for a couple of weeks and I was due for a manicure and pedicure appointment.  I wasn’t able to get a convenient appointment with any of the people she recommended.  So, I indulged and went to the fancy spa of the big resort a few miles up the road.  Although I paid much more than I usually would for these services, I give the technician credit.  She did a great job and the foot and hand massages were extremely thorough.  This little indulgence felt good.

I don’t want to get on the scale tomorrow because I fear that I undid all of the good that I did for myself last week when I was careful with my food and working out hard.  So maybe I won’t.  Maybe I’ll just stay on a healthy eating track, exercise, and not weigh myself until the end of the week.

Avoidance?  Perhaps.  However, I also don’t want to make myself feel any worse.  I’m teetering on the edge of negative self-judgment and beating myself up.

Here’s the plan.  I’m about to eat a tasty, planned for dinner, that’s also healthy.  I got back a short time ago from a good long walk with Nat.  I have rowing class at 7 a.m. tomorrow.  I will commit my food in the morning and stick to the plan all day.

As long as I don’t let sideways turn around into completely losing progress, I can settle myself into my program and start moving forward again.

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Searching for Focus

I’m having the devil of a time staying focused today.  I don’t feel like I stayed on task or could maintain much concentration at work.  Luckily, I did not have multiple projects on deadline today.

That said, this morning I was able to zero in on a killer workout.  So, I’ll give myself some points in that department.

Overall, I’ve done pretty good on my food plan for the last three days.  I’ve given myself permission to switch meal choices during the day a couple of times, but have not given in to compulsively eating stuff at times other than my usual three snacks/three meals.  I’ve also been exercising.  In addition to rowing/strength class Monday and today, I also got Natty out for at least one 30 minute walk each day.  I’d like to try for two on days that I don’t row, but the weather has not cooperated with that plan.  I also rode my bike up to the store yesterday as a little extra exercise.

One foot in front of the other, searching for each day to be a little better or easier than the day before.   Natty and I cuddle a lot at home which is, I believe, good for both of us.

This post could go longer, but that lack of focus thing is coming into play.  Rather than force myself and break into typed-babble, I’ll end.  Before I do, thank you again for all of your kind words and support.  I appreciate all of you very much.

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Turning a Corner

Warning.  I’m blue and down on myself.  Understandable, considering Friday.  This is compounded by not having been pristine on my food plan.  Yes, I’m still cutting myself some slack, but falling off the wagon affects me emotionally as well as physically.

At some point over the weekend, I was mulling over things and suddenly thought, “You know, the last five months have had a lot of suck in them.”  In early May I had the car accident.  Soon after that, the plantar fasciitis got really severe and I started getting treated.  Then I get that handled and my dogs get sick.  (Natty had a battle with a persistent ear infection while Pyxi had the bladder infection.) In the middle of all this, we discover that one of my boat engines is blown and can’t be repaired so I have to start the process of arranging finances to buy a new one.   Pyxi gets worse, can’t recover, and we have to say goodbye.

Through it all I was also in a pretty significant relapse into my eating disorder and food addiction.  Add it all up, and yes, it weighs more heavily on the suckitude side.

I don’t like to wallow.  When I wallow, I get more mired into food and inappropriate eating.  I start to not want to get my ass off of my couch and move.  My whole attitude drags down and that affects my spirit.

So, I’m working on lifting myself up.  It’s okay for me to still be sad about Pyxi.  Grief has its own timetable, but I have to keep moving.  Not only do I need it, but so does Natty.  I think he put on the weight that his sister lost.  He is definitely more pudgy than he should be.  Yes, I’ve embraced the rowing classes and I am not going to let myself make excuses to not go.  I’ve booked my three classes for the week already.  My food wasn’t great this weekend, but I can climb back up onto the wagon and eat right again.  Back to the basics — pre-planning my meals, logging my food, working program, reaching out to the support groups.

