Weighty Matters

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The Disease Never Goes Away

on November 4, 2013

I had a bad disease day. Lots of compulsive eating, despite the fact that I’d psyched myself up to have a really great day. It’s not good to blame anything for going off of the rails, but I may as well as share about how a good start in the morning suddenly turned sucky.

I got up early — around 6 a.m. and decided to take advantage of the early start by doing a quick segment of my in-home walking DVD. I did the 15 minute one mile walk, which energized me. By doing so, I figured out that my Fitbit doesn’t log every single step. I think you have to have full forward motion. I don’t believe it caught the kicks. However, that doesn’t matter so much. The point was to exercise.

Okay, so I exercised, showered, got dressed, fed the dogs, and got out the ingredients for a pumpkin smoothie. I put all of the ingredients in the blender, hit the button and — Holy crapola! — ice came flying out the top, the machine made a horrible noise and then it stopped working.

Blenders don’t behave well when you leave the spoon in the container. Dopey move! I salvaged the mixture and poured it into my glass for sipping. I’d left a grill pan soaking overnight in the sink by accident, so I wanted to clean it up. All was fine until I put the pan up to drain and knocked a glass vase into the sink where it promptly shattered. I felt a piece of glass fly into my eye and froze in place, telling myself, “Don’t blink! Don’t blink! Don’t blink!”

I couldn’t feel anything touching my eyeball but I didn’t want to take any chances. Still forcing myself to keep my lid open, I ran to my bathroom, very carefully removed my contact lens, grabbed the eye wash and rinsed out the eye. I think that the piece of glass must have bounced from my eye as soon as it hit, because nothing came out when I rinsed. I gingerly felt around and was mighty darned relieved to realize that everything was okay.

For some reason, this all just through me off. I returned to the kitchen, drank my smoothie, managed to fix the blender, and then took the dogs for a walk. Although relieved, I was still tense and this stayed with me.

Honestly, writing this recap, it feels a lot like I’m whining. Sorry.

Anyway, I was doing okay at work food wise through the morning. I walked past a huge bowl of leftover Halloween candy and told myself “No”. I savored tea, drank water and even made it through my yogurt for lunch. Then someone brought out a plate of homemade truffles. That quickly, the compulsive eating disease stampeded right over my good intentions and determination. I had to have one, and then another.

This not only didn’t satisfy the chocolate craving, but it kicked up an overall desire to eat and continue eating. Unfortunately, someone had already put out a platter of veggie lasagna. Seriously, when I’m in disease-eating mode, the only safe place for me is a locked room without any food within reach. I am so incredibly resentful and pissed off right now. I. Hate. Being. A. Compulsive. Eater.

Saying that is akin to a child crying. Hating the disease doesn’t change one damned thing. I need to suck it up and move on, rebuilding my determination to be abstinent for the rest of tonight and start fresh again tomorrow. I get it.

So I really want other compulsive eaters, or others who are contemplating weight loss surgery, to remember this. Having bariatric surgery does not cure you of an eating disorder. It’s really important to realize that there comes a time when even small, inappropriate bites can throw you off track. The disease never goes away. Each of us still needs to deal with the compulsion every day.

I can’t reshape today. I can only do better tomorrow. That’s the plan.

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4 responses to “The Disease Never Goes Away

  1. Hope says:

    That doesn’t sound like whining at all! That morning would have thrown me off my game too.

    I think you’re allowed to have a bad day or two. It sounds like 99.9% of the time, you have great days. So be kind to yourself and absolve yourself. We all slip up sometimes.

  2. Pink Pelican says:

    Everything Susanne & Skye said. There are things that are truly & thoroughly going to sneak up on you and knock you so far off your “Wah” and so hard onto your butt that you’re going to “fail” in your endeavors to control your day. And sometimes they are little things that you wouldn’t think are that big a deal, but for whatever reason, they totally dislodge the center of your soul & leave you all twitchy and nervous and utterly out of sorts. It takes time and patience to work through those times, and if you sometimes revert to old habits, well, it just means you are human. I find that giving myself a little time, a decent night’s rest, a little exercise, will help bleed off and stabilize the wonky chemical mix. Hugs to you.

    And you know, even if one is not a compulsive eater or diagnosed with an eating disorder, I think it’s fair to say that anyone who qualifies for bariatric surgery probably has some form of dysfunction when it comes to dealing with food. I do not have a diagnosis, nor do I believe I have an eating disorder. However, it is still fair to say that I use food inappropriately sometimes, for comfort, as an avenue to avoid doing something I don’t want to do, or sometimes simply because some foods just trigger certain chemicals in my brain.

    What you said to all those who are contemplating surgery, that it doesn’t resolve compulsiveness or eating disorders; that goes for anybody who uses food for a purpose other than simple fuel. Whether or not you have a diagnosis, somewhere in some corner of your brain, you probably have an issue. In fact, if you DON’T have a diagnosis, you might find those issues biting you in the ass when you least expect it, because you’ve gone your whole life eating poorly but not necessarily “having a problem”, if you know what I mean.

    If you are contemplating bariatric surgery, I urge you to be open to discovering, accepting, and working on issues that are going to roll up out of corners of the brain & soul you might not be comfortable addressing. Like Mary says, surgery is a tool, not a cure, and in the first year, if you are willing to deal with stuff you’ve been avoiding, the surgery will help you find the peace, the space, and the time to focus on the emotional aspects of your eating. In all likelihood, it won’t be as bad as you fear, and if you can build an understanding of your eating behaviors, you can start to build lifestyle changes, alternate behaviors, and coping mechanisms that will help you enormously in later years as you learn how to maintain your healthier lifestyle. Be prepared to do some work. It will be worth it.

    Hugs to Mary, and hugs to everybody who is thinking about undertaking bariatric surgery.

  3. Susanne says:

    The mark of a person is not what they do, it’s how they react over the long term. One sucky day does not defeat you or define you. When we try to manage behaviours of a lifetime, it takes time, and there’ll always be occasions when we slide back into the familiar behaviour. I love your message that you can do better the next day because you can, and will.

  4. Skye says:

    I’m so sorry your day fell apart! It’s not whining; what you feel is what you feel and here is where you can vent and wail and gnash your teeth. If you want intellectualism: each of those morning events shot a bit of adrenaline and cortisol into your system. When the glass chip bounced off your eye, those hormones spiked because getting a piece of glass in your eye IS akin to falling off a cliff — it undermines your survival, at least on a low brain level. Of course you were tense.

    And all of those chemicals and the tension primed you for your mind’s typical comfort and release: food. Even though food aren’t those things for you anymore, your brain doesn’t know that yet and, as you say, the disease is never cured.

    I’m sorry it was a sucky day, but do not beat yourself up, okay? 99% of the time you do amazingly well. Beating yourself up, saying you are whining, those are just other forms of “fat and lazy” comments.

    It’s okay: no blood, no fire, no death, and you didn’t eat a gallon of ice cream. 🙂

    Be good to yourself. You deserve it.

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