I’m also getting in touch with my gratitude.  No matter how bleak or upset or towered I feel, there are always reasons to be grateful.  I think I mentioned a long time ago that when my mother was dying, before I went to bed each night I would think of five things for which to be grateful.  Sometimes I really had to dig and search but I’d find five things.  I can’t explain why doing this helped me, but it did.  It got me through.

So, for today, here are five things for which I am grateful:

  • Nat.  He is a warm, fluffy, hug-me-Mommy, cuddle-pup and this comforts me.  We have each other.
  • The overwhelming love and support shown to me by friends, family, co-workers, blog readers, just everyone.
  • The willingness, opportunity, and physical ability to work out or take walks.
  • The Philadelphia Eagles won today!
  • The knowledge that no matter how badly I think I screwed up with my eating this weekend, returning to recovery is as close and simple as the next choice.  I can get back up on that wagon and I will.



Truly Feeling the Emotions

Pyxi and I are plugging along.  You know, I feel like I should apologize for currently turning this into a blog about my seriously ill dog, but then again, it’s my blog.  This is what’s going on in my life and it’s what I’m dealing with so I guess everything is related.

Anyway, we’re going day by day.  Some days she seems to be a little better; some days a little worse.  Some times holding steady.  It doesn’t escape my notice that, like my program, we’re taking her illness one day at a time.

I will be honest and tell you that I am preparing myself to have to make the ultimate, difficult decision.  I love my dogs very much.  Part of that means that I will never force one to suffer because I cannot suck it up, say goodbye, and let them go with love.

This is not the first time that I’ve dealt with a beloved dog nearing the end of life.  I have been in this place before.  Heck, it’s not just pets.  My mother was very ill before she died.  I was her primary caregiver, which her pretty much 24/7 for several months.  With her wishes known, my brother and I held her medical power of attorney and were trusted by her to act on her behalf when she couldn’t.  There came a time when we knew that there was nothing medically that could be done to prolong Mom’s life.  With the help of hospice and support of family, we could prepare her and help her approach her death without pain, in the comfort and familiarity of home, surrounded by the people who love her.

So, this is not a new situation, but I have to say that I feel like I am an emotional wreck.  I do my best to keep a positive, upbeat and good energy demeanor when caring for Pyxi.  When I’m away from her and think about how she isn’t gaining ground and I could be on the verge of having to say goodbye to her, I dissolve into a crying, grieving mess.  It’s hard for me to discuss her condition with friends and family without falling apart.  Just typing it here started the waterworks again.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not trying to say that I’m usually an unfeeling, repressed person.  Far from it.  I have big emotions.  I’m passionate and expressive in my joy, enthusiasm, anger.  But, I think I’ve learned to be appropriately expressive and balanced.  Right now, I’m completely out of whack.  If I usually navigate on a mostly even keel, right now I feel like my upset is a rogue wave swamping and threatening to capsize me.

Yet, except for a couple small deviations, I’m handling the crisis without relapsing into full scale binge eating or compulsive overeating.  I’m working program, pre-planning and eating to plan, logging my food/water/exercise, and working out.  That’s all good.

I believe it’s also why my emotions are roiling so dramatically.  Stuffing great quantities of food into one’s body is one way to also stuff down emotions.  When I overeat or eat off plan, I am counteracting my feelings – negative and positive.  Food as anesthesia.  Sooo, because I’m not using food to suppress the anxiety, worry and grief, they are going to town.

With everything that’s going on, I didn’t make the connection before now.  You’d think I’d have realized it right off, but, hell, I have a lot weighing on my mind and heart.  Now I know.  I’m conscious of it, so I need to work on maintaining better balance.  I’m not saying it isn’t okay to be sad and worried.  These are normal.  I do, however, have to keep them from throwing me so out of whack that I can’t function physically and emotionally.

I need to experience the emotions and still be able to think, work, breathe, and take care of Pyxi, her brother Nat, and myself.  We are all relying on me to do so.  If the time comes that I need to consider the decision for Pyxi, I need to be able to process the facts and reality and do what is best for her.  In the aftermath, I then need to be able to continue to care for myself and Nat without sinking into relapse.

How do I do this?  I keep reaching for program and the tools with which I am so familiar.  They are always present as long as I pick them up.  I need to continue to take care of myself by following my food plan, going to my workouts, getting acupuncture, arranging for massages or other treatments.  Not shorting myself of sleep.  These things are all important to preserving my recovery and staying healthy.


Recognizing the Changes

Pyxi had an up and down weekend.  Yesterday, although she ate a couple of times during the day, she couldn’t keep it down, seemed very weak and was not at all perky.  Honestly, last night I was afraid she was going to die.  This morning, I texted our friend/vet and he met us at the clinic to administer more sub-cutaneous fluids and some anti-nausea medication.  He prepared me that she’d probably be very sedate today from the meds, which she was.  However, she also ate three small meals throughout the day and has kept it all down!  She is still turning up her cute little nose at the carbs, but as long as she eats anything and retains it, that’s something.  We’re testing her blood again tomorrow and, hopefully, her numbers will have improved.  Fingers and paws crossed!  We can consider an appetite booster which might make her more interested in a greater variety of food items or, that might happen without help if she starts to feel better.

I had a little bit of an up and down weekend with my food and, at times, I thought I was a whole lot worse than I truly was.  Thankfully, I’ve continued to log my food in my digital food diary so I can go back, read, and truly analyze my intake rationally.  This is so important because when I don’t look at things with logic and rationale, but instead view it through the distorted lens of my eating disorder, my perspective goes all screwy.

Even with Pyxi sick, I know she’s okay if I leave for an hour or two.  I don’t go for long stretches of time, so I get back to coax her with food, check if she needs anything, and so on.  I went to rowing class yesterday morning.  I had a facial mid-day.  I went to dinner last night with a friend.   These all fit under the heading of taking care of myself so that I can continue to take good care of her.

I didn’t pre-plan my exact foods for dinner.  Instead, I logged it in the morning as “reasonable dinner”.  We went to a local restaurant that I really like and I ordered food that I really like – including the brussel sprouts “chips” appetizer that I love.  We split it and brought at least half of it away in a box.  Same thing with my entree — at least half of it came home with me and will be dinner tomorrow.  They asked if we wanted dessert and I made the conscious choice to share some of that too.  A few bites were totally yummy and satisfying — and saying yes to myself actually helped emotionally.  If I’d denied myself the treat, I would have experienced resentment, grumpiness, and, most likely self-pity.  All of those could have led to me coming home and binge eating on something.

Of course, even though I completely ate reasonably and did not overeat, I still experienced several moments where I felt like I’d done poorly.  Such is the nature of my disease.  I came home and started to beat myself up and then called a halt to the negative mind-trend.  Instead I reminded myself how I’ve been taking good care of myself; how I’m being rational about my food, how I worked so hard in the morning rowing class.  I’m convinced that doing these reminders kept me from eating compulsively last night after I got home.  Being able to stop myself from disintegrating into disease behavior is a positive change.  I need to recognize these changes when they occur.  Doing so helps them take root and provide a stronger foundation for the future.

I recognized another positive change a little later in the day.  After getting back from the vet and spending a little time decompressing by reading a book while Pyxi rested, I decided to go into the pool and exercise.  I went into the bathroom to change into my swimsuit.  When I took off my shirt and started to remove my bra, I glanced in the mirror.  In that moment, I saw where the rowing classes have begun to cause some changes in my body.  There are hints of better definition in my shoulders that weren’t there before.  My waist looks a little smaller.  I nodded at myself in the mirror and smiled.  Then I put on my bathing suit, went to the pool, turned on some music and exercised for 30 or 40 minutes.

Seeing some physical improvement is such good positive reinforcement.  I don’t know what the number on the scale will read tomorrow morning.  (Forgot to tell you that I stuck to my commitment of only weighing Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings.)  If it’s down from Friday, terrific.  If it isn’t, I know that my body is still slimming down, getting more defined and also gaining in strength.  No matter what, I need to recognized and acknowledge these changes.



